Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]   Posted by The First And Last.Group: 0
The First And Last
 GM, 23 posts
Tue 2 Jun 2015
at 15:17
Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
The bodies were beginning to smell-- it was a fetid, cloying stink that overwhelmed even the crisp saltspray of the Gulf of Cadiz. The Varlander troop transport Ocean's Ember had never been an impressive ship--its belly was too fat to be fashionable, its sides too lacking in gunports to be intimidating--but it had been solid and dependable.

Now it was taking on water and filled with dead men.

"Water." called Lieutenant Boyd, his voice weak and distant. One of his legs was missing, and a dozen open wounds leaked onto the deck, "Cromartie. Water."

There were, all told, five 'survivors' of the attack; two of them hadn't woken up yet, one of them was holding his belly in with both hands, delirious, one of them was the hapless Lt. Boyd, and one of them Alasdiar Cromartie.

The ship had come in fast and hard during the night-- black-sailed, with red piping along its railings. Its guns had thundered before the Ocean's Ember even had a chance to retort; splinters and lumber flying, the very air exploding as grapeshot and chainshot raked the troop transport to death.

Captain MacKay hadn't managed to make it through the night with a chunk of the mast sticking from his chest. Private Jennings--the only Caelishman in the otherwise all-Varlander troop of Kingsmen--had died moaning for his mother. Sergeant Gillander had died cursing the pirate vessel which hadn't even had the decency to plunder its prey.

With morning now breaking, the ship wallowed and sank. The ocean lapped gently into its hold. Alasdiar Cromartie was left with the quiet calls of the dying, and the louder calls of hungry gulls.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:35, Tue 02 June 2015.

Alasdiar Cromartie
 player, 3 posts
Tue 2 Jun 2015
at 21:31
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
"Working it sir." Alasdair said, surveying the scene. "Working it." He double checked the Lt's tourniquet, making sure the bleeding on the leg had stopped. "Just stay awake while I try and figure this mess out." He checked his weapons, and the horizon before anything else, worried the pirates would return.  He then moved below decks, trying to discern just how far below the surface of the water they were hit. Also, he'd collect water, and alcohol for the Lt to drink, to help the pain, and keep him awake.


OOC: Also, any life rafts undamaged?

This message was last edited by the player at 20:59, Wed 03 June 2015.

The First And Last
 GM, 28 posts
Wed 3 Jun 2015
at 13:24
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
The old Varlander claymore--an impressive two-handed blade with a black, leatherwrapped hilt--was in good enough condition considering. Alasdiar was able to scrounge up a musket and bayonet, but there was only three charges whose blackpowder had not gotten wet.

The below decks were an abattoir. A marsh of death. The ship had gaping holes well below the waterline-- by Alasdiar's estimation they would be going under completely in several hours. Dark shapes moved in the water, glutting themselves on the corpses that had slipped free of the sinking Ocean's Ember.

By the time Alasdiar returned to Lieutenant Boyd, the man was asleep-- or more likely passed out from pain and exhaustion. The Corporal who'd been holding his guts in no longer was. His chest had ceased rising and falling. A gull perched on his shoulder, pecking at his temple.

The two unconscious men--Privates Kellerman and Young--still breathed, though shallowly.

All told, Alasdiar had managed to find five days worth of rations--water and hardtack bread--in the half-sunken belowdecks. The life rafts had mostly been torn apart by the pirate ship's fire, but one still looked serviceable.

It, unfortunately, had a puncture near its aft. If it could be fixed, it would be seaworthy.

"Leave us, laddie," came the weak brogue of Lt. Boyd, suddenly. The man had woken up, for the moment, and peered tiredly at Alasdiar. "I saw your rations. Ent enough to last four men very long. One man, maybe."
Alasdiar Cromartie
 player, 4 posts
Wed 3 Jun 2015
at 21:15
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
"Eh," Alasdair, "Plenty of fish to be found sir... and to be fair, unless Kellerman and Young plan on waking, it's only two who will be eating." He said, back on the deck. "Now rest and let me think." Just in case, he put the rations and weapons into the remaining life raft. He could leave when he needed too, he might as well at least try to save the ship.


