Let me tell you a story about a man named Jack. He wasn’t a merchant or a priest; not an adventurer or a hero or a good man, no. He was a fighter, a scurvy dog of the sea, and he made a name for himself for being exceedingly violent. But even the fearsome, locked behind their walls of threats and fear, can be brought low by a good heart or a concerted effort by those who believe they act in the path of the righteous. And so ends the tale of Exceedingly Violent Jack …
On the banks of the river that runs from Carlech to the sea lies a port town, the Port of Carlech. Fed by the river trade, controlled by the formidable Harbourmaster, there are few places in Berwickshire that can rival this hive of scum and villainy. Outside the town lies the house of Sir George Stennet, and Exceedingly Violent Jack and his cronies have made his life quite unpleasant. After the incident of the hand being thrown through the window at the banquet for the Feast of Vleybor, Sir George and High Mother Evelynn have gathered a group of trusted allies together to take their complaint into the heart of the Port. If they can set the world to rights then maybe they can put a stop to Exceedingly Violent Jack’s murderous ways.
Setting out from the manor house, the group travelled the road towards the port as night fell. They were:
- Ranger Conchobar of the Berwickshire Medium; Elias of the Scouts Guild;
- Hitoshi Murasame of the Guild of Blacksmiths;
- Maximillian Thorpe of the School of Necromancy;
- Sir George Stennet, feudal vassal;
- High Mother Evelynn Eckhart of Vleybor;
On the road they found posters bearing Sir George’s face (much to Ranger Conchobar’s amusement) and stumbled upon a pack of zombies that seemed to lunge at them suddenly from out of the dark. Near the gate of the town they met some of the locals about their business – some of them heading for home, some of them heading to the pub, others heading into the Port at the end of their journeys.
At the gate of the Port they found a pair of men standing over a stabbed body, one in a guards tabard. Recognising the body as that of a local guard, Ranger Conchobar realised that the men had stabbed and robbed her and threatened the pair until they were knocked out and tied up off the road. However, that would not hold them for long …
They came upon a grisly sight of three figures strung up with signs saying “snitches get stitches” and a trio of locals. One, an old sea dog, told the party about Jack before he became known for his violence; whilst another was willing to sell them the password for that evening for a reasonable price. After looking at one of the posters pinned about the town the third man began to walk away from them saying that someone should warn Jack, but he didn’t get very far before he was knocked unconscious and left on the side of the road. As Sir George negotiated the purchase of the password, High Mother Evelynn listened to the tale of Jack. Sharing what they had learned with the rest of the company they pushed on, stumbling over a pair of drunks who alternately threatened them and caroused their good fortune. After hearing them claim to be men loyal to Jack, the drunks were put to sleep and left in a heap at the side of the road.
But the guards at the gate had been untied and had gathered some friends before hunting the party down, and they came upon the party with fury and venom. The fight was somewhat desperate but soon the bodies were being tucked down back alleys in the hope that no one would look too hard for them under the cloak of the night.
In the middle of a street they found a group of locals betting on the traditional pastime of goblin vs zombie, which greatly distressed High Mother Evelynn who destroyed the zombie. Trying to free the goblin angered the locals who rounded on the adventurers, but after some explaining the adventurers were able to somewhat calm them down and continue on their way.
They were ambushed by the drunks and some of their drunken friends, protesting at how they had been left at the side of the road and whacked about the head. Again they were dealt with and bundled off down side alleys and into barrels, but there was now a lot of noise about their arrival in the town. Jack would surely hear of it …
They came to a deserted market where a pair of bored guards were waiting for a merchant to finish his trading before they could clock off duty. After giving them some vague directions to finding the Harbourmaster, the adventurers were directed along the river where they came upon a tavern called “The Oarsman” who did not harbour the same love of Jack as the rest of the town. The owner was careful not to say too much, but they were not fans of the Watch nor of the way Jack treated some of their friends and neighbours, and after hearing that trouble was coming their way many patrons of the tavern were quick to hide themselves in Meg’s basement. Directing the adventurers on towards the docks, Meg warned them that the Night Watch would be out on patrol – a chance for them to use their password!
At the docks they found a merchant captain who was tired of being ripped off by Jack and his extortionate docking fees. Promising her that he would do what he could to help her, Sir George and the group pressed on to the river crossing. Here they found a strange thing – an automata clutching a lever on the far side of the bridge. Attempting to cross the bridge led to three of the party being dumped into the freezing river as the lever was pulled and the middle third of the bridge parted. Crawling up the bank after their dip left Sir George, Conchobar and Elias shivering and bereft of some of their goods. More attempts eventually led to Sir George and Conchobar leaping the opening gap and breaking the automata and rendering the bridge safe for the others to cross. Now all they had to do was find Jack.
Between the bridge and Jack however was a hardy band of Jack’s Lads – his best, his men who were loyal to the core and always up for a scrap. They were not happy to see the adventurers and tried to bar their way, but this did not last long. Jack was waiting for them at the Harbourmaster’s manor, having heard of their doings about the town. As he taunted them and waxed lyrical about his terribly bad ways, Ranger Conchobar was able to sneak into the upstairs rooms of the house and make off with the treasure and freed the Vleyborian whom Jack had been keeping prisoner, before Jack and his remaining lads had a fight with our heroes. Things nearly went badly awry, but with Elias having made off with the treasure and the party scattering before him, somehow they all made it out alive and relatively unscathed. What followed was a mad caper through the dark dodging Jack and his men, running back along the river trying to catch up with the other members of the party until at last they came to the bridge. Here there was more fighting until High Mother Evelynn begged for it to stop and Jack paused, seeming to hear her. Sir George and High Mother Evelynn pleaded with Jack, trying to reason with him that his actions were not those of a good man, and Jack seemed on the verge of choosing a different path when – treachery! Conchobar snuck up behind him and attacked the brigand, and all the Vleyborians efforts seemed to be in vain. Tired of the killing and the bloodshed and aware that if Jack was still breathing then Conchobar would likely try to put a stop to that, High Mother Evelynn put Jack into a state of death-like sleep to transport him safely back to their Lord Baron where Jack might stand trial for his wicked deeds.
And so our heroes thoughts turned to home. And battered and bruised on their travels they found a local fisherman marvelling at the strange wares that had been caught in his nets. Recognising weaponry and a shield belonging to the company, the party quickly recovered their belongings and returned in a slightly better mood. Jack was tried before the Baron Vortigen’s court, headed by his Regent Baronet Quinn Dexter, and found guilty of many crimes which led to him being executed (much to High Mother Evelynn’s distress).
And so here ends the story of Exceedingly Violent Jack. But forever he will be remembered by his old shipmates and crew to be simply –