Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Me Log:Asea after the death of Murgosis

Thrice I've slain me beloved.

I can no sleep. No amount of grog or rum will set me adrift. Me mates have abused and coddled me, plying me with drink and laughter. I could stand no more of it and have shut meself off in the hold with me bottle.


Murgosis stands astride me bunk, e'en now. Laughing and slobbering as me needle sends him off to death and his hot blood washes me again. He will be back soon. I can no make him leave me even as I wish he were here. I try to think of his soft and kind eyes but all I see is the gleam of the mad thing he has become. He returns.


Dawn is seeping through the ship. I can smell it. Its heat cooks the deck and the stink of corruption rises up like steam off foul stew. I must rise as well.

Today we are to meet with Zakki and return his bauble. Dead or no, I mean to kill him if he will no return me Murgosis whole and clean.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dreaming in the Redlands

You walk about the Red Castle in the dead of night. All the servants and guardsmen have been turned to statues. You wander about and find that all the nobles and crew of the Maelstrom are statues as well.
This doesnt seem to bother you much.
You wander out of the castle into the city streets. You round a corner past a stone watchman on a stone horse and see a young and pretty Chin girl in the middle of the street. She is not made of stone and she seems to reflect more moonlight than a body would normally warrant. She beckons you to follow and leads you out of the city and outside the castle walls. You come to a small clearing where 13 fist-sized stones make a circle around a larger stone. She beckons again and you both walk around the stones counter-clockwise 13 times.
After the 13th pass, the clearing is somehow much larger. The large center stone is now a statue of Murgosis. He holds a silver leaf in each hand.
The Chin girl appears from behind Murgosis and beckons you forward once more. This time you refuse, transfixed by the visage of the bull-man. His eyes are closed and he looks like he's meditating.
The girl takes you by the wrist. Her grip is icy-cold but her eyes are kind and sad. She gently leads you past the statue.
When you tear your eyes away from Murgosis, you are greeted by another representation of your love. This time he kneels in supplication, offering the silver leaves to an older Egyptian male you think to be his father.
The girl points behind the statues and there is a live person there where none was before. A half-elf wizard consults maps and charts behind the father statue, and makes an adjustment to the stone robes with a hammer and chisel. He seems to notice you and the Chin woman and mouthes a greeting, but the dream is silent and you hear nothing.
Suddenly a bearded dark-haired human appears behind the wizard with a large knife upraised to strike. You cry out a warning but no sound escapes your lips. The man stabs the wizard once, twice, three times. Then, laughing horrible silent laughter all the while, he crushes both statues with his bare hands. You are unable to move or speak as he sifts through the shattered stonework and unearths the two silver leaves. He devours them both. You fall forward, forward, forward into his horrible dark eyes--
And then you wake up.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Me Log: Retrieving Zakis' Bauble

Pierre, the dead swab as speaks for Zakki has appeared upon the Maelstrom. He bespake us to follow on the heading he gives to us. The Cap'n gives the nod to this, though I can see tis like to drive bodkin through his hand to do it. Within hours the Maelstrom comes upon a vortex the likes o' which no sailor would wish to see and we sail straight into it.

The Maelstrom in a maelstrom.

Stilgar holds us true. The whirlpool whips us round about like a child playin' crack the whip. I wonder what will happen when this whip cracks. The ship is near standin on its beam and I can see the water spout a whirlin' like Poseidon's own top beneath us. Tis bright noon and I can bespy the bottom of the spout some three fathoms below. The Cap'n ordered all the green hands below decks afore we came into the maelstrom. There'll be a fearsome vileness in the hold, and no mistake, but at least we need not watch as any of Winston's wee orphans plummet to their deaths. Murgosis, Dagon and I strain agin' the lines and the Maelstrom is fair screamin' beneath us. Her boards buck and groan as we spin faster and wilder. She's a fair ship and well made still I wonder if she will hold.

Round and round we spin in ever smaller circles till I spy the tip o' the mizzen fair touch the watery wall on the far side of the spout. The spray comin' off of that wall is like a knife and it rips the main sheet like wet foolscap and now tis all I can do to cling to Murgosis as he holds fast to the capstan. The Maelstrom is roarin' now like some foul serpent ripped from the depths. The scent of Murgosis is mingled with salt spray and my own fear. I look high above us at the bright blue sky and suddenly it winks out and the water closes o'er us.

With a twist that I feel from me teeth through me toes, the world whips around us and a with a 'pop', for all the world like god's own ale cork, we come to rest a bobbin' on a dark sea. Above me the sky is dark as midnight and the stars glint down all cold and uncarin'. I look up at Stilgar at the wheel. Coo, thinks I, he is a firm one and true, his knuckles is white as ivory on the wheel but he did no loose his grip. We've come through the vortex and out the other side. I cling to Murgosis for a moment longer lovin' the hot sweet smell of him. I feel his great hand reach around me and caress my the small of my back. No matter where so e'er I go, no matter what sorcery this world or the next comes agin' me, the one thing I know is Murgosis will always be here. I've found me strength and safe harbor and I hold the warm life of him.

