Skull & Shackles

Fifteen days at sea
Abadius 23, 4712

Mister Plugg sets Theodric to working in the riggings today, while Zalamesh is assigned to haul rope and knot work. Hamish is assigned to serve as the ship’s runner today, and Faiz, as usual, is assigned to prepare the ship’s biscuit and evening meal.

Zalamesh works hard hauling the heavy ropes of the Wormwood, but he is able to spend some time horsing around with Tilley during the shift. She enjoys his macabre sense of humor and his bloodthirsty reputation.

Faiz finds that Fishguts is drunk again, so he buckles down in the kitchen for the day, using Kroops old cookbook, and determined to avoid giving Scourge or Plugg any reason to find fault with his cuisine tonight.

Theodric spends his time in the riggings talking with Barefoot Sams, as he is able to easily handle the work in the ropes. Whether it is his reputation as a blessed of Besmara or his good looks, she likes talking to him, though he does notice that she has a gossipy interest in everything that goes on the ship.

Hamish wears himself out, as Plugg and Scourge delight in running him all over the ship for the slightest of reasons. Frazzled and sweaty, he takes out his frustrations on diminutive Giffer, scowling and cursing at the gnome. Giffer is taken aback at the change in his demeanor from affable to irritable, but her dread of upsetting him outweighs her indignation.

That evening, Faiz attempts to ingratiate himself with Jack Scrimshaw, but the crafty pirate seems to be disinterested and a bit aloof. Theodric, however, spends some time and rum gossiping with Ratline, inveigling the nosy halfling into his confidences. Zalamesh drinks and jokes with Rosie Cusswell, recounting his adventures and his mate’s misadventures with the sharp-tongued Riaris Krine. Hamish, however, has had enough talk, and challenges Fipps to an arm-wrestling match. To the portly bully’s dismay, Hamish maintains a steady pressure and grinds Chumlett’s arm into the glass and barnacles encrusted on the barrel, winning the gold for himself (and some silver for Zalamesh, who connived a foolish Aretta into betting on Chumlett to win).

At sea on the Wormwood, Day 14.
Abadius 22, 4712

The day seems to be a bit cooler than the previous one, with a fresh breeze blowing. Mister Plugg alerts the new crewmen that there will be no duty roster for them today. “Don’t look too happy about it, ye swabs! Krine is your master today! She’ll teach you the finer points of boarding, or flay your ears from your heads with her tongue.”

Riaris Krine, the ship’s Master Gunner, has skin tanned dark by the sun, and a nose that has been broken many times. She proves to be a foul-tongued wench and makes Rosie Cusswell seem like a nun. She orders the four to lower the ship’s boat, and stow grapnels and rope on board. She makes Hamish and Zalamesh row the small craft off from the Wormwood, before dropping anchor perhaps 40 feet from starboard.

Krine explains, with much profanity, that the men are to cast a hook to the ship, make it secure, and climb over the rope from the boat to the Wormwood. To their chagrin, the four see that “Jaundiced” Jape, “Slippery” Syl Lonegan, Aretta Bansion, Fipps Chumlett, Maheem, and Tam “Narhwhal” Tate are all standing on deck, with eager, unfriendly grins.

“Now, I can’t allow them on board to harpoon your useless arses, so they’ll be hurling refuse at your worthless carcasses instead.”.

Theodric’s first cast of the rope fails, but he succeeds on his second cast of the hook. He begins to climb across the rope, but the crew on board are hurling trash at him. Narwhal even throws a coconut! One of the pirates hits him in the face with an old boot, and he tumbled into the drink. Krine curses at him and bids him to swim back and try again. On his second attempt the drenched priest succeeds.

Zalamesh misses on his first cast of the rope, but sinks his hook on his second try. He climbs ably across the rope, not faltering at all while the unfriendly deckhands curse him and hurl garbage. It appears Narwhal has a supply of coconuts for just this purpose!

