Skull and Shackles: Tides of Fortune

Writings: The Journal of Arron Ivy

Originally created by Krail Stromquism on the forums. Thank you, Krail.

Day 13
Everything’s gone to hell. If only I meant that literally we might have a better chance. I’m sure theres some devil that would give me better odds than this accursed isle…Im getting ahead of myself aren’t I? What should I say, so much has happened since we ran aground. That, I suppose is a good place. No doubt, if you are reading this, know that the Chelish ship Infernus has wrecked, as I am using the manifest as my personal diary. Indeed, the truth of it lies a mile to the west of small cove near the southern tip of the Isle. She struck aground and is held fast for now. We spent maybe the first week ferrying what we could salvage off the boat. The Captain has made some rather, shall we say grueling demands of us. We must have spent the better part of a day moving his damn bed while he cavorted with the ships whores on the eastern beach.

I’m tired and I’m angry and I can’t believe how selfish these fops are acting. I know one shouldn’t speak low of their crew, but we are on land and we are marooned. We all need to pitch in and help, who knows how long we are going to be stuck here? The ships Diabolis is nowhere to be found. Only a handful of us are left, the Captain and first mate, ships whores (3), a few riggers (4), two swabs, two of the gunner’s boys and of course myself. Shouldn’t we be taking this more seriously? Went I go out to scout the island for food, water and shelter, not a nice place to set up a tranquil spot for the whores to relax about in.

I need sleep and not to dream of the Westrcrown market. The smell of the roast hogs stuffed with quail! Thick gravy poured over mead soaked bread. hell if Im not hungry! Damn it all.

I arranged for the manifest to be lost, call it my price for all the extra hauling and scouting I’ve been doing. Devils know I need to speak my mind somewhere, to someone. Tis far better here in this stolen manifest than to the Captain’s face.

Day 16
The whores are apparently running the Isle now. The fancy lad Pierce has assured me that the rescue will soon be underway. Why? Because he has been the lover to a very prominent Duxotar in Egorian. HA! The fool. Why does the Captain allow him to live? He is using up precious air that could better serve the maggots and flies that infest this Isle!

My scouting has found a few good locations for setting up a base camp and perhaps even some land arid enough to grow crops. No one thinks we’ll be here long enough for that to happen, but better safe than sorry.

Apologies to the Captain. A brave soul he is. While discussin rationing the corn for possible seed, I noticed bruising creeping up his chest. No wonder he’s been lazin ‘round with them whores, half his ribs must be broke. Putting up a strong face for the crew. Ashland, the first mates coverin for him best he can, but I seen it. Captain Dalixius, I’ve seen the man shoot fire from his eyes and tear a man down with but a single whispered word in an ear. He’s a hard man, hard as they come (sure he enjoys his fancy lads and ladies from time to time, who doesn’t?) but the fact he’s able to walk in his state is testimony his iron will.

Day 32
Disaster! While on an expedition to the Infernus, we made a terrible discovery. The storms that blew through over the last few days broke the Infernus apart, she lays scattered under 20ft of water. Hephestoles, her Gargoyle Masthead starring back at us through the blue water. We scavenged as much rope and timber as we could and got the hell back as quick as we could, ‘fore the worst parts yet to be said. The Captain’s ghouls broke free of the cage! Hopefully the shits walk the wrong direction and get pulled far out to sea, but if they made it aground, we’ll be havin some trouble indeed. Maybe it some sort of payback for using the poor bastards as shock troops when boardin a hostile ship, you’ve never seen a deck clear more quickly! HA!

Day 40
Grindylows. A whole nest of them! Their lair is directly east of the wreck, how we didnt see them before I dont know, but we seen ‘em now. Riptide Cove is what Niles has named it, after we nayed Niles’ Cove, what a fop!

Day 45
Rations running low, so the boys and I got to rough tilling the area next to the beach for corn. We’re nearly done and seed tomorrow. Could have sworn I felt a rumble. Is this island a volcano? Devils! That’d be about right with the luck we’ve had!

Day 46
The corn has been sown. We shared our last rum ration in celebration. Truly, it was the Captain’s own private reserve, and truer yet, it was a whiskey so smooth, we surely could’ve glided home on it!

In more sour news, He let tell, that he doesn’t think we’ll be makin it out of here any time soon, as an aside to first mate Ashland and me. He tells us its up to us to keep the rabble in line. One whiff of this to the swabs and them, that they’ll slit our throats while we sleep and have them whores for breakfast. He also instructs us to get busy making a shelter at the look out spot next to the spring I found. Once we get it put together, he says maybe he’ll be able to get some real rest and get on the mend. Tough as nails, that Captain. He’s teeth are tinted with blood, but you never seen him cough. Not once. He stays strong for us all.

