The wind howls down the long cobbled street, twisting scraps of rubbish into the air and almost blowing your hat off as you scurry along the quayside. You glance up at the buildings along one side, gaze wandering to the ships on the other as you hug your coat around yourself. They're magnificent. Things on the water a big as churches, you've never seen such a splendid sight in your entire life.
And you need to get on one, soon. Travel from Wales to Portsmouth has drained what little money you stole from your landlord's coffers. Food and board along the way was more expensive than you thought it would be and now you can't afford a room in any of the city's inns for the night. You feel your empty coin-purse, sighing to yourself as a gentle rain starts to fall. You need to join up with a crew, tonight. You've heard tales, all your life, of people going to sea. Plenty of your countrymen went, to escape the heel of English oppression and the grind of tilling the soil. Even men from your village, up and gone overnight.
Head filled with fantasies of sun and waves, running your hands through piles of Spanish Gold and over the bodies of lusty tavern wenches, you trudge through the grey streets, checking the signs above the buildings to your right. There are so many, all so confusing. One of them is the royal crest of England. Through the window you can see a man in military uniform, sitting at a desk. That must be a naval recruiting station. Thinking of the Royal Navy, you glance up and down the street nervously. However much you want to go to sea, you don't want to get press-ganged and spend the rest of your short life below-decks covered in gun-smoke and other men's sweat. There doesn't seem to be anyone but you out in this rain, so you relax. The next sign has some letters on it, but you can't read those. Nobody ever taught you letters. The symbol is pretty simple though, a stack of coins and a bag of grain. Merchant shipping. You peer in through the window, seeing a number of men bustling around a large room, shifting crates. A rather fat man in the middle is directing them, getting red in the face as he does so. The last building is more dank and dark than the others, no letters, no window and no sign, just a carving on the door. This one is the most enticing of them all. A man holding a piece of paper, the royal crest stamped on it. Privateers, some call them.
You wipe the rainwater out of your eyes.
[ ] Go to the recruiting station, the English aren't so bad and you can jump ship when you get to the West Indies anyway. A little military experience might teach you something. [ ] Go to the merchant's. That's where the real money is, and no fighting. [ ] Go to the privateers. You have no aversion to violence and you like the idea of a fair say and fair share in everything.
You step up to the door of the Privateer's building. The wood looks greasy, stained by years of unmentionable substances and rough hands. You almost reconsider your decision before you knock on the door, but instead you steel yourself. This is what you wanted, some real freedom, to leave this dreary island, leave Europe behind and sail with equals underneath a real captain, not a jumped-up English twat shouting orders.
There is no reply.
"Hello?" You call. Still nothing. You try the door handle and it opens easily, showing a darkened room beyond. A window in the back throws dim light onto a small desk, a single candle adding some extra brightness to the middle of the room. At the desk is a man, asleep. You step towards him.
His meaty, tanned arms are folded, his chin slumped onto his chest, feet up on the corner of the table. His clothes are messy, but not as horrible as yours. Despite his large build, his hair is grey and thinning, his face lined with wrinkles. "Hello?" You say. He opens one eye, slowly, looking at you. "Afternoon lad." He says, voice like a rock being dragged over another, harder, rock. "What'chu be wanting in here?" "I want to join up." You say, not allowing yourself to back down. To be honest with yourself, you expected something more, but it's better to be rough and ready than all tarted up like the Royal Navy. The man opens both eyes now. "Oh, join up he says, join up." He swings his feet to the floor and pats his hands together, mock clapping. "And what exactly would ye be wantin' tae join now?" "Your ... your ship." You say, faltering. "You are a pirate, right?" The man throws his head back and laughs. "What's so funny, old man?" You ask. He clams down and wipes a tear from his eye. "Maybe I'm still a pirate, maybe not." He shrugs. "The Captain's gone and sold up you see, to a woman. The whole ship, to a woman!" He spits out the last word like its trying to hurt him "Whats the problem with that?" You ask. "What's the-" The man rolls his eyes. "You gotta lot tae' learn boy." "Look, can I join up or not? Are you shipping out soon?" The man nods wearily. "Yes, we be shippin' out soon, tomorrow, crack o' dawn. The bitch is already aboard." "Where are you bound for?" You ask. "Back to the West Indies." The man shrugs. "God alone knows what she's going tae do there." You look down, this is more complicated than you imagined. "Well ... " You trail off. "We need tha' crew, I'll tell ye that much." He says, pointing at you. "Most up and left after she went aboard." "Why did you stay?" You ask. "I'm old, ye think any captain would take a skipper like me? My joints creak more'n tha' ship." The man laughs softly.
