A Man of Many Adventures, Some His Own
It was a combination of pity and compassion that caused Josef and Miriam Shook to take in the gnome woman and her four year old daughter upon finding them one morning starving and encrusted with dirt from sleeping that night on the soil outside of their fields. Josef was a subsistence farmer, but the spring had been kind and there was enough food for a few extra mouths. Miriam was adept and handcrafting wooden instruments – fiddles, lutes, and dulcimers, mostly – which they sold for extra money in order to purchase other necessities. In short, they were well off enough that they could afford to be compassionate.
The little girl was named Ti’ella, and though terrified of the humans, she explained that her mother was sick and with child. The illness from which she suffered left her unable to speak the slightest utterance without terrible pain – an ailment that stayed with her for the following two years. Unable to read or write, she had no means to convey her name, and her daughter Ti’ella’s insistence that her name was “Mama” left Josef and Miriam with little choice but to refer to as Ms. Mama.
It was on a cool evening in early summer of the year 4689 AR that Ms. Mama’s son was brought into the world. Because his mother was unable to vocalize a name for him, Josef and Miriam found themselves suggesting names well into the morning before “Derek” finally resulted in a nod of approval.
When the gnome woman finally regained her voice, she revealed that her name was Felicitara Thane, a member of the great Thane family (which she insisted was rather an important lineage, though no one else had ever heard of it). On that first night she spoke, her voice scratchy and weak from being so long unused, she rechristened her son Deleksin, though she admitted that “Derek” had grown on her and made for a suitable nickname.
For the first six years of his life Derek and his family lived in a simple home just to the west of Josef and Miriam’s, assisting them with farming and crafting and the mending of clothes. Try though she might to settle down, Felicitara was a wanderer and a singer at heart; she found herself pained to stay in one place. And so it was on the day after Derek’s sixth birthday that Felicitara and her two children set forth for the city of Isarn.
For the children it was a completely different experience than they were used to. Before, their livelihood had been earned through hard and tedious work, but upon the road they made their way in the world through the money earned by their mother’s gift of song. And while she had a number of pieces in her repertoire that were upbeat and cheerful, or that told of grand adventures long past, the one in particular that captured the most attention was a song with a dark and dreamy quality about it:
the woods they are afraid
tonight they fear my tread
and though I am alone
tomorrow we’ll all be dead
the jay upon the branch
a warning call will make
and when the morning comes
none of us shall wake
before you lies the night
the night of thieves
beyond you roll the waves
the waves of sorrow
and though your foes are fierce
they soon will know
the inner strength that hides
inside your heart
inside your heart
the child that disappears
a circle on his chest
that represents the years
of which he did divest
the man who was a boy
strikes a daring pose
the boy who was a man
cowers in his clothes
and inland rolls the tide
to clean the shores
and out it rolls again
the tide of corpses
and though you appear meek
your foes will find
a real demon hides
inside your heart
inside your heart
a mad man in the night
a thief inside the hay
they dance, or do they fight?
the winner runs away
the jay upon the branch
will nod his weary head
so rest; my song grows old
tomorrow we’ll all be…
She had titled the song “The Ballad of Agnes, the Miller’s Daughter” and when people would ask she was proud to explain that it was named after a girl she had met in her travels years ago in a tiny village called Oak Home. The poor child had been a little mad since being struck by lightning at the age of two, and though she was perfectly reasonable on most occasions, sometimes she would babble on in nonsense. Felicitara had sat and listened to some of the things she had to say one frigid winter night, and had turned them into a song, though she was no longer sure which parts were exact quotes and which had been adjusted for dramatic effect.
Shortly before Derek turned nine, his family joined as part of a caravan traveling north toward Brevoy. It was a journey that under different circumstances would have lasted only two weeks, but the unseasonable rains that were encountered along the way left the caravan’s wagons more often than not stuck in the mud. Day after dreary and sodden day wore on with the only break in the monotony being a game that Ti’ella had made up involving passing sticks back and forth – before long all the children in the convoy were playing it.
In the middle of their tenth night in the rain, Derek was awoken by a shout from outside the wagon that his family shared with an old woman and a recently married dwarven couple. This was followed shortly thereafter by more shouts and the squelch of boots on the muddy ground, then by screams of terror. There was the sound of something hard and heavy hitting the ground, and then it came again, and only too late did they recognize it as the wagons being overturned and cracking open, the people and possessions they contained spilling out into the mud and the dark night.