First thing was first, weight was quickly becoming a problem. The easiest answer was the cannons. He began  preparing the cannons so that he could push them overboard, he'd dump everything he could, cannonball by cannonball if he had to to try get the holes above the water.
The First And Last
 GM, 37 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 01:01
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
The weapons of the Ocean's Ember were, thankfully, not the monstrosities mounted on His Royal Majesty's ships-of-the-line; these were relatively, firing balls of only 18 rather than 24 pounds. Unfortunately, the long guns still weighed in at nearly 5,000 pounds. There were six of them to a side. In short, Alasdair was in for a rough hour or so.
Alasdair Cromartie
 player, 6 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 01:18
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
Alasdair worked, and sweated, knowing that he was losing precious energy and fluids if this didn't work.

21:17, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 20 using 1d20+5. Athletics advantage.
21:16, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 6 using 1d20+5. Athletics.

The First And Last
 GM, 38 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 03:18
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
After nearly an hour of struggle, Alasdair managed to shove the last of the cannons overboard-- in that time, the galley-deck was completely submerged. The boat was no longer creaking as much, water-logged as it was, and instead groaned and burbled.

At the soldier's estimation, the entire boat would be submerged by midday tomorrow, giving him a little under twelve hours.

There was a sudden, sharp retort and a scream. A musket--the musket--had just been fired.

By the time Alasdair made it back topside, Lt. Boyd was already dead. A thin, haggard looking Kellerman stood over him, shakily reloading the musket. He stopped at the sight of Alasdair.

"Twas mercy." the man croaked.
Alasdair Cromartie
 player, 8 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 15:57
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
Alasadair grimaced. He wasn't happy with Kellerman, but fighting about what was down now would not be helping anything. "Could've said the same about you yesterday, lying there still and unmoving for the better part of the day. Might have thought your spirit had left and your body continued on... but I didn't."


He looked around at the ship. "I've been hoping to save her, but I don't know if it will be enough. I don't want to burn to death siting in a life boat, hoping to make it to shore."

He looked back at Kellerman. "The gun, kellerman." he said, holding a hand out for the weapon. "If your head was injured you might not be right enough yet."

This message was last edited by the player at 20:34, Fri 05 June 2015.

Alasdair Cromartie
 player, 11 posts
Fri 5 Jun 2015
at 20:46
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]


16:44, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 14 using 1d20+2. Initiative disadvantage  .
16:44, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 9 using 1d20+2. Initiative.
16:43, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 15 using 1d20-1. Persuasion disadvantage .
16:43, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 13 using 1d20-1. Persuasion.

The First And Last
 GM, 48 posts
Sun 7 Jun 2015
at 04:11
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
For a moment it looked as though Kellerman was about to charge Alasdair-- there was something wild and primal in his eyes. He looked, for a moment, like a cornered boar about to panic.

But something in Alasiar's voice calmed him and he released the musket to clatter onto the slowly-slanting deck. A sob wracked him and his voice was hoarse.

"There's not enough food, Cromartie. We're gonna starve. Boyd was dyin'." he moaned, slowly sinking down as if his despair had physical weight, "I gave him the Mother's mercy, I did, he was going to suffer."

When Kellerman looked up at Cromartie, his eyes were wet.

"What're we going to do?"
Alasdair Cromartie
 player, 13 posts
Sun 7 Jun 2015
at 14:19
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
Alasdair shrugged. "Try to steer what's left of the ship toward shore, take the life boat when the ship starts going down."


"Help me with the sails, we are heading that way." He said, turning the wheel to also try to steer the ship toward the coast. "Or we can take the boat now, and burn the ship, hoping someone near will see the smoke." He sighed. "Which do you think will work?."

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 14:29, Sun 07 June 2015.