Day 47
Took a break from felling trees to check in our corn. So Niles and me are standing there middle of the field, just talking shit about Hopper and his fat lazy ass and how it looks like two hamhocks when I start to get too tired. Niles assures me we could live for a week off him if not longer, if it came to that. So Im pretending to take big bites outa Hoppers make believe ass and Niles set to slappin his knee, laughing for all he’s worth and no sooner he’s stomped his feet three times and the ground opens up beneath him and he’s gone! Sucked right down into some fiendish maw! Well, needless to say I run like hells following me, all the way back to the whores tent… and tell Captain and Ashland whats happened. Ankheg, they sighed in unison. The hells that? I says! An antlion the size of a launch they says!

CURSED! Cursed. Cursed. Cursed! and triple cursed! What more could this island do to us?

Day 48
While running from past the field I found Niles head and left arm. I left them. May he rest in peace.

Day 60
The stockade as we call it is officially finished and open for business, as long as that business is not being eaten by grindylows, ankhegs or escaped ghouls. The shelter is a luxury indeed. Not that I mind sleeping down in the Whore’s Boudior, as Hopper coined it, but all that perfume is irritating. I swear its drawing the bot flies out.

Day 65
Up’hkate the Mwangi was eaten by the Ankheg. This is the third swab we’ve lost. I’ve named it Amphoria, after my first wife, for they both dont like getting up early (all kills have been in afternoon or evening) nor do they like eating heads. I put all three disgorged heads on pikes, maybe that’ll keep the grindylows from pestering the corn, its the closest I can come to scarecrows.

Day 70
Cursed. We are doomed. Early this morning I was tending the field and heard a terrible scream and I sees the riggers, Telson Agiers and Melfus Twowater being swarmed by grindlows as they were searching tide pools for food. Six or ten or more there were. They held em off tellI could get there and I let hell fly and caught one square in the eye! That shit won’t be coming back. Agiers and Twowater, we shaken up a bit and had a few good cuts, but between us we got the blood stopped and took them to see Angie, Captains favorite lady, at the whore’s boudoir. She’s been around and has a bit of the healers knowledge. Ran a brothel she says for years in Westcrown and followed the Captain out on the Infernus. With that red hair of hers I’d think it’d be the other way ‘round. Men must follow her everywhere. Captain had to put a man down more’n once because of the love sick she’d raised in a swabs heart.

Angie, did what she could for the boys (such a kind heart), bade them stay the night, so’s she could watch over them. “You sure?” I asked, she was looking a bit under the weather herself. Seemed she had another patient too. Twas Pierce I was more concerned with, he looked like he’d had a devil laying with him (probably wouldn’t have been the first time the man whore ’d bed a devil!) A terrible fever he’s caught. Thats all we need!

DAY 72
Truly we are cursed. There is no other explanation. Asmodeus himself could not devise a more cruel place. Hopper and Cornwallace went to check on the riggers and more than likely get some time with Salenthia. I said, she’s feeling ill, they all are, Pierce and Angie too. They went anyway. Mid day rolls around and Ashland and I go to look for them and the other boys, the only ones in camp are Captain, me and him.

Somehow, I managed not to yell or to shit myself. Ashland pulled me down and cover’d my mouth when we turned the bend, Devils what a sight! Ghoul Fever, thats what Ashland whispered in my ear as we watched Angie, Salenthia and Pierce tearing what was left of our crew apart. Eating hunks and strewing skin and fingers about. Pierce, never quite satisfied with how things were arranged, would adjust a limb just so and shift back on one foot to admire his work.

Blasted Ghouls! I whispered back. We never even saw any ghouls from the wreck, they all washed out to sea! Ashland asked on our careful retreat and subsequent run back to the stockade if I’d noticed the increase in flying pests lately? Sure enough I had, damn annoying. He and Captain and been talking the other night about it, they were worried the flies were carrying something, a disease. They were sure when Pierce took ill but not of the exact disease that was being spread. Well now we know dont we I stammered!

The Captain explained thats why the ghouls were kept on deck. Strong breeze, open air, keeps the rats and pests from catching the fever and spreading it to the crew. The Ghouls must have made their way to the forest or marsh and the flies feasted on them. Spreading the disease to their entire population over the time we’ve been here, and from them, to us.

Its likely only a matter of time, Captain says, for all of us.

DAY 75
We hatched a scheme to put the ghoul fever in check. If we can find the right plants in the forest and marsh we think, Ashland can concoct an oil or paste to keep the flies at bay. This is good news as I’ve had only nightmares the last few nights, since seeing my comrades being eaten by those things. I can’t help thinking about Angie, she was beautiful and such a kind heart. Its no way for a person to die, to become one of those things, those monsters. Ashland and I are swapping turns in the forest looking for anything useful. One of stays with the Captain in case the ghouls or grindylows make a play for the stockade.

