The Calhoon

Concerning the Ruins, the Gatormen, and the Crew.

An entry from Razakael's journal.

So. “Things have been getting more interesting” is a great way to understate the events of the last several days, and as I have no better all-encompassing statement coming to mind, that will be the one I’m going to stick with. Just finished with the second (of what will hopefully be many) jobs aboard The Calhoon, this time serving with its new captain, one Theradin Kage; a bit blunt, and quite cold at times, but he certainly fits the role well (and honestly, the coldness is usually warranted). The mechanika housing that the cutthroat & I found is still being kept safe in the captain’s cabin at this time; Capt. Kage & I had it appraised at a local shop, who gave us a market value of 120 gold and let us know that the maker, “T.C.,” whoever that happens to be, is a master craftsman, so now we know the quality of the item is impeccable and have decided to hold on to it for the time being.

One particularly important thing that I learned on our outing together is that I know next to nothing about mechanika- I’ll be making a point of researching it between excursions, especially if it can help my accuracy or damage in combat; thus far, I’ve only seen things relating to melee, but if there are ranged weapons or perhaps scopes, or even sets of light armor of greater benefit than my current custom set, I would have more to save for than ammunition & rations. After that “rifle & ammo” business last week (which I shan’t be discussing in detail due to its embarrassing nature), I’ve found that my only failing seems to be the ability to deliver the killing blow. Many were greatly injured thanks to my marksmanship, but after three battles (an ambush in a bog, an attack on some Gatormen holding the ruins our drunkard “friend” needed access to, and an attack later that night through which I still managed to successfully cook everyone’s fish-dinner), only two fell to my shots; not anything to fuss about, considering the benefits gained by my leadership skills in combat & the effectiveness of my marksmanship in general, but still a slight blow to my morale, though I’d never voice that to the others. The custom greatcoat has now been tested & proven to be quite useful, at least. Ten shots, last time… some damned military professional- never again. Well fantastic. Just spoke of it after saying I wouldn’t… Ink has hit paper though, so there it stays, I suppose.

Perhaps I should write about our somewhat motley gang… I hesitate to call it a crew at this point, though I know the term is technically accurate; we work well enough together when fighting for our lives or hunting for valuables, it seems, but we don’t know each other well enough yet to feel like a real team. The gunmage & the Ogrun mostly keep to themselves (as do I, to be entirely fair), the captain has a ship & the so-far strangers on board to be concerned with, and the drunkard has thus far wandered away alone during our first mission together, openly mocked the Ogrun, and led us into an ambush; that one may have a deathwish, or at least that’s what his every interaction with our group has led me to believe.

Captain Kage & I have spent a good deal of time together thus far; partly this is because of my skills as a navigator and my interest in the details of my work, but I do believe that I’m leaving a good impression on him- I’ve been made privy to what seems to be a great deal of sensitive information (especially for such a small vessel), and most of it wasn’t due to my expertise. The man is clearly not the trusting type, even when compared to the wisest of Five Fingers’ residents, so I choose to take this as a compliment- even if I were not the man of honor that I work so diligently to be, I would not betray this man’s secrets, even to quill & page (or especially to quill and page, given the two thieving-types on board- one of which I’m sure can read). Then again, even if I were the type to be tempted to make an opportunity of such sensitive, possibly lucrative information, I fancy myself as intelligent enough to know the type to hold a grudge when I see them, and I’ve seen this man fight- even the “explorer” would be hesitant, I’d wager.

