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Fantasy This Song is of Silver and Gold [IC]



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Somewhere in the Elder Sea, 10:45pm
Beneath the moon's pallid glow, Sedna glided through the fathomless ocean depths, a wraith-like presence in the liquid obscurity. The ship, a fragile vessel of wood and lantern-light, had unwittingly ventured into their realm—a trespass for which it would pay a sinister toll. Sedna's form, a mesmerizing fusion of graceful curves and flowing hair, moved with serpentine elegance. Each stroke of their powerful tail propelled them soundlessly, a phantom lurking beneath the surface. The ship, oblivious to its spectral stalker, reverberated with the raucous revelry of its human cargo.

With an uncanny patience, Sedna circled the vessel's hull, an unseen specter in the inky abyss. They listened to the sailors' laughter and tales of distant lands, their merriment drifting down to mingle with the murmurs of the ocean's depths. Sedna's eyes, dark as the abyss itself, watched and waited.

A sly smile graced Sedna's lips as they contemplated their imminent move. The sailors above remained oblivious, their songs and laughter filling the night air. It was the perfect moment to sow discord among them, to kindle the flames of paranoia that would haunt their dreams.

Sedna's fingers danced along the water's surface, conjuring subtle currents that began to agitate the ship's keel. The vessel groaned in protest, its timbers trembling as if bearing witness to unseen terrors lurking below.

With a sinister satisfaction, Sedna intensified their manipulation of the currents. Whispers of phantom dangers and an unshakable sensation of being watched seeped into the sailors' consciousness. Fear, that most insidious of foes, had been unleashed, and it spread like wildfire among the crew.

But Sedna's malevolent symphony was far from over. Rising from the depths, their form became a haunting silhouette against the eerie moonlight. A mournful, haunting melody, like the ghostly call of a siren, escaped their lips. It was a song of lost promises and treacherous depths, a lament that resonated with the sailors' deepest fears.

Enchanted and entranced, the sailors were drawn to the ship's railing, their eyes fixed on the enigmatic figure who emerged from the sea. To them, Sedna appeared as a siren—a creature of desire and peril combined. Their mesmerizing presence, a bewitching blend of allure and vengeance, ensnared the sailors' hearts.

Sedna, with a gaze that pierced the soul, beckoned the sailors closer. Their movements were a beguiling dance, both seductive and ominous. It was a macabre waltz with destiny, promising ecstasy and ruin in equal measure.

As the sailors hesitantly approached the ship's edge, Sedna's chilling smile deepened. Their eyes gleamed with the knowledge that they held the threads of fate firmly in their grasp. The night, once a canvas of celebration, had transformed into a tapestry of manipulation and retribution, woven by the enigmatic figure who now stood poised on the precipice of destiny, ready to plunge them all into the abyss.

"Come, dear lad, to the sea's embrace,
Let my melody set your heart's pace,
With every note, I'll draw you near,
Into the depths where there's nothing to fear."

Port Royal, 8:30A.M the next morning​
In the soft, early hours of the morning, Athena stirred on the sands of Port Royal, her mind weaving its way out of the inky shroud of slumber. The relentless sunbeams sliced through her closed eyelids like shards of brilliance, coaxing her back into the world of wakefulness.

As she gradually emerged from the cocoon of dreams, the symphony of lapping waves reached her ears, a soothing counterpoint to the steady drumbeat inside her skull. Her head throbbed in time with the ocean's rhythm, a harsh reminder of the spirited revelry that had taken hold of her the previous night.

With a slow, deliberate motion, Athena propped herself up on one elbow, her vision swimming in a sea of light and shadow. The world around her came into focus, an expanse of pristine sand that stretched beyond the horizon, offering solace to a weary soul.

Grimacing, she pressed her fingertips to her temples, as if seeking to quell the tempest of thoughts that raged within. Her pale blonde hair, now a tousled and tangled mess, whispered tales of the night's unbridled chaos, a riotous dance beneath the moon's watchful eye.

Memories, fragmented and blurred, flickered like distant stars in her consciousness. Laughter, camaraderie, stolen bottles of rum—Port Royal had welcomed her home with open arms, embracing her in the warm cloak of nostalgia.

Yet, as she squinted against the sun's unrelenting assault, the weight of her responsibilities bore down upon her shoulders once more. The "Neptunes Revenge," her loyal ship, awaited her command, and the siren song of the open sea beckoned her with promises of uncharted horizons. Somewhere, in the back of her throbbing skull, she attempted to push back memories of another ship. One that , as much as she might try not to think about, encroached quite heavily in her mind the past few years.

