Adelita Doloruso held the staff. It was a long piece made from the spine of a misshapen creature. The shoulders were wrong. This creature had four arms. Who or what was this beast and what did it do to deserve this fate? Questions for another time, she realized. They sacrificed and sacrificed. Blood pour from slit throats. One after another until their arms grew tried. Those that refused to help became grist for the mill, their blood mingling with the others. Five thousand souls. Even with the Cheliaxian’s help organizing the mass slaughter, taking the staff back to the island and setting up the killing grounds there, it was so much work. Housing the prisoners. Carting away the dead. It still took days. So much time that she grew bored of the horror until it just became numb. But now, even after all of this, she just felt tired. Was it was worth it?
She was sure she was going to die. If not by the sword of the elven captain Ryrun, then from Harrigan’s rage when she appeared suddenly before him. She didn’t realize that there was even a contingent teleport on her when the blow came. The devils, however, had thought of everything. When she failed and appeared before Harrigan, she came beaten before The Bitch and was punished with the lash. They cast a spell on her, she could feel it. A geas to force her to obey. They demanded that she used the staff, expending all of it’s force in a single spell. Then they made her fight her way to the highest point of Fort Hazard and cast at the place they told her to through the magical message spell. Her guards died around her to the defenders but she didn’t notice. All that mattered was that the spell got cast and the geas fulfilled.
She stared at the results. A smoking crater and choking smoke. The screams of the dying. The roar of flames. Something behind her exploded but she hardly notice. She had called the largest and most destructive spell that had been called in an Age. She did it. From the Staff. She shook as exhaustion took her muscles. Suddenly an arm swept around her neck and the smell of musk and tangerines floated around her. A sword pressed firmly against her throat.
“What have you done?” demanded a firm voice.
“They ordered me to. I was under a geas. They told me to do it,” she said, fighting the urge to fall asleep in these arms. She closed her eyes and started to fade.
“Who? Harrigan?” The voice insisted.
“And The Bitch. Admiral Thule.” She replied sleepily.
“Why?” The arms shook her back to reality.
“To kill Bonefist,” she whined and kept her eyes close, “They told me where to drop the spell. I think it was the city’s gun powder stockade. I know he kept it away from the everything but near his ship in the underground harbour.”
“What?” the voice sounded incredulous.
“I guess you weren’t as curious as we were,” she wearily sneered and nestled into the chest of her captor. He smelled just heavenly, like a sun kissed beach, “There is a harbour that is only used by the Hurricane Kings. Accessible by the power of the Crown.”
“The Crown?” The voice muttered to someone, “I knew that but didn’t think about it. I can’t believe I never checked.”
“It makes sense,” the arms that held her rumbled, holding her but ignoring her at the same time, “I’ve never seen his ship in port when he’s here. I was told it was because it was out raiding but it could of been moored.”
“So the staff cast that?” A woman’s voice eagerly asked her. Doloruso cracked open her bloodshot eyes and looked at Idoki. They had plucked it from her and she was swooning over it.
“Where is this Thrune? Where is Harrigan?” The voice, who she now realized belonged to Commodore Foundling, demanded.
“Looking for the Crown,” she replied testily. A second wind was creeping back. Why was she allowing herself to be held like this? “Their plan is to rule The Shackles as Pirate Kings. I doubt Harrigan realizes just how screwed he is. I think he’ll try his own betrayal, if he can.”
She watched as Commodore Foundling whipped out his scope and scan the smouldering hole. “I think I can make out…”
Idoki shyly edged towards her as Ryrun, who’s arms so tightly held her, clamped manacles around her wrists. “So what will you do once the fighting is over?” she asked meaningfully, “If you survive, that is. We could use a caster like you.”
Doloruso blinked in surprise. She contemplated the chains that held her and said nothing.
“No time for that,” Commodore Foundling said dramatically. Ryrun turned Doloruso and pushed her down against a the wall as Renza, Idoki and Ozzi all surrounded him. Ryrun joined them and they all held hands before Sandy sketched a spell and they disappeared with a flash. “Besides, that staff is mine when this is done,” she heard the halfling claim as they vanished.
Adelita Doloruso sat quietly and looked over the wreckage of the invasion that she helped plan. Port Peril was on fire as the Chelish ground forces invaded the city. But the pirate reinforcements had arrived. The Chelish, pinned against the shore and the ships, prepared to put up a pointless resistance. He eyes fell on the staff. Idoki must of leaned it against the wall before they dimension doored away. Or it simply appeared because it could. It grinned at her with malicious intent. With a mutter and a quick small sigil, the manacles fell off and she pick up the mysterious staff.
As she picked her last teleport scroll out of her belt, she examined her future. It took five thousand souls to fill the staff. She could do that before they found her. If they found her.
And then she was gone.