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I have a lot of things I *should* be working on... so what happens?

Yep, that's right, as I should be getting up and getting in the shower and going, I catch sight of a friend liking a picture someone posted, and I look at a few other pictures posted on that page, and I catch a glimpse of a picture as I scroll by that might involve a certain watery tart and a sword (but it may not, I didn't look at it closely, so it might just have been a knight-lady in a sunny woodland glade or something entirely different) and suddenly I'm scrambling to open a new window in Open Office, and I'm typing... and this is (completely unedited) what I get:

Lady in the Lake

By Everett A Warren

That's not how the story goes.

Her voice is raspy, cold, weighted down by the years. There's wisps of grey visible from under the cloak, but not much else you can read from her. Maybe the hunching over, that curve like a sapling that reaches fast for the light and then, over time, bends closer to the ground... maybe that arc is from the weight of that cloak. A thick, heavy, unforgiving material like a warrior might wear. Why scratch the armour when that dense, uncomfortable fabric will turn the sharpest blade and dampen the mightiest hammer. The kind of weight that is not for old women to bear, but is invaluable to the young warrior.

So she tells me that's not how the story goes, and I'm caught. Story is my stock and trade, and I had been telling all about Arturo and Kam and the Table Round and The Sword and I know the tale, know it through and through, the words tripping off my tongue beautifully, and each word lovingly crafted into the whole.

I should know better, because I do know better. And who could know better than I? After all, it was not some poor, bent beggarlady who had watched The Sword from its Sheath leap out into Arturo's hand, glimmering with glamours and preternatural light. It was not some scraggly withered wench who listened attentively to the Wise Woman Myrlynne as she prophesied and advised and taught the Boy Who Would Be King.

And it was not, most certainly and empathetically not, no way, no how, some vile peasant wretch of a hag, a grandmother of shit and dirt and nothing of any worth whatsoever, who slid the blade betwixt Arturo's plate and into that soft, yielding under layer of his flesh, letting his blessed royal lifeblood flow on to the battlefield on that, his last day, and...

Pardon. A moment please.


You see, I was there.

It was I.

I am Mordred.

Oh, some say I was Arturo's younger brother, some say I was his son. We called each other brothers, and although we spilt much blood side by side through the years, the blood that ran within us was wholly our own.

But that is of little matter, it merely clarifies some of the tales you may have heard. Which brings me back to this tale, and the tale I had been telling when this mere woman claims I am wrong and that my story is not what I know it to be, and that the tale I am telling takes a different path entirely.

My anger rises, and the years fall from me, the curse revived, and still... I listen to her, ensnared, myself and my audience now hers. I hear her words wind and twist and echo and resolve, and I wonder briefly if this is Myrlynne, freed from her entrapment -- which I was quite sure involved her death as well, or as close as I could manufacture to it -- and come to seek revenge, because so magickal are her speakings that I can not help but believe.

Copyright 2013 Everett Ambrose Warren

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The Skeleton in Armour

By Everett A Warren

an excerpt, slightly but not nearly completely edited

My client was dead to begin with.

I'd say that you needed to understand this, or nothing after would seem wondrous strange, but this isn't Dickens and it's not even London. There, I would expect the cobblestones to be lousy with big lugs like this, crawling out of their mounds or wading ashore, as leaky as their tubs they sank to the bottom in, but this is Longfellow's town. It doesn't matter what manner of mischief came over with the Pilgrims, nor what slipped to our shores since from the Old Country or Older Countries, if you catch my angle, but the last thing I thought I'd see standing there dripping all over my fine Persian, one meat hook holding the damask canopy around my bed aside, filling my room and then some, was a massive Viking warrior in full battle array, just several centuries past his prime.

He set the axe down and I took a breath, thinking this just might not be the last thing I see, which took a load off, I can tell you. He almost crushed the little folding number I leave out for my dressing gown, and him not even skin with those bones, because whatever flesh he had fed the fishes long ago. I didn't quite hear his sigh -- no lungs, no air, you know how it is -- but it was there nonetheless as he settled into the chair.

I took a moment to compose myself, then quickly reached behind me and gave out my own little sigh of relief, with real live breath included, no less. My sweet butler sleeps deeply, but not that deeply, and I didn't want to have to replace the furniture if he woke up to find Snorri Skeletonson here in his squeeze's boudoir. Although an ogre's handy to have around for all kinds of reasons, I was more than happy to remember he was working down the docks to make some folding green while seeking his return to a more upscale vocation. As strong as he is, and no matter how I like him by my side, I don't think I would have been able to prevent him from being destroyed. See, I have an eye for power, and the bones before me were old, worn... and if their power were liquid, it wouldn't just drip like the saltwater onto my rug and robe. No, it would put the Molasses Flood of '19 to shame, and I'd have to find a new city to live in.

