Return of the Hydra: prologue

Simonides' thoughts

Simonides was getting a little worried. It could be weeks before the Kernian authorities would finally send a rescue party, and even then, would they know where to look? It was clear to a man of his learning they were on the shores of Ademorra. Why in the blazes that drunken fool Brugal had ever sailed this way, they would probably never know. He hoped the ghouls were already feasting on the corpse of that so-called ‘captain’. More than 100 miles south off route, could you believe it?
That morning they had seen absolute proof of their location as a band of black warriors attacked their camp. Another of his men died, pierced by poisoned arrows. He had lost more than half of his bodyguards now: three had sailed away in the night of the shipwreck, never to be seen again; one was eaten by ghouls two nights afterwards; another one was killed yesterday, devoured by the biggest crabs Simonides had ever seen. These Killer Crabs did not only eat the fallen: he guessed his four remaining bodyguards still had ten toes…together. His advisor Demokles was also not amongst the lucky – the Crabs ate one eye, his nose, an arm and half a leg. The unfortunate fool needed only a parrot to turn him into a true pirate.

Simonides found himself thinking a lot about pirates lately, and not only because his advisor was now wearing a hook, an eyepatch and a wooden leg. Didn’t the rumors say Pirate King Bloodbeard buried his treasure somewhere on the northern shores of Ademorra, guarded by blood-thirsty black savages, sirens and sea monsters? Well, he finally had the chance to search these shores for himself, but the circumstances were less than favorable. He would have prefered to bring at least a small army, not four toeless bodyguards and a crippled fool. O yes, he should not forget an idiot sailor who somehow survived (despite Darwinistic Law I: non-party members always die first) and three charmed niggers. With such an army he couldn’t even take on a band of kobolds, let alone face the dangers of this ‘Hydra Peninsula’. And the biggest threat of all were not the Killer Crabs, the cannibals or even the Killer Crabs, no, it was that ragtag band of adventurers led by that old woman.
He was certain he had seen her before, long ago. Whatever were here reasons, her motives were very clear to him. You didn’t need a +15 on sense motive to guess she was out to kill him. And somehow she had managed to rally all his enemies against him: that over-pious, law-abiding idiot Ragnar; pirate & treasure-hunter Matunde; another Shairran fatso blaming him for recent taxes on date-expired chips and home-made mayo; and last but not least even his own daughter Kallithea!
It should not surprise him. Did not some Kernian poet say “varium et mutabile semper femina”? He remembered his own poem ‘on women’, written long ago, when he was still young and bored to no end by his marriage with a disgraced witless wench. She was just like her daughter Kallithea, Simonides thought.
“Some type of woman the Gods made
from a horse with flowing mane
Such a wife is beautiful to look at for others;
for her keeper, she’s a real pain in the ass”

And what about his nemesis, that old woman? Hmm, it wasn’t hard to come up with some lines:
“Made from an ape, her face is hideous,
this woman is total laughingstock
when she walks through the village.
Undesirable in every way, sex-crazed nonetheless
but every man who climbs aboard her
will get seasick soon!
She plots the whole day to see how she
can do the greatest harm.
A man can’t stop her, not with threats,
not by knocking out her teeth with a stone!”

He even suspected that fatso to be a woman also, the type the Gods made from a pig, a hairy sow
“she knows no useful skill, except to eat
Unbathed, in unwashed clothes,
she reposes on the shit-pile, growing fat!”

He should write this stuff down. Maybe future generations of scholars would be remembering him, long after his corpse had been looted by greedy adventurers…



I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.