Outside was chaos. Men with fierce eyes and wretchedly sharp swords stalked through the downpour, stabbing at anything that moved. Many of the mercenaries that had traveled with the party were already dead, and though the ones still alive were reinforced by those of the travelers that had taken up arms, it was clear that they were outnumbered and swiftly overcome. Derek found himself torn between fleeing into the night and trying to search through the madness for his mother, when another of the travelers, pierced through the heart, fell on him and laid still. His nostrils just above the muck, Derek knew that he would be unable to pull himself free without making his presence known, so he did his best to remain motionless.
The sounds of combat faded and were replaced by the sounds of plunder, but somehow the old man who had fallen on Derek was overlooked. Then, still well before daybreak, the sound of searching ceased altogether and all that was left was the sound of rain.
Upon pulling himself from his hiding spot, one of the first corpses he came upon was that of his mother, barely emerged from the wagon where they had slept, missing her left leg and stabbed through the neck. From her proximity to the wagon, it was more than likely that she had been dead even before serendipity had provided Derek with his grisly shelter. At eight years of age he stood over his mother’s torn and lifeless corpse, his shock so great that even though he desired above all else to scream out loud into the night, not a sound escaped his lips. With the rain upon his cheeks, he wasn’t even sure whether he was crying.
Interrupting Derek’s involuntary silence, there came a squelch of mud and then a whimper as a half elven girl of about Derek’s age began to crawl from beneath another corpse two wagons away. It appeared that he and this girl had shared the same luck of having hiding spots thrust quite literally upon themselves. He helped to pull the body off of her, but even free she seemed reluctant to move. As he helped her stand, it became apparent that her left leg would bear no weight.
“I need to find my uncle” she whispered, and Derek responded back “I need to find my sister.” And because it was apparent that the girl wouldn’t be able to search on her own, he added on “We’ll look together”. The girl, a little bit more than a head taller than him, leaned on him for support, and together they hobbled about examining the dead. It was only when they came back to the blood stained body that had been Derek’s shelter, that she fell to her knees and broke into sobs. Derek’s sister Ti’ella, however, was nowhere to be found.
By virtue of being one of the few bodies left unsearched by the bandits, the girl’s uncle turned out to have a pouch of coins tied at his belt, and as her sobs began to recede, Derek pulled it lose and stowed it upon his person. “We can’t stay here,” he told her, holding out his hands in offer to help her back into an upright position.
“But where will we go? What if there are bears?”
“The ground here is bloody. Anywhere we go, we’ll be safer than we are now.” And with only a few other words between them, the two child survivors limped off into the night.
The girl’s name was Eloise Thistledown, and had she not been covered in mud and obscured by the night, Derek would have recognized her as the one who had been playing tricks and pranks on everyone since the beginning of the journey. When Ti’ella had come up with the stick game, she had been one of the first to start playing, and since then she followed Ti’ella about as if she had been enchanted.
It was another two days before the rain let up, and on the third day, they came upon an inn along the road. Before they could begin approaching it, however, they were stopped by a human boy a few years older than themselves. “A gnome and a half elf, just wandering out of the woods?” he asked, “You’re so far from home. Where are your parents?”
There was a brief and awkward silence, and then Eloise began to whimper. Before she could begin crying, Derek stepped forth. “Dead,” he said, and then in clarification, “murdered by bandits in the woods. Why do you care?”
“You should travel with me, then.” the boy insisted with barely a pause, “It would benefit all of us. What do you say?”
The boy called himself Alvin Green, but when Eloise and Derek spoke later that night, they confided in one another that neither believed this to be his real name. He traveled with a muscular and untalkative man named Durger who he said was his uncle, but who had more the air of a body guard. Both, however, seemed friendly enough. When asked by the keeper of the inn, Alvin even went as far as to explain that Derek and Eloise were his brother and sister, taken in as orphans by his mother when they were all just infants.
But their curiosity in their new traveling companions was far overshadowed by their interest in the talk of raids and murders that had been happening on the roads nearby, perpetrated by a thief who called himself The Nightbird and the band of cut-throats that served as his entourage. Aside from the caravan that Derek and Eloise had traveled with, two other similarly sized parties and several smaller ones had been found all dead or with only a few survivors within the previous three months.