[ ] Ask about this woman, do you really want to serve a Lady Captain? [ ] Join up anyway.
[X] Ask about this woman, do you really want to serve a Lady Captain? Well if I recall correctly, having a woman on a ship was bad luck for a crew, so that would've contributed to their incentive to drop out, but fuck luck. Still, we need some information.
[x] Ask about this woman, do you really want to serve a Lady Captain? [x] Join up anyway.
Preying on merchant ships may be uninteresting--unless they're positively over-armed or have escorts that grossly overmatch us. Maybe we'll be commissioned by the Youkai State to go prey on those human ships, and Reimu will come to beat us down.
"By the code! A woman captain? Haha, ridiculous! The sea be a cruel mistress herself; I care not to see what quarrels would amount between two of them. I think the Saucy Mare would drown herself before being captained by anyone other than the The Crimson Binome!"
"But Captain, what about Dot Matrix?"
"Well blow me down! You may be right, Mr. Christopher. That brilliant lass be the exception. Any ship with her at the helm is a mighty one indeed."
File 121648637251.jpg - (16.01KB, 352x280 , more nostalgia.jpg) [iqdb]
Little does Anon know, the ship used to be captained by a young prince until he was betrayed and strangled by his lovely female companion. Seen here is file footage of the tragic event before she declared herself the new owner. Beware, Anonymous....
"Who is this new Captain then, the woman?" You ask. "Hm?" The man considers you for a moment. "She's got some funny Eastern name, Moko Fujee-summat'. Wears trousers, very un-lady like, worse than a whore." You frown at the thought. A woman wearing trousers, why does that sound so ... nice? "What's she like? As a Captain?" You ask. The man shrugs. "Not sure yet. Not seen too much of her, very quiet, dangerous glint in her eye." He shrugs again and starts to pick at his fingernails. "She doesn't look too green around the gills, but that's all I can say for her." He grins up at you, revealing blackened teeth. "I'm Ed, by the way, First Mate. Nice to meet you." He leans back in his chair again, putting his hands behind his head. "So, still interested boy?"
"I'll be surprised if he is, after that little appraisal you gave me." The voice surprises you, coming from what looked like darkness behind the man. Taking your eyes away from his face and the circle of candle-light, you can see a doorway set in the wall behind him. A tall figure steps through and into the light, tipping her black tricorn hat up out of her eyes and peering at you. "You don't look like much." She says. "Captain." Ed nods curtly and avoids her eyes. "Thought you were gettin' done in town." "I was." She says. "But the others are aboard now." "What-" Ed starts, but Mokou hold her hand up for silence. Ed stops and looks away again. She's a strange sight, to say the least. A long, shapeless black coat worn over a once-white shirt and a pair of baggy red trousers. Her face definitely has an oriental tint to it, eyes thinner than you're used to and such a deep red colour. But the most striking thing about her is the hair, like a sheet of blueish-grey, hanging down to her waist, full of tiny red ribbons. She steps over to you, folding her arms and looking you up and down. You feel like an animal, being looked over before sale. "My name is Mokou Fujiwara. Ed still can't say it right, can you?" She jabs her thumb at the old man, who roll his eyes. "I can speak right." You say, feeling indignant. "Mokou Fujiwara." She smiles, mouth tight. "Can you swing a sword?" She asks. You shake your head. "I can learn." "Can you swim?" She asks. You see Ed wince at that question. "I don't know, never been in water." You say. "Hm." She taps her foot, top lip curling. "Where are you from?" "Wales." Her eyes light up a little, expression returning to neutral. "You a runaway peasant?" She asks. You nod. "Good." She puts her hand on your shoulder and you can feel the heat, bleeding through and warming your skin. "Spent a life farming? You might be dumb, but you'll do."
"Here's how it works boy." She says. "Me and Ed here already don't see eye to eye, but do you know what?" She waits, eventually you shake your head. "Me and him? Both pirates, part of a crew. That means that when things need doing, we'll watch each other's backs, even if the night before we didn't speak a word to each other. You understand?" "Yeah, I get it." You say, already feeling that this was the right decision. Ed is nodding his head sagely from behind Mokou. "Good." Mokou lets go of you and holds her hand out. "You want to join up, we shake on it. You get a share of all spoils and a vote like everyone else. Still want in?"
