Burning the Jolly Roger

Session 5
In Which Goods are Sold and Three Important Deals are Made

Players present this session: Mark, Moobaka, Zadoc Olmstead
The delay in posting this update brought to you by Diablo III. Also, sheer laziness.

  • The session started off with a bang as Captain Mark and Moobaka got into a verbal disagreement over Moobaka’s punishment for the trouble he’d been causing and Moobaka’s growing frustrations. Moobaka wanted to be paid in virgins right now, and Mark wanted him to sit down, shut up, and keep out of trouble. This little confrontation is actually kind of problematic for Mark, because he has a Belief about delivering Moobaka intact to a certain location in roughly a year and a half, so he has to keep him alive and keep him satisfied enough to go where Mark leads.
  • The altercation eventually settled into a Duel of Wits for which Moobaka was woefully unprepared. Seriously, his only DoW skill was Intimidation, which he can’t use to make Points with. Further, both characters declared it to be A Big Deal, so Mark got the full benefit of his 6 Will on top of his very good Oratory for his Body of Argument. ’Baka’s BoA was … less robust. Still, he managed to make a few points on Mark before running out, and the eventual compromise was this: Moobaka will stop getting in trouble; in exchange, his pay is to be converted entirely into reasonably attractive female virgin slaves when possible. What he does with the slaves once he’s done with them is his business (and will probably involve selling them for petty cash, since he won’t receive any cash or loot from ship’s shares).
  • Once that was dealt with, the Scalped Morays was unloaded of the tin and sent, along with Gelik Aberwhinge, Aerys Mavato, most of the Crimson Axe marines, and Zadoc, plus enough conscripted sailors to man it, to the port of Gole to sell the cheese (which was perishable and thus needed to be sold promptly) and to look for interested buyers for the tin. Gelik was instructed to purchase provisions, lumber, and ideally a carpenter with the proceeds. Zadoc was additionally instructed to find a girl for Moobaka. This was also a bit of an experiment, in that it wasn’t certain whether the Morays would make it through the Sea of Manaan without the Serpent to accompany it.
  • Of course, as soon as the port was sighted, one of the sailors (the only one who knew how to swim) jumped overboard and set out swimming for port. Knowing Mark’s views on keeping the Silver Serpent’s secret safe, Zadoc prompty drew a very sketchy summoning circle — no prison! — and attempted to summon the Persuasive One to ensure the secret was kept (the idea was to either magick him into being unable to talk about the Serpent, or simply make him forget, not to kill him).
  • Unfortunately, the summoning went slightly awry. Instead of the Persuasive One, Zadoc summoned the Mind Flayer, a rather more powerful and (given that there was no prison circle) dramatically more dangerous being. Zadoc attempted to bargain with it, but without the prison circle to restrict it, the bargaining became another Duel of Wits, with the Mind Flayer declaring that it would feast on everyone it could find until it was sated, and Zadoc trying to persuade it to limit itself to just the fleeing sailor and to be receptive to future summonings. This Duel was just as inevitable as Mark and Moobaka’s, due to the Daemon’s stats and skills all being grey shade. However, Zadoc did an amazing job (and got pretty lucky) and scored a major compromise against the Daemon: the Mind Flayer would take only the sailor — and Zadoc himself.
  • Zadoc was transported to an Other Realm, where he was Lost in Time and Space. He paid a Persona point for the Will to Live, lost a current and maximum point of Perception as he now literally has dark voices whispering in his head, aged two years, got to do a bit of practice, aged two years, and became permanently bald. Everywhere.
  • As far as Gelik and the others aboard the Morays knew, Zadoc was dead and gone. However, the rest of the Moray’s trip to Gole was uneventful; the cheese was sold, provisions and lumber were bought, but no carpenter was found, and because Zadoc hadn’t told anyone of his own orders, no woman for Moobaka, either. An auction was set up for the tin in a month’s time, to give everyone time.
  • Loaded up with the new purchases and minus two crew members, the Morays returned to the island, safely navigating the trip through the Sea of Manaan in both directions. Moobaka was very, very, very upset to not have a new woman to play with and went to stomp off in the jungle for a while to let off steam. The next morning, Zadoc washed ashore, naked and hairless, much to the confusion of pretty much everyone.
  • To Be Continued ….
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Session 4
In Which We Finally Get Around to Pirating on the High Seas

Players present this session: Mark, Moobaka, Rovas Archer.
The delay in posting this update brought to you mostly be sheer laziness.