"Little one you can release me now." says me great bull headed sovereign. But I don't just yet and I know I never will.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jenna's History

Excerpted from;
Pyrates: Their Villainous Ways and Keen Dress Sense
the Honorable Horatio Hans-Splatter QVC, KoT, MVP
of Millvesport the White Lands

Being the Tale of Jenna Swinesdottir Wanton, Duelist and Pyrate

Jenna Swinesdottir drawn from life by Noggin the Limer of Haimishport, who wishes it noted that the girl demanded to wear the patch though she needed it not

Wherein the author will describe how the tale of the notorious pyrate came to be known to him.
Whilst traveling among the stews of our fair capital it is impossible not to hear, from our stout sailing folk, of the singular pyrate Jenna Swinesdottir. She is spoken of in every dark wine-shop and e’en sung of in the fouler dens. She is reputed a deadly blade with hook and slim rapier and her manner much feared for tis said that e’en her own mates know not which way the wind might blow her mind. She is like as naught to skewer a lad as gaze on him and has been known to insight brawls upon a mere whim. Her beauty and youth are much remarked on as are her maniacal moods for she is a wench like the weather, changeable. When not a screaming mad thing, all who speak of her, name her generous with gifts, appealing of manner and e’en a bit na├»ve. The old salts say she is like unto their granddaughters and the young ones say she can be honey sweet without a care in the world, until she sees fit to become such a raging harridan that no tempest of the sea is like unto her for violence.

Wherein, the author endeavors to detail Jenna Swinesdottir’s body and visage.
Being born to swineherds she has their heavy build and stout arms but has been blessed with comely features, more the steeplechase thoroughbred than farmer’s plow horse. She stands a hands-span shy of an unstrung yew bow with red gold hair and eyes the azure of a sea-captain’s coat. Her right hand has been severed at the wrist and in its place is a hook all of the finest silver, with which she is reputed most deft and adept. Her left hand, like as not, is filled with a slim rapier, as handsome as the hook, with which she has gained a repute e’en among hardened orcs and soldiers. She stands fore-square with the devil may care attitude of a rake and yet she is said to be simple as a child in her understanding of the workings of the world outside of booty and bloodshed. She dresses in the finest silks, velvets and calf leather boots topped with the plumed hat of a cavalier tailored by our own White Land’s drapers and milliners, who speak of her rather as generous, than a vagabond thief.

Wherein, the author speaks of the birth, upbringing and history of the notorious pyrate.
Though, tis not the least the manner of the rest of the sea-born villains, Jenna is most forthcoming with her history. Troth, it can be found wherever the willing ear is placed among the seafaring folk. She was born to Hoggle and Omma Swiner, the fifteenth of seventeen children and the only daughter. Hoggle was, and by some accounts is, a swineherd and a prosperous one at that. He is of that breed of sturdy animal husbanders who can coax profit from out of his stock whilst still being a good-fellow-man to those who know him. It seems though he was an indulgent father, toward his only female child, if a tad distant. Jenna’s mother Omma died when Jenna was still in swaddling of an unfortunate and unlikely carthorse, water-well and Maypole accident, more’s the pity. Jenna was raised most by her boisterous brothers and the sailors whom her father took in as lodgers. E’en in earliest childhood she was an unnatural girl preferring the roustabout rumble tumble pell-mell of her brothers play to her own dolls and hoops. By the age of twelve she could climb like a forest pard and was reputed deadly with anything having a point. Though she seems to have been a dutiful child, in her way, a life of herding swine ne’er suited her and her father oft’ let her stay amongst his sailor lodgers and listen to their tales, whilst her many brothers ran the farm. These same salts filled her young head, with shanties and foamy quests, till her mind was fair addled and her speech was as colorful as a hand of fifty years. She began to believe that the life of a seaman, and a pyrate at that, was one of heroic adventure and naught but daring do. She determined that she would live that life and no other.

Upon her fifteenth summer, it being the custom among the islanders that fifteen was the end of childhood and the beginning of adult duties, she set out for the local sea port hard by, bent on becoming a sea-hand. Coming to the first sloop she spied she clambered up the gangway and demanded to be taken on board as an able hand and pyrate no less. The resulting hilarity drove her into an ale house where she chanced on three drunken sailors and their e’en more inebriated companion, a sawbones, or sea-born cleric. Convinced, as she was, that it was her visage, and not her manner, that had reduced the captain and crew of the sloop to tears of mirth, she set about to look more pyratical. She belabored the soused seadogs to have her left hand off and replace it with a hook. So they did after much drink and cajoling but naught could o’ercome them to have her leg off for a wooden peg and her eye out as well, fortunately for the daft lass. At this point the God’s smiled on her, or mayhap had their own jest, for it chanced that that devil of the sea, the scourge of maiden shipping and gunned hunters alike, Shannahan of the Cutlass was in port. He heard of the balmy bint and had her dragged onto his vessel. Jenna Swinesdottir has sailed loyally with him to this very day.

