They had come on fast and quiet even in the light of day none of the hunters had stood a chance. Before they knew it the Pirates had the camp with few shots fired.
One such blast had woken Havier but his eyes had quickly focused on the cutless at his neck and the snaggle-toothed grin of a real buccaneer.
He was then dragged out of the hut and through the small settlement. His friends were dead around him and he quickly came to the assumption he was the only survivor of the massacre. Havier has thrown to his knees in front of the same table in which the three strangers had sat examining his map.
Havier was not stupid, he was quickly coming to the understanding that those three were the reason for this evil had come, it had followed them here. Sitting at the table now, however, was just one woman. She wore a captain’s outfit covered in pistols of all shapes and sizes. She had shoulder length blonde hair and would be stunning if not for the nasty facial scar that ran diagonally from the left side of her nose through her left cheek.
One of her men handed her an apple and she began to peel it with a tackle knife as an eerie silence fell over the camp. The only sound was the woman peeling a chunk off the apple. She then took her time eating it and swallowed before eyeing Havier, “They call me a pirate… an outlaw… a murderer.”
She peeled another chunk, “and while I have been known to kill, they could not be more wrong about the rest, in fact I am a patriot. I live, breathe and love the Affiliation with all my heart… So much in fact that I sacrifice all for what needs to be done, I walk the path of the outlaw for the good of my people. My people have asked me to be a devil, so I have obliged.”
Havier’s eyes darted back and forth from pirate to pirate nervously but he dared not speak..
Dufree ate another bite, “So understand me, I don’t want to kill you. I didn’t want to kill any of them, but Mazant needs it. Mazant needs to know where the three strangers who visited you earlier today went. And as I said before I make sure Mazant gets what it needs. So hunter…do I even need to ask?”
She really really didn’t.
The sex itself was much less making love and more akin to two great beasts rutting in the sand. Not that there was anything wrong with that. After all Titus enjoyed all shapes and sizes and all types of intimacy… even the borderline violent kind.
Savë was too tired to wake up, a feat in itself or at least if she did she pretended not to.
The act did not come without downsides, Titus felt even more tired afterwards. His two hours of sleep did very little against the wild passionate machinations of the Imbube.
Asyi dressed herself, “You walked the walk pretty boy.”
Titus looked to the falls basin and never did a dip look so good to him. Titus winked at her, then stretched. “You’re a very enthusiastic partner, love.” Grinning, he turned away to grab his pants and surreptitiously worked his left wrist. Vigorous wasn’t even close.
He let the gentle breeze cool him down for a few moments – as much as he wanted to dive in, he really shouldn’t let himself get too far afield right now. There was no telling when that pirate would catch up.
Speaking of which, “Asyi… I think we should wake up Savë and get moving. I’m actually a little…concerned that what’s-her-name-scar-face is closer behind than we think. She’s got horses and plenty of disposable lackeys. Do you want the honors or should I?”
Asyi nodded, “Horses can’t move through this but what I know of her she will be moving fast.”
She finished dressing and turned to Savë, “I will wake her,”
Asyi gently shoved Savë who turned and stood faster than she would have if she had been asleep. Titus figured it would have been hard for anyone to sleep through what they had done. Almost immediately there was an unspoken agreement to pretend Savë had slept through it all.
Drinking some water and replenishing their energy with a little food. The group was again moving. Moving, at least that’s what Titus probably thought it was. In reality, his attempts to move quietly through the dense underbrush was more of an awkward shuffle, stepping on sticks and getting hit in the face with the occasional branch. While he felt more relaxed than he had in over a day and a half, he was now thoroughly exhausted.
Still, nothing to do but keep walking.
The three silently made their way through the jungle, uneventfully. After a few hours they reached the rocky cove that they had set out for. They came out on the west side, the huge basin horseshoed inland and then stretched back out to the north a mile away. Savë began to do her part examining the landscape for a point of entry. Titus saw none and quickly began to believe they had chosen poorly.
Titus frowned. He hadn’t thought to bring any rock climbing gear, namely because that’s not something he had ever done. Nor had he planned on doing cliff diving, largely because it never really went well. Looking out over the edge, he knocked a few pebbles down with his knee, watching in fascination as it tumbled and skittered down with wild abandon. Turning to Asyi and Savë, he raised his eyebrows. “Well, that looks unpleasant.”
For the first time Asyi looks uneasy, “I am sure the fall is.”
Savë however did not waver, “no one is going to fall, because no one is going to climb.”
Using some unknown points or landmarks she seemed to calculate some sort of route then started back into the jungle. Unable to do anything else the two companions followed. Over the next 200 feet the incline took a drop, nothing too severe but it was easy to follow that they had gone below the edge of the cove. They reached a series of rock drop offs, hoping down Savë then pointed out a small cave entrance big enough to enter in a crouch.
Savë’s face had lit up, it is the first time Titus has seen her smile since meeting the woman, “this… This is it.”
Crouching down to peer into the opening, Titus cocked an eyebrow. “It’s… ah… underwhelming, if I’m honest.” He looked back to Savë. That smile, though – it transformed her face. What the hell.
“Pass us a torch, love, let’s head in.”
The Last Tea Shop. A solo TTRPG playthrough. Written by Ash Alder and narrated by Zachariah Van Sluyters