Skull and Shackles
The Journal of Ezikial Hands, Journeyman Gunner Part Fourteen
So we had, then, set out to be pirates on our own, but lacked a thing that most pirates had: a crew. We had the people to be sure, but they were in no way a crew when we set out. Feruzi, Reiko and I sat down in what had become our chart room and officer’s mess to order and set our people and make them into a crew thereby and which order has been written elsewhere.
Once we had them in place, Feruzi took upon herself the task of making them into a crew. In the night, I was woken by her and Conchobahr and Rosie, all painted demonically, whilst they set themselves to enter the crew quarters. After being assured that they truly meant to cause no real harm, I watched and only added a bit of tension to the scene. After, the people in our crew quarters did indeed begin behaving in a manner like unto a crew. This was further ingrained when our ship was attacked by fish-men and one of our crew was seriously wounded, but all banded together to drive them off and search the ship for other invaders.
By that time we had reached our goal, that being Tidewater Rock, and we made to land upon it. Being unsure of us and our intentions, they of the Rock were reluctant to let us land without a surety and they claimed Feruzi as hostage for our parley. Having made her secure, we were invited in to have dinner on conversation with the Lady of the keep.
I should not here that the Rock would be indeed difficult to break, even with the stoutest of cannons as I could devise and I reasoned that Chopper had the right of it when he chose to parley rather than assault it.
Having established that both of our groups did hate Harrigan and that we sought the renown of “Cracking the Rock” rather than the substance, and agreement of sorts was agreed upon: Marriage to Lady Smythee under Shackle’s Law (much to my sister Sandara’s consternation) once Chopper and the Crisis had gained a bit more notoriety.
After leaving Tidewater Rock, we began to search for our Captain’s first choice of prey, slavers, if the truth be told. We did encourage him to accept other prey that crossed our paths, but we hunted for slavers. Our first sighting was a whaler riding into the wind at sunset. In the poor light we were unable to make out details and she eluded us. Our second sighting was of a Chelish ship, which attempted to avoid us sparking a chase.
I was pleased to be able to use and experiment of mine based of some notes found in my father’s journal, namely a variation on the ball and chain used in cannons modified to work in a ballista. I was gratified to see that it worked well and tore into the other ship’s sails to great effect.
When we had shortened the distance between our ships, we discovered that they had a Manticore kept in a cage upon their deck and seeing us so close, they did release it upon us. Chopper, being the man that he is, cried out to us to capture the beast but not to kill it as he wanted it to be his pet. We did manage to lay it low without causing serous harm, but its taming must await another time for we had pulled along the other ship.
Taking careful aim, I was able to bring the ballista to bear on the other ship’s wheel post and damage it unto breaking with a well-placed shot.
When called upon to do so, the other captain did surrender herself and her ship to us. So we had our first victory with little to no damage done to ourselves. Chopper, being eager to spread word of ourselves, did claim the plunder of that ship, the wheel and the people taken as slaves, but let the ship and its crew go unharmed.
So as to put our rescued persons ashore in a safer place than Bloodcove, we agreed to sail to Senghor for supplies and rest.
The following day, our captain did hold converse with the beast and agreed to let it free, as it would not join us in our pirating. One could scarcely blame it as it had been a slave to the other ship’s captain and when offered its freedom, it took flight.
Reiko then spoke to the officers of the ship she had seen in the night, the Deathknell.
Chopper rejoiced in the opportunity to gain renown by besting the ghostly whaler and its cursed captain and crew.