Little Things that Scuttle About
Chapter 3: Mypos or Bust
Location: Steamhawke, on the docks
Timeline: Day 4, around lunch
The wind blew from the south, bringing in a soft warm air, as Captain Daenelia Bradley stepped off the Steamhawke and headed for the tavern The Seedy Airship. She looked to the left and the right, her hair stuffed under her scarf, trying to look as little like a woman as she could. These Elladians, she thought, why were they so backwards in thinking women could not be Sky ship captains? Or why were they so hostile to Elphins? She tried not to think too much about this. The important thing was the treasure and how close they were to getting to it. She'd need these Elladians to help, so she needed to be friendly to them.
Valmier Blackbar had a sturdy figure, large with very few Elphin characteristics save his gills and eyes. Standing a little under 7ft tall he stood looking at Captain Daenelia, sizing her up, as if deciding to take her on in a fight. His red hair stood out amongst the wood and brass of the dock, it was lengthy and wild, just like the rest of him. In fact, he looked worn and tired, like a man who had travel for many days with out the aid of a vehicle or beast. His face was set in stone. Unreadable.
Daenelia noticed him and a feeling of unease settled upon her, what was he doing?! Noting the lack of luggage the Ellphin had on him, she attempted to stride straight past him, no confrontations. But when do things ever go the way you want it to? Valmier stepped out in front of her so suddenly and so silently that Daenelia didn't see it coming and walked straight into him, knocking her to the floor. "Are you ok?" he asked, his voice weary but surprisingly gentle, soft.
Daenelia looked up at the tall Elphin and any anger that was rising up died down quickly, simply because his size impressed her. This guy could pick her up and break her like a twig! Instead he was extending his hand to help her up. She took it with caution, bvut his firm grip never became too strong. When she stood, she quickly looked around. On Mypos, this little Elladian island, Elphins were not allowed to touch women. Fortunately Daenelia didn't look womanly at all to the passing Elladians. No shouts, no guards came running.
"Yes, yes. I am fine," she said as she dusted some dirt off of her clothes. "I didn't see you coming."
"Don't worry about it, and as for the laws here... well lets just say I've been outside them for a while."
"What do you..." Danelia started, but the Elphin man interrupted her quickly.
"Never mind about that, there will be time for that later. Your ship, what's it's purpose?"
Daenelia looked back at the Steamhawke, as if seeing it for the first time. "It's a pirate shi..."she started saying, before clamping her mouth shut. How stupid was she today? "It's a, ... erhh, sky ship. And we travel .. around." It seemed though that her slip of the tongue had gotten through to the Elphin.
"Why? Why do you want to know? Who are you?" He certainly did not look like someone bent on making a pirate captain's life difficult. He simply raised an eyebrow, this irritated her from some reason. "look, either talk to me or leave me be. I'm a busy person and i have places to be."
"Sorry" He said simply, and then added "May I accompany you? This place isn't the safest for a uhh.... 'Skyship' pilot." His tone wasn't menacing and Daenelia guessed that he had already figured out what the ship really was, what she really was. It'd be safer if he did tag along she decided.
"Sure, you can come. Just don't draw too much attention to yourself." She looked at him, his immense size and red hair and sighed. There was no way he could go around with her and not attract attention. Nothing could be done about his size but that hair could be covered up. Without her asking he pulled a leather cap from his belt and hid his hair under it. Next he pulled out a pouch, from the pouch, a ring and placed it on his right index finger. The ring had a black symbol on it, he twisted it and the symbol drew energy from an unknown source and lit up with a red haze.
"What is that?" Daenelia quizzed.
"It's a partial cloaking device, made from an alchemically treated metal, feeds off a mixture of life force and nitrogen." But even as he said it Daenlia found it hard to concentrate on him, her eyes kept drifting away from him to look at other objects or people. "I may be big, but maybe this will help people to look right past me."
It impressed Daenelia; she'd never seen anything like it. She immediately started thinking if this kind of technology could be used to an entire ship... But she stopped her fantastical thoughts and set off in the direction of the tavern. She did feel safer having someone watch her back, even if they just met. There was something comforting about this Elphin.
"Are you on the docks looking for a job, perhaps?" she ventured. She'd look at him but the affects of his ring made her feel a little sick if she tried to look at him for too long.
"Maybe, if the job comes with a ticket out of here and a place to stay. Food would be a good bonus too but i can get my own if necessaries."
Daenelia considered him for a moment. Yes she liked him but there was something he was holding back, something vital. No! What was she thinking! She couldn't just let some random Elphin join her crew! She didn't even know what he was capable of, would he be a burden or a blessing? She figured it didn't hurt to ask, but she must be subtle.
