Skull and Shackles

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.


Calmer Waters
Another Tali Tail (Tale)


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

Just another pirate crew

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

Also, I need to get better at climbing

Ramul: Who I am

I am Rumal.

My mother was half elf Rahadoumi. And I am an undine. Do the math.

I trained under a series of monks in temples.

I brought mango pudding.

Tali's Trying Times
Adventure Log Entry 1

Step one:
This is not a dream.

Step two:
Survive this day, as unbelievable as it may be. Remain as intact and as sane as possible throughout the rude awakening, the shock, and the urgently-needed gathering of bearings. Prevail despite the abuse, dangers, close calls, and labors.

Step three:
Aim to not forget anything. Stay focused and aware during waking hours, and take advantage of respite when it’s available in order to renew one’s constitution.

Step four:
With that, allow oneself to curl up into a fur-ball and wrap one’s tail around oneself when rest is granted. Gather strength. Opportunities for strategy and decisions will present themselves in due time. But first – sleep.

Step five:
This is not a dream.


Vaneet's Wormwood Journal
Entry 1

When I awoke I felt so cold and alone. More so than I could recall feeling in so many years. As I started to come to my senses, the world became more clear. The familiar sensation of waves felt through a large ship, the smell of treated wood and The taste of taggit oil.
I realized why I felt so alone. The bond I shared with Franceen was weak. She was being held elsewhere. Alive, but not happy.
The man who woke me and several others started to bark orders at us while we were still dazed and confused. Clearly it would be wise to comply with their wishes until I understood what was going on.
We were on a pirate ship called the Wormwood. They called us new crew and set us to compete amongst ourselves for their entertainment and to assess our skills. I danced for them and played along as best I could. Clearly they had done this all before. One wrong move and I would never see Franceen again.
After they had their fun with us, they assigned us our roles aboard the ship. I spoke up when they asked for a cook. Afterall I could catch, fillet and serve a fish better than most. And what better way to get on the good side of those who knew how this ship operates?
I spent the day working to feed the crew a decent meal of turtle meat. My thanks go out to the sea for such a fine bounty. Afterwards I went about the crew and did much to sway their attitudes towards me. Even so, it was clear that none of those I met would or likely could help me find Franceen.  All attempts I made for clarity were quickly dismissed.
In the evening, they made sport of killing a mad who had done wrong by them. They made him into chum after a violent and painful death. At least he didn’t go to waste; I used him to lure a large shark. And again I cast my thanks to the sea for providing what I needed most during what had become a set of unimaginable trials.
The shark did his job well. As his flesh was consumed by those of influence upon this vessel, so did their spirits rise. This was my chance. I asked if I could keep my pet with me in the kitchen as I worked. As it was a simple matter to them and they had more pressing thoughts on their minds – they agreed. And that was that.
At last, I had her back. Although only for a day, being separated from Franceen felt as though I had spent a lifetime lost at sea. With every step the men took as they hauled her cage into the kitchen … I could feel the weight crushing my soul melt away.
She behaved herself quite well as they let her out into her new home.
I assured her that we would be alright here. She could spend her time in the kirchen while I was out and I promised her we would fish and swim together whenever able. Here she would be safe and here we could eat our fill. This would not last forever and I reminded her that there was no reason to be inpatient.  She agreed to behave and settled herself into a vacant corner of the kitchen.
With this only being one day, a part of me dreaded what a week on this ship would bring. What of a month or year in this life? For those answers we would need to wait and see. And that is just what we shall do now that we’re together and that terrible coldness has gone away.


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