In this moment though, on the shore where memories and hangovers converged, Athena couldn't help but smile—a wistful, weary smile. Port Royal, her beloved birthplace and the heart of her past, still held sway over her, weaving its enchantment with threads of reminiscence.

With a sense of purpose driving her steps, Athena embarked on the path that led from the beach to the heart of Port Royal. The sands, warm beneath her boots, gave way to a winding trail that snaked through lush vegetation, its greenery a stark contrast to the unforgiving world of piracy she knew so well.

As she walked, her surroundings transformed from the serene solitude of the beach to the lively bustle of the town. The salty tang of the sea mingled with the scent of exotic spices, creating a heady concoction that was quintessentially Port Royal. Along with a very familiar rather unwashed stench, that followed many of the townsfolk as well. Still, nothing was quite as distrubing to the senses as months in a ship cramped with several unhygienic individuals, even when the offer of soap was most often than not on the table.

The town came alive with each step she took. Merchants haggled over exotic wares from distant lands, their stalls teeming with vibrant silks, gleaming trinkets, and the sweet aroma of foreign spices. Sailors, hardened by the sea, roared with laughter as they swapped stories and indulged in tales of their own bravado.

Athena's presence did not go unnoticed. Whispers rippled through the crowd as townsfolk and sailors alike saw the somewhat recognizable Captain Goodfellow. Some nodded with respect, while others exchanged wary glances. She was well known in these parts, which was both a cause of pride and at times, a slight hindrance. Still, she knew she would recognize someone eventually. Whether it be someone from her crew or others, she could not be sure.


Zephyr Finch strolled along the bustling cobblestone streets of Port Royal, his boots echoing with each step. The salty breeze ruffled his dark hair as he made his way through the lively port town. After weeks at sea on the "Neptune's Revenge," the familiar sights and sounds of the town brought a sense of comfort. His destination came into view - a quaint blacksmith's shop with a weathered sign that creaked in the wind. The scent of hot metal and the rhythmic clanging of hammers against anvils welcomed him as he entered.

The blacksmith, a burly man with soot-stained hands and a sturdy apron, looked up from his work. Zephyr offered a friendly grin, his eyes sparkling with curiosity. "Ahoy there! Fine day for some tinkering, wouldn't you say?" The blacksmith nodded, his eyes squinting through the heat of the worship. "Aye, it is indeed. What brings ye here today, lad?"Zephyr's fingers danced along the array of tools and metalwork on display. "Just thought I'd pay a visit and see if you've got any intriguing pieces that might catch me eye. Never know when inspiration might strike, after all." He did his best to keep his cheerfulness to a minimum, he could see that not everyone enjoyed his pleasantness so early in the day.The blacksmith gestured to a nearby table covered in a motley assortment of items - intricate locks, gears, and even a peculiar contraption that seemed to have no clear purpose. "Help yerself, then. Just stay out of my hair."He would spend at least a half hour, taking his time to browse all of his wares. His pockets were a little lighter than usual, having made a few bets with his captain and the rest of the crew the night before. He was sure most of them were still in their cups, and the Captain....well she wandered not far off. He knew she could look after herself well enough.In time, he left the shop. He began pondering how he could improve upon each and every one of the blacksmiths creations, and do so with more of a pleasant attitude.

As he walked, he couldn't help but notice the vibrant market stalls, each one showcasing a world of curiosities from distant lands.He paused by a merchant selling exotic spices and fragrant herbs, inhaling deeply. "Ah, the scents of foreign shores," he mused, his mind already whirring with ideas of how these aromatic treasures might help keep the ships less inviting scents at bay. Just as he was about to lean in, he could have sworn he say a familiar sight near by. Long, light colored hair on a tall body.

He watched his Captain pass by, chuckling as he observed some of her movements. He was more than sure she was hungover. The first day back after docking was always the most chaotic for most of the crew.He did wonder where she was off to, and decided he'd watch and see before announcing himself.

Marine Hainsworth

Location: The Dead End
Company: N/A
Tags: N/A

Marine was getting tired of hardtack.

Hardtack; steel iron crackers; tooth duller. Made out of flour and water and salt, whipped up for the hard seas and the battlefield. It was hard against your teeth, and tasted like ass unless you slathered it in gravy and rum. Even then, whatever taste was imbued onto the biscuit was fleeting, and grew old quickly. Jam, cheese, lime juice and soup; all delicious fare that were soiled by the intrusion of hardtack.