If I survived.

I shifted to the edge of the bed, leaving the silks behind, and walked across the room. His head turned to watch, flares of light within empty eye sockets following my progress, and me with all the flesh he doesn't have. I am not a modest dame by any measure, and to tell the truth if he had been hale and hearty, I might have done the same. Well, perhaps not, as I would have no need to gather a few things just to chin with my new friend, and I might even just ask him for the robe he's sitting on. Or I might give him lead poisoning, but you can't exactly let daylight into something that's been dead so long there's not a scrap of meat left behind to catch lead.

I grab some salts, some sands, and a little bit of that glitter I picked up at Filene's the other day. I say the words as I walk back towards him, casting a trail of colour with each hand, leaving the marks on the floor in just the right pattern. The glitter? Cut a doll some slack, I was losing out on my beauty sleep and needed something to add a little pretty to my night.

"So... tall, bone-white, and handsome wasn't in my cards. That gypsy girl hyped me, didn't she?"

I sit down in front of him and wait for him to speak. Sometimes it can take a while, but that is all up to them, and there's nothing for me to do but crack light to pass the time. I don't even have to try to think of a good joke, because he jaws almost before I'm even settled in. I listen to what he's got to say, and then I agree to take the case. From somewhere up in there under his deepest blue-green byrnie, where organs used to be, Beowulf's uncle pulls out a bar of gold that looks nearly as time-worn as he does. He sets it down almost gently on the floor at my feet, tops it off with a string of amber, gathers up his weaponry, nods once, and he walks out of the room.

I take it back. Maybe it is wondrous strange. Even with what all I've come across, it certainly plays out something surreal.

I stand, twirl and sweep an arm low, and all the signs and sigils are cleared, carried by little swirls of wind and tidied up in little piles under the armoire and, well, other corners of the room. Out of the way, and harmless enough until some morning when I need something to do. A whisper over the gold and it's off to safe keeping, only a slight haze that fades quickly, and a shimmer of glitter of the genuine variety left behind as I wrap the unfinished raw amber around my neck, glancing in the full length and finding them fair fetching with my fiery red locks. The weight of the gold -- and the even greater value of the amber to the warrior -- is a reminder this little romp won't be duck soup.

To reflect proper gravitas and give Leif Deadguy his due, I smile sweetly at myself in the mirror before a yawn rolls in and swallows me whole. I stretch and collapse into bed, asleep almost before I'm down and covered, visions of runes dancing in my head.

Copyright 2013 Everett Ambrose Warren

If you enjoyed this little teaser, stay tuned for news of what happens next ~ all I have to do is write it! Simple as that! And, of course, get it edited and published. And all those other little niggling kind of things. You can, however, read an earlier fantasy noir tale featuring this same private investigator, The Hollow Man, which can be found in the pages of Fae Fatales: A Fantasy Noir Anthology.
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With the exception of the incredibly good news regarding "The Hollow Man" (See this ~ help support the project! We are less than $300 from our stretch goal of art for all ten stories!), everything has been static since I started working back in October. On the one hand, it's good to be working, and paying bills is always considered a positive thing. On the other hand, it's an enormous amount of work to market and manage the an artistic career, and it's another enormous amount of work to go about doing the creative side of the business ~ or, at the least, in my case, a huge amount of spare time spent looking at a blank screen, and feeling settled and secure enough to relax and let the words out to fill some pages. Between starting a job, moving, and some major health speed bumps, it's been difficult to gather that time... but I will get to it. Hopefully soonish, because there's some characters that are starting to look mighty agitated that I'm not talking about them behind their backs...

Finished Works:
  • Full Moon Poetry, urban fantasy, 14,100 words ~ in editing ~ needs formatted ~ two markets in mind
  • Trouble and Captain Jack, steampunk, 8,600 words, submitted 8/27/2012
  • Ghost Dance, urban fantasy, 5,500 words, edited, formatted, waiting for market's reading period to open in October
  • The Hollow Man, fantasy noir, 4,600 words, to be published by Solarwyrm Press
  • The Sky Galleons of Mediolanum, Renaissance-Era Macedonian Empire steampunk, 4,400 words, submitted 9/27/2012
  • Of the Leaves and of the Waves, urban fantasy, 4,100 words, edited, formatted, waiting for market's reading period to open in October
  • A Rose for Princess, fairy talish fantasy, 3,800 words, submitted 9/24/2012
  • Gathering, urban fantasy, 3,100 words, edited, formatted, and submitted 9/24/2012
  • Never Ever After, myth/fantasy, 3,100 words, in editing, have market in mind
  • Empress Awakened, classic fantasy, 1,400 words, submitted 9/16/2012