There is a banging at the door, a hard thumping noise. The sound of feet outside. "Open up! This is the Watch! Open up or we break the door down!" "What the hell ... " Ed says, scraping his chair backwards as he gets up. Mokou doesn't look away from you. "Now or never, want in?"
You reach out and take Mokou's hand, ignoring the banging behind you. She flashes a grin at you. It is surprisingly soft, kind of nice actually. "Welcome to the crew of the 'Hourai Thief'." She lets go of your hand and points at you. "You call me Captain from now on." "Yes, Captain." You say, a spark of pride lighting something in your chest. The door behind you opens with a bang, lock finally giving out. You turn around as Mokou takes a step back and Ed puts his hands up.
There are three Officers of the Watch, all dressed in blue, clean-shaved and fresh-faced. Two of them are carrying heavy-looking truncheons, the third has a length of chain, manacles at either end. "Mokou Fujiwawa" The foremost one says, unrolling a piece of paper and holding it up to read. "That's 'Fujiwara' you fucking idiot." She says, face relaxed despite her harsh words. The Officer falters. "Shut up!" The one with the chains shouts. "M-mokou Fujiwara." The other one starts again. "You are hereby formally charged with grand arson, we are to place you under arrest." "Oh what the hell have you been doing?" Ed says, tone both angry and worried at once. "Your Letter of Marque is hereby revoked." The Officer rolls the paper back up and stuffs it in a pocket. "Come on girl, we don't want to hurt you." He says, looking sympathetic. Mokou laughs softly. "Go away." "Right! That's it! Get her!" The one holding the chains screams. "Oh shit!" Ed shouts as the other two step forward, taking their truncheons from their belts with obvious reluctance. "Ready for the pirate's life, boy?" Mokou mutters as she reaches inside her coat. The Officers stop dead as Mokou raises something in her right hand, gleaming metal and polished wood.
You recognise the shape of the barrel, like the end of the muskets the Yeomanry had back home. Oh, right-
Mokou squeezes the trigger, grinning. A huge bang echoes in your ears and the wave of gun-smoke forces your eyes shut. You hear a grunt of pain, someone falling to the floor. You open your eyes to the sight of Mokou's fist connecting with the other Officer's jaw. He drops like a sack of potatoes, joining his bleeding comrade on the floor. The Officer with the chains screams and faints. Mokou laughs and leaps over to the door, leaning on it and throwing a pair of bolts at the top. The door bucks inwards once but holds firm. "Sweet Jesus woman, you shot an Officer!" Ed says. His voice is angry but there is a look of vigour in his eyes as he looks at Mokou. "There are more of them outside and I only have one pistol." Mokou waves the duelling pistol. "Catch." She says, throwing it to you. You catch it, savouring the smoothness and the weight for a moment before you put it in your pocket. "Might be a good decoy for a moment." Mokou says. "The gun?" You ask. She nods. "Change of plan Mr. Edwards. We leave now, head out the back, get to the ship." "What about you Captain?" He asks. "I'll be along in a second or two, going to make sure they don't follow us this way." The door bucks again, you can hear raised voices outside. "Right you are Captain." Ed says, heading for the door in the back. "Come on, this way lad."
You follow, throwing a final glance back at Mokou as she turns back to the door, putting her hands against it.
You follow Ed through an even darker room, a couple of broken crates on the floor. A rat scurries away from your foot as you reach a another door, light making its way through the cracks. "Come on." Ed says. "Ship's about three hundred yards away from this entrance, follow me." Ed opens the door and you follow him out into the grey afternoon. "There they are!" You hear, spinning around in the wind and the rain of the street to see a group of officers just coming around the corner. "Shit, run!" Ed shouts, picking his feet up faster than you thought a grey-beard like him capable of. You can hear crackling from somewhere, like flames.
[ ] Follow Ed, fast as you can. [ ] Draw the pistol and bluff. The Captain is still inside. [ ] Pretend you're not involved and try to mislead the Officers.
>>49762 >Commodore Eirin with her Captains Reisen and Tewi.
"Our enemies are a noblewoman, and her advisers? How can a doctor, a ...what is she? Is that some kind of serving wench's getup? and a mere child? I don't see what the worry is all about, Captain. Surely they're not capable officers!"
You let Ed go, turning back to the Officers and casting a glance into the building. There's smoke coming through the doorway now. What the hell is the Captain doing? Nevertheless, you shook her hand, you're a pirate now, even if you're not at sea. You watch her back, she watches yours. The pistol feels very heavy as you raise it, pointing it at the group of Officers running towards you. "Stop or I shoot!" You yell, sounding a lot more confident than you feel. They skid to a halt, one of them falling over and dragging the one in front to the ground. You almost laugh. You're threatening the fucking Portsmouth City Watch! Ha! And you haven't even set foot on a ship yet.
