The Journal of Skipper Nejrat
Twelfth Glacia 1E84Y
I have left the port of Carapai on the Leviathan. Out of the four snappers chosen, I was the only Cephamorian, with the others being two Aceon and an Itchyoman. In all truth, I simply wished it was me and the Aceon. I have no idea what the captain was thinking allowing an Itchyoman on board, let alone near a whip, but that is not my place to judge. Not yet, anyways.
The Leviathan is a fine vessel, though much faster than I credited it to be. Given its size, I thought it would be a lumbering beast in comparison to, say, the Kraken or Cetus, but I was wrong. I suppose that prejudice was from my own experiences aboard the Aspidochelone, which it was a miracle that ship ever breached. The carpenters must have thought the same and built a second ship on its deck, which still was larger than the Cetus or Kraken, if a bit smaller than the Leviathan.
I met the skipper already but tonight I shall truly meet the captain. As for the skipper, I cannot say I respect him farther than his title. He is a rather meek Cephamorian, his shell harder than his head. He seems to always be floating in the clouds, but seems harmless enough. Which is a problem. If I can see that, so can the Itchyoman. I do not wish to start a witch-hunt on my first day, but I shall attempt to grow closer to the other snappers. With any luck, when the Itchyoman bares his teeth at last, we shall rip him to shreds and enjoy a nice, warm meal. Goodness knows we are going to need it.
Thirteenth Glacia 1E84Y
I had met the captain. He was a big, burly Aceon, but his thoughts were softer and kinder than I would imagine from such a bulwark, stoic fellow. He was rather frugal with his words, though. He only said what was necessary. He, also, had no love for the Itchyoman, either, which, alas, the fool decided to console me on this apparent disapproval. I truly did not want to let on of my own disdain and loathing for him, so I held my breath and listened. I allowed him to think he had even the smallest corner of shoulder to cry on. He, even, told me his name: Squall. Too good a name, too strong a name for someone such as he.
When he finally left me, I was able to breathe once more. However, his stench must have permeated my coat for the Aceon snappers avoided me thereafter. I was alone for the rest of the night, but, come the morn, Squall was at my bunk, rousing me and inviting me to breakfast. It seemed he took pity for compassion, apathy for empathy.
Twenty-fourth Glacia 1E84Y
I want to strangle this Itchyoman. I want to squeeze his pink throat until his tiny, beady green eyes well up like the pustules they are on his fetid body and cackle as they finally burst. The last two weeks have been a nightmare with this thing hanging off my coattails. Worst part was they were using me as an emotional teat whenever he antagonized. How he suckled every last ounce of care I had dry, day in and day out, until I’m little more than a hanging, dribbling nub on the wind.
Thankfully, it seemed the other snappers were not as blind as the Itchyoman to my complete, unadulterated loathing. They started to invite me up to deck after hours, and the three of us would enjoy a hot toddy, or as hot as the lantern could make a bottle of grog. It took some of the night’s cold bite off. We already lost fourteen crew members, found frozen and stuck to their bunks. The Cephamorian were easy to take care of, while the Aceons’ shells were so frigid we had to crack them apart from it before lobbing them into the sea. We were simply thankful it was none of us.
The two Aceon seemed close, which is not unexpected for two of the same species on the same level of power. I sort of wished there was another Cephamorian here; I voiced this, and they had right fun riffing that I had the Itchyoman. The male, Baro, raised his claw in defense, but the female, Tys, hit him for me, and the two had a small scuffle. I had never seen an Aceon drunk before, and now, seeing them fight, watching as their legs teetered and missed the ground itself, I couldn’t help but feeling that this was the start of a beautiful friendship.
Second Cryos 1E85Y
The Itchyoman had caught me sneaking up to the deck.
I knew he had suspicions during the last week of Glacia, but he never voiced them. In fact, those were the most peaceful seven days aboard this vessel, but now he has broken that amicable, if borderline intimate, silence. He demanded to know what we talked about, wanted me to list, in detail, everything that we were doing.
