Parley & Plunder & Sugar

This week we partook of Parley & Plunder by Stephanie Godfrey, a hack of Lasers & Feelings, as a crew of privateers charged by His Majesty’s government to disrupt French attempts to corner the sugar trade. Our command crew consists of Commander McTrick, who must lead in the Captain’s stead while he lies ailing in his cabin; navigator Leyola Aster, who loves maps above all else; and our helmsman Harrrvey, who hopes to become captain himself one day. In the lower decks, we have Kyrie, our adventurous gunner who loves nothing so much as a good fight; Storm Hawk, our dashing rigger whose romantic notion of piracy makes it hard for him to advance; and Ned Oldham, the grizzled old swabbie, who has previously held every job aboard ship but now only hopes to survive until retirement.

Our story begins with McTrick, Aster, and Harrrvey finding the directive to stop the French in the Captain’s quarters and debating how we should proceed. Aster eventually gets her wish and plots a course for us to sail seldom traveled seas to complete her maps. Meanwhile, below decks, Storm, Kyrie, and Ned entertain each other by relating yarns and memories. Ned tells the tale of how Captain Bancroft was able to sail his ship between two enemy craft in a deep fog to launch a broadside against each, thanks to the crew’s silence and his keen hearing. Kyrie talks about legends of another fog, one that ships sail into but only emerge empty, without her crew and no sign of what happened. Storm relates stories about mermaids and the paradise they live in below the waves, a paradise he wishes to see someday. Their tales turn to what’s going on with the Dauntless and how none of the crew seem to know where we’re headed or why. We beseech Commander McTrick to give the crew some guidance, but he seems miffed and suggests we direct all questions to navigator Aster. Aster’s answers fail to satisfy the crew, but she promises that we need sail but four more days before all will become clear.

Before those four days are up, however, we spot another ship slipping in behind us, a French Fleut. On the orders of Commander McTrick, Harrrvey wheels us around and we charge the French ship. McTrick leads the boarding party onto the other ship himself and fights his way through the throng to capture her captain and obtain his surrender. Among her spoils, Kyrie brings back a unique pewter mirror with strange carvings along its rim and handle. Upon examination, she, Storm, and Ned discover that the glass reflects an older version of the viewer. They take the mirror to Aster, not willing to risk the Commander seeing it, but worried it might be demonic or possessed. Aster uses it to see the finished map she’s been working on, and uses that glimpse of the future to complete her map and pinpoint the location of the island that we’ve been seeking.

McTrick, Aster, Kyrie, and Storm take the launch to explore the island. With Kyrie and Aster arguing over the mirror, McTrick finally learns of it and warns that it is the cursed mirror of Asperalda Nilda, the sea witch, and believed to drain the life from whoever looks into it. McTrick orders the pair to get rid of it before it kills someone, but Aster becomes such a pest that Kyrie lets the navigator keep it rather than bury it. Harrrvey comes ashore to warn them he saw a group of French soldiers marching through the jungle; they must surely have seen the ship. After regrouping aboard ship, McTrick takes another party ashore to ambush the French troops, which allows us to overwhelm the five soldiers, despite Ned sneaking off during the fighting. Before McTrick can question them, however, Ned returns with a warning that the fighting drew the attention of another squad of soldiers. With that warning, we leave Ned and Harrrvey in the clearing as bait, and when the second group arrives, our second ambush nets a bevy of prisoners for questioning.

This episode ends as we interrogate the prisoners and learn that this island is the focal point of the French efforts to monopolize the sugar trade. On the other side of this island is their fortified port and a large sugar growing and processing operation.