Marine had long denounced hardtack. She could complain at length about all the sins of hardtack. Yet she knew it was a mute point. No other food could hold up on the seas as well as the dreaded biscuit, and so the hulls were stuffed with it. Marine ate the biscuit without complaint, screwing her face up only minimally after the fourth week of hardtack and watery rum.

Marine had eaten far worse things when she was younger, day in and day out. In the Orphanage, the cooks would serve watery potato mush, slop so indiscernible she couldn’t even tell what went into it. When she was a wanderer, moving from place to place, lucky to even have a roof over her head, she used to eat whatever mess was available and wouldn’t kill her instantly. The hardtack was edible, and only held the risk of scurvy or mites- definitely far better and healthier odds than what Marine was previously accustomed to.

Still, when on a voyage, she reveled at any chance to eat something other than stale rusks. Or, at the very least, have a portion of her dish dedicated to something fresh and packed with taste, rather than something dry and hard and staler than shit.

Unfortunately, as Marine chewed the biscuit in her hand, that was not to be.

The crew had gone out fishing that morning. Pirates, despite spending almost every waking moment of their career on the high seas, rarely ever fished. The reason was twofold- fishing was, to put it quite frankly, time consuming. You had to wait for hours just to get a single catch. And most of the time, there were no catches to be found.

The surface of the sea, Marine would learn, held a relatively small number of fish, unevenly distributed between various points. It was too large a wait for too little a catch for fishing to be of any use. Fish could neither be stored on board unless it was pickled, and one could digest pickled fish day in and day out only so long before they felt queasy at even the mention of herring. For the crew, fishing was relegated to special occasions, when a voyage went particularly well and they had no need to zip off to the next location, instead idling about.

There was little fish to be found that morning, and none of it good enough to serve. No, almost all of the fish they caught had a wide range of affliction, parasites worming about in their guts. In the end, every single catch they made had to be thrown back into the sea, to toil until their swift demise.

Every piece of catch save for one, that is.

Marine wiped the crumbs off of her blouse. It was made out of simple, airy fabric, the angelic white popping against Marine’s brown skin. The shirt made Marine look ethereal, wraith-like; a heavenly ghost amongst mere mortals. Marine appreciated the irony of the sentiment. If there was one word that represented everything Marine was not, that would be heavenly.

Marine stood, and peeked through the porthole to her left. The sun's rays shone down upon the water, glimmering turquoise in the summer sun. Marine marveled at the beautiful sight before her, a soft smile spreading upon her face. It was a beautiful day, with the scent of conquest rich in the salty air.

Brown, nondescript atlases lay stacked upon her desk in a jumbled heap, covers cracked open upon the stained wood. The unremarkable exterior obscured the naked eye from the rich world inside, dancing upon the pages. Maps, of the North and South, the East and the West, filled the parchment, along with facts and tales from each land. As a child, Marine would sit breathless next to the Atlas her father had painstakingly acquired from the city. That one had held no maps, instead done in the old style of having written descriptions of foreign lands, some more accurate than others. Yet it had still intrigued Marine all the same.

These particular atlases cost far, far more than the one Marine had as a child, and it showed. The maps and information inside were far more accurate, painstakingly wrought from years of travel. They’d cost a pretty penny, Marine was sure- if she hadn’t stolen them from the merchant ship she’d sacked when she first became a captain of the Dead End, her wallet would have been begging for mercy.

Marine flipped the one on the top of the pile over. It was open to page 170, written in night black ink. On the top, the entry was simply titled with one word: Merfolk.

The Merfolk were tricky; the Merfolk were treacherous. They held no care for humans and dwelled in the deepest parts of the ocean, feasting on those who dared to encroach upon their territory. Marine had heard the tales of the Merfolk during her youth as standard bedtime fare. Her father sat her down on his knee as he recounted his great-grandfather's encounter with one as a young boy strolling down the beach during high tide. He’d been about six, or seven, carrying his little pail of rocks in one hand and his toy monkey in another.

Marine didn’t know why he’d been on the beach; her father’s reasons always changed.
Sometimes, he’d say great-grandfather had lost a toy shovel on the beach, and against his parents wishes had gone down to the beach to fetch it. Other times, her great-grandfather had embarked on a walk with his mother, and had gotten lost after spying a shiny rock. The reasoning never stayed the same, and over time Marine had stopped caring, instead sinking in to listen to the tale.

