…which is often the way things seem before they go terribly, terribly wrong.
In this case, the PCs had not considered that Trumpet might leave them outside the slave pen while he sent in a guard to retrieve their purchases – which he did. Aeryn and Ginallath exchanged a quick look and decided to use the catchall backup plan: violence.
Ginallath quickly fired off a sleep spell while Aeryn made a break for the slave pen. The elf mage’s spell fizzled (pirates roll fine saves, landlubbers), but Inigo and Raj hardly noticed, happy as they were to be doing less sneaking and more pirate killing. Though shocked at first, Trumpet and his guards rallied quickly and Trumpet blew his signature instrument – alerting the compound. The slave pen guards quickly rushed to his aid, leaving rogue, mage, and rangers with 15 pirates and the third mate himself to deal with.
Among those who heard the noise were Wulf and MacTavish, still working for Aard at the cattle pen. As Aard gathered his group to rush to Trumpet’s aid, MacTavish was struck by inspiration. He “neglected” to close the pen, and one quick application of scare later, the animals were bursting out in a mighty stampede. The rampaging cattle cut off any hope of Trumpet’s pirates getting any help – except from Aard and his boys, accompanied by Wulf and MacTavish.
In the meantime, Raj and Inigo had accounted for four pirates between them, but Ginallath was badly wounded by the guards and Aeryn had taken a cut from Trumpet as she tried to slip into the slave pen. Inside, she found herself face to face with the guard Trumpet had sent inside. He froze in surprise as Aeryn entered – just enough time for Rosko to headbutt him in the stomach while Dak strangled him with his chains. Aeryn found the pirate’s key and unlocked the pair, and then Galon Bivant – mission accomplished! If only they could get out, that is. Taking up the dead pirate’s cutlass, Dak positioned himself to defend the doorway while Aeryn readied her hand crossbow.
Outside, the pirates’ numbers were wearing down Inigo and Raj. Bellowing orders to his guards to rush the slave pen, Trumpet personally entered the fray, striking down Raj with a couple of well-placed blows. Now alone, Inigo defended her unconscious and bleeding body while a badly-wounded Ginallath played dead. The sight of more pirates arriving caused the party’s hearts to sink.
Fortunately, this was Aard’s group. As the pirates rushed to join the battle, MacTavish muttered a prayer to Tempus and turned on them, or tried to since his aim slipped and he ended up striking his own shield instead. Aard turned to curse him for a clumsy fool -then fell with Wulf’s blade in his back. Ginallath rose and nailed another pirate with a well placed arrow shot, and between the three of them quickly dispatched the remaining pirates of Aard’s squad before moving in to help their teammates.
Aeryn, Dak, Rosko, and their young charge were still trapped in the slave pen. As Dak heroically strove to defend the doorway, Aeryn carefully sighted her crossbow and let fly. With a snap, the firing mechanism broke, sending the bolt backwards into her face, dropping her (the critical fumble deck is a harsh mistress). Cursing, Dak redoubled his efforts while Rosko and the boy bandaged the now unconscious Aeryn.
Outside, though, the tide was turning. Wolf slew several pirates while MacTavish administered Tempus’ grace to heal Inigo’s wounds. No longer on the verge of death, Inigo made a beeline for Trumpet, and the ranger and the third mate were soon locked in furious combat. Trumpet’s greater experience was no match for Inigo’s raw fury, and the pirate was soon grievously wounded. With his guards dead and Wold and MacTavish moving to engage, he made a run for it – straight for the rampaging steers with Inigo hot on his heels. MacTavish quickly conjured a spiritual weapon and sent it flying after the luckless pirate, and with a few short strokes Trumpet lay dead in the dust.
At this point a furious debate ensued – Wulf, MacTavish, and Inigo all wanted to find Captain Scabbard and challenge him as well. But with Aeryn and Raj unconscious, Ginallath badly hurt, and MacTavish out of spells, the party decided on the better part of valor and escaped with their mission accomplished while the remaining pirates tried to control the escaped cattle.