Faiz tries and fails to secure his grapple onto the ship, until Krine slaps it out of his hand and tosses it across. “Now clamber across, you weakling shit!”, she orders. Faiz attempts to do so, but tumbles into the water. After swimming back to the boat, he is ordered to attempt again. He is no more successful on his second, or third tries. Finally, Krine orders the others to haul him out of the water, scoffing “He’s as welcome as a wet fart!”, while giving him a thorough drubbing with the damp rope.

Hamish hurls the rope with a great swinging loop, but fails to make a good cast until his third attempt, which sinks deep into the wood. However, the burly half-orc cannot manage to clamber across the rope to the ship, regardless of the refuse that is hurled his way. He tumbled into the water again and again, before Krine despairs of him ever succeeding. She batters him with the wet rope again, cursing, “if you clung to that rope the way you clung to that barefoot whore, your fat arse wouldn’t be wet like your pitiful prick!”

That evening, during supper and the rum ration, Theodric attempts to seduce Sandara, but she doesn’t appear to be in the mood tonight, while Zalamesh uses his reputation as a Bekyar to further cow and intimidate Crimson, who promises to be an eager fighter. He is tired of the chores and schedules, and wants to engage in ‘real piracy’. Hamish shares rum with Grok, and mends their friendship, which had frayed when he flirted with her ‘under false flag’, as she puts it. Faiz seeks out the strident, aggressive Shivikah and charms her with his smooth demeanor and good looks.

Aboard the Wormwood, Day 13
Abadius 21, 4712

Mister Plugg gives the crew their assignments for the day. Even early in the morning, it is already warm on deck, and the cloudless sky promises a scorcher.

Faiz is assigned his ‘regular’ duties of cooking with Ambrose Kroop, but Fishguts is sober today, so the Keleshite has little demands on his time. He spends some of it talking with the nosy little halfling, Ratline, recruiting him as a useful contact.

Zalamesh is assigned to swab the decks, and despite his acclimation to the hot weather, he finds the strenuous work exhausting. He does find the time to talk with the Varisian, Crimson Cogsward, who he finds to be a bloodthirsty, thoroughly piratical swab.

Theodric is assigned to ropework in the riggings, which he completes easily. The priest makes time to banter with the intimidating Shivikah, who is starting to warm up to him and his mates.

Hamish is assigned to splice rope and work on repairs on deck. Finding the hot weather not to his liking, Hamish takes out his ire on Conchobhar. Despite his mates all finding the little gnome a pleasant enough raconteur, Hamish finds him a tedious blowhard, but his aggressive demeanor gets the self-important gnome to defer to him a bit.

That evening, after dinner and the rum ration, Faiz and Theodric are both a bit tipsy. Faiz attempts to pal around with Badger over drinks, but the irritable half-elf doesn’t care for his company. Zalamesh and Theodric both spend a great deal of time carousing with the other deckhands, but Hamish cannot resist the opportunity to pull his girl, Samms, belowdecks for their own recreation.

Aboard the Wormwood, Day 12
Abadius 20, 4712

Mister Plugg assigns the day’s tasks after the ship’s bell is rung. Shango and Hamish are assigned to work on repairs on deck, and Theodric is assigned to work on repairs up in the riggings. Since he was so helpless against reefclaws, Mister Plugg observes, Faiz is assigned to capture an easier target today, a sea turtle for soup!

The day quickly grows hot and sweltering, and many of the crew are drenched with sweat. Shango seems accustomed to the humid air, however, and is able to do his work on deck without wearing himself out. Hamish, however, finds that the sweat is running into his eyes and making his grip slippery, and falters at his repairs today. Scourge bashes him with the tarred end of a rope whenever he catches him making a mistake, and mocks him for a lubber.

Faiz buckles down and does his very best to catch a sea turtle with the unfamiliar hooks and line, and eventually succeeds! Fortunately, Kroop is sober today, and the cook’s mate does not have to figure out how to prepare the unfamiliar dish himself.