The First And Last
 GM, 54 posts
Tue 9 Jun 2015
at 14:53
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
"She isn't looking to move again, even if we could patch the sails." Kellerman said dourly, dragging his fingers over the rough deck. He stared over at Young. "He stopped breathing."

The Kingsman rose and moved to the lifeboat, prodding its inside. Then he began packing what little foodstuff Alasdair had found into it, wordlessly.

"I had a girl back home. In Glen Oak, near Castle Broach. Scullery-maid for Laird Nac Broach." Kellerman said, quietly, "If I'm t'die out here, would you see my last pay gets to her? We didn't have time t'get married, so she wouldnae otherwise."

The holes in the lifeboat are not big, but they are below the waterline. It will take some quick-but-careful work to make it seaworthy; and by Alasdair's estimation they had around ten hours left before the Ocean's Ember went under.

OOC: Strength check to patch up the lifeboat-- if you're proficient with watercraft or carpenter's tools, add that. You may take another level of exhaustion to ignore your current level of exhaustion for the check. Optionally, you may also expend a day's rations to ignore your current level of exhaustion for the check.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:53, Tue 09 June 2015.

Alasdair Cromartie
 player, 15 posts
Tue 9 Jun 2015
at 21:40
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
"You'll tell the Scullery-maid for Laird Nac Broach yourself." Alasdair said, while showing that he retained the information. He started working to make the lifeboat survival-able in the ocean. He'd also try to rig up some sort of sail system if it was at all possible. "And you'll have lot of fat children, and you'll tell their fat children of the time you were nearly lost at sea."

After a while he said, " I didn't see any serious wounds on ya when I looked over you. How are you feeling?"
The First And Last
 GM, 60 posts
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 15:11
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
Kellerman was silent as the two work to patch the lifeboat. He was silent as Alasdair carefully dismantled part of the prow's railing and used the butt of the rifle to pound nails through the patch. He was silent as Alasdair found a broken barrel of pitch in the swampy second level of the Ocean's Ember, and didn't say a word as the two of them scooped it out and slathered it on the patch by hand.

By the end of it, the lifeboat had been fixed and Kellerman had not spoken.

"My head hurts." he said, finally, answering Alasdair's question from nearly an hour ago. "And I'm like as not to lose whatever I eat, if I eat."

After that, he falls silent again-- moving off on his own to sleep as the sun begins to set.

OOC: Anything else you want to do before the Ocean's Ember goes under and you're forced onto the lifeboat?
Alasdair Cromartie
 player, 16 posts
Wed 10 Jun 2015
at 16:36
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
Alasdair grabbed the rifle, and loaded it while the pvt. slept. Then made one last sweep of the ship, looking for a barrel of some type of drink before waiting for the sun to set and launch the life boat.

Edit

Alasdair also looked for some sort of netting, to try to fish, and cut away a portion of sail to be able to find shade from the sun.

This message was last edited by the player at 21:14, Wed 10 June 2015.

The First And Last
 GM, 65 posts
Fri 12 Jun 2015
at 15:57
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
Days Later

Kellerman had whispered a prayer to the Mother Above when the Ocean's Ember slipped under the waves. He'd added in a prayer for the two on the lifeboat-- haltingly and fearfully as dark shapes in the water feasted on what remained of the crew. Those shapes had never fully left them. One was always nearby, it seemed, its fin a blue so dark it neared black.

The rations had lasted, thankfully, and the net had managed to stretch them out even longer. Kellerman's notches on the boat put them closing in at two weeks-- the last three there had been no food. There was about half a cup of drinkable water left, sour and warm, in the bottom of the waterskin.

Kellerman himself looked unwell; he'd had the discretion and sense to evacuate himself over the side of the boat, at least. Now he lay beneath the sailcloth's shade, mumbling deliriously to himself.