In Progress:
  • Kryptos, Renaissance-Era Macedonian Empire steampunk novel, 53,700 words out of maybe 120,000 (mostly notes)
  • L'Abattoir, pirate steampunk novella, 17,200 words out of maybe 60,000
  • The Ellyssian Tarot, tarot deck and book, 13,000 words out of maybe 120,000 (mostly notes)
  • The Gauntlet, fantasy novel, 5,500 words out of maybe 120,000
  • Mad Max, steampunk, 3,100 words out of ?
  • Changeling, werewolf, 1,300 words out of ?
  • The Last Great Battle, classic fantasy, 1,200 words out of ?
  • green tracks, urban fantasy, 100 words out of ?
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Thanks for the comments on the earlier post! I needed to hear them and think about it before proceeding.

I kind of took some of the advice and none of it ~ the way the story told itself, it just serves as an introductory to the world and the characters, so I could mostly avoid describing details about what happened in the Empire to leave the Empress in such a position of powerlessness. This shows the story in a different light than I was afraid it was going to be seen in. For his part, the warrior oratificates a bit, then overthrows the bureaucracy (one of his archers has to kill the Captain of her Guard), but after he announces things, she pretty much takes over (to the point of giving his archer the order to do the aforementioned act...)

Anyway, new short story, and a new world (or lands, at the least) to host more stories in the future! =)
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Her Tears Tasted of the River Acheron
by Everett A Warren

an excerpt

Her tears tasted of the River Acheron.

That gave me pause. I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt such loneliness, such overbearing sadness. A subtle humour that, considering I live in a cemetery, but there you have it.

Now don’t go thinking I’m one of those boggarts or dweomerfale that feed off of that sort of thing, no, not at all! but when those tears spread across the surface of the pond like oil, coloured in a rainbow of agony and pain, I did feel a pang. Story is what I’m after, you see, and sorrow that deep has a tale to tell.

There are stories that tell of walking on water, and I was nearly needy enough to bolt straightaways over that tainted surface, but I held myself back for two reasons. First off, she was in a fragile state, and a forthright charge would do nothing to set her at ease. Even if she didn’t run, she’d not be likely to speak freely of dark secrets, now would she? No story would have meant no reason to rush to her in the first place – not that she’d know that – and I’m sure that if I went fleetly flying over the rippling waters, it would have her thinking all sorts of nasty things were about to occur, and she’d be downright uncommunicative. Not only that, but the second reason for not running the waves is even simpler.

I would sink like a rock.

~ ~ ~

I felt as if someone was watching me. Through the tears, the pond, the trees, the crypts, and the monuments blended and blurred, like an impressionistic painting. Perhaps if I had tried to focus, to wipe my eyes, even just to blink… but I didn’t really feel it was worth the effort.

Didn’t feel much of anything, really.


Like the eyes on me.

Did Van Gogh paint crypts? The one across the way, done with dashes of still-wet paint, held staring eyes. Dead eyes – no, undead eyes, I mused. Vampires, werewolves, and zombies, oh my. Or maybe a psychotic killer behind a headstone, who picked out the perfect prey – blinded by the tears in her eyes. On any other day, those kind of thoughts would drive me away. No sanctuary when you’ve got one eye peeled for madmen with axes and chainsaws and another on the lookout for gypsies and thieves, the third firmly fixed on chimeras and dragons that are feeling a nagging rumbling in their supernal bellies.

This particular day, though, no matter what weird creature might come by to grind my bones to make some bread, it would be my sanctuary.

It was the best I had on short notice, so it would have to do.

That, and, although I wasn’t exactly suicidal, if a serial killer or other monster stepped out from behind a tree and asked for a volunteer to be his victim, I’d be the first to raise my hand.

Yeah. So maybe a little suicidal.

“Hey,” I called out, throwing myself back on the perfectly manicured lawn, arms and legs spread wide, “Take me, I’m yours.”

Yeah. Overly dramatic, too.

Copyright (c) 2006 Everett Ambrose Warren


Dec. 3rd, 2007 09:55 am
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Saturday, I broke in a new pair of boots by hiking for two hours over loose stone, somewhat rocky terrain, and nice flat stuff. Got a blister *and* managed to rip it open so all the raw stuff was exposed. Sunday, I think it had a minor infection, getting steadily worse all day. Had to soak it for too long to get the gauze to release from it. Treated it with some Neosporin - would have done that earlier, but for some reason it had evaded me on my AM search. Think that worked. Early this AM I couldn't put any weight on it, a few hours later I could walk normally after a short "break-in" time. Trying to keep weight off it for as long as possible today, so hopefully it will be OK for tonight.