Speaking of… the drunkard saved my life during our first fight in the bog, this last trip; a Gatorman dazed me and brought me dangerously close to falling unconscious (in a bog, with water up to my waist- perhaps one of the last places I would choose to be unconscious, were I ever to so graciously be given the option), and yet, I found myself protected by a translucent shield of some sort when one of our attackers tried to take a bite out of my face; I’m all for character-building battle wounds, but I’m more grateful than not to have cheeks & a nose after that incident. …However, I feel it should still be noted that the one who saved me is also the one who lead us into the ambush that almost ended my life in the first place, but I did survive to fight another day. I can forgive it considering who, exactly, I put my trust in to lead us safely through such a place (as much my own fault as his), but I won’t be forgetting that ambush, and I won’t be letting my guard down when the lush is taking point. How I could allow myself to make poor choices such as these, I can’t begin to fathom… but then again, my old leadership left much to be desired, so perhaps it’s because I’ve become too used to following fools into dangerous situations with less-than-adequate supplies? Hopefully, if this is the case, it won’t take long to wake myself up & remember the training I worked so hard to master.

The Ogrun. I believe his name is Thrak, but until I hear it confirmed, I refuse to refer to him by name- it seems rude, I’m sure, but I feel it to be less demeaning than calling him by the wrong name. Some might disagree (as “some” are always wont to do), but it’s not as if we have a large group at the moment, and if there’s going to be a misconception, I’d rather it appear as if I don’t care to learn his name or anyone else’s, rather than that I know it, but purposely say it wrong to disrespect him- the lesser of two evils, as it were. At least this way, when I start calling him by name, the perception will be that I care more than I did before, instead of it appearing as if I’ve decided to stop being some sort of arrogant prick- avoiding the repeating of past mistakes, etc. It likely works well enough, as I don’t really call anyone by name outside of these pages at this point. Oh- the two of us had a “knife throwing competition” recently… when he first suggested it on deck, I asked him if he had any knives, as I had none; he rather quickly realized that he didn’t either, and wandered off for a time. When he returned some time later, he carried with him an over-sized butcher’s knife- blunt, silver-plated, and I would have thought clearly decorative in nature. This cleaver which was almost immediately sent flying in the direction of the mast; he missed by a few feet, in his excitement, and the cleaver flew past the mast and the bow as well, landing somewhere in the moonlit water, lost to its owner for good and all. He was rather distraught, and though I feel a slight pang of guilt recalling my relief, I don’t believe that I could have thrown the massive decorative piece very well, and I don’t know that I would have wanted to do any damage to the ship even if I could have made the toss. I called after my distraught opponent, congratulating him on his win, which I’m happy to say, cheered him up quite a bit for a moment… I would continue to say that I’m glad that in the end, the ship hadn’t taken any damage, but alas, in his haste, the Ogrun broke a section of railing in an effort to keep himself from falling overboard. (I’m guessing he can’t swim, or he would have taken a running dive to save his newly-found prize, and I would have found it much more difficult to forfeit.) The ruckus brought the gunmage and the captain above deck in turn and started the drunk with his mocking laughter, and after taking a moment to check on the Ogrun & see if my medical kit would need to be brought out of my quarters (luckily unnecessary), I bade everyone present a good night and excused myself for a rest and a good chuckle at the whole situation- our large friend isn’t the brightest on board, but he certainly has the build required to handle whatever he gets himself into, whether that means close-quarters combat or running headlong into ship’s railing.

The gunmage’s name is Myriss; I’ve heard the Ogrun say it before, and he’s not exactly quiet by nature. I call her “miss” at this point, not only because of the scarcity of our interactions and my admitted (here, at least) social ineptitude with women in general, but because the Ogrun is very attached to her (as she is to him) and I’d rather not risk ruffling any feathers, especially considering the likelihood of a violent end, should my intentions be misunderstood (given the tempestuous nature of the large metaphorical bird involved). Again, I call no one by name at this point, and it seems awkward & improper to start with her, of all people, rather than someone like the captain or the Ogrun himself, whom I’ve had much more social contact with. Hell, as far as these people know, “Raz” is my full name, and not something shortened for the sake of efficiency, should we need to relay information during combat- it doesn’t seem quite right to call others by name when they don’t even truly know my own. (Not that anyone gets the damned pronunciation right once they know it, so this is best for now, I say.) We had one conversation on the rigging as we travelled to the bog & ruins, another after the cleaver incident, and I believe a third at some point, though I can’t recall when; what I can say with great certainty, is that they were extremely short (though not curt) and mostly pertained to the asking & answering of questions (usually one per conversation, such as “where, exactly, are we going, and when will we be arriving?” or “what happened, and why is he laying on the deck howling!?” et cetera…) I don’t know much about her, other than that she’s a good shot and her ammunition costs one hell of a lot more than mine. Also, she’s not the typical girly-type; if I believed in any gods, I might be thanking them for that. Oh! Almost forgot to mention- I don’t trust her. Mostly because I don’t know much about her background, but also because what I do know is that she’s of a thieving sort- a good eye for valuables & opportunities, it seems to me, though hard evidence may be lacking. Note: If you’re reading this right now, you have absolutely no right to be offended, for what should be made fairly obvious by your current actions & whereabouts, miss. Private journal entries generally being private and all.