"We had sailed seven years when the measles broke out, and the ship lost its way in the fog..." the man murmered in a ragged sing-song. It was an old Caelish folk song about a doomed ship, usually set to a tune far more jaunty than its content might otherwise suggest. "And the whale of the crew was reduced down to two, just myself and the Captain's old dog... when the ship struck a rock--Goddess what a shock--the bulhead was turned right over... Turned nine times around and the poor old dog was drowned, I'm the last of the Caelish Rover..."

Kellerman hauled himself to the side of the lifeboat and vomited.

"Am I the dog, Cromartie?" he asked, slumping back down, "Or are you?"

OOC: Survival check DC 14--Disadvantage for the difficulty of deep-sea fishing, Advantage for the net, so no change--to see if you can get some water for the following days. Con check DC 12 to avoid a third level of exhaustion.

If you want to aim the lifeboat towards shore, give me a DC 14 Survival check to ascertain which direction that is.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:03, Fri 12 June 2015.

Alasdair Cromartie
 player, 17 posts
Sat 13 Jun 2015
at 03:16
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
Exhaustion, lack of water, and the heat had begun setting in, and most things that Alasdair had been trying had not been successful. "The dog gets to die right?" Alasdair said, pretty much having resigned to dying in the boat. "I'll be the dog, you can float on for a little while longer." He started to chuckle, but the effort was too much for him and he quickly gave it up. "If you were the dog I'd have eaten you buy now." He said looking at the net which had been largely empty for their voyage. "You know I've never really like fish anyway."





Used all my luck repairing the boat. I believe I'm only on my second level of exhaustion.
23:07, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 6 using 1d20+2. Survival direction disadvantage .
23:07, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 7 using 1d20+2. Survival direction .
23:06, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 6 using 1d20+4. Con save (exhaustion).
23:04, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 8 using 1d20+2. Survival Fishing Disadvantage .
23:04, Today: Alasdair Cromartie rolled 11 using 1d20+2. Survival Fishing.

This message was last edited by the player at 03:19, Sat 13 June 2015.

The First And Last
 GM, 69 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2015
at 19:35
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
The boat floated for days. In a brief moment of hope, Kellerman helped Alasdair paddle towards a shadow on the horizon; it came to nothing, being either a far off storm or else some ship moving off in the opposite direction.

Kellerman died slowly, over the course of a week. A persistent fever plagued him until finally, in some delirious state--madly seeking reprieve from the fever--or simply unable to go on, the man pulled himself over the hull and sank into the water.

Three days later, the Secret Fate of Fools a Caelish privateering vessel, found the lifeboat. Things were strangely quiet as the little vessel was hauled in-- burly sailors carefully tied her to the hull, and hurried water to Alasdair.

"We cannot give ye food, beg th'pardon." the First Mate said--his accent a peculiarly rustic drawl--as he pulled a ragged blanket around Alasdair's shoulders. "Too much and thy stomach'll burst, tell true. A bit of water, a bit of bread. We'll see ye through."

Around Alasdair, sailors stared and in their eyes was reflected horror.

"Ye are not a man yet, but ye will be again." the First Mate murmured, waving off the other crew. "And when ye are, fell fate to those that put thee here."
Alasdair Cromartie
 player, 18 posts
Mon 15 Jun 2015
at 22:59
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
Alasdair's voice sounded weak, his throat dried from dehydration. "Black sails, red piping. Came fast, never had a chance. Didn't plunder, just destroyed. Ocean's Ember, all hands lost. " He said not able to hold himself up, and simply slumping to the ground. He was worried he still might die, and wanted his report to be of use. He graciously took the offered sips of water, but had to be forced to eat. He was simply to hungry to want to eat. After eating a few bites, and taking sips of water, he just lay on the deck covered by the blanket, waiting to see if the mother above called him home, or if his work in this world was not yet done.
Alasdair Cromartie
 player, 20 posts
Wed 17 Jun 2015
at 11:36
Re: Prologue: Fell Clutch of Circumstance [Alasdiar Cromartie]
OOC: Should I be posting in Chapter one now?