Great-grandfather had been looking out towards the sea when he heard a melody, haunting and slow. His skin had flushed, and his heart seemed to stop beating in his chest. The melody grew loud as a whistle, sharp and bleeding in the air. He had turned to look at the rocks in the distance, and standing there was a woman.

Her hair had been long and ebony, eyes glowing bright against the gray fog that had surrounded the beach. Her mouth was a stunning red vermillion, pulled into a gentle smile. She seemed human in all respects, with human legs and a human torso and a human face. In fact, her presence was comforting, almost. A warm hug, a pat on the head; all came to mind as the two met eyes.

That is, until he saw her teeth.

Sharp fangs, stained with red and drool running down the sides of her cheeks. The grin was too wide to be human, too wide to be safe. The woman started, and great grandfather had run faster than he ever had in his life, straight to home and the embrace of his parents. The tale became tradition in the Hainsworth clan- well, back before it had dwindled to just three members of its once extensive family tree. Father had kept the tradition alive, and swore by the story's truth, no matter how embellished it came to be. The heart of it was true, he said- great-grandfather had run into a mermaid that fateful day.

Marine had never believed him. Her father had always been in love with stories. She took much more after her mother’s staunch approach to life, her belief in the real. When her mother had first heard the story, she’d exploded into a fit of laughter and called it utter horseshit, a product of an old wives tale. She’d quoted science, new age wisdom- everyone knew the merfolk were nothing but an aberration, a lie used to explain why men died at sea and were pulled into her shallow embrace. Despite being a religious woman, she was also a rational one, who believed in science wholeheartedly.

Marine’s mother would have been floored if she’d seen what the crew had caught this morning. The pink thing folded into their nets, trapped in the fraying rope- a mermaid.

Merfolk were rarely ever seen above the water, a myth of the open ocean. When Marine had seen the mermaid trapped in the nets earlier, she could scarcely believe her own eyes. She was more inclined to believe that it was some sort of mutated fish, an automated design thrown away from some big shot engineer, than that it was a mermaid. Even in the atlases she had spent hours scanning afterwards, information on the merfolk was comparatively little, and much of it seemed to be regurgitated myths.

Half human, half fish. That was all anyone could really pin down on merfolk. Tales of their societies ranged, from underground palaces filled with the richest of treasures to murderous tribes constantly at war. Tales of their magic differed- they could heal in some iterations, or harm. They could tell you your fortune, or steal your soul with only a grin and a wink. The merfolk were a shadowy concept, residing in the murky underbelly of folklore. None of the facts, save for a coveted few, were kept straight.

One of those facts was of the most interest to Marine. It wasn’t one that was much spoken of, to Marine’s surprise. The ancients had considered it wild, and incredulous. But it seemed to be consistent across folktales and myths, across atlas and encyclopedias. That hidden deep down in a mermaid, inside the flesh and blood and sinew, lay the answer to one of humanity’s greatest aspirations: immortality.

Marine closed the book. Setting it back down on the table, she rubbed her hands over her temple and breathed out a sigh, information cartwheeling through her brain. Immortality was a vicious idea- the ability to transpose death, to best it and shove your expiration date into a sealed box. When Marine was a child, she would dream of it. The besting of death! The ever present flow of life, to be given to her and her family and those she adored! It was a false dream, a comforting lie- there was no beating death. Death was a pressing fact. It was the truth. Death did not discriminate against the good or the bad- it simply struck.

There was no getting out of it. The Gods held no mercy for children who wept at their mothers bedside. The doctors held no cure for the diseases of the mind that could rob someone of their will to live, nor help the injured when infection set it. There was no help for pirates with scurvy on the high seas, nothing to do as their skin turned to ash and their gums fell out one by one. There were no miracle cures, nothing to enhance your lifespan. Instead, you had to live with the knowledge of a sudden end always two steps away, with vicious teeth and long, spindly fingers.

But yet. There was a mermaid bound to the hull of her ship. A mermaid, who, according to the tales of those long dead, could hold the key to eternal life.

The more rational part of Marines brain was bartering. It was trying to find a price for the mermaid, trying to see how much she could get from selling it to the circus, to researchers- hell, maybe even to King Avren. The reward would be monumental, surely, enough to last the crew a lifetime. Enough to spend on atlases and music, on good food and dance, enough to sail the high seas without a care in the world.

