The Best Defence
Chapter 1: The Sea and the Port
Location: Barnacle's Bar
Timeline: Some late afternoon on a November day
Barnacle's Bar was slowly filling up with people. "Can I get you anything stronger than coffee, captain?" the serving girl asked. Captain Daenelia look up from her notes with bleary eyes. "No, just give me another coffee. I need my wits about me for a bit longer," she said smiling. The girl nodded and walked away, and Daenelia look at the crew list again. It started to fill up nicely, but the Steamhawke would be no match if they came up against some of the other pirate ships, or goodness forbid, the British navy. She might be able to outrun most ships in the sky or on sea, but who would man the canon's, who would plan an attack or defence?
Ashrieda thought she had a good vantage point of everything going on. The place was packed, meaning that she could drink herself to oblivion fairly unnoticed, which she'd decided was a definite positive. Booze and brainstorming weren't two words that sensible people put together, but desperate times called for illogical measures.
What she needed was to find a way out of Dodge, quickly, and with a minimal amount of effort. Actually, she still wasn't sure what this place was called -- the port officials hadn't exactly given her a guided tour while they were hauling her off to jail -- but she'd felt on edge the whole time she'd been here. Yeah, she may have been a bit paranoid, but unfortunately for her, her paranoia was usually justified.
Like now. For the first time, she noticed that the noise level had risen considerably in the time she'd been there. She made a quick scan of the crowd. There was the authoritative -looking lady with the paperwork, whom her mind had instantly registered as trustworthy...and there were also a group of disreputable who were clearly the source of all the buzz. They looked like trouble, and she should know, all things considered.
The crowd seemed to get rowdier and more drunk. Daenelia could not blame them. She wished she could get absolutely sozzled and forget that she needed a crew, that she needed to find what was on the map, that she had a duty... She quickly shook such thoughts out of her head and finished her coffee. She surveyed the room, hoping she could pick out some men or women that would be suitable to approach with a job offer.
With all the noise, it was becoming difficult to even think clearly, much less fathom how anyone could hold a conversation. As Ashrieda lifted her drink to her mouth, someone, likely one of the troublemakers from earlier, jostled her from behind, causing her to spill it all over the table, and she swore. From seemingly nowhere, the waitress came over to clean up the mess.
"Say," Ashrieda said, "ya wouldn't happen to know someone who's got a ship going out of town soonlike, would ya?" The waitress pointed towards the woman with the paperwork."Talk says she's looking for a crew," the waitress replied.
A job? Even better. Ashrieda knew ships -- though granted it was mostly under illegal terms, but she could certainly wing being legit. It might be nice to work amongst the ranks of the straight and narrow.
"Thanks," Ashrieda said. "Should I get outta here, I'll leave you a nice tip or something." With a determined look, she strode over to where Trustworthy Woman sat.
"Hey -- I've been hearing that you're looking for some people for your crew?"
The captain raised an eyebrow. Well, she did need more members for her crew, yes? She'd done well getting the word out. She vaguely wondered if word had gotten out that it was a crew of pirates she was needing. She nodded."I see. What skills have you got?"
Skills? Truth be told, Ashrieda didn't have many. She could defend herself and others in a fight, drink the pants off anyone else, rob and con people out of all their money, accidentally knock an enemy captain overboard...
"Let's see -- I'm a excellent negotiator," she declared, folding her arms across her chest. "I know all about defense and tactics, and I'm good at planning and tactics and getting things from people, and I know strategy." She didn't have any evidence of any of this, but she raised her chin confidently and hoped that her bravado was convincing.
The captain took a long look at the young woman, who looked like she could hold her own in a dangerous situation. She also looked like she could bluff her way through any situation. The ship would need someone with strength and a strong personality, and confidence bordering on arrogance... This could be that person. "Okay. You are hired." A little voice in the back of her mind said something along the lines of 'You are hring people awfully easy, Daenelia!' But she dismissed it quickly.
"You can pack your things and move them aboard the Steamhawke. Tell McGinty that you are our new tactician." Daenelia supressed a smile at the surprise on the young woman's face. She recovered it quickly and greeted the captain with a confident smile.
"Almost done ...," Daenelia muttered as she watched the woman swagger out of the bar.