Adventures Ahead: ‘The Forsaken Hunter’
It’s fair to say that Merrick, determined Hunter of the Hungering One, has been the talk of every tavern in recent days. The grizzled old salt was brought out of retirement by Belle during the events of ‘The Shrouded Deep’, becoming embroiled in a perilous quest to help slay the most elusive sea monster of them all.
Unsurprisingly, chasing Megalodons across the high seas soon rekindled Merrick’s desire to be where the action is. He set sail once again and arrived at Golden Sands Outpost, which had been left to rot in the wake of Captain Flameheart’s destructive ambitions, in order to champion its restoration.
So began ‘Lost Sands’, and after a tense tug-of-war with the Outpost’s fate in the balance, Merrick and his friends – not to mention the countless pirates who joined his cause – were able to drive away agents of The Reaper’s Bones and begin a new era of prosperity at Golden Sands. Why, then, has the victorious Hunter not been seen in recent days? Examining Merrick’s recent activities may provide insights…
New arrivals on the Sea of Thieves may not remember Golden Sands Outpost as anything other than a desolate wasteland, let alone recall its days as an appealing destination for anyone looking to trade, but the island was once considered an idyllic rest stop at the heart of the Shores of Plenty.
That changed overnight when Golden Sands was suddenly drenched in a dense fog; an event that kickstarted the ‘Shrouded Islands’ Adventure and the beginning of an assault that saw the Outpost’s residents kidnapped by Flameheart’s forces, then imprisoned in six imposing Sea Forts.
While courageous crews ultimately arranged a daring rescue that saw the island’s inhabitants released from captivity, Golden Sands itself remained shrouded and abandoned – at least, until Merrick arrived on the scene…
Cache in Sand
Time spent with Belle aboard the Killer Whale offered Merrick unique insight into what had kept the Outpost from recovering in the wake of ‘Shrouded Islands’. The answer, as it turned out, was lying beneath the very beaches that gave Golden Sands its name.
Accompanied by some willing residents who were keen to return home, Merrick proceeded to unearth hidden Relic Caches buried by members of The Reaper’s Bones. These secret stashes were intended to both cloak the Outpost and thin the barrier that separates the living world from the ghostly Sea of the Damned, furthering Flameheart’s agenda.
Unsurprisingly, the Servant of the Flame was less than pleased by this sudden interference in his father’s master plan. Having learned of Merrick’s reconstruction efforts from his avian spies, the Servant vowed to replace any Relics that had been destroyed, sending forth Reapers to cast Golden Sands even further into ruin.
Reap What You Stow
The stage was now set for an intense confrontation between two unlikely opponents, each joined by more loyal pirates as the days went on and both sides determined to prevail. Pirates who sailed in Merrick’s name found themselves delivering much-needed supplies to the Outpost, while swiping Relic Caches from the Reapers ferrying them in aboard dangerous Soulflame Rowboats.
The Servant’s allies, meanwhile, strove to escort those same Relic Caches safely to the intended destination, then destroy their Rowboats on the beaches of Golden Sands itself, unleashing ethereal energy to plunge the island further into darkness. If they were able to make off with Merrick’s supplies along the way, so much the better.
It was Team Merrick standing triumphant when this contest concluded, though an early lead and the determined efforts of The Reaper’s Bones almost saw the Outpost evacuated for good. With the Servant in reluctant retreat, the denizens of Golden Sands returned home at last – and so did Merrick, bowing out gracefully and setting a course for Stephen’s Spoils to resume his culinary duties with The Hunter’s Call.
The Hunter, Recalled
Barely had Merrick set a pegleg on his favoured Seapost, however, before he was drawn away on some new journey – and this time, not even Larinna’s Bilge Rats can divine his exact whereabouts. There are those who suspect he’s fallen back into bad habits and will turn up in a grog-fuelled stupor sooner or later, though others are more concerned about foul play preventing his return.
Have Merrick’s recent successes brought about his own undoing, is he simply taking a well-deserved vacation, or are there more nefarious forces at work? It’s true that in the wake of ‘Lost Sands’, Merrick has made new enemies eager to take revenge upon the pirate who many consider to be a pillar of the community. For all we know, you may even be among their number…
Still, there’s no question that the Sea of Thieves owes Merrick dearly. Soon Larinna will be entreating pirates to settle that debt and see if they can bring the heroic Hunter safely home. You’ll be able to join her search and discover the truth behind this fateful disappearance for yourself when ‘The Forsaken Hunter’ launches on June 30th, a maritime manhunt that lasts until July 14th. Mark the date carefully – it may just save Merrick’s skin…