Tonight: Provided I can get a shoe on, I'll be heading up to Williamsport to hear [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna read, [livejournal.com profile] s00j play, and [livejournal.com profile] shadesong roadie. Or something like that. =)
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It tasted of unknown Kadath, of deepest R'leyh, of the cyclopean caverns and tunnels stretching out beneath wholesome New England villages.

It tasted of dank cellars in Providence, and of airs rising through holes in brick walls in old places in Boston. It tasted of Arkham, Kingsport, and Dunwich.

It was twisted, curling, purposefully malformed, coated on the outside with a layer of bee's harvest, no doubt artificially simulated.

It was, perhaps, undercooked, the rawness in the inner twists what gave it such a distinctive flavor. But it wasn't just the air of musty, dark, places that should be forgotten.

No - it was the visions that sprang unbidden with each bite, evoked by taste and scent and something darker.

Perhaps, should you look in the back of their shop, you would find abhorrent sculptures of nightmarish creatures. Perhaps the rolling pin is inscribed with arcane symbols, the counter top or the boiling cauldrons of oil altars to things with which man should have no business entreating.

I brush off the sense of growing terror that is taking hold of me, and then I recall that Dunkin' Donuts is based in Canton, south of Arkham, between Boston and Providence, and I wonder as I take another unwholesome bite...
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as a Thanksgiving treat, I present you with this little story Rachel wrote for Mr. B - the story is about 3 years old, but I just discovered it this morning!

Owl's Outrageous Orchard
by Rachel Laurana Warren, age 6

Once upon a time, Owl owned an outrageous orange orchard. Every spring, Owl harvested his oranges. But one spring the orange flowers did not bloom. "How unexpected," Owl exclaimed. "What nonsense," Owl continued, "for my orchard not to bloom! I will warn my friends that we will not have any oranges this year."

Kanga said, "How outrageous!" and Roo yelled "What an ordeal!" Pooh and Piglet screamed "Oh no!" while Owl was calm. Rabbit ordered them to stop shouting but Owl's friends ignored Rabbit. Owl suddenly rang a bell and caught his friends' attention. "Oh, my friends, it is not a problem if the orange flowers won't bloom," Owl began. "Look over there at Rabbit's garden. It is growing outrageously. Why do we need oranges alone? With Rabbit's garden, we shall get the variety of pumpkins, carrots, tomatoes, and more!"

So Owl sold his orange orchard to Christopher Robin, who was overjoyed to own an orchardful of oranges.


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Arcady by Michael Williams

This one came with fairly polarized reviews. Some said the language was beautiful, others said it made no sense and it was a terrible fantasy world.

I first came across Michael Williams in what many consider to be a low place - the Dragonlance novels manufactured by TSR. While this series started out meaning quite a lot to me - in fact those early books still do hold meaning, after all, three cats and a daughter have taken names from that source - after a while I noticed the quality of the story, the storytelling, the world cohesion, and, bluntly, the quality of the editing all took a nosedive. During that somewhat-later phase, Michael's novels were the highlights. The stories were interesting, the way he told them was interesting, and he brought with him a powerful usage of imagery, some so potent I can see them quite clearly more than ten years after having last read them.

I was hoping this wouldn't be a huge flop, but, as I read more and more reviews I worried more and more, so that when the book arrived I didn't try to move it forward in the "To be Read" pile. When it came up, I began, with some trepidation.

I didn't quite read it in one sitting - in fact, I paced myself well, for the most part. I spent much of the time waiting for signs that matched the impressions in the negative reviews.

I guess the basic problem is this wasn't Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, it could take place in our world, in a slightly earlier time, maybe even modern time, although certainly a more rural society. Technology could even be there, just not used. The whole usage of magic feels more like something from an urban fantasy than something referencing spellcasting rulebooks.

The only fault I can find with this, is that it is so open ended, it begs for more volumes to follow. I believe it did not hit the expected critical success, and, as far as I know, those further volumes never appeared.

Shame, really, because this was a good read. If you can handle not having all the answers - or can find or convince them to create and/or publish the rest - this is highly recommended.
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The Forgetting Room: A Fiction by Nick Bantock

Whatever you may think of the story lines in Nick Bantock's works, it is the art and the way it is implemented that draw you into the story and impress it upon you after only a single reading.