They traveled with Alvin and Durger for the better part of the next twelve months, eventually discovering that Alvin (who still wouldn’t reveal his real name) had ran away from home and had known that traveling with a gnome and a half elf would help disguise him, as both of his parents were, to put in kindly, disinclined toward associating with members of other races. Everyone assumed that it would only be a matter of time before the money that Alvin had stolen from his parents would run low, but much to his credit he had an excellent eye for spotting value in seemingly mundane things, acquiring them, and then reselling them at a significant profit. When that fell through Derek was generally able to scrape out a coin or two by singing one of his mother’s songs. Eloise, for her part, turned out to be rather good at picking pockets, though it was a task she refused to do except under the most dire of circumstances. Most surprising of all was the fact that quiet and stoic Durger, who under most circumstances seemed disinclined to put more than two words together at a time, turned out to be rather a marvelous weaver of elaborate and enchanting tales.
For a time, it looked as if they might spend the rest of their lives on the road enjoying life in each other’s company, but apparently such was not their fate. They awoke one winter morning in the rough lean-to they had built on the road leading away from Skywatch only to discover that Alvin had gone away, leaving not so much as a note. After spending the morning searching for him, it was Durger who was first to admit the unfortunate truth: “I guess we’ll need to find real jobs then.”
On their journey back up the road to the city they had just left the day previous, Eloise thrust an ornate ring on a wadded up chain into Derek’s hand. “I took it from him,” she whispered, “Last night as he slept. I wasn’t going to keep it, I was just curious and… Do you think that’s why he left?”
“If it was, he probably would have taken it back first”
Derek adjusted the ring in his hands, trying to get a closer look at it without Durger seeing it in his possession. “What are you going to do with it?”
“You should keep it,” Eloise stammered, a little to loud to be a whisper, “I’m so good at losing things and you… It would look good on you.”
The wind grew more chill the higher they went in elevation, and though night began to fall, the three decided to travel on, knowing that they would arrive at the shelter of Skywatch only an hour or two after dusk. But when they arrived they found the gates sealed shut and no sign as to whether or not there was stirring within the city walls. Outside the gate was a cluster of some ten or fifteen people who were apparently equally surprised to find themselves left out in the cold.
That night was spent outdoors in the frigid winter air, with only the walls of Skywatch to serve as a windbreak, but Durger managed to turn this odd situation to their advantage, by leaping on an opportunity to book passage on a ship headed to Port Ice. Though the money that they had wasn’t enough to make up for the loss in goods from Skywatch that now could not be traded in Port Ice, the ship’s accountant seemed to think that a little money was far preferable to none at all. By mid-afternoon the next day they were aboard the ship StarBreeze, sailing onward toward their futures.
Both Durger and Eloise had traveled aboard ships before, but for Derek it was a whole new experience, and one he turned out to thoroughly enjoy. It almost seemed as if he had been built for life on a ship – adjusting almost instantly to the transition between river and sea when even some of those who had been sailing for their whole lives felt the change to be a little rough. During his few days aboard the StarBreeze, he made it his goal to learn as much as he could about the ship and how it functioned, and only on the morning before he reached Port Ice did he feel confident announcing to Eloise that the majority of his questions had been answered. Her experiences aboard the vessel had not been as pleasant, but she did her best to maintain a positive demeanor in spite of his overwhelming enthusiasm.
As luck would have it, the end of winter turned out to be the perfect time to find work in Port Ice. The winters there were harsh and it wasn’t uncommon for people to find excuses to travel south before they began. But with winter coming to a close and the seasonal population ready to once again swell, nearly everyone was hiring. Derek, Durger and Eloise actually had little difficulty finding work together in the employ of a wealthy woman known throughout the city as Dutchess Esmerelda Ives (though during their time there it never became apparent whether this title was honorary or self proclaimed).
Dutchess Ives was a plump woman, and though she was well known throughout the city primarily for her money and her sizable estate, she was only slightly less well known for her constant indulgence in all things chocolate. It was a subject that none of the city’s inhabitants were willing to speak of openly, but almost all of them to a man were more than happy to whisper about conspiratorially behind their backs, tossing about garish stories of her greedily downing pounds of the substance at a time. Derek had at first presumed that the tales were exaggerations, however after a few months spent in her employ, he had to admit that they were rather spot on.