I, of course, was offended by such a demand. What right did he have to be so forthright and brazen? I should have done something then... but... I kept my head. After all, to fly off would make me no better than him. So, I told him we had drinks and simply enjoyed the silence, of which he asked why he was never invited but then I repeat myself. He didn’t really seem to understand, but did ask if he would be allowed the next time we did do such, which I answered I wasn’t sure. It was rather random, but, if we did, I would make sure to have him in my heart and go to ask.
This seemed to appease him, and the rest of the day was another round of milking.
Tenth Cryos 1E85Y
Squall is a girl.
I had no idea. To me, all Itchyoman, aside cosmetic, regardless of age or sex, looked the same to me. Though they were once Terrahn, their distinct qualities of yore that would have separated them easily to tell their sex were gone. Even their voices weren’t that much different, both just as grating on the senses, though I suppose now it made sense hers seemed to sheer away my patience so much easier than the ones I had met before.
It seems she did not believe me when I said I hadn’t met the other Aceon for drinks for a while. It was true; it’s been far too cold, even with the promise of hot toddies. She went even further, accusing us of dissent, that we were simply shutting her out, that we did not view her as equal, of which I told her that we viewed her as equal as any other crewman on board, which was when she responded that she was no man. I was flabbergasted by such a response; at first, I thought she was simply being ignorant, trying to cause a fight, but then I saw the tears in her eyes, the realization that I had assumed her sex, and how I had made the wrong one.
I must admit: I was more embarrassed that I was wrong than guilty for hurting her feelings. Even as she stormed away, my mind was on the fact why I didn’t come to the conclusion sooner that she was a girl. It wouldn’t have been the incessant nagging that would have done it, nor the complaining. Everyone on the sea had an inclination to do that, especially when the oars were dropped. Maybe it was in her hips, how they seemed to sway wider than many a male, but I don’t make it a habit to watch after and study Itchyoman’s body movements, least of all ones I assume as men.
Regardless. Squall was a girl, and the rest of the day had returned to that comfortable silence.
Thirtieth Cryos 1E85Y
We finally met for hot toddies the other night, and I did not invite Squall. She had been avoiding me as of late, and had made it a habit of going to bed early, so it was only us again. Baro and Tys had truly grown close in the last month, if the tinge of pink on Baro’s shell was any indication. They, also, weaved legs as they sat, and I doubt it was from the cold.
Another seven had died. A miracle the number wasn’t higher, but those that did had all suffered at Squall’s hand. She had become rather fierce, voracious if not outright cruel in her duties. She had to acquire a new whip the week before, and the new one was already nice and wet. This fact was brought up as we waited for the grog to heat, which was running incredibly low. Thankfully it was but another week before port, but that last bit of brown liquid would be the sweetest thing until then. Especially when the topic was on that Itchyoman.
Baro was not surprised to find that she was so cruel. The Itchyoman aren’t necessarily known for their compassion, but I found myself coming to her defense. She wasn’t always that quick to snap, especially at such banal reasons as wiping their nose or losing their footing, which lead to him questioning what may have changed and the fact that she was, indeed, a woman.
Tys made it a point to slap the back of my head for not realizing sooner, but Baro kept quiet, just as lost as I was until we both felt incredibly stupid: when there were multiple snappers aboard a ship, they were always fifty-fifty. There were always two male and two female snappers. The captain had mentioned this when we first met him, but I paid it truly no mind, considering the very moment after Squall had decided to confide in me.
Which, again, made the brown tonic in the bottle all that much sweeter. We enjoyed it under the stars, under the four full moons, and simply stayed as long as our bodies remained flexible, lest we rooted and had to hack away from the deck come the morning, in serene silence.
Thirty-first Cryos 1E85Y
Squall followed me last night.
She confronted me in the morning. I would have paid her presence no mind any other time, but her usual black doublet and black leather pants had been swapped for brighter apparel. That bright, blue, brocade shirt was adorned with long, weaving flowers of gold, sprawling across her shoulders and down to her waist, where it was tucked into a golden dress, hemmed with black thread. It had a slit down the middle, which allowed her to move with ease. She still had her black boots on, at least, but I tried to avoid looking, her pink flesh clashing with the fabric so much, and yet something in her eyes wanted me to look, to see her for what she was.