There have been tales, e’en within the month, of this damsel of the deep sailing among ghosts on foul a phantom vessel. She is reputed by a paladin of note to have battled at the side of half-orc and ‘Gyptian minotaur monks within a dank fetid chapel turned to evil. Tales tell of sea drakes and krakens o’er stepping the gunwales of the Cutlass, though, so perhaps Jenna Swinesdottir is drowned and devoured by such beasts. Indeed it is said that she is possessed by spirits, fair haunted by undead pyrate queens and may have died while swashbuckling on Mad Wizard Isle, a place of fearsome and uncanny repute. Among the gnomes it is said that she and her companions have turned pyrate hunters and, with their own vessel, currently rid the seas of other ocean brigands. What e’re the tale, good folk keep ‘ye wary for thy young lads and boy childer, keep them close. If Jenna is still about, and your boys comely, they may yet come to grief or have their manhood’s stolen by this wave-foam harpy, Jenna Swinesdottir, Mad Maiden of the Malestrom.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Me Log: Rolling waves and dreams of dragons

Aye, dear log, tis time and more I should ha' put quill to yea. I have been looking out to sea. The water be so deep a green that I am minded of the fields about me Da's farm. From the time I first remember, each summer, they stood and waved as far as I could look about me. Green breaking waves rolling back and forth with the wind. I mind me that I wished, e'en when I were bare nine years old, to sail a boat o'er those emerald breakers of grain, sail far, far away. 'Course I ne'er imagined that the grand boat would smell the same as me Da's pig farm. Still, it were my escape, I needed it then no less then I do now and no mistake.

When I were a young maid, can't ha' been much more then five or six summers, me Ma up and died whilst a dancin' a Maypole. She were no old spinster woman but after birthin' so many wee lads and two lasses as well she were not so strong as once she were. When me Da and brothers come and told me that we were to bury her, I mind that I was a feared for her. I didna ken she were dead and gone see. I thought she were only sleepin' and I thought it a foul trick to plant her so. I fussed on so much that me Da could no countenance it a more. He gave me unto his brother, Uncle Tambur, so as he could have time for his grievin'.

Uncle Tambur had bright golden eyes like honey. They glimmered so bright that I thought the fire from his pipe had gotten in behind them. When I think on dragons I think on me Uncle's eyes, shining, cool, powerful. I mind that he were always willin' to play with me too and I must ha' liked him fair well, certainly more than I liked me Da that day. I went with him that day right readily.

As the years turned I ran to him more and more. When e'er a storm blew up twixt me brothers and me or more often twixt me and me Da, I'ld run down the road to me Uncle's house and like as not drag me lil' sister as well. Then Uncle would hear me tale of whoa and set down to play with us, cuddle us and hold us close. He'd wrap his great hot arms around us and stroke and press the hurt from me, a touchin' on me and sayin' gentle words. He were kind, soft, not calloused like me Da and me brothers. Nay, he were cool and smooth and strong like a protective dragon and me sister and me were his hoard.

I no thought anythin' on it, his playin', until I had me ninth natal day.

Me Da' had begun taken in lodgers when me Ma passed. Sailors they were mostly from the port hard by. Rough men, seafarin' men, but older men, not for them the wild stews of the wharf. They wanted to spend their leave quieter at a good table a eatin' and a drinkin' well, tellin' tales and singin' shanties. They it were who first told me of the sea and its bold brave defenders. They told tales of ships, plunder, sea-drakes, watery maids and the fearsome pirates who ruled the waves. I hearkened to those tales and loved them.

But on this day, my ninth natal day, I 'spected me Da' to spend the day with me. Da were always with me on my natal days. Most days, Da' had little time for me. He tried, I know, to spend what time he might but there were too few hours twixt six bells and even song, too much work to do. Me natal day, though, he spent with me and me alone since me Ma passed. On me ninth natal day the levy broke after the hard rain we'ld been havin'. Da' and all me brothers were hard put dealin' with the hogs and savin' our home from the flood. He couldna' come that day. He left me with an old cove name of Slanteye Pots. Slanteye were a good man for a story and could sing a fair shanty but he'd seen to many sunsets to be of use savin' the farm. He tried to keep me close with his clever stories but I wanted me Da that day and naught else. I took off runnin' toward me Uncle Tambur's in the midst of the gail.

It were no far distance and even in the storm I found it right enough. I might have thought it odd that he were inside when all the others were a fightin' so hard again' the weather but I did no. Me uncle the dragon showed me in and kissed away me tears as he always did. He called me his treasure and dragged me into his lair. He set to strokin' on me, pushin' in me as he were want to do, when the door banged open and I looked up. There were Slanteye Pots a standin' in the doorway and his mouth dropped open when he saw us. He musta' followed me out into the tempest. Followed me all the way to me Uncle's, the poor old man.

Of a sudden, Slanteye let out a terrible roar, shouted at me Uncle to heave to and loose me. He shouted that I were a child. He were shoutin' still when the dragon, the cool, soft dragon, reached behind the headboard of his bed and shot fire clean through his weathered old body a droppin' him to the floor. The dragon then laid down on me, his treasure, as he'd been doin' when Slanteye'd kicked in the door. I pushed at him then and tried to heave him off, for I was a feared for poor Slanteye a layin' on the ground. I'd ne'er shoved the dragon afore that day. I'd always done as the dragon wished. Now I felt his wrath. He smashed me in the gut with his great heavy hand and all the wind fled me. The dragon pushed me down again as I gasped for air. He arranged me beneath him like a doll. Once more he laid himself down and o'er his shoulder I saw a wonder. Slanteye Pots, his face full a rage, stabbed down into the dragon's back with a marlin spike. He did it again and again. The dragon roared and flailed but the old seadog did not stop a cuttin' till the dragon roared no more.