Derek learned to read and write during his years working for the Dutchess’s estate, a set of skills that his mother had always shrugged off as unnecessary. At first he was annoyed at the concept, thinking it even more boring than learning the functions of his other tasks within the estate (specifically, serving as a stable hand), but before long he realized how very important such a skill could be – especially when taking into consideration the time he spent in the company of Colin the Delightful
Colin the Delightful was a musician and performer who entered the Dutchess’s employ shortly before Derek had. He was also a little bit crazy, but that was forgivable. Typically the functions Colin and Derek served for the estate would have been so incongruous that they probably would have ended up not knowing each other more than in passing, but their mutual interest in music, coupled with the fact that Colin and Durger had worked together some years ago made it nearly inevitable that they would get to know each other at some point.
The thing that intrigued Derek the most about Colin the Delightful, was that while he earned his way in the world by singing, just as Derek’s mother had, he was also able to play a number of instruments including the violin, the flute, and Derek’s favorite, the mbira. Seeing him work and shape music in that manner filled Derek with a desire to emulate and replicate his abilities. And though Colin the Delightful was always glad to offer advice, Derek found that keeping it all straight in his mind was another matter entirely – which was where his new-found skills of reading and writing became so very important.
For the next two years, Derek would spend the time he had free in the company of Colin the Delightful, doing his best to hone his voice and pick up the techniques necessary to play the instruments that were suddenly at his disposal. This time was also spent getting used to Colin’s eccentricities – it was never entirely apparent if he was truly mad, or simply acting as such because he was amused by watching others try to figure out how best to handle him. Derek eventually began to suspect that it was a curious mixture of both. Eloise’s friendship with Derek didn’t dwindle during this time and she did her best to be present for these impromptu lessons as often as possible, but it wasn’t unusual for her duties in the kitchen to keep her away.
One evening after practicing well into the darkness on the mbira, Colin and Derek began to converse, and like most conversations that included Colin the delightful, Derek wasn’t surprised when the topic suddenly and abruptly changed to something completely unrelated to anything they had discussed previously.
“Did you know that in a single night every member of the Rogarvia family – the royal family of Brevoy – suddenly vanished without a trace?” Colin asked.
Derek waited for him to go somewhere with this subject change, but Colin the Delightful seemed perfectly happy to continue silently sitting stop the pile of straw bales from which he had been watching Derek practice. “I had heard this,” Derek finally answered, “Is it true?”
“Every last one of them, gone without a trace. Do you know where they went?”
“I only ask, you see, because of the ring that bears their family crest you’re always wearing about your neck. Where’d you steal it from?”
For over a month now the nights had come with a chilled edge to them, and the clothing that Derek wore was such that the chain around his neck wasn’t even visible, much less the ring itself. He could only assume that Colin had seen it months, perhaps even more than a year ago and had been idly been sitting upon that piece of knowledge, waiting for an opportune moment to let it slip.
“The colors applied to the crest seem to imply that it wasn’t a possession of any of the core family members – no one who was anywhere near being in line for the throne… A minor noble at best, but a noble all the same. And you had the gall to just take it from them? Tisk tisk!”
Realizing that there was no believable way to dismiss the accusation, Derek simply sighed and fired back “And what have you stolen lately, Colin?”
Colin’s eyes grew wide, “Oh, the things I’ve stolen,” he whispered conspiratorially, “Let me show you!” With this he reached for the leather pouch that was tied at his waste, only to find that another hand was already inside it. With a swift jerk, the owner was dislodged from between the bales of straw where he had been hiding. In spite of being thrown off balance, the would-be thief transformed his forward momentum into a rather stunning punch that landed with a crack upon Colin’s cheek.
For a handful of moments the two combatants dodged and parried one-another’s blows in a manner that appeared almost comical and choreographed, but then things turned about suddenly when a feinted punch turned into a grab for Colin’s knife, and a quick thrust and parry later, the would-be thief had been stabbed in the neck by his own hand. He lay on the ground, either trying to gasp or trying to cry out, his mouth opening and closing like a fish, and then the look of urgency vanished from his eyes and he laid still.
Now that the struggle was over, Colin and Derek were able to recognize the assailant as none other than Goodwin Blake, one of the Dutchess’s favorite servants. Over the past few months, rumors had been floating about the estate that he and the Dutchess, in spite of their difference in social class, had been romantically involved (and more than one of those rumors had suggested that Goodwin had been motivated less by passion and more by his desire to get his hands on the Dutchess’s chocolate stash)
“Something tells me,” Colin hesitantly muttered, “that staying here under these circumstances would not turn out favorably for me… Derek, I think that you had best run and tell someone that this has happened, while I… run away!” And without another moment’s hesitation, Colin the Delightful was gone. It was in this way that Derek came into possession of his first Mbira.
