Beyond The Shore
Ambrose “Fishguts” Kroop
Ship's cook aboard the Red Sadness.
Most people think Ambrose “Fishguts” Kroop gets his nickname from the stains on his apron or the contents of his infamous stew, but few know he earned the sobriquet as a competitive eater in the low bars of Nassau. As a young man, it was said that Kroop could eat more of anything, and faster, than anyone. Folks still talk about the night that Kroop devoured an entire bucket of boiled eggs in the Salty Swab by the docks.
Kroop was trained as a professional chef at the Lobster’s Armor, one of Nassau’s most popular (and expensive) restaurants, but when he was thrown out for inappropriate behavior with his assistant, he ended up plying his trade with several sailing vessels before embarking on Captain Barnabas Herrera’s Red Sadness, where he has served as ship’s cook for the past 3 years.
An affable fellow, Kroop loves his food, and has more recently developed a taste for rum, a habit that’s only encouraged by Cut-Throat Grok, the Sadness’s quartermaster and Kroop’s best friend aboard the ship. Sadly for Kroop, his drinking led him to bet his own life against Captain Herrera in a card game one drunken night 2 years ago. Kroop lost, and his life became Herrera’s to do with what he would. Herrera now thinks as little of Kroop as he does a bilge rat, but he’s not yet killed the cook because drunk as he is, Kroop is still a better cook than anyone else aboard the Red Sadness, and the
captain is partial to his cooking.
Kroop’s days begin with blearily handing out ship’s biscuits to the crew on deck before retiring to the galley to prepare the evening meal (almost always fish stew) in a big pot. Then he cozies up with a bottle of rum (sometimes mixed with raw eggs) and waits for the rest of the day to pass. Nevertheless, Kroop is a skilled chef, though few of the crew beyond the captain and his officers ever get the chance to sample Kroop’s more palatable fare.
His only joy, aside from drinking and swapping yarns with Grok, are his chickens. Kroop loves his poultry and collects any rare breeds he comes across. Anyone with a background in farming finds Kroop friendly, while those who truly know their birds quickly discover a helpful friend. Kroop’s favorite bird, a large black cockerel named Black-Hearted Bezebel, often perches on the cook’s shoulder and even talks to him, or so Kroop occasionally drunkenly claims.
Kroop is a large, some would say fat, man, weighing well over 200 pounds and standing only 5 feet tall. He exudes an air of neglect, perhaps even despair, from the bushy tufts of black hair behind his ears, to his rotting teeth, to the stains on his filthy apron. He walks with a wallowing waddle, particularly when drunk, but is capable of surprising acts of strength. He’s had so many lashes that his back is like tanned leather, and he claims to not even feel the bite of the lash anymore. After 44 years in the school of hard knocks, Kroop is a man who clearly cares little for himself or what people think of him. Nevertheless, he is at heart a kind man, and does his best to protect his cook’s mate from punishments brought on by mistakes made by either of them.