Slanteye pulled me free of me uncle. He rubbed the blood from me with an ancient cloth. When he were done he stood me up beside the bed and said, "Princess, pirate-princess". He patted me shoulder then sat heavily on the floor and I watch the light leave his old brown eyes.

Here I stand aboard the Malestrom a thinkin' on wheat like water and ancient pirate heroes. I think on me child dreams of sailin' far and far upon the wavin' green as far away as far can be and e'en farther still. I think on that, that and slayin' dragons.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Me Log: Becalmed after the Blow

Well, like as not there's an end to it. Me head feels as if 'twere an oyster on an otter's belly. Pound, pound, pound and crack, ye Gods! Still and all there's an end to it.

Murgosis were no end of apologetic after rattling me teeth with boat. Though tis I that should ha' done the apologizing and I did try, 'course he'ld ha' none of it.
He's a fine one and I am lucky to ha' him. He heard me blubberin' narrative o' the events of the inn two nights agone. I still ain't sure if I was a leakin' from self pity or because he'ld raised the God's own mountain on me brow. He ne'er said ought until I had done. Then he allowed as how he'ld knowed it all along. It were a touchin' moment and I was the happier sleepin' in our berth that night with him. Though the God's defend me when I say I hurt allover and the more so when the great bullocks rolled over on me and commenced to sawin' wood so fierce and loud that he nay heard me yelpin' underneath. Gar' that were one hot night troth.

Of the mornin' I resolved to make Murgosis one o' the dishes from his country for his break fast. I arose afore six bells and hobbled off to the mess. I had resolved to make kebabs with rotten milk and marjoram. Here now, tis what he likes. He's a poweerful hankerin' for rotten milk. He likes it all clotted up and then he pours honey all on it and eats it just so like twere jams or mother's milk. So as I were a sayin' I set to make his break fast. There were no one about as I assembled all that I would need. High on one shelf were marjoram in a tub. Cooky had left a pot of milk to molderin' so's that were done. All I needed were the meat. I looked long and hard at that mess but there weren't a single portion of meat that were not salt pork or sausage to hand. I sighed and looked about. There were naught for it. I made my way down to the hold.

Now a ship such as our'n has a large quantity of hooved victuals baaing and a clucking below decks. I hear tell on some boats the whodos'll flash freeze 'em with some'at of a hocus ot another. On our boat though they were live as live can be. I found me a fat old she goat and started a draggin' her up the ladder. Now. I'ld grown up on a farm and were no stranger to slaughterin' afore mealtimes but I had ne'er attempted on a ship. I had just reached the top of the companionway when our barque gave a mighty lurch and spilled the nanny and I out the hatch and onto the deck. Well the next thing you know she starts to catterwallin' fixed to wake might Poseidon or worst. I gave chase but the sea were rough and I tumbled about a fair piece, o' course so did she.

Finally, I cornered her twixt a gun carriage and a rolled cable. I spun her round about, pinned her horns with me hook and slit her neck quick and clean. Twere then that I looked up and saw the whole o' the ship's company a starin' at me round eyed. I should mention at this point that I were starkers. It were meant to be a special sort o' break fast for me Murgosis ye' ken. So there I set all covered in blood with a nannie goat a kickin out her last and there were all the lads and lasses a gogglin' at me. I think I begin to see why all me mates think I'm mad.

PS. Mrugosis were a might fashed at me fer the goat and all.
PS. He did like the Kabobs well enough, though he allowed as they were not usually served to break fast

Friday, September 7, 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Me Log: At Sea with the Quiet

27 Days out from Mad Wizard Isle 3 Days out from Fey Port
Well, I am covered with bruises, I've a rent in me new velvet coat and still nay a word from the pyramid with horns. Now d'no get your dander up ol' log o' mine. Murgosis has no hit me or sech like. 'Tisn't his way or manner. He is a gentleman born e'en if he is a bull with more than tech a mule in him. And for those as might imagine it, I nay fell off a spar or nose kissed the yardarm. No, this I done more cunningly still. Hearken.

Yestere'en, I gave Murgosis the idea that I been up to some'at with the new whodo. I had me naught to do with the lad, save that I were quaffin' with he and Dagon, I swears by me Ma's soul. But now me great MooMan had his horns in a bunch. On top o' which I heared that he done gone and spoke to the Cap'n on me behalf. It did no good but it were nice as nice. So I were then and am now more 'n a bit morose for me bein' the hind of horse.

