Tales of the Shackles

Oathday, 19th Lamashan, 4711 A.R.

Bit o’ good news today! Plugg an’ Scourge sent their best friends (that’ll be Perri, Zerilda, Washin, Bert and the half-orc) out in the jolly boat to catch a couple o’ crabs on a reef. They did good an’ brought back a pretty bushel o’ salt crabs which even Fishguts Kroop couldn’t muck up cookin’. We all ate good today. But I’m gettin’ a feelin’ that the crew’s dividin’. ‘Alf o’ them are in with the crab-catchers, the other ‘alf spend more an’ more time with that Scourge an’ ‘is mates. Somethin’s brewin’ on the Wormwood, an’ one way or another it’ll end with men used as scabbards.

Still, the wind she’s-a-blowin’ from the north an’ we’ve got a good ‘ead o’ speed on us. Cap’n’s bringin’ us out from the Slitherin’ Coast into the Fever Sea. We’re bound ta see a sail ‘ere too long, then there’ll be a merry jape to take the crew’s mind off it!

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Wealday, 18th Lamashan, 4711 A.R.

Eventful night t’night. Plugg an’ Scourge brought their brute up. Owlbear they call ‘im. Th’officers use ‘im for their entertainment, tarrin’ an’ featherin’ ‘im for gab an’ chortles. Don’t seem so funny to me, but what do I know, eh?

Anyway, they brung ‘im up on deck and reckoned the tune o’ a hundred king’s ‘eads that ’ee could whup that kitchen orc in a fisticuffs. Well, didn’t really go Scourge’s way – nor Bert’s, who I saw put ten gold on Owlbear. Scourge chucked in a club to ‘elp the Owlbear out, but ’ee was terrified o’ the orc, who got a bellow on ‘im could sink a ship o’ the line. Still, Perri piped up a word in the orc’s shell-like, and they let Owlbear off the ‘ook. Not often you get to see mercy on the Wormwood an’ it didn’t make Scourge or Plugg any ’appier.

Speakin’ o’ Perri, ’ee’s been tellin’ sea tales in the evenin’s sometimes. It’s funny to listen in on ‘im – ’ee’s got some o’ the old tales right off the mark an’ don’t seem to know that every blooded buccaneer on the ship’s ‘eard them all told the right way an ’undred times. But the way ’ee puts ’is own sland on ’em’s got the crew fair eatin’ out o’ his ‘and. Wasted on a ship like this – ’ee should be treadin’ the boards!

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Toilday, 17th of Lamashan, 4711 A.R.

The moon’s full tonight, an’ the storm’s all gone. I saw Plugg retchin’ over the side earlier – dunno but I’ve never seen the man seasick before. It’s a rum cove who commands salty dogs at their work and can’t ‘old ’is stomach in, an’ I ‘eard plenty of these scoundrels sayin’ the same. ‘Course if that’s Mr. Plugg readin’ this diary now, well, may I say what a fine officer you are, sir.

Anyway, funny thing is Bert got ill the right same time. I’d’a thunk it was the food but ain’t nobody else sick, so can’t be that. Maybe it’s the moon.

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Sunday, 15th of Lamashan, 4711 A.R.

Can’t write much. Storm’s got up. Scrimshaw went over the side,and that old witch went in – the rest didn’t see but I never seen a human swim like that in all my days. she were more like a seal. went over the side without a wait – almost like she wanted to get in that water. I ‘eard o’ men three times ’er size drowned in littler squalls.

Work still to do if we’re goin’ te pull through this one. Got to go.

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Starday, 14th Lamashan, 4711 A.R.

We’re bound to the southward and eastward, wind at north and east. She’s blowin’ fresh today, but the sea’s proper glassy and ideal for sailin’. I reckon we must be comin’ down the channel by Shenchu Bay, and should pass the whiskers of Motaku Isle tomorrer.

Them lugs what came aboard in Port Peril got ‘emselves in some trouble with some big rats down the bilge. I dunno if Plugg knew them things was down there, but ’ee sent ’em down just as soon as Jacky Scrimshaw came up, mewlin’ like ‘eed lost ’is mother in a game o’ hind-the-ploughman. Anyways, they got bitten up pretty good, some o’ them, but all seems still on their sea-legs this e’ening.

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Oathday, 12th of Lamashan, 4711 A.R.

Tonight Plugg and Scourge got ta see the backs o’ the new fish. Can’t really say what ‘appened. I think there was a fight or somethin’, but I reckon that’s the last chance these’ll get off old Plugg. They been steppin’ on ‘is beard since they’d got ‘ere, all knockin’ on the cabin door and sayin’ stuff what gets ‘im riled. Specially that orc – ’as ’ee even got a name? After this dust-up, I saw ’im just lookin’ at Scourge, like ‘ee didn’t care whether ‘ee lived or got Jakes Magpie’s supper.