"Shoot and we'll stop!" One of the says. "I mean! I mean we've stopped, we've stopped!" Another one, a little less scared, steps forwards slowly. "Come on laddy, you don't want to shoot." He holds his hands up in a gesture of surrender "If you shoot, you'll hang. We don't want you, so just run along and we'll forget we ever saw you. Right everyone?" The other officers agree, nodding their heads. You glance through the doorway again, a shape is stumbling through the smoke. "What makes you think I'd run?" You shout, trying to make sure Mokou can hear you. You've never felt anything like this rush before. You're armed (abet with an unloaded gun), holding off the law to let a comrade escape. This is-
A hand closes around the barrel of the pistol, dragging it up. You don't let go.
"Come on you silly bugger!" The Officer shouts in your face, pushing you with one hand as he aims the gun away from himself. A boot slams into his head and he drops to the floor. Mokou winks at you as she takes the pistol and aims it at the remaining officers. She grins wide and they throw themselves to the floor. "Bang!" She shouts, grabbing your arm and pushing you down the street, laughing. "Now we run!" You find your feet and manage to keep pace with her, looking over your shoulder to see the Officers, recovered and cursing Mokou for her trick, chasing after you. "That's the one!" Mokou says to you, breathing hard with every bound. "The little one!" She's pointing at a ship, but you barely notice any of the details as she drags you up the gangplank and aboard. Behind you, three of the Officers have got onto the plank, wobbling their way along it. The first one draws his truncheon and waves it menacingly.
"Captain, move!" Another voice yells. Mokou jumps to the side, sliding on the wet deck, you follow suit, a rolling barrel missing you by mere inches. It hits the gangplank and the Officers panic, jumping into the water to avoid being hit. The barrel rolls into the street, forcing the other Officers to slow for a moment. "Ha!" Another woman shouts in triumph, pumping her fist in the air. You don't have any time to take in who she is, as Mokou is already on her feet. "Get that fucking plank in!" She points at you, then turns away. "Mr. Edwards, cut the lines!" You see Ed reach over the side of the ship with a knife as you drag the heavy gangplank onto the deck. "Renko, get on the helm!" Mokou shouts. The woman from before runs to the other end of the deck. "Everyone else, up the rigging, get this bastard moving!" You see four men scurrying up the rigging, hand over hand. The prospect of doing that yourself suddenly turns your stomach. "Fuck you England!" Mokou raises her middle finger to the land as the ship starts to twist away from the quayside, Ed having cut the ship free.
[ ] Join your Captain, flip off England. [ ] Ask Ed if there is anything you can do. [ ] Go see who that 'Renko' woman was. [ ] Watch the sails being hoisted, maybe you can learn something.
It's good that you took a break from SDM LA and want to write something else. Did far did you plan this out, or rather how long will this be? Will there be Kaguya going to hunt us down to the end of the world?
You walk over to the side of the ship. Now you're no longer running from officers of the law, being dragged along by your Captain, who also happens to an interesting lady, you have the time to actually take notice of your surroundings. The deck is wet from the rain, a pair of masts off to your left, a complex network of rope and sails springing into place above you as the wind catches them. You're surprised to see no raised section beyond the masts, merely the wheel set into the deck, being spun by that woman who threw the barrel earlier. Behind her is a very small raised block, about the size of an outhouse. You guess it leads into the lower decks.
The edge of the deck is solid wood, thick. As you lean over next to Mokou, middle finger raised high, you can see the Officers shaking their fists at the ship in anger. You look down, amazed at the size of this thing. You're easily ten feet out of the water. The Hourai Thief may not be as large as some of the merchant shipping vessels or military Ships of the Line further down the docks, but it moves extremely fast, slipping out of the port like a cat running from an old man. You see Renko steady the wheel as the ship points outwards, at the empty sea to the South. "Fuck England!" You yell. "Fuck England indeed." Mokou says, clapping you on the back. She seems calmer again, a lot less animated. She turns away from you. "Take us away Renko." She calls. Renko salutes and the men on the rigging shift something, a sail coming around above you. You can actually feel the ship rock from side to side as the wind catches her. You wobble a little on the deck. Mokou laughs at you under her breath. "Might take you a while to find your sea legs, boy." You nod, trying not to fall over. Mokou seems to standing perfectly still, but you notice she's constantly making small adjustments with her feet, shifting her weight with the movement of the ship. "Huh." You mutter, starting to understand, but still not feeling very steady. "You learn fast." Mokou says, crossing her arms. "Not dumb, just uneducated?" "Un-whata?" You ask. "Well, I have someone here who can fix that, I'll introduce you to her later." "Fix what?" You say, not focusing properly, trying to ignore the queasy feeling in your belly and watching the land growing smaller behind you as the ship picks up speed. "Never mind." Mokou slaps you on the back and you almost fall flat on your face. "Good call with the pistol, boy. You got guts. I gotta have a word with Mr. Edwards, go ask the rest of the lads to show you the ropes." Mokou walks away from you, leaving you swaying on your feet.