So, on to the matter. I got up this morn and set to runnin' the hands to their duties. The more experienced hands I put to airing the sails and coiling cable. The youngest hands I set to racin' up to the top o' the mainsail and down to the deck again. This last puts the fear of heights from their heads . Whilst , they were about this I set to fencing with young Tander who has a fair hand for cutin' and slashin'. I been settin' to with Tander for a fair lot o' weeks now and it has become habit that we would spar when there were naught else t' be about.
Troth, so used were I to sech that some'at of the time I would lose meself in it. So I was when Murgosis happened to pick up theJolly Boat. I were surprised at this, as I had just scraped and painted the boat and there were naught of any reason I could ponder for him heftin' it. Aye, heftin' like an it were a club for hammerin' at somethin'. At about this moment I noted the new whodo comin' up from the aft hold.

I reckon, at that, I might ha' cried out or som'at. Certes, I should ha' done, as at just that nonce young Tander drove his point home in me side tearin' a great gapin' rent me brand new coat not to mention me hide. Course I dinna want you to think tha' gave me any pain. Oh no, ye see Murgosis had heard me and turnin' o'er quick swatted me fore square with the Jolly Boat.

So there I lay upon me back with me honker a pourin' syrup, me mind all a wobbly buttery and the rest o' me squashed like a pancake. Jest another day quiet day in me wonderous life.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Me Log: Fey Port and the Pointy Eared Devils

26 Days out from Mad Wizard Isle ashore in Fey Port

Well Dagon is a right sage. I no sooner staggered into the hold, that Murgosis and I share, when I am confronted by me bovine-headed-gallant. He hurls me on to our berth and for a wee moment I'm all excited like as it runs through my head that I never ha' seen me Bull o' Amen Ra in full rut. I still have not seen it. Me bunk mate is neigh interested in a set to, oh no, he begins to poke and prod' about me bread basket with his great heathen paws.

"Oy," says I, "Sheer off! Leave off pokin' me! Here, that tickles you great cow." I made to heave him off but ye'ld need a lever and Demigod a plyin' it to move me Murgosis when he is bent on a task. "What are ye playin' at ye great hairy gob?"

"You are unclean." Says he and sets to proddin' on me belly again.

"I never am," says I all indignant,"I had me a bath not a fortnight agone. 'Sides thats never been a sticking point with you afore. What are ye about?"

"Ye may have eggs in you woman!"

"Aye, I might but if ye keep stabbin' at me so they will be all cracked and will never have no horn headed little lads and lasses."

"No, you do not understand, the pointy eared slaves will have forced them into your thorax."

"Ye'ld, think I might have noticed had they done. No one's laid no eggs in my Thor hatch. Leave off your proddin' now afore I prod you and see how you like it."

"Ah, it is alright you have not been perforated."

"Actually, I think I ha' been now. You gave me a right poke in me tummy, ye brute ye. I done told ye they ha' no put anything within me. Ha' ye gone deaf of a sudden?"

"Jenna, you are to trusting. This Laina is a vile barnacle who clung to great Osiris' chariot as it rolled through the underworld. She is an elf, a slave and a sharp eared liar. She intends great evil for you. Attend me as I speak she is darkness incarnate. She would not have invaded you when you traded for cloth. She would have attacked you when you had drunk too much wine and could not stop her. She is cunning. She is an elf slave."

"Wee pretty Laina, who done helped me tyre meself all this long day? Wee pretty Laina who puts more store by shoes than people? Wee pretty Laina whose a searchin' so hard after her brother she bare thinks of anythin' else in this whole world than the findin' of him? Is it that Laina you are going on about? " I stared up at him all fierce and all and I am about to lay in another broadside, when it hits me about the eggs and the drinkin'. "Why ye rag brained excuse for a steak and a pair of shoes, did ye think that Laina was set to get me soused and put her eggs in me, her eggs in me?!? She's a lady elf ye rawhide in waitin'! A lady elf! And I am a lass me ownself. I know naught of thy lands of sand but round here a lass o' my stamp does not exchange her eggs with other lasses." I paused for breath here as I looked into those great brown eyes a' me Murgosis and that's what undone me. I should have shut me trap and ended right there, but oh no, I had to lay just one more yard a cable. "'Sides I wasna' with Laina a drinkin' I was with that new hand, the pretty one, what we picked up from Zhaki."

Monday, September 3, 2007

Me Log: Laina and Shoe Shopping

25 days Out from Mad Wizard Isle. A port in Fejounaise

Laina is the new lass aboard the Maelstrom. She is elf lady and she has given me bunk mate Murgosis no end of disagreement since she showed her pointed face on Mad Wizard Isle. Murgosis is a feared of elves as he says they are like to lay eggs in our belly's and what all. I been watchin' Laina right close though and I has yet to see her birthin' probiscus that Murgosis is so on about it. In anywise Laina done me a right favor today when she squired me about this here elven isle in search of garments, frippery and drapery. Whilst I had been about shiftin' off me mortal coil again and again these last few weeks me clothes both great and small and had been shiftin' as well. In fact they shifted themselves into holes and powder. For the last two weeks I been tired in the orphans cast offs and none to happy on it.

