With no memory of what brought them there, three crewmates aboard the pirate schooner Hurricane – a pregnant halfling spellcaster, an elven martial artist and a “ravenfolk” scholar – awaken in the surf of an uncharted island. Crawling from the wreckage of their mysteriously destroyed vessel, they soon make two important discoveries; they have no memory of what brought their ship down and they’re not alone on the island.
Indeed, there’s another maroon stranded aboard the island – a half-crazed half-elf – and it takes the four shipwrecks the better part of the first day to come to terms. Working together, with suspicion and mistrust among them, the Hurricane’s survivors canvas the beach, searching the wreckage for supplies and equipment. Finding enough food and water to survive, they also uncover several notable items from the wreck, among them the Captain’s mysterious spyglass, a few chests of personal items. Before long, however, they also discover the island’s eponymous apex predator – the axebeak.
Attacked by a massive flightless murderbird, the survivors scrape out a victory before they stumble upon another pair of the beasts, attempting to devour another unconscious survivor, revealed to be the Hurricane’s halfling Captain, Inio. Once he’s brought up to speed, Inio quickly falls into despair, muttering something about not having “enough time” and relinquishing his hold on his once-cherished spyglass. Uncertain what foul mood has o’ertaken their Captain, the survivors make a camp and argue about how best to escape the island.
The following night, keen eyes spot lights on the western horizon. Fanning their signal fire, they hope to draw the incoming caravel closer, only to discover – by way of its black sails and undead crew – that it’s the Shriek, a fearsome ghost ship that legends says ferries away the souls of the dead. As a party of undead sailors rows ashore, the survivors are torn on what action they should take. Soon as they land, Second Mate, their mantisfolk commander, promises to conduct them safely to the vessel’s mysterious Captain, who wishes to recover any survivors of the wreck.
Debating furiously, the survivors flipflop on whether to relent, flee or fight. In the end, they reluctantly agree to accompany the undead sailors back to their vessel, some far less willing than others. The Captain, meanwhile, refuses to come at all and, left no other option, Corbin attempts to knock the unsuspecting halfling out.