Current Location: At Sea

It has been 15 days since I have been able to return to my journal. The sequence of events that has occurred is almost too unusual to describe, but I shall endeavor to try. I accomplished my goal and stowed away aboard the damaged ship. It was quite easy, as the numerous holes allowed me to easily access the storage hold. Unfortunately, the stench lingered from the previous shipment, and even now, I do not know when I will be rid of it. All was well for the first couple of nights. The crew appeared to mostly abandon their posts in the evening, with only a helmsman on deck. Though the food choices were limited, I was able to acquire sufficient quantities unnoticed. There doesn’t appear to be a cook or even a proper kitchen aboard the vessel; everything is eaten unprepared and consists mainly of potatoes and turnips.

On the third night, I was discovered by the first mate and brought before the captain. It was an odd encounter, with my fate decided by a game of rock-paper-scissors. As the captain always chose paper, a fact he loudly proclaimed before each game, I won easily. I was then thrown into what they called the “Brig,” which consisted of a straw bed, lantern, clean sheets, and a bottle of wine. The crew themselves slept on the floor of a room just adjacent to my own. That room has a large hole in it, yet none of the crew ever seemed worried they would accidentally fall out of it in the night. I am almost certain we have the same number of crew we started with, but everything is so disorganized it is hard to be sure.

Though I was confined to my room, they never locked the door, and I was able to continue to acquire food and drink at my leisure. Last night, I was awoken by the captain, first mate, and a crew member. They took me out of bed and sat me in a chair, exclaiming it was time to “interrogate” me, which then followed with the strange statement from the captain: “So what do you want to know?”

At first, I thought it was some type of trick, but each question I asked, he answered. As it turns out, Captain Matteus is in truth Captain Sharkbait, one of the Pirate Captains said to sail under Queen Briganta herself. They had been tasked with trading a foul-smelling seaweed found on the southern coasts of the western lands, which can be used to make a curiously strong rope. I learned it is this rope and raw seaweed that repaired the broken mast. They confirmed to me some of the recent events that had befallen the Denmiran Queen and also that Arden was allied with the Pirate Queen.

Eventually, the captain got around to asking who I was, and upon learning I was an explorer and that I could write, he began to tell me the following tale, which I was compelled to record.

“Alas, ‘tis a terrifying tale. There I was out in the uncharted seas, lost during a great storm. For three nights, my crew and I did all we could to save our ship. But alas, on the fourth night, the winds and waves grew as tall as mountains! They crashed down upon us, wood splintered everywhere. I was still clinging to the helm when I was thrust from the deck into the icy deep. When the waves settled, I could not see a soul nor any land in sight. For two nights, I clung to that helm, and at dawn, I heard a whistle in the distance. ‘Twas a whaling ship that happened upon me. When I had been brought aboard and reunited with my surviving crew, I learned the fate that almost befell me. From the stern of the ship, I saw where I had just moments before floated, and there, in a constant circle, was a swarm of the largest sharks I had ever seen, twenty at least, if it wasn’t forty. And that is how I earned the name Shark Bait, for I was left for dead, yet even the sharks feared me and dared not attack.”

After the captain provided this gripping tale, his first mate provided additional context.

“What really happened is he fell asleep at the helm of a sloop, ran aground in the bay, and fell off the ship. When we pulled him out of the water, he had a sand shark latched to his bum.”

Though not sure how useful this information is, it was at least a humorous tale.

Most importantly, the captain and his crew were headed to Tolaguna and have agreed to bring me there, still prisoner, to face the Pirate Queen herself. Even I cannot believe my luck. In just a few days’ time, I shall be face to face with the Pirate Queen herself.