Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ghost ship

The next morning, set to Study certain books commended to me by the Captain, one concerning the currents of the Sword Sea, and another on the lines of a Hull, some forms being Swifter while others more capacious or steady, and yet another on the subtle arts of Mathematics and navigation. Although there was no Occasion to exercise these Arts, the sky being hard overcast from dawn to dusk, and no sight of Sun or star possible. Yet by means of casting the log, and some Thought on the currents, it was possible to reckon our position, that being off Dragon Head, and when the mist cleared, and we could see the loom of the point to starboard, it proved to be so.

In the afternoon, my watch being done, the water orc sought me out, to teach him the language of the ship, for though he speaks four tongues, he has no Chondathan, and so I set out for him those Words of which I thought him most in Need, viz, for working the ship. Fra Veritan, joining us after a time, proved to be adept in Illuskin, and the twain of them thus able readily to converse, I left them to, thinking, that the crew seeing Fra Veritan, who is but a rabbit at heart, yet so readily at Ease with the warrior, they might also be less timid of him.

The following day, that being the second day after the raiders, I, being the watch officer at Dawn, charged Laithoren to keep a sharp watch for strange sail. And lo, at two points off the starboard bow, he perceived a Vessel, which, seen through the glass, proved to be a galleon of Luskan work, but adrift, with her mizzen and maintop carried away, and sails torn, and neither boats on her decks, nor movement nor sign of Life to be seen. The Captain gave orders to approach her, which we did until, at half a league away, we noted a Stench as of death and corruption, and still no sign of Movement upon her decks. Whereupon I, from curiosity and hope of Loot, volunteered to lead a party aboard, which notion the Captain endorsed, and gave me Kanak and Laithoren and Inae, and the yawl with two men for the oars.

And so we came upon her, through water that was foul and murky around her hull, and we boarded her. First searching the great cabin, Kanak and I found an envelope of shipping manifests, a gold Disk, and some pouches of coins, which we hid privily away. Belowdecks there were sea chests, with some few coins and trinkets, and a seal hide, and a ivory figurine of some northern goddess, scarce Sune Firehair, yet  Kanak kept it. In the hold, a rotted cargo of cloth and furs, but forward, behold!, a small chest with gold and silver. Yet as I sought to put lines around it, so that Kanak might hoist it, two pairs of cold dead Hands came up through the hull planking, and struck at me, whereupon Kanak, hearing my call, heaved away, and brought me up out of the hold. We made our way with Haste to the top deck, yet it profited us not, for crawling over the sides came foul Wights who stank of rot, and struck at us with tooth and claw. Shortly we had all taken Wounds, yet Kanak slew them with every stroke, and Laithoren shot, and I plied my blades to some effect. Kanak, being weighty, and the deck weak and treacherous, fell through, and down again, into the Hold, but took no great harm, and indeed he sprang up again, and slew the chieftain of the dead. I saw it not, for the Poison from my wounds overcame me, and I sank down, unable to move, but Inae's ministrations soon mended that, at least in part, though in truth I yet feel weak. With the undead, who had numbered twelve or fourteen, thus slain, and water rising in the hold, we made swift to haul up the Chest of treasure, and further Laithoren and Kanak searched the quarter cabins, and found therein a wand, and certain other items. Whereupon we descended into the yawl, and cast off to return to Prosperity.

1 comment:

  1. Kestrel's report:
    "On approaching the chase, it appeared adrift and abandoned." Kestrel pauses a moment to allow the implications ("adrift and abandoned" means it's derelict, therefore open to salvage) settle in, then continues. "No boats, no signs of life. Mr. Angarod and I searched the great cabin and day cabin. All the furniture was wrecked. We found this , some poor quality Luskan maps, some clothes. No log book, no weapons, nothing showing a magic aura. Much of the main deck was rotten, liable to fall through. Main hatch open. Below decks, again, wardroom furniture wrecked. Half a dozen sea chests abandoned. In the hold, cargo of cloth and furs, all rotten. Found that strongbox in the forward hold in two feet of water. I was trying to get a line around it, so Mr. Angarod could haul it out, when two pairs of hands pushed through the hull planking and snatched at me. We withdrew to the top deck, where we were attacked by approximately fifteen creatures--I believe them to have been ghouls, sir. We destroyed them, all four of us being wounded in the process. During the fight, portions of the forward decks had collapsed, which enabled Mr. Angorod to reach and retrieve the strongbox. He reported that water in the hold was now four feet deep. I still being weak from wounds, I boarded the yawl and directed Mr Angorod and Mr. Mistrellen to quickly search the officer's quarters before the ship sank. Once that was done, we departed the derelict. As far as I know, Dunders and Radge were not attacked or injured.
    "Sir, I believe the bite of the ghouls had some disease or poison, and even though, thanks to Lady Inae, our wounds are healed, the poison is still in effect. I believe there is a risk that we will become the creatures that bit us. I expect Lady Inae can shed further light on that subject.
    "We did not observe any ghouls other than those we destroyed, but we do not know why or how they came to be there, nor whether there are more. My immediate recommendation is that we make best speed away from the wreck, keep a sharp watch, and have marines ready to repel boarders at the rails. And take whatever precautions are needed in case we longer ourselves. Permission to go on the sick list, sir...."