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Smoke rolled over the beach, blotting out the sunset. Behind, burning tents and scattered bodies. Ahead, the palisades. The pirates of Lost Rigger Cove were trying desperately to close the gates to the wood walls as quick as they could, but they found themselves distracted by the arrows raining down on them. Two figures slipped through the gates a moment before they were sealed. One by one the pirates were cut down, blades singing as they sliced through air and flesh.

Two figures remained: a bare-chested orc man brandishing a rather large sword, and a gangly, pale man sporting a black leather chestplate and a weathered brown hat. They nodded to one another, and the orc dashed toward the sea. The other man produced a small pocket watch from a side pouch. Seven minutes left, at the most. A pop went off in the man’s ear, and a burst of static.

“I’m going to take care of the ships, first. Better start hitting those buildings, Booth.” Even through the tinny crackles in the earpiece, Nerrok’s voice still boomed. “Don’t you worry ‘bout my job, greenskin. Just get crackin’ on them charges. I’ll keep ‘em nice an’ busy over here.”

Booth was already dashing across the pirate compound, rolling behind boxes, barrels, and the occasional driftwood bench to keep him unseen. The target was directly ahead. He ran through the door of the bunkhouse and rolled behind a rotted crate, barely making a sound through it all.

Feet charged out the door seconds later, most likely toward the wall to check for the two attackers. Noticing a straggler out of the corner of his eye, Booth flicked his blade out of his hiding place, making a nice, clean cut through an ankle. The human screamed in pain, stumbling forward and falling on his face. Booth descended upon the man and grabbed his right shoulder, digging his fingers into the flesh. With a swipe of his knife he skinned a chunk of flesh from the man’s right shoulder, ripping away a large piece of muscle and dangling tendons. The assailant could not help but laugh under the screams.

By now the pirate’s friends had noticed the assassin. Booth looked up from his victim and to the gathering group, casually jamming his knife into the bleeding one’s back with a grin. The man spasmed and went still, eliciting a roar of anger from the others. There was little time for them to react, however, as the knives fell upon them. The first suffered a jab to the stomach and a blade through the lower flesh of the jaw, piercing the tongue and brain in one thrust. A sword swiped through the air, but never made contact as Booth quickly closed the gap between the two men, cutting through his neck with one clean motion. One, two, three times another sword was parried by the hunting knives, only to be cut from the pirate’s hand as his wrist was hacked open. The unarmed man stumbled between the bunks, desperately rushing for the back door. Booth bound over the cots, laughing with each spry leap. A long, ear-piercing howl split through the cove, cut short by peals of cracking bone.

Three minutes later, the bunkhouse was desecrated. Four more men had fallen, each mutilated and strewn about the room. Booth was a very successful distraction, having gathered a large crowd of angered swashbucklers outside the building. Just as he tore though the gut of another writhing soul, a crackle filled one of Booth’s ears.

“Package delivered. Opening in 15... 14....” Sadly, for Booth’s amusement, Nerrok was a fast counter.

Booth reconsidered his disappointment when the pirates burst into the building brandishing swords, torches, and enraged expressions. With a blinding flash of light and a small puff of smoke, Booth flung himself out a window, crashing into the sand below.

“... 8... 7....”

He sprung to his feet and hit the ground running. The air whistled in his ears, drowning out the countdown to a hoarse whisper. He scrambled up the ramp of a tower on the palisades.

“... 3... 2....”

Booth hurled himself over the edge of the top railing and crashed onto the sand on the other side. The guard at the top screamed something out in Common, though the noise was nothing compared to the deafening roar of the detonating seaforium charges. Booth pressed himself against the wall, feeling heat rush between the logs and lick at his skin. He pressed his fingers to his left ear as the noise died down, panting in exhaustion.

“So, greenskin... does this mean we ain’t gonna’ get rum from them pirates no more?”

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