Skull & Shackles (Mavrickindigo)
Captain of the Ghost Ship Deathknell
Captain Jeremiah Pilk took to whaler Belle Dame to sea from the port of Magnimar in 4631 AR. The Belle Dame could take a whale in far waters, skin it, render its blubber in the tryworks, and store its meat, all without seeing land for weeks at a time. Such was Captain Pilk’s success that he became known as “Whalebone” among the Magnimarian seafarers after the rumor that all he left of his prey were the picked-clean bones, and his ship became known simply as the Bell for Pilk’s habit of sounding the ship’s bell with a furor every time he caught sight of a whale’s spout.
Whalebone Pilk’s success proved to be his own undoing on his last voyage. For 2 weeks, pickings were frustratingly slim on the Steaming Sea, until a pod of bowhead whales was finally sighed off the shoulder of Hermea, heading south. Pilk nearly beat his knuckles bloody that night striking the ship’s bell, but the pod always stayed elusively ahead of the Belle Dame. For days, the pursuit led ever south into the Arcadian Ocean—almost as if the whales were luring the ship onward. Home fell farther behind, and supplies dwindled, until some of the starving crew decided to mutiny. Pilk had the ringleader tied to the mast and ordered the mate to give him lashes for as long as Pilk rang the ship’s bell. The mate’s arm grew tired before Pilk’s did, but by then the mutinous sailor was dead from the beating. To keep the rest in line, Pilk had the mutineer skinned and rendered in a try-pot and his cleaned skull nailed to the mainmast as a warning.
The ship continued on until the 23rd day, when a dense fog rolled in. An indistinct shape loomed large i the water ahead and the mate ordered the helmsman to steer hard to port to avoid collision, but Pilk countermanded the order and began ringing the bell, ordering the men to the harpoons. When the huge bull bowhead came out of the fog, it rammed the ship, breaching the hull. Pilk cursed the whales and cursed his men and continued to ring the ship’s bell as the foundering ship slowly slipped beneath the waves with all hands aboard, 2,000 miles from home.
Since then, Pilk has haunted the Fever Sea, attacking ships and killing all aboard. He stalks them for two nights, and on the third night, heattacks, killing all he can, the survivors telling of horrible stories of an undead crew serving a mad monster of a captain.
The Audacity ran into the Deathknell during one of their voyages, and Captain Bell rammed the ships together, giving Number Six the oppurtunity to kill Pilk with a swift strike. Thinking themselves hotshots for taking down the legend, they towed the Deathknell the rest of the night, Number Six keeping an eye on it to prevent its escape. Come morning, a fog bank rolled in and Six ran aboard the ship in order to prevent it from disappearing, only to find himself aboard a fully-crewed Deathknell and a rejuvinated Pilk, ringing his bell and welcoming the Android aboard his ship.