Saturday, October 31, 2009


We were zombies this year. It was fun! I sure got a lot of strange looks at the Chuck E. Cheese... but I won a ton of tickets for Ethan while he played some bug-zapping video games and ate pizza.

RP: I Like Turtles Pt. 1

Here's another joint effort. James plays the part of Firael in this little fic, in which Ysani decides that something is interesting enough to override her fear of leaving the safety of Dalaran.


Ysani stared wide-eyed at the night elf noodle chef. An expanse of stretchy dough twisted and roiled between his outspread hands, and he eyed her lazily as he repeatedly pulled the long strands out and doubled them on themselves. The mushed end of dough trimmed, he dropped the finished noodles into the bubbling pot of water at hand, and while they cooked he filled a large metal bowl with a smooth, steaming sauce that smelled incredibly tangy and rich to her underfed nose. Dipping a dented colander into the pot, he caught the hot pasta and slopped it into the bowl, tossing it all together with a wicked-looking fork as big as Ysani's arm. A bit of chopped nuts, sprouted beans and a pungent green leaf went over all, and he divided the sum between two clever paper boxes. Finally he jabbed a pair of cheap wooden sticks in each one and pushed them across the counter. "Four gold."

She dug in her pocket and pulled out a handful of coins. "I didn't even know this place was here. That's a pretty neat trick. And it smells really good." Ysani smiled up at Firael, then peered down into her container. "What are the sticks for?"

"You eat with them, like this." He held his chopsticks perfectly and picked up some noodles with them. "See? Now you try!"

Glancing doubtfully between his hand and her own, she imitated the curl of his fingers and almost got it well enough to pull a few noodles up to her mouth. They flopped back into the box and she blew hair out of her eyes, adjusted her grip and tried again. Three noodles made it and she slurped them up. "MMMPH!" She chewed blissfully and swallowed, speaking again without food in her mouth this time. "It's so good! I've been missing out all this time!"

Firael clicked his two chopsticks together. "They're fantastic!" He managed to say through a mouthful of noodles. "So did you want to see the shop now? It's not much, but if you really wanted to..."

"Um. I suppose I could. I mean... it's safe right? Is it in Silvermoon? Hopefully near a guard post or something...?" She crammed another mouthful of noodles in her face and chewed, closing her eyes with an expression near ecstasy. "How is it even possible for something to taste so good? They're almost as good as muffins."

"Of course it's safe, it's in Farstrider square, the safest place in all of Azeroth. The Farstriders watch out for the elves and keep us safe, it's why I'm an initiate with them!" He shoved a bunch of noodles in his mouth, they hung down comically from his lips as he looked at her for a response.

Ysani stopped smiling. "Oh." She sucked up a stray noodle from her chopsticks and stared down into her dinner. "I don't know if..." A scowl wrinkled her brow for a moment, then she straightened up and lifted her pointed chin. "Certainly it's safe. We should go." She paused. "You... have a noodle on your face. Right here--no, here.... little to the-- there, you got it."

"To the Silvermoon portal?" He would have grabbed her by the hand and dragged her to it, but he had his hands full of noodles, and was rubbing one off his face at that. He sucked it off the end of his finger and started off towards the portal, Mister Gramms walking beside of him.

"Yeah." She followed, noodles tucked carefully in the crook of her arm. On the other side of the portal, she made sure her food had survived the trip. Yep, still delicious. She forgot for a moment that maybe she ought to be afraid and simply sucked up bundles of saucy pasta, much to the annoyance of the magisters talking about important stuff nearby.

"And you've never read Engineering Digest? I've got so many back issues at my place it will make your head spin!" He slurped up some more noodles, Firael at least was quickly reaching the bottom of his box of noodles. "I've got some other mags, but they're not as good, they're just in it for the profit you know, they always feature these pictures of scantily clad gals in front of the machine you're trying to look at. Who reads those?"

Ysani blushed. "I guess goblins do, I've seen those in all their shops. ... Actually, that reminds me of this one time--nevermind, you don't want to hear that story." She precluded any attempt he might make at asking any questions about said incident by stuffing her mouth with more noodles.

"Stories can be good, but if you don't want to tell it that's fine." He pushed the last mouthful of his noodles into his mouth and pointed his chopsticks ahead, down a street of Farstrider square. The pointing came a good bit before his voice did, slurping and swallowing the noodles before speaking. "It's just down there!"

"It's really embarrassing, I'd rather not. I want to see your shop, anyway." Ysani stuck the chopsticks back in the box and gripped Firael's wrist, dragging him down the street. She suddenly wanted to get out of plain sight, and in a hurry. "Which one is it?"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"A'right, git." [PG-13]

[Marked PG-13 for some mild sexual content, you're welcome Verdus ;)]

Pretty sailors with broad, tall bodies and easy smiles are a dime a dozen at port. Robert is also young, straight out of Westfall. She would put money on it. Farm boys with a way of speaking plain and hardly a chest hair have no business being out in the heart of the Cartel's dealings, but they run off to do it anyway, thirsty for more adventure than they can find behind a plow. In this case, he hasn't even had time to experience his first shore leave. She is doing him a favor, taking him away from his scurvy-ridden mates and sparing him the inevitability of a bored pay-fuck for one more weekend.

He's inexperienced, and it shows. He fumbles more than once, but she helps, and he's eager. No doubt she's teaching him skills for the future free of charge, and she's okay with that. She doesn't expect much else from him, and when she crawls out of bed in the morning she is profoundly unsurprised to find him still beside her, arms curled around her naked body as he sleeps. The washroom is cold, so she cleans up quickly in the grey early morning light.

Coffee perked, she pours a cup and cracks a few eggs into a bowl. Barefoot, she scrambles them over the stove, spatula in one hand and cigarette in the other, dressed in a pair of sturdy, hip-hugging canvas pants and a warm sweater. When he slips his warm hands around her waist, she's not caught off-guard; nor does she flinch when he kisses the side of her neck. She cuts the eggs in two with the spatula and sets the bigger portion on a plate. "Toast's on the hearth," she says, nodding toward the grate. He kisses her again, hands sliding up over the flat plane of her belly under the soft knit of her shirt. She resigns herself to the prospect of a cold breakfast, takes the skillet off the heat, and grabs his wrist, dragging him past the fireplace (she simply moves the toast-trap to one side of the hearth; it'll warm later).

She lies quietly with him for some time, watching the dawn turn the walls of her tiny bedroom red, then gold, pale arms folded behind her head while he sleeps sprawled over her. He's warm, and his weight is comforting, but it's wearing thin fast. She nudges him, shifting her body and looking down into his groggy and handsome--if boyish--face.

