Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

WIP - Short story "Chain of Fools"

Just after three bells of the first watch, the Chain pirates came for them.

Zarai was on the poop, staring at the grab and thinking about whether to put mirrors on the rail to keep a descent watch when the first of them hit the deck. She spun on her heel and snap-drew her pistole, pulling the trigger to set the spring within the butt to buzzing as the twinned darts launched from the barrel-rails.

One dart missed the pirate, while the other lodged in the pangolin-leather armor across his midriff.

His, she thought. There's a man on my ship. Bad luck for sure.

He was definitely a man. Short, broad-shouldered with a swelling gut wrapped in that distinctive diamond-scaled armor. A huge cape, maroon or dark blue perhaps, whipped behind him like wings in the wind that boomed along the Angel Narrows. He had high boots rolled down around his knee, canvas trousers, and a tricorn hat sporting a long, pale feather.

His face...

Zarai tore herself away from the Chain pirate's erupting amusement and leapt for the ship's bell as she called out, "Attack!"

Already with the distinctive buzz of rope sliders there were more hitting the deck.

Crewwomen shouted as the clash of arms erupted across the bucket-ship. Zaria hefted her own hook and advanced on the Chain pirate. Men were like dogs or children -- if you showed a firm hand, they quickly remembered their place.

Except this one hadn't read that broadsheet. His laughter billowed out of him like a storm wind, shivering the greasy black curls of hair which cascaded down around his shoulders. In the darkness of the narrows by night, she was just as glad she couldn't see his eyes.

(Yes, it's in the Mainspring Amazon ] universe.)
Tags: mainspring, wip, writing
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