Obligations and Entanglements

Session One
Fast times at Vesten Festhall

((As usual, feel free to edit this to include forgotten details))

Picking up where Session One left off; the party and the captain discuss the issue of what to do with their Skaerjn captive. Pablo and Rafael Dominguez initially suggested recruiting, but Captain Alicia Montoya de Zapeda del Castillo_ demurred, being uncertain that the Skaerjn would not betray them at a critical moment with her Vesten weather magic. _Giorgio Lucani suggested as an alternative to turning the Skaerjn over to the Vendel League in Kirk – a move that would have resulted in her near-certain death – that instead they ransom her back to the Vesten; a practice the Vesten were well familiar with, as they have often used it themselves with valuable prisoners.

The arguments went on for a while, but in the end, the group agreed that ransoming the Skaerjn off to the Vesten was marginally more acceptable than letting her be killed or rot in a Vendel prison. This decided, they set course for one of the Vesten islands in the chain; as this would only be a brief departure from their original course, they would not lose much time in arriving in Kirk to sell the trade goods stored on the Matron’s Sorrow.

The Captain issued a number of orders before retiring to her cabin and requesting the cabin boy Myshka_ join her. Later on, during the journey, Giorgio Lucani_ climbed up in the rigging to take care of some minor tasks, but unfortunately got his foot horribly entangled in the rope – attempts to dislodge himself only served to exacerbate the situation. Another of the ship’s Crew, a Castillian who doubled as the ship’s barber, climbed up into the rigging to help get Giorgio Lucani loose. Giorgio had acquired one of the ship’s line ropes which was just as well as the Castillian’s skill with knots was sufficent to free Giorgio, but not sufficent to do so safely. The young Vodacce swung away on the rope he’d grabbed, but cruel fate intervened in the form of a sudden hard wind that sent him crashing into the mainmast. He landed in a crumpled heap, but when some of the crew moved over to check out what they expected to be a bloody mess, he turned out to be almost completely unharmed; quite the feat given how squarely he struck the mast and fell.

When the ship was about to dock, Louis Camus, and Lucien Demoulins opted to remain behind with the ship, not at all pleased at the idea of rubbing elbows with barbarian savages. The rest of the party and the Captain disembarked; they entered “negotiations” with a tall, bald and heavily scarred Vesten. While this was going on, Fionbarr and Rafael Dominguez headed to the local tavern; where they got down to the business of drinking heavily and flirting with the Vesten women. Fionbarr proved to be rather more silver tongued than his shipboard activities might have suggested, and partook of a number of unique experiences that Rafael decided were a bit outside of his field of comfort.

Once appropriate compensation had been acquired, they were invited to the festhall to participate in the impromptu party the Vesten were throwing to celebrate the good fortune of the return of their Skaerjn.

The group took to the party for the most part like fish to water, stories and mead flowed like a river. Giorgio spun an epic yarn taking in the best aspects of Vesten culture, and the Vesten were soon pounding mugs on the table to the tale. Their Jarl, apparently even more impressed, claimed that this was clearly a sign, and rallied the Vesten up to go raiding.

As the big burly guys with the axes began filing out, several party members took advantage of the chaos to acquire small treasures and warmer outfits; Pablo, not to be outdone, swept up a giant bearskin rug and draped it over himself, wearing the headpiece like a helmet.

And they might have snuck off quietly with their gains, had the Jarl not stuck his head back into the festhall and insisted they come along for the raid.

The Vesten (and the group) piled into longboats, rowing along the coastline until they spotted their target; a small Vendel village with little more than a barrier wall facing coastward. About half the group slipped off to either side of the village quietly, while the rest (and the Vesten raiders) charged into the village, the Vesten carrying lit torches and howling like madmen.

While much ancillary looting occured, the village seemed oddly deserted; there was little resistance to be found – one small group of trained militia at what was probably the Mayor’s dwelling, and only one or two other buildings were occupied at all.

The Church, on the other hand, turned out to be quite well guarded – two full squads of crossbowmen fired through the windows at approaching looters (including Giorgio Lucani). Lucani leapt up to the window, taking some minor injuries from the glass … and discovered that behind the altar was a priest – who pulled out a firearm and fired; missing horribly … then dropped the smoking weapon and pulled out a second as the Vesten came scrambling through the doors, engaging the guards who had drawn blades. The Vesten could see the many fine treasures to be had at the back of the building.

Meanwhile, Myshka had spotted two men sneaking away from the village, heading toward what looked like a watch tower in the distance. With some cunning animal mimicry, he terrified the two men so badly that when he burst out of the bushes with a gutteral roar, they fainted dead away.

Giorgio Lucani vaulted over the heads of the crossbowmen and down the center aisle, drawing his sword as he went. The priest fell back slightly, pulling up the second firearm. The shot rang through the village as it caught the Vodacci full in the chest and knocked him back into the pews, where he lay prone and still. The priest drew a breath, and pulled out his third firearm as the last of the guards fell to the Vesten raiders. He looked at the group of them, shook his head, turning around and firing at the altar.

There was a massive explosion; the back half of the church erupted; the altar utterly destroyed and the wave of force lifting up and launching the first three rows of pews into the air. Several of the Vesten raiders, who had been closing in to dispose of the priest and take the treasures were killed by the explosion of burning wooden chunks launched by the explosion. The ones further back grabbed up Giorgio and the contents of the poor box and fled the church.

Unfortunately, there was no way the pillar of flame and explosion were going to go unnoticed by the distant guard tower. Myshka emerged from the trees with a bloody scalp, grinning like a feral creature to rejoin the rest of the group, who then retreated toward the longboats in an attempt to get clear and away before Vendel League naval vessels could discover them.

