Jack Skull Finds Eldermont Gone!

The huge black ship cut through the 10 foot swells like they weren't even there.  Nearly 200 feet long, with 5 decks, and bristling with Hell's Fire guns, it was sailing west toward Port Toroga after checking in on patrol warships along the coast of the Kingdom of Eldermont.

Its Captain stood near the wheel.  His face was death, and his large body was bones without a touch of flesh.  He wore a black cloak with silver buttons, and a ridiculously grand Captain's hat upon his bleached white skull.  "Home boys!  Home to women and drink, and the Port that never sleeps!  Home to a place every pirate is welcome!  Home...to TOROGA."

The crew cheered, and some yelled out "TOROGA!"

Jack Skull

The Captain's head turned toward the coast, just before the boy in the crow's nest called out, "STRANGE HAPPENINGS ON THE PORT SIDE, CAPTAIN!"  

The Captain walked to the railing on the port side of the wheel deck, and stared out across the sea at the coastline of the Kingdom of Eldermont.  A green beam of light ran from the land, straight up until it pierced the sky.  The Captain's head turned to his left as a second green beam of light appeared, perhaps a few miles from the first.  And then to the right as another one formed a few miles in the other direction.  Looking up and down the coast, at least a dozen green beams of light could now be seen.

The Captain uttered a whispered curse, and then began barking orders.  "Head for the City of Eldermont...full sail!  Give her everything we've got.  I've made a promise, and I mean to keep it!"


The ship, the Pirates Crown, had slowed short of the City of Eldermont, and had been forced to veer to port.  Strange happenings indeed!  There was a hollowed out bowl in the ocean that extended up into the land where the Bay and City of Eldermont had once been.  The bowl was a half mile across, with equal portions of ocean and land missing, and at least a quarter mile deep.  The sides of the bowl appeared perfectly smooth, and the perimeter of the bowl was exactly round.

The crew was whispering to one another, and a few sobbed with fear.  Captain Jack Skull called out, "Continue around the eastern side of...of this...thing.  Anchor as close to the land as we dare go, and drop our boats...we're going ashore!"  The crew did not immediately respond to his order, and with a grimace Jack yelled, "I WAS UNAWARE THE PIRATES OF PORT TOROGA WERE A BUNCH OF SNIVELING HOUSEWIVES AND WOMANLY FLOUNCES!  MAKE FOR SHALLOW WATERS TO THE EAST OF ELDERMONT, OR I'LL CARVE THE FLESH FROM YOUR BONES, AND TOSS YOU IN THE DEPTHS!"

The crew snapped out of the spell that surprise and terror had cast upon them.  Their fear of their Captain trumped any other fear the world had to offer.


Five large boats holding eight soldiers each came ashore, Jack Skull standing in the front of the first to land.  The Pirate's Crown lay anchored just off the coast.  Jack walked west on the beach, until he reached the edge of the bowl cut out of both land and sea.  He stood so close to the edge, that the toes of his black boots hung out over the rim.

Jack's first mate, a rough looking hauflin named Charles Taft walked up and stood next to him.  Charles' diminutive height seemed even more exaggerated when he stood next to Jack's seven foot frame.  "Captain, I've seen some strange things...but..."

Jack Skull finished for him.  "...but this might beat them all."

Some 40 sailors stood back about 10 feet behind the two men, pointing into the bowl and whispering to one another.  

Jack lowered himself to one knee, and reached out his hand.  Charles spurted out, "Careful, Captain...careful."

Jack waved his hand inside the perimeter of the hollowed out bowl, and then reached down, and ran his hand along the inside of the cross-section of beach sand the bowl had left.  "Its like the whole place was just scooped up!  Taken away!  What could do this, but the very Gods of this world?"

Charles shook his head.  "Taken away...or destroyed?  It looks like the whole place was just...what's the word?  Eliminated.  Or erased."

Jack scoffed.  "You don't know Red Vax like I know him.  Eldermont lives.  Through blind luck...divine providence...or just...force of will.  I promise you that Eldermont still lives.  But not here...and not now."

Charles squinted, and pointed here and there.  "Why does the sea not collapse into the void?  Why do the rivers and creeks not flow in and begin to fill it?  Even the sand and loose pebbles seem to respect the empty space, and refuse to trespass within."

Jack put his hand on the small hauflin's shoulder.  "It is not for us to know...nor do I care.  The Kingdom of Eldermont has lost its capital, and if Vax, Squee, and the others were at home at the time...then it has lost its King and heroes.  I made a promise to watch over his Kingdom until Red Vax returned, and however long that takes, I will fulfill my promise."

Jack turned toward his men.  "Back to the Pirate's Crown, boys.  Toroga will have to wait.  We'll sail east again!  The subjects of the Kingdom of Eldermont need to know what has happened, and that despite the shock and worry of it all, they are safe."

As the men loaded into the boats, and several sailors each pushed them back into the ocean, there were conversations being had among the pirates.  Whispers of the Red King and his heroes.  Whispers of the magic of Eldermont, and that the city had left Kempin for a better place.  Whispers that one day, the Red King and his heroes would return when the world most needed them.

Jack Skull took this all in.  He nudged Charles, Jack's bony face approximating a smile.  "Thus legends are born.  Built of equal parts fancy and hope, upon a foundation of loss and fear.  When we're back aboard, have my bard attend to me in my cabin."


    • Marcus Auerilius

      What a fun story!

      ...and I always love it when I get to hear about or encounter NPCs who we also encountered in the early 90s.

      • Bert Godding

        Very good story!  The legend begins.  And nice attention to detail in that Jack always refers to Vax by his "pirate" name - Red Vax.