In any event, once we made port I had me two grand goals; new togs and at least twenty hefty tankards. Seein' as how Laina claimed to be from here round abouts, I asked her if'n she'ld show me the lay of the land. Well when I threw my hook for sardines I hooked me a whale. Laina first led me to her "leetle pla'ce" as she called it. Her "chat tow" as she named it, were full the size of the Maelstrom beam to beam and stem to stern. I could barely behold the lot of it ganding about from the street as I was. She dragged me within and showed me her "bood ware" or some such. She must have near to two hundred pairs of shoes enough to shod a cavalry squadron horse and man. Not that they'ld wear the collection of straps and spikes Laina terms shoes.

Next the pointed ear minx open a room filled to burstin' with naught but frocks. She had ball gowns, travellin' frocks, doublets n' hose and these wee tiny little scruffs of cloth that she told me were Faerie Court Dress. The biggest bit o' which would ne'er have covered the crow's nest on me picture of the Bloody Cutlass. I took one look at what was left of me toggs and turned a scarlet near the color of me old coat. Laina waved her hands in the air and told me to think not of it. She grabbed the valise she done come for and near to ran me out out of her house. For the next six hours she dragged me round to "thee best at-tyre-mont". Turns out that "At-tyre-mont" means a Man o' War's worth of drapers and cutters. Still though I ain't never been so fine kitted out, e'en if I did lay out near a thousand gold wheels.

For afters I led Laina down to the wharfs for the quaffin' and the singin'. Seems as if Laina ne'er been in sailor's stew afore so this was a rare treat for her. Aye, she allowed as she had never "smelt soooch feelth" or some'at but she seemed to enjoy the quaffin' onced she'ld got the hang of bendin' an elbow. I reckon she was a fibbin a might about not havin' been in the wharf taverns though, seein' as the publican knew her by name and asked after missin' brother. By the time I'ld crossed the floor she had two rough coves, one to each arm, to squire through the evenin'. They were gabbin' like old mates the pair of them with grins on their gobs as kids with their first candy. 'Course tehm poor sods didna' see the grin ol' Laina were wearin' methinks. Sure and there's a lion missing his smiler somewhere, thinks I. Those coves have no idea what they are in for.

I was sad that I didna' see Murgosis Meri-Amen-Bull-Ra III about, but I reckon it were on account of all the "pointy eared vile slaves"as he calls 'em. Dagon was there though and the new feller what was on Zhaki's barque. He's a right kind a feller, bright eye and all, and a fine smile. Methinks he'll fit right in among us. We rolled our elbows a few times and Dagon allowed as how I was right about Murgosis. He were mopin' 'pon the Maelstrom a meditatin' or some such. He also let on that me horn-head-luv was none to pleased with me goin' ashore. Well how was I to know that says I, "He only had to ask me and I woulda' stayed to ship with him." 'Course I did leave the ship two hours afore the sun rose and waited on the docks till Laina rose her own self and came down the plank. What can I say, I love me a sunrise.

Me Log: Life on the Maelstrom

22 Days out from Mad Wizard Isle

Things has changed some since me mates and I crewed with Cap'n Shannahan. Where once we were a care free band of cut throats now we are officers and hands on the Maelstrom under Cap'n Winston.

We elected Winston our Captain by the articles of pyracy and cause he had been an officer afore times. His Da told us that his tales of being such were true though his other adventurin' yarns were not. Me mate and love Morgosis were made First Mate as he were so big and fearsome, coo if they only knew. Winston's Da were made Master Gunner and has been trainin' Winston's orphans how to ship , load and aim our guns. Stilgar is Second Mate and pilot owin' to his mastery of charts and seein' as he is a good ship's hand. I suppose Daggon is our marine contingent as he counts for ten regular swabs in a fight, but owin' to his constant drinking he is regularly in no state to command the crew. Marik is our Jonah of course since he is so devout and because his God si Posiedon and a crew were mad to not give a priest of Poseidon precedence whilst on deck. It gives me some pause though, as Stilgar is fair devoted to Pelar, Dagon has made an oath to Garl and me lovely Morgosis' father is a priest of Aman-Bull-Ra. I mean with four different priests and near as priests on board it could be a point of contention among the crew. I am the Bosun and it is my job to care for the ship's boat, keep the crew to swabbing the decks and belike.

I have been thinking a bit about our ship the Maelstrom. I have always set out to be a good pyrate and follow the Accords. Moreover, I drinks and bellows with the best and am all but racin' Dagon to the tavern to brawl and carouse when we are in port. It worries me therefore that our Cap'n knows not the Accords. He spoke it so to us when we were in the Gnomish port after we had done battle with the foul Cap'n Demmings and his scurvy dogs. I were dead after that fight but when I, Marik and Morgosis were raised up we found out that Cap'n Winston were only then paying out the hands and that he knew not the Accords. I told him that I would be glad to relate the Accords to him but he done put me off.

That may just be Cap'n Winston's way. He seems a good man. He is always concerned about the waifs he brings on to crew the Maelstrom and he is devoted to his sister. She is our whodo now and she is Winston's councilor though his Da is his closest. Still, I wonder som'at upon the waifs. Me Ma always told me to be wary of men who seemed over concerned with little lasses and lads. Not that there are no folk who wish only good for lost tykes, but still ye have to keep your headin' when ya deal with such folk. Cap'n Winston has said that he will have no crew who are not orphans. Does he not e'en wish us to scour the stews for experienced swabs?

