Separately and collectively, you’ve all fallen into the hands of beastmen slavers.
Most of you remember it this way: you were walking in the countryside near your homes, strolling home from the tavern after a night’s drinking, walking down to the river to fetch some water, or gone to visit some lass or lad in the neighbouring village.
And, suddenly, you heard a thrashing in the underbrush around you, and before you could turn you felt a whale of a blow to the back of your head, and everything went black.
When you awoke, you were in the dark, tiny, stinking hold of the slaver galley, shackled by your wrists to the sturdy beams of the slave bunks, bunks stacked like cordwood. There were about forty other captured folk of the archipelago there.
You were sick from the blow to your head and from the tossing of the ship, from the revolting gruel the slavers occasionally fed you, and from the knowledge that you were bound for one of the beastmen slave ports, never again to see your own home. Mockingly, the keys to your shackles were hung from a hook right by the hatch to the deck, only five or six feet from the lot of you. They might as well be miles away…
A few days after you woke up, the ship was hit by a squall – which turned, after half a day of tossing and rolling, into a full-fledged storm which blasted spray and curses into the hold every time the above was opened. Your jailor – a boarman of notable porcine ugliness – brought about half the shackled slaves abovedeck to man the oars vacated by sailors washed overboard. The storm continued another day, and the boarman took another one-fourth of the slave cargo abovedecks. He looked worried.
That was yesterday. You haven’t seen any of the beastmen or the slaves since then, and you haven’t been fed. Early today, the shouting and cracking of whips indicating that rowers were being kept in line finally faded away to nothing. The only sounds are from the cursed storm above and the ever-present creaking of the boat…