Part 27: Pirate Errands- Pirate Errands
The following morning I decided to do a few final errands around camp before leaving for the bandit camp.
Since Greg got back into camp, things have been moving more smoothly. Morgan, who had been spending his days lounging around, was ordered to cut planks all day. Recalling what Skip had told me about Angus and Hank, I approached him.
Upon seeing me, he grimaced. He definitely knew my about my involvement in his getting a new job. "Greg, now Greg is making me saw planks!" he said scowling.
I wasn't here to anger him further, as I wanted to know more about the two lost pirates. I ignored his attitude and asked about Angus and Hank.
"Don't remind me of THEM. They probably got themselves killed by bandits. Angus had my ring on him! Well, sure, it was HIS ring in a way. He won it from me playing dice. But I would have gotten it back, and now it's GONE! If you find my ring, bring it back to me. I'll definitely make it up to you!"
That wasn't much in the way of direction. Hopefully Bill, the other who searched for them, would have a bit more to say.
I found Bill a short distance away sitting by a campfire. Now that Morgan, Francis and the other lazy members of the crew were put to work, he could manage to get a moments rest.
I got straight to the point. "I'm looking for Angus and Hank."
He sighed. "I've no idea where they are - the bandits must have got them."
"You were friends with them, weren't you?"
"All I know is that they were going to meet up with the bandits in a cave not far from here. It must be somewhere outside of our camp, to the east. I don't know where exactly. I've never been there myself. Maybe you should ask Alligator Jack about this. He's always roaming around outside the camp."
Alligator Jack's lean-to was a bit out from the main camp. I made my way over to him, making a quick stop to talk to Henry about the bandits in the tower.
"I want to join your raiding troop."
"Well, welcome to my raiding troop, then! One more fighter to help keep the bandits off our backs. Grab one of the boys and make short shrift of those bandits in the tower."
I walked up to the nearest man. "Are you one of Henry's boys?" I asked.
"No. I'm just sawing up this tree for entertainment. What's up? Did Henry tell you what you're supposed to do?"
"Yes. I'm supposed to do in a few bandits for him."
The pirates' eyes widened. "Ooh no! Don't LOOK at me that way. I don't wanna go there. Just leave me to my sawing, will you?"
"Come with me." I ordered.
The pirate muttered to himself. "He COULD have asked somebody ELSE."
I told my partner to hang tight a moment while I talked to Jack.
"Do you know Angus and his friend Hank?"
"I haven't seen them in awhile and I wouldn't mind if the pair of them never came back. Those bums always hung around the lake, scaring off the game. "
"What lake would that be?"
"Remember our hunt?" I nodded. "The lake in the hollow. That's where I usually saw them."
I nodded, and ventured off toward the tower.
I cleared the black goblins at the base of the hill and walked toward the building. Now that I was closer, I could definitely see the bandit scouts. I raised my bow and took aim for the nearest bandit. The arrow hit the man's neck and his lifeless body slumped to the ground. The other two bandits saw this and rushed out from their tower, weapons raised.
I unsheathed my sword. We both charged the bandits and within a few short moments we were victorious. My partner turned to me.
"You know what? I've been doing some thinking. You're an asshole! I'm headed back to the camp, and I hope I never set eyes on you again!" Still bitter about being picked, he angrily walked away.
I took this time to explore the newly liberated towers. There was nothing of note other than a handful of supplies and ammo. Around the corner, however, was a small pack of Mantis. They caught me off guard but I quickly recovered and managed to take them out.
After fixing myself up, I returned to Henry to give him the good news.
"They're history." I said.
"Great! One less problem, then."
I continued back down the east road and found myself before the entrance to the hollow. But what was that smell? Ever since Greg returned, no one but Jack was to be outside of the camp.
I turned and spotted some smoke rising from a nearby cave. Was this what Jack told me about?
I climbed up and found that a pirate had made a camp here.
He looked up, quite startled. "Who are YOU? Are you one of the bandits?" he said, voice shaking.
"Do I look like one?"
"You're wearing our clothes, but I don't know you."
"My buddy Malcom has disappeared. One of those filthy lurkers attacked us so we fled into this cave but that lurker came after us. Malcom fought with it, and then they both fell into that hole over there. Seems to be full of water. The lurker and Malcom continued to fight down there for awhile. Then it went quiet. I've no idea whether he's still alive or not."
"How do I get down into that crevice?"
"Beats me. You can either climb down or jump, I suppose."
"If I had known all this in advance, I'd never have become a pirate.
I walked over to the crevice and took a look. It seemed like a long way down, but the way seemed clear enough."
I took a deep breath and jumped in. It felt like I fell for awhile.
At the bottom of the drop was a pool of stale water. I climbed out onto the nearby land.
Two lurkers were busy chewing the body of a dead pirate. The face had long since been eaten, but I was sure that it was Malcom. After killing the lurkers, I rummaged through his things and found a stone tablet. He wouldn't be needing that any longer.
From what I could tell, the only way out of the cave was through an underwater passage on the opposite side of the cavern. I dove in and emerged out into the lake within the hollow.
I surfaced and looked for a way back up. I saw a small landing and climbed out.
It seemed to be a small cave, and I immediately recognized it as the one Jack told me about. Sure enough, the two bodies of Hank and Angus were inside rotting away.
The majority of their belongings were long since gone, having probably been taken by the same bandits that killed him. The only thing that remained, aside from their tattered armor, was a ring on Angus' finger and a single old coin. I took the ring and found the real path up and out of the hollow.
I passed by Owen's cave and told him the bad news.
"Your pal Malcom is dead." I told him.
"I thought as much. Poor devil. I should have helped him after all. You're really brave, you know that? I couldn't have done with the crevice. "
I ran back to the pirate camp and told Morgan about the two.
"I found them."
"So tell me already. Where are they?"
"The ring. What about the ring?"
I removed it from a pouch and tossed it to him. "Here it is."
"Yes, that's it! Good man! Here, take this stone tablet. It may look like a piece of junk, but Garett will shell out a lot of gold for it."
I walked down the beach to talk to Bill next.
"I found your friends."
"And? Where are they?"
Bill clenched his fists. "Those damned bastards did this!"
"It's possible." I replied.
"Those cursed swine. May they roast in hell. If only I knew of the lowlife who did this..."
Now that there was truly nothing left to keep me here, I made my way to the canyon. The teleporter there would greatly reduce travel time.
Within a few minutes, I was back in the middle of the Water Mage's encampment. The mages paid me no notice as they were all far too absorbed in their own studies or experiments. Since it was now late afternoon, I decided to wait until the morning before visiting the bandits. I jogged over to the eastern hut that I'd claimed as my own.
I ate a quick meal and went to bed. I'd need to rest in case things went bad tomorrow.
Next morning, I sharpened my weapons and donned the bandit armor. After dressing, I ventured over to the bandit's watch post in the swamp, hoping they'd let me through without a fuss.