"A'right, git."

"What?" Blue eyes flecked with hazel and awash with bewilderment greeted her. "But..."

"Y'got yours, didn't ya? Go on. Breakfast's portable, an' I've got shite ta do." She wiggled out from under him, easily dodging his attempts to pull her back into bed, hauling her faded pants up over her narrow hips and fastening the buttons one after another. She tossed his shirt and pants at the bed and they smacked into him, a loose sleeve blocking his view of her bare breasts for an instant before he pulled it off of his face and gaped at her, confusion giving way to hurt.

"Can I see you again?"

"Wouldn't count on it, sugar." She pulled on her boots, tucked her pants into them and buckled the straps, fastening them snugly at her ankles and up her calves. Then her dark eyes were on him. "Better get dressed, darlin', or ye'll be vacatin' in yer skivvies."

She pulled her sweater over her head and stalked off to the kitchen, returning the toast to the coals and sucking down cold coffee with a grimace. Her sailor appeared just as she was stacking cold eggs on warm bread, cigarette dangling from the corner of her mouth. She pressed the sandwich into his hands without a word, buckled his belt for him, and tucked his wallet back into his pocket. "Wouldn't want t'forget this, eh." The poor boy looked shell-shocked, sandwich grasped in one large hand, forgotten. She herded him out of the apartment, shrugging her long jacket on over the belt with holstered knives she wore low and snug on her hips.


Skulley swiftly reached up and put a hand on the back of his neck, pulling him down to stop his protest with her mouth before it could properly begin. A long moment later, she released him and locked her door, clearing her throat as she did so. "S'enough a' that, never leave th'house at this rate."

She patted his backside as she passed and headed down the common stairwell, calling up over her shoulder at the dazed young man. "Ye've got a fine arse, Bobby. Never let anyone say different."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Minor Miscalculation, Pt. 1

Ambika has been preparing herself for the ultimate showdown, a life or death battle against the Lich King himself. In an attempt to enhance her already considerable skills, she's begun in recent months to study even more ancient magic. That's right, she's foolin' around with the voodoo. Experiments in blending magic with hair and fiber have yielded many hand-stitched runes and sigils, but none appeared to have any effect... until the last such attempt brought about a shocking change in the troll priestess.

Welcome to Hexville, Population: You.

"Be straight with me, Yayo." The trollish words felt utterly foreign in her mouth. They looked foreign spilling out of it, too, and she found herself clipping her speech in strange ways now that her tusks were on vacation and her lips were free to move as they pleased. "Is it reversible? What am I going to have to do to fix this?"

Yayo'jin was ancient, though you'd never know it to look at her. The witch's skin was taut and smooth, the color of spring leaves; her emerald eyes were bright, but infinitely wise. She wore her hair in hundreds of tightly-bound braids that spilled down her bare back in healthy, shining, charm-studded profusion, and a sheaf of necklaces strung on fine woven grasses covered her breasts. The beads, thousands of them, were carved from the bones and shells of Overlook's native turtles, representative of Yayo's chosen Loa. They clacked a senseless chatter as the woman knelt on her mat of braided rushes.

"What did you do, girlie." It was much less a question than an accusation, her deep and expressive voice only heightening the effect of her words. Ambika bristled.

"I made a mistake, obviously. I think I used the wrong runes."

"Your first mistake, girlie, was using runes in the first place." Yayo'jin hissed, drawing the last word out in a low sibilance that made the elf feel like cringing. She stood her ground, however, and Yayo peered up at her, brilliant eyes boring into Ambika's strangely glowing ones. "You are brave. You are also stupid." She lifted a hand, silencing her supplicant before she could speak.

"I have had many students, Ambika. You are not the first, and you will not be the last. You are not the best, but you are far from the worst, and there is much potential for greatness within you. That said, it would be irresponsible of me to simply cure your--shall we say, affliction?--before you have truly learned not to take your studies lightly. Consider this your punishment. Come back to me in two weeks' time, and we will continue your lessons."

Then Yayo was silent, tending once more to the bowls of dried blossoms at her feet. The elf fumed soundlessly for some time, dainty, five-fingered hands clenched tightly enough that the nails bit into the palms and drew blood. In this form she was dark, brooding, and lovely; her silky black hair spilled over her cheeks and shoulders, framing a nut-brown face of almost pixie-like delicacy. The rage in her green eyes, however, was anything but delicate, and when she had composed herself enough to speak, it was in the hushed and forceful tones of barely-restrained fury.

"That's it, then? You're teaching me a lesson. Don't you think even one second in this horrible body is punishment enough? Look at me, Yayo!"

"I am your teacher first, your friend second," she snapped. "To be honest, I am surprised at you. It is unlike you to be reckless in matters such as these. This is why I am sending you away. How can I return you to yourself, if you yourself have forgotten what that means? Kneel."

Ambika obeyed instantly, lowering herself to the mat. Yayo took the elf's chin in her hand and turned her face first one way, then the other. She made a clicking sound of disapproval behind her teeth and leaned forward, kissing Bika between the eyes. Bika scowled but bore it, and the witch pulled her hand back, waving away her wayward pupil.

"Two weeks. Then we will talk."

A cloud of dark and foul language followed the elf all the way to the docks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 10

Every eye aboard the tiny ship was on her as Skulley's dark head swiveled toward the sound of the goblin's raspy voice. Her eyes, the only part of her face visible between the damp bandanna above and the mask below, were carefully blank. A barely perceptible tilt of the neck asked the question for her, and the goblin was more than happy to answer. "'Course ya don't remember a greeny tosser what took a chunk from yer own bottle a' rum, fine fookery that. I see how it is." He pointed to the two-inch dent in his bald green pate just above the scraggy ear where his piercings reflected the late afternoon sun. On closer inspection, one could see how the hollow spot might just line up with the bottom curve of a glass bottle. Skulley stared a long moment longer, then her eyes crinkled up at the corners and she laughed soundlessly, dropping her attention back down to the netting in her hands. Tensions immediately seemed to ease a bit, and the goblin grinned broadly.

"Remy fuckin' Bilgebottom." She was amused, you could hear that much through the tight leather mask over her mouth. Her orcish was impeccable. "Was a whiskey bottle, but I don't blame ya fer forgettin'."

"Teach a blaggart like me ta stiff me best piercer. All healed up nice-like, yarr. Head and ears, both. You should come back ta the Bay, lady, got some more business for ya when yer not slummin' it up on a dinky vessel like this."

