A closer look, by way of the glass, then. Consider if this is something worth the captain's attention? Consider hard too. The captain is not one to miss the chance at a bottle of her favorite rum when a dozen crates find their way aboard.

The captain, for her part, has not missed the chance of, by your own last count, a bit over three bottles of prize rum. She is hard asleep in her cabin—that is, more or less directly beneath the boards you tread right now, this being why you opted against hard-soled footwear tonight, or indeed any footwear at all. Thus you make no noise in two long and prudent steps back from the rail, only then reaching into your rather worn secondhand oilcloth for the glass; suffer though you may for a scratch, better that than what you'd earn by bobbling the thing over the side. Though you have wondered quite what prompted the screams you have on occasion heard from the cabin now underfoot, you feel there are better ways to learn.

Lifting the glass, you find its action smooth and its focus quite acceptable, bringing forth details you couldn't see with bare eyes. The waves are not merely breaking over something just beneath the surface, you see—but rather something just above it, something whose dark and reticulated surface has a sheen close enough to that of seawater that the difference was too subtle to spot before. But seeing it now leads you to wonder: what manner of thing has such a skin as this? For certainly it must be alive, because—

—because it is bleeding. Something is leaking from its flank—if that's the word—floating and darkening the water around it; as you watch, its surface ripples and heaves, and the thing rolls and rises in the water to expose more of itself. The surface thus made visible reveals a grievous wound, faint moon- and starlight gathering and twinkling along its roughly torn edges, and from it protruding the haft of a wrist-thick harpoon from whose eye a short and roughly severed length of rope trails halfway to the water. The ichor originates here, flowing thickly from the gouge.