Anyway, cap’n came out to see what was goin’ on, and took one o’ their lashes for ‘is own – if they get on cap’n’s bad side now, it’ll be the worse for ‘em. Crew reckons cap’n can kill a man with one stroke o’ the whip.

Food’s as bad as ever. I ’ope next port they press-gang a chef.

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Toilday, 10th of Lamashan, 4711 A.R.

They keelhauled Jakes Magpie this bloody hour.

I never did seen a man hauled before. It’s a bloody affair. Not just the drownin’ what gets ‘im, mind, ’cause there’s rough barnacles under the Wormwood what could scrape the grief from a recent widow. Poor Jakes come up with most o’ his face in tatters, and his body so mangled you couldn’t even see where he’d been given the cat. Captain didn’t even come out o’ his cabin. It’s a cold skipper that can let a man be sent to the locker an’ not even come to see it done.

Them new bloods been keepin’ the rest of us laughin’, though. Ye’d never know they was pressed aboard! The one with the arm’s up in the riggin’ even now, swingin’ about like a Tengu and callin’ to his shipmates like ‘ee was born up there. A funny bird, that one. That ’alfling, and the green one, they carry about like they want to be ’ere almost as much, and Bert’s fair fallin’ over ‘is own feet to find more work to handle. Ye’d think Plugg and Scourge’d be ’appy, but they ’ate them as much as the others – more, even.

The only one seems put out is the one they’re callin’ the witch. I ain’t seen ‘er do no magic, but she’s a funny one, it’s true. She’s got Besmara at ‘er back, but whether she’s lookin’ out fer her or chasin’ ‘er, I can’t rightly tell.

They sent that orc down to ‘elp Fishguts. Whoever reckoned that were a good idea ain’t got the sense they left land with. Still, if ‘ee don’t drink like old Croop, maybe we’ll get some better grub.

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Moonday, 9th of Lamashan, 4711 A.R.

Couple more sad fools dragged aboard last night. Ain’t none sail on the Wormwood a body could rightly call gentlefolk, but the last batch look roundly to be the queerest sea dogs aboard!

There’s one, Washin Von Char, looks like ’ee’s been dredged off the ocean’s floor and dumped in the hold, still with ‘alf the sea still on ’im! Eyes and ’air as blue as a fair-wind sky, and with this ’ere tentacle in place of ’is arm, all octopus-y and salt-smellin’. That one has the mark of Besmara, or I ain’t Mr. Quinn’s daughter.

Then there’s that Zerilda. Who thunk bringin’ an old sea-hag onto a ship like this is aught but unluck? I know the crew reckon she’s fixin’ to bring an evil wind with ’er, but I dunno… Maybe a little more to ’er than the old crazy most of ’em see…

But at least she got a name! There’s this big ‘alf-orc too, got ’ands black as pitch, and any that reckon they got that way through ’ard graft and not by pokin’ ‘em into dark places ain’t looked in ‘is eye. Out o’ all these new recruits, I reckon ‘ees the one we most gotta be keepin’ the weather eye on.

There’s an ‘alf-elf in the crew too, but ’ee don’t ‘ave the look of the ones what got cast out. Looks ’appy as a sandboy and twice as wet behind the pointy ears. But ’ee knows one of o’ the ship from the other, and that’ll do fer me. Plugg an’ Scourge don’t like ‘im, but ’ow’s that news? ‘Ee looks like ’ee’s willin’ to do what’s gotta be done, whenever that is, and I hope it carries ’im into safe waters when the cutlasses get loosened.

Oh, and there’s a shortstuff professor or somethin’. Don’t know what to make of ‘im. What ’ee lacks in salt is picked up in gumption, and I’ve known men what get carried through their whole lives off gumption. Dresses like a sandy-ankled fop, mind.

Still, I’ve a need for a couple’a chums while I’m ‘ere on the Wormwood, and I ain’t gettin’ nowhere with the other scoundrels. Maybe sidin’ with these folks might see me straight?

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Introduction

This is the diary of Sandara Quinn. It’s fer me alone. What’re you doin’ reading’ this, if you ain’t me?

Seein’ as yer here, ye might as well know who it is whose book ye’ve got yet pilferin’ paws on. I go by Sandara Quinn, and I’m a priestess of Besmara. Ha! That’s a laugh, fer half a silver. Queen Bes don’t need no temples and rituals – a quid o’ baccy fer yer pipe, and a song for to help you keep yer grog down – that’s all the blessing ye’re getting from of of us. Priestesses. Ha!

I’m an unlucky sot, cast aboard the schooner Wormwood. Our captain, Barnabas Harrigan, don’t spend much time outside his cabin, but ’eel flay the skin from ye if ye so much as speak at ’im. We all know to keep it to ourselves.

Rest o’ the crew are as cursed a bunch of rogues ever to swill the grog, and I don’t know which is as good and which is as evil right as now, but I’m-a goin’ to work it out.

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