‘Appy New Year to one an’ all! Once again, the Night O’ The Pale passed wi’out so much as an ‘ows-yer-nancy, ’cept fer Perri reckonin’ he saw old Master Scourge in the streets o’ Quent.
Course ‘ee did. Saw a ghost on the spookiest night o’ the year. Me, I reckon he were drinkin’ that Katapeshi brandy all night, what they cut wi’ moon juice. It’s a wonder ‘ee ain’t seein’ weirder than that.
Still, we’re all in one piece, an’ I’ll be a sailmaker’s monkey if we didn’t hit the jackpot! Who should turn up but the man we’re lookin’ fer! Well, it weren’t Merril Pegsworthy ‘imself, exactly. It were one o’ his crew, walked right on up the gangplank an’ brought us this chest o’ fancy bread what they’d taken from a Chelish runner day or so before. Still ‘ad a little moisture to it, though, so I used it to soak up some o’ last night’s booze.
Anyway, we all goes onto Pegsworthy’s ship fer dinner. She’s the Cassomir Sprite, a fair-lookin’ barque wi’ a captain’s cabin all fancy-like, ready fer the kind o’ fancy ambassador’s reception we pirates’re always ‘avin’. Anyway, this salt’s Bo’sun Plate, an’ ’ee’s much too much of a delicate flower to be runnin’ a pirate vessel if y ask me. Not that anyone did, course. Still, ‘ee told us that Pegsworthy’s somewhere around, but away on business somewhere or other on Motaku. So it looks like we’re ‘angin’ on fer ’im.
Least, it did look that way fer a bit. Then, on the way out, Bert overhears these two sea dogs bangin’ on about how some potion-seller’d been ‘angin’ round on the jetty, tryin’ te tell ‘em all that their cap’n’s stolen somethin’ off ‘im (probably not quite garspin’ the notion for to Pegsworthy bein’ a Free Captain o’ the Shackles, an’ stealin’s in ‘is job description). Anyway, this cove’s off an’ dragged ’imself to the ’Owling Goblet up on Bluff Way.
So, bein’ the connoisseurs o’ fine alcyhol that they are, Cap’n an’ the officers all decide to pay the fellow a visit. Turns out ’ee’s some kind o’ wizard or somthin’, makin’ potions an’ tryin’ to sell ’em to a couple whores.
So a fight breaks out in the bar, as they invariably do, an’ the watch turn up. But no’ before Bert – Basmara bless ‘im – necks all these potions off the table wi’out so much as a by-yer-leave. ‘Ee grows these massive frog legs, turns into a ten-year-old boy an starts seein’ stars all at the same time. Nobody wants to punch a man like that, so ‘ee gets off pretty easy in the brawl. Cap’n fair silences the room in the end when it looks like someone’s goin’ to spill ’is pint. The barkeep gives ’im free drinks all night!
After the watch break it up, this bloke – Jeremiah Tollervey – tells ‘em that he’s had his map nicked, an’ that it found its way to Pegsworthy. The Cap’n and his mates agree to ‘elp this Tollervey go after Pegsworthy, what they reckon’s in somethin o’ a pickle on account o’ this not bein’ a treasure map at all but the map to some dead guy’s lab where a dragon lives. They’re leavin’ in the morrow – Good luck to ’em.
I’m stayin’ ‘ere to finish off the rest o’ this glorious bread.