They came in the night and ran with what was left of their tails between their legs. The slaughter upon the docks of Haven was horrific but no matter all their tricks our boys and girls stood firm and held their line to repulse the pirate scum! Haven is still our haven!
And here come the pirates, right on schedule.
Cloaked in Ripjaw's famous obscuring fog, they came in ships they had taken from those known to you. You let them think that they have got the better of you; the patrol stays clear, the harbour-master invites them in to the carefully prepared killing ground of Saltburn Cove.
They take the bait; hook, line and sinker, they unload onto the docks, and whilst the fog obscures their faces you imagine they even have the decency to look surprised when the ballista and the bowmen start to mow them down with ruthless efficiency.
It almost looks like there won't even be a fight, just a well-planned slaughter as they stumble into your barricades and wrestle with the doors. The fog makes it difficult, but your ballista crews and skilled bowmen are quite good enough to keep them from setting up the trebuchet that might have caused your fortification some difficulty.
But wait - what is this strange mechanical device that Edmund De Bourgh is setting up?
A grappling hook, or at least something with the purpose of a grappling hook but significantly more moving parts than are usually present, sails into the crenellations and holds firm against an empty walkway, a patch of undefended wall. The pirate scum are already enthusiastically scuttling up the rope. The bowmen redeploy to shower the area with deadly arrows, and finally one catches the taut rope at just the right angle to send a whole string of pirates falling to their deaths on the fog-shrouded decking.
This is no time to stand around - you head resolutely over to the section of wall that the troublemakers have taken, attempting to trap them between you and the Merisusi axemen deployed in the other tower.
There's Ripjaw, lurking behind the two grinning humans with flamethrowers, Miss Ingatooth Molly of the Jolly Cuthroats and Edmund De Bourgh from the Dirty Duchess. Judith rushes forwards and attempts to cast him back, under the assumption he is in fact an eidolon; either he isn't, or something else causes her incantation to have no effect. A couple of pretty accurate pistol shots convince her to take cover behind Fayadin and Illyes who are wearing the serious armour, and you press the advantage; whilst April Showers Moist is devastating with that advanced flintlock and the flamethrowers are intimidating, the pirates are hoeplessly outmatched.
As they crawl backwards away from your devastating assault, however, you are ambushed from behind - a door has given way, or someone has slipped away and opened it from the inside. You spot a black wemic directing these troops, Silvio Sardini, a Gerosan who has taken up with the Jolly Cutthroats. There are Free Islanders everywhere; some of them are on your side, but many of them are not.
Al Saleel and Husar Al Emir decide that going to guard The Black Maggies Kitchen, where the booze is, is the better part of valour - after all, the pirates will totally attack there, right? And indeed the pirates do attack there; Quartermaster Morty O'flaherty bursts in triumphantly with Morty's Boyz and O'Flaherty's Crew, who the two wemics make short work of with a little help from the locals. Morty is last seen being carried unceremoniously over the shoulder of one of his Boyz, who jumps in the water and swims off with him.
April Showers Moist is spotted heading up to the watchtower, shooting anything that gets too close; she knows better than to hang around when Illyes barrels up the watchtower steps, and although she makes it out of the windows before he reaches her, that's one vantage point she won't be using again.
Constantin, meanwhile, finds Whiskey Jack and his Crew trying to set up a cheeky ballista station halfway up the walls. Once he's charged in and convincingly wrecked one of their ballistas, they show a great enthusiasm for not being in the area any more, especially when the Marines catch up and start taking them to pieces.
Angello and Steve pick up all the squads they can round up and start an organised sweep of the area, containing the pirate scum and gradually tightening the noose. The last holdouts, Quentin Amarus and the Roughians, are pinned down in the dry dock, where they're trying to set up their trebuchet again; about a hundred Marines convince them to change their plans in a hurry, and slaughter most of them as they run.
The fog swirling around the floating city gradually retreats, as the remnants of the attacking force are hunted down, the many fires set by the dragon cannoneers are patiently extinguished, and the corpses are removed from the bloodsoaked dock and counted. Around eighty of your Marines have given their lives in the defence of the city, but that is nothing compared to the two hundred pirates you have successfully destroyed.
Now, to chase them down and eradicate the rest of them…
Haven is despoiled! Pirates came in the night and robbed the placed clean. The ferocious Ripjaw ate all the gold he could find for it is said that now he needs to feed upon it so great has his hunger grown. Where were our heroes to hold these buccaneers at bay and save us all? Drunk no doubt on the grog that they love so much!
The fog curls quietly around your ships as they glide towards the floating island of Haven. Oblivous to your presence, the Merchant patrol avoids the swirling grey cloud altogether. You approach the narrow artificial channel into the floating city, the port they call Saltburn Cove despite it having no natural features.
Miraculously, the harbourmaster accepts your signals, unable to see the decks of your ships through the clinging mist. The codes have not been changed. The boom is drawn back: you are successfully heading into the heart of Kyle Muireann's Haven...