That doesn't feel good, you think as your stomach heaves.
[ ] Sit down, force the sick feeling away. [ ] Lean over the side, time to hurl. [ ] Ignore that feeling, go learn the ropes. [ ] Ignore that feeling, go speak to this 'Renko'.
I want to ask the rest of you, are we going to become the captain's bitch, are we going to just be a crew member, or are we going to be that one guy that doesn't really fit in, but is credit to the ship?
The Captain gave you an order, and you're going to follow it, churning stomach or no. You do your best to ignore the feeling as you walk over to one of the men just coming down off the rigging. "Hi." He says. "You just joined up?" He looks about your age, a little more seasoned though. "You all right there?" He asks. "Looking a little green." You nod. "I'll get used to it." He smiles knowingly. "You will. Some rum will help too, but not until you've got your sea legs. In a few hours." "Okay." The idea of some strong alcohol sounds very good to you. The man takes a water skin from his belt. "For now, take this. Just little sips, to make sure you don't get dehydrated if you start vomiting." You nod, not quite sure what he means, but you follow his advice. "Thanks. Er ... the Captain said I should learn the ropes from someone." He sticks out his hand and you shake it. "Name's Jack. I'll show you how the sails work, but you're not climbing like that. Time for monkey-antics later, yeah?" You nod again, feeling relieved, clutching your stomach as the ship rolls from side to side on the waves.
True to his word, Jack shows you how the sails work, explaining the mechanism and how each one catches the wind from a different direction. He tells you each kind of order you might get, hoisting or lowering this or that sail, which ropes to pull, which to untie, which to take up with you and which to never touch. The mantra of nautical science lulls your body as you concentrate, allowing you to ignore the feeling your in belly somewhat. The rain lessens to nothing as he speaks. By the end of Jack's explanation, you're standing taller, feeling quite a bit better and think you could probably carry out orders, but maybe not entirely on your own yet. "Of course. That's just the sails, maintenance needs doing too, but that's busy-work really." Jack says.
"Don't let the Captain hear you say that." Another voice comes from behind you, relaxed and amused. You turn around to see a woman leaning against the rigging. She's dressed very much like a man, dirty white shirt and plain leggings. The only thing that catches your attention is the funny hat she's wearing, flat-topped and black. That and her rather pretty smile. "This is Renko." Jack says. "And what are you looking at?" She asks you, raising her eyebrows. "You." You say. "Why?" You ask, slightly confused. Renko rolls her eyes. "Teaching the new guy the basics?" She asks Jack. "Well technically you're new as well, but seeing as the Captain put you at the helm, I assume you've done this before." Renko nods. "Been with the Captain a while. Got a problem with women on a ship? Either of you?" Jack shakes his head. You're about to say something, but Jack speaks again. "Not really, as long as you're not like the passenger." Jack's expression turns sour. "Don't you bad-mouth her." Renko says. "Why? She your friend." "As a matter of fact, she is." Renko replies.
The pair continue talking as you notice Ed walking away from Mokou, head down, looking annoyed. The Captain checks something with the man at the helm and then heads down into the bowels of the ship. Behind the ship, the coastline of England now fills the horizon, details lost in the haze of distance.
[ ] Ask who Renko and Jack are talking about. [ ] Ask for the names of everyone on the ship, then go around making sure you've introduced yourself to everyone. [ ] Ask Jack to continue showing you stuff. [ ] Go ask Ed why the Captain was talking to him about. [ ] Watch England vanish beyond the horizon. [ ] Follow the Captain, you have questions. [ ] Something else (specify).
>>49777 >"Bang!" She shouts, grabbing your arm and pushing you down the street, laughing. "Now we run!" No matter what I do, I can't imagine this scene as anything other than Jacuzzi and Nice's bit in the Baccano opening credits.