The other, more tempestuous side of her brain, however, was roiling. Marine rarely ever turned to that side of her brain. She was factual. She thought her actions through. You didn’t claw your way to the top of an infamous pirate crew, didn’t undermine your captain to take the position for yourself, didn’t break necks and cut off tongues of any who dared defy you by being rash. You didn’t listen to the more base side of your brain, and only trusted your instincts as far as you could glean it worthy. That had been Marine’s guide to life, and so far it had served her well.

Yet, the song of the wilder side of her brain was too alluring to resist. That, with just a little bit of time, a little bit of effort, the Dead End could embark on the greatest voyage of all: mastering death.

It was pure insanity. Immortality was fake. Immortality was a bedtime story told to starving youths and wizened adults, hoping for an extension on time. She would be throwing away a promise of riches for a fool's dream. Something tangible and real, for a gamble.

Marine looked at the maps plastered onto the walls. She stared at the globe next to her bedside, and turned it. Watched the continents zip past, the masterful art turning into a blur. None of them had been traveled to, had been mapped down and studied, without risks being taken. No one landed in the history books by being cautious. No one made an actual, tangible difference by taking the easy road out, now did they?

Marine could have lived in the port city for the rest of her life. Could have played cheap cons on the street, dressed in rags and eating scraps from taverns as she watched life turn her by. But she didn’t. She could have kept quietly in the shadows of the crew, could have mopped the decks and taken shit from a man who was nothing without his lackeys for fear of retaliation. But, she didn’t.

Marine’s whole life had been one risk after another. One grand gamble after gamble, hoping to land somewhere close to safe. She couldn’t quite stop now, could she? Not when she could change so much.

Marine grabbed her coat, her captain’s hat and boots. It had been the old captains, and while it had taken hours to get the blood stains out, wearing it was a comfort. She was on top for once in her life, the monster that could make grown men crap their pants. When she’d first become a captain, even after news of her deeds spread through the Keys, there were those who didn’t take her seriously. Who looked at her and saw a little girl they could bully and throw about, who didn’t know her place in the grand scheme of the Brotherhood.
After she was through with them, they were singing an entirely different tune. That is, if they were there to sing in the first place.

Marine grabbed a journal. It was leatherbound and new, smelling of rich, crisp sheets of paper from even a mile away. She opened it, then snapped it closed. It would do very well. She grabbed a quill and a pot of ink. Couldn’t have a journal if you couldn’t write in it, now could you?

For a moment, she debated whether she should bring her cutlass with her. It was big and threatening, warning against sudden foolhardy decisions on the part of their young prisoner. In the end, she decided not to. It would be threatening, but too threatening. The cutlass would most definitely hinder Marine’s goal. Sometimes, subtlety was best. Instead, she decided on a knife, medium sized and thick in her hand, perfect for stripping flesh from bone. It was small enough to be easily hidden within the folds of her jacket.

She turned, and after walking up the short flight of stairs, opened the door to her chambers. The sunlight had begun to wane, mellowing out. A pale orange began to engulf the sky, casting long shadows about the deck. The crewmates of the Dead End scurried about, setting the ship to rights in preparation for the long voyage ahead.

Marine stretched, rubbing the soreness out of her limbs as she walked by. Respectful nods were thrown her way by the men, before they turned back to their work and conversations. It had taken months of toil and sweat to get to this point, months of running the ship as though it was a workhorse for the crew to look upon her as their leader. Even though she was the one who had pointed out the former captain's flaws and booted him and his quartermaster out, the crew had still thought of her as just another delicate flower lost amongst the sea. Even now, the jokes about her supposed daintiness- the cherry waves joke, for example- still raged rampant, despite Marine doing her own fair share of beheading.

The men, at the very least, knew much, much better than disrespecting her to her face. She was nothing like the old captain- there was no easy joking with her. She was quick and hard, biting like a snake at the very whisper of disrespect. There was camaraderie, but none of the old humor and relaxed nature from before Marine’s captain status. Yet the pay was good, and the ship orderly, and that was all the pirates seemed to care about at the end of the day. The men knew that by getting rid of her, they would be utterly ruined.

And after this haul, the men would be singing her praises for the rest of time.

Marine made her way to the forecastle, ducking into the dark expanse. Despite being lit by kerosene lamps at every opportunity, shadows still reigned supreme inside the ship. When she first joined the crew, she constantly had to squint every time she ventured below decks. Now, after three years of piracy under her belt, the darkness was a second home to her.