  • Picking up right where we left off, Moobaka escorted Marina onto the Silver Serpent for some … alone time. Mark didn’t approve — now there was one more person he had to essentially kidnap, because he didn’t want anyone who had seen the ship to be able to say anything about it — but didn’t stop Moobaka. However, Marina gave Moobaka the slip when he was distracted by one of the new Crimson Axe mercenaries leering at his girl.
  • Following a frantic search through the ship, Moobaka finally located Marina in the last place he thought of to look — dueling with Ieyasu Ishirou in the armory. She had a short sword hidden in her dress, and ‘Baka hadn’t gotten around to unwrapping his present yet. He tried to intervene in the fight, but Ishirou told him to stay out of it, and ‘Baka decided that his warrior’s honor prevented him from interfering if interference wasn’t wanted.
  • Unfortunately, Ishirou refused to use his sword in the fight, and the shorter reach of the skinning knife he was using to fight off Marina as well as his comparative skill level and evident desire to disarm rather than hurt her meant that Marina quickly dealt him a mortal wound. As he lay bleeding on the floor, his last words were to Marina — “I’m sorry”.
  • Moobaka yelled for the ship’s ‘doctor’, Sasha Nevah, and for Mark, and kept Marina from leaving the room. The last wasn’t difficult, as once she struck down Ishirou, she placed her sword to the side and knelt down on the floor with her hands on her knees. Sasha attempted to close Ishirou’s gut wound, but her meager surgery skills simply weren’t up for such a bad wound. Mark, as angry as anyone had ever seen him, reprimanded Moobaka about as strongly as you can reprimand a minotaur when you’re not 9 feet tall and 800 pounds yourself, then escorted the disarmed Marina to the captain’s quarters to interrogate her.
  • Marina offered no resistance to Mark’s questions and explained the entire story with little prompting. Her name, of course, wasn’t actually Marina, but Ieyasu Mara; she was Ishirou’s little sister. It turns out that Ishirou brought great dishonor on his family in the past by not only refusing to follow out an order from his father, but actively working against that order then fleeing the continent. Their father decided that the shame was so great that only a member of the family could cleanse it, and had his daughter trained as a warrior and assassin, then sent off across the sea on what was assumed to be a suicide mission.
  • Proving what they say about assumptions, Mark decided to spare Mara’s life in exchange for her service for a year and a possible introduction to her father. Thus, Mara joined the crew to replace the vacant spot previously held by her brother.
  • The next morning, Ishirou’s body was committed to the pyre, along with his sword. His other possessions were added to the ship’s armory; Mara made no claim on any of them for herself or her family.
  • With that drama settled, it was finally time to set off to sea and gather some money to outfit the ship. The plan was to hunt for islands in the Sea of Manaan which matched Ishirou’s treasure maps and dig up the treasure. However, the first island they found didn’t match any of the maps, and had no supplies worth mentioning, to boot.
  • Realizing that the islands might be too much of a gamble, it was decided to head towards the Pillars of Manaan, search for an island that could be used as a temporary base, then actually pirate a ship along the Castille/ Shou trade route.
  • Their second island was significantly luckier than the first, being huge in size, with coral reefs blocking off one end of the island and high cliffs another section, as well as having herds of wild goats and hogs. After stocking up on provisions, the Serpent set sail again, this time to prowl the Pillars looking for prey.
  • After a few days with no likely targets, Rovas spotted a fat merchantman with no escort, the Calypso’s Dream. The Serpent was considerably faster than the merchanter, and was able to quickly catch up in a stern chase with little danger from the Dream’s single chasing cannon. The boarding action was brutal and longer than it should have been, but eventually the crew of the Serpent (and her Crimson Axe mercs) prevailed with relatively minor casualties overall. It turned out that the Dream had two main cargos, a couple of tons of Shou cheese bound for the tables of the Castillian nobility, and more importantly, several tons of raw tin. Tin is one of the main components of bronze, which is used for high-quality naval cannon, and most of the tin on the Urskan continent is found in Urska. This was thus an extremely valuable cargo for any of the separatist states or for Urska itself, and if Mark played his cards right he might be able to get a bidding war going for it.
  • Mark further managed to find a few volunteers among the Dream’s crew to man a skeleton crew so he could take the ship as a prize. Of course, he didn’t tell them he was going to take them into the Sea of Manaan, and he had to leave almost all of the mercenaries on the Dream to keep order as they sailed north past the Pillars. They arrived at their previously located base island with both ships entirely intact and began preparations to ship the cargo to the mainland. The Dream was renamed to the Scalped Morays.
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Session 3
In Which Moobaka Shows Why You Don't Let Minotaurs Off Their Leashes, and Mark Turns the Pirating Up To Eleven

