The men awake in the dark, muggy hold, and set about preparing for the day’s work. Zalamesh has a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach, and turns about to find that four of the crew have maneuvered themselves between him and the other new crew and the stairs topside. Some of the crew have quickly made themselves scarce, while others are loitering on the steps to watch. “Jaundiced” Jape, “Slippery” Syl Lonegan, Aretta Bansion, and Fipps Chumlett stand before them with threatening glares.
“Where d’ye think ye be going?”, inquires the fat Fipps, shoving Hamish insolently. Hamish roars and grabs Fipps by the back of his neck, jerking the fat bully forward into a stout punch from his other hand. Fipps falls to the ground, blood streaming from his face. A brief scuffle breaks out, with Aretta attempting to kick Zalamesh in the groin before he intimidates her with his fearsome reputation as a Bekyar demon-worshipper. Bahram and Syl trade blows ineffectually before he plants a boot in her stomach and shoves her back. Theodric attempts to reason with Jape, but the half-orc is having none of it, until Zalamesh musters his spiritual energies and commands the swab to drop to the ground. Fipps attempts to struggle to his feet, but Gibbs stamps on the fat man’s back, then drops an elbow into the small of his back, leaving him struggling to remain conscious.
The two women flee for the stairs, while Shango attempts to interrogate Jape, a task which is made harder by Theodric’s offers to heal the aggressors. Eventually Zalamesh pulls Jape’s focus back on him, and the sullen swab tells him that Scourge doesn’t like the new crew, and sent them down here to rough them up a bit and make them late for morning roster—and they may already be too late!
The men quickly trample their way up the stairs, each eager to avoid getting any punishment. Hamish grapples with Fipps Chumlett and “Jaundiced” Jape, trying to keep both of them from arriving before him. Jape, however, has a good head start, but he, Hamish and Fipps all end up being late, and sentenced to three lashes during the ‘bloody hour’ after work.
Zalamesh is assigned to the bilges again, and, as it is quite a hot day, he gets quite tired, but he finds a leather cuirass and a well-crafted boarding axe in some of the flotsam floating around down there.
Bahram, being the cook’s mate, has to help Fishguts again, but Fishguts is relatively sober today, and Faiz has little to do other than drink rum and listen to Kroop as he laments his fate in the kitchen. Faiz has has time to chat with Cut-throat Grok, and he flirts with the gravelly-voiced quarter-mistress. He learns that Rosie Cusswell has a fiddle in the booty like Theodric. Having little else to do today, Bahram also talks to Tilly Bracket, who tells him that the widely-disliked first mate, Plugg, is deathly afraid of crows. Tilly joined up about six months ago on the Wormwood, when many of the crew, including Plugg, were taken on.
Plugg assigns Theodric to rope work today, and despite doing an exemplarly job, the first mate always seems to find fault in his work. Theodric finds time to talk with Rosie Cusswell, who was also press-ganged onto the Wormwood days before he and his mates. She lost her temper trying to get her prized fiddle back from Grok, but really wants the valuable instrument back. Rosie has a fiery temper, and particularly despises Mister Scourge.
Hamish is tasked with catching rats aboard the ship today by Mister Plugg. The half-orc is utterly unsuccessful in the task, to the vocal displeasure of the critical first mate. Hamish’s poor performance may have been somewhat due to his determination to spend as much time flirting with the alluring Barefoot Sams, who, to many of the crew’s surprise, seems to respond with enthusiasm.
During the Bloody Hour, Scourge whips both Jaundiced Jape and Fipps with a wicked laugh, despite each of the swabs being ‘mates’ of his. Scourge’s special ire is reserved for Hamish, however, as the half-orc’s thick skin seems indifferent to the first few lashes of the whip. Scourge finally lashes out with a vicious swipe and peels a strip of hide from Hamish’s back, though a surreptitious blessing from Zalamesh beforehand has softened the blow somewhat.
When the rum is rationed out, Theodric tends to Hamish’s wound before seeking out Grok herself and drinking with the half-orc. Grok gets more foul-mouthed as she drinks, but despite her tongue, her mood improves. Theodric tries to get his fiddle back from her, but she explains that the loot taken by captives is pirate booty, and she’ll have to account for it to the captain. He can buy it from the stores, but she’ll not be returning it with nothing to show on the ledger.
Theodric also attempts to heal Fipps from the thrashing he received from Hamish, but the fat swab is having nothing to do with him and brusquely waves him off.
Zalamesh seeks out the other Bekyar aboard, Shivika, speaking to her cautiously in polyglot, attempting to come to an understanding. Shivika is blunt with him: She and Scourge are mates, and Scourge doesn’t like the new crew, so she doesn’t like them either.
Hamish spends little time on deck after the rum ration, as he and the very affectionate Samms find a warm hammock below deck and entertain themselves while the crew relaxes on deck.
Bahram, who fell asleep soundly after the rum ration, wakes up late at night on deck, and talks to Jack Scrimshaw, who also signed up with Harrigan on the Wormwood six months ago. Jack was intimidated by Harrigan’s reputation as a hard master, but hoped his sailing skills would prove sufficient.