Author: burlap PM
A curse, a rebellion, and two people being in the wrong place at the right time.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 4 - Words: 6,801 - Reviews: 24 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 03-22-13 - Published: 02-18-13 - id: 3102142
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The pub is dark and dirty, and the noise from the boisterous drunks ring in his ears as he marches his way up the stairs, bottle filled with rum in his hand. The brim of his hat is pulled low over his face, covering his features just in case someone can make out the crescent shaped scar that mars his skin in the light of the hazy building.
He takes the first left like he was told when he reaches the top of the stairs, shouldering open a door without knocking—also like he was told.
He is met with a gun in his face and a sword at his neck. He blinks, then waves the rum in the air.
"Brought the rum!" He's not sure what he is supposed to say; the words just tumble out of his mouth. This town, he knows, is run by the Navy and it was stupid of him to have even come. Pirates found in Port Avarro are hanged less than fifteen minutes after their arrest—if they even make it to the gallows. A good seventy percent of them don't, being shanked or shot along the way. There are no trials for pirates or those suspected, only the King's Justice, a justice that finds everyone guilty immediately.
With his other hand he pushes up the brim of his hat, affixing a broad grin on his face. This could be a trap set up by the Navy, he knows. They likely have a file filled with ways to arrest him, to bring him down, to stop the "scourge of the sea". At least, that's what the wanted posters call him. He's not too fond of the title, but it'll do. Someday, he hopes he can have a name better than that one.
"Captain Crescent?" A man sits in the corner on a chair, the light from the brazier not quite reaching him.
"Kyrian, actually," the pirate corrects automatically. He hates being called "Crescent"; the scar had been an accident, and he isn't fond of being reminded that it exists. "Kyrian Vreer, so it's actually Captain Vreer, or Captain Kyrian, but most definitely not Captain Crescent."
The man in the chair wears expensive boots, and Kyrian knows that that is who he is supposed to meet with. He didn't get a name, though, so he doesn't really know who he is.
But he has nice boots, and Kyrian rather likes that.
"Then you are not Captain Crescent?"The man's voice is low and clipped with even tones. A noble, Kyrian decides; he's heard enough of them talk over time to know their verble quirks. Kyrian is well aware of the gun still pointed at his head and the sword tip still at his throat.
"I am Captain Crescent, aye," he admits with forced cheer. Not that I like it, but I am. "But I prefer Captain Vreer."
At the acknowledgement of his identity, the gun was holstered and the sword sheathed, and the two men who surround him for a few tense moments back away to stand against either side of the still open door. Their actions do nothing to put Kyrian at ease, but he uncorks the rum and takes a swig anyways. It will be the only drink of rum he has while in the room, he assures himself. If he leaves it unattended, it could wind up poisoned and that wouldn't quite be in his best interest.
"I have a proposition for you." Despite the man's boots, Kyrian immediately decides that he does not like the man whose face he cannot see. His voice is cold, and he is straight to the point, and from the curve of the shoulder that he can see he knows that this man holds himself in high esteem.
"Proposition?" The word, on the other hand, has always been one to get Kyrian's attention. It's one of the few that can. "What kind of proposition?"
A large bag is kicked across the floor at him, leaving a trail in the thick dust that coats the floor. For one of the finer establishments in Port Avarro, it is still filthier than his ship. Despite his disgust, he hears the jingle of coins as the bag settles.
"How much is in there?"
"Ten thousand arans," the man answers smugly. Kyrian can feel a smirk weedling its way onto his face. He likes the gold pieces, especially when they come in that large of an amount. "And there will be more by the time we are done, to be certain."
Kyrian wants to grab the money and run; he knows he can kill the guards and the man and be out without drawing attention to himself, but if there's more to be had then he wants it.
"What is it you propose?" The bottle of rum feels heavy in his hand; he wants to take another swig of it, but knows that it would be in bad taste in this case. "And how much more will there be?"
Men only come to Kyrian for a small number of things: if they want to run away from something, or if they want something done. He is still not sure which one this man wants, but he's willing to pay a high price for it.
"There is a rebellion starting, Captain. A rebellion that will bring about a new reign, and with it new laws. But in order to be successful, the rebellion is in need of a capable commander for the rebel navy. I have heard from reliable sources that you are the best pirate that sails that seas. Is this true, Captain Vreer?"
He is well aware that this could still be a Naval trap, but he has heard mutterings of a rebellion afoot. And with that much money sitting in a bag at his foot, he is becoming more and more certain of the truth behind the man's words.
"I suppose it is, depending on who you asked."
"And if I asked you?"
"Then of course it would be true." Only an idiot would deny being the best pirate who sailed the sea—every captain Kyrian had met had claimed to be the best, but Kyrian knows the truth: there is no such thing as a pirate above the rest; they are all competent scoundrels and that is it.
"Then here is my proposition, Captain. The rebellion will be rising soon, and we would like you to be in charge of our Navy."
Kyrian does not like the man, but he likes the money.
And so, he accepts.
The walk back to his row boat is long and cold, but he rather likes it. The bag of money is heavy in his hand and clinks together as he walks, making a pleasant noise to his ears. He has no real idea what he has signed up for, but he knows the amount is enough to get him mugged four times over.