"Hey Jack." You say, breaking into the conversation again. "Yeah?" He turns to you. Renko leans back against the rigging. "Mind showing me how everything else around here works? I want to stop being dead weight as soon as possible." Renko raises her eyebrows, in surprise or mockery you can't tell. "Sure thing." Jack says. "Come on, I'll show you around." You nod and follow him along the deck, still sipping from your water-skin. "How's your belly?" He asks. "A lot better, thanks." You glance back, seeing Renko watching you with a frown. You ignore her for now.
Jack spends a good hour explaining the other workings of the ship to you. That the anchor is rarely used, because of the Hourai Thief being a ship that relies on pure speed. What to hold onto during a storm and how to not get thrown overboard when the waves pick up. The really interesting part is when he takes you below the deck. The corridor inside is tiny, only wide enough to permit single-file. Doors lead off at regular intervals. You can hear the waves splashing against the hull, the slow steady creaking of the ship and a pair of voices somewhere off to your right. You put your hands on the walls either side, steadying yourself. "That's the Captains Quarters, always knock first, unless we're under attack." He says, pointing to the door at the very start of the corridor. You nod, realising that the voices you can hear are coming from the Captain's room. For a moment you try to listen, but Jack speaks up again. "Next one is the Quartermaster's room, who is ... well, also the First Mate at the moment, Mr. Edwards." Jack grimaces, looking a little pained. "We're kind of short on crew." "Heh, I noticed." You say. He shrugs. "It's not too much of a problem, ship this size can run with five men, but we're not in any shape to do much else until we take on some more crew."
"These two rooms here are meant to be for prisoners or passengers, I think." He points at two parallel doors either side of the corridor. "Occupied at the moment, we've been ordered to leave them alone. So leave them alone." You nod. He leads you further down the corridor and opens one of the doors. "Regular quarters." He says. You put your head around the door. Inside is a rather cramped, but long, space. Four hammocks are strung along the wall, to an upright beam on either side, then four more are suspended on the other side. "Ever slept in a hammock before?" Jack asks you. "Nope." You say. "It's pretty comfy, you'll get used to it."
There are three more identical rooms for the crew, but none of them are in use at the moment. The last room Jack shows you is the Mess, kitchen in the back of it. You can hear someone bustling around back there, but you can't see them. Jack frowns at the noise. "What is it?" You ask. "The cook is Shakir, the Moor, but he's still up on deck." "We have a Moor on board?" You ask, shocked. "Yes." Jack replies, not noticing your tone of voice. "So who's in the kitchen?" "We have a Moor here?" You can't get the idea out of your head. "What-" "Oh never mind." Jack says, dismissing the kitchen with a wave of his hand. "I don't want to deal with her again anyway. Come on." He shuts the door behind him and heads onwards.
Down a tiny, creaking set of stairs, another deck opens out before you. The space is wide with a very low ceiling. It extends the entire length of the ship, broken only by a number of wooden partitions. "This is the gunnery deck." Jack says, pointing to a cannon. You step over to it, looking down with curiosity. It's not very impressive, just a cylinder of black metal on a wheeled wooden frame. There seem to be six, three this side and three on the other, each with a partition either side of it. There is a pile of black metal balls next to each one. "We only have a few, and fewer who can use them properly." Jack says, voice sounding sad. "Could I learn how?" You ask. He nods. "Later, not now." He leads you down to the other end of the deck, pointing to a beaten copper door. "Powder room. Don't go in if you're not told to and never take a lighted match in there, okay?" He look at you, to make sure you heard. You nod. "No fire near the powder, right." He smiles, satisfied, then points at a normal door on the other side. "Armoury. You have the right to bears arms now, so you can take anything you need from in there. Just don't touch the muskets unless you know what you're doing." "Okay." There is one more set of stairs downwards. "Cargo hold." He says, pointing. "Not worth seeing, full of food supplies and crap."
"Thanks Jack." You say. "Not a problem" He grins. "I'm heading back up, there's nothing much to do now Renko and the Skipper have the course set, so just try to avoid being given any busy work, eh?" You grin back. Jack mounts the stairs upwards, vanishing around the corner.
[ ] Check the armoury, make sure you have a sword handy. [ ] Go see who that was in the kitchen. [ ] Test out the hammocks, take a nap. [ ] Knock on the Captain's door, you have questions. [ ] Wander around, find out people's names. [ ] Go speak to Renko. [ ] Jack said there's a Moor on board? Go investigate, you've never seen one before.