Theodric, able to handle his tasks in the rigging with ease, talks to Giffer about their ‘adventures’ yesterday. The little gnome is flighty and distracted, but enjoys chatting with him as they steam in the heat. Hamish, his mood spoiled by the heat and Scourge, shares his misery with Shivikah, shouting at her and mocking her when he has the chance. The hard-eyed ex-slaver is learning to tread lightly around him now. Shango, on the other hand, talks with Rosie, trying to engineer a romance between her and Conchobar.

That evening, after the meal and the rum ration, Faiz gets a bit light-headed from the heat and the strong rum, and passes out on deck once again. Theodric plays his fiddle to entertain the crew, and rouses most of them to a stamping, clapping chorus. Hamish and Sams miss the entertainment, however, as he cannot resist the allure her feminine charms, and, after rinsing off his sweat with a bucket of seawater at her insistence, Hamish pulls Samms below towards their hammock during the music. Shango uses the raucous entertainment as cover, and corners Giffer. Unsuspecting, given his mate’s friendly interactions with her, Giffer is surprised and cowed when Zalamesh glowers and threatens her, making it clear that her failure to come to his assistance in the future will not go unremarked.

Eleventh Day at Sea
Abadius 19, 4712

As the ship’s bell summons the crew of the Wormwood to the quarter deck, an observant sailor can see the faint, green haze of the coast drawing closer to the port side of the ship.
“We be drawing near to the Slithering Coast, you swabs,” explains Mister Plugg. “The waters here be shallow, and tricky. Don’t you go thinking about swimming to shore, lest you like a nest of vipers better than the den of thieves you have here.”

Theodric is assigned ropework in the riggings, while Bahram is tasked with assisting Kroop again with supper. Zalamesh is assigned to haul the ropes, and Hamish is given a bucket and told to swab the decks.

Theodric, working deftly in the riggings, talks a little to the intimidating Shivika, who confesses she prefers piracy to slaving, as pirates don’t have to keep captives alive to make money.

Shango, working hard on the heavy ropes as the ship tacks back and forth, wears himself out in the hot weather, but takes time to encourage the overwhelmed Conchobar, who is equally tired out by his tasks. However, the little gnome’s pride is assuaged by the immodest (and overblown) praise from Zalamesh.

Bahram is able to relax in the kitchen, as Kroop hasn’t drunken himself into a stupor. He decides to actually spend time drinking with Fishguts as the cook works in the galley, and the fat chef confesses that Faiz is ‘the best cook’s mate I’ve ever had." Hamish swabs the filthy deck and scours the wood with a sandstone block on his knees. The hard, sweaty work puts the half-orc in a foul temper, and he focuses his ire on Crimson, who, also working on deck, cannot escape his wrath. Cogsward initially glowers and scowls under the menacing talk, but is learning to walk quietly around Hamish by the end of the day.

Late in the afternoon, the ship lays anchor in a series of shallows. Mister Plugg calls for Hamish, Bahram, Theodric, Shango, and Giffer to assemble on the quarter deck. He tosses wooden pots at their feet and points out a reef a few hundred feet off the bow. “The captain wants crab for dinner. You lot swim out to that reef and fill up these pots, sharpish!”

The four pirates swim out to the reef, and begin paddling around looking for crabs to catch. Theodric casts air bubble on some of his companions as they swim around looking for crabs. Little Giffer is the first one to capture a crab, but Zalamesh is close behind. Each of them secures their crab within the wicker pot they each carry.

As they are swimming around the shallow reefs, Faiz and Zalamesh spot two larger creatures that have been stirred up by the activity. Faiz recognizes them as reefclaws, agressive predators with lobsterlike foreparts and eel-like hindquarters. Reefclaws are vicious predators the size of large dogs, with a strange ability to learn and understand the words spoken around them. Faiz shouts to warn the others on the surface, but Giffer and Zalamesh, who have remained below the water, cannot hear his warnings.

One of the reefclaws swims swiftly towards Hamish who fights it with his fists and fangs, but when he badly injures the carapaced creature, it goes into a death frenzy, attacking him without pause until he smashes its shell apart.

