23 Sarenith, 4712 AR
Captain Plugg glanced up from his desk as his crew squeezed into the captain’s cabin. His loyal crew, his real crew. Even the two Rahadoumi he’d recruited from the Man’s Promise were more trustworthy than the troublemakers they’d picked up in Port Peril…
Owlbear shifted out of their way, chains rattling as he settled back down on the leeward side of the mast. Plugg could no longer count no the hulking brute to defend him, especially from Feruzi. At least the clanking of his chains might be enough to wake him, if knives came for him in his sleep.
Master Scourge came in last, closing and locking the door behind him. “It’s done, Cap’n,” the rail-thin man announced.
“Good.” Plugg steepled his fingers, allowing himself to think that maybe this would work, after all. “Do the others suspect anything?”
Scourge shook his head. “They was all fast asleep down below. Aretta here kept real close watch on ‘em. Ne’er made a peep.” The ex-harlot grinned from one big ear to the other, nodding her agreement.
“And our two guests in the officer’s quarters?”
“The same,” said Badger Medlar.
“Then we should make the Slithering Coast in a few days, as long as the wind stays with us.” Plugg cracked the knuckles on his left hand, then his right. “And once we’re there, we can rid ourselves of our crew’s more troublesome members.”
Narwhal Tate spoke up: “You mean let ‘em walk? Or…” The dwarf mimed dragging a blade across his own neck.
“Oh, Mister Tate. Surely you’ve seen how formidable they are in a fair fight.”
“Didn’t say nothin’ about a fair fight, Cap’n sir.”
Plugg chuckled. “Of course not. But we barely have enough sailors to crew this ship as it is. Assuming you could send them to Besmara’s locker right now, it would only make your jobs more difficult. Better to wait until we reach Rickety, and see if we can resolve this peacefully.”
The captain’s words didn’t rest well with anyone, but that was the point. Make them hunger for it, Plugg thought. It will make the end of this dance all the sweeter. “For now, we stay the course. Get some rest, you scurvy tars. Dismissed.”
The crew filed out, save for the lingering first mate. “What is it, Master Scourge?”
Scourge closed the door. “Permission t’ speak freely, Cap’n sir.”