You can't help but remember Jack casually mentioning that there's an Moor aboard. Your curiosity gets the better of you and you head back up to the deck. You've never seen a Moor before, you wonder how much you've heard is true. Then again, you'd never laid eyes on a Chinaman, or woman rather, until today when you met the Captain. She's eccentric, but still normal enough. Actually she's ... impressive? Something stirs in your chest, but you ignore it for now. Back outside the wind hits you in the face, ship having picked up speed. You can see Jack up in the rigging. Another man is at the wheel. The sky has cleared, rain stopped, sun starting to hit the horizon. You glance around, but you can't see the land anymore.
Your mind reels for a second and you look back at the deck. "All right there?" You turn around to see Renko looking at you with an amused look on her face. "First time out of the sight of land?" She asks. You nod. "Yeah, where ... uh ... what direction are we going in?" "South." She says. "For now." "For now? We turning around?" She shrugs. "Captain has a idea, I'm just waiting on it." "How can you tell the direction we move in?" You ask. Renko looks at you like you're joking. You just stare at her, waiting for an answer. "Oh ... you really don't know do you?" She says eventually. You shake your head. She sighs. "I have to go see the Captain now, but if you ask me nicely sometime I might show you how to use a compass." "What's a compass?" You ask. Renko rolls her eyes. "Ask me later."
She heads downstairs as you trudge across the deck. You spot the Moor within seconds, leaning against the bow. It's no wonder you didn't notice him before. He's got one of those silly white head-things on, keeping the sun off his head and covering his neck. You walk up to him and he turns around, glancing at you. He's chewing on a hunk of bread. "Hello." You say. He nods, eyes half-lidded. "You the new one?" His accent is thick, like nothing you've ever heard before. His skin is like coal. You stare. "Y-yeah." You manage to say. "I'm the new guy. You're Shakir?" You ask. He nods. "Are you ... are you a Mohammedan?" He throws his head back and laughs. "Do I have my head on the deck?" "Sorry?" He frowns and raises a hand, palm-up. "Let me put it like this. Would a white man, a devout Christian, be on a pirate crew?" You frown for a moment. "I suppose not." He taps his forehead. "Then?" "Then you're not a Mohammedan?" He grins at you. "Well done. Did you need anything?" He asks. You shake your head. "Just curious. Why did you stay with the crew when the new Captain came?" He just blinks, slowly. "A spirit told me to." "A ... a what?" He laughs, but there is a hint of nervousness in his voice.. "I jest, I jest." He looks over your shoulder, expression growing more alert. "Time to be busy." You turn around, seeing Ed and the Captain on both on deck, talking to each other in raised voices. Ed looks angry, again.
[ ] Follow Shakir, do some work. [ ] Follow Shakir, look busy but try to listen to the conversation. [ ] Try climbing the rigging, you need to learn eventually. [ ] Wasn't Renko going to talk to the Captain? If the Captain is up here, where did she go? [ ] Head back downstairs, check the kitchen. [ ] Something else (specify).
[X] Follow Shakir, look busy but try to listen to the conversation.
Sounds good to me.
>>[ ] Wasn't Renko going to talk to the Captain? If the Captain is up here, where did she go? Sounds interesting, but Renko and Mokou are close friends here, so she ought to be not doing anything harmful. At least I think...
You look back to Shakir. "Looking busy then?" You ask. He nods, striding away purposefully. "Come on, time to work." He stuffs the rest of his bread into his mouth, chewing fast and reaching up to unhook a rolled-up sail from one of the masts. You follow him across the deck, thankfully closer to the Captain and Ed. "This sail needs waxing, we call it 'dressing down'." He says, unravelling the sail onto the deck. He folds it over so the end is facing you and him, and then kneels down, pulling a large jar from inside his loose white Moorish clothes. You kneel down next to him, trying to listen to the Captain's voice behind you while also taking in Shakir's instructions. "You take some wax, like so." He pulls the lid off the jar and dips his hand in, pulling out a large glob of the pale-orange gunk. "Then you rub it into the sail-cloth." He smears the wax on the sail, working it in with his fingers, smiling blissfully.
"What do you mean, you can't!" You hear Ed's voice. "Because I'm not welcome there." Mokou replies calmly.
Shakir hands the jar to you. "I'm going to get some more of the wax." He says. "You get started, take it slowly, don't work yourself too hard. There is little point." He holds his hands, one above the other, as if wrapped around a ball. "You rub the wax until he cloth is full." "Full?" "Full like sand with water, like when you rub something onto a woman's skin, covering the whole surface. Yes?" You nod, thinking you understand his meaning, if not his analogy. Shakir walks off, heading down into the ship. You take some of the wax and start rubbing it into the sail, letting your limbs go into autopilot as your mind focuses on the conversation behind you. Years of agricultural drudgery taught you something after all.
