Brandr settled easily into the rhythm of rowing the ship’s gig, matching Corvus stroke for stroke despite the exhaustion that burned in his muscles. He tried to focus on the physical, to put his disastrous first hours as captain out of his mind. It was only fitting that he had gone from captain to lowly rower after the debacle of his command thus far.
He would have like to take a few days longer to consolidate allies and come up with a solid plan. Corvus’ foolhardy attack on Scourge was an excellent example of what happened to those who let anger rule rather than serve. Unfortunately, Plugg’s utter incompetence as a captain and leader had forced Brandr to act more precipitously than he would have preferred. It was hard enough standing by while Sandara took licks from the cat, but letting her fall into Scourge’s clutches was intolerable.
Violated but alive, not drowned and gone!
It was only sheerest chance that he had overheard Plugg plotting his own treachery with Scourge and the rest of his flunkies, then celebrating their rebellion with drinks. Despite being in the middle of convincing Brook and Tragen that the time for mutiny was imminent, Brandr couldn’t let the opportunity to get into the officers’ quarters unobserved slip by. The original plan to cut through the trapdoor was desperate, but this chance to break in while Plugg and his cronies were elsewhere shifted the odds a bit. More importantly, he wouldn’t have to rely on Sandara’s struggles against being raped being enough of a distraction to cover breaking through the trapdoor.
Sandara is a strong swimmer! She could have made it to shore! Tragen’s fish is probably leading us right to her!
Hurried negotiations had left the crew’s allegiances about where he expected, although Brook’s enthusiasm was a bit of a surprise. More opted to stand aside than Brandr would have liked, but the advantage of surprise balanced out the less than overwhelming numbers he had mustered. When battle was finally joined, it was almost disappointing how quickly it ended. Scourge showed his true colors, fleeing like a coward to hide behind Plugg’s coattails. Plugg, at least, showed some mettle, but despite some magical tricks, both fell to Corvus’ blade. Say what one would about the tengu’s judgment, he was death walking when given half a chance.
Even if she was blown to the island rather than Absalom, those waves would have battered her to pulp against the reefs!
While the victorious crew celebrated their new freedom, Brandr had gathered the core group of mutineers to discuss their immediate future. Even Fishguts managed to join the conversation, but oddly, Tragen seemed more interested in desporting himself with Rosie than taking a role in leading the crew. Brandr had hoped that Tragen wasn’t holding a grudge over his council being ignored. The expected dispute over the captaincy saw both Corvus and Morgana throwing their hats in the ring, but it didn’t take much to convince Cromarcky that she hadn’t really impressed the crew with her talents. Corvus, of course, would never back down, no matter how utterly unsuited to leadership he was. It had been simple enough to throw the matter to a vote, and Brandr’s efforts at currying favor among the crew had resulted in an easy victory.
A real captain would have beaten that storm. It is my fault she is lost!
After assigning officers and crew to positions best suited to their skills, or where they would do the least harm, Brandr had allowed the crew a few hours to celebrate. He had managed to grab a brief consultation from Tragen regarding approaching inclement weather, and based on the druid’s predictions allowed the crew to get some rest wile Brandr stood the night watch. Unfortunately, whether due to the fluctuating nature of weather, drunkenness, or resentment, Tragen’s prediction proved woefully inaccurate. Brandr had barely enough time to beat to quarters before the storm front hit, and they found themselves in a fight for their lives.
Lost! Lost to my weakness!
As if the storm, itself more powerful than the one that had threatened the Wormwood, were not enough, a gang of wretched octopus-goblins chose to take the opportunity to sabotage the ship’s rudder and attack the crew on deck. Brandr, in a not terribly captainly move, dove overboard to free the rudder; Tragen, whether out of duty or shame, contributed an enchantment that let him swim like a fish, a great boon to his survival in the unexpected battle he faced against a mob of the goblin-creatures which had managed to chain the rudder. In a blast of great ill fortune, a monstrous wave washed Sandara overboard while Brandr was busy trying to right the rudder, and by the time he was able to head back to deck, the Ruby had run aground. No matter how he searched, Brandr was unable to find Sandara among the waves and spray.
Besmara! Sandara is your servant! Please! Please see her safely to shore! If you see that she is safe, I will devote my life to conquest and plunder in your name! None shall dare the waves anywhere on Golarion without offering you tribute and praise, or their heart’s blood!
Brandr pulled his oar at an easy, league-eating pace. Outwardly, he was as silent as Dreadbeak.
I am coming, Sandara! On shore or on the waves or in the depths of the sea, in this world or the next I will find you!