Skull and Shackles

Ramul: Ramul's Story

The air smells of salt and spice. Even boxed, the contents are aromatic. It’s been three days at sea to Port Peril. Manaket and the sands of Rahadoum have nothing left for me.

Father was a being of water and magic. Mother hid me away for that. I was not meant to walk among men. There was a temple in the desert that was once lush and fertile, but now was merely a godless house where monks trained to be there physical best. The temple was accepting as anywhere could be for those like me. The fed me and provided shelter, so long as I could work. I could tell I was secondary, not allowed to train with or meditate with the students. But it was a life of moderate acceptance for which I was grateful. And I picked up some basic forms from watching them in my spare time. We stayed there at the temple for many years. But being mortal in a land where the Gods neglect, she had taken on a harsh sickness. Inevitably, she died.

After mother’s death, I made my way to the coast. Upon entering Manaket, I could tell why she tried to protect me. I only spent a few months there working at the dock before catching a ride to Botosani. The people there were better, but it was still mostly the same. I needed to leave.

Merchant ships will hire fast, but I know not where my future is. Many of these sailors are just like those from my entire life: untrusting, suspicious and hateful. From Port Peril, I can make it to just about anywhere.

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Dos Bribes

I brought delicious Werther’s Originals.

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~Rats & Redemption~
Tali Tail Time

“Well, I have to warn you, I may be small, but I can be ferocious if provoked.”

Babe in Babe, Pig in the City.

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Changing Tides
Yet Another Tali Tail

Has time been wasted? Is life being lost, moment by moment, in an atmosphere I did not choose, having been held on a ship against my will, and carrying out duties only because my life depends on it?

At first glance there appears to be a paradox with us Ratfolk. Over the ages, we have been able to adapt to any sort of environment and regime. At the same time, we also hold a narrative of being our own guides in life, of determiners of our own fates. It hearkens to a sense of “doing the best one can wherever one happens to find oneself.”

Can I apply that here? Have I already done so without realizing it?

Much has changed these weeks. Already I am becoming a sailor. A pirate. I am stronger, more swift and adept. My thinking has become sharper. I still falter, but only because I am meeting greater challenges and learning to meet them. I can fight. I have now killed.

It is good that my skills have arrived to a new level. I and several others are leaving the ship that was our prison to run as a skeleton crew for a ship we have taken over.

New challenges await.

Tali

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Calmer Waters
Another Tali Tail (Tale)

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It’s too soon to say that things are looking up. But the last few days haven’t been as horrible. So that’s something.

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Vaneet's Wormwood Journal.
Entry 4

The madness is never ending. The rest of the new crew is now being assigned their daily tasks for the sheer amusement of these twisted officers. Fortunately for me I am out of their gaze and safe from their wicked plans.
They had us train to board ships, and it’s clear they have no regard for the safety or survival of the crew in the event of an emdny vessels encounter.
The list of allies grows, but so do the looks of wicked plans on the faces of those wishing harm upon us. I know not how each day will ever end, but I worry more and more that they will do so with sorrow.

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Vaneet's Wormwood Journal - Entry 3
Entry 3

Days had began running together. Work followed by blood followed by politics, day after day.
But then something happened to breathe life into the ship and crew. A storm, fierce as they come. I tried to warn the officers and they paid no mind to what I had to say. They likely knew it as well, but offered nothing in way of comfort, nothing to indicate a plan. When it happened I saw what I doubted this crew could ever do. They came together and worked towards a common goal with what from an outside eye could be mistaken for solidarity.
Barefoot Sam went over-board during the torrent of water and wind. Rumal and I were the first act. He secured a line to and I jumped in. It was nothing I hadn’t done a million times before. When I reached her, I could tell she didn’t have long. She had lost all energy to fight the sea and was beginning to sink beneath the surface. I was able to grab hold of her and Rumal pulled us in. She was grateful for us saving her life. Though she has it in her mind that it was I alone who made the difference between an eternal rest at sea and walking once again on the decks of the Wormwood. I tried to tell her otherwise, but she seems convinced.
Several of us were sent out to collect crabs from among the reefs, including Rumal. True to our race, we had no troubles traversing the terrain. We were attacked by some form of creature, which proved to be very troublesome. If not for Franceen, there is no way we all would have made it back. Franceen loved the chance to get out from the ship. To swim free and hunt. She made sport of our attackers and playfully swam back with one in her grasp. It was as if she wanted to be the one to get all the credit for these kills.
Life on the Wormwood is bearable, though I still worry that the worst is yet to come. That there are dark trials that lay ahead and there will come a time when we return significantly less intact. Or find that some of us, don’t return at all.

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Trials, Tackles, & Shackles
#2 Post ~ Tali

It’s getting to the point where I’m collecting my bearings and am aiming to not only survive, but to make the use of my supposed inherited resourcefulness (if it’s in there somewhere, now’s the time for it to make an appearance).

I’m looking around, observing, no longer in denial about the realities of this current fate. Acceptance is creeping in. Following it is a thin trickle of hope that if my wits form an allegiance with Fortune, I may eventually get out of this place. This ship.

Not that the trials have alleviated. If anything, some new challenges have arisen – I have now received my beatings along with everyone else. But through the daily burdens and constant slog of endless work, I’m becoming accustomed to the rhythm of life here and it’s beginning to form a background in my mind, a stage upon which I can start to think about other things.

And to start thinking about the others on this ship. Initially I kept to myself, not knowing if any form of trust or bond was ever possible here. I assumed everyone else functioned the same, more or less — out for oneself, due more to practical survival than any reflected character trait. At times I have acted in ways that later shamed me — such as sneaking away from conflict and leaving my fellow passengers to fend for themselves.

But glimpses of another way, another attitude, are being revealed. I am seeing some of the others here act as comrades, banding together and assisting one another.

Now if only I could defeat this fatigue.

Tali

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Vaneet's Wormwood Journal
Entry 2

It’s been a few days here on the Wormwood and little has changed in way of hospitality or kindness. The “bloody hour” continues to claim those who struggle and the officers take great pleasure making things difficult for all below them.
On a more positive note, Franceen has settled in nicely and is enjoying not having to catch her food. Thank goodness she is being left alone to her space.
I have been getting to know Kroop while working in the kitchen and have learned that the basic crew are not the only ones here against their will. He used to have a life away from this place. But he wagered his freedom to the captain and lost. Now he suffers here for the rest of his days so long as the situation remains as it is.
Kroop and I get along nicely now and he’s helping me get by better than before. He even showed off some of his culinary skills in a brief moment of sobriety.
I have been talking to Grock and it’s clear her life has been a difficult one. Maybe there too I will find a friend within this tangle of despair and blood.

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Just another pirate crew

Another night at the bar turns into joining a pirate crew unexpectedly.

Also, I need to get better at climbing

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