A Fresh Start

This post is part of the series Captain's Diaries

It was late in the evening when Cap’n Gorfang of the Black Heart Buccaneerz stumbled into the tavern. What few patrons remained quickly averted their eyes from his murderous gaze as Gorfang stomped toward the barkeep.

“The usual!” He barked. The dwarf didn’t even bother to look up at his new customer. He simply pulled a dirty mug and poured a black ale. He turned to move on but stopped when Gorfang slammed the mug back down. “Another!”

“Rough day?” He asked nonchalantly as he refilled Gorfang’s glass.

Gorfang gulped his ale down, then sat down with a heavy sigh. “Been a rough month.” The barkeep merely nodded and refilled his drink. Gorfang continued on, talking either to himself or the barkeep. “Nearly had a mutiny on me hands last season. That scallywag Goblin tried to turn the whole crew on me after we lost to those dirty Wood Elves.” Gorfang paused to look around for an Elf to pummel. Not finding one, he resumed his bemoanings to the barkeep, who looked both slightly amused and terrified. Gorfang rarely spoke this much.

“Den, one of those massive mummy things smashed me best crewman into a dozen little pieces! They were bout ready to abandon this whole mess and get back to our old ways of plundering the Imperial Navy.” Gorfang shook his head sorrowfully.

The dwarf refilled his drink. “Why didn’t they?”

Gorfang leaned in close. “Breaking a few legs is a decent way to restore morale. That held em off for a little while. But you know wot really did the trick?”

“What?”

A smile crept across Gorfang’s face. “Gobling gambling. Tugpig found out about it. So on our last game before these elves, I stole all our plunder from the ship and bet it on us to win outright. And by Mork himself we did!” Gorfang shouted and raised his glass high in the air. “We smashed those puny elves into a million pieces! Had to spend most of the next day pickin’ elfish skin off my knuckles. Heh heh.”

“So all’s well then?” The barkeep queried.

“No.” Gorfang shook his head solemnly. “With the winnings and the high morale after our Elf pummeling, I managed to convince the crew ta stay for another season.” Gorfang trembled. “The things I’ve seen though…making me regret this. Crew’s even too scared ta bother ta mutiny. Nobody wants the job.” He chuckled morosely and took another long drink of his ale.

“What happened?” The dwarf turned and asked after an uncomfortably long silence.

“You’re gonna need to get me something stronger before I tell that tale.” Gorfang said softly with another shake of his head. He buried his head in his arms mumbling. All the barkeep could make out was ‘Traclaw’ and ‘ I’m sorry mate.’

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