He steps onto the dingy, nodding to the two of his crew members who had rown him to the Port from the cove where Lady's Demise was anchored. They set off immediately, oars making only the slightest sound as they slosh in and out of the surf. None of them speak during the voyage back, all aware that if they were caught by the Navy even then that they wouldn't stand a chance.
They reach Lady's Demise in a timely manner, the ship just a shadow against the starry night sky. Kyrian tosses the bag of aran's over his shoulder before crawling up the rope ladder with one hand. There are other men on deck, most of them burly and already working on raising the dingy out of the water. He acknowledges all of them with a nod of the head, tipping his hat back from his face with his free hand before making way to his cabin.
His men had orders of what to do upon his return and they hustled about him like wraiths, raising anchor and preparing the ship for sail. They were all silent, escapes in the night a practice that had been drilled into their heads again and again.
He set the bag of arans down on his desk when he reached his cabin, throwing himself into his chair and tossing his hat across the room. It wasn't even his hat, really; it was the hat of the captain that had come before him, the captain that he had accidentally killed to get the position he has now.
"Ta where are we sailing to, Cap'n?" Kyrian blinks, not surprised by the sudden appearance of his first mate.
"The Deserts of Carpan, Sel. Take the longer route around Arvan for supplies and avoid the Strait if we can." Kyrian pushes the bag of money across the desk at the burly, black haired man. "And take that to the storeroom and get me some rum while you're at it."
There is a lull in the direct conversation as Sel picks up the bag. Kyrian expects the cry of surprise that follows; Sel always expects things to be light when Kyrian handles them.
"Wha in the Hells is goin' on? Who'd ya rob?"
"Oh, it was a proposition. By the end of all of this, Sel, we'll be rich." Sel shakes his head, tying the ends of the bag together as he does so. "Filthy rich, and likely with lordships."
"How?" Kyrian has always liked Sel. Part of it might have been because Sel bet he would last two weeks as the captain of Lady's Demise before giving up and jumping ship and two weeks had been the longest amount of time included in the bets. That had been nine years ago and everyone had lost (but Kyrian had let them keep their money; they hadn't known what they were getting into then).
"Lady King Breaker of House Adara!" Brielle swims forward, black hair streamlining behind her. She's always hated the Palace and being announced, but she's always loved the sound of her title on the lips of other's. They were sweet when she said them, yes, but there was just something about the sound of a name she fought hard to get rolling off of another's tongue. She had killed her father and a number of other Kings to get her name; she was going to relish it while she could.
The King sits at the opposite end of the giant, sea-shell covered hall. She will never understand why her people love peace and seashells and beautiful things so much. Beauty does not last, and her people have grown weak under the reign of this new King she serves. She is not surprised, though. She had known this peace time had been coming when she killed her parents in the name of the new King.
Others line the sides of the hall, all white skin and blond hair and vibrant scales. They watched her warily around their King after what she had done to their last one, all suspicious.
She is not fond of this bright palace or it's bright, blond King. She wants to return to House Adara, still wondering why she was summoned from her home.
"My Liege," she says with a tilt of her head, stopping ten feet away from the throne her father once sat upon. Her trident is strapped across her back for she is the only merperson outside of the army allowed in the Palace armed; ironic, given her title.
"Ah, Brielle!" For the life of her, she can not figure out why the King is always so pleased to see her. Perhaps it is because she was the one who placed him on the throne in the first place, or maybe it is for some other reason, but he always greets her with a shout and an excited smile like he never expects to actually see her.
"My Liege," she says again, with another tilt of her head. She is exempt from bowing—she would bow to him, she knows, except that the first time she bowed to him he told her to stop it and then he made it a Royal Decree that the King Breaker shall bow to none.
A ridiculous decree, she thinks.
"Come now, Brielle! Lighten up!" This is how all of their conversations begin, and Brielle despises it. She just wishes he would get to the point quickly and act more serious around her. Nearly every day, she regrets putting him on the throne.
But she does not regret what she did to make it possible for him to ascend.
"Yes, My Liege." And though her skin feels like it's going to break, she smiles widely albeit forcibly.
The King's cheery mood only increases at her action and he smiles back, all pearly white teeth and blue eyes crinkling at the corners. She hates him; hates the way he looks, the way he talks, the way he moves, the way he smiles. Most days, it takes every fiber of her being to hold herself back from attacking him and reopening the throne for anyone who wants it.
"Good. Now, Brielle, dear, there's something I need you to do." Brielle thought she had been standing up straight earlier, but at his words her spine went stiff, shoulders back. "There's a revolution boiling up on the surface land. Rebellion. Revolution. They are nearly the same thing—at least, one tends to lead to the other. But a man has claimed himself a King when he is obviously not."
Brielle's grin is wiped from her face, replaced with a frown that tugs her mouth downward and makes her eyebrows scrunch together. What typically happened on the surface world didn't perturb this new King she had placed upon the throne herself; the last and only King he had had her kill was the last one.
"The only problem with this false King is that he has enlisted the aide of pirates—both of the air and of the sea. He needs to be taken care of, and quickly. I trust you can do this?"
Brielle bows to him then, ignoring the preposterous Royal Decree that said she couldn't.
"Of course, Your Majesty."
"Excellent! You are excused, then, Brielle. Take care of your duty."