...where the docksides are abandoned, the workers fled or hidden. You begin to moor up to the jetties, hoping to offload your men while this fortuitious state of affairs continues; perhaps the workers are afraid of the fog.
Or perhaps the docks have been cleared to provide an open killing ground. The whine of ballista fire starts up from the encircling wall; your men scatter towards the side-streets, to find that each one has been carefully and thoroughly barricaded, every door firmly sealed. There is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, besides what little cover the ships themselves can provide. The only mercy comes from the blessed gift of fog, which keeps the ballista crew from aiming at particular targets, like you...
It looks like your journey might end here, until Edmund De Bourgh brings out a strange mechanical contraption. Aiming it at the wall, he flips a switch and a massive grappling hook flies towards the crenellations. A disturbing clicking noise accompanies its redeployment against the walls as it grabs onto the stonework. He tests the rope, ties off the other end, and begins to swing himself up into the fortifications.
Every one of you has practice at swinging from the rigging, or at least in serious improvisation, so you follow up the rope after him with little hesitation. Your men line up behind, and begin to make their climb, but the moment that Miss Ingatooth Molly clambers up onto the battlements with her dragon cannon, a lucky shot from the skilled bowmen who are also enthusiastically slaughtering your men severs the line.
With the screams of your men plunging to their death on the fog-shrouded decks below ringing in your ears, you set out to find a way down and open the doors.
It is not long before you are met by resistance; a fine selection of Merisusi axemen have come to object to your presence. They do not appear to be in any mood to be convinced they are on the wrong side, but Ingatooth and Edmund keep them at bay with their flamethrowers whilst April Showers Moist and Ripjaw shoot them to pieces.
Meanwhile, Silvio Sardini slips swiftly away through the pack, keeping to the shadows; he hides against the wall as the real threat comes past, Fayadin ibn Falahad ibn Saladin, the tiger wemic of the Flotilla, with his orange brothers and a wide selection of cronies: Constantin Gorbechevskief of the Administratum Fidelia, Judith Zeller of Rimici Capell Future Prospects with her tall brown hat, Illyes of the Evocati, and a couple of other Flotilla guys, Angello and Steve Kolakia.
As soon as Judith spots Ripjaw behind the flamethrowers, she rushes forwards and casts an incantation towards him, apparently beliving he is some kind of eidolon! Obviously, it does nothing whatsoever, and after taking a couple of pistol shots she backs off and leaves the heavily armoured Illyes and Fayadin in the front line.
Fayadin appears to have lost his spatha somewhere; this is probably the only thing that lets you stay together, even as you give ground and give ground, attempting to use the flamethrowers as cover. Illyes has his, and is using it to full effect, only your shields saving you from being cut straight down; meanwhile the lucerne hammer and two-handed sword of Husam Al Emir and Al Saleel, the orange wemics, keep you on the floor and crawling back for much of the time.
It's not looking good, until Silvio finally locates the doors that the men are battering against and knocks aside the sturdy bar holding them closed. They swarm up the stairs with great vigour, possibly due to the excitement of taking the enemy in the rear, or possibly just because it gets them out of the deadly rain of bolts and arrows still sweeping the dockyards outside.
Suddenly there are Free Islanders everywhere - and not all of them are on your side. A confused melee consumes the length of wall and spills out into parts of the floating city.
Quartermaster Morty O'flaherty is joyously reunited with his Crew and his Boyz, and together they storm the most important location in Haven - The Black Maggies Kitchen, where they keep the booze! Unfortunately for him, Husam Al Emir and Al Saleel have had the same idea, and there are quite a few locals who are ready and willing to defend their local drinking establishment with their lives. Morty ends up semi-conscious and being carried out of the area with some haste by the last avian standing, which would usually be the mark of a successful evening if everyone else wasn't dead.
April Showers Moist dances through the local Marines, outrunning them up the local watchtower, the Crow's Nest, by the simple expedient of shooting anyone who gets too close. Unfortunately then a heavily armoured figure with a massive shield, Illyes, starts up the steps towards her, and she has to make a swift exit via the extensive windows.
Whiskey Jack and his Crew find themselves in a lovely vantage point and start to deploy their various ballistae to give the enemy a taste of their own medicine, but they are discovered by Constantin and a consignment of local Marines; Constantin comes charging in with his chivalric axe and totally wrecks one of the ballistas mid-shot, and the Crew turn their energy to the more important job of saving the repeating ballistas and their own skins by heading out of the whole disaster area that Haven has become, suffering a couple more ambushes as they go.
Quentin Amarus and the Roughians break into the dry dock; they find a nice place to settle the trebuchet to start wrecking everything. They have just started with the ranging shots when Angello and Steve lead about a hundred Marines into the dry dock after them. There's nothing to do but abandon the whole thing and swim for it.
There are only nine survivors from the men at arms that came off the ships with you, no more than two from any one unit, and most of your boys are dead or trapped or on fire back in that floating death-trap.
Whilst quite a lot of Haven is now definitely on fire and a little bit smashed up or bled all over, as you regroup in the foggy waters and dredge each other out of the choppy seas, you can't exactly call this offensive a success.