Skulley waved a hand dismissively in Remy's direction, still chuckling silently as she tended to her work. The goblin turned to his boss and squinted his eyes against the sun. "Checks out, Cap'n. Looks like we wasted our fookin' time. If Skullz is in th'salvage business we may's well quit now." He tipped the woman a wink (she rolled her eyes at him; he only snickered) and turned on his heel, cramming the ship's papers into the orc's hand as he walked back over the plank.

The strained atmosphere was broken and the captain of the other ship seemed convinced, but the blood elf was still engaged in a mutual staredown with Xionn. Neither recognized the other, and their silent exchange could most likely be chalked up to a tremendous dislike for the other elven race.

The captain nudged the blood elf. "Theln, let's be off then." The blood elf snapped something out in Thalassian and there was a quick retort from Xionn in his own language. He spit at Xionn's feet, then turned and went across the gang plank with the captain. Xionn and Jerijah helped unhitch the larger boat from theirs, and soon the ship with its Horde colors was sailing back toward Booty Bay. Once it was a speck on the horizon, Skulley yanked the mask off her face and crammed a cigarette in her mouth, sucking down half of it in one enormous pull.

"Good job crew, props t'our mate Skulley fer bein' a goblin lover," Xionn grinned her way, arms crossed. "Now, we got what we came fer, let's get outta here."

"Fuckin' aye, boss." Skulley spit into the ocean, took a quick look at the setting sun and ducked into the cabin. "I'm makin' dinner. If ya need me fer anythin', go fuck yerself."


So concludes Skulley's first official job with the South Seas Privateers. Took most of October getting it all posted for you folks to read, too!

I had a ton of fun writing this with the player of Xionn, and there's already a new job in the works. In the meantime, I've got a few more fics to post over the next week or so, and should be working on more. However, my husband is coming home from Iraq tomorrow for a short visit, so I'll beg forgiveness in advance if I don't post very much.

Hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did. Please, post comments if you have any, I love to hear from you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 9

Hawkeye was all set up and looking like the official captain of the ship, while everyone else was set about doing menial tasks; Arioch's height made him the next likely candidate to operate the crane that Hawkeye had built for his proportions, and Lafoot and Alejandra were still taking inventory. Skulley slowed to a more methodical pace, moving crates from Arioch's post at the crane over to the pile mid-deck, then returning to help him untangle bits of stray flotsam from the nets. Everyone looked about as nonchalant (and bored) as any government contractor might, treating the affair as a matter of pen, ink and labor, rather than a tragedy of life lost and routine disrupted. Before long, the other ship was alongside them and throwing over hitch ropes. The crew obliged, tied the two ships together and extended a gangplank.

"Look alive, ye swabs." It was hard to tell whether Hawkeye was just acting or genuinely enjoyed berating them in front of the other ship's crew. Skulley shot him a dirty look, mostly for show. She'd certainly been working harder before, and now it was all she could do to keep it to a slow and steady pace. She kept her eyes lowered and her mask on as she plucked chunks of splintered wood and kelp from the net and chucked them into the water.

The captain, a rather muscled orc, came over the gangplank with two other men, a goblin and a blood elf. Arioch was suddenly nowhere to be seen--probably a good thing, given his previous distaste for fel elves. "Motley crew you have here, captain."

"Welcome t'the Guppy mate, we be a friendly fishin' boat commissioned t'be cleanin' up da waters of floatin' wreckage. What honorable captain be in me presence?"

"Gonrah Greenfist." The orc captain looked around at the other crew members. "This don't look like a horde ship," he twisted his face at Hawkeye, the only one of the lot that could pass for Horde. They spoke to each other in Orcish.

"I assure you, captain, dis be a sanctioned operation." "Lafoot!" he called out in common. "Show 'im de papers."

Lafoot procured the papers he'd prepped before their departure. They bore the insignia of the Horde as well as a bunch of scrawl that none but probably Hawkeye and Lafoot could read. Captain Greenfist looked over them, rubbing his chin. He tried not to make it too obvious that he wasn't well versed in the various point of Horde law that were scrawled on the paper. "I haven't heard of no Guppy, Captain Hawkeye. But your papers seem to pass. We were sent out here to investigate the raided ship and recover any survivors and its supplies." He passed the papers to the goblin, who began looking over them. "If I understand your papers correctly, you were ordered to recover supplies as we were?"

It was clear from the captain's voice that he was suspicious. Hawkeye kept face while the rest of the crew looked busy. "Aye."

"And... there were no survivors?"

"Der was none." Hawkeye and the rest of the crew knew, as a general rule, not to offer up information that wasn't directly asked for, but there were certain times when it was appropriate. Like right now, for instance. "From da style of da cannonballs, seems da Alliance took em out."

The goblin scrutinized the papers. He was tall for his kind, came up to his orc captain's waist, even. Ugly fellow had a flat head and a pointed nose, no hair to speak of, a curious dent near his left temple and a series of titanium bars threaded through the holes in his long green ears. Xionn's gaze shifted from the goblin to the blood elf, and he realized that the blood elf had been staring at him, sizing him up. Before either of them could speak, Gobbo looked up from the impossible legal gibberish printed on Lafoot's crumpled paper and caught sight of the gaunt figure clad in snug, oiled black leather untangling nets off to port. "Oy! Skullz. Skullz!"

Friday, October 23, 2009

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 8

They were nearly finished salvaging all that they wanted. Lafoot and Alejandra were busy below deck piling freshly salvaged (if slightly damp) goods and taking inventory. Xionn had since scrubbed most of the blood off (although there was some traces of it left on his skin) and changed shirts.

"Start packin' up crew, feel like we've ovastayed our welcome as i'tis."

Skulley leaned against the bow, a cigarette poised just over the mask she'd pulled down to her chin. The late afternoon sun reflected mercilessly off the rippling water, and she squinted at the horizon for a moment before she called out across the deck. "Boss. Believe we've got company."

"Mate Skulley, what color does our company fly?" Xionn was already pulling out his spyglass. "And if'n yer goin' ta call company, gimme a direction. Starboard, port, bow and stern. Ain't fuckin' hard."

"Horde, off the bow, boss." Skulley spit into the ocean and flicked her half-smoked cigarette in after it, pulling her mask up high over her face. Now only her eyes were visible.

Xionn was very intrigued by the sudden use of the mask, but went to the bow of the ship. There were more important things to attend to than his curiosities. He used his spyglass to look at the oncoming ship. Sure enough they flew the red flag with the Horde's symbol on it. His teeth audibly ground together.

A deadly pair of daggers concealed somewhere on her person were revealed briefly, and Skulley swabbed a viscous yellow fluid over the keen edges, made them disappear, and grabbed a bucket of watery bleach from below decks. A stiff brush made quick work of the remaining bloodstains on the darkly-stained wood where the elven captain had fallen, and while she scrubbed, she spoke. "Awaitin' orders, boss."

