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The Life of a Cap'n


by selphie_tilmitt

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Cradled in her nook on the lower deck cabin, Admantine the Krawk stared greedily at her cache of treasure. The ship rocked and groaned against the stormy seas, though by now she was used to the feeling of the waves. Settling into a wooden chair, she scooted closer to a low table and it slid across the floor with a loud creak. Her eyes briefly passed over the other items in front of her: A compass, a quickly melting candle, a rusty bronze key, an overturned scrap of parchment with a dagger driven through the center, and of course – the glittering pile of plunder. A smile playing over her fanged lips, she reached for the nearest gem, fully intent on counting each piece in the pile.

      "Yeh be quite the lurverly emerald, my little thing," she murmured to herself, turning it over in her fingers. When she was satisfied by its luster, she dropped it quite daintily into the wooden box secured at her feet. Turning, she reached for another item to catalog. Before her fingers could graze the surface of the pearl, her cabin door burst open.

      Squinting into the doorway, she felt the scales on the back of her neck prickle in annoyance. Standing silhouetted against the frame was her first mate, a grizzled looking Skeith. He gave her a measured look with his good eye, but made no move to enter.

      "And what..." she said in a low voice, "be the meanin o'this?"

      He grunted back at her, used to her gruffness. "Rope on the mizzen-mast snapped. S'blowin' us off course; also might tear the other sails."

      Without another word he turned and exited into the rain, leaving the door wide open and puddle in his wake.

      Gritting her teeth against her anger, Admantine rose to her feet and followed his trail outside. Emerging onto the upper deck, she stopped dead in her tracks to gawk at the chaos that was ensuing on her ship. While she generally hated being bothered for such a small annoyance as a rope breaking, she could see why her first mate had elected to come fetch her.

      Rain battered the ship from a dangerous angle, leaving large pools that some of her crew were sloshing and slipping around in. Several of her pirates were fumbling about, unable to see through the wind. The masts towered above the panic, and she could see a couple of her men dangling and swinging from the ropes that had snapped, as if they were trying to hold them in place despite the storm. It would have been a comical sight to her if it wasn't such an obnoxious situation.

      Stomping through the mob, she dug her talons into the wood of the deck to stop herself from slipping. She barked out orders as she moved, pointing here and there to indicate what she wanted her crew to do.

      "You! Start bringin' down the fore-mast!"

      "You! Untie the mizzen-mast and bring it down as well! I dunno what ye blighters were doin' with it up at all in this weather!"

      "You! Fetch a length of rope from the storage!"

      Grumbling as she reached the mast, she gripped the wood in her claws and began to climb. Muscles straining against the wind, she slipped a few times against the cascading rainwater. As she finally reached the upper portion of the mast, she squinted through the torrent until she had a semi-clear view of one of her pirates dangling over the deck from the broken rope. Shoulders tensing, she took a deep breath before kicking off against the topgallant. For a few panicked seconds she flailed through the air before catching on to the shirt of the Kyrii that was clinging to the rope.

      Admantine unceremoniously climbed over him, gripping the rigging with one hand. She reached down and caught the terrified crewman's clothing with the other. He let out a loud squeal as she began to kick her legs out, swinging the rope forward with the help of the backwind.

      As the two gained more momentum, she was able to reach out and snatch the second broken rope in her teeth, the crewman dangling from it twisting in the wind. Rolling her eyes at the two pirates bleating beneath her, she continued to swing until the three of them looped over the edge of the horizontal mast. Setting food on solid ground, the two pirates let out a cry of relief. Admantine gripped the two ropes in her hand, and as soon as she saw the sails being stripped away she caught the two men back in her free hand and dropped back down to the deck.

      Tossing her two crewmen to the ground, the Krawk began to storm back to her cabin. As she crossed the threshold, she turned back to give her first mate a steely glare.

      "Don't ye be botherin' me unless it's a REAL emergency next time!"

      With that, she slammed the door and returned to her chair. Shaking a bit of the rain off, she turned back to her pile of gold and precious gems. With a deep breath of satisfaction at the sight, she reached out and plucked the long-awaited pearl out of the pile.

      Before she had a chance to examine it, her door flew open once again, slamming against the wall and causing her to fumble the gem. It rolled off her desk and off into a dark corner of the room. Fury welling up inside her, she shot a deadly look at the intruder.

      The Lutari at her door stared resolutely back at her, though he had a nervous twitch tugging at the corner of his left eye.

      Admantine's voice came out as a low growl. "What be th' problem now?"

      "Cap'n," he replied, the sound of more panicked noises coming from the deck behind him. "It be... her."

      Slamming her palm against the table, Admantine rose to her feet. Muttering a few choice words, she stalked back towards the doorway, pausing only to grab her spear from the nearby corner.

