Of Bilge Dice and Buccaneers: Part Two
"An' so we come to the second roun' of this 'ere tournament,"
the Krawk announcer said. The pirates, who were once more crowded into the Golden
Dubloon for the game, applauded as best they could without hitting the people
in front of and to the sides of them.
"We're hopin' that ye haven't fergotten these
four since yest'rday, but just in case, we're introducin' them again. Hannahscarbladegarinmonty,"
the Pirate Krawk said, about as quickly as his mouth could move. "Ye all catch
Appreciative laughter from the pirates. Hannah
smiled, tapping her paw on the table impatiently. She was going to win this
round, and the one tomorrow too. Then they'd see what a girl Usul could do!
Garin's eyes slid around the table. He saw Hannah's
smug expression, Scarblade's glower, and Monty looking slightly confused. He
allowed himself a small smile of his own. Let the others think what they would;
Garin was going to win this night's round.
Scarblade glowered at the others to hide his
own smirk. He'd worked out a beautiful plan, simply beautiful. In fact, it was
going to happen in... the Lupe realized he was sitting with his back to the
clock, so he couldn't see what time it was unless he swiveled in his seat. A
bother, but he couldn't very well ask to change seats now without arousing suspicions
he didn't want aroused. Well, anyway, it'd be in about five minutes. Enough
time for that tiresome Pirate Krawk to stop talking and give out the dice, and
play the first round.
Sure enough, in five minutes the announcer had
finished his speech. He set out the dice; Monty quickly snatched his up and
began to shake them in Faerie-dust-covered paws, confident that he'd win.
Hannah picked her dice up one at a time, placing
each carefully into her paw. Her mysterious visitor the night before had told
her precisely what to do, and the Usul wasn't about to lose just because she
didn't follow directions.
Scarblade picked his golden dice up idly and
shook them, one eye on his opponents, one eye on the door. His opponents dropped
their dice, so the pirate captain followed suit and resolved to keep his eyes
off the door. If anyone noticed him watching when his distraction happened,
it'd all fall down.
The door burst open, smacking several pirates.
The pirates staggered backward and began to shout at the newcomers to settle
down, but the orange Wocky that had just entered wasn't about to follow directions.
The Wocky ran through the crowd, casting fearful glances over his shoulder at
the door, which was still standing half-open.
"What's the meanin' o' this?" the Krawk asked
sternly, standing up.
A purple Bruce appeared in the doorway. "There
ye are!" he shouted, and ran after the Wocky. In desperation that seemed real
to all but Scarblade, the Wocky ducked underneath the Bilge Dice table. The
Bruce ran up to the table and overturned it; Scarblade narrowly avoided being
struck in the head with a table leg. Golden dice spilled over the floor, twenty-four
of them mixing together.
The pirates stood as one, except for a few in
the back corners who were either asleep, unconscious or dead. Since those few
had been there for several years, in the same comatose state, it was quite possible
that it was the latter.
They'd dealt calmly enough with the first interruption,
and even with the second. But disrupting the Annual Krawk Island Bilge Dice
Tournament Semifinals--that was outrageous. The crowd surged up to meet the
Wocky and the Bruce, who now stood together to meet the oncoming pirates. No
one remarked upon the fact that two apparent enemies had suddenly become allies.
It happened all the time on pirate ships.
"Avast! Quiet down, ye landlubbers!" the Krawk
announcer shouted, climbing up on his chair to be heard more clearly by the
Scarblade took advantage of the confusion to
slip six dice into his pocket; a few of the pirates who weren't in the thick
of the fighting stole seven more. Garin took two, and Hannah nonchalantly plucked
the other nine off the floor and stuck them in her pockets. The falling table
had hit Monty's shoulder, and the Meerca had abandoned his usual confused expression
for one of pain, which was probably the only thing keeping him from stealing
some dice, too.
"Break it up, break it up!" the Pirate Krawk
yelled. Hardly anyone heard him. "I SAID--" he started to shout, but was tugged
off his chair by a pirate. "Hey! I'm a respectable announcer, not a brutal pirate.
My job is to stop fights, not participate in them!" he told the pirate, trying
to scramble back up on his chair.
The brawl was increasing in size as more pirates
snuck into the Golden Dubloon to see what was going on with the Bilge Dice tournament
and saw the fight. Scarblade slipped out without anyone noticing but Garin.
