Washed Up On The Beach
It was kind of like the feeling you get when you're waking from a dream in a nice warm bed... knowing you will have to get up soon, but the warmth of your surroundings, and the comfort of oblivion that is so sublime in sleep... tell you to just keep your eyes shut, and maybe you'll drift away again.
It was kind of like that... except, instead of actually waking up in a bed, and the awkward part being who you woke up next to. Soubrette woke up on a beach... half drowned, the taste of salt water and sand in her mouth... and some strange man babbling on about something that's probably important, but she can't hear him too clearly for the ringing in her ears.
And what the hell was she doing wearing a whore's costume, on a beach? As she got to her feet, shakily dusting sand off her body she noticed the rough ghost of pain from a rather large tattoo covering most of her chest.
...was that guy still talking?
Soubrette blinked the sun out of her eyes to focus on the strange man now lecturing her on the local township. She clapped herself on the side of the head to clear the water out of her ears... and only fully tuned in to this odd man to hear his final words:
"buy your life with his death"
Whatever that means....
As quickly as the stranger appeared he wandered off. Soubrette stood and stretched out her body. Everything seemed fine. Well... fine for washing up on a beach dressed as a whore with a strange tattoo and no idea how you got there.
More to the point, Soubrette's body felt fine. No major injuries, and for all the confusion... she felt confident in her body to respond to her needs.
Soubrette took a seat along a small stone wall that led along the beach towards the sea. The shade cast by the low wall made the sand cool against Soubrette's exposed skin.
A corpse was nearby, crab eaten and buzzing with flies. A few feet out in the water wreckage from a large oar slaver ship could be seen. Some of it's timbers were char black, while others were simply snapped off at jagged ends. Bits of wood, and debris, that you might expect from a wreck were washing up with the gentle waves. Although from the absence of larger items it's clear the wreck has either been cleaned up or picked over by thieves.
Soubrette could hear sounds... sounds of animals, sounds of the sea, and even the sounds of men.
The terrain was thick with vegetation, trees, shrubs and all manner of flora smothering every inch of this rocky island.
...it is an island right? Soubrette thinks she remembers that guy saying it was an island. It's certainly on the water. And the huge unpleasant volcano in the distance would lend further proof to the island assessment.
Well...sitting in the sand wasn't getting Soubrette anywhere... and there was apparently someone to kill. So she got to her feet.
A trail led up the beach to the jungle and the shoreline stretched a little ways in each direction before turning out of view around some rocks.
Along the shore Soubrette could see a few people trolling the water line searching the debris. Although at the distance Soubrette couldn't tell if they were simple scavengers or pirates of some sort.
After a quick scan of the nearby area, the best thing she could find, that might be used as a weapon was a broken oar.
And if the goal was to kill a slaver to win her freedom, there could be no greater irony than putting an end to him with one of the oars from his own ship.
...well, maybe choking him to death with leg irons. but, the oar would have to do. The idea to strangle him with the tiny bit of fabric that comprised Soubrette's outfit also crossed her mind, but in the end... faith in the irony of a freed slave clubbing her way to freedom with an oar would have to do.
And on a day that started as bizarre as this one... irony might be the only thing worth putting faith in to see her through to the end.
Soubrette decided that the scavengers on the beach were best left alone and to try the path leading up the beach to the jungle.
The path led up the beach and ended at a slightly taller rock wall than what was lower on the beach towards the water.
The wall had obviously fallen into disrepair many years ago and its coarse lava rock stones were covered with moss and vegetation.
The wall was broken in many places, easily allowing anyone to pass through it, the only man made passage was blocked by a woman bound to shackles set in the masonry.
There were also several large crates and other objects obviously taken from the wreckage scattered about the wall.
Trying to think of her best knock-knock joke Soubrette approached the woman bound in irons.
Her name was Casilda and as it turns out was having a worse day than Soubrette. Never one to leave a fellow whore chained to a dilapidated stone wall Soubrette was obliged to seek out the key to the manacles that bound Casilda to her fate as fire side entertainment for the pack of pirates who'd ransacked the wrecked slaver ship.
Unfortunately, Casilda said the pirate with the key was back along the shore, which meant Soubrette would have to walk back down the beach, which meant more sand... hot and rough beneath Soubrette's bare feat... life was hell.
Such was the humor Soubrette was in as she located the first pirate along the water's edge. She'd make him pay for Casilda's rape and torture... and her scorched feet!
Bounding over the low rock wall Soubrette had been resting behind only moments earlier, she charged the pirate. His attention was on a tangle of cloth caught in the surf so he didn't see Soubrette until she was nearly on top of him.
He turned just in time to draw his blade before Soubrette brain him with her club. Her attack was slightly off and landed with a low thud on the pirate's shoulder.
Soubrette countered the pirate's attack, blocking it with the oar held across her chest, and retaliated with a quick bash of the butt end of the oar to the pirate's face.
