Adventures Ahead: ‘A Hunter’s Cry’
Murderous conspiracies, covert rituals, unwisely buried instructions… Having been absent from Sea of Thieves’ ongoing story for a while, the Dark Brethren’s return to the waves brought about plenty of fresh revelations and set pirates’ tongues wagging in the wake of our (and Merrick’s) previous Adventure, ‘The Forsaken Hunter’.
If you’re unfamiliar, the Dark Brethren court was first convened during the events of Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life. An assortment of villains and renegades were summoned for a singular purpose: to breach the Sea of the Damned, rouse an army of Phantoms and challenge the Ferryman’s supremacy. Had the Brethren succeeded in this ambitious act, they alone would have decided which loyal pirates were allowed to return to the land of the living, and who would be left to languish beyond the veil.
Luckily for those of us who are prone to being surprised by keg-carrying skellies, the Dark Brethren were thwarted in their efforts to seize control of our resurrections. Once the battle was over, most pirates assumed that the Brethren’s ringleaders were now scattered across the Sea of the Damned in the wake of their failure, and their threat would soon be forgotten.
As it turned out, most pirates were wrong.
Court in the Act
Though the Dark Brethren have relatively few members in the upper echelons, their names and faces will be familiar to anyone who’s spent time on the Sea of Thieves. The most influential among their number is Wanda, though she prefers to go by her Warsmith moniker nowadays. This former shopkeeper is particularly infamous thanks to her reinvention of Cursed Cannonballs, overseeing construction of The Reaper’s Hideout… oh, and that time she attempted to annihilate the Outposts with a fleet of Skeleton Ships. Happy days.
He may be the most surprising inclusion in the Dark Brethren’s ranks of rogues, but having been unwittingly manipulated by various parties during his time with the Bilge Rats, Duke had become something of an outcast. His desire to get back into the thick of things ultimately led to an encounter with the Sirens, which might have ended very badly for Duke had Wanda not recognised his usefulness and intervened to bring him into the fold. It remains to be seen just how far Duke will follow his allies down their dark path, but for now he seems content to be the bad guy.
Amaranta, by contrast, needed no encouragement to become the Brethren’s newest member and, ultimately, flee to their side in the wake of DeMarco’s death – though a bad habit of taunting her rivals is already causing trouble. Serving this unlikely trio are Phantoms who’ve pledged their loyalty for a chance at freedom rather than spend eternity in the Sea of the Damned, and their presence significantly increases the Brethren’s ability to wreak havoc.
When seeking to access the Sea of the Damned and summon forth Sea Forts for their own ends, Flameheart’s followers unwittingly made it possible for the Dark Brethren to flit back and forth between the two worlds, at least for a while. Once those rifts had healed, however, a panicky Amaranta found herself stranded in the living world and was forced to collect and assemble a number of strange artefacts according to Warsmith’s instructions.
Powered by the energy of a Siren trident and leveraging the skull of the once-formidable Gold Hoarder, the completed staff has further empowered the Dark Brethren, allowing them to travel to and fro as they see fit while establishing a base of operations well away from prying pirate eyes.
Their current hideout resembles a warped reflection of the Glorious Sea Dog Tavern, doubtlessly manifested from Amaranta’s memories – she spent many long hours there daydreaming of her rise to power, after all. And now that he’s been sent to the Sea of the Damned by way of Amaranta’s blade, Merrick also finds himself held in this Brethren bastion.
A Merrick-ulous Escape
Belle is certain Merrick knows something that can further the Brethren’s ambitions, and the race will soon begin to rescue him before Warsmith and her cohorts can coerce the helpless Hunter into spilling the beans – having already orchestrated Merrick’s demise once, there’s no telling what else she might be capable of doing.
Though a few grudge-bearing Reapers might consider all this to be Merrick’s just desserts in the wake of the ‘Lost Sands’ Adventure, all pirates will get their chance to set sail for the Sea of the Damned, assail the twisted Sea Dog Tavern and work alongside other crews to save him before it’s too late.
Those who know Merrick of old have almost completed their preparations. The mission to sail into hostile waters in an epic finale to this trilogy of Adventures is about to begin. Will pirate courage and tenacity see Merrick freed from the clutches of the Dark Brethren and ferried safely back to his Seapost? Find out for yourselves when ‘A Hunter’s Cry’ launches on August 18th, with your window of heroic opportunity lasting until September 1st. Just don’t forget the cannonballs…