Skull and Shackles
Merrill 15 Rova
Excerpts from Merrill’s journal: 15 Rova 4712
If some wag had told me, even five years ago, that I would find myself a married man at the age of thirty-mumble, well, I undoubtedly should have laughed in his face. If he should have continued his precognitions by intimating that I should discover said married state to be superior to every method of living previously attempted, why, I have little doubt but that I should have proclaimed the man mad on the spot and enjoined the local constabulary to lock him away before he injured himself. Yet, here I am, and this is, indeed, the condition I find myself in. Has it been only a week? Already my quarters feel empty with her gone. Dwelling on this seems likely to darken my spirits, so I will, perforce, turn my thoughts into more productive lines.
My first priority, of course, should be to rid myself of that damnable blood-payment Bonefist decreed. Hell Harbor has proved an excellent resource for the pursuit of this goal, for Markuss inspires a great deal of respect from the Chelish expatriates that infest Endymion’s city. We have shifted nearly all of our goods, but I am yet loath to part with the currency until Markuss can ensure that we will face no shortfall as a result. This crew has gone without pay before, but it is a contingency I would as soon avoid. Loyalty must swing both ways if it is to be true.
Markuss has likewise taken the matter of Zuneraali’s shopping list off my hands, although I cannot help but think we may be best served to wait a while and see if this peculiar arrangement runs its course. Durgrin insists that we should make every effort to avoid irritating the dragon, for whatever its personal involvements it will not forget for one moment any disposition it made of its hoard. I bow to his expertise, this being the first dragon I have encountered unless you include that miserable turtle that made such a valiant effort to stave in the side of my ship. Renvel more than earned his bonus for convincing it that we were too much trouble to eat. I hope our enforced dealings with this blue dragon will prove less alarming, but I cannot say that I hold out much hope seeing that Ukele is involved.
It is not in me to think kindly of my new sister-in-law, not even for Feruzi’s sake, but I cannot say that I wish her any particular ill even after all she has done. Another might blame her for Eggal’s death, but I have lived with death for so many years that I have lost even the habit of grief. Fortunately, I have Labella and Durgrin to make up any deficiency that might come out in front of the crew. I wonder if it will strike me years from now, like poor Jamie’s death. I used to think it was strength, not to be torn by loss, but the years have taught me to see it otherwise, as some lack, an emptiness of spirit that forbids me both to weep for my dead and to have peace from them. At least I can be comforted knowing that if I have consigned Eggal to some antechamber of Eternity he will be in good company there, though knowing his tendencies he would probably be happier if there were more women about the place. Take care of him, Jamie. Feckless though he was, he would have made a good Captain in his own right one day.
Labella has just informed me that her investigations regarding Endymion have turned up nothing, but she does have news of a smuggler named Fargo Vitterande, what a name, who is occasionally employed by Endymion. There is a rumor that the man was engaged as a Chelish spy upon occasion. Interesting news. She has enticed one of the man’s former crew to give us more information on their current dealings so we might plan to intercept them later when they again visit the area. Our business here being concluded, I would prefer to get underway as soon as possible.