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Companions of the Shell -- The Company Todayby Tristan Dunigan
Today, the Company maintains a headquarters in a mud-brick fort in R'nak, called Fort Terrapin by the Tortles, but it is marked as Castillo Tortuga on maps of the other races of the Savage Coast. It was built on a small hilltop, and on top of a natural spring. The tall mud-brick walls were placed in a series of differing sized circular formations; largest on the outside, becoming smaller towards the centre. Each wall has several openings, some of them blocked by large boulders. This serves to confuse and adversary trying to enter the fort, and to give the Tortles more than one means of exit should evacuation become necessary. Although the Company mainly operates in and around Dunwick, Bellayne and Renardy, it is not unheard of that the Company will travel great distances, even so far as the Baronies, if it is heard that their Tortle kin are in need of aid. As gatherings of the entire company are limited to special events and emergencies, most encounters with the Company will be in smaller groups of Postulants, Associates, and perhaps even a Shell Sergeant. The duties of the company include:
1. Service to Tortle Communities
2. Recovery of the Six Scutes of Chelona
3. Preservation of Peace among Tortle-kind
4. Direction of ceremonial gatherings
5. Keeping Tortles safe from Affliction
6. Ambassadors of the Tortle people
7. Ambassadors of Good Will to all other peoples asking their aid
One of the constant challenges of the Company, in addition to Goblinoids and Affliction from the Red Curse, ironically, are the very Tortles they serve and protect. Some Tortles see the Company simply as a band of warriors and hold with the old adage "violence begets violence". They see the Company as nothing but trouble waiting to happen. To dispel this, the main mission of the company is community service.
Secondly, many of the more devious landowners and nobles from surrounding nations are rather disturbed at the Tortles attempt at "discovering themselves". To them, their source of cheap labour would be threatened if the Tortles were to unite as a community. To that end, many have taken to hiring mercenaries and adventurers to look for the Scutes of Chelona as well; to keep them out of Tortle hands, perhaps even to use their legendary powers for themselves.
Another problem are the Snappers; the primitive, bad-tempered cousins of the Tortles. Some family groups who dwell closer to the coast have been having problems with these monsters and have asked for the aid of the Company. Small patrols Postulants and Shell Sentinels are a common site on the beaches, in answer to this request.
The company has no real weapon of choice as combat is seen as a secondary and less important part of the companies mission. If an ends can be reached without having do draw weapons, so much the better. Unlike most Honourbound, there is no restriction on the use of ranged weapons. The belief is simply that if one has to use weapons at all, use whatever you have to protect the community and yourself. Magic is seen as a tool and its use is encouraged. In fact, some Tortle mages are often made Postulant Companions. The Tortles in the company do learn the art of charioteering and must master it to reach the higher ranks within the company.
Since its foundation, the Company of the Shell has remained rather small, but still effective enough to accomplish its mission and always on the lookout for more allies. One of the Honourbound Companies in Bellayne has even gone so far as to pledge their support to the Tortles for their, "outstanding sense of community" and "honouring peace above all else."; Which is where the Company of the Shell got its motto "Peace Above All". All in all, the Company of the Shell is seen a positive addition to the lands of the Savage Coast. So, should you ever find yourself in peril, look no further than the shell!