Command Crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-VII. Bridgetown, Barbados. Thursday, January 18, 1725 Anno Domini

  • Captain John Hayden enters the “Anchor and Chain” where he finds Sir Randel already entertaining the pub-goers with his wild tales about merfolk; among those that Sir Randel is addressing happens to be one Leftenant Reginald Bull of H.M.S. Pelican who has his own tale to tell as, while on patrol, the Pelican observed a legitimate ghost ship that vanished without a trace! Sir Randel is fascinated and, when Doctor Spenser and Mister Palange enter soon after, get the doctor drawn into the discussion while Davino asks about the previous owner of The Gun, learning that the (believed deceased) Darragh Campbell ventured out to the local “devil’s house” to investigate another missing man and was never seen again…
  • Soon after Sir Randel, Doctor Spenser and Mister Palange begin talking about an expedition to visit this mysterious “devil house”, Leftenant Rogers enters the Anchor and Chain with word that the Rumjack has arrived in harbor! Concerned over this turn of events, the crew discuss their options with Captain Hayden informing Leftenant Bull about the trouble that has just sailed into Bridgetown; the leftenant promises to advise his captain, one Henry Lockhart who Hayden recognizes as a fellow officer that he stepped on during his climb up the ranks.
  • Concerned about the presence of the Rumjack, Captain Hayden and Leftenant Rogers head to the docks to observe her arrival, finding Miss Dora there who is lounging around with Mister Lucroy; from their observations, it seems that the surviving crew of the Rumjack appear to have teamed up with those who attacked them in the first place! Miss Dora displays a fierce anger at the presence of some of the men, and Captain Hayden makes a mental note to have Doctor Spenser try and get more information from their mute guest about this situation. The Rumjack sends some crew ashore, likely to seek out reprovisions. Opting to ensure that Miss Dora is not immediately visible, Captain Hayden asks Mister Lucroy to take her to the Anchor and Chain.
  • Eventually, the crew end up back aboard the Graceful Dame for the evening where a watch is most definitely in place, but the Rumjack crew do not try anything; that night, Mister Palange overhears Doctor Spenser talking in his sleep, murmuring that he’s “much better now and no longer needs the straitjacket.” He shrugs this off, not thinking anything of it.
  • The following morning, Sir Randel, Doctor Spenser, Mister Palange, and Miss Dora go ashore for some cargo and provision purposes; before they depart, Captain Hayden asks Doctor Spenser to attempt to gain more information from Miss Dora about her capture. During this, Sir Randel meets with a widow who has inherited her late husband’s cotton business; Sir Randel turns on the charm and makes a very good impression, to the point that she is amenable to him visiting him that evening. The second appointment that morning is an older gentleman who is selling sugar and rum; though this does not go as well as the crew would like, they still end up purchasing several tonnes of speculative goods. Throughout this, Sir Randel happens to note that Doctor Spenser refers to Mister Lucroy by the female pronoun; he opts to say nothing but instead, keep a closer eye on the two to see if he can pick up additional information.
  • While overseeing the loading of cargo, Captain Hayden notes that they are under observation by the Rumjack crew.
  • In the afternoon, following the completion of their tasks, Sir Randel leads a party consisting of Doctor Spenser, Misters Palange, and Lucroy to investigate the “devil’s house.” No one else is remotely interested in going – Red, especially, is vehement that he’s not going anywhere near a place that’s called that. The two former navy officers simply roll their eyes and go back to formulating a way to deal with the Rumjack; they note that the Princess Mary, the cargo ship they passed some days earlier, is pulling into dock now.
  • The “devil’s house” turns out to be an old cottage off in the jungle; as they approach, they observe a dark-skinned Negress outside the cottage; Mister Palange immediately locks eyes with her and follows her into the cottage. Notably, Boom, the powder monkey utterly refuses to enter the cottage. The rest of the group do follow, however, where they find the cottage empty! And then, the floor abruptly drops out from under them so they slide down a tunnel into a dark sea-cave. From the shadows, a feminine voice asks in strangely accented English, “Is this one come to destroy us? It bears the slayer’s weapon.” In those shadows, beyond arms reach, they can just barely make out the Negress, as if she’d always been standing there and was perfectly camouflaged. Only Mister Palange has any clue as to what she means regarding the “Slayer’s weapon” and when Sir Randel and Doctor Spenser try to talk themselves out of this mess, he answer with a hesitant “I wasn’t planning on killing anyone today.” This only adds to the confusion to Sir Randel, Doctor Spenser and Mister Lucroy, forcing Mister Palange to offer a very quick explanation. Doctor Spenser, falling back on what he knows, asks if she is of the Fae, but the Negress responds by declaring that “the dark ones call us Anansi,” an answer that means nothing to him or the rest of the crew present; if she is not Fae nor an ally of the Master of Crows, he declares then he has no quarrel with her.
  • To her question about why have they come here, Doctor Spenser declares curiosity, as this house has a dark reputation and they sought to uncover the truth. This prompts “Miss Anansi” to state that, “We follow the vibrations in the Great Web, followed them here. We seek answers to mysteries, questions we have not yet asked. We found strange patterns here.” This prompts both Sir Randel and Doctor Spenser to ask for more information; the former wants to know about these patterns while the latter wishes to know if she can teach others this ability. She responds with “The Slayer came to destroy us. It was strong and fearless. We mated with it and then we consumed it.” This revelation causes Mister Palange to attempt a discreet loading of his Gun with one of the silver rounds, but the Negress clearly notes this and disintegrates into a pile of spiders, a sight that causes all of the crew save Doctor Spenser to react in utter panic.