"Good idea, Mate Skulley. Crew, keep at what yer doin', grab a few weapon crates if need be. Even 'f it d'lays our arrival 'n th'bay." He took off his Captain's hat and handed it to Hawkeye. "Lafoot, y'got papers?"

"Aye!" Lafoot ran down the deck below, returning with several sheets of crude paper. All of them had a Horde seal stamped on them.

"I'll be damned if I didn't figure on th'possibility." In truth, Xionn hadn't expected that anyone would show up, but always planned for likely situations. They were far enough off Ratchet that the Goblins might have heard the gunfire of the raiding ship, but they wouldn't have hurried a messenger to Orgrimmar unless they thought it would profit them. Goblins weren't known to do anything unless it involved money for their time. They'd only been a couple of hours pulling stuff out of the water, and he'd given it at least three hours for the news to reach the Horde.

The ship was small, but it looked like it had enough cannons to defend - or attack - as necessary. "The Guppy" wasn't completely unarmed. The cannons below deck were covered and hidden, but it would take a bit to ready them.

"Should we make ready for a fight?" Jerijah looked to Xionn.

"Nay, get ready t'do what y'do best crew. Bullshit."

"If Mustaadbeard was here ee'd be breakin out da brass knuckles 'n cannons." Hawkeye was adjusting the hat on his head. It didn't fit him well.

"Mustardbeard ain't here, 'n this ain't no ship'a bandits lookin' ta steal our salvage that we kin beat th'shit outta. This's Horde. Savvy?"

Skulley worked fast, cleaning blood out of the brush and slopping the bloody water over the stern. Stowing them below decks, she went back up the stairs three at a time and helped Hawkeye pull up a few more flooded weapon and armor crates from the surface. Jerijah helped her stack them in plain sight, mostly covering the bleached spot and making a conspicuous cover that could possibly serve as a minor barricade if things went south.

"Looks about ten minutes off crew, get ready t'extend our friendly plank."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 7

Jerijah had done his own share of throat slitting. A few desperate souls tried to swim away from the wreckage and their life-saving pieces of flotsam, but their injuries only enabled him to easily catch up with and dispatch them. He was pushing floating supplies towards Hawkeye's net. Anything floating was worth its weight to sell. When the fishing net would fill with crates, Hawkeye would pull them up and Xionn would help guide the crane to put the cargo in the hold, where Alejandra and Lafoot were taking inventory.

One of the bodies clinging to floatsam began to wail for help. "Oi, shut 'im up Jerijah, s'gratin' me nerves," Xionn called down to him below. He scanned the wreckage for the source of the wailing, and saw a blood elf clinging to a floating piece of mast. "No... bring 'im up on deck. I'll deal with him proper up 'ere." Jerijah looked a little displeased to be expending energy to bring someone on board, but he didn't argue, helping bring the blood elf over into the large fishing net. Skulley watched for a moment, bobbing just above the surface, then swam over to help load the man into the net. He was favoring a broken arm, and he screamed when she touched it pushing him up onto a crate.

"You bitch!" He spoke in orcish, but his meaning was plenty clear as he let loose a stream of expletives, berating the masked woman for her carelessness. Skulley simply stared at him as Hawkeye cranked the net up out of the water with them in it.

They pulled the blood elf on board, along with the few crates they'd also put in the net. Xionn paced over to the net, stopping right in front of the coughing blood elf who was clutching his sides. Arioch and Jerijah, who had both pulled themselves temporarily out of the water each grabbed an arm and hefted the blood elf up. "Sounds like the Captain has a bit of a speech for you. Damn fel elf." He spit in the blood elf's face.

Xionn sized the blood elf up, then began speaking in Darnassian. "Are you awake enough to hear me, fel elf?" Darnassian and Thalassian come from the same roots, and much of the two languages are still the same. There are some nuances that developed from the separation of cultures, but the roots of words and at least some phrases between the two are understandable. Meanwhile, Skulley hauled herself onboard and took the opportunity to produce a miraculously dry cigarette out of thin air and light it, the smoke dulling most of the remaining fishy elixir taste. She smoked quickly, pulling inches' worth of the smoldering tobacco into her lungs as she watched the wet and gasping elf attempt to square off with her boss. Arioch and Jerijah held the other elf while Xionn spoke.

"You see, we used to spare unfortunate sailors of attacked ships that we were salvaging. Sometimes we'd even feel bad for the poor souls and give them help." Xionn pulled a fresh cigarette out, lighting it and blowing a wisp of smoke into the gentle breeze. The other elf's face was crossed with a mixture of hope, fear, and loathing. "But the Horde and Alliance, being locked in their eternal all important struggle against each other, felt the need to implement laws about -their- goods being vultured. Most of the laws they implemented never worked. The floatsam law for instance, nothing above the waves in controlled seas were fair game." He laughed, it was a cruel laugh. "But there were so many loopholes in that law, looked like alterac swiss. It didn't help them keep much of their goods at all. Then they came up with this brilliant new law to try and trip up the cartel. You see, for a law to go through about the high seas, whatever faction is trying to pass the law must run it by the cartel. You following me so far fel-for-brains?"

The blood elf scowled. "Are you going to let me go or not?"

Xionn ignored his question. "Now naturally, the Cartel is going to look out for its own, but it's going to want to keep everyone happy for profit. Of course the Cartel isn't going to allow any laws that prohibit vulturing to pass. We keep the seas clean and free of pollution after all! But the Horde and Alliance, they do try. The latest silly law is that all floatsam from wreckage belongs to survivors of the crew, so the Horde can extort those belongings from them after they've recovered the survivors." Xionn turned around, his hands clasped behind his back.

The rest of the crew looked on, all the veterans well aware of what was coming.

"I won't speak a word, just let me go," his voice cracked, possibly from injury, exhaustion or pleading fear. Perhaps all three.

"Well see lad, if'n I let ye go, th'Horde'll find ye, know what supply ship y'worked for, and come demandin' their booty. We kinna have that." He was speaking in common again, the blood elf completely oblivious to what he was saying. He went and picked up a very large, notched axe from its resting place against the ship's cabin.

"No please, anything you want..." The blood elf broke down into cries and sobs, jerking at the two captors holding his arms. Skulley quirked an eyebrow and tossed the remains of her cigarette overboard, crossing her arms over her chest and watching the captive shriek, her face emotionless.