I am also mindful that he does not like to name us pyrates. Dagon likes to name us "sea-going-adventures" and not pyrates but he's half orc and surly. it sticks in me craw that Cap'n Winston would not have us aligned with the forces of good that all pyrates strive to be. Not that all pyrates are good. There are rogues a plenty on the sea, I well know it. But it is the job of heroic pyrates like our selves to scour them from the waves. Mayhap, Cap'n Winston still thinks he is in that Duleandre navy he once sailed with.

Lastly, he names me mad and will not give me a better berth on the ship. I thought he would have me to third mate or some such but methinks now that he would put me off if he could. Ten days ago we were chased by the foul Captain Demming. The Maelstrom had sunk one of Demmings cruel fleet, after fierce battle. We were in no real shape for a fight. We had intended to make for a deserted island where we might lay to and fix the ship when we spotted Demmings chasing us to leeward. A mysterious fog came up out of nowhere and the crew thought providence had shown us favor but I was somewhat worried for fear it were Demming's mages or worse. I recommended we put out pontoons to warn us of contact in the fog and the Captain agreed. When one of the barrels began to act strangely I petitioned the Captain to swim out and have done for whatever were fouling the float. He would have none of it and questioned my competency o'er it. Saying, as he done, that we knew not whether that which grabbed our barrel were friend or foe. This with Captain-Cavorts with Mad Demonic Sorcerers- Demmings off our aft by who knew how few furlongs. As it turned out there were a lad in the boat who were but recent among Cap'n Zhaki and his undead crew so's it were fortune that I hadn't slit his throat and I were glad of it.

Turns out, Cap'n Zhaki were the one who had called up the mist that hid us from Demmings . He done it as he needed a favor from us. We had done things for Zhaki afore times under Good Cap'n Shanahan but when Zhaki's mate Piere asked us now, Cap'n Winston balked at it. He did no want me to defend the ship when we were in peril from Demmings and his filth but when a Cap'n we knew, and had business with afore, saves us and offers her guns to aid us he wanted no part of it. It took strong convincing to get him to agree.

Methinks, there maybe some'at amiss about out Captain. I have begun to talk to the crew to learn their minds and when I do I will ask for parlay and a passing of balls to see how the weather lies with Winston.

Me Log: Life at sea and the Malestrom

21 days out from Mad Wizard Isle

I enjoyed the life of a pyrate sailing with Good Cap'n Shanahan and his crew of rough, brave souls. The cove Morgosis and his mate Daggon were both monks. It turns out that Daggon, havin' already seen me swipe off my right hand, swung his great fist into me head to prevent me from putting out my sight. He and Morgosis the minotaur hauled me to blacksmith who cauterized my wrist and then they had him stick a hook on it. Afterwards they dumped me in front of Shanahan and his crew. When I leaped to my feet and grabbed a sword Morgosis tried to stop me from hurtin' meself further. Elsewise I ne'er have been able to stab him in his great hairy paw.

Morgosis hails from a far of land that were of the name Egypt in his 'gyptian minotaur speech. To hear him tell it, Egypt is a land of farrows, priests and sand, a dotted all about with houses o' the dead that are not more than stone barn roofs sticking out of the dunes. I know not what he sees in it but, as he is me husband and all, I suppose one day we will set course for it. Aye, he is me lawful wedded bunkmate now him whose great paw I pierced when first I came aboard the Bloody Cutlass.

I know not so much about Great Dagon the Sot. He is a monk and a half-blood orc and a more powerful drinker I've ne'er knowed. He is also a follower of the God of the Gnomes, Garl Glittergold. Dagon does not speak much about his past though he were hunted by a demon for a time and he's always a lookin for a bunch o' lads who shouts and fights with there feet and hands as does he.

Dagon and Morgosis were me first true mates on the Bloody Cutlas and we's seen some adventures as the best of the storybooks rare tells. We had a set to with a kraken and fought a dragon in its lair. We have fought in a temple dedicated to the dead and fell and turned it once more to the light of Pelar. I were not me ownself through much of that as I were inhabited by the shade of a Great Pirate Captain, who were a maid like me. We ha' seen the feirce Cap'n Zhaki who rules a crew of the dead and ha' done him more than one favor. In truth we are the stuff of great adventure. Though I have not as yet rescued my first princess from a tower as all good pytates must.

There were several lads that all took ship with Shanahan from Vandasport in the Redlands the same day as me. We got to know each other fair well. They're me mates as well. Stilgar who is goddly and feral all at once. He is a mariner and navigator both and a drab hand with a pistol. A good mate is Stilgar. Marik be goddly as well, followin' the Storm and Sea God Poseidon. A perilous deity to follow and one that puts fear into the hearts of many a sailor, but if you have to have a Jonah on your decks you couldn't ask for a better one than Marik. Winston was mad as a hater when first he came on board. He would drawl on about exploits that happened years and years past as if they happened to his own self and no other. He was always telling us of his dead pater and of how he had been an officer in some great navy or other. The thing of it is, he knew not the yardarm from the mainsail. A rare and spooky cove he and the spookier when we found his Da in the belly of a kraken and Winston denied the cove were his Da. Denied e'en when Shanahan his ownself reckoned he knew Winston's Da and the cove from the kraken were he in the flesh. Some time agone Shanahan cured him of his madness and now he allows that the mad adventures he once told of were those his Da and Ma had done. Winston has come to know his Da the better and has him as the master gunner on the new ship he captains, The Maelestrom.