Players present for this session: Mark, Moobaka, Rovas Archer, Zadoc Olmstead (everyone, woo!)
The delay in posting this log brought to you by: Mass Effect 3

  • Right off the bat, Zadoc decides that he’s not terribly fond of not knowing what makes the ship ticks and spends a few hours drawing strange diagrams on the ground, then … summons a Lesser Daemon to examine the ship with its Aura Vision. The Daemon appeared within the circle, but its appearance was unexpected: it looked like a large catfish with exceptionally long “feeler” tentacles, floating in mid-air. Zadoc commanded it to examine the ship and tell him what it could about the ship’s magic, and the thing floated off and into the ship.
  • The rest of the crew was working on a shopping list and figuring out who was going to town and who was staying to guard the Silver Serpent. Eventually it was decided that Gelik (the ship’s Quartermaster), Sasha (who really wanted a break), and the players would all go to town, while Ishirou and Aerys would stay back to guard the ship.
  • Once in town, the party split up to do their own things, with the intent of meeting up later at a dockside bar to recruit some crew for the ship:
  • Mark went searching for a fellow Elf to ferry a message back to his uncle asking for further instruction now that he’d found Moobaka, the object of the prophecy. He found Alaco Greenwinner, who fed him then left with Mark’s message.
  • Moobaka and Rovas both went to pawn treasure they’d claimed from the Sunken Island. Rovas got 2D of cash for his jewelled dagger, while Moobaka got 1D for his darkwood shield.
  • Moobaka also located the local “mercenary” procurer and determined that there were really only two mercenaries available, and even they wouldn’t be in town for a few days (the result of a failed Circles roll).
  • Zadoc poked around and thought about gathering ingredients to make a Homunculus, but decided not to try the Resources roll yet.
  • Gelik and Sasha did things offscreen.
  • The players eventually met at a tavern as planned. Moobaka intimidated himself into some free beer, then the party began to discuss how to go about crewing their ship and, in fact, what to do with it. During this discussion, Moobaka was … less than quiet and discreet, and was overheard talking about making it out of the Sea of Manaan alive. This drew quite a bit of attention to the party; someone with more cleverness than the minotaur announced that they’d be back the next day to recruit able-bodied crew, which set the tavern abuzz.
  • Zadoc choose this moment to get up and start wandering around the crowded tavern, letting his Aura of Fear scare people away. This task was considerably aided when his summoned Daemon returned, grabbed his head with its tentacles, and slowly forced its body entirely into Zadoc’s mouth and down his throat — Possessing him as payment for services rendered. This had two side effects: first, the bar emptied out very, very quickly, and second, all the beer in the joint started to boil as the Daemon’s Lawbrearker trait manifested through Zadoc.
  • At this point the party decided to leave and come back the next day, but Moobaka wasn’t done in town yet. He found the most accommodating streetwalker he could afford and made some time with her (incidentally spending the die of cash he’d gotten for his shield, but raising his Resources from 0 to 1 in the process). Of course, once he was done (NOBODY messes with a Minotaur or Centaur who’s … entertaining a lady; it isn’t conducive to maintaining one’s health), he was waylaid by six pirates who said that their Captain wanted to speak with him and demanded that he come with them to their ship.
