Sir, on behalf of Empress Sophia I hereby grant you a commission of 5,000 men and 27 galleons for the purpose of re-establishing control of the imperial colony of Aguadulce. You will set sail this summer to Virentia, where you will refortify and expand the encampment, and oversee the plantations’ immediate return to productivity.
As you know, the colony was recently abandoned after an encounter with a local species of giant reptile. This is what we know:
The ancient creatures known as saurians were thought to be nothing but legend until Captain Fernando Cabeza reported several sightings in the jungles around Aguadulce. The reptilians walk on two legs, carry weapons and other tools, and have appeared in varying forms, most growing to around 4 feet. When the animals reportedly provided our colonists with food during their first winter, Cabeza determined that their size and lack of intelligence made them perfectly suited to working in the plantation.
After several months of successfully capturing and harnessing the labour of many such creatures, Cabeza reported a number of plantation workers struck down by poisoned darts. The reptiles used a fast-moving, shifting formation that made it difficult to return fire.
The camp soon came under full-scale attack; the garrison of 300 mercenaries and the other colonists were ordered back behind the palisades. Using pistols and crossbows, the enemy were temporarily forced back, but soon returned in larger numbers, using what Cabeza described as “a huge, be-spiked monster” to break down the wooden defences. Only a handful of men returned to the ship.
This report no doubt explains the much larger expeditionary force with which you have been entrusted. The colony at Aguadulce is much too profitable to abandon – your services to the Destrian Empire are of the utmost importance to its future. The Empress herself has expressed an interest and will be notified of your progress. She expects great things.