She asked how I was, normal small talk, but she made it apparent where it was heading. I told her that we had met on the deck the night before. She stated that she knew, that she had followed, that she had an inkling that we had been for a long, long time, but I had to correct her, tell her that was the only time we had for a while –which she believed, and that truly shocked me. It turns out she had only been half-sleeping, listening to any movements from her cot, and that only last night did we try to stay as quiet as we could as we shuffled around in bed, that we tried to hide our footsteps, not like when we had to empty our buckets or needed a glass of water or sneak a bite to eat from what was left of the larder.
She, then, went on to tell me that she heard what I had to say, that I had stood up for her, and apologized for being so distant. She thought I was simply pulling a horrible prank on her, but should have known better. I was the nicest person to her on board, and that, if I may have been rude or ignorant in any way, it was simply because I did not truly know. I let her keep thinking that way, and once more I became like a sow for her to milk, draining me of my emotions, though now she stayed far closer than I truly felt comfortable.
Seventh Eros 1E85Y
We finally made it to the port of Berian. It was along the southern coast of Palridian, between the Disciples “holy city” Terra, and Lam Berel, our true destination. Supplies, though, had run as low and bare as morale and nerves. My whip, after so long, had finally seen a good bit of use. I never did see a reason to need to strike someone to get them back to work. In fact, for the longest time, I thought it was rather contradictory. Why would you strike your workers when they are being rebellious? Wouldn’t that make them more inclined to mutiny?
Well, that changed when one tried to use his chain to strangle Squall.
I did not see how it started. All I heard was her bellow for the Aceon to sit down, and they were upon her. They had bared their barbs, but it wasn’t them but the Cephamorian that had stood up behind her. The Aceon was dealt with swiftly; a quick snap across the eyes and it scuttled back into place. The Cephamorian, though, had suffered at her hands before, if the long cut along its spiky shell protruding from its back was any indication. They must have thought vengeance was at hand.
Their legs made a sickening squelch.
They released her and looked at me. “You are one of us,” they said. “How can you stand for that fish demon?! How can you betray your own kind?” Their words mattered little as the others along its chain pulled them down, and even the Aceon beat them senseless before I had a chance to retrieve their corpse.
Squall followed me up, helped haul the Cephamorian as we tossed it into the sea, knowing all too well the rest of that chain would have to meet a similar fate. It was the cold truth, the equation that every sailor knows: if your crew is willing to kill another, no matter the reason, they would do it again. They knew this, as did the captain, who handed me his blade, putting me in charge.
Squall, instead, took it.
“It was my fault. I had shown weakness,” she said. “I will not let this gentleman stain his hands for me.”
Maybe it was then that I started to feel a bit of softness towards the Itchyoman, that our talks truly did not drain me so much, but that didn’t change the fact that I was one of the first few out on the dock when we ported, and wasn’t the last whom raced towards the tavern.
Fourteenth Eros 1E85Y
We were still docked at Berian. The ship was more than ready; the problem was finding a crew. Terrahn and Faun don’t necessarily like the idea of working with the Aqua Alliance, and, though the Natorei that did volunteer had such heart, they could not row the oars when the time came. We took on three or four, anyways, to keep the ship clean, but we were hoping for Terrahn or Faun, the bulk of the Terra Forces, to come aboard. Even if one or two, they could work an entire row on their own, and we needed those two, if only those two.
Not that I was rushing. I had enough silver from my time aboard the Aspidochelone that I had rented an entire room to myself. Though Terrahn craftsmanship was rather blase, it was still a rather comfortable abode. They really could bring out the simple beauty of sycamore and blend it with the rustic nature of oak to weave almost a tale around one as they slept –which there was the true appeal of a Terrahn room. It was considered a true treasure if you were able to get a bed, a real bed, in Carapai, and the Terrahn treated them like such frivolous trinkets. The perks of being the Zephyrian’s puppets, I suppose.