"So that ring, where did you get it?" Daenelia asked conversationally.
"Made it." He replied simply.
He stopped. Although she couldn't see his face, Daenelia knew he was looking right at her. It was an intense glare, one that pierced you. Sensing her error she quickly changed subject.
"We're going to the tavern, when last did you eat or drink?"
Thankfully he accepted the sudden change and began striding next to her once again. 'A bullet dodged' thought Daenelia.
"I ran out of food about a week ago, as for drink... I've had enough to keep me going."
"I see, well i have some business to attend to but I'd like to talk to you a little more, perhaps we could discuss over a meal? My treat." Daenelia tried to beam a smile at a face she could not focus on. Elphins were usually unimpressed by human smiles, but she remembered Finn, the Elphin sailor liked to see her smile. She wondered if this Elphin, whose name she still did not know, knew of Herring Finn. She had tried to talk to the captain of the guards at the dungeons under the High Court tower. She even tried to get another audience with the Chosen King. But the guards wouldn't talk to a foreign woman and the King apparently had found another plaything to occupy his time with.
"It must be difficult being an Elphin on Mypos," she tried to say as neutral as possible. "I hear they arrested an Elphin with two mechanical arms, for talking to an Elladian lady. Did you hear about that?"
"Two mechanical arms? Yes i know about it, in fact i saw it. I wasn't sure but i swear that it was Herring Finn who got arrested! but that's impossible." His tone was strained, Daenelia wondered how this Elphin was related to Finn. She'd have to dig a little further.
"what's your name, Elphin?" she asked with a smile in his direction. He hesitated for a moment before replying with
"Valmier. Valmier Blackbar."
"Well I'm Daenelia, Captain Daenelia of the Steamhawke, that's my ship." She waited a moment for a sign of acknowledgement but it didn't come.
"What if I told you that Finn was a member of our crew?" They entered in through the taverns' heavily secured Ella-oak door, it creaked as she pushed it open. Before he could reply she told Valmier to go sit down at a scrubbed table in the corner while she fetched drinks, he did so obediently.
She approached the taverns' keeper and asked for two of their prided ales and, after a glance at Valmiers' gaunt face, a plate of fish and native vegetables and herbs. She paid the man, picked up the ale and went to go sit with Valmier at the table, he was glad for the drink and finished the pint in two almighty swigs.
"We actually need to get him out," the Captain said as she sipped her ale. "I have tried every route, but no one is even letting me see him. And we know exactly where he is being held. I was wondering..." she hesitated. "Would you have any idea of what we could do next?"
Valmier looked at her and frowned. "Why don't you just... go get him?"
Daenelia smiled. "You can't just walk in to the High Court dungeon and open doors."
"No. But your crew, are they not ... fighters? There are only a few guards, and they are lazy, untrained, easy to beat for a group of... " He lowered his voice: "Pirates."
The idea was reckless, crazy even! A prison break! would it really be that simple? that easy? impossible. surely something would go wrong, a crew member killed maybe? But wasn't that part of their job description? One of the main reasons they joined up? it could work!
"How?" was the first question on her mind.
"If it were me? I'd go in sneaky and end with a bang. It'll have to be a get in and get out as fast as you can kind of thing. A time trial, if you will." He sounded as if he had done this before. "Oh, and your ship will have to be ready to leave as soon as you break him out. There will be no way you can stay here once you've done it. I'd recommend doing all your business before."
"I can't get caught. It would put the whole crew and the ship in danger. If I assemble a team from my crew, would you join in?" Capatain Daenelia knew she was asking a lot. And taking a risk asking an Elphin she just met to do something that could get him hurt, or worse. But her mind was already racing over who'd be best suited for the job. Dottie, her first mate, would have to run this. If she was capable. Daenelia was itching to go along too. Not that she did not trust her crew, or Dottie. It just felt wrong to ask others to risk their lives. Valmier didn't even have to think about it for a second, Herring Finn was his friend. There was no way he could just leave him in that jail, they wouldn't let him go, he was Elphin. Besides, there was a good chance that this was his ticket out of here. He couldn't pass this up.
"Yes, I'll help you. I know this place well, I've been here for sometime, more time than I'd like in fact..." His tone was as level as he could keep it but a definite tone of longing could be determined a little too easily. Like an animal trapped in a cage who longed for freedom.
"Good! Then come with me, we have work to do!" Daenelia got up and began to leave, passing an exasperated tavern keeper carrying a plate with fish and vegetables, Valmier followed suit but grabbed the fish from the plate as he went passed, he wasn't going to pass up any food he could get his hands on either.