While traveling in the Sea of Swords, a thick fog settled down and the poor navigation of the Owl’s Pride’s Captain Fletcher led them near the Moonshae Isles. The waters around this group of islands is well known pirate territory (hostile mainly to Three Owls’ vessels over any others) and it wasn’t long before the fleet was attacked. With one ship captured, the Pride and it’s sister vessel made a run for it. Another attacking ship emerged from the fog, and Fletcher commanded a shameful move that would swiftly place the second ship into harms way: ahead of the Owl’s Pride. Reluctantly the crew followed their captain’s orders; the sister ship received a full barrage of cannon fire (shielding the Owl’s Pride) as planned, and Gibbs witnessed a man fly overboard from the blast. The Pride was at a standstill, safely positioned behind the other ship, so he knew he would have time to swim back and climb back aboard if he dove after the man. He grabbed hold of him in the water, swam to the Pride’s netting and climbed aboard shortly before Fletcher gave the command for “full sail” after the second cannon barrage on the less fortunate ship.
When it seemed they had reached a safe distance from death, all felt guilty for the others’ unpleasant ends. The Captain retreated to his quarters, and all thought of him as a dishonorable, hard hearted man. Gibbs had never seen such an act of selfishness and careless sacrifice of other lives. The next day the fog had cleared, and they were back on course. Everyone was quiet, and Gibbs himself felt disgust for the trade company, wishing to end his career with the organization. Unknowingly this disgust would very soon turn to hatred and change the course of his life.
Gibbs visited the man he rescued frequently as he recovered in the surgeon’s room. On one visit, the man said to him, “You know, I was puttin’ my mind on something all last night, and I think I’ve figured it out.”
“What’s that?” Gibbs asked.
“I know you. I recognized you and now I’ve got it. You’re from Morvar, aintcha?”
Gibbs smiled and laughed, “Yes! How do you know that? Are you from there also?” It excited Gibbs to hear someone speak of the place he missed so much.
“No. I worked on the ship that came every year, and I was aboard the year we took you on. It’s been a long time, butcha don’t look much different. I remember, you transferred off to Port Castigliar. I worked on that same ship a few years more, and then put in a request to come to Waterdeep. Ya know, see the big wondrous city in person m’self” The man paused a quick moment, and looked aside as if reflecting on something. “Matter a fact, I wouldn’t be seein’ the place if twernt for you. Thank ya mate. Whatya say we spend some time in Waterdeep together, have some good times!”
“I’ll agree to share an ale, but I don’t plan on spending much time there. I’ll be looking to leave soon and head back to Morvar. I’m not fond of the Owls’ Company anymore.”
“I can understand… certainly from you. It’s a shame what happened in that small town, a true shame.”
“A shame?” Gibbs was confused. “Small town… you’re talking about Morvar?”
“Of course, why would you think different? I wouldn’t imagine you’d forget!”
“Forget?” Gibb’s concern was showing. He stood, worried about the coming news. “Tell me, forget what?”
The other man looked nearly as shocked a Gibbs now. “You mean… you mean to say ya don’t know?” He buried his face in his hands, filled with grief. “I’m sorry to be the one to tell you.” He painfully but carefully rose to his feet, and began to speak. “After you left there was a meeting at the receiving port where we took our collected goods from Morvar. The district manager had gotten order from higher-ups in the company, maybe even straight down from Mr. Owl himself. Captains of all ships that ran trade in that area, employed by Three Owls, were given a list of ports that weren’t profitable enough. All valuable trade goods from these ports were to be captured and cut off from all future trade. The move would slowly strangle their economy. They figured that would make it so a competitor company couldn’t come in after they’ve left and make a profit from what they left behind.”
“So what does that mean? What did they do?”
“They sailed back for Morvar, only two months after we had already been there. I put in my transfer and began the long trip toward Waterdeep after the meeting. I didn’t want to be around for such shameful deeds, so I was not with them. When they landed the port master went to meet the Chief Mate, who was in charge of all cargo on the ship and was the man he met every year. This time, it was the Captain he met at the ship’s loading ramp. He was concerned that there was a problem with this year’s goods, but the Captain informed him of the truth. ‘All goods and land of Morvar belong to Three Owls’ Trade Company and shall be seized by said Company this day, and all future transactions stopped. This port will now be closed.’ Who knows if the land honestly belonged to them, I doubt it… but there’s no one to stop ‘em. The whole crew went through the town and took anything valuable. They pulled up crops and spoiled the soil. They took the sheep and goats. They even destroyed the mills and took equipment. But it wasn’t just the trade goods, but even personal property. It was thievery! They entered homes and took jewelry, pictures, furniture, and clothing! Anyone that resisted was beaten into submission, and they were left with nothing.”
The man continued, _“Yer Captain showed the Owls’ way back there in that battle. They don’t care for others; they do what they need to make the most profit. They’re a large company, and want to make sure they stay the largest. It’s a dirty thing… I don’t blame ya for leaving. But for me, it’s the best job I could have. The sea is my home, and this is how I stay there. Another trade company is too risky; ya never know when the Three Owls will put them under. Then you’re stuck on land! I wouldn’t last long like that m’ boy.”
In a rage Gibb’s stormed into the captain’s quarters, kicking the door from it’s hinges. Fletcher was completely surprised, and in a flash Gibbs had him by the throat. “How many people’s lives are on your conscience you murderer?” Gibbs asked as he stared him in the face. “You didn’t even look back when you left our other ships to die in a deep, cold grave!” Some of the crew heard the noise, and came running into the well decorated room. They immediately grabbed Gibbs and removed him from the Captain. They restrained him, and the Captain pulled a dagger from his drawer. He came to Gibbs and held it pressed to his throat.
“Do you have mind for mutiny boy!?”
Gibbs replied with a spit in the Captain’s face. The Captain reeled back and wiped the saliva from his face, and one of the crewmen restraining Gibbs gave him a good knock on the head.
“You certainly don’t aim to live through this night, do you?”
Just then the man Gibbs rescued entered the room. “Stop!”
“This had better be good sailor!” The Captain shouted.
“Just let him go. He’s from Morvar, on the southern shore. It’s a small town on The Golden Water coast; it was taken when we shut down operations there.”
“Like I give a damn! I wasn’t there and had nothing to do with it! Now leave while I dispose of this fool.”
“You will not kill him.”
“Oh?” The Captain gave him a hard stare. “And why not?”
“You will loose your job. No matter what his charge, if he is restrained he is to be held prisoner, not executed on the spot. He just learned of what happened to his home. Give him a break, he’s committed no crime. Just let him go, and I’ll see that he stays out of your way. He’ll be leavin’ Waterdeep and headin’ home when we land anyways.”
Fletcher paused in thought, feeling trapped. “I am Captain of this ship, you do not tell me…”
The man interrupted, “I will bear witness.” He changed focus to the two sailors holding Gibbs. “You both know it would be wrong, just let him go.”
The crewmen weren’t nearly corrupted as the Captain, and let Gibbs go before receiving an order. The Captain felt pinned and knew he didn’t have a choice.
_“Fine, but I’ll see that this doesn’t go unrecognized. The Three Owls have much control over the sea, and those who sail it. I will personally see to it that neither of you find a job on another trade vessel as long as you live. The Golden Water is a very long way from Waterdeep, and land travel is a curse. I would be amazed to hear you traveled that far and lived. So you’d better get used to the idea of life in Waterdeep. Now get out!”