- Markshire PCs:
“Why damn ship stop?” Sun-Ok asked. She insisted, more and more, on practicing Common, but it was frequently difficult to understand her.
“We needs water and supplies before t’ crossin’,” explained Ragnar, nodding toward a small island to starboard. “We’ll take t’ boats ashore ‘n spend a day or two ‘ere.”
“Good. Sun wort-less damn belly peace, maybe.”
Ragnar took a few seconds to figure that one out. “Er, mebbe not, lass. The island’ll keep t’ wind off us a bit, but sometime t’ anchor makes the motion worse. There, see what I mean?” She’d retched yet again. “Unless… Wait ’ere, lass.”
Ragnar walked to the stern. “Cap’n?”
“What do ye want, ye miserable dwarf-maggot?” Thrakh said impatiently.
“Just this, sir. Lass is wastin’ away, ain’t she? Ain’t kept nothin’ down the whole voyage—‘at’s nigh on t’ree weeks now, sir. I was thinkin’ mebbe she’d eat summat if she was wit t’ shore party, Cap’n. She ‘uz skinny alright when she come aboard, but now she all bones, be a little elf-skeleton any day, sir.”
“Not many ‘ave as much meat ‘round ‘em as you, Ragnar; she’ll be fine. ‘Tis too dangerous ashore. You know that.”
“Cap’n?” interjected Lars.
“What now, Lars?”
“Just…‘er work’s slowin’ down, Cap’n. Might be worth lookin’ into.”
“Gawds. Alright, Ragnar, go bring ‘er here. This, Lars, is why ye might not want yer own ship one day—ye’re called on to solve ev’ry damn little problem what comes up, usually when ye’re the busiest.”
Ragnar escorted the girl aft and then turned away, slowly coiling some rope just within hearing.
“Well, Cheng, how’re you feelin’, lass?” It was Thrakh’s practice to address his crewmen by their first names only after the first voyage.
“Damn same, Cap’n.”
Thrakh shook his head; with the way she talked, this simple conversation could take hours, and he had minutes at most. “Alright, then, roll up yer sleeves, Cheng.”
When she did not respond, Thrakh reached out and did it for her. Her skin was a bit cold, and there wasn’t much muscle left there. The girl had grit, but she was in a bad way. Thrakh let go of her arms and she pushed her sleeves back down.
“Ggghharr. Well, ye do need t’ eat summat, Cheng. Ye’r thin like a…thread.”
Sun looked down at herself briefly, then back up. “Sun eat damn slop. Bastard slop come out. Thread not Sun damn good.”
Thrakh decided quickly that he’d never figure out the last part of it, but it didn’t really matter much—he didn’t have many options.
“Hells. Well, ye’ll have to go ashore, see if you c’n git yerself fed. We’ve another two weeks ‘til port, though, so make sure ya eat plenty. Cheng, there’s danger on ‘t island—you know any soldierin’?”
She was paying close attention to the captain’s words, but it still took her a few moments to translate and then answer. “Sun eat. Sun hide. Sun shoot damn bow.”
Well, that was clear enough, at least, thought Thrakh. “Send ‘er in the second boat. Have Marco keep an eye on ‘er. Let ‘er pick a bow and some ammunition. Feed ‘er what ye can.” He raised his voice: “You hear all that, Ragnar?”
“Well, take care of it, ye moron!” As the thin girl and the wide dwarf moved off, Thrakh’s tone softened in a way Lars hadn’t heard before. “Lars?”
“That one…well, she’ll never be a sailor…”
“Never seen anyone seasick that bad, ‘strue, sir.”
“So, she’ll be leavin’ us in Markshire…”
“Aye, she ought to ‘ve finished the mending by then.”
“Regardless of the sewing, ye dolt. And…” Thrakh paused, leadingly.
Damn, thought Lars, another of his little tests. Okay, just think it through…nothing. “We…throw ‘er a goodbye party?”
“NO, YOU IDIOT!” Thrakh’s voice was louder than he’d intended, and his voice softened again in that odd way. “How d’ye think she’ll be treated ashore if she talks like she does?”
“There’s plenty of folk in Markshire don’t speak proper, Cap’n…”
“Ya really are thick sometimes—it ain’t that she don’t talk pretty, she curses like a bloody pirate now. What are them Markshire folk gonna think, girl like that and all that garbage comin’ out ‘er trap?”
“Exactly. Nils was studyin’ to be a priest afore ‘e took to bottle, right? Well, ‘ave ‘im and Marco clean up ‘er Common after ye get back with provisions. Now git ashore. Ye know what to do.”