Me Log: How I came to be Pyratical

19 days out from Mad Wizard Isle

I've decided to keep me a log recorded me life at sea. As this is the first such thing I's ever attempted I best be lettin' you know some'at about me.
Me name is Jenna Siren Swinesdottir. I was born in the Redlands in the hamlet of Derry. Me Da and Ma where farmers, pigfarmers, Hoogle and Omma Swiner by name. Me family had been carin' for hogs for generations, and as successful at it as the Gods would allow us. Me Ma had her seventeen children of which I was he fifteenth, the next two along were both maids like me'self, Merrel and Tandy though only Tandy lived. Most of the others were lads built like me Da. Fouteen brothers and full nine who reached their maturity. "Since so many a ye' brats sees fit to keep breathin' we must add to our livelyhood" said me Da when I was two years old. He done so and began to take in lodgers.

Hellum is me eldest brother and will inherit the land, though he and Kavril has has a set to o'er it. Kaveril is next in line and wants not to be an innkeeper sayin' Hellum is better at talking to folk. This is true but Hellum is the eldest. The others are, after Kavril to me again, Besser, Vondar, Hoggle Junior, Tullivor (he's the seventh son and is 'prenticed to Mandrake the Mage) Bertram and Ommarty. Ommarty has three years on me and can be a fair bully though he taught me well how to swing a cudgel. What with me havin' to hit him so oft with one for crawlin into me bunk.

Me upbringing where pleasant enough though I were never one for knittin' or ought. I preferred me the wilder life and spent much of my time with the sailors who took lodging with us. They told me all the stories of the sea and the good pirates who protected sailors and ought from villainy. They taught me to be ever watchful, how to know the weather by the ring on the sun, how to tie a proper knot and all. When I turned me sixteenth summer I set out for the wharfs intent on joining a ship. I had heard tell that the Great Pyrate Shannahan was at dock and I set me cap for a berth on his ship. I marched me up to the table and bespoke my name to the mate a taken names and before I could e'en tell him of me sword prowess he told me to shove off as, "We need know wenches or drabs on this vessel."

I can tell ye' it saddened me sore and I dragged me sorry carcus to the nearest inn to slake my sorrows. Now in this tavern were several of Shannhan's crew a drinkin' and dicein', tough I knowed it not. I was nursin' me fifth tankard, havin' pulled hard on the first four, when I right nasty cove plunked his arse on the bench next to me and said,"Wha'cha weepin for lassy?". I almost blacked his eye for defamin' me character so, with the weepin' and all, but I did not. Instead I told him of me desire to sail with Shannahan and how I'ld been put off without e'en a fair hearing. Then the cove, Daggon were his name, and a fearsome orcish visge he had to him, said that I was but a slip of a girl and no-one would take me serious for a sailor and mate. I gazed at his cruel features and knew he had the right of it. I knew in an instant, I had not the look of seasoned salt about me. I thought for a trice about the sailors I'ld known who were the most fearsome and piratical with their missing limbs, eyes and teeth. I knew in a twinkling what I would need to do to show my resolve.

I spied a powerful large knife at Daggon's belt. I had it out afore he knew of it and without thinking no-more on it I had off my right hand at the wrist. I turned to Daggon and said, "Now all I need's is a hook on this and Shanahan will know I am a mate of the bravest and most piratical". I could see in Daggon's eyes though that it were not enough. I asked him, "Daggon, ya ken that the hook is no enough? I could have me leg off as well and totter about on a wooden pin, though it would put me swordsmanship to the test. Mayhap I should have out an eye and cover it with a patch? What think ye?" Afore I could put his sticker to me blinker there was a blinding flash and when next I awoke I was laid out on a rollin deck with a crew of cut-throats round about me, starin' into the face of Cp'n Shannahan his own self.

"So lass" says he, "Ye hacked off your own good right hand to join my crew, my lads Daggon and Murgosis here tell me. Now what were the use of that? Ya Redland clothheaded wench, what good is a slattern like ye' to me without e'en teh means to defend yourself?" I knew not what to say for a moment then I leaped to me pins knicked the sword from the sash of a fair cove and spun it round a bout me. "Who says I can no defend meself?" Some big blighter with horns pokin' out of his head rushed at me and I pinned his hand to the mast with a poke of the pigsticker I had. Without thinkin' on it I swung me left at his snout and that was when I discovered I had a hook growin' out of me right wrist. I rang that cow's bell for him. Afore he could rage up and tear me to pieces Shanahan's big mate had the sword out a me hand and was holdin' off the Morgosis bloke, him with the horns whose hand I'ld made a port hole of.

"Well" says Shanahan, "Your a helion and no mistake. If ye can show some shipcraft ye can have a berth?" I spent the afternoon with Squee and by eight bells I was a mate aboard the Bloody Cutlass.