      Emerging back onto the upper deck, she noticed that the storm had died down a bit in the time she had been absent. Rain still splattered against the ship, but it was falling at more uneven intervals. Pivoting on her heel, she surveyed the passing waves for the tell-tale sign of her rival. She didn't need to look long, as the enemy vessel sat just to the starboard of her own ship.

      Sure enough, Admantine recognized it immediately. The distinct jolly-roger on the sails and helm were enough to spur her into an angry frenzy. She bolted towards the hull of her ship, arriving at the railing in time to see a cannonball splash down near where she was standing.

      Furious, she shouted over the tumultuous ocean at the offending ship.

      "Oi, yeh scurvy dogs! What be the meanin' o'this? We weren't been in yer waters for months!"

      She heard a loud cackle in response to her yelling. Peering through the rain, she finally caught sight of the piratess Lupe standing opposite her on the other ship's deck. Sharpe__Teeth stood with one hand on her hip, the other brandishing a longsword over the banister of her ship.

      "What's the matter, Admantine? You don't like our gift?" She smirked through the downpour. "We be jus' passin' through. Saw yer ship and figured we'd let you know how much we missed you."

      Admantine gripped the railing so hard it splintered a bit. She whirled around to face her crew, her eyes wild with anger.

      "Ready the cannons! Grab yer arms and some rope! We'll not be takin' this lyin' down!"

      "Silly Krawk," rang out the Lupe's voice from behind her. "I tol' ya we're just passin' through. Don't waste yer time with the cannons, we'll be long gone by the time you get'em ready. You may want to keep your weapons out, though..." She offered a smug smile, though as her ship drifted into the distance Admantine could barely see it through the red fury that had boiled over inside her.

      As Sharpe's ship continued on towards the horizon, Admantine paced a few times on the deck, slamming the hilt of her spear against the deck. Finally she turned back to her confused crew, and managed to sputter out:

      "Don't none'o'ya be botherin' me again unless it's a REAL EMERGENCY!" Her eyes narrowed. "Or else."

      Whirling around, she stomped back to her cabin and slammed the door so hard the hinges rattled.

      Still furious, she paced back and forth in her cabin as well. Now out of earshot, she found herself muttering a few choice words under her breath. After a bit more time had passed, the Krawk began to calm down. Laying her spear against her chair, she slumped wearily back down at her desk. The sight of her treasure cheered her greatly, and she reached out for one of the closer coins.

      The door flew open once again, though less forceful this time. A timid looking Techo hovered anxiously at the threshold, paling under Admantine's fierce scowl.

      Without waiting for her to roar at him, he began to stammer.

      "Th-the... th-brig. It... it... prisoners... escaped."

      She stared at him for a long moment, trying to parse what he had said. Then it hit her. The cannonball that had been fired just a little while ago. Admantine had assumed it was just a fumbled attempt to sink her ship, but now it occurred to her that its true purpose was to slam into, and weaken, the area containing the brig.

      The image of Sharpe laughing wildly from the bow of her ship flashed through her mind, and Admantine shot to her feet. Snapping her spear up from its resting place, she didn't even acknowledge the Techo as she flew madly out the door.

      Once again chaos reigned over the upper deck as her crew fought off the prisoners they had captured time and time again when they had tried repeatedly to steal from the ship. The clang of steel on steel rang out from all directions, and the glint of blades shone brightly through the now foggy weather.

      Immediately Admantine launched herself into the fray. As she moved towards the heart of the battle, she paused briefly to knock out a couple of the weaker thieves as they attempted to gang up on her.

      Her spear slashed a swath of destruction through the hordes. It whistled through the air as she snapped to the side and parried. A few well aimed kicks sent a couple of rogues staggering over the side of the ship. Every now and then she would cast a quick look over the rest of the battle, and took note that her crew seemed to be holding its own.

      After what seemed like ages, the Krawk turned to see that the prisoners were fleeing. The ones that weren't injured were bolting for the edge of the ship and leaping overboard. Her muscles ached, and she had a few fresh nicks and bruises all over her body. Her crew looked no worse for the wear, and began to cheer as they realized they were victorious.

      Giving them a few moments to celebrate, Admantine held up a hand to silence them. As she spoke she trudged back towards her cabin, clearly exhausted after the day's events. When she reached the door, she turned back and addressed them once again.

      "Don't. Bother. Me. I don' care what it might be this time. Just don't."

      Giving them as fierce a stare as she could muster, she returned to the recesses of her cabin.

      Alone and barely able to stay on her feet, she sank down on the edge of her bedding. Muscles screaming as she lowered herself to the mattress, she rubbed at her forehead with her claws.

      She sighed, the racking breath rippling through her scales.

      "Some days I really don' know why I bothered ter get into this pirating lot."

      As she rolled over to sleep, she caught the glint of the still uncounted treasure sitting on her table. A slow smile spread across her face as she began to relax.

      "Oh yeh. Now I remember."

      And with that, she was asleep.

The End

 
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