As I write this, I am enjoying a stein of the local brew, which made me incredibly envious and loathing of leaving here. I would take a couple bottles of this ale, to savor over the grog, but there was little doubt it would be enough for the entire crew to mutiny, if but to have this nectar of the Earth Mothers.
There’s a knock at the door.
Fifteenth Eros 1E85Y
I have very little time to write this, and only the smallest of cares to do so. Last night Squall had come to my room and confessed she had feelings for me. Not the simple, professional relations but a deeper wanting, a more intimate tug that drew her to my abode. I had no idea she felt such a way to me, but, before I could give an answer, she dragged me out of my room, away from my stein, and had me join her for a night of unprofessional debauchery. Nothing tawdry nor lewd came of it; instead, it was almost a childish fancy, how she pulled me through the forests around, how we rested by the sea. She even had me make sandcastles.
As dawn rolled in, we strolled through the town. We partook of fresh bread the bakery, watched, listened as the younger of the races of Terra frolicked through the streets, their parents heading for the forest and its path. The fields were through it, to the north. The last to awake was a bard, strolling into the center of town, and how he plucked the strings on the lute and made such beautiful cacophony with his hurdy gurdy. Music was another rarity to Carapai, and hearing it did move a shade of green to my eyes... while it made my friend absolutely blubber. If there was one thing uglier and more terrifying than an Itchyoman enraged is one crying.
In any case, it was a nice enough evening out. I did not hate it; what I did despise was that I was forced to leave my stein. Though the room had kept a nice chill, it had warmed a touch, and I was going to enjoy it before another knock came to my door.
Eighteenth Eros 1E85Y
As nice as it was, we finally had to return to the ship. I hated being right; she had come to my room each and every night to repeat it, enjoying as much time as she could before we had to sail off and she had to harden her expression once more. Again, it’s not like I hated her company, not as much as I may have once, but she still dragged me from my bed, a true bed. I did enjoy it during the day, as I did every stein that I had filled and ready before I left, but now I had to drink it in haste as I rushed after the captain and skipper, alongside Baro, Tys, and, of course, Squall.
How could she have looked so bright, so energetic after the night we had? How could she keep her steps so even, while my own faltered and lumbered and swayed? Baro and Tys, also, noticed how close we were growing, and, that night, they had only sent the smallest of thoughts my way, telling me that they were going upstairs. I had started to, but looked over at Squall’s cot, seeing a single, green eye gleaming back. So, instead, I am sitting here, writing this, waiting for her to either turn away or to approach and ask why I had awoken so suddenly after the Aceon had left.
Alas, we never did get the two Terrahn or Faun. Instead, another ship, the Hydra, had made port, and several stowaways had found their way on board ours. They seemed more than happy to be whipped before the mast and put on the chains. Downright crying, begging for it. Fourteen in all, eight of them Aceon. Their shells were so soft, now bearing the brand of a coward until their next molting, maybe longer on the ones Squall struck.
The lantern outside the room was starting to flicker. I should get some rest, for the wind does not seem to be stirring and that could only bode ill come morning. I’m sorry, Baro and Tys, but we will simply have to talk tomorrow.
Nineteenth Eros 1E85Y
How I missed my nightly stein. Though it was only for a few days, it was like the Earth Mothers’ manor had opened, invited me in, and treated me so decadently before I was thrust back into this cold, weary, dreary, teeter-tottering torment. Every tendril ached, but it was my mind and heart that suffered the most.
I had met Baro and Tys in the mess hall. I was about to explain why I didn’t follow, why I had dallied and simply went back to sleep, when the green-eyed sentinel hugged me from behind. I do not know by whose authority she believed she could touch me like that, but how she addressed the others, our equals, our friends, or at least mine, was so crass and blunt it was a wonder their shells didn’t crack a touch. Baro seemed to have understood, and sent one, simple, acknowledging wave at me before he and Tys left us to enjoy the table ourselves –much to my disdain, might I add. I would rather have had either one or both, both would have been the most respectable number, but with them gone I was forced to endure her prattling again.