She made her way past the crew's quarters, past the gun deck and ballast until she got to the storage. There were three doors, meant to store all sorts of products from pickled vegetables to wines. And one, in addition to holding salted pork and beef, held the mysterious mermaid that had gotten caught in their nets.

Marine checked the lock. Secure. She ran her fingers in the grooves on the door, grand and oblique. The Dead End had once been a merchant ship, long ago, before it had been seized and turned into a pirate's heaven. The details of its former life was still there, in the lushness of the cabins and the grandness of its bowsprit. You only needed to know where to look.

Marine slipped her hand into her coat pocket and brought out a ring, large and rusted with metal. Attached to it were all manner of keys, big and small. She looked for the third smallest one on the rack and inserted it into the keyhole. Slowly, she turned it, with bated breath. Anxiety and excitement made a dangerous mix in her blood, but she kept her face decidedly pleasant, with a small grin on her face.

It was time to talk to a mermaid.

coded by archangel_
Last edited:

'Ms. Wicked' / Rai'Shauni and 'Hustle' / Comet


Location: Ms. Wicked: The Dead End, Aftcastle deck. Looking out the port side, smoking a blunt. Made orders to have one of her 'Orcas' speak with her.
Hustle: Where else? At Ms. Wicked's side about to head off to send messages then finish detailing and restocking gun deck.
Mentions: Marine ( Blobs Blobs ), Zach ( EtherealShadows EtherealShadows ), Marella ( SavannahSmiles SavannahSmiles )
Interactions: None.

Day's end after the Greatest Haul Ever...

The sun was but barely an amber disk struggling to keep afloat upon the eastern sea's horizon. Somewhere beyond that vast blue wet yonder was a place she could finally fathom as a destination still yet attainable in this lifetime.

Eyes glinting like the dastardly north, slid with the speed of a racing glacier, seeking that sign of signs. It took some time for her vision to adjust but she spied it. Within the everpressing violet veil of the encroaching night sky she could see it trying its damndest to breach the dark and shine once more. She did not realize for how long she had held her breath until the very moment she exhaled. Shimmering blue eyes snap shut.

"...Child listen... the star that you seek, the one that burns brightest for you will guide you through your dreams to where your deserved Fate awaits you. Don't ever lose sight of your star. You only lose it if you cannot see it. So then child, Do you seek it? Or do you seek the truth...?"

2 more heartbeats passed. A smooth deep inhale. A noisy, yet unbroken exhale. A curt nod accented by pierced and sharp eyebrows knitting together.

"Nay. No longer does this lass seek it..."

Her eyes snapped open aimed directly where she sought out the guiding start in the evening curtain. And it was there. Right there.

"...for she has it now..."

A worn and tattooed hand swiftly drew up to her lips. The dirty fingers were tattooed as well, their runic designs lighting up perfectly under the burning glow of the herbage laced cigar. A dollop of smoke wafted from her sneering mouth before being inhaled upward into her nose, the tendrils of the ghostly grey eagerly siphoned in and lovingly tickled her insides. She held the sneer a heartbeat longer.

A sharp exhale banished the used up smoke from her lungs. A long-drawn lowering of lashes. A quick blink.

Northern hued eyes lost its wonder and instantly stormed into a solid sheet of Ice.

"...aye, it's mine."

As that smirk pulled up into the corner of her mouth, the white noise of calmly crashing waves gave way to all the industrious bustling and practiced kerfuffle of her Blood Tide crew. It was a tough gig to attempt to work at top speed, unerringly and not to falter from exhaustion nor fail completely. Especially not with her immediate presence on deck. You are not a pirate worthy aboard this boat unless you survive your punishment from the 1st Mate of The Dead End.

That's right. You do not break any of the 1st Mate's rules of labour. Especially rule number one. Show Respect for Your captain and Shut Your Bloody Hole!

"So says she... Ms. Wicked."

Several strands of tickling wheat gold were tucked up behind a sunkissed ear. Several holes punctured their way up that ear's edges but barren were they of the jewellry that deserved such prime location. She knew better than to wear such trinkets in her line of duty.

From the lobe of her ear, and down to her lips did her ragged-nailed fingertips trace. The paused to press and hold her thoughts of worry at the cracked and puffy pink lower one. And no doubt along the way those blackened-tipped fingers bumped up and over but only a small wound dressing out of her endless collection across her body. A single, quivering pool of green was her one eye, obscured by an oily leather patch was the other. Beyond that transluscent layer that smacked of simple thoughts was a deeper and robust hue of green in her iris. The one that of which she always watched her ward and mentor, Ms. Wicked. The one that made of single-eyed devotion.

