TROLANPORT -- The Lucky Larkspur washed ashore on the Zilargo coast last week. The bodies of its crew had been mutilated almost beyond recognition, and its cargo was missing. The Lucky Larkspur is the third ship to suffer such a fate in the last two months, and port officials speculate that a new band of pirates may be responsible.
"Pirates revel in the fear they cause, but this sort of ritualistic murder goes far beyond the pale. These pirates, whoever they may be, are by far the most bloodthirsty madmen I've ever come across," said Parlo Garrelspan, the Trolanport harbor administrator. Garrelspan asserted that most of the merchant ships plying the Sea of Storms are hiring extra marines to guard their vessels against the pirates. Thus far, the marauders have left no survivors, and no calling card other than the dismembered bodies of the crew.
"While this new band of pirates is bloodier than others, they represent only a new incident in a worrisome trend," said Garrelspan. "We've seen a real influx of pirates on the Sea of Storms recently. The conclusion of the Last War left too many war-trained sailors and not enough peacetime ships for them to crew. Unfortunately, a lot of them turned to piracy."
Thus far, all the stricken ships have been owned by smaller merchant companies, but House Lyrandar and the navies of both Breland and Zilargo are taking the matter quite seriously. A House Lyrandar captain, however, speculated that pirates might not be to blame. "The sahuagin dwelling in the Straits of Shargon have some appalling sacrificial rites," Captain Derenver d'Lyrandar said. "If a sahuagin tribe has migrated into a shipping lane, its members could easily produce this sort of damage."
"I know what the gnomes think," d'Lyrandar continued, "but pirates are too smart to just butcher everyone. They want their victims scared enough to surrender, not so certain of their impending doom that they're willing to fight to the death."
About the Author
David Noonan is a designer/developer for Wizards of the Coast. Before coming to Wizards, he was a daily newspaper reporter in Washington state. Apparently the city hall beat is good practice for an Eberron campaign.