Zalamesh is forced to fight the other reefclaw, which nips at his limbs, until he uses his juju powers to force it to desist and retreat from him. However, the maddened reefclaw simply chooses another target—Faiz! Though Faiz gets in a stout punch on the spiny carapace, the reefclaw seizes his limbs in its surprising strong claws and worries his flesh until Faiz passes out from the pain. Hamish and Zalamesh swim as fast as they can towards their friend, as Theodric uses his prayers to give himself a life bubble so that he can heal Faiz even underwater.

Giffer, who had seen the reefclaws before they attacked the others, has swum away into another part of the reef and has continued to grab crabs from their hiding places in the reef, filling her basket before she surfaces.

Hamish bashes the reefclaw, inciting it into its own death frenzy, but Zalamesh is able to use his magic to roll it over helplessly, letting Hamish beat it to death before it can attack anyone else. Theodric heals the helpless Faiz, who awakens in confusion underwater. As the men surface and reconnoiter, Giffer announces that her pot is full!

The crew fills their remaining pots and swims back to the Wormwood, taking the crabs and reefclaws belowdeck to Fishguts. After the evening’s rum ration and supper, most of the pirates relax and socialize on the decks. Faiz cautiously talks with the menacing Shivikah, doing his best to ingratiate himself with the towering Bekyar. Theodric tries to romance Sandara, and despite a rocky opening, seduces the fiery-haired pirate into a night of romance. Hamish cannot resist taking his shapely crew-mate Sams below-decks for another carnal evening, but while they are otherwise engaged, Shango regales the crew with the story of the daring battle underwater with the deadly reefclaws!

As the crew hangs on his words, Captain Harrigan emerges from his cabin and demands to know which of the crew caught the reefclaws. Zalamesh and Theodric both insist that the entire group worked to kill the reefclaws, Harrigan laughs and praises the fine taste of the claws. He had meant to reward the swab who did the deed, but since the men insist on sharing the credit, he’ll have to settle for rewarding them with a single potion of healing! A bit ruefully, Zalamesh takes the potion from Harrigan, lamenting his reluctance for stealing the credit.

Tenth day aboard the Wormwood
Abadius 18, 4712

At the ringing of the ship’s bell, Mister Plugg hands out his assignments to the crew. He sends Theodric aloft to the crow’s nest again, “better to keep him from getting underfoot.” Bahram is assigned to prepare the ship’s meal again, and Shango is tasked with running messages for the day. Plugg assigns Hamish to catch rats once again. “Perhaps you can dive overboard and retrieve a few if you are unable to catch them any other way, swab,” he mocks.

Theodric is bored with the simple (for him) job in the crow’s nest, and spends a good deal of time talking with Tilly Bracket. She confesses to disliking Jape, because the half-orc has a non-existent sense of humor, but she also admits that she’s a bit bored on the Wormwood, as she prefers the tension of a chase behind the wind or a boarding action to the daily chores aboard a pirate ship.

Bahram is pleased, if surprised, to find out that Ambrose Kroop is not insensibly intoxicated, and is easily able to handle the minor tasks in the galley while the experienced chef prepares the evening meal. He talks with Conchobar Turlach Shortstone, finding the gnome an excellent raconteur, if a little self-absorbed. Shortstone confesses to being ‘a bit’ unprepared for the rigors of shipboard life, but waxes poetic about Rosie’s charms.

Shango works dilligently at being the ship’s runner, but the frantic pace at which Mister Plugg and Mister Scourge send messages leaves him exhausted. Hamish, despite his established lack of skill at rat-catching, does not work diligently at his task and instead, attempts to flirt with Cut-Throat Grok, but the quarter-mistress knows that his idle flirtation is an act (given his preference for Sams’s company) and is more than a bit irritated at his attempts to curry favor with her. Before the evening meal, Mister Plugg calls out Hamish as a slack hand at his tasks, and instructs Mister Scourge to motivate him further. Though painful, the first few of Scourge’s lashes do little more than raise welts on Hamish’s tough hide, and Mister Scourge takes extra care to make the last of his lashes count, rather than embarrassing himself.