In the winter of his twelfth year, Derek become violently ill for the better part of a day after eating a bon-bon that Eloise had scraped up enough money to purchase for him. Eloise, of course, felt terrible about this, even though it turned out to be of remarkably good fortune. The resident nurse of the Dutchess’s estate was quick to postulate that Derek was allergic to chocolate, and when that tidbit of news reached the Dutchess’s ear she promptly promoted Derek out of the stables and into cleaner lines of work so that he could also tasked with the acquisition of “certain necessary and important goods” from the two confectioners located within the city of Port Ice. It was a load off her mind to finally have someone in the role whom she could trust to not pilfer a few chocolates here and there.
By mid spring the families of both confectioners knew Derek by name, and by that summer he had witnessed the Dutchess’s hurried consumption of so many chocolate items that he was beginning to get over his disgust at the thought of someone engorging themselves so thoroughly in a world where others had to beg for scraps of bread. In the Dutchess’s eyes he became trusted and she felt free to confide in him over little things – never anything of real substance, but definitely more information than most of her servants were given access to.
In spite of the Dutchess’s attempts to keep a well managed supply on hand at all times, it wasn’t unheard of for unexpected shortages to occur. In such instances, it was a blessing that the smaller of the two confectioners in town had made a deal with the Dutchess that she was most certainly welcome to make purchases outside of regular store front hours so long as she be willing to pay twice the regular price. And so it was that Derek was roused from his sleep well after darkness had fallen and put in charge of, as the Dutchess referred to it, “a most important transaction”.
The night was warm, down right balmy in fact for a city that had been rather appropriately named “Port Ice”, and given the temperature it was most certain that some amount of the chocolate would melt into a gooey mess before Derek would be able to get it back to the Dutchess’s estate. During a typical day there were vendors from which ice could be purchased about town, but this was not the case in the middle of the night. Knowing that he’d have to run back from the little candy shop on the lake-shore in order to deliver the bounty he had collected as quickly as possible, Derek decided that it would be a priority to make his trip there in as leisurely and relaxed a manner as possible. There were no two ways about it, his energy would simply have to be reserved for the later part of the journey. Begrudgingly, the Dutchess admitted that his logic in this matter was sound.
The stroll to the lake-shore district was peaceful, due largely to the fact that no one could be blamed for being exhausted by the heat of the day and wanting to collapse as soon as possible into their beds. In fact, Derek was the only one out walking along the lake-shore road when the pirate ship that had crept into port that lazy night began to fire it’s cannons.
A series of deafening explosions reverberated through the city, followed moments later by the sound of cannon balls screaming through the night and tearing holes in the buildings along the lake-shore. In the blink of an eye, the air became thick with dust and flying shards of stone. Before Derek was able to fully grasp what was going on around him, the facade of the building that he had been walking past crumbled and collapsed on top of him, leaving him pinned but otherwise unharmed. And it made him furious.
For the second time in his life, Derek had found himself inexplicably sheltered from harm while those around him were viciously attacked. And even though he was small, even though he knew that there was nothing that he could possibly do to set things right, the thought of being trapped there, powerless to stop the destruction raining down upon his city, filled him with an anger that started white and hot like a blazing cinder piercing his heart, and then quickly flooded through his limbs and extremities. With every heart beat a new torrent of rage pulsed through his body, the sensation of fury blocking out all else and making him feel as if his very arteries were being used to channel lightning.
And with his previous thoughts of helplessness and inadequacy dwarfed a thousand fold by the rage that had possessed him, Derek stood up, casually casting aside the wood and bricks that had previously pinned him as he did so. He selected from the arsenal of rubble that lay about him a section of pillar, about his width and a little longer than he was tall, and using both of his hands, lifted it and slung it at the distant ship. But he felt no satisfaction as he watched it tear a chunk from the ship’s stern.
Instead he only felt all the more compelled to grab up the bricks and stone surrounding him and hurl them one by one at the pirate ship, stooping every time to yet again lift another as the last ripped a hole in the vessel’s hull. Only when the ship was well and clearly making a retreat did Derek feel the torrent of anger subside.
