A Long Awaited Opportunity
Mission: Chapter 1: The Sea and the Port
It was taking her mother much longer than usual to get off work, Laudine thought as she sat by the tavern door. The young girl had found herself a seat a while ago when it became apparent that her mother wasn't going to come out anytime. With a sigh, she started to play with whatever random debris there happened to be laying around out of boredom. To others passing by, she probably looked like another orphan on the street.
She payed very little attention to her surroundings until an older woman walked by and entered the tavern. Normally, the guests going in and out didn't catch her attention that much. Laudine would glance up at them as a reflex, and then return to her debris. This customer, though, earned herself a double take from the girl.
Thanks to all the years she'd hung around the port, Laudine had obviously knew what a sailor looked like. And, although no one had ever actually told her what they were, Laudine was also pretty sure that she knew what a pirate was. This woman, she thought, definitely looked like a pirate.
Even though she'd been ordered by her mother never to enter the tavern, Laudine quickly stood up and slipped inside the door. She was curious about what the woman wanted, and watched as she announced that she was looking for a crew. As soon as Captain Daenelia left the tavern, Laudine ran out after her.
"Excuse me!" She called as she followed Daenelia back to her ship, "Ma'am! Sir! Captain!" Laudine was anxious to get the woman's attention, and hoped she could be heard.
Daenelia turned around with somethng between a frown and a surprised look on her face. It turned to definite surprise when she saw a young girl running up to her. Or was it a boy? No, most certainly a girl. Not someone Daenelia recognised. The girl stood in front of her, slightly our of breath.
"Yes? Can I help you?" Daenelia asked in what she assumed was her kindest tone of voice.
"Are you..? Can I ...? Would...?" Laudine couldn't quite form the words.
"What's the matter, kid? Kitling got your tongue?" Daenelia smiled, but somehow her smile seemed to intimidate more than reassure.
"Are you looking for a crew? A cabin boy... girl?" said Laudine in a more confident tone.
"Why, yes. I am looking for a cabin boy. Or girl. I seem to have ... miss-placed my entire crew, somehow," said Daenelia, meaning it as a joke, but she winced inside thinking of the fate of her former crew.
"I'd like to join, sir. Captain." Laudine stood a little straighter, making her voice sound deeper and more mature.
"Oh? And what would your parents say to that?" the captain stroked her chin, as she imagined this girl's cooking being better than McGinty's.
"My parents?" Laudine asked, caught a bit off guard. She didn't know why she should be. It was an obvious question to ask, but she had rushed off as soon as she'd seen the captain without even thinking of how to handle that. "Well..they...I...It's just my mom." Her mother? Her mother would be upset if Laudine told her she wanted to leave home at 14 and go become a pirate. If Laudine needed parental permission to join the crew, then she had no chance. If she told the truth, that was. "I've talked to her about it a lot. This is something I've wanted to do for a while, and it took some convincing, but she's alright with it." At least, Laudine hoped she would be.
The captain stared at Laudine a little harder, and the girl became nervous that she was going to see through that one little white lie. Or maybe the captain would notice something about Laudine that she didn't like, and turn her down.
In her nervousness, Laudine just kept talking, "I promise I won't be a burden or anything. I'll do whatever you tell me to, and I won't complain," Well, she couldn't exactly promise that part, but she could try, "I've dreamed of this for so long. It's what I've always wanted." She gave Captain Daenelia a pleading look as she waited to hear her decision.
"Well," the captain said, and Laudine found herself crossing her fingers for luck, "This means a lot to you doesn't it? Why exactly do you want to join my crew?"
This next question was met with more silence, as Laudine considered what to tell her. She had already admitted that she didn't exactly have a father, but she didn't want to admit she was looking for him. That much seemed too personal, and secretly she was afraid of being laughed at and told it would be nearly impossible. Laudine knew that, but she had to try anyway.
"I need to find someone," was all Laudine told her. "I've been trying to do it for a while, but I've never found a ship that would take me." It was always either because she was too young or she was stupid enough to say her mother wouldn't let her leave.
"Alright then," the captain told her, after thinking about it for a few seconds more. "Go get your things and come to my ship." After pointing out exactly where Laudine was supposed to go, the captain turned around again and continued back to her ship. Laudine stood where she was in shock for a bit before she turned around and went home. As fast as she could, she wrote out a quick good-bye letter to her mother. It explained where she was going, why she was leaving, and expressed how incredibly sorry she was multiple times. Laudine hoped she would be able to send her mother more messages after this, so she could try to keep her from worrying. After the letter was written, Laudine grabbed a bag and a few of her things and then ran towards Captain Daenelia's ship.