The rum ration leaves Bahram a bit tipsy, and he makes the seemingly foolish choice of seeking out the tall, ferocious Shivika to converse with this evening. However, despite her dour demeanor, she seems to lose some of her hostility towards him during the course of their conversation. Theodric, anxious to dispel the negative reputation of the previous night’s performance, convinces the dubious crew that the storm and damp had put his fiddle out of tune, and plays for the crew again. Conchobar joins him in song, but attempts to show off his own vocal range. Both of the men succeed in entertaining the crew, though neither particularly impresses anyone.

Hamish sits down with his rum to speak with Ambrose Kroop, and the two men have a long and hearty conversation, the drunken cook showing off his limited command of the orcish language to a patient and good-natured Hamish. Shango takes his own ration over to drink with Tilly Brackett, who enjoys their conversation even more. She becomes quite inebriated but seems to take a liking to him.

Day Nine Aboard the Wormwood
Abadius 17, 4712

Work continues through the night, as the fierce storm refuses to die down. The men grow increasingly fatigued, but Plugg and Scourge allow few of the crew any time to rest. Bahram is assigned to rope work on the decks, and is able to do the job adroitly. Theodric is sent up to the crow’s nest in the storm, but despite his weariness, he climbs safely into the lookout and remains alert. Hamish and Zalamesh are both assigned to the ropework on deck as well, and Zalamesh is glad to get an easier job in his tired, sea-sick state.

When the storm finally breaks, it is well past noon and time for the evening meal and rum ration. Quaffing the strong rum gets Theodric a bit tipsy, and he unwisely decides to entertain the crew with some music from his fiddle, to a chorus of boos and hurled food. The strong alcohol goes straight to Bahram’s head in his exhausted state, and he slumps to the deck asleep during the meal. After his meal, Hamish pulls the tired, but extremely grateful Barefoot Sams down below deck for their own recreation, while Shango spends time carousing with Jack Scrimshaw, loosening up the quiet sailor with some rum and conversation.

When it is time for bed, Theodric asks Tilly Bracket to help him get the unconscious Faiz below decks, but Tilly will only help him on one condition: she insists on tangling the sleeping Bahram up in his own hammock, wrapping him up like the tobacco in a cigar. Though the entire crew should be exhausted, Hamish stays up until Crimson Cogsward has fallen asleep. He moves over to the surly pirate’s hammock and puts the smaller man in a strangling choke-hold. As Cogsward struggles, Hamish whispers quietly into his ear, “My girl’s in trouble and you wait to help again? You better not plan on waking up on this ship anymore.” Crimson thrashes for a bit, but eventually goes limp and nods compliance. Despite his evening activities, Hamish seems rested and ready for work on the morning.

Storm at Sea--day eight on the Wormwood
Abadius 16, 4712

By early morning, the storm has strengthened and is hitting the Wormwood full force. Mister Plugg and Mister Scourge have everyone on deck at first light and scrambling about with the riggings. Barnabas Harrigan and the other officers are hard at work, but Scourge and Plugg give the crew no time to socialize.

Bahram is ordered to clamber up to the crow’s nest in the storm, to his chagrin. He focuses on his tasks today, not spending a spare minute chatting with anyone, and, to his surprise, manages not only to make it up to the crow’s nest without hurting himself, but does a passable job as a lookout as well, warning the others of swells and thunderheads.

Zalamesh and Theodric are both assigned ropework in the riggings, taking in lines and securing them in the storm. Theodric performs heroically in the dangerous task, but Zalamesh grows tired at the pace, and quickly becomes seasick in the rolling waves.

Hamish is ordered to repair the ropes that have become frayed or torn in the strong winds, and despite the rain and wind, he focuses on his work and does a good job. However, there is no rest for any of the men. Tonight there will be no rum ration, and only ship’s biscuit for supper. The storm is too fierce to allow the crew to rest and recreate on deck.

