Yep, this is short and I am lazy. Steampunk is tough to write 'cause A) It's fairly new as sub-genres go & B) You have to integrate so many factors and balance your characters.

Dan

It was hot in the factory that day. Overseer Brathwayt was really on our tails, fiery after a long night in Forbidden Territory, an opium den six blocks away. She was coiled like a snake, ready to attack anyone who seemed to slack off.

My pile of parts was massive. The springs would get caught on a bolt or two, and it was difficult to get them free in time for the spring box to come around. While my coworkers' piles were getting smaller by the minute, mine seemed to grow larger. I hunched over, trying to avoid being noticed, to no avail.

Brathwayt had a wicked gleam in her eyes. "You! McKinley! C'mere, won't you?"

The workers around me stopped in their chatter, and everything was still for that instant. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and the adrenaline released, but I couldn't move.I wouldn't be able to run anyway; they knew my landlord, the door was shut tight, and Brathwayt's goons were closing in on me. Someone grabbed my arm, hissing, "Apologize, hurry!" But it was too late. Her men had me on the floor, hands behind my back, and out the door quicker than I'd thought possible. They gripped my hands with inhuman strength, I squeezed my eyes shut to try to match the pain. They pushed, I pushed back.

They brought me into a hot room, strapping me to a chair. I couldn't see their faces. One of them brought out a metal bar, laughing at me as I prepared for the blows. It was a scratchy laugh I couldn't place.

The one with the bar pressed it to my arm. It burned, oh my God, it hurt. I howled, seeing spots-

"Dan! Wake up, it's alright, it's okay." Prudence. It's only her. Only her.. I sighed.

She studied my face, loosening her grip on my arm. I stared back, stunned. She reached in her pocket and brought out a hankie, pressing it into my palm.

"Y-you sweat in your sleep." She edged out of the room, unnerved. I pulled myself out of the hammock not long after. The hall was quiet, but one particularly evil board on the steps broke the silence. I cringed, but nobody had woken. The deck was deserted, and the village was still. I could see why not many traders came here. The little town was a speck in the sky.

Prudence

"A'right, we're off!" Captain Black stood in full guild uniform, consisting of a red corset or vest, white shirt, black shorts, and whatever boots you wanted. The jacket was a jade green sort of piece, cropped at the stomach and back and longer at the sides, eliminating restriction.

"Aye!" The Hayes answered. Quinn waved from her nest.

"Bore da, about time you got up, eh?" I yelled down to Dan from the wheel, waving him up. He rubbed his arm and nodded. The scars looked redder than when I'd first seen them closely, like what happened last night upset 'em. My mum always said that sometimes certain marks on your body take on a life of their own. He leaned over the maps, studying them. Ah, well. Might as go make conversation.

"You like maps?"

"Some'at." He mumbled. "S'easier to tell what's where up 'ere."

I raised an eyebrow at his slurred speech. "Mm'kay. Hey, could I ask you to handle navigation today? I've got cleaning to do below deck for inspection.."

"No problem." He picked up the map and compass and was soon engrossed. I grinned. We could make a trader out of him, maybe. If only I knew what happened to him..


Any comments, questions? Ah, by the way, I believe bore da means good morning in Welsh. Yes, Prudence is very Welsh. The crew's nationalities'll come into light as the story continues *rambles*

Anyway..

Review?