The teen herself was of middling female height with a strong yet juuuuuust too thin build. Merely a labouring crew member, a thankful one at that, so her garb was simple. Striped bandanna to keep her hair from her face and provide a touch of warmth, tight fitting top so as to not get snagged and injured yet again, hardy and trusty striped breeches that could be worn all day and not run up her sensitive un-sunlit areas, and of course her loverly, loverly smelly yet well-trodden deck boots. Never did she forget to secure the straps of that eyepatch and strap it down tight; no more getting her head yanked back nearly snapping her neck again.

The Blood Tide crew bestowed her the mantle "Hustle" aboard this ship. Normally when on deck, she would find herself slogging away at the endless onslaught of chores and labours beset upon her. She was quick, timely, reliable and efficient. Worthy of that name 1000 fold. But as of now she was idle, a strange and uncomforting feeling while up here and beside the 1st Mate no doubt, but as a respectful crew mate, she kept her mouth shut and awaited next orders.

Yet the worry she harboured regarding her towering mentor was still everpressing and made her dance as if she needed the loo; shifting weight across impatiently from right to left and back again. Chin lowered slightly as she continued to watch the 1st Mate rubbing, caressing actually, the strange runic tattoos upon her sinewy forearms; Ms. Wicked always had that far off look and traced those tattoos tenderly as if they were a newly born babe for unfathomed reasons.

Blonde wavy locks tussled back over her shoulders by the oncoming cold winds. Her other dirty hand reached up to her shoulder to tap and rub it; soothe it with the warmth she always desired. A heartbeat or two longer she regarded Ms. Wicked.

The 1st mate looked fine indeed, as she always did no doubt. Tall, slender yet imposing, fully feminine yet finely defined rope-musculature. Chestnut hair highlighted with warm reds, Sharp blue eyes always impenetrable ice. And undoubtedly dressed to the nines with a battle-skirt balanced with a pirate's deck garb proper all the way from top of red bandanna down to bottom of black boots. And she would not be Ms. Wicked without her signature 'Boomers' satchel'd up at her hip and the exotic cigar blunt behind an ear, to be certain.

That cigar was from the bowels of the mainland in a place Hustle had heard of yet became always more curiouser to investigate the more her ward and mentor talked about it; Ms. Wicked dubbed the eccentric place as the 'Degenerate Hotel.' The specialty ingredient from the 'Hotel was a rarity out here in the 'Keys and so unoften did she light that tabbacco baton save for special occassions. Yes, this last fishing expedition more than constituted such an occassion; this was the Greatest Haul of All-Time afterall. They had captured a real, live, breathing, for real offering from Posidon's crotch Mermaid!

The thing was exquisite, exotic in its flowing form and hybrid body. From its shocking blush of long, extravagant swimmingly sleek hair all the way down the glistening svelte fleshy-toned upper portion, still down further till splayed out those fancy-fan fintails at the tip of that wondrous pearlescent pink scaled fishy bottom, it was as legendary as it was unmistakeably rich with untapped mysteries that awaited discovery. Not to mention the dragon's hoard of material riches this thing could bring!

Ms. Wicked called it 'The StankinFish.' For it stank. It really did. At the end of the day It was part fish. And as such one had to contend with the slop of its slime that flew like spittle now and again since it was out of the water. But really, that moniker was too harsh. The odour was strange and it 'reeked' of alienness more so than actually smelling bad. It could take one some time to get used to but one could adapt and the smell would fade away once they were used to it. Perhaps. Or perhaps one could say that the 'Stankin' part Ms. Wicked detected from the thing was basic mistrust pervading her senses. The development of thoughts and concepts over time could make for a superstitious brew after all. Especially developed concepts stemming from stories like those ones that Capt. Hainsworth would recapitulate as told by her ancestors... when perhaps the good Captain's eyes were red with mirth and glimmered with the liquid courage from a happy and thrice topped up whale-sized stein.