  • Completely unexpectedly, Moobaka not only agreed, but passively followed them all the way back to Captain Diego Stormbreaker‘s ship, the Hurricane. He refused to board the ship, and Captain Stormbreaker refused to walk within axe-ing range of Moobaka, so they held a long-distance conversation in which Captain Stormgreaker learned that the players were once part of Captain Grey’s crew, they were shipwrecked after a magical storm, and they found something on the island they were shipwrecked that let them escape the island. Moobaka actually maintained that it was their weather-witch (Zadoc, although he went un-named) who got them out of the Sea of Manaan, but Diego very plainly didn’t believe him and equally plainly saw through Moobaka’s fairly feeble attempts at misdirecting him. He didn’t explicitly reveal that it was their ship that was special, but there’s only so many options and Diego didn’t seem especially stupid.
  • After Moobaka realized that he probably said too much and clammed up, Captain Stormbreaker ordered his men to capture Moobaka. They tried to catch him with two large weighted nets, but Moobaka not only managed to dodge the nets, but also managed to straight up outrun the pursuing humans (into and through an obligatory china shop). He made his way to the party’s inn for the night and told Captain Mark what had happened.
  • Mark immediately gathered up the party and they all skipped town. They pretty much ran all the way back to the Silver Serpent (without picking up any of the provisions Gelik had purchased in town), sailed immediately several days straight out of the cove into the middle of the ocean, and dropped anchor for several more days. Mark hoped that Captain Stormbreaker would stick mostly to the coastline and the known pirate coves in his search for the party. Fortunately, he appeared to be correct; they weren’t found.
  • At this point, Mark decides, “**** it, the die is cast, we’re pirates now. Might as well go whole hog!”: after returning to the cove, the party hired the two thugs posing as mercenaries, kidnapped the porters hired to transport their provisions to the ship, then raided the countryside for more provisions (and a woman for Moobaka; a failed Virgin-wise test meant she wasn’t actually a virgin). They then proceeded to set sail for Urska by way of Castille.
  • They stopped off at Gole, Castille for supplies, to offload the captives they’d taken, and to hire more mercenaries to serve as marines. The porters were offered the chance to join the crew or be “released”, but when they refused, they all got sold into slavery instead, as did Moobaka’s woman. Moobaka’s Crimon Axe contacts set up the Serpent with a fairly competent mercenary marine force, Gelik bought some more provisions, and then Moobaka was allowed to go off on his own again.
  • By this time Moobaka hadn’t had a virgin for something like a third of a year and he was getting really, really antsy, so he started bar-hopping and looking for likely prospects. Fairly quickly, he found — or was found by — Marina, a gorgeous Shou woman who pinged his (rank 1) Virgin-wise-radar hard. Of course, she proceeded to handle him with consummate skill, pumping him for all kinds of information, especially once she found out that the minotaur had a Shou crewmate. She quickly persuaded him to take her back to the ship.
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Session 2
In Which Our Intrepid Pirates Get the **** Off That Damned Island

