Goatshead

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The captains who founded the settlement on Firegrass Isle are long in their graves, but Goatshead continues to thrive. While to this day only three vessels call the port home, the little town boasts a population of over 400 souls, with three taverns, a pair of inns, and a half-dozen big warehouses. It sees its share of merchants anxious to barter for stolen Sargavan goods at bargain prices, and it is also rumored that the Pathfinders have some interest in the town as a potential base of sorts, though their reasons have not yet been made clear.

Goatshead is a rough place. As for government, the town charter is affixed with a dagger to the wall of its oldest tavern, Walleye’s Rum Room. Scrawled in the childish script of a semiliterate, it reads, “No lawss, nor lords, evry won is hez oon mastr—We ar the lass baschun of freedym.” It is signed by three very shaky X’s, a testimony to the education of the founding trio as well as their intemperance. The three captains of today’s Firegrass are not so different from those long-dead founders.

Captain of the frigate Red Courage is Sweet Wilihem Poore. His name refers to the fact that he is forever chewing a stalk of sugarcane and has nothing to do with his disposition; on the contrary, Sweet Wilihem is an ill-tempered terror and has had considerable difficulty keeping a first mate, who inevitably endures the lion’s share of his captain’s cantankerous wrath. In fact, the Red Courage is currently without a first mate, as the last was recently set ashore on Raptor Island. The long-suffering ship’s surgeon, Thecla Dumeili, has taken on the first mate’s responsibilities while the captain tries vainly to secure someone else willing to take on the job full time. Tepen the Quiet, the ship’s tengu carpenter, remains the only crew member onboard who escapes the captain’s fury—Sweet Wilihem calls Tepen his “feathery good luck charm” and allows him certain privileges onboard that set less superstitious members of the crew to grumbling.

Captain of the three-masted barque Bold Folly, Bent-Beak Charney is famous for his crooked, hawklike nose, which he’s said to have broken more than two dozen times. His first mate is Blondie Humbe. Named for her elaborate, straw yellow braids, she is celebrated in taverns across the Shackles for the elegant artistry of her cursing. Other colorful crew members include three Mwangi Ouwacho brothers, Benna, Kwasi, and Themba. Inseparable and given to practical jokes (especially ones directed at one another), the three have developed an uncanny martial harmony and are particularly skilled at fighting as a unit.

Dancing Darla Madile, known across the Shackles for her rare wit, skill with a falchion, and lively manner, captains the sloop Besmara Winks. Darla also holds a reputation for being quite devout, and two priests of Besmara serve in her crew: Hesla Fornathi and the gnome Green Jacobo. Foul Margot the dwarf serves as boatswain—“foul” referring to a pessimism so black it snuffs out even the brightest ray of hope among her unfortunate deck crew.

Goatshead

Skull and Shackles DarthKrzysztof