  • As his crew react in horror at this turn of events, Doctor Spenser desperately tries to salvage the situation by addressing the darkness and insisting that they mean no harm and that Mister Palange acted in haste. They have no quarrel with her. From behind the doctor, the voice states, “It said it would not destroy us.” He continues to try and reassure the unseen entity, while Mister Lucroy begins eyeing the chute they slid down and seriously considering fleeing. “We touched the Slayer’s great Weapon and sensed its path. We returned the Weapon to its room to be found to continue its journey. We saw that you would come this day. You are at the center of a strange web not of the Weaver’s making. We will watch you to discover its Maker.” To Doctor Spenser, this sounds like a fantastic idea, though he hesitates briefly when the dark woman-shaped figure, now barely visible once more in the shadows, states, “This one will give us its hand. It will give it freely and it will not be harmed.” Clinging to his Britishness, Doctor Spenser offers his hand as a gentleman to seal the bargain…
  • “Miss Anansi” blurs forward and bites the doctor on the arm, then withdraws just as quickly. This is enough for Mister Lucroy who clambers up the chute and flees as the shadows tell Doctor Spenser, “We have tasted its Essence. We can find it wherever it goes. It may leave us now.” With those words, the shadow opens its eyes. All eight of them. Once again, Doctor Spenser is the only one who is unaffected; Sir Randel is once again frozen in place while Mister Palange simply faints in terror. A moment later, the shadows toss out a book and some miscellaneous items, all webbed together. Still embracing his Britishness, Doctor Spenser thanks her for her kindness and hospitality, while wryly commenting that Mister Palange was clearly overcome by her generosity so it may take a few moments for him to recover. In parting, Miss Anansi states, “The Slayer left behind a journal-book. It knew so many things yet it had no answers. You will take it now. It is part of the Path.
  • After they depart, the cottage now appears to be little more than ruins. Of Mister Lucroy, there is no sign as he has already fled back to the Graceful Dame and Sir Randel desperately longs for arms of the merchant woman he met earlier to wash out these memories, while Doctor Spenser and Mister Palange are both eager to study this journal-book though the latter wants a stiff drink beforehand. Perhaps three.
  • While the ashore party is off interacting with Miss Anansi, Captain Hayden and Leftenant Rogers have a meal with the captain of the Princess Mary and agree to form a convoy for mutual protection; this will require a few additional days as the Princess Mary have to resupply. At the Anchor and Chain, the two encounter Leftenant Bull who has been informed that Captain Lockhart is quite willing to meet with his old acquaintance at the fort. Opting to take Leftenant Rogers with him, Captain Hayden heads to the fort to pay his respects and request assistance.
  • Needless to say, this meeting is quite tense due to the harsh feelings between the two captains, but once they get down to brass tacks and work through the ramifications of what it will mean for Captain Lockhart’s career should the Rumjack act as expected. Eventually, the captain agrees to have the Pelican arrive at a certain location on a certain day, hoping to catch the cutter in the process of committing piracy so they can legally take her as a prize. As they make ready to depart, Captain Hayden offers a heartfelt apology to his old rival, who accepts it in the spirit that is offered.
  • Time passes, during which time the Princess Mary race to make ready to set sail once more. By noon on the 20th, they have finished and send word to Captain Hayden that they are preparing to embark. Sir Randel composes a provoking letter that he has delivered to the Rumjack. As the crew of the Graceful Dame make ready to sail themselves, a stranger rushes up to the Dame, hoping to speak with the captain; this is a Mister Atwell, who has a post he would like them to deliver to a Raynard Adler should they reach Nassau. He offers a shilling for this with a promise of another shilling upon receipt, which is far more than the post is usually worth. Mister Atwell shrugs off Captain Hayden’s mention that this is too much.
  • As the Graceful Dame sets sail with the Princess Mary, the crew can see that the Rumjack is also making ready to depart as well…

Player Notes:

  • After the fact, I discovered that the reference to a straitjacket is anachronistic as the first reference to them dates to 1772 according to Wikipedia … which never lies to us.
  • I’m experimenting with the use of titles for the characters in an attempt to entertain myself and double-down on the Britishness … which means I need to run this through a British spell-check, at some point. I think the use of “Negress” is also period appropriate and is not intended to be used offensively. God, I hate that I have to throw in disclaimers like that in this day and age…
  • The encounter with “Ms. Anansi” should have been Davino’s time to shine … but he basically freaked out due to the dice (alongside Sir Randel) so Artegal had to step up. Clearly, Spenser leaned heavily into the whole “Stiff Upper Lip” angle. Now that he’s aware that the Gun is supposed to be able to kill anything, he’s going to be far more interested in its capabilities in the future…
  • Interestingly, I think this is the first time that Artegal has referred to the “Master of Crows” around any of the other PCs, but no one seemed to notice it at the time.
  • This is also the first time we’ve seen real supernatural stuff instead of presumed ones.
  • After the fact, some of us realized that Captain Hayden failed to ask Captain Lockhart about the ghost ship and his son. We may need to retcon that a tiny bit with a flashback or something.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.