Why did she think that I cared about such small things? Haven’t we discussed this all before? I do believe we had touched upon her broodkin and their devious, deviated ways at least forty-seven times now, and I still could not find a single care for the fact one made himself a thrall to Cao’thugar.
It was, however, kind of scary how well I can hold the blue in my eyes as she talked about it. Her voice didn’t tear away too much, and I could stomach it long enough for the captain to interrupt, forcing us to head to work. My fears were confirmed; they rowed this day.
First Merash 1E85E
We finally reached Lam Berel.
The captain paid us our due, ten silver apiece, and stated that, if we were no longer up to the task, he could give a good word to any other ship and we could potentially be made skippers, if not captains, of some of the smaller ships, with their original navigators curled or soft again and ready to take down their colors. However, he, also, told us that if we were to stay there was a chance we may take over for the Leviathan. He was coming along in years, as well. He gave us a few days of shore leave, as long as it would take to gather a new manifest, and saw us off to the bazaars and oddities that Lam Berel were known for.
This was a true, Terra city. Not a simple town like Berian nor a smaller, a hamlet or village, but a full-sized city. I had never thought I would see so many Terrahn, Faun, Natorei, and even Arthrogon in one place. The city had a constant buzz, and a smell to it that could be only be described as the culmination of people. I had only felt this during the Culling in Carapai, which made this all look absolutely minuscule, if I do say so myself, but that truly isn’t a fair comparison, now was it? Maybe if all of the Terra Forces met at the exact center of Palridian at the exact same time, perhaps it would be equatable, but still only by the smallest fraction.
But of course I wasn’t simply allowed to take in the sights. No. I had to have my fishy shadow, who pulled me from stall to tavern, from smith to jester. There was even a handful of storytellers, peddling their craft in odd corners, populated corners, the most profitable places in the city. No doubt more than mere coincidence. Squall had stopped me before a rather portly one, a Faun that took very much after its animal brethren, though I must admit that his ability to work his bestial impediment into building suspense before truly scaring the crowd with his release was immaculate. In fact, he had gotten a rise of yellow in my eyes. Only the slightest touch, which he made it a point to reveal that to the others, that he managed to scare, “those that knew no fear”. Squall didn’t let down for the rest of the day, either.
Though a scrap of silver could pave your way in luxury in a place like Berian, even five of my ten barely was enough to pay for a bed in a communal room in this city. However, twenty paid for such a room, and we four decided to share it. Aceons couldn’t really use beds, but they did enjoy fine blankets and cloth, so I threw in three extra to make sure they had more than enough. This meant I had to share a bed with my lovely fishy fellow, of which she is rushing me to finish this entry so as to blow out the candle.
I could see Baro’s eye glinting from the far corner of the lush room, gleaming with the silver from the chandelier that creaked gently above. Its candles had been blown out long before, only the weakest wisps of smoke still lingering on their wicks, rising to the square it was anchored to and through the small nooks around it. The moons shimmered through the great bay window, looking out upon the bazaar, still bustling, so alive. It was a wonder if anybody ever slept in a town that did not know the word, but the inn, the Rutting Faun, rumbled with sleep’s mellifluous tones.
She is reaching for my quillnow. I don’t know if I’m writingthisproper n ow, but I shall finishthis
Ninth Merash 1E85Y
The last few days swept by so fast, almost sinfully so. Every morning, the four of us would pair off and part ways, coming back for a stein or two and fall asleep. However, as our last few hours of shore leave were coming to their end, none of us wanted to leave that room. We sat at the small nook off to the right of the door, sipping on a drink I never heard of before. It seemed to have been a new, Terra Force concoction. They labeled it coffee.
