Streaky was tired. Tired and hungry. And thirsty. He was starting to think that a pirate’s life may not, actually, be for him. After all, he didn’t know how to sail. He didn’t know how to use a cutlass. He didn’t drink, and had minimal interest in wenches. He liked the treasure part of it, but that had been turning out dismally, as the chest filled with old shoes and door knobs proved. No, he thought, piracy definitely wasn’t his thing. “Hey look, a boat!” yelled Steve the lookout, “Let’s go, like, loot it. Or something.” “What kind of boat is it?” yelled Captain Keelhaul up to him, “Shiver me timbers,” she added as an afterthought. “It’s a little boat, with tiny people on it,” yelled Steve, “We can take ‘em no problem!” The captain grinned at that, “Then set a course for the bastards! Pieces o’ eight.” No, thought Streaky, not only was he not fit to be a pirate, but the entire kobold species was meant to be land bound. He briefly considered pointing out that Steve’s eye patch gave him horrible depth perception, so that he thought all ships were tiny. But if he did that they’d just threaten to keelhaul him. Again. As they started sailing towards the dot on the horizon he prepared himself for another travesty of a sea battle. The dot on the horizon got bigger. Bigger and more full of holes. And surrounded by life boats. After briefly thinking on this revelation, Streaky decided he’d better talk to the captain. It would be much more advantageous to take hostages, he thought, as humans tasted horrible but probably ransomed well.
No, thought Gregory, this definitely wasn’t his day. First of all, he’d been caught hiding in the cargo hold. A very unfortunate event, especially since stowaways were generally thrown to the sharks. But, after a lot of crying and a moderate amount of bleeding he’d managed to convince the captain that he was a “master of culinary art,” which, as it turned out, meant he could cook. Unfortunately, Gregory’s cooking skills consisted of boiling water, and putting things in said water. But the captain warned that if the food was sub-par that it was cavorting with sharks for him, so he tried his damnedest and prayed for something to prevent the consumption of the damning meal. It was around then that the explosions started. By the time he’d gotten above deck, above deck was under water. Since he didn’t know how to swim, he grabbed the nearest plank and hoped someone would let him onto one of the lifeboats. No such luck. And then, just to make things even more horribly interesting, little dogs showed up in a ship that looked like a floating log pile. No, he thought, definitely not his day. “Hey. Grab on.” Said Streaky, poking him in the ribs with a long pole. Gregory obeyed, and was pulled about the crude vessel. “Are you going to kill me and eat me?” asked Gregory. Streaky shook his head, “Not unless you really deserve it.” “Oh.” Said Gregory, “That’s good.” “We are eating your captain though. Not because he tastes good or anything. Because we’re low on rations.” Gregory thought about this for a second, “That’s fine. I didn’t like him anyway.” Gregory curled into a ball and shivered, “What now?” “We’re going to deliver you to Black Port, where we’ll sell you to someone who has the time and energy to collect ransoms. We don’t have the contacts or the-” Streaky glanced at the rest of his crew, “social skills to do it effectively.” “What if someone’s not valuable to anyone?” “Then they’ll probably be sold as a slave or something.” Gregory, not liking that idea, grabbed the first thought to pop into his head. “Oh. Uh. I don’t suppose you need a master chef on your crew?” Streaky’s eyes lit up, “You know how to cook?!” Gregory briefly considered his chances. “Yes. I’m a great cook.”