Plugg sends the nimble Theodric up into the upper riggings to handle them, and, seeing the job that Bahram has done in the crow’s nest, orders the Keleshite up into the riggings to assist him, to Bahram’s displeasure. However, both of them work hard at their jobs, and each of the men is able to handle the hard, slippery work high aloft.

Zalamesh and Hamish are ordered to handle the ropes and spars for the main sail, a hard, tiring task in the best of weather. Fighting off his nausea, Shango does a good job handling the sails, but tires himself out even further with the breakneck pace. Hamish, despite his greater strength, does a poor job with the ropes, working harder than he should have to, and begins to tire himself out.

As the ship slips over the top of a swell, Barefoot Samms loses her grip on the ropes and falls out of the riggings, missing the deck, but plunging into the foaming sea to port. She struggles to get her head above water, but falters in the choppy water, unable to do so.

As Zalamesh spies a spare coil of rope and moves towards it, formulating a plan, Hamish leaps overboard, spoiling his plans. Bahram and Theodric climb down the riggings to assist, but both nearly fall off the ropes in their haste. Theodric moves quicker due to his familiarity with the ropes. As Zalamesh grabs a length of rope, he sees Rosie moving to help, and threatens bloody murder to motivate the other pirates to help. Tam “Narhwhal” Tate scoffs at his threats and stays at his task, but Crimson Cogsward is jolted into action by the Bekyar’s bloody threats. Plugg and Scourge remain on the poop deck with Harrigan.

Hamish powers through the waves to the struggling woman and hoists her into his arms despite her frantic thrashing, though the ship is quickly leaving them both behind. Zalamesh tosses the rope out to his mate, but overthrows his mark due to the tossing of the ship. Hamish is able to seize the rope as it is pulled in the wake of the ship, and clings to it fiercely as he clutches Samms to his chest. Zalamesh, Crimson, and Rosie try to haul in the rope, but the weight is too much for them, and the hemp cuts Zalamesh’s hands as it is reeled out from the ship. Bahram and Theodric hasten as best as they are able to help, and Theodric drops from the yardarm onto the deck in his haste to assist. Zalamesh cuts his hands bloody and raw with effort, but he and the others cannot reel in Hamish and his girl until Theodric takes up some of the burden. With four men on the rope, they are able to pull the two abreast of the ship, where Samms can clamber up the rope herself. The four crewmen haul Hamish aboard, where Samms embraces him desperately.

Scourge interrupts the moment with the snap of his whip. “A touching moment, I’m sure,” says Plugg scornfully. “But we’re adrift in a storm, ye slack bastards! Back to the riggings and ropes before we all drown like that daft tramp would have!”

One Week at Sea
Abadius 15, 4712

In the morning, the steady rain of the previous day has worsened, into a blustery, building storm. Zalamesh takes stock of the weather and warns the others that it will likely get worse before it gets any better.

Plugg, unconcerned with the inclement weather, assigns Zalamesh to swab the deck, even in the rain! Theodric is tasked with going up into the riggings in the gusty winds, and Hamish is given ropework to do on the deck as well. Bahram is assigned to ‘assist’ Kroop with the day’s meals, which, due to the cook’s carousing with Hamish last night, turns into preparing the day’s meals himself, again!

Bahram tries to focus on his tasks today, spending no time on idle banter, and using the massive cookbook from the galley. However, his efforts are for naught, and the evening meal is bland, rubbery, and oddly spiced, much to Plugg’s dissatisfaction.

Despite the gusting wind, Theodric clings to the riggings and reefs the sails professionally. He flirts with Sandara, feigning nonchalance despite the danger, and the fiery red-head is impressed with his seamanship, and his attitude. That night, after the rum ration and the disappointing dinner, he retires from the evening recreation to the bunks belowdecks with Sandara in tow. He entrusts his fiddle to Rosie for the evening, but whether it is poorly tuned, or her rusty skills, her efforts with the bow draw nothing but scorn and annoyance.

