Skull and Shackles
The Journal of Ezikial Hands, Journeyman Gunner Part One
Being a true son of my Father Israel Hands, I set out to go a’pirating after I had finished my self imposed training in the ways of sailing on various and sundry fishing smacks and legal traders.
To this end, I took myself to a well known establishment of the pirating sort; The Formidably Maid, not only to make myself known to pirates but to quench my ever present thirst for spirits.
While indulging in what has become a favorite pastime, that being the consumption of said spirits, I was witness to a scoundrel of a pirate who attempted to make time with an unwilling woman. Being of an intolerant nature where such things are concerned, I sought to interfere, and so pulled my pistol to interject myself into this contretemps.
Waking up at a later time and a different location, I found myself unwounded and in a room, of what I assumed to be a ship, and possibly a piratical one at that. Looking about myself, I noticed that a Mwangi woman and well-muscled man, both of whom I had noticed, I assume, the night before in the Formidably Maid. I noticed at this time that my belongings had been taken from, all save the battered flask I keep withing my shirt, and a small dagger that resides concealed in my left sleeve.
The man that attempted to force his attention on the unwilling woman from the tavern, one Master Scourge by name, and also the bosun, called us to the deck. The Mwangi woman, showing no fear and much self-possession, demanded that he move from the doorway so that she might comply.
Upon reaching the deck of the ship, I was pleased to find safe, as safe as those at sea on a pirating ship may be, the woman I had attempted to assist at the Formidably Maid.
Once all of our group were on deck, we were addressed by a large man, who we were to learn was the Captain.
“Glad you could join us at last! Welcome to the Wormwood! Many thanks for ‘volunteering’ to join my crew. I’m Barnabas Harrigan, Captain Harrigan to you, not that you’ll ever need to address me. I have only one rule – don’t speak to me. I like talk, but I don’t like your talk. Follow that, and we’ll get along fine." He paused here to look us over. "One more thing. Even with you folks, we’re still short-handed, so I aim to keep what crew I have. There’ll be a keelhaulin’ for anyone caught killin’. Mr. Plugg! If you’ll be so kind as to make pirates out of these landlubbers, it’ll save me the effort of tossin’ ’em into the bilges to rot.”
On these words, the captain left, and Plugg, the first mate, began assigning jobs based on brief testing and even briefer questioning. Having learned to never volunteer or to show all that I am capable of in unfamiliar circumstances, I neither moved adroitly nor admitted to any special training or ability, whereupon I was assigned to be the ship’s runner for the day.
While about my duties, I was happily able to make close acquaintance with the Wormwood herself, and gain knowledge of her and the locations of things within. Also, I was pleased to have a brief converse with the lady I attempted to succor in the Formidably Maid, one Sandara Quinn, by name. Being of a thankful nature for my attempted rescue, she had recovered my bag and pistol and powder and shot, as well as my last bottle of whiskey. In gratitude for the recovery of my belongings, I did share some from the bottle and allowed that friends and acquaintances of various sorts could, most certainly, be a good thing, especially on such a ship as this one. Regretfully, it being my first day, and being somewhat interested in make a good showing of myself, I pleaded duty and went about my tasks.
When the ship’s workday wand finished, all hands were called to the deck to witness what was called “The Bloody Hour” where the punishments of the day were administered to those unlucky enough to earn the officers’ ire. This day’s unhappy sacrifice, was a young lad guilty, or so we were told, of stealing from the ship’s stores. His sentence: slow keelhauling. Having not survived the experience, the lad’s remains were thrown overboard, thereby giving the rest of the crew incentive to not get caught stealing. All in all, a sad waste of a living being, to be used for such a lesson.
The remainder of the evening was spent eating, drinking and in conversation with introductions.
I made myself known to one Chopper, who was the well-muscled man from the day’s beginning, and also to Reiko, a short woman from the Ushinawa Isles, the Mwagni woman, Feruzi and I made known the them Sandara Quinn.
The lessons taken from today:
Ship’s discipline is likely to be heavy handed or deadly.
Ship’s grog is too strong, even for such an experienced consumer of spirits such as myself.
Friends are where you find them.