Tales of the Shackles

Sunday, 31st Kuthona, 4711 A.R.

Tonight it’s the Night o’ the Pale. Busy night fer me. My people – pirates, buccaneers and scalliwags – tend to be a superstitious lot. So all night they’re wantin’ me to chant some spiritual-soundin’ blather over ‘em on account of I’m the ship’s priestess. Course, Besmara don’t go in fer no spooky-soundin’ prayers an’ stuff, so mostly I just murmured a couple of rude limericks under my breath, and they mostly seemed ‘appy enough. Although Steptoe Clegg looked at me a bit funny when I did ’There was a young maiden from Quent’.

Anyway.

‘S been a pretty evenful journey back ’ere from Little Oppara. We was comin’ up the leeward side o’ Motaku when the lookout called a sail. She were a little schooner, ‘ardly worth stoppin’ for, really, but there were a dirty great ‘ole in the side, an’ she were takin’ on water. Now, Perri’d been makin’ noises about wantin’ more adventure out o’ life, so Black ‘ands, ’ee just grabs Perri, ties a rope on ’im, an’ points under the waves to where this fishin’ boat’s lifeboat is just disappearin’ into the murk.

“You want more adventure?” he asks. “You go check that boat”.

Then, smart as brass, ‘ee just bowls the ’alfling right over the gunwales. Still, I coulda sweared that Perri was grinnin’ all the way down.

All the way, that is, until these sahuagin start pourin’ out o’ the ‘ole in the side an’ swim toward ‘im. I go over and ’elp the cap’n to haul ‘im back over the side, but not before he gets nipped a couple times by them dirty tridents the buggers love so much. Anyway, Bert’s firin’ the ballista and what with the cap’n’s sour face an’ all, they all up ‘n’ swim off. Or so’s it looked. But this lot, they’re not so easily fooled. Cap’n felt certain they’d all be a-hangin’ round the keel like barnacles wi’ a grudge, and the officers all thought they’d be back that night. So they set up a nice ambush for ‘em. Whole thing went off with hardly a hitch, really. Sure enough, here they come climbin’ up the sides, and Bert just pegs one through the noggin with the ballista wi’out even bein’ noticed by the others. Long and the short of it is that in a couple o’ seconds, all but one o’ the sahuagin’s dead or bleedin’ out on the deck. Black ’ands’d managed to sit on one long enough to get ‘is ’ands tied behind ’is back, but before they could ask ’im anythin’, he just kind of… dies. Nobody really knows why. Poisoned ’imself’s the most likely, but it’s a bit of a mystery.

Still, Bert’s got the top of a sahuagin’s ‘ead, which ’ee’s goin’ to ’ave made into an ’elmet, and the childish smile on ’is little face makes the whole thing worthwhile.

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