Momentarily daze, with his nose surely broken the pirate didn't see the wild overhead swing Soubrette had coming his way.
The assault caught the pirate square on the jaw, sending teeth and blood flying. And as the pirate collapsed in the shallow surf Soubrette moved behind him to deliver a killing blow.
Being sure to use the jagged end of the broken oar she drove it into the pirate's back. Easily piercing his tattered clothes, and knocking him face first into the water. The pirate made frantic motions to dislodge the oar from his back as he struggled for breath, but Soubrette kept the pirate prone... using the leverage from the oar and her own strength to twist the wound and keep him pinned down like the slimy insect he was.
The pirate's thrashing soon stopped. And the only difference in the world was a bloody slick to the surrounding water, and a bit more trash along the shore.
Soubrette searched the pirate, finding the key to Casilda's shackles in his pouch, and with a wet yank pulled her oar from his back and was done.
Soubrette considered returning immediately to Casilda but upon seeing a couple more pirates further down the beach decided that their needed to be a bit more suffering dealt to balance out the books in Casilda's favor.
Soubrette dealt with the remaining pirates quickly and ruthlessly. Taking anything of value off their corpses and leaving their carcasses for the crabs. With the shore littered with the bodies of five dead pirates Soubrette considered the scales balanced.
The crocodiles on the other hand, well... that was one part "wrong place at the wrong time" on behalf of the poor animals being within reach of Soubrette on a bit of a blood lust kick, and the other part.. .someone, or something having to suffer for her scorched feet. (balancing of the scales and all that)
Walking leather goods seemed like an appropriate object to take her hatred out on...so Soubrette made a wandering expedition of the shore. Killing anything unfortunate enough to have four legs and be a crocodile.
Her little detour brought her luck. Up around the bend was a sandy alcove thick with crocodiles. Not only was it fun to take out some frustration on them, but an abandoned camp site turned up a small chest with a few nice bits of treasure in it.
After looting the chest, and wiping a bit of crocodile gore off her weapon Soubrette thought it'd be nice to cool off.
She climbed the small rocks of the alcove and made her way back to the water.
Just dipping her feet in the shallow pools where the sea washed over the rocks felt good. The sand...now made into blood soaked mud was washed away. Soubrette wiggled her toes in the warm tropical water.
Slipping into the sea Soubrette felt again that momentary warmth. That fluid embrace of the sea surrounding her and welcoming her back. Soubrette chose to swim towards the ship wreck, intent upon exploring what was left of her would be master's sailing barge.
The water bathed Soubrette, removing the sand from delicate areas, relaxing the muscles that were made tense from her fights with the pirates and crocodiles. Soubrette took time to admire the undersea plants, and watch the schools of small fish swimming beneath her.
Nearing the wreck Soubrette turned on her back, relaxing totally to float with her face towards the sun. Thinking of the irony of relaxing in such gentle calm, that itself was the cause for the violent chaos that crushed the boat she now floated towards.
It crossed her mind, that maybe irony was the best god of them all. Or if not god, at least the only intuition that made sense in such a world. But surely such absurd tribulations were the work or joke of some being of power.
No matter... Soubrette had reached the wreck. And slowly swam around it. Noticing the fine Stygian craftsmanship, the many fine carvings in devotion to Set. The massive snake head ornament on the prow of the ship. All contrasting with the wreckage of the vessel. Greater than half the ship was missing, what remained seemed to be the upper most deck of the far forward section of the ship.
As Soubrette swam a oblong lap around the ship she noticed a glimmer of metal below the water. Diving down she discovered a chest. Straining to see against the salt water, Soubrette opened the chest and collected the contents. Several pearls and a metal ring.
Taking a breather by pulling herself onto the front of the ship that still stood above water Soubrette examined the ring she had found. Small intricate runes devoted to fire worship made Soubrette guess the ring had some small enchantment. Slipping it over her finger she decided if nothing else, it wasn't proper for a nearly drowned escaped slave dressed as a whore to approach town without some sort of finery... what if she needed to bribe a guard or barter for food. She'd need just this sort of trinket to make a deal with.
Resolved on all that Soubrette decided it was time to free Casilda. She slipped back into the water and made her way to shore.
Once back on the beach she put her hair into two quick braids, wringing the water from them as she worked her raven-black hair into tight plaits, and checked her inventory of stolen and acquired goods.
The little bits of whore's clothing Soubrette was wearing provided little in the way of pockets. But for now it made due. A stolen coin purse and a small backpack were enough to accommodate her needs.
Casilda, of course, was where Soubrette had left her...
For a brief moment Soubrette contemplated teasing or otherwise taking advantage of poor Casilda, but in the end, she was just a bit too tired to bother.
Sometimes, doing the right thing is a simple matter of laziness Soubrette thought. And with that she approached Casilda, producing the strong iron key for her manacles, much to Casilda's delight.
Fitting the key into the locks, and freeing the poor woman... Soubrette took her first real steps towards being an adventurer of Tortage.