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What Has Gone Before
Separately and collectively, you’ve all fallen into the hands of pirate slavers.
Most of you remember it this way: You were walking in the countryside near your homes, strolling home from the tavern after a night’s drinking, walking down to the river to fetch some water, or gone to visit a sweetheart in a neighboring village.
And suddenly, you heard a thrashing in the underbrush around you, and before you could turn you felt a blow to the back of your head, and everything went black.
When you awoke, you were in the dark, tiny, stinking hold of a pirate galley, shackled by your wrists to the sturdy beams of the slave bunks – bunks stacked like cordwood – with some forty other captured souls.
You were sick from the blow to your head and the tossing of the ship, from the revolting gruel you were occasionally fed, and from the knowledge that you were bound for a slave port, never again to see your own home. Mockingly, the keys to your shackles were hung from a hook right by the hatch to the deck, only five or six feet from the lot of you. They might as well be miles away.
A few days after you woke up, the ship hit a squall, which turned, after half a day of tossing and rolling, into a full-fledged storm which blasted spray and curses into the hold every time the hatch above was opened. Your jailer, a man named Hafkris – maybe a half-orc, it’s hard to tell under all that grime and walrus ugliness – brought about half the shackled slaves abovedecks to man the oars vacated by sailors washed overboard. The storm continued on another day, and Hakfris took another one-fourth of the slave cargo abovedecks. He looked worried.
That was yesterday. You haven’t seen any of the pirates or the slaves since then, and you haven’t been fed. Early today, the shouting and cracking whips indicating that rowers were bring kept in line finally faded away to nothing…