The Ship's Bell

Now d'ye see that bell hung right near the ship's wheel? Now that ye're startin' yer life at sea, that bell is yer life. When ter sleep... when ter eat... when ter work... when ter fight. Heed th' bell, or ye'll be heedin' the captain's lash. An respect th' bell, fer it's the ever-beatin' heart of th' ship.
— First mate indoctrinating new young crewfolk
It has been described by crew as the beating heart of a ship. Ever-present... marking the passage of time... regulating the life of all aboard. There are times when a sailor despises it. But as long as it is there, ringing out it's regular cadence, everyone aboard knows their ship... their home... is still alive and thriving. To many, the bell becomes the ship.

Ringing the Watch and Turn

The most important function of the Ship's Bell is to help the crew keep track of the passage of time. It is used in conjunction with the ship's Six-turn Sandglass to keep track of time. As the sands run out in the glass and the glass is turned, the ship's bell is rung to announce the time of day. This is known as "ringing the watch and turn"

The actual striking of the bell to "ring the watch and turn" follows a strict pattern. Two sequences are rung - the first to identify the current watch, the second to indicate the time within the watch. Sequences are rung in "couplets", with brief pauses between couplets, and any required single chimes at the end. A longer pause separates the ringing of the watch and the ringing of the turn. The tables below list the chime patterns.
The sun is directly overhead in the middle of the third (Midday) watch -- "three and three" to an experienced sailor. "Eight and six" marks the end of one day and the beginning of the next.

The Importance of the Bell

Many who make their lives at sea believe that their ships have spirits or souls, and that these reside in the ship's bell. As a result, the bell is often one of the most cared-for elements of the ship. Whether made of iron, bronze, or brass - the last being the most prized - it is always kept polished and rust-free. The surface of bell and striker are wiped with thin films of oil to resist corrosive salt spray.

The bell for a new ship is not cast until the ship is first slipped from drydock on its christening day. Once the ship is christened, and its name announced, molds for the bell are prepared which include the ship's name, and the bell is cast.

In the event of disaster or battle at sea, is a ship is deemed in danger of sinking, every attempt to keep the bell from harm, and to remove it to keep it from sinking with the ship is made by any and all surviving crew. Unpleasant superstitions are associated with allowing a ship to sink with its bell still in place.
An' remember... if ever the ship be sinkin'... see to it that th' bell is saved. Fer if the bell goes down wi' th' ship, it'll be soundin' the watches and turns for all eternity... and the poor souls that went down as well will never be released from service.
— final admonition to the new crew about saving the bell

A Day on Cartyrion

Throughout history, there have been many different patterns of time tracking employed by the various Folk, but as interactions increased and mixed communities became established, a single, commonly accepted "standard" timekeeping method has been developed.

Each day is divided into eight periods called "watches". These are, in their commonly accepted order, the Dawn or Waking Watch, Midmorning Watch, the Midday Watch, Lateday Watch, the Dusk or Dimming Watch, the Retiring Watch, the Midnight Watch, and finally the Vigil Watch. Each watch is often further divided into smaller units; on land, it is usually three units called "hours", but at sea it is more typically six "turns".

Halfling Watches

While Halflings follow the standards that all other folk have adopted, they often employ a different set of names - names that reflect which meal of the day they should be enjoying. For the Halflings, the watches of the day are Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Tea, Supper, Dinner, Nightcap, and Snack.

Watches and the Sun

While the Dawn Watch marks the start of a new day, the sun appearing on the horizon does not mark the beginning of the watch. Rather, the watch is centered on the sunrise event. Likewise, the sun reaches its noon peak in the middle of the Midday Watch, and sets below the horizon in the middle of the Dusk Watch.

Cartyrion is a planet with no axial tilt. As a result, "day" and "night" are equal in length every day, and everywhere in the world. (Another consequence is that seasons are not determined by planet tilt, but rather by distance from the sun, so summer, for example happens planetwide at the same time of year, regardless of position relative to the equator.


Page Banner Orc Warrior Image by Yuri_B from Pixabay
Page Banner Sailing Ship Image by GLady from Pixabay
Side panel images by Dorothe from Pixabay


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