DAY 79
I’ve just returned to the stockade, to find the Captain out of bed and whats more he and Ashland we’re suiting up, as if for boarding! Wheres the war I says. We have a tough choice to make Ivy, he says.
We want to help you as much as we can before…
Before what, I says.
The bug paste we made, it works, it works good aye? Only we didnt find it soon enough for Mr. Ashland or I. We both have early signs of the Fever. We could pretend we didnt, maybe fight off the fever for days, maybe weeks, but sooner or later we’d turn and we’d kill anyone that hadn’t.
So I proposed to Mr Ashland that we leave you with as much of the paste as we could and on top of that we’d clear out either the Grindylows or the ghouls.
Well Captain, I says, whats mine is yours, the paste you know, we’re all in it together, right?
A touching sentiment Mr Ivy, he says, but our numbers are up, its just a matter of before we turn.
You decide then, Mr Ivy, he says, you’ll have to deal with whatever is left.
Captain, he was a hard man, a good man, and tough as a devil, but I could see it in his eyes. I could see the weakness now. It was Angie. His favorite lady, he called her. She bought a wedding dress, I seen it in her things. He was going to make an honest woman out of her, he was. All thats gone to hell now, hasn’t it and it played out in his eyes. Send the man to die fighting his best whore? A whore so good he planned on marrying her? Asmodeus isn’t so cruel! I couldn’t do it. Even though the thought of being trapped on the isle with them scared me witless. What a horrible twisted fate. I couldn’t it.

Grindylows, I croaked.

Captain, slipped a thankful smile and then nothing but steely determination could be seen in his eyes. As he and Ashland open the stockades gate, he turned to address Ashland and I.
He says “I may not have gone down with the ship, but I will go down fighting.” and he drew his saber and gripped it like it was the last fucking tit he’d ever touch, and nodded and was gone.

Give em hell Captain! as I raced up to the wall to watch in the spyglass. “you too Mr Ashland! Give ‘em hell for me sirs!”

They must have killed a score or more before they we laid low. Carried off into the sea caves they were. A dreadful thing to see. Captain, he was a good, good man. Tough as they come, he was.

DAY 123
Can’t seem to find any more of the plant I was using to make the paste. Not having luck with substitutes either, Don’t have much left, this isnt good.

I can’t stop dreaming about them, the Ghouls I mean. They were ladies and a lad once. Now, they’re just things, monsters, with souls damned to torment, with no chance to deal or batter for a better afterlife. Just monsters.

*the wrtting becomes far more desperate, becoming scribbles and scrawls of panic, at times unreadable.

Day 134
So alone. I almost wish Hopper was here. That fat bastard. He’d eat me as sure as he’d fuck my mother, but at least I wouldn’t be alone, wouldn’t be so paranoid about them. I half wish the grindylows would come and attack, then at least I wouldn’t end up a ghoul! Angie visits nearly every night. She scratches at the gate and whispers the Captain’s name: Kareth! over and over again. I stayed huddled in the cabin. She says she can smell the bed they once shared, and wants to lie in it again! Night after night she comes!

DAY 135
Night after night!

DAY 136 -140

DAY 141
Not sure how much longer I can go on. I haven’t slept in a week. When I get a chance all I have is nightmares about Angie and the others all tearing at me trying to eat me. So tired, so weak. I miss you all so much. Captain, Ashland, even you Hopper, you shit, you still owe me money! Is your ghost reading this you shit!

I’m losing it. I’m really starting to crack. Maybe I can make a swim for it. Maybe I could raise the Infernus and escape!


I’m losing it, not making any sense. Need sleep, but if i do they’ll get me.
They’ll get me!

DAY 158
I was going through some of the Captains things and found this old mirror in his desk. Thats when I noticed it. I’m sick. I’ve got the fever. Just as Captain and Pierce and Angie has it. I has it now, too.
Seems theres only one thing to do. Im not going to become one of those things. Not if I can help it.

Written in a calm tidy formal script

To whom it may concern: Goodbye, It was a pleasure serving aboard the Infernus, with her Captain and her crew, all fine men and women. Please relate to my mother Ms. Alice Ivy of Westcrown, that I am sorry and I love her.

~ Arron Ivy

DAY 159
Couldn’t do it.
I could not do it. I locked myself into this damned hangman’s collar and now I cant do it.
It one thing to write it and say, its another to actually do it.
It seems so trite, so shallow. All the things I’ve done and it comes down to this? How is it that everything we’ve gone through is just trivial, just some sick joke, filler for other peoples lives.

If anyone ever finds this and reads this, we were all people. We were just like you! and whats more, we deserved to live, we earned that right, we fought for it, every day we were on this accursed isle, we earned it. I deserve to live! DAMNIT!

writing is smeared and blurry, perhaps from tears?

to hell with this. Asmodeus, if you devised this hell, I’m coming for you. To pay you back for every ounce of pain and broken hope we of the Infernus have suffered here!!