Skull and Shackles

Interlude: Owlbear and Feruzi

Posted by Jennifer

Rosie headed down to bed, but stopped when she heard some peculiar whimpering sounds coming from across the way. Mystified, she crept closer, then realized where they must be coming from. Someone must be tormenting Owlbear again. Not sure whether she wanted to witness the fun or chase the tormentors off, she hurried toward the giant’s usual haunt, only to discover him lying on his side in a whimpering ball with Feruzi hunched over him.

“Watcha doin’?” Rosie asked, shocked at this sight. Feruzi looked up, brandishing a smooth length of sanded wood.

“Getting this tar off.” She demonstrated with the scraper and the turpentine. Owlbear whimpered in pain as more reddened, blistered-looking skin was revealed, but remained where he was.

“Oh,” Rosie said, not sure if she was relieved or appalled. “I thought ye might . . . I dunno what I thought, really. I’m fookin’ amazed he’s holdin’ still fer it, though. He’s a cussed brute. By rights he should be wringing your neck after that drubbin’ ya gave him.”

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Session 3: Fighting Well

Posted by Jennifer

“What are you waiting for?” Mr. Plugg growled. “There’s something in the bilges that bit Mr. Scrimshaw. Get in there and don’t bother coming out until whatever’s down there is dead.”

Feruzi frowned slightly. “If we go down there, does that mean we have to be dead before we can come up?”

Plugg attempted a withering stare, but Feruzi didn’t seem inclined to wilt. “We’ll just have to see.”

“I see that irony is not a big thing around here,” Feruzi remarked as they headed belowdecks.

“I doubt they understand it,” Ezikial replied in an equally offhand tone.

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Session 2: Life Aboard Ship

Posted by Jennifer

Ezikial looked up at the fat man blocking his path. “Well,” he drawled. “I think—” the fat pirate staggered backwards clutching his groin from Ezikial’s well-placed kick. He pulled out his pistol, cocked it, and shoved it into the man’s face. “Back off and leave me alone.” He was dimly aware of Reiko and Feruzi moving behind him, the Tian slinking back into the shadows while the Mwangi huntress stepped up to prevent the other pirates from surrounding him.

The fat man panted hard for a few seconds. “You won’t get away with kicking Fipps Chumlett!” he growled, yanking a dagger out of his belt and shoving Ezikial’s gun aside.

“No!” the big-eared woman standing beside him hissed. “I ain’t gonna get keel-hauled!”

“Most wise,” Feruzi commented as Ezikial danced backward, taking a messy but not dangerous cut along the outside of his thigh. The other pirates waded in, swinging fists and weighted bits of rope. Chopper punched one in the jaw, dodging a reciprocal kick. Feruzi’s hand shot out with snake speed, striking the rigger woman in the abdomen and doubling her up. The Mwangi’s foot then soared skyward and came down solidly on the rigger’s forehead, staggering her and putting her out of the fight.

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Session 1: Welcome to the Wormwood

Posted by Jennifer

The new day was hazy yet curiously bright, the sun not visible in a sky that seemed to glow of its own accord, one shade from horizon to distant horizon. The cramped cabin which seemed to some combination of crew quarters and brig had only a single tiny porthole, but it was enough to make the two male occupants squint and wince away, still recovering from the unholy mixture of grog and opium they’d swallowed the night before. Feruzi planted her back to the wall and eyed the other female, a tiny creature, although still armed and lacking a signature headache.

The door flew open and the horrible yellow-toothed, emaciated Master Scourge stomped in, his face twisted in a grimace that on second viewing turned out to be a shark smile. He spoke in sickly-sweet tones, belied by the six pirates with various bludgeons arrayed behind him. “Did ye lovely princesses enjoy yer beauty rest, then? The sun be over the yardarm, and it be time to report to the captain!” The smile fell away. “On yer feet, filthy swabs, before Cap’n Harrigan flays yer into sausages and has Fishguts fry yer up for breakfast!”

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Prologue: The Wild, Wild Sea
In Which We Meet Sandara Quinn.

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

31 Desnus, 4712 AR

It was her own damn fault this time, again.

Sandara Quinn had arrived at the Formidably Maid far too early, and spent nearly an hour dwelling on her reasons for coming to this dive before ordering what turned out to be the first of too many mugs of cheap, spicy rum. By the time pirates started rolling in to fill the common room, Sandara was a wee bit too drunk to talk to them. And they seemed happy to carry on without including her, so she remained in her corner, staring into her tankard.

In the dim light, the rum seemed to ripple like the sea itself. No, Sandara thought, that can’t be right. You’re just loaded to the gunwales. She squeezed her eyes shut and regretted it at once, for Da’s face still hid behind her eyelids.

Limestone watchtowers ringed the harbor. She saw the names of every ship, and the waves on the sea aglow in the fire of sunrise. And Da was there, young and alive, as she always chose to see him, his hand on her shoulder. “I know I ain’t been there fer ye much, Sandi,” Da said… nearly twenty years ago, the words still as indelible as the tattoos on his daughter’s arms. “But I won’ say I’m sorry, fer thass a fisherman’s life. Thass the sea, lassie.”

That was the way of it, all right. Food doesn’t put itself on the table, Ma was fond of saying. She wasn’t sea-blooded like Da was, but being a seamstress didn’t leave her much time for Sandara, either. “I know, Da,” Sandara said, having made a sort of peace with the situation. “You got nothin’ to be sorry for.”

This brought the familiar smile to Da’s lips. “Bless ye, Sandi. I weren’t so nice about it when it were my Da gone to sea. But thass why I brought ye down here. Now, since I ain’t been here fer ye, I got no right to ask anythin’ of ye, but I still got one thing to ask of ye.”

“What’s that?” She loved her Da with all her heart, no matter how rarely she got to see him, or how little they spoke.

“When ye come of age, Sandara Quinn, I want ye to go to sea.”

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