Xionn turned about in place, pointing the blade of the axe at the blood elf. "May Neptulon guide ye inta th' afterlife, saila." He brought the axe down, the point just barely skimming over the deck of the ship. He took several steps forward, like a batter getting a running start before taking a swing. Jerijah and Arioch both sidestepped, releasing the sailor just in time for Xionn's axe to swing up and sever his head from his shoulders. The head, by the sheer force of the blow, went flying over the edge of the ship, and the body slumped, partially falling in the direction of the axe's blow, blood spraying up onto the captain's clothes. There was a grim look of sadistic satisfaction on his face. He set the axe down, looking to the crew. "There are no survivors."

"Right." Skulley straightened up and pulled her mask up over her mouth and nose. It muffled her voice, but the meaning came through clear enough. "Remind me never t'piss ya off, boss." Then she took her hook back from Hawkeye and hopped over the side of the boat into the cool water below. There were plenty more crates left to look through.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 6

The captain's rutters were first to go into the fine mesh bag she wore over one bony shoulder, pulled from the locked box she found under a pile of debris wedged in the now-tilted corner of the captain's quarters. It also contained a fair supply of gold pieces and a pouch of thistle. A fel elf had been running operations then, most likely. She put the coins into her bag as well and picked the lock on a large lower drawer of the desk that dominated the upmost side of the room, bolted both to the wall and floor. Several tugs pulled it loose, releasing a cloud of air bubbles. A locked document case lay on top of everything, and she removed it first, tucking it away for perusal later. Beneath it was a jumble of items of dubious value, including a jeweled dagger in a fine leather scabbard. She deemed it fine enough and into the bag it went; the rest looked like so much junk.

The hold was a mess. Crates were heaped and scattered everywhere, some bobbing in the water and threatening to crack her skull should she be careless moving among them. Some had smashed open with the impact of cannonfire and the contents littered the steeply angled floor, mostly worthless plate and chainmail, although the contents of a weapons crate appeared to be sown among the rest like pikes, wicked points ready to impale the reckless. She pulled a crowbar from her back and pried open the nearest crate that didn't bear a large armaments stamp. She stared in disbelief at the sacks labeled "RAZORFEN GUANO" inside. The next crate was slightly more promising. It contained row upon row of colored inks, most likely products of Kalimdor herbs, and in a large enough supply to stock a small scribe shop. She pounded the nails back into the lid and knotted a pair of leather straps tightly around it, unhooking her towrope and clipping it to a ring sewn into the straps.

The rope coiled at her feet as she pulled it through the water, two dozen feet until it was taut. She yanked once and it began to retract, gradually reeling in the slack length of rope and finally tugging the crate out of the shattered hull. She helped guide it up to the surface and followed it to the ship, paddling with just her eyes above water while she waited for Hawkeye to haul it up and toss her hook back down.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 5

The crescendo of canon fire echoed into the little cove they were hiding in. Neither ship could have seen them unless they were specifically looking for them. The setup was almost too convenient for Xionn's liking, a little danger was always preferable to a clean job, at least in his mind. Arioch and Hawkeye were on opposite ends of the mast, ready to release the sail. The sounds of gunshots stopped, ringing fresh in their ears, and then came the cries of men that were previously drowned out by cannon fire. The echoes of rifles came next. Each crew member of "The Guppy" seemed rather complacent to all this, more ready to jump at the call of orders than to anyone's rescue. The shouting quieted and the gunshots stopped, the quiet after the slaughter. Some time after there were shouts of orders and not long was it before the attacking ship set its course east, passing into view of the cove. They either didn't see the hiding ship or didn't care, most likely the latter as sea vultures weren't a rare occurrence.

"Y'know th'drill mates." Xionn half shouted lazily.

"That an order 'r a statement'a fact, captain?" Jerijah piped back at him from the lower deck.

"S'both, m'feelin' lazy t'day."

Arioch and Hawkeye both gave each other a look, then each jumped off the mast, pulling the sail down on either side, free falling before swinging around and tying it off. Alejandra unrolled the scroll she'd had tucked under her arm and chanted the spell on it. A simple and weak spell that put just enough breeze behind the sail to push them out of the cove. The ship lurched forward and tipped a bit as Xionn flung the wheel around, making a sharp turn - for a ship - out of the cove.

Skulley ducked out of the cabin, uncorking a small vial of silver liquid and tipping it down her throat. It wasn't a terribly pleasant elixir, downright fishy to be truthful, but it would buy her up to an hour of underwater breathing without a mask. She didn't grimace, simply pulled her heavy mask up over her nose and chin and buckled herself into a harness of her own making. It hugged her torso, a spring-loaded hook hanging from the thick-gauge thorium ring sewn into the strap that crossed her ribcage. The hook was braided into a stout length of rope that she uncoiled from her arm and passed to Hawkeye. "Tie that off to yer towrope. Pull me up for goods or if shite goes bad; one yank fer safe an' two t'scuttle." She thumbed open the hook on her chest to demonstrate, then bellied up to the stern and looked down at the water. They were beginning to reach the wake of debris from the wrecked ship. A handful of survivors clung to bits of floating wreckage just ahead.

Xionn brought the ship into the midst of the wreckage, the other members of the crew working the sails and bringing the ship to a slow pace. He called for the anchor to be thrown down just as they were entering the wreckage; he was taking them right into the middle of it all. The ship lurched to a stop just as fast as it had started right as they were about to bump one of the larger remains of the supply ship. "Aaaaaalright crew, y'know yer respective jobs, git to it!" He shouted from the upper deck.

The morning sea breeze was giving way to midday winds. They pushed the ship around despite the sails being closed, but the two anchors on opposite ends of the ship kept it mostly stationary.

Some of the survivors that still clung to life realized now that there was a ship there, possibly their salvation? Some began weakly calling out for help. Jerijah started down a rope ladder into the water. He probably would have just taken a dive in if not for all the debris. Hawkeye went to his crane and rotated it around, lowering the fishing net near to the water where it looked like many supply crates still remained afloat. Arioch followed Jerijah, and Lafoot pulled out a battered looking writing board with some crudely made paper on it. In the middle of the lower deck was a grate, beneath it one could see the lower storage decks of the ship. Alejandra opened this grate and lithely jumped down inside, easily a twenty foot drop.

