Skull and Shackles
Captain's Log 1
I had, of course, planned to infiltrate the Shackles pirates somehow, but being press-ganged into service aboard this obscure tub wasn’t exactly on the list of Favorite Methods. Still, aside from the aching head (I was drubbed, not drugged, no matter what Feruzi claims) that I had when I awoke to the boatswain’s shouts, I was none the worse for wear. It seemed best to simply get to work and feel out how life aboard the Wormwood was, and bide my time as a sailor.
I was gratified/disappointed to see that the woman I’d been attempting to protect at the Formidably Maid (who names these places?) in Port Peril was likewise aboard the ship. She didn’t look any happier to be there than the other “recruits”, so I figure she was in the same boat as us. Figuratively. Don’t judge my wordplay. Bastard.
The captain – some unknown calling himself Barnabas Harrigan – welcomed us into his service and introduced the mate, Mr. Plugg. The latter ordered us to climb to the top of the mast, quick as we could and I “won” the honor of a rigger position. Ruse got into a bit of a hurry and nearly broke her fool neck when she fell to the deck. I tried to catch her as she dropped, but I couldn’t manage it without following her down. Ah, well. Hard knocks make good lessons. The others were also assigned jobs and we were put to work immediately.
The first day was long. I was assigned lookout along with an ostentatiously dressed, but tight-lipped gnome. My head hurt too much to make the effort of starting a dialogue with the dapper little man anyway. As the afternoon waned, I was just starting to think that working aboard a pirate vessel might not be all that different from any other ship. Then came the Bloody Hour.
A young man who had “confessed to” stealing from the quartermaster’s stores. He was condemned to death by a slow keelhauling. What was left of Jakes Magpie was a gruesome sight, but the cruelty of the punishment for his alleged crime highlighted how different the situation was on Wormwood than on any of the previous ships on which I’d served. I held my peace – no sense in joining young Magpie – but when the young Tien woman who had been assigned as the cook’s assistant made a grim joke about the contents of tomorrow’s stew, I had to comment. She assured me that it would not come to that, and for some reason I believe her.
The quartermaster Grok served the evening meal after the Bloody Hour, including a mandatory ration of some vile swill. Despite her warnings, I tossed mine overboard, and Scourge – the boatswain – saw it and declared that I’d earned myself six lashes to be administered after tomorrow’s workday. Adrenaline surged, but I swallowed it and accepted my fate, inwardly cursing at my carelessness. Feruzi narrowed her eyes at me impatiently. I found it hard to blame her.
After, I introduced myself to the other new crew members. There was Ezikial Hands, who said he’d always wanted to be a pirate anyway. He went on and on about “guns” and “black powder” and other such nonsense. He seems very passionate about these things, whatever they are. The Tien was called Reiko, and she spoke strangely for a woman carrying such a big sword. Still, it was easy to like her despite her oddity. She seemed…I don’t know…honorable?
I made it a point to introduce myself to the redhead from the Formidably Maid, whose name is Sandara Quinn. She was already into her cups – I think the grog is unnaturally potent – and talking to some other newcomers whose names I haven’t yet bothered to learn. I made nice with her and the others while she derided Scourge – who had apparently been the one harassing her at the bar. I looked across the deck and saw the man glaring daggers at me with Sandara across my lap.
I’m going to pay for this…
…And I assume the men who woke us this morning were here to collect.