Players present for this session: Moobaka, Rovas Archer

  • Moobaka decided that, with Captain Mark occupied elsewise, and Aerys Mavato cured of her alcoholism, it was time to go fetch that barrel of rum that he buried way back when they were first shipwrecked. Unfortunately, someone else beat him to it. However, the hole where the barrel used to be sparked Ishirou‘s memory and, after comparing a map in his position to Rovas’s map of the island, he determined that he was in possession of a map that refers to buried treasure on this very island!
  • Moobaka was certainly not about to let buried treasure stay buried, so the party stopped back by camp to drop off Aerys and pick up Gelik Aberwhinge — who happened to know a thing or two about Lost Treasures — then set off for the south end of the island, near where they burned the hut previously.
  • After a bit of exploring and deciphering, the four adventurer-pirates found the appropriate place to dig. Then spent about three days digging out a 10’ diameter, 10’ deep hole down to a giant wooden plug covering the pit the treasure was buried in. Oh, and finding the skeletal remains of a dead dwarf laying on top of the plug.
  • Then they spent most of another day digging around and under the edge of the plug as an alternative to smashing it to pieces and dropping them into whatever was below.
  • … Which turned out to be a 50’ deep pit with 10’ of water at the bottom. Oh, and two ghouls. Who proceeded to play corpse until Moobaka was in range, then actually match him in combat for two rounds until one got a nasty bite (midi wound) on his leg because he wasn’t wearing his armor. Did I mention that ghouls have paralytic venom?
  • Fortunately, Moobaka finished off the ghouls that same combat phase, and Rovas was able to tie a rope around him to drag him up to the surface again. Ishirou flubbed his check to stop Moobaka’s bleeding, so the wound bled out to Severe, knocking him right the hell out (-3D with B3 Will).
  • Since there wasn’t much to do for the minotaur, the others let him rest up top and proceeded to empty out 5’ depth of water in the pit — more difficult because there was a tunnel under the water, drastically increasing the amount of water they needed to haul. It took them three days. Eventually they completely uncovered the tunnel, went through it, and found the actual treasure — a locked, watertight chest.
  • They rigged up a sledge and dragged Moobaka and the chest back to their cave camp, taking forever to do so. All told, they were gone something around two and a half weeks. Mark was probably out of his mind wondering if he failed in his duty to keep Moobaka alive.
  • Fortunately, in addition to the 5D of cash, fancy throwing knife, ornate scroll, and superior shield in the treasure chest, there were also what would pass for surgeon’s tools. With a little bit of help from almost everyone (including a little did-he-really-just-summon-a-tentacle-monster-to-heal help from Zadoc Olmstead), Sasha was just barely able to excise the infected flesh around Moobaka’s bite wound and set him on the path to recovery.
  • It took Moobaka 6 weeks to recover from his wound, in which time everyone else got in some training and practice, and Ishirou killed a patrol of pygmies that would have stumbled upon the camp.
  • Once the big Beastkin fully recovered, Moobaka, Rovas, Sasha, and Ishirou set out to find the pygmies and, hopefully, eliminate the threat they presented to the main camp. So, they returned once again to the trails on the southern side of the island, and this time followed the western one. Right into a 10’ wide valley. Or rather, off the trail and around the 10’ wide valley because, really, that’s an obvious ambush.
  • In the process of avoiding the obvious ambush, they came across a cabin with a bunch of gnawed-on bones and a journal that really turned out not to be useful at all.
  • They continued following the path, taking the eastern fork towards the mountain they’d seen in the distance before. At the base of the mountain, they found a pair of closed stone doors and, across a small inlet of water, four pillars surrounding a stone pyramid — obviously a Remnant of some sort.
  • By sheer, incredible, WTF dumb luck, Rovas and Moobaka somehow figured out the way to activate the pillars and pyramid (smearing human blood on the pillars, having a venomous snake — courtesy of Sasha, naturally — lick the blood, then pouring seawater over the pyramid), causing bolts of lightning to shoot up from the pillars into the sky, raising the entire island 20 feet out of the sea and oh, opening those doors across the way. Oh, and summoning a “dragon”, which they got very lucky and forced to hesitate just long enough to kill before it savaged Sasha — ie, the healer.
  • Then they went into the Remnant temple because, hey, why not? Down some stairs, hang a left, hey, it’s a big room with a statue in the middle of a giant runed sun symbol on the floor and a wall of blinding light that doesn’t seem likely to allow passage. Right, go the other way, to a split that leads to a room with an altar to some sea god wearing a strange pendant and a room with two exits, two metal rods in the floor, and an orb writhing with electrical arcs.
  • After a bit of back and forth and debate, Moobaka snagged the pendant off the statue, which caused the outer doors to close. With no other way to go, and no other obvious method to do it, the party partially disassembled Rovas’s light chain to make a chain to connect the electrical orb to one of the rods — opening one of the doors, but electrocuting Rovas in the process because he didn’t think to put on gloves (or take any other precautions, really, aside from trying to outrun lightning) beforehand.
  • Making their way through the doors and down the stairs within, the party eventually found their way to a long, long canal, which eventually opened up into a cave. With a ship. Without a steering wheel. Or sails. When, eventually, Sasha (who had been given the pendant from the statue above) laid her hands on the column which was where a wheel should have been, the ship began to move, and they sailed out of the cave — causing the island to sink back down to its original height above the waves — then around the shore to the cave camp.
  • Everyone (except Moobaka, who still really wanted to capture a pygmy) decided they wanted off the damned island, so off they went. When they got a mile or two away from the island, it sank beneath the waves entirely.
  • They determined that the most likely location for the Sunken Island was northwest of the Urskan continent, and so sailed southeast for a couple of weeks, exploring a couple islands for food (and finding nothing, nothing, and freaking dinosaurs, which they killed one of and slaughtered for food, along the way), they finally sited the continent and made landfall in a pirate cove known to Rovas along the coastline of Atinium.
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Session 1
In Which Exploration is Conducted and Pygmies are Slaughtered in Various Ways

