Gramps gives a wistful smile. "Luceel was my woman. A long time ago. We had a small farm, three boys, and a girl. Things weren't always smooth between us. We had some bad times, lived through some sad times. One night, she didn't come home, so I set out to find her the next day. I found her in the tavern with another guy. I could tell she was up to no good. But I didn't have the heart to start a fight, so I walked right up to her and told her, 'You picked a fine time to leave me, Luceel.'" He shakes his head. "I went home and never saw her again."
Bosun Grout approaches and sends Gramps below deck to start fixing supper. He looks at Erric. "The weather isn't telling us anything ... yet," he says in his husky voice. "As for the island, it's possible no one has been to this island since the pirate landed. I suggest you stay on your toes and don't play the hero."
Maldorn looks at Erric, sighs briefly, and simply says: "Once." It is clear the old man wishes to stop the conversation right then and there. Suddenly realizing he may have put Gramps in a similar position, Maldorn waves his own question away with a hand gesture. It hopefully makes it clear to the sailor that he should feel welcome to similarly nip the subject in the bud. when Gramps answers anyway, MAldorn feel a bit guilty, but pays attention nonetheless.
Maldorn then tries to change the subject: "I can't wait until this rain stops... I need a smoke. Do any of you sailor here enjoy tobacco?"
Later, Maldorn decides that his free time is better spent on trying to train Sagitta to do something... He begins by trying to teach the snake to bite softly on a gold coin. Learning to "grab" is the first lesson of the more advance "fetching" course.
-> If you allow me (pretty please?) to roll with advantage because of beasts being my "Favorite Enemy," please also consider this roll: 7
-> If not, perhaps I could bargain for double proficiency as a slightly-strange interpretation of the INT and WIS checks feature of "Natural Explorer"? Flying snakes are natural to forests after all... if so, please add another 3 to the used roll.
Edit: Ahh Maldorn... how I missed your ridiculously low rolls...
Erric is definitely coming up with a song for Gramps' lost love. It'll make sailors cry. He'll share it at the appropriate time.
He thanks Grout for the information and gets ready for the rest of the day after some lute playing. He's excited to eat on a ship, less excited to use the head, and extremely excited about sleeping in a hammock.
When no one is looking, he blows a bunch of air into one of the waterskins and shoves the stopper in tight. (Deception: 16)
"If you decide to partake in smoking tobacco," Bosun Grout says to Maldorn, "please only do it on deck. And have a bucket of water nearby. It would be a shame to go down due to something as careless as a fire started from one of your cigarettes."
Sagitta looks at the coin, slowly moves its head toward it, and smells it with its tongue. No matter how much Maldorn coaxes and waves the gold, the snake doesn't seem to understand what the hunter wants. He seems more interested in the wind and rain.
"Wow Maldorn. Guess those things really will kill you! And me. And, well, everyone on board. The sharks might like a nice barbecue though." Erric says with only a tiny hint of a smile in the corner of his mouth.
Anafrey shuffles around the deck of the boat nervously in the rain, her cloak wicking water and keeping her relatively dry. She constantly keeps an eye on Jambiya to make sure that she is not in any danger, or leaning too far over the edge. Anafrey mutters to herself quietly, and eyes everyone else aboard with a little bit of suspicion. When Erric asks her a question she touches his shoulder, moves him aside gently and resumes her pacing.
After an hour, the rain stops, and the cloud cover brings to break up the further south they sail. There's a little time where the sky starts to lighten as the edges of the southern clouds glow white, yellow and pink. Jambiya begins to wonder at the accuracy of her weather vane.
Bosun Grout climbs onto the quarterdeck and relieves Ebokk, who bids everyone come below deck with him. Gramps has prepared a humble meal including several stewed fruits. Lefty and Toothless — who is not quite toothless, but sports many areas of missing teeth — have awoken to eat as well, complaining about not being able to sleep, but their eyes keep sliding over to Jambiya when they don't think she's looking. Over the meal, the twins and Scrub are quiet and defensive. Gramps is easy going and friendly. By the time the meal is over, the other three are still reserved, but don't appear uneasy any longer.
Half way through the meal, Eilikasys appears, makes a plate, then disappears back into her room. Neither Ebokk nor the sailors appear surprised by this.
Later, when Gramps can get Jambiya alone, he says, "Don't let them bother you, Miss. It's hard enough for a sailor to accept a female on board. But one that looks like a goblin, well, that's even harder for those three to swallow." He gives her a little wink, along with a gentle smile.
Almost as soon as the sun has gone down, the twins go up on deck to relieve Bosun Grout at the wheel and to begin their night watch. (Between the meal and this happening, Erric has been playing and telling stories, much to the three sailors' and Ebokk's amusement.) Toothless comments as his head escapes the deck, "At least the clouds are breaking up. We might even see the moon tonight."
Lamps have been lit for a short while, and when Bosun Grout has descended below deck, he says to the party in his husky voice, "We generally go to sleep as soon as it gets dark to conserve lamp oil. Early to bed, early to rise on the Nightshade."
Erric is already excitedly trying to find the smallest hammock they have (Investigation: 17). "Anyone see a hammock? I'd love to sleep in a hammock. I'm pretty sure all the best ships have hammocks. And this is one of the best ships, so it's bound to have a hammock."
"Twelve hours? Haha... You better check your magic, little Jambiya. We'll need it at its best should we get in trouble." Maldorn says this while already lighting a cigarette in his mouth. He makes sure he is the last one to follow Ebokk below deck so he can enjoy a few extra drags before putting out the embers with his moist fingers and saving the self-rolled tobacco stick for later.
He enjoys the meal mightily. There is something about this group of male sailors that reminds Maldorn of his hunting parties and expeditions of the past. A not-so-well-cooked meal really brings it home for him. The old man enjoys Erric stories as they are told, slowly learning to enjoy them more and more as time passes. He even lets himself take them at face value.
When it is time to sleep, he follows Erric and takes the other hammock. "I'm not leaving you alone, little bard. You are clearly too enthused about this and there is a thin line between excitement and carelessness." Maldorn then does his best to fall asleep after Erric (@rkmobious: I challenge you to a CON check contest. Loser falls asleep first!)
After the rain stops Anafrey finds a likely place to hang her cloak and sits on the deck watching the clouds, and later the moon, looking faraway sad. If no one fetches her she might even fall asleep under the cloudy night sky.
Maldorn fights his tiredness but fails miserably. The old man is snoring before the halfling is even done retelling all his ship-based adventures for the night... what must feel like the "nth" time, surely.
Erric and Maldorn claim the twins' hammocks and Scrub and Gramps hang two more hammocks over the ore benches. After Jambiya has been in her cabin a short time, there's a knock on the door. Gramps gives her an apologetic smile and points at the bed. "If your friend comes down, there's a hammock under there that can be hung from a couple of those hooks to add another bunk. That'll be more comfortable than trying to share the single mattress. As he's leaving and she's closing the door, she notices Eilikasys enter the head. Ebokk climbs the ladder after Bosun Grout to — supposedly — sleep in the captain's quarters under the quarterdeck.
Sometime in the night, Erric becomes aware that someone is nearby. His eyes squint open, and in the nearly complete darkness, he sees the silhouette of a short figure beside his hammock. "Hello, Erric," a silky female voice whispers. Even in his sleepiness, he thinks it sounds like Eilikasys. "I have a question for you. Would you accompany me to my cabin, please?"