"I don't know what you've done in the past, and I don't much care." Ed says. "Good." Mokou sounds somewhere between amused and bored. "But this is going to be a problem." "Why? We land at Kingstown. An extra two days is no fuss." "The English port? You mean the people you just fucking well ran away from?" Ed's tone turns mocking. "All I did was torch a building, in Portsmouth as well. The English are too busy to worry about one little pirate." "But what if-" Mokou's voice cuts over Ed's. "What if nothing. We land at Kingstown, we take exactly the route I tell you to. End of conversation." You hear Ed splutter once behind you and then fall silent. You glance back over your shoulder, seeing Shakir returning with a huge jar of wax. Mokou is mounting the rigging, climbing up hand-over hand, something heavy swinging in her coat pocket. Ed folds his arms and frowns, walking down the deck again.
Looking up as Shakir kneels down again, you can see the Captain reach the Crow's Nest at the top of the main mast. You hear words over the rush of wind and someone else climbs out of it, coming back down the rigging. The Captain slumps down in the Crow's Nest, out of sight apart from her boots hanging over the side. "Hm" Shakir says next to you, dipping his hand into the jar. "What?" You ask. "Oh?" He looks at you, mind obviously somewhere else. "I was just thinking, you are good at this, this rubbing. Have you done it before?" You shake your head, peering back up at the Crow's Nest.
[ ] Keep working, chat with Shakir. [ ] Climb the rigging, go see what the Captain is doing.
You and Shakir settle into a rhythm together, working along opposite sides of the sail. This is easy work really, at least in the cool air of early evening. In the midday sun, it may not be so good. "Hey Shakir." You say. "What happens when it's too hot on deck?" Shakir looks up at you, amused. "Too hot for your white skin." You nod. "Yeah." He pauses. "Little work is done when it is hot, unless it is work that must be done." "What kind of work is that?" He grins, showing off perfect white teeth, clashing with his sooty skin. "Fighting work." You nod, sea battles raging inside your mind as you rub the wax in. You've never seen a battle, but you've heard of them. Some of the old men in your village back home claimed to have been in the Civil War, but their stories were always boring, full of marching and descriptions of rotten food. This has got to be different. You have an image of yourself firing a musket, or running someone through with a sword.
Huh, you don't even know how to use a sword. Maybe you should ask someone about that.
The sun gets lower and lower and you and Shakir work, him informing you of little details about the ship, things that need doing and how to avoid doing them or simply make them easier. He tell you about the two crew members you haven't met yet. Toby, the heavy looking guy currently at the wheel, and Wilf, the whippet-thin guy who Mokou turfed out of the Crow's Nest. When the sun is almost half below the horizon, Shakir stands up, wiping his hands on his clothes. "You roll the sail back up. It is time for me to make food." He says. "We all eat when night falls." He glances up at Mokou's boots, hanging out of the Crow's Nest. "Or at least we used to. Let us see if this is still the same." He smiles, spreading his hands.
You roll the sail-cloth up, strapping it back to the mast where Shakir got it from. All around you, the sea is growing darker as night falls. Everyone is below decks now, apart from you and Mokou, who is still slumped in the Crow's Nest. The Wheel has a long piece of wood inserted between it and the deck, making sure it doesn't move. You can hear it creak and bump as you step past. The smell of food wafts up through the stairwell and your stomach rumbles with the prospect of eating. You haven't had a good meal in a long time and that smells good, whatever it is. The sun isn't quite down yet, but Mokou still hasn't stirred.
[ ] Head inside, to the mess. [ ] Wait for the Captain. [ ] Call to Mokou. [ ] May as well see how well you can climb, go see her.
>He grins, showing off perfect white teeth, clashing with his sooty skin. "Fighting work." >You nod, sea battles raging inside your mind as you rub the wax in. You've never seen a battle, but you've heard of them. Some of the old men in your village back home claimed to have been in the Civil War, but their stories were always boring, full of marching and descriptions of rotten food. This has got to be different. You have an image of yourself firing a musket, or running someone through with a sword. >Huh, you don't even know how to use a sword. Maybe you should ask someone about that.
How do we rectify this situation?
Instruction on sabers & pistols from the captain?
Playing knife games with the scullery maid?
Or maybe Shakir could school us in the ancient art of Shaq-fu?