Players present for this session: Mark, Moobaka, Rovas Archer

  • The explorers returned to camp, moved camp to a slightly more southerly cave, then explored closer to camp to fill in their map. They discovered a thick patch of viper nettles, and Mark was able to determine that viper nettle berries are not only safe to eat, they help to recover from addictions and prevent disease.
  • Mark prescribed a regimen of viper nettle berries for Aerys, then set out with another long-term exploration. This time they brought Ishirou, since the berry patch combined with the group’s fishing nets meant Ishirou was no longer needed to hunt. They re-traced their steps back to the ransacked camp.
  • Mark, Moobaka, Ishirou, and Rovas Archer followed the beaten path until it split, then took the left split, disarming nasty but primitive traps along the way. It lead them to another ransacked driftwood hut, this time with a pentacle scrawled in blood on one of the walls.
  • The next morning, after a short but heated debate between Moobaka and Rovas, the driftwood hut was set ablaze to attempt to draw a response from the (presumed) natives of the island.
  • An ambush was set, using Moobaka as large and shiny bait while the other three party members hid in the brush by the side of the path. Four pygmies eventually came along and were swiftly defeated, with no wounds being taken. The party took a captive and dragged him back to the cave camp, taking a circuitous route along the west coast of the island.
  • Along the way, they found several ship wrecks, including one Brine Demon. Inside, they found a golden locket, a fancy dagger, and some incriminating and thus valuable documents. When they camped for the night, the ghostly captain of the Brine Demon accosted them, calling them thieves and scoundrels, but eventually Moobaka figured out that he wanted the locket and managed to banish him. Good thing, too, because ghosts are way more dangerous in Burning Wheel than Pathfinder.
  • The party finally made it back to camp, where they proceeded to interrogate the pygmy captive, or at least try to. Before he died to a botched surgery by Sasha, the pygmy established that there were roughly 20 more pygmies in their village, that they were lead by at least one scary witch-doctor with a large mask, and that Moobaka has a knack for accidentally finding dirty words in foreign languages.
  • Finally, a little more exploration was done, which ended in a brief but potentially very nasty with a giant wolf spider. It managed to wrap Moobaka up, but not before Moobaka (and everyone else) hacked it to pieces. The fight could have been much, much worse if I’d known what I was doing….
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The Story So Far

The PCs, by various ways and means, are all crew on Captain Grey’s pirate ship, the Ocean’s Howl. Some were old hands, some were newly-hired muscle; all were surprised when, following a tense fight with an Atinian ship of the line, a sorcerous storm blew out of the Sea of Manaan and tossed them overboard.

When they awoke an indefinite period of time later, they were on an unknown beach. After fighting off some over-eager scavengers, the PCs found the wreck of the Ocean’s Howl and managed to loot some valuable supplies and get off just before it dislodged from the rocks it had been stuck on and sank into the sea.

After establishing a rudimentary camp further in the interior of the island, the castaways began to explore, looking for a way off the island. Instead, they found four other members of the Ocean’s Howl’s crew: Sasha Nevah, Aerys Mavato, Gelik Aberwhinge, and Ieyasu Ishirou.

With their camp fortified by the presence of the other survivors, the players began to explore more and more of the island. However, all was not perfectly harmonious; Aerys and Gelik proved to be difficult to get along with, and Ishirou barely spoke to anyone. Only Sasha really seemed at all happy with the situation — mainly because Moobaka managed to find a viable leatherwing egg for her, which she immediate set about trying to hatch.

After exploring much of the northern rim of the island, tensions in camp came to a boil and an argument broke out over who would be the leader — the Captain — of the camp. After a soothing song and a heated argument, it was decided that Mark would be Captain, while Gelik, the other candidate, would be the quartermaster.

With the issue of leadership settled, the party undertook a two-day-long expedition to investigate what appeared to be a small village on the southern shore of the bay. When they got there, they found nothing but a zombie and a few ramshackle driftwood huts. On further investigation, two important things were discovered: there were numerous blood stains and signs of violence in the huts, and there was a man-made trail leading off to the south, deeper into the island’s interior…

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