In this, at least, they were apparently entirely successful and they returned to the Vesten community.

(End of Session One)

Session Zero
Wherein things get underway...
  • Finalized character designs, made some last minute alterations to allow for a slightly broader range of hubris than 5 people with Loyal.
  • Set up web of relationships, establishing why each character knew at least two other members of the group.
  • About half of the group have obligations, money issues or had been pressed into service on the Matron’s Sorrow in the service of Captain Alicia Montoya de Zapeda del Castillo.
  • En route to Kirk to unload some cargo at what they hope will be a significant profit, the Matron’s Sorrow came under attack by a pair of Vesten longboats whose crew boarded the ship. They were quickly repelled through the adroit fighting of the party members, and their Skaerjn, who had been about to get away, was captured when Giorgio Lucani leapt from the ship down to the retreating rowboat – and calculated the angle a bit badly, hitting the lip of the boat, which flipped it over and launched the Skaerjn into the water. The Skaerjn was recovered and brought on board the Matron’s Sorrow where she was questioned; revealing the attack had been a mistake – they’d mistaken the Matron’s Sorrow for another vessel purported to be carrying Vesten sacred objects to Kirk.

Party consists currently of:
Louis Camus, a Montaigne from the Echine region and travelling companion and possible confidante to Rafael Dominguez. Louis knows Lucien Demoulins through similar but non-competitive mercantile interests they engage in; bpth have served as adjuncts to greater men in their home country. He is loyal to a fault – while this is exactly what Rafael needs, it has gotten them both into trouble on occasion. He is also one of the few people that Rafael trusts implicitly.

Lucien Demoulins is a member of the Montainge Gentry from the western provinces who works for a powerful patron seeking out potential markets and useful information – and along the way setting up his own connections – perhaps a bit too quickly; he can be a bit rash in pursuit of his goals. Lucien knows Louis Camus due to mutual interests; he knows of Giorgio Lucani as someone he’d met a few times at parties in Montaigne and Vodacce before Giorgio’s unfortunate … shift in fortunes. Lucien has his own valet, an extremely well organized servant who has been in the employ of the family since before he was born.

Giorgio Lucani is a former noble of the Lucani family of Vodacce attempting to right his keels, so to speak. Given his circumstances, he is probably lucky to be alive; most of the losers in Vodacci power plays tend to end up face down in the canals. Since then, he has made his way north; working his way through Montaigne, to find that while the courts there might not use as much literal poison to get ahead, the social toxins could be just as debilitating. Better for a time to lay low … restore his finances before attempting anything grander. While these interests put him in occasional contact with Lucien Demoulins, certain other activities required a different skill set; it was through these sorts of means he became associated with Rafael Dominguez. Despite his setbacks, his confidence in his ability to recover is nearly limitless.

Rafael Dominguez claims to be an expatriate Castillian with little interest in the unfortunate little border dispute between Castille and neighboring Montaigne. This is probably one of the most honest viewpoints you’re liable to get from the man. While he acts the part of a rake well, the presence of his faithful manservant companion Louis Camus suggests heavily there is more to Rafael than he is letting on. His relationship with Giorgio Lucani might seem a strange one from without; there seems to be little that would connect the two otherwise fairly dissimilar men; perhaps he feels an odd sense of loyalty or protectiveness toward the other man. His ‘relationship’ with Don Pablo Rios de Soldano del Castillio on the other hand, is a far simpler one to grasp; Don Pablo is a skilled Soldano practitioner; Rafael follows the Gallegos style – and the two schools have been heated rivals since before the Swordsman Guild was established.

Don Pablo Rios de Soldano del Castillio was, until not very long ago, a free man with a ready blade, a warm smile, and all the trappings of class. The exact sequence of events that lead to him being conscripted as crew aboard the Matron’s Sorrow along with an Inishman named Fionbarr is not something he has spoken about, but it would not take much observation to notice that whatever the alternative might have been, this was preferable. Both he and Fionbarr have been on the Matron’s Sorrow long enough for the crew to know of them but not long enough to be considered proper members yet. They have become well familiar with the sight of Myshka scrambling in the rigging and about the ship, putting his tiny frame to use performing all sorts of tasks that would be more difficult for larger people.

Fionbarr is the very model of a Inishman, boisterous, good-humored and earthy, ready to enjoy all of life’s opportunities. However, as an Inish soldier, he has also seen some dreadful things, and is more familiar with death than most people; though this just seems to make him appreciate ’life’s little opportunities’ when they show up all the more, there is definitely hard steel beneath the surface. Waking up one morning to find his cabin was moving when he was sober was a novel experience; when he learned he’d been volunteered to the Matron’s Sorrow_, he took it in stride; one commander was much like another, and his new CO was far easier on the eyes even if she swore just as much as his old commander. Fionbarr discovered fairly quickly that he wasn’t the only new patriot on board when he met Don Pablo; the two, though from vastly different backgrounds, had common experience in the discipline of the blade. When _Giorgio Lucani joined their crew a few voyages later, Fionbarr helped him learn the ropes, and Giorgio introduced him to a couple of Vodacce vintages he’d never had before, with a promise of more to come once his fortunes came back around.

Myshka, is a small, wiry, quiet Ussuran lad. He seems to have earned a position of trust with Captain Alicia Montoya de Zapeda del Castillo ; though perhaps it is just an odd sense of humor that leads her to ask his opinion on any number of subjects. Seeming at times equal parts officer, mascot, and good luck charm to much of the rest of the crew, Myshka is a regular sight on deck. He unofficially keeps an eye on new crew; even the best Captain picks up a bad barrel occasionally; in this capacity he has been observing Pablo, Giorgio Lucani, and Fionbarr; of the three, Fionbarr reminds him most of his countrymen.


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