November 1, 2013

The Promise of Gold, Part I

Hello! If you're reading this in November 2013, then I'm busy participating in National Novel Writing Month! I have prepared for you a fan-fiction piece to keep the posts running. I hope you like it! If you like what you read, I'll still be moderating comments, so leave a note below if you enjoy it.

I now present to you, The Promise of Gold, featuring Ian Sharp!

 Westminster Skyway, for a few precious seconds, was completely silent. Sometime in the past few minutes, the Armada, Radicals, and dogs had all run out of cannon ammunition and at the same time were busy reloading. A speck upon the entire war scheme was a Marleybone-origin frigate ship, bonds creaking with every few shiplengths forward. Inside its candle-lit cabin, two pirates sat, one stern-faced with a single hand raised, palm facing the other pirate. The swashbuckler-in-command closed her eyes, exhaling slowly. She was counting the seconds. Two, three, four...seven, eight, nine...In front of her, a coat-clas musketeer shifted uncomfortably. The silence eeked at her sanity, ever chewing at her well-being. She didn't understand why her fencing friend enjoyed the lack of activity outside. The more progression in the war, she figured, the sooner it would end.

"Isn't it beautiful?" the swashbuckler whispered, addressing the musketeer's insecurity.
"You're really weird, Ivy," the musketeer retorted, folding her arms, "Can't we get back to planning?" Ivy didn't respond for a moment. Then, as if tearing through a silk sheet of silence, a single round of cannonfire shot over the frigate, hitting a galleon on the other side.
"Of course," Ivy said, her voice returning to its normal volume, "Now that everything has begun talking again." Ivy stood, feeling the frigate rock beneath her. It rounded another corner, making its way closer to the Isle of Dogs. Ivy unfurled a scroll torn in the middle by skarakeet talons. The little tears were one of the few perils of having trained a grand skarakeet – no less, the majestic and very pink Nikeeta – to carry messages. The scroll had been scribbled on by no other than the famous cat burglar and raccoon fencer Morgan Lafitte, coordinates and notes added in on the sides until the letter was nearly an incomprehensible mess. The musketeer, Ginelle Everhart, had taken to deciphering it while Ivy followed the coordinates.
"How much money are we talking about again?" Ivy asked, glancing out the window at the cannonfire and passing sky.
"Enough to fund that orphanage," Ginelle said, reading over the scroll again, "And ourselves, no less. It's an impressive amount." Ivy smiled and shook her head endearingly. It seemed like nothing was exact anymore. Every amount, every retelling, and every sum was a generalization that had a large likelihood of being false, in the first place. Through the open captain's window, a frosty breeze jostled a stack of papers in the corner, blowing Ivy's hair back. Having grown up in the Marleybonian skyways, she felt her heart being beat at with a hammer each time a ship of any origin was blown down, resembling another piece of her background being taken away. Ivy turned back, her face straight and remore.
"Don't feel so bad," Ginelle said, cleaning one of her pistols with a knit cloth, "At least we're back." Ivy shrugged.
"Let's just...get in, get the gold, deliver the sum, and leave." Ivy, from a peg in the wall, shrugged a coat on. The ship auto-navigated into the Isle of Dogs, slowing to a halt once in port. Ivy took her two best weapons – a fencer's sword and an Aquilan dagger – from their appropriate wall hangers and attached the former to her belt, while storing the dagger in her coat. "I organized enough to get us lodging for the night before." Leaving Ginelle to gather her things, Ivy strode out from the cabin and onto the deck, Nikeeta landing on her shoulder with a dissatisfied squawk. Ivy eeked out the smallest grin, stroking the bird's pink plumage. She was just barely strong enough to support the massive skarakeet's weight. Glancing towards the dock as she lowered the gangway, Ivy recognized the flash of a thief-shaped shadow, belonging only to her partner in rendezvous.
Meanwhile, Ginelle rolled the maps and scrolls, storing them in locked cabinets. Scowling ever so slightly, Ginelle reflected on the fact that while Ivy was precise in her actions, she wasn't necessarily skilled in covering her tracks. Leaving the letter from Lafitte out would guarantee being uncovered if the ship was to be boarded. Sheathing her twin pistols and running the side of her index finger over the pinion in her stetson, Ginelle pushed the door open herself, seeing Ivy walk down the gangway as she locked the door behind her. Carefully muffled in a bag with a hankerchief, Ginelle had prevented a multitude of keys from jingling as she walked.
"Who're we looking for?" she asked, joining Ivy. She tried to put on an optimistic tone, but the smoggy skies and grim-looking partner didn't help much.
"The one and only," Ivy replied, walking down the gangway. She led Ginelle into a backroad, holding her arm out in barrier when the first break in it was approached. She cautiously took a step forward, letting her shadow flood into the shaft of light from the Isle. A small, sharp knife flew into a wooden board where Ivy's knees would have been, had she continued walking. Ivy claimed the knife from the board and waited as the Spiral-class smuggler revealed himself.
"It's nice to see you again," Ian Sharp admitted, his quiet voice taking on some of the local accent, "Rough sailing, lately." Ivy gave Sharp his knife back and nodded, mouth straight. "You needed a place to go?"
"A taven, especially," Ginelle chimed in, rocking back and forth on her heels. Sharp raised an eyebrow, shifting into a similar, subtle nod as Ivy's. Both nods gave Ginelle shivers; How a person could communicate so subtlely continued to mystify her. Sharp pulled off his tattered tricorne, shaggy blonde hair falling over his eyes. He scratched at it, running his hand through the tangles.
"Unfortunately," he said, "The tavern's been quite full, lately. I doubt a night's stay in town would necessarily be in your favor."
Ivy shook her head. "That's unacceptable," she stated. In comparison to the city-bound thief, she was better-kept, having planned to interact with the local nobles during her stay in hopes of gaining information on her prize. Ivy had ironed a collared jacket and a coogan cap, as well as spent hours scrubbing at her cheeks and tangled hair now straight. Ginelle was normally in this condition, though she had rubbed soot stains from her coat. She tugged at Ivy's sleeve.

"I hate to break up your shifty conversation," she blubbered, "But we've got company."

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