Xionn threw on a rather fancy looking hat and stood around Hawkeye's crane. Skulley snorted at him as she climbed down the ladder, eyes laughing even though her mask covered her grin. Then she was out of sight and in the water, a darting shape just under the surface. A survivor grabbed at her arm as she passed and she pulled him under with her, easily maneuvering the thrashing orc in the weightless sea, holding his head in the crook of her arm as she slit his throat. The water bloomed scarlet above her and the body sank. She continued below, ducking a large portion of the mast and the bodies of a pair of tauren tangled in the rigging on her way into the ship's sunken cabin.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Someone's in the Galley with Skulley, Pt. 3

The phosphorus grit caught with a hiss, wooden match flaring as she scraped it over her belt buckle. Salt air was slowly taking a toll on her remaining match supply. She wrinkled her brow, thinking she ought to pick up an actual lighter before they launched, and sucked the tip of the flame into her cigarette. Drawing in a lungful of exotic, spiced smoke, Skulley closed her eyes briefly before surveying her work.

Alien and almost frightening in appearance, the pressure-cooker dominated fully half of one counter and was screwed tightly in place, various odd gauges and knobs poking out of the screw-locked lid at strange angles. Small glass jars filled with salt, pepper, herbs and spices dotted the underside of the cupboard, and a bizarre metal trap fastened to the side of the cabinet had already proved itself to be an effective ashtray.

The cupboards contained a single heavy skillet, a saucepan and a normal fuckin' stirrin' spoon; a spatula and a stack of tin bowls and plates; a handful of spoons and forks. One large and one small knife, sharp as blazes and buckled to the inside of the cabinet just above the portable gas burner. Small burlap sacks full of dry rice, beans and tiny black-and-white peas; a crate of glass jars packed between an ample stock of clean, rolled bar towels, crammed in next to a tapped metal tank full of fresh water and a jug of bleach. The cabinets were stocked and secure, everything battened down for rough seas, leather sling and a heavy apron hooked to the wall for convenient access. Maybe a bit excessive for a voyage slated to last less than a week, but it was better safe than sorry.

All that remained was a net bag for vegetables and fruit, and she'd fill that at market shortly. They sailed tomorrow.

Skulley smoked.

Draped in coils of rope, Alejandra stomped down the tiny stairwell and stood next to the new mess cook, arms folded and face sour, to survey the galley. It was almost comical to see the disparity in size and demeanor between the two. One pissy, one serene; one tanned and one pale; one short and one long, they stood shoulder to shoulder (well, more like shoulder to elbow), staring at the spruced-up kitchen. The little black-headed swabby scowled. "What's for lunch?"

"Sandwiches." Skulley exhaled a stream of smoke and looked sidelong at her visitor. Alejandra took one last look at the kitchen, snorted, and headed off to the hold without another word. Dropping the stub of her cigarette in the steel trap, Skulley gathered up her shopping bag and went up on deck.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 4

Sprawled in her hammock, she kicked her leg restlessly over the side and rolled one cigarette after another. They lay in a tidy pile in the hollow of her belly, and she was fast running out of papers to keep rolling. There was nothing much left to ease nervous tension past this point. That was all right. She simply swayed with the softly rocking motion of the boat and stared into the darkness, waiting.

Xionn sat in his chair, boots kicked up on his desk. In his lap were old ship's logs. It would be a long night.


When someone happens upon a piece of vital information that could save lives, they can do one of two things. They can either report it to the proper people and save those lives, or sell it to someone else for profit. A horde supply ship filled with otherwise unknown goods is scheduled to make its voyage from Steamwheedle Port to Orgrimmar, keeping its distance from the shoreline. An SI:7 agent discovered the port orders for this unguarded supply ship and the Stormwind Navy is scheduled to send an unmarked attack ship to sink it and make a quick escape afterwards. This information is quite valuable to someone with a salvage ship, which is why our captain now has his hands on it. The informant however did not get to keep his money for too long after being drugged and cleaned out by a wench who bought him a drink. The moral of the story? Don't accept drinks from strange women in Booty Bay if you're carrying enough gold to weigh your pants down.

"An' tha's where we step in mates. In a coupl'a hours we'll hear gunshots 'n cannons 'round th'other side'a the isle. We wait a few minute 'n move in, scoop up what we can outta the water 'n make our getaway with the goods. Take what y'kin, leave weapon an' armor crates. Kinna sell Horde weapons t'alliance an' the Horde will jes' know s'stolen. If'n there ain't nothin' else useful take th' weapons 'n armor, kin at least melt it down if this salvage s'a wash, although a secret supply ship's bound ta have somethin' of import on't. Any questions?"

The crew all sat around a small table, crammed in near each other, plates of breakfast food in front of them. This was an easy job for the rest of the crew. Skulley leaned against a wall, wisps of smoke coming from the end of her cigarette. Arioch was already eating, even though he wasn't supposed to be, and Lafoot was looking hungrily at his plate when his stomach suddenly growled loudly.

"Hearing nothin' but Lafoot's gut, dig in crew, y'got a long day ahead o'ye."

Arioch took his food and left, everyone else started digging in, except Alejandra who went to Xionn and whispered something to him.

"Right, fer Skulley and any mate who fergot. Fer this t'be a legal salvage job, there are no survivors. Savvy?"

There were affirmitive sounds from food stuffed mouths around the table. Skulley merely nodded from her post against the wall, apparently content with a cup of coffee and a cigarette for her breakfast. She was dressed for work, having shed the heavy apron that protected her skin and clothes from boiling water sloshed by the motion of the waves; a curious skin-tight suit of dark leather clung to her slim body, paired with light boots and the kerchief on her head. A leather mask sat bunched around her neck, ready to be pulled up at a moment's notice. She seemed to be extremely interested in the contents of her cup.

Jerijah was suddenly in front of Skulley, waving his hand directly under her face. " 'ey, since ol' Arioch is workin' on puttin' things in the crane, we get to decide which of us is divin' and which one is workin' the surface."

"She's already got them new fancy fish potions, Jer." Xionn shoved some more food in his mouth, he wasn't the least bit polite about eating.

Skulley stared for a moment at the excitable little man flapping his hand mere inches from the cigarette in her mouth. Then her long white fingers were curled around his wrist, yanking them down to her side and pulling Jerijah's face in close to hers. At this angle she had to look down to make eye contact. "Watch y'self, love. Won't do to waste yer energy an' mine."

Up close Jerijah didn't smell too bad, in fact there were remnants of a spiced cologne on his skin. He smirked as he was pulled in near, twisting his wrists in her grasp, "Oi love, if you're goin' ta get frisky at least save it for later aye?" Alejandra deliberately ignored her brother, Lafoot of course deliberately followed every detail of the exchange.

"I'll do the divin'. Y'look like ye'd float." Skulley leaned forward and whispered in Jerijah's ear, eliciting an embarrassed chuckle from the admittedly pudgy man, then released his hand with a tight smile and blew out a stream of smoke from her pursed lips as she settled back into her deceptively relaxed position against the wall.

