Skull and Shackles
Captain's Log 3
Day 4 (Continued)
Bilges are the worst places in creation, bar none. This one was better than some, but worse than others. Also it housed giant rats and one of the damned things broke the skin as it bit my leg. So now I’ve had an open wound exposed to raw sea-sewage. Seawage. Disgusting and likely infectious.
The only upside to our little excursion was that I kicked up a finely-crafted handaxe that someone must have dropped in the muck and written off. As I was already filthy, I scooped up the little kipper and brought it up on deck with me to clean.
Back above, we reported our success, and I took the opportunity of my injury to request a meeting with the ship’s surgeon, a taciturn fellow called Habbly Quarne. I didn’t need help dressing the wound, but his clean-ish supplies were welcome. Also, I had the chance to show him that I could be of further value to him should the need arise. He wasn’t keen to talk in front of Plugg, so I let my actions speak and left it alone.
* * *
In the evening, Reiko joined the sailors in their savage games – arm wrestling with nails an broken glass scattered across the playing surface. The woman is deceptively strong for her size and she handily slammed Cog’s hand down into the pointy bits. I don’t know what game she’s playing, but I don’t see the need to humiliate those that ain’t done her any harm.
Of course, when she done the same to Jape… Well. I’m not made of stone. That was funny.
Mister Hands got us all down for a game of cards in the bunkroom, though really it was just an excuse to talk. I saw to the cuts that Reiko had sustained in one of her matches – rather uselessly, since Sandara did one better with her magic – but my chiding seemed to find little traction with the Tian woman. I gave over.
Feruzi started talking about getting off the ship as soon as possible, but I’m not in as big a hurry as all that. Mutinous words were exchanged, but it seems to me like Plugg and Scourge were already working on their own rebellion and I was content to let them clash with the captain. I said as much, and the others seemed to agree that the effort would diminish all factions currently hostile to us – most everyone, really.
Apparently, though, we five have an alliance.
Work today was not so different than usual, but the evening brought a strange change. Owlbear Hartshorn – purportedly an officer aboard the ship despite being chained below most of the time – was hauled on deck (still chained) by Mister Plugg. The vicious First Mate dared any among us to fistfight with the burly, scarred Owlbear, and Feruzi took the challenge. Wagers were called across the deck as sailors chose their favored fighter.
It didn’t last long. The big man got in a powerful first hit against the Mwangi, but after that she had his measure and danced around him striking at vital pain points. It was something I’d seen her do more than once, but ordinarily with her bow. I suppose the principles are the same. Even when Plugg tossed a truncheon to Owlbear it changed nothing, and moments later the big may lay mewling on the deck.
Feruzi offered him the respect she bears for most civilized beings, and the slobbery giant seemed to fall in love on the spot. She avoided his hug and clasped one of his arms in a warriors’ embrace. I could only shake my head at her unconventional diplomacy.