Dimly, the ability to process rational thoughts began to return to him, and the very first thing that made its way through the haze of the anger that had overtaken him was a dull pain in the center of his chest. He looked down to find that a gaping hole had been burned into the front of his shirt, and through it he could see the ring that he wore there, melted into his burned and blackened flesh. It was a truly grotesque sight and he was confused for a moment at the fact that it wasn’t a hundred times more painful. With shaking hands and jittering fingers he pulled the ring free, and only then did the spot truly begin to sear – but before he could ponder that particular curiosity any further, he suddenly became acutely aware of the fact that he was not alone.
From the various buildings within view of the lake-shore, the citizens of Port Ice emerged cautiously into the warm night, but the few that had already been forced from their homes before the cannon balls had stopped flying stood and stared at him, their mouths agape in response to the feats of strength they had just seen him accomplish. In their eyes, he could see fear and accusation – after all, they had witnessed him practically tearing down a building with his own hands in order to get the arsenal necessary for his counter-attack.
And it was here that Derek was finally struck with the realization that what he had just done was impossible. Something – some magic within the ring, most likely – had given him the ability to lift chunks of stone far heavier than himself and hurl them with deadly accuracy at a target a mile or so distant. It was no surprise that the people of the city were looking upon him with such fear and distrust.
Through a twist of fate, Deleksin found himself embroiled with the very pirates whose ship he had so thoroughly damaged, and, in return for them leaving him alive and well, they brought him aboard as their ship’s musician, despite their captain, Urdul Bazzak, initially declaring he would be killed for his acts.
The lure of treasure soon drew the pirates to an abandoned keep on the edge of the River Kingdoms, where Deleksin was used to enter confined space to recover treasure. The treasure in question, a stone heart in a delicate glass case. When Deleksin took the item, it sunk into his chest, causing excruciating pain. He didn’t remember being pulled from the hole, but over the course of the next few weeks he drifted in and out of delirious consciousness. When he came to, though, he was surprised to find that instead of dumping his increasingly listless body, the pirates cared for him. He had become something of a mascot to them.
Deleksin and the crew of Urdul’s River Kingdoms ship, the Swamp Cutter, were overtaken one dark night as they passed over Lake Reykal by a notorious rival pirate, the Nightbird. The battle raged well into the night, but Urdul and his crew were eventually overtaken and, as they stood helpless, the Nightbird made his way through the ranks, taunting his defeated foes until Deleksin met his gaze with a look of contempt.
“You killed my mother,” he declared bitterly, wresting himself free and drawing a blade from the belt of a pirate. The Nightbird startled, but then laughed deeply, locking his cold blue eyes with Deleksin’s fiery gaze.
“It’s entirely possible,” the Nightbird chortled with a carefree air, “I’ve killed many people in my time. Some of them were gnomes, and some of them were women. It’s likely that some of them were mothers as well.”
Through grit teeth, Deleksin growled, “I will avenge her.”
The Nightbird shook his head, “No,” he declared sternly, “No you won’t. You can’t. I can tell by the way you wield that blade – you stand no chance against me. You are the barest amateur – have you even held a sword before this moment?”
Deleksin wavered. The Nightbird was right – on every count. In despair, Deleksin lowered the blade. In response, the nightbird drew his pistols and pointed his bright red Chelish handgun directly at Deleksin’s forehead.
As he pulled the hammer back, the Nightbird declared coldly, “It’s not personal – you might have been good for morale if I could risk keeping you, but the last thing I need is you coming back for revenge once you’ve had time to learn a thing or two.”
Now, when hope seemed lost, however, the ship was suddenly rocked by the impact of a great sea monster striking the vessel, knocked the Nightbird aside and Deleksin was thrown overboard and knocked unconscious.
Deleksin awoke on the shore amid the bodies of the dead and dying. He searched, staggering and concussed, for the Nightbird – or even Urdul and his mates. Though he found a few that he recognized, he didn’t find either captain among them, and as he searched, guards arrived at shore to apprehend survivors.
He was charged with piracy and should have been sentenced to death. It was, therefore, a bit of a surprise to him that instead of being hanged by the neck until dead, as is the custom for pirates in Brevoy, he was charged with the scouring of the Stolen Lands – chartered to slay bandits and drive off or defeat the Stag Lord.