Xionn finished his breakfast, leaving dirty dishes on the table as he stood up. "Sometime in the next few hours mates, be up on deck'n thirty an'prepare t'watch some fireworks." Xionn paused at the door, "An' remember mates, only dirteh stinkin pirates say yarrrrr. Harrr harr har!"

There was a resounding "Harrr" from those remaining in the room.

Monday, October 12, 2009

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 3

The last hint of the sun disappeared in the West just as they lost sight of Booty Bay to the East. The Guppy was the registered name of their ship for this job. They were to sail overnight and park around the corner of an island for the job the next day. Xionn had made the crew pick straws for their respective watches. However he was still awake while much of the crew had retreated to their quarters. It was Alejandra's watch first. Everyone wanted either the first or last watch, it meant they wouldn't have to get up in the middle of the night. The new girl was assigned to breakfast duty so she was free of watch duty.

Xionn pursed his lips, hanging over the side of the stern of the ship. He'd tied the wheel of the ship so it wouldn't move. Alejandra would let him know if they were coming up on anything in the water. He exhaled wisps of smoke, looking out over the darkened sea. A familiar voice spoke up beside him, just loud enough to be heard over the wash of the waves.

"Last call fer chow. 'Bout t'close up." She leaned over the stern beside him, looking at the horizon while she breathed in spiced smoke and salty air, a respite from the dank below decks.

A single lamp hanging nearby illuminated Xionn and Skulley from behind. He didn't look at her directly. " 'm not hungry." He took a long drag from his cigarette then tossed it over the side. "Expectin' a farkin good breakfast though."

"Eggs 'n sausages. Dunno if y'like watermelon but it's on th'menu." The winds were soft this far south, and they toyed with the wisps of smoke that curled up from the cigarette wedged between her knuckles. "How long y'expect it'll be before shite hits the fan, then?"

"If we do everythin' right, shouldna be nothin' hittin th' fan." He gave her a sidelong glance. "Y'know how t'use a divin' helmet?"

"Don' need one. Have a bottle a' some fish scale extract bullshite." She turned her head to look at him and exhaled a cloud of smoke into his eyes.

"Masks traditional way ta go, filled with danger if'n it don' work." He turned about, the lamp now illuminating his face. He smirked around a new cigarette. "Guess'm stuck on tradition. ... Shouldna ye be in yer bunk?"

"Not tired. Don' sleep much before a job. You?"

He took the cigarette out from between his lips and spit over the side. He looked up into the rigging where Alejandra hung, looking the other way. She wasn't watching them, but she was most certainly listening in. "Just t'night." His eyes stayed on Alejandra.

"With all due respect captain, quit staring at me ass."

"S'farkin' creepy, Alej. An' yer arse ain't shite ta look at."

Alejandra gave a subtle smirk and a snort. Their exchange wasn't without humor. Skulley didn't seem to notice. Then again, she probably did. "Don't lose your wits, new girl."

Skulley looked up over her shoulder at the girl suspended in the network of ropes. "Reckon I'll manage. Guess we'll see."

"Oi ye tw', s'a salvage job, cut it down. Only thing tha' could go wrong 's equipment failure." He placated. "Alej, make sure ye wake Lafoot fer his shift, imagine he'll be more'n happy t'sleep through it if he ain't woken up."

"That's a given by now." Alejandra still hung from the same place in the rigging.

"I'm thinkin' I may 'ead down t'sleep meself." Xionn kicked himself off the railing, starting down the steps towards the main deck.

Skulley flicked the stub of her cigarette out into the water and turned on her heel. She called up to Alejandra as she ducked into the cabin. "There's a screw-top fulla coffee tied t'the sink, if y'need it."

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 2

"Everyone pitches in Skulley, we got a job ta do. Until we get ta the salvage operation, yer job is just as it is in the contract, cookin' an' takin' care o supplies. On th' job, y'do what y'kin. Cuttin' throats, takin' orders, gettin' yer hands dirty 'r yer clothes salty. Ain't goin' ta ask ye ta do anythin' outlandish, but if I give ya an order, y'does it on the spot." Xionn took a long drag from his cigarette, exhaling. He was sitting in a chair bolted to the floor in front of the desk. It was bolted off center and turned sideways so he could kick his feet up on his own desk, rather than make any practical use out of it. "This's a salvage job, ain't nothin' big, but yer goin' ta be helpin' us haul shat outta the water. Lafoot and Alejandra be cataloguing it on board as it comes aboard, you'n Jerijah 'n Arioch down below. 'm helpin' Hawkeye bring it all aboard."

"A'right." Skulley paused and slid one of her own cigarettes out of the slim silver case in her hand, lifting it deliberately to her glossy purple lips. (No one ever caught her applying lipstick. One merely assumed she did it on the sly with a tube of paint hidden somewhere on her person. Same went for the thick coal-black liner around her eyes, though it was anyone's guess how she kept it from smudging in the heat and humidity.) She had no tricks or sleight of hand today; simply lighting up with a flick of one bony wrist, she took two puffs in silence. "All that's well enough. I know how t'be useful, y'already know it. For my part I expect the crew'll keep outta my galley 'less they got pressin' reason t'be in it."

His eyes studied Skulley's face to see if she was serious. She was. "I'll mention it t'the crew." He blew more smoke in her direction. "They's used ta havin the runna the ship. Y'seen the crew's quarters." He was referring to the room with hammocks hanging along the walls. "It ain't a big boat t'be picky about space. Hit the big load an' we kin buy a luxury cruisa fer these jobs." He stood up, tying a black headband around his forehead, pushing his hair back. He threw one just like it to Skulley. "Keep th' sweat an' drippin water outta yer eyes."

She caught it lazily, a gesture like an afterthought, and refolded the cloth into a large triangle, tying it around her head and tucking in the loose sides. It swept the dark wings of hair back from her cheeks and made her face look even thinner. He could see how she might've earned her nickname for a brief moment, then she tipped her head forward to twist her ponytail into a massive knot and produced a dozen pins from nowhere to hold it up. "I'll be wearin' a mask too, 'less y'object. An' I've got reasons for the wankers t'stay outta my cupboards, after the state they was in. Rats an' boots. I intend ta run a respectable kitchen an' if the crew's hungry they'll learn ta ask me or be stuck eatin' naught but beets fer th'duration. Shittin' red fer a week'll teach 'em."

Xionn couldn't help but give that mental image a laugh. "Right, headin' up then, donna try ta pocket anythin', 's all bolted. Har."

