He watched the sail grow for a long time, trying to decide what he wanted. It would be easier to give up then keep on going. He wasn't sure he'd live then just lie down and die.
Dying would be easier, he knew. All he had to do was collapse and let the ship pass by, and death claim him. No doubt it was already here, sharpening it's scythe. He already had a fever, burning through him like a whit hot lance, making his gut ache and making him shiver in restless sleep.
Each morning found him weaker, another 1d6 constitution gone, less likely to make that save. It would not be much longer.
If the fever did not kill him the thirst certainly would. There had been no fresh water but for the occasional sudden squal that pooled in hollows of the rock and briny pools crusted with salt. He had been lucky, and just when dehydration had left him dry as old stone a sudden storm had roared in. He had crawled out and lay on his back, his mouth stretched open letting the rain trickle down his throat, and when it had stopped he’d felt a bit stronger, and crawled over to one of the pools where he lapped it up like a dog. It was thick and heavy with dirt and salt, but he’d gulped it down just the same, until he’d felt too heavy to move, then again the next day, then once more until yesterday he’d been swallowing mud, and today he was parched again. He’d thought of drinking seawater and making going quickly, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
When the tide was low he’s sometimes found tiny crabs who had nipped at his flesh until he broke open their shells with a rock, and ate what pathetic white flesh he could find until the tide had washed them away again. Once he’d foung a small silvery fish, flapping on the rock, and he’d torn into it raw, though he threw most of it up later.
Seagulls soared above him, squarking mockingly. At first he'd flung stones and waved his hands, trying to keep them away, but they'd disdainfully ignored his pathetic efforts, and now they barely bothered to notice them. They were like crows, scavengers who would pick the meat from his bones if he didn't escape.
I could do it. He told himself. I could lie down and die.
But he knew he was lying. It was the nature of the survivor to keep on going, and if Bozzok was anything, it was that.
Some poets have written flowery praise of his way of life, and coined phrases like 'honor among thieves.' Bozzok, a whores son who had regularly watched his mother roughed up and his younger siblings beaten and humiliated because of their race, killed his fist man at seven with a kitchen knife and grown powerful through the dark, repressed side of humanity, agreed. They would not hurt you unless there was something in it for them.
Unfortunately, something could be as little as lashing out at someone who looked weak, because no matter how lyrical the poets waxed, there was one, hard, uncompromising truth.
Thieves were a bunch of lazy people, unable or unwilling to work, who survived by forcibly removing other people’s possessions. They were to other people what adventurers were to orcs. Worse, because most of them never did anything to hurt them, other than own something they wanted. Most of them were low level, but it didn’t take much to kill. They were animals, who had realised societies laws didn't have to apply to them if they didn't wnat them too. Even popular ones like Ian Starshine, who got songs made about them, were mildly sadistic multiple rapists with more blood and misery on their hands then most despotic Overlords. But in Greysky City they had something Bozzok never did. Respect, or fear, or whatever it was, but either way, he wanted it.
He was still officially in charge of the guild, but he’d heard the whispers, and knew he’d have to start checking his food for broken glass. He’d seen them circling, and knew he had to escape. Sharks may be able to smell blood from a mile away, but nothing could sense weakness like criminals. Thieves are naturally solitary, and can only be kept in line through fear. He’d seen what happens when the perception of untouchableness fades, and it was never pretty. Even the popular, likeable ones generally died screaming.
Of course, the world being what it was recently, the ship he had brought with 11.37% of the strongbox (which he had moved two days ago just in case, always be prepared) had run into a squall conjured by some jerk ass cleric for what seemed to be no good reason, and it had been wrecked. He’d been tossed about, but managed to keep his head above water (just as well, he had looked at the rules for drowning out of curiosity and couldn’t make head nor tail of them), and at last the storm had died down. It was like the entire world had waited for him to lose his balance so they could line up and kick him in the groin.
A few aquatic encounters later (Why the hell was a kraken CR 12? Something with eight attacks and a grapple of +44 should be way too much for a solo encounter!) he had passed out, and now there was a blank spot in his memory that he suspected was full of dehydration, pain and sunstroke. The last thing he could recall was waking up on a beach with pebbles instead of sand and horrible gribbly things with lots of X’s and Y’s in their names crawling around. He’d shied away, but at last he’d gobbled them down and wished there were more of them.
Five days later, his hard ridges of muscle had faded, and his face was gaunt and pinched, a mess of planes. His eyes were sunken and hollow, and stiff coarse wire decorated his cheeks. Even his skin was sallow, now more yellow then green. He’d caught his reflection in the ocean, and thought he was having a random encounter.
And now there was a chance of rescue, and he wasn’t sure he cared. Everything he had built was gone. All he had achieved was already lost, and he was forgotten. What was left?
At last he sighed, and raised his hand weakly to signal. There was still his hate, and with that, everything was possible. He was a high level rogue, he’d built himself up to the king of a tougher place then this wilderness.
He wasn’t ready to die yet.