Skull and Shackles

The Bloody Hour

Chapter 2:

MAN OVERBOARD!” multiple voices rang out as ropes were tossed over the port railings. Artaith’s blood was that of those who live on the elemental plane of air, the very blood that powered the massive burst of wind that knocked the shipmate overboard. And for a moment, she was as she desired, untouched.

Finn was well above the other sailors, but quickly realized that he had not fully thought out his course of action. He was now being chased by four well trained buccaneers on a boat surrounded by miles of ocean and he did not know how to swim…

Meanwhile, Valmont, Hobblin’ John, Ingrit and Emyris abstained from combat, hugging the fore-castle wall.

Desperate for some form of plan, Finn slashed at the rigging ropes, knowing little about the sails of ships and which would give him time and which would spell his doom.

The rigging fell out from underneath him as he plummeted towards the deck. He grabbed for rope whirring past him, only managing to slow himself down slightly. Ingrit rushed under him and managed to break his fall, leaving them both on the deck.

The crew quickly lifted him to his feet and apprehended Artaith. “Master-At-Arms, deal with your greenhorns so we can get on with the day.” spoke the captain.

Master Scourge’s gold teeth formed into a wide smile. “First the lady. Three lashes for shirking duty, double that for resisting, and another six for the man we had to pull from the drink.” He wound back the whip and let the first lash land. With that, the bard yelled out “I’ll take the lashes!”

The crew erupted in laughter as Artaith was untied from the post. “That’s my boy, stupid enough to pay for other people’s mistakes” Scourge wound back and lashed until Finn lost consciousness. “Quinn, get over here and revive this man so he can receive his sentence after he’s done receiving his friend’s”

A woman with a shock of long red hair pulls on a tricorne hat she’s kept in her hand, clearly reluctant to carry out her orders. Kneeling next to the catfolks body, she says a few quiet prayers, healing Finn. He awakes with a storm of half-coughs and screams.

“Two more boy, then you get your dues” Scourge finished the bard’s punishment, leaving him exhausted. “You raised a blade against your shipmates, cut up my rigging and left my arm tired from all the whipping. You’ll be spending the rest of the afternoon in the hot box.”

A crewman opened up a cramped metal chest bolted to the deck made a welcoming hand gesture towards the space. Finn was unceremoniously thrown in and the chest was locked shut.

“Now to old business” the captain shouted. Jakes Magpie here is due for a keelhaulin’ and I’m not the kind of man to keep him waiting any longer." The captain throws a buoy overboard where it’s lifted from the bow by a yellow-skinned orc. “Best of luck Jakes, tell Besmara I send my regards” and with that the captain shoved Magpie over the railing.

His body made sickening thumps as it scraped across the belly of the ship. The orc and a fat sailor pulled him back up from the bow and threw him on deck. He was dead, covered in deep bloody cuts from the barnacles and other hangers on to the ship’s keel. Scourge ordered his body to be thrown overboard and the remainder of the crew filtered down towards the lower decks to eat.

The party lingered on deck. They were approached by Sandra Quinn, the cleric who had healed Finn during his lashings. “Your friend needs to know how to mind his own business Ingrit” Ingrit turned and agreed. “It’s quite fortunate that you managed to get press-ganged onto the same ship I’m on. I knew you were on board the moment I saw these.” Quinn handed Ingrit a trident and a neatly folded net. “The rest of you and your group’s belongings are in the quatermaster’s hold, you’ll have to buy them back or convince the owner to return them. They’re technically the Captain’s loot, but the ship runs on gold, not backpacks. I managed to get this too, figured it was your friends.” She pulls Emyris’ spell book out of a waterproofed leather bag. "Thought he’d need this and Grock doesn’t have much need for the written word.

As for your friend in the box, he’s going to need some help to make it to the evening.

Continued in part 3: Day’s End


HereticalSteampunk HereticalSteampunk

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