I was put off by it at first, but, as I tasted it again and again, it grew on me quick. The Terrahn was not kidding when she stated it cured fatigue; I had never felt more awake after finishing my first cup. I was tempted to ask for another, but it seemed to have an unexpected effect on my motor skills. My hands trembled, legs jumped, ready for anything, to attempt whatever I desired. Considering how Baro’s claw clacked, rattling like a castanet alongside Tys’s, and Squall’s teeth kept squelching in and out so fast in her gums, I had a feeling it was not only me suffering from such an effect.
No matter how exhilarated we were to tackle the subject, we approached it as calm and collected as we could. Do we return to the Leviathan? Do we truly want to, for the chance to become skipper or captain? Or, do we take his word and go snap on another boat or become a captain of our own vessel?
Baro and I were in agreement from the start: we were not ready to take the responsibility of captain, let alone skipper. Tys and Squall both had the same reaction to that, both stating that they were more than ready to be skippers, if not be captains themselves –enough proof that, no, they were not. I do believe Baro was kinder than I in explaining this to Tys, but I had been blunt, saying to Squall that it would be her pride that would stop her from ever being anything more than a snapper.
She did not take kindly to that.
With her gone, we could not come to a unanimous agreement, and Baro and Tys doubted we would be able to even when she returned. They left me there, just in case she returned, and headed out for the town. After all, we shouldn’t all squander our last day, and I was more than happy to man my stein until Squall returned.
Squall returned just before midnight, and shocked us, me most of all: she apologized, and left me in charge of her decision. She, also, stated she was very tired, and pulled me into bed. In fact, I am finishing this paragraph before I close and get some rest.
After all, we return to the Leviathan come the morn.
Twelth Halwen 1E90Y
It has been five years since I wrote anything in this diary. I had found it upon stumbling through my old chest, and was astounded by how much had happened in so little time in comparison. Most trips took longer than four months, with the two weeks or so of shore leave gone in an instant before we returned to the ship to repeat it again.
Though the captain had promised us the potential to be captain one day, we were starting to doubt. He offered the same deal every shipment, but, after the first, Baro and I were set to endure, if more out of spite of the old Cephamorian. Squall believed we should simply count our blessings now and take a leader position on a smaller vessel, but this was my ship now. The leviathan was mine, was Baro’s, and there was nothing that was going to take that away from us. Not after everything.
Tys was always on Baro’s side; only fitting considering they got married. It was a small ceremony, where they pinched off a bit of each others barbs and carved the other with their acid, marking them to one another forevermore. Even if they were to molt, their shells would be burned with that sign, a sigil of true love.
A gesture that did not go unnoticed.
How Squall gave hints. How she tried to push conversations towards family, love, and eternity, a contradictory. My spirit belonged to the Earth Mothers, while hers was doomed to return to Cal’thugar. “I don’t care,” she had said when I brought this up. “One day, Itchyoman shall be free from the Dark Ones, then we will meet again.”
As sweet as her sentiment was, it still rang hollow. I did not care for her like that, nor did I ever allude to the contrary. As much as I appreciated her companionship, and only her companionship, I had no want to be anything more than friends, and friends I was more than happy to call us. Imagine. A Cephamorian truly meaning such when talking to an Itchyoman; such should be the cause for song and celebration. Instead, she brooded on it, or, in the matter of recent circumstances, snapped.
“If I cannot have you, then I don’t even want to be your friend,” she said, delivering me her ultimatum and left me to my cot as I found this old diary, reminiscing over such sweet, simple things.
Thirteenth Halwen 1E90Y
I decided to end my friendship with Squall.
Thirtieth Halwen 1E90Y
It was a hard transition at first to be without my ear, but my mind had never been more at peace. I thought for certain the Itchyoman would leave once we came to port, but she remained as adamant as ever. Even if she no longer wanted to be in company with any of the others that were her equal or even those that served under. She had tried, with hilarious results, to flirt with a slew of Cephamorians, even bartering. Of course, it was only rumors that made it back to our ears, but she had promised leniency to a few if they would but bed her one night. Sadly, the ones she tried this with were of the female persuasion, and had no want to test those waters.
After this had reached me, how she was so desperate to attempt to evoke feelings of jealousy and betrayal that would never come, I was truly startled to find I did have one emotion left to give the poor girl: pity.