The Usul scowled and started after him, slipping between the fighters easily.
Hannah looked around in confusion a few moments
later. Scarblade and Garin were gone. Where were they? Not that it particularly
mattered--it didn't look like they were going to get the game done that night.
With a sigh, Hannah stood as well and made her way through the common room to
the stairs that led up to the second floor, where rooms were rented out. Hannah
lived in one, and had done so for quite some time. She hid the dice in her safest
hiding spot and went to bed, drifting off to sleep to the sounds of fighting
in the room below.
Garin, meanwhile, was following Scarblade back
to his ship. The Lupe went into his rooms, and Garin scurried after the pirate
captain. The Usul found a hiding place from which he could see in part of a
window and, if he pressed his ear against the wood, hear what was going on inside.
A few minutes after Garin settled himself, two
more shadowy figures came up the gangplank and went into Scarblade's rooms.
One had the pointed ears of a Wocky; the other waddled like a Bruce. Garin peered
in the window and saw the two standing before Scarblade.
"They're the ones that started the fight," he
muttered. "Scarblade hired them!" He pressed his ear against the wall to hear.
"--ciate your obliging me in this," Scarblade
was saying. "It's a bit out of your usual way."
"Ah, 's fine, cap'n," one of the other two said--Garin
didn't know which. Still, the "cap'n" was interesting. They were part of the
crew of The Revenge?
"Yeah, we were, uh, glad to do it," said the
"Seein' those pirates fightin' over their precious
Bilge Dice Tournament was really somethin', though," said the first. He laughed.
"What're we doin' t'morrow, cap'n?"
No one spoke for a moment; then Scarblade said,
"It does not involve you; therefore I will not be telling you. If I have need
of your... advice..." A pause. "I shall summon you."
"Oh, okay, cap'n. Yer permission t' depart?"
"Granted," Scarblade said briskly.
The two emerged from Scarblade's rooms.
"What d'ye think he's plannin'?" the Wocky asked.
Garin recognized his voice as the second one to speak.
"I dunno," the Bruce said. "The cap'n said we
wasn't supposed to know," he added.
"So 'e did. Ye're thinkin' of obeying the cap'n?"
"Aye," the Bruce said weakly. "And? 'E's a good
Garin pressed close against the wall to stay
in the shadows and followed the two, hopeful that he might overhear some clue
to the plans. Even if they didn't know, well, they knew Scarblade better than
Garin did, so their theories might have some worth to them.
"Aye," the Wocky said. "An' when the cap'n betrays
us an' throws us all t' the sea to fend fer ourselves, ye'll still be sayin'
"Nay. An' besides, the cap'n wouldn' do somethin'
like that." The Bruce didn't sound too certain.
"Ye think 'e wouldn'?"
The two descended into the hold, and Garin hesitated.
Then, feeling that caution at this point would be prudent, he slid away into
Monty sat up. The common room of the Golden
Dubloon was nearly empty. Pirates lay in various positions on the floor, having
fallen there sometime during the fight. The Meerca rifled through their pockets;
to his disappointment, none of them were carrying anything of much worth. Perhaps
scavengers had gotten to them before he had, Monty thought. He paused on his
way out the door and glanced back at a Pirate Krawk who didn't seem to be completely
The Meerca made his way between the fallen pirates
to the Krawk. He was the one who'd been doing the announcing, Monty noted as
he shook the Krawk's shoulder.
"I'm a respec'able announcer... not a pirate..."
the Krawk muttered indistinctly.
"Say what?" Monty shook him harder.
"Oh. Oh!" The Krawk scrambled up from the floor
and began to tug at his clothes. "An outrage, it is! A fight, at the Annual
Krawk Island Bilge Dice Tournament--"
"There haven' been any b'fore?" Monty asked
"Never min' that. What happened 'ere?" the Meerca
"Oh--a couple of pirates chased each other in,
tipped over the table, and the audience was slightly annoyed. You know, Bilge
Dice is almost a religion in some parts of Krawk Island," the Krawk added.
"Is i' now?"
"Aye--I mean, yes!" The Krawk slumped over again.
Monty blinked at him. "What?" he said intelligently,
and then thought to check for his Faerie-dusted dice. They'd been taken, as
he'd expected, but the Meerca checked anyway. Then he wandered out, having relieved
the Krawk announcer of a few Neopoints and a rather nice watch chain he'd been
To be continued...