|A white zee-bat|
A zailor has grown fretful and disobedient, reluctant to go on deck, even in port. "There's a white zee-bat watching me up there. Salt's messenger. Salt's got its eye on me. I'll never see home again!
Zailors' superstition. Order him up on deck at once.
He goes up unwilling, but he goes. And when there's no sign of the white zee-bat over the next few days, his fears dissipate and he's left looking foolish before his shipmates.
Salt: one of the nameless gods that zailors fear. This zailor is a conscientious man. Send him to the sick bay on the pretext of a fever.
The zailor is grateful, though your ship's doctor rolls a sceptical eye. When he next goes up on deck, the railings are clear of zee-bats, white or black, and he sets to work with a will.
|Feed the zee-bat
If white zee-bats are sacred to Salt, perhaps you'll win Salt's favour. If you believe any of this.
|From your fingers
The zee-bat takes fungal crackers from your fingers, as boldly as a parrot. It dips its head to you and chirrups something you might mistake for speech. It spreads its wings, and leaps into the air.
The next day, your crewman is gone, along with one of the ship's boats. No one saw him depart, or knows why.
|Shoot the zee-bat
If the b___dy thing is frightening your b___dy crew, you'll b___dy well settle its hash!
You miss. The bat takes wing and is gone.
A low rumble rises from your crew, as if they were a crowd at a trial.
It sees your intention and spreads its wings to flee: but your shot catches it, and it falls to the deck with a broken fluttering.
You cross the deck to collect the pale corpse. Your crew are utterly silent. No one catches your eye.