Fourteenth Har 1E90Y
It was a longer shore leave than usual, the captain not truly himself when he returned to the ship. His eyes were almost black as night, tinged with a pulsing ring of green that seemed to make him look far frailer. No, that made him look like how he truly was, but there was no denying he was a strong man, stronger than I ever would be. Not many would be able to return to their ship after losing their love. As far as I knew, he had no children. At least, none he spoke of.
As the crew, as we waited for him to lumber on deck, something was amiss. Where was the skipper? Why were we getting ready to cast off without him? The questions were already starting to buzz through the crew when, with a single clap from the captain, he stated that there would be no skipper, for this was his last run as captain.
That I would be replacing him.
Eighteenth Har 1E90Y
Even after a few days, the captain’s declaration still did not make sense to me. Me? The captain? Although it had been a goal of mine, of Baro’s, for the longest time, I... No. This must be a joke. Baro was a more fitting captain than I, even if he gave reassurance that he was fine being skipper --a notion that Squall truly didn’t appreciate.
After her little stunt, though, months prior, did she truly expect to be labeled captain, let alone skipper? My first order of duty once I am captain is to see her off the ship.
The Leviathan would be mine. After so long, I would have a vessel, and not any vessel. One of the pride and joys of the Aqua Alliance. It... it was an honor, as well as a heavy burden. So much would now be expected of me. As I said, I was not truly ready to rule, but I shall not turn down this duty, privilege, and title bestowed upon me. At least, it will be once we reach San Guinai, Tartarus’s most southern port. It would be easily six months before we even saw a glimpse of it through the icy mist on the horizon, and would feel even longer with my excitement.
First Glacia 1E90Y
The captain pulled me away from my snapper duties this day and had me sit in his office. My office. On the desk was mounds of tomes, including one open before him, covered in fresh ink, still glistening, drying under the swinging candle light. Rain hammered the hull, thunder rumbling it, making it creak and groan against the waves crashing against.
The captain stated that I must learn how the ledger works, how one handles manifests and cargo trades, and where best to sell when. He told me he would be teaching me these things over the next few months, then a few months more as we returned to Carapai. Hopefully, in that year, I will understand enough and can work from there. “As I had done,” he said, chortling a little as he slapped my shoulder.
I must admit, I never thought about the business part of being a captain. The legislature and bureaucracy were nowhere near as romantic to daydream about in comparison to standing before the wheel and sailing into the sunset as a storm rolls behind you and makes your jacket flap and splay out. Or maybe on the tallest mast of the ship, hanging off the ropes beside the sails, brandishing my sword as we met brigands on the high seas, all culminating in a battle over both ships, of which one would always prevail.
And so I found myself before those books, brandishing a quill and quickly realizing that I would more likely use that than ever draw a sword.
Sixteenth Cryos 1E91Y
Squall had approached me today.
Truly, out of everyone, I wished for her now more than ever to be as far away from me as possible, but she told me it was urgent. I told her to give me a moment to make an entry in my diary, then I would humor any fancy that she had. It’s odd; for once, in the longest time, she seemed back to her normal self, a nice change from the doting
Seventeenth Cryos 1E91Y
I write this as I make my way for an escape boat. The crew, roused by Squall, are hot on my trail. I do not know if I am going to live. Baro believes me, at least. As does Tys, but she needs to stay behind. Someone has to, if only to stop whatever scheme Squall had concocted.
The captain is dead.
I have no idea when, some idea how, the sword that had been found in my hand thick in his blue blood, arm drenched in it, pushed over his throat. I had only awoke when it touched my mouth, and only truly realized the gravity of the situation as Squall rallied the crew, calling for justice. “Murder! Murder!” She squawked, becoming their chant.
Baro found an escape boat.
It crashed hard into the water, creaking as he jumped in, and looked back up at me. I gave the ship, the Leviathan, one last look, and surrendered myself to the murderer I had become, landing in the boat, and we disappeared in the fog, head still ringing so loud.