Speaking of the good captain... Hainsworth had just recently passed by. All knew where she was headed, there was no doubt once anyone saw that look upon her face they knew, and, they knew better than to offer accompaniment; she was to meet with the alien fish-person alone. A simple wave she cast the crew, a simple nod and acknowledgement was returned. Hustle herself knew better and readied herself to yell out a hearthy 'Hail, Captain!' when prompted by Ms. Wickeds unerringly cutting words; 'Captain on deck, you disgraceful dogs!" But there was no decree from her. She merely did the same as the rest of the crew and promptly parked herself on the port side of the aftcastle deck. Thusly generating the worry Hustle held for Ms. Wicked; she would never let a single moment like that escape her. On top of that, she seemed too lost in thoughts and did not 'look' like herself while leaning on that railing. She looked lost.

But the worry ended right quick when the blonde teen saw the ice returned into the tall woman's veins and dazzlin blue eyes. Truly she was back as soon as Hustle saw Ms. Wicked re-animate with the lean she-monster poise as always. Doubly so when she heard Ms. Wicked utter ownership of her own Fate, sneered into the god-winds, sealed by the words;
"Aye, it's mine..."

The blonde breathed a sigh of relief straight through a radiant smile the moment Ms. Wicked turned to her and tossed her an upward chin nod. A solid nod in return. It was back to business at hand; going forward with the Greatest Haul Ever.

"Knows it does we the wise captain desires aloneness when making first contact with the Stankin Thing. And knows it does we all that when matters be pressing, the good captain can soundly handle a bastard and shove it back up its mommys womb, aye. But knows it does Ms. Wicked that erring on the side of caution be the best course of action to keeps our loverly captain... than have her eaten by a Stankin monster. Assured, missy, no fear in these words. Only wisdom, lass. Can I get an aye if ye can ken?"

"Aye, Ms. Wicked...!" her smokey voice was lively and enthusiastic if a touch childish. For the poor thing was smacked with the brains stealing stick as a babe.

“Aye, of course ye can. Now that we concur, need you does Ms. Wicked to send message to me Orcas. Ye knows for whom each and every single one be, Ms. Hustle. A close yet farther eye must they have trained the good Captain of the Blood Tide. Tell them wits must be sharp and armed thusly. That StankinFish be may be cunning as it is alluring. Let they be reminded what has soiled the air since boarding our voyaging home. Send one to confirm with Ms. Wicked. Send the rest hunting. Can I get an aye if ye can ken?"

"Aye, Ms. Wicked...!" her smokey voice was lively and enthusiastic if a touch too bold. For the poor thing always pined and yearned to have her name addressed with the 'Ms.' prefix attached. And she just heard it! Spoken by Ms. Wicked no less!

"Aye, of course ye ken. Now then, lass... know that there be riches untold harboured in the secrets of that Stankin Thing. The property of the Dead End are such things now. Captain, Yours, Mine the whole Blood Tide crew... protect it with our live must we. For secrets do have a nasty habit of spreading to unwanted ears. Be ye not mistaken as your first Mate say these words; come for us will the owner of them ears. With cannons blasting. Secrets from the fathomless depths be worthy of taking lives and sinkin ships.

"Aye, they comin, lass. Ms. Wicked says let 'em. For these damned Dead End pirates always blast first. They not takin the property of the Dead End so long as this pirate stalks its deck. Knows it will they... I be the unkillable bitch!-- hit me with an AYE!

"AYE!! Again, AYE to Ms. Wicked!" her smokey voice was lively and enthusiastic and bang on perfection. For the loverly thing was energized when Ms. Wicked brought out the bitch on the world.

"Hmph. Much obliged. Now. Need ye, I do. So very important are ye to this, Ms. Hustle. Always ready to fire first means gundeck always at the ready. Make it so. Doubly so that in the morn Ms. Wicked will see the shine from her arse reflected in that ill kept gunner's dump. Needs to be worthy of sinking enemy ships one hundred fold. Make it so, me lil... 'PowderBunny'.

"Ye can ken. Sermon's over. Give it to your Ms. Wicked and dismissed..."

"Aye, Ms. Wicked...!" her smokey voice was lively and enthusiastic if a touch too girlie. For the poor thing adored the loveable nickname 'PowderBunny'...! Spoken by Ms. Wicked no less!

The imposing 1st Mate paused a heartbeat longer, sighed sharply then shrugged as she tossed the girl a half-drank bottle of her specialty brew; 'Clink.' Hustle's jaw dropped wide then sealed shut with an enormous grin, cheeks glistening a hot pink and with eyes bright as that very star that guided sailors through dreams to their deserved Fate.

One more heartbeat. Finally, Ms. Wicked tossed her an upward chin nod. Hustle replied with solid nod in return. Both turned from one another. Back to business. It was time to cash out on the Greatest Haul Ever.

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