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Stormbringer - episode 10

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We came from the temple-ship expecting to be greeted as heroes. We had slain the abbot and liberated the islanders from his evil cult and thought we deserved a little adulation. But instead of cheering we found bickering as the newly free islanders argued amongst themselves about which political system they should use to replace the abbot’s reign of terror.

The former slaves who tended the crops of edible seaweed grew sick of the bickering and decided to form their own coalition so split from the main group. Shurly, of the mind that the group with all the food would probably be the group to back, joined them and headed off to their little island. The rest of us remained, not because of any particular political leanings but because we had just noticed that a barbarian was unloading all the food and supplies from our ship. We rushed over and immediately entered a heated debate with this giant, who called himself Serge. It seems he had somehow been appointed as the head of the main group’s “Provisions Secretariat” in our absence and had decided to start in his role by confiscating all our food. Serge talked like someone concerned with the welfare of the people, but his large stomach and a passing mention of “individual choice” told us that at best he was a champagne socialist and, at worst, a traitorous member of the elitist and oppressive bourgeois masquerading as a member of the proletariat just so he could steal our food.

Despite our arguments Serge was not deterred from confiscating all our property. However, he did promise that we would all receive an equal portion of food to everyone else and appointed an independent auditor to keep a ledger of food distribution.

Having established a system for wealth redistribution, the main group of islanders then turned to the problem of what to do with the abbot’s followers. A vigilante group began to form so I insisted that a fair system of justice be developed and that any penalty meted out should be in proportion to the crimes committed. A few of the group agreed with me and a court was convened. Sadly the trial seemed somewhat of a farce, and although I stepped in to represent the first of the accused it was to little avail and my client was sentenced to be executed.

I was somewhat mollified after the trial to hear Ashraful say that his magics indicated my client had been a lying toerag and really was as guilty as sin.

While the Central Committee of Islander Affairs discussed options for killing the Kraken and leaving the islands, Shurly and his ex-slave companions got loudly drunk on their little rocky outcropping. Some of these ex-slaves were somewhat entrepreneurial and within a few days a healthy little trade network had been established along with several minor industries (not least of which being the production of liquor).

Back on the main island several options were put forward for escaping. Some favoured using seaweed pods filled with swamp gas to fly away from the islands. Some favoured building a huge crossbow and shooting the kraken. In the end the Islanders decided to use the second of these plans. Most of us were fairly injured and fairly curious to see a huge crossbow in action so we put our feet up for a couple of weeks to see what was going to happen.

Time passed by and the crossbow was constructed. After some experimentation it was found that Ashraful was the person most capable of hitting something with the device so he was put in charge. Soon it was time for someone to be sacrificed to the Kraken and the crossbow was set up next to the sacrificial altar. A guilty ex-priest was tied to the altar, but I slipped a club into his hands in the hope that he might get a few blows in before he was eaten. While Ashraful manned the crossbow Alvar, Rosemurray, the best warriors from the islands and I stood at the edge of the altar with our weapons ready. By means of drums the Kraken was informed that his sacrifice was ready and the great beast soon rose from the waters. Ashraful’s one and only crossbow bolt missed its target and, seeing this, the rest of us held back our blows for fear that our puny little strikes would do little more than anger the creature. I don’t think it even noticed us as it dragged the screaming ex-priest into the black depths beneath the altar.

In the time leading up to the sacrifice some of us had explored the islands and had become curious why the most distant was not occupied and why no-one was willing to take us there. We heard various tales of cannibals and sharks and began to wonder if this was perhaps the lair of the Kraken and that the tales were just stories made up by the priests to keep people away. After the failure of the crossbow, we decided to investigate and Rosemurray was sent to fetch Shurly. The acrobat made a complete spectacle of himself by running across piles of floating seaweed to reach the ex-slaves’ island instead of using a boat. While islanders gawped at him slack-jawed, Rosemurray pulled Shurly from the arms of an ex-slave-girl and told him of our plans. Shurly, who it must be noted was beginning to smell like kelp, refused to join us and slumped back into his liquor and the arms of his woman. Rosemurray left the island, but had to struggle free of loud touts offering him special deals on island accommodation, liquor and transport before he could go.

We left Shurly behind and made an application to the Central Planning Committee for food and equipment for our voyage. Negotiations were somewhat fraught and in the end we left with only one meals’ worth of food each. Some of us began to suspect that the quality of our provisions had begun to decline as workers realised that they received no benefit for working harder than anyone else.

We arrived on the abandoned island, named Sentinel Rock, and began to explore. There were several caves leading into the island, but Rosemurray was bitten by a sea-snake before we could explore too far. The larger caves were half-filled with water so we decided to enter one of these in the boat to prevent further sea-snake incidents. We were just preparing to get on the boat when Alvar noticed a group of wild looking men and women on the top of the island. These mad creatures began to attack us and we were forced to defend ourselves. The women were particularly troublesome as they flung large rocks on our heads which we were unable to defend against. We eventually prevailed and slew them with much satisfaction.
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