The cutthroat’s name is the only one that I legitimately have no idea about. So far, I’ve managed to get away with “hey” and “you,” and other such things; if he volunteered his name at some point, I missed it. He went missing a few days ago, so he wasn’t present for the last outing, and I’m not entirely sure he’s even going to be part of the crew at this point, but as he & I have arranged to take equal shares of any profits that come of the mechanika housing’s sale, I feel he’s significant enough to warrant a few lines of description here. Hopefully we’ll be working with him in the future, if we see him again; from what I remember of the fight in the chamber that said housing was discovered in, I’d rather have him fighting with us.

Captain, Drunkard, Ogrun, “Miss,” and… the cutthroat. That leaves myself, still, though it does feel a bit selfish to even take a bit at the end, given that everything here is written from my own perspective with what would seem to be enough information to suffice upon my re-reading of what I have so far. Still, recent events and social happenings aside, I feel the need to write about how I’m doing- how I’m feeling; in short, more serious & pensive than usual… more angry & hopeless than usual as well. It’s a relief to be out of the military, at least; to be with people who can take care of their own damn survival, with someone of a higher rank that earned it with talent instead of “a generous donation to the cause”… I won’t have to etch the captain’s name onto a damned gold piece to remember how he reached his position, and it’s been far too long since I’ve been able to say that; if I had no other reason to stay aboard, a worthy commanding officer would still be enough. It’s great that I have the talent that I do when it comes to leading others in battle, and it’s great that I’m the marksman that I am, but only a small fraction of that is due to the initial drive that brought me to service in the first place… all of those people. All of those damn people who died under my leadership until I got it right. All of those thrice-damned people who died after I got it right… the orders came from the know-nothing assholes above me, sure, so why does it feel like it’s my fault those young men who died before knowing the love of a woman? Why does it feel like I’m to blame when a father never sees his son again? Why do I have to be the one who carries all of this? I was the one who tried to keep them alive, not the one who sent them to die, and I sure as hell didn’t do what I did on the chance that I’d get to brag about it if I succeeded. I don’t think I refuse to call the lush by name because I disrespect him, so much as because I’m envious; I wish I could numb myself to this hell that I put myself through, day after day. Through all of this, I can’t bring myself to drown in alcohol, and for some reason I don’t want to end my own life, and for all of the academia or all of the training I have, I can’t figure out why I want to be here so badly- why I haven’t just let it happen in one fight or another, at the very least. The only two things I have left that keep me sane- the only places I feel alive anymore, and the only places where I don’t feel like I’m going to think myself to death- are on the deck of a sailing ship and, in what I can only think is a sick twist of irony, on the battlefield. Killing the living to forget about my being responsible for the deaths of the living? It’s fighting to find peace. What a sick joke…

This turned darker than I’d intended- now I really hope no one’s reading. In any case, I should wrap this up. Just as well, the ink is running low. Late now, and the dimness of the light in here isn’t helping my mood. Not sleeping tonight. Heading up on deck, more later.



JamesLeaman Razakael

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