April 2, 2013

DSD and the Machine, Part I

Hello! If you're reading this during the month of April 2013, then I am busy writing my novel for National Novel Writing Month! To keep the blog going, I've set up a series of posts that together create a story.

This story is about my character Dead-Eye Destiny Devereaux. It also stars a few of the pirates who have submitted their names for my fan-fiction, who will appear again in my "official" works - Jack Teach, Virtuous Valkoor Vawdry, and Aedan Morgan. On her way to a location in Monquista, Destiny hitchhiked onto a ship called the Santa Elena. Much to her dismay, the ship sailed in the opposite direction that she had hoped. The sky-life prevented Destiny from jumping ship, and eventually she got discovered. As Destiny worked her way up the ranks of the ship, she found out that the crew intended to sail into El Dorado, the lost city of gold. Stricken with fear of death and with the loss of the barkeep One-Eyed Jack, Destiny is forced to jump ship at the last safe spot - right next to the Armada's Machine.

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Rain pattered lightly on the sails of the Santa Elena, introducing a minor note in harmony with the wind rushing by Destiny's ears. Behind her stood three pirates, all stern-faced and quietly mumbling with one another. With Jasmine's help, Destiny had at last found out why the ruckus was so contained, if she were to call it a ruckus in the first place. She knew that beneath the weapons, pointing hands, feather-pens and whispered words was a map, one expertly drawn and written on legibly. Destiny fumbled with the knife in her pocket, not used to the metal or feel anymore after a year of its absence. It wasn't as light as her sleeve-knives were nor as heavy as her spear was when it was whole; it was a gift, anyways. Destiny folded her arms and looked to the skyway, the clouded Valencian blue-gray seeming to rise up as Destiny watched it. She didn't like the chill as much as she did the sunshine back in Skull Island, but it kept her awake like a bottle of Yum would. Just half a mile ahead of her, visibly in the distance, was the silhouette of The Machine, a shape somewhat familiar after so many trips past it. Destiny nonchalantly tiptoed out of the whispering group's visual range and peered over the side of the stalled ship, hoping that her footsteps wouldn't stir the rest of the crew underneath. The only pain was that of leaving her friends like Jasmine and  Anneke. Destiny took a few steps closer to the gap in the deck-wall, thinking her chances through. What to do when she reached the Machine was truly the challenge, mind that she reached it consciously and in one piece. Destiny blinked in the wind, considering what she had on her and what it could do to support her. Then, the idea came on. If she were to find a way to the prison from the Machine, then she would save One-Eyed Jack from the Armada's grasp, or at least in it in the last edition of the Tradewinds Tribune. Saving him would get her out of things easily. It was a plan, and there wasn't any more time to think about it as the ship crossed the median point of the Machine. Destiny lunged in the gap, summoning her wit. Something caught her shoulder.
“Just what do you think you're doing?” Destiny turned to face Captain Vawdry, whose face was beet red with anger, “Jumping ship?”
“Dorado's a deathtrap, see,” Destiny stuttered, her words barely audible in her Flotsam-Grizzleheimian accent, “I'mt make it alive 'ere, just mayb'.” Destiny's eyes seemed to stare into the heads of the Santa Elena elites, her authority shining through her green pupils.
“Alright,” Aedan said quietly. Destiny turned slowly. Hearing him say anything had to be of a matter of importance, “You'll need this.” Destiny was awarded fingerless leather gloves, something that she had few of and had lost when she had been taken by the Armada months ago.
“And this,” Vawdry pulled a small talisman from inside his bag. It wasn't anything too shiny – a gem on a leather string with glass beads hanging from it, “It'll do you well.”
“And these,” Teach finished, unsheathing his own two 'backup' swords as well as a fine belt for a sheath, “I'll find ones made of gold soon enough, I won't need these at all.” Destiny cautiously grasped and inspected the twin blades. They were in a style more native to Marleybone, though the signature on the pommel of one was Marleybonian. The blades hadn't been scratched much, and the edges were as sharp as ever. Destiny nodded solemnly. She was a little surprised by the sudden support, and that Jack Teach of all people had started it. She couldn't put a thought to it, though – when she turned to face the skies, the three seemed to push her overboard. Destiny, submerged in the sky, laughed a little, caught her breath, and swam on, looking back once more to the hull of the Santa Elena. She mumbled a soft prayer to herself – another nursery rhyme that she had remembered from back home:

Why wait?
For foreign winds sail to us and steal our homes.
Why stay in the camp?
The Ravens will get any pups under the beds.
We shall travel on,
Safe and sound we will sail -
Only to watch over those we hold dear.

The Santa Elena wouldn't be safe – not at all.

Destiny pulled herself up onto a titanic platform studded with small gears that seemed to respond to one another. There was no doubt that she was being watched. Destiny slipped the talisman on, and felt the satisfying tingle of benefits soar through her. She pulled the gloves on and squeezed her hands a few times and the fit was secure. Destiny found a small tag embroidered on the inside of her glove – Aedan Morgan, with a note attached reading "To my best friend and twin: Try the cross-stitching here, it works better. You can keep these. The gloves had been bought in Skull Island, which explained the feel to them, but Destiny realized that the humble storekeeper's son had come a long way. She brushed her coat off and repositioned her stetson whose stars still glimmered in the midday smog. Destiny walked along the dock, fear rumbling in her stomach and making the tips of her fingers tingle a little. She hadn't ever dared to get as close to the Machine as she did now, in fear of getting ambushed. Why wasn't she, then?
Destiny walked on, hands at the ready, following the fog-concealed path of the dock which stretched for several yards. Destiny's hard boots made minimal noise on the soft wood – not balsa wood like the clockworks were made of, but that of the trees in Granchia, soft and fragrant. The flowery smell, similar to that of several perfumes, had been somehow diffused enough to be less headache-inducing, most likely out of being walked on so often – perhaps the aroma affected the Armada. Destiny laughed at the thought as she walked on with a slightly more confident stride. Destiny saw the glow of the windlane in the distance, its brilliance lighting a path for her in the slightest of ways. She followed what bits of the dock that she could see, unaware that she was walking one of the slower-turning gears on the outside edge of the Machine. She walked through it steadily for a few minutes, then kneeled down. She used her finger to trace the width of the gear she was walking, then kneeled down to try and estimate an angle. She hadn't ever been good with arithmetic and things, but she found out that she wouldn't stop walking if she supposed an end to be on the platform.

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Hope you enjoyed it! Check back next Tuesday for the next segment.

Keep Traveling!
Des

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