It had been such a good day. Much better than the last few years, thought Ottredek, when they had simply drifted on their boat hoping to run into someone. The problem, he thought, was that a cursed vessel like theirs was meant to have tattered sails, and tattered sails didn’t catch the wind nearly as well as the non-tattered kind. This made the few chases they’d attempted laughable. Even more disheartening was the apparent absence of unholy nautical speed in their curse, which most of the crew felt quite certain they should have. But today, yes, today had been a good day. A merchant vessel had been spotted, and the captain gave a rousing speech about how they were cursed for their crimes to forever plunder and kill, and it was all very stirring. Then they quickly took down their pirate flag (Which glowed with an unholy light, and was really rather intimidating), and all the crew hid below deck. Ottredek sat quietly in the brig, practicing his scary face and swinging his meat cleaver menacingly. He may have been the ships cook, but on a ghost ship everyone had to be a monstrous killing machine. Soon enough the merchant vessel pulled near to investigate, and then they opened fire with their hellfire cannons of the damned. Then the whole crew all ran above deck and the fighting began. It was a rather more vigorous defense than Ottredek expected. He had always thought merchants would simply scream and let themselves be stabbed. Perhaps occasionally throw themselves into the sea. Yet while the merchant crew was very skilled in combat, they lacked the staying power that being an immortal abomination lent. As such, it was all over rather quickly. There was then some debate about what to do with the survivors. The first mate thought they should leave no survivors, and thus spread a horrible tale of their evil across the land. Ottredek had to point out that they should leave as many survivors as possible, so that they could tell their friends. Ultimately it was decided that Ottredek was correct, and the surviving crew was placed on life boats. It was around then that the day became a little worse. The first mate, being none too pleased about Ottredek’s advocacy of survivorship, took the opportunity to push him overboard. There was some discussion about whether a damned crew should rescue a fellow damned crew mate, and they concluded that Ottredek was a rather silly person to have around since he was a cook and none of them ate anything. So they sailed off, leaving Ottredek behind. Luckily for him, however, he managed to snag the back of a life boat without anyone noticing. When the survivors were rescued he grabbed onto the crude ship that saved them, and thought about the situation. It would be awfully dramatic, he hoped, for a lone skeleton to plague the survivors.
It was the most delicious thing that Streaky had ever tasted. Well, not most delicious. But it was pretty good, all things considered. After all, it’s damned hard to make human flesh palatable. But, somehow, Gregory had managed. Letting him be the ship’s cook was the best decision ever made on their ship. “Do you want some, Gregory?” asked Streaky, “It’s good. Well, decent.” “No, I’m not hungry.” Said Gregory. “You’ve got to eat some!” said Captain Keelhaul, “It’s the best meal we’ve had in months! Much better than the spiders.” “I miss those spiders,” said Steve. “We all do,” said the captain, “they were like children to me. And they’re sacrifice will not be forgotten.” Gregory glanced around, “Right. Yeah. Spiders. Hah. I’m glad you’re enjoying the meal, but I’m really not hungry.” “Y’know,” said the captain, “With a cook like you around, it’s a good thing we brought all those humans aboard.” And all the kobolds agreed. Gregory, however, had nothing to say on the matter.
“Raar!” said Ottredek, brandishing his meat cleaver. “Uh, hi,” said Gregory, “What are you doing here?” Ottredek thought quickly, “I’ve come for your soul!” “Oh, is that all? You can have it,” said Gregory, “Gods know I’m not using it.” “Aren’t you terrified?” asked Ottredek, “I mean, I even made stew out of your captain. That’s’ scary, right?” Gregory went rigid, “You’re the one who did that? You cooked the captain?” “See?” said Ottredek, “Pretty terrifying!” Gregory had wondered, of course, who had snuck in and made the human captain into stew. It was very suspicious for someone to sneak in and do his cooking for him on his first day. He’d simply assumed that one of the kobolds had leant him a hand. But apparently it was the ridiculous looking skeleton chef in front of him. “I served the stew to the kobolds. Is that OK?” asked Gregory. Ottredek almost threw up despite his lack of anatomy, “That’s disgusting. Ewww. Who eats people?” “Well, kobolds do. At least, now they do.” Gregory’s mind raced, “Y’know, they don’t realize that it’s human flesh. I bet they’d be really, uh, terrified if they found out.” “Oh! Excellent! I better go tell them!” exclaimed Ottredek. “No, no, no,” said Gregory, “Don’t do that. Y’see, uh, we’ve got to build the suspense. Yeah. Lots of suspense.” “How so?” asked Ottredek. “Well, it’ll be more frightening if they discover they’ve been eating human flesh for their entire journey, right? Much more terrifying than just one time.” Ottredek thought about it, “Well, that makes sense. But why are you being so helpful?” “I’m overwrought with terror,” said Gregory, “So overwrought, that I’ve begun irrationally helping the source of my fear.” “That doesn’t make much sense to me,” said Ottredek. “Well, uh, it’s sort of like me being your evil minion.” “Oh,” said Ottredek, “that makes sense.” “Good,” said Gregory. He wondered whether he would go to hell for this. After quickly deciding Hell was his final destination anyhow, he hid the skeleton chef in the pantry.