In spite of the futility of scrubbing the decks during a storm, Zalamesh takes to his knees and scours the decks with a holystone to Plugg’s grudging satisfaction. He does take time to complement the egotistical little gnome, Conchobhar, on his efforts in the ropes, to the gnome’s evident satisfaction. That evening, Shango approache Rosie and attempts to convince her that she should hook up with Shortstone, but Rosie sees through his transparent attempts to get in good with Conchobhar, dismissing the gnome as a fop and a pathetic excuse for a pirate. However, Zalamesh does get the impression that Rosie is secretly delighted by the attention that the cultivated, dashing Shortstone is paying her, even if she does know that Zalamesh is just playing his own angle.

Hamish is assigned to heavy ropework on the decks, and hauling the soaking ropes all day seems to wear him out a bit. His fatigue wears away at his normally good demeanor, and he gets into a shouting match with Shivika, whose menacing glares and curt words draw his ire. She walks away from the confrontation a bit more subdued and respectful towards the burly half-orc.

After his unappetizing dinner, Faiz is a bit wary of fraternizing with many of the crew, but he finds Tilly Bracket enjoying her rum ration and sits down beside her. He flirts with the tomboyish pirate, who responds with enthusiasm, surprised that a handsome man like Bahram has ‘settled’ for her over the fiery Sandara or the obvious charms of Barefoot Samms.

Day six aboard the Wormwood
Abadius 15, 4712

The day begins with a light rain, and the clouds increase over the course of the day, soaking the crew and making the work wet and hazardous. Plugg assigns the duty roster as usual, tasking Faiz with catching fish for dinner tonight, Zalamesh with catching more rats, Theodric to the crow’s nest, and Hamish to the bilges, where the rainwater is collecting even faster!

Faiz manages to land a good catch of fish in the ship’s nets despite his ‘boss’, Fishguts, being falling-down drunk all day. In the deluge, he also flirts with the one-eyed gnome, Giffer Tibbs, who looks like a half-drowned alley cat in the soaking rain! Hamish sullenly works the bilges all day, but succeeds in startling and cowing the bad-tempered Badger Medlar, who makes the mistake at sneering at his damp misfortune.

Theodrick works adroitly in the crow’s nest, and finds time to talk to Jack Scrimshaw, who first seems standoffish and aloof. Theodric realizes that Jack is focusing intently on his work, determined to make a good impression on the officers and crew, as he really wishes to be a successful crewman.

Zalamesh, finding it easy to nab the expected rats and vermin aboard the ship, makes time to talk to Sandara Quinn, trying to figure out why she is being so helpful. Sandara explains that she has made enemies aboard the Wormwood, notably Plugg and his crony Scourge, and ‘making the acquaintance’ of more ‘pleasant’ crewman serves to protect her against Plugg’s petty machinations. She also confesses that Zalamesh and his mates seem a bit more ambitious and capable than many of the other friendly crew, but she suggests that he might want to talk to Conchobar Turlach Shortstone. Despite the dandified gnome’s evident lack of nautical skills, she advises Shango that the little ‘pretend pirate’ actually has considerable skills.

After the evening’s rum ration and supper, Theodric plys his beloved fiddle, though most of the crew are indifferent to his tunes. Hamish seeks out Ambrose Kroop and carouses with the portly cook, who seems pleased to find another drinking companion, and a second half-orc, to boot! Bahram’s greed gets the better of him and he wagers his few silver pieces in a game of cards with Tilly, Narwhal, Aretta, and Ratline. The shifty little halfling makes off with the entire pot, to the evident displeasure of both Aretta and Tam.

Taking Sandara’s advice to heart, Zalamesh seeks out Conchobar. Though initially displeased to see the tall Mwangi, Conchobar relents over an offer of rum and a cigar. He confesses to Shango that he was gambling with Scourge and some of his mates in a pub in Port Peril, and was jumped and knocked unconscious after the game. He hates the wet, dreary weather, but dwells leeringly on how the rain causes Rosie’s clothes to cling revealingly to her fine figure.


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