Skulley just snorted as she ducked into the tiny cubbyhole of a kitchen and pulled a thick leather apron over her head, mindful of the lit cigarette dangling from her lips. "Not plannin' ta steal from ya. Y'know what they say, cap'n. 'Don't shit where y'eat'." She poked her head out from behind the cupboards and grinned at him. "Ain't shite t'steal anyway."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

RP: Running a Legal Business Pt. 1

This is a joint effort by myself and Xionn (aka Aleros/James); he has his hands on the wheel for this particular project and wrote the lion's share (edit: by the end, we'd pretty much split 50/50 on the project. I think it turned out pretty well, although at some point it could probably use a thorough editing). I'll be posting it in pieces. This is Skulley's first job since she joined Xi's crew.


Two large fishing nets, cranes, plenty of line and rope, supplies; each of the crew helped with the loading of the ship. Lafoot kept inventory of everything that came onto the ship. This wasn't a large job, but it was policy. Lafoot always kept the books, among his many other jobs. He stood right inside the gang plank as various small crates were carried up by the rest of the crew. All but Xionn and Arioch seemed to be carrying supplies on board from Booty Bay's docks. Arioch was high up on the rigging and Xionn wasn't above deck, but in the quarters down below.

"Dooooon't drop that ya swabs! That's some fine cargo you're carryin' there!" Lafoot made a very dramatic show as Jerijah nearly tripped and dropped a crate.

"Shove it up your arse, Lafoot." Alejandra was right behind her brother, carrying another crate. She had responded before Jerijah himself could.

"You can shove it up my arse, sweetcheeks." He gave her a winning grin. She just scowled back at him and aimed some spit at his feet.

"S'whadda fook is da cap'en doin' ey?" Hawkeye was right behind the two, he was lanky and easily carried a crate under each arm.

"Briefin' the new girl on policies and shat." Jerijah piped up, having set his crate down. "Y'know, all the good shat about what we do. Takin' ol' Mustardbeard's position she is. Buildin' a fancy mess hall below deck 'n everythin'."

Alejandra snorted, "Hope new girl isn't in over her head. This ain't no place fer bonny lasses."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Someone's in the Galley with Skulley, Pt. 2

Jerijah didn't quite know what to make of the sight before him. Miz Long Tall n' Creepy was sprawled, somehow, horizontally across the galley, one long leg braced on the patch of wall just above the sink, the other hooked under the edge of the upper cabinet by one polished black bootheel. On the opposite counter, she lay looking up at the underside of the cupboard with a half dozen screws and a lit cigarette in her mouth, screwing something into the wood with the micro-adjuster grasped in her pale, dexterous hand.

His eyes followed the reinforced leather strap encircling her narrow hips up to a hook in the ceiling, where her makeshift sling hung by a heavy thorium ring. When he looked back at the woman, she was returning his stare with a level gaze of her own, hardware-studded mouth turned up at the corner. He shivered.

"Mmmph." She spit the screws into her free hand, ass swaying slightly in the sling as she caught the cigarette between two spidery fingers. "Bit of a project, this place. Need somethin'?"

Aware that his mouth was open slightly, Jerijah closed it and swallowed. Something about the new mess wench gave him a right cottonmouth, and it was starting to get on his nerves. "Well what d'ya think yer doin', missy?"

"Buildin' a fuckin' spice rack, what's it look like?" Cigarette deposited safely back in her mouth, Skulley thumbed a silvery, circular object off her workspace/chest and screwed it to the underside of the overhead cabinet. Just a few quick turns and it was added to the neat row of threaded metal lids clinging to the wood like man-made barnacles. She set down the screwdriver and looked up at her handiwork among the curls of smoke.

"Mustardbeard didn't need no fancy spice rack."

Skulley pushed off the countertop and swung gracefully to her feet, slipping both hands into her pockets as she went vertical. Propped on the edge of her swing with her ankles crossed, she regarded him gravely while puffing on her smoke. "Do I look like Mustardbeard t'you?"

He thought about it a bit too long. "... Nay."

She only raised a bemused eyebrow in response, and he found himself clearing his throat. Fucking drymouth. He was a little disturbed to find himself offering a hand, even if it was a bit grudging. Skulley grinned. "Aye, there's a crate of foodstuffs up on deck an' a pressurecooker. Looks like somethin' straight outta fuckin' Gnomeregan, y'can't miss it. Bring 'em on down for me if y'would, love."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Someone's in the Galley with Skulley, Pt. 1

"Milady, the galley."

Lafoot's theatrical bow and flourish did absolutely nothing to enhance the appeal of the ship's tiny kitchen, a dingy three-foot-square patch of floor with a grim, narrow cabinet set to either side. A tiny bowl-shaped sink flecked with rust sat in one of the bare wooden countertops, sink and surface alike scuffed and scoured a no-color gray. The cabinets overhead were just as grimly functional as the ones below, with worn leather straps wound around the stubby knobs and fastened to the sides. Skulley unhooked one and pulled open the door. A scruffy black knee-boot fell off the shelf and she snatched it out of the air before it had a chance to clock her.

"Y'eat boots?"

He chuckled, the sound reverberating in his barrel chest. She wasn't sure how such a large man could seem so comfortable in the cramped and narrow space, but it fit him like a glove. "Seems like it sometimes, aye. Looks like one of Jerijah's dress boots made it in there. Safekeepin' maybe? He wears 'em when we go ashore. Y'nno. For the ladies." He tipped her a wink. The footwear thudded dully against his chest, and he caught it before it fell to the floor. Ducking her head into the lower cabinets, Skulley took inventory of the contents. It didn't take long.

"One boot, one dead rat an' a bloody huge spoon." She held up the offending utensil. It was, indeed, bloody huge. "Reckon I need supplies."

"Cap'n's got a fund fer that...." Lafoot tilted his head at the lanky woman. Her narrow form was bent at curious angles with itself, nearly crammed inside the cabinet she inspected, and her smoke-tinged voice was muffled through the wood.

"Y've not even got a stove."

"The likes of us ain't allowed to set fires on a boat, Captain's orders."

He watched her unfold upward from her crouch, wondering how she'd managed to pull out a cigarette and light it without him noticing. She leaned against the counter, long auburn ponytail skimming its surface, and inhaled thoughtfully. At last she spoke. "A'right. Y'got a toolkit on board? 'Course y'do. Set me up a spanner, a micro-adjuster, a hammer and a cup a' screws while I head up an' make m'self useful. An' fer th'love of all that's holy chuck that rat off the deck."

She grinned as she slid past him in the narrow hallway--a very tight fit--and blew a puff of smoke in his face. Her eyes were so dark they were almost black, and in her boots, very nearly at the level of his own. "Reckon y'might want a bath before we sail, bucko."