It's probably been about six months since I read this, and when I close my eyes, I can still see the scenes in this book, the images haunting me, as if I had been in that village square or investigated the contents of that house I inherited, or stood upon that very bridge.

Novels read after this work fade, so that I am not confident of writing even one of my skewed and skewered alleged reviews without having the book in hand to make sure I'm not making it up, or, even, remembering it enough to do it justice. And these novels are not cheesy things easily forgotten, they're ones I really enjoyed, and will heap with lavish praise when I make the time to just sit down and write about them. And yes, I have a number that I read prior to this still awaiting review... I'm a veritable speedboat of reviewing, if someone could just tow me back into the harbor...

As for the story itself - which is really hard to separate from the images and the way it is told - it has wormed its way past the other Bantock books I've read and become my favorite. Although there are a few other authors doing similar things, the only thing I already know of that might be comparable would be a Neil Gaiman / Dave McKean collaboration. As those two guys, as far as words and images go, represent pinnacles of the ideal for me, that should be taken as rather high praise of Mr. Bantock, who somehow manages to roll up a whole bunch of talent into a single byline.
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City of God by E.L. Doctorow

Although I'm fairly sure I had not read this book before, I have read some other works by E.L. Doctorow. The thing is, until I was about three-quarters through this, I kept experiencing deja vu. Not for the work as a whole, but for a couple of the individual characters and their experiences. As their tale would weave in and out of the others' stories I knew what was going to happen next only as it pertained to those particular characters.

I suppose it all comes from having a character with the first name of Everett, really. Funny enough, he was not one of the characters that happened to, although I knew what his name was going to be before I actually read it in the book.


I expect when we get the library done and stock the shelves, I just may find I own two copies of this, because that's the only explanation that makes any sense.
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If you haven't already nailed down and reserved your very own copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (release date July 21, 2007) follow that link through to the standard edition, or check out the deluxe edition and pre-order through Amazon.com!
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"Why if I didn't see it with me own eyes..." John Jilkey stood on the main deck of the Bloodhawk ordering the cannons into silence as the spectral, blazing bowsprit of the l'Abattoir broke through the Spanish ship, which was crumbling fast, the bow already dipping below the waves. When the stern followed suit, and the fires had faded so that the strange ship was barely visible, it began to move forward with nary a single sail, and pull alongside the port rails of the 'hawk.

Since the fires had died out, Jilkey wasn't able to see a man on board the decks of the devilish ship, and until he heard familiar voices call out as they came out from below decks cheering, he wasn't sure any of his shipmates were aboard her.

"Captain Pelham!" Jilkey called out upon seeing him, and was filled with relief.

"Captain Jilkey, how fares the Bloodhawk?"

"Not near as bad as she should be, if you hadn't arrived. They were toying with us, and that's why we're afloat still."

"Can you make for Tortuga? I can't see the Governor of Port Royal welcoming you into the dry dock after this little affair."

"Aye! We can get the 'hawk there without difficulty, even should they come looking for us."

The two men shook hands as the ships were made fast together.

"So, I take it you're signing on with l'Abattoir?" Worsley asked, a wry smile on his lips. When Captain Pelham nodded, Worsley introduced himself, "I am, as you no doubt have guessed, the inventor of l'Abattoir, and her master. My former employer saw no reason that his clerk's musings should see light of day; I've been laughed out of the offices of the naval powers. I have seen ships made by the former and those bearing the flags of the latter to the bottom of the sea, and shall continue to do so."

The work aboard was simple, as he sailed the ship himself - man the guns, serving more as marines than sailors. Even shares for all, and that was that. In addition to those who had already served, they took on more crew to bring her to a full complement of sixty men, in addition to the four officers, the captain, and Worsley himself.

As they made the Bloodhawk ready to sail, the first thing they did was raise anchor, and allow l'Abattoir to tow them to sea. Despite the early hour, they could see stirrings ashore, and knew it would not be long before several Navy vessels were sent to investigate, including, most likely, the Alahandra's sister ship. As soon as the 'hawk had sails out, they cut the line and l'Abattoir set out her sails as well, racing from Port Royal before the sun rose over the wreckage of the man o' war.

End of Act I
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Shadowmarch by Tad Williams

Funny, how Tad Williams does a piece about computers, and I just flat out don't like it. My wife, who doesn't work with computers, loves it. I just can't get into it - but this series! This is closer in spirit to his first trilogy - a fantasy piece with absolutely no computers - and I love it.

It gets harder and harder to imagine a world of classical fantasy and still have it stand out as unique from all the other Tolkienesque worlds of classic fantasy. There are a couple of different size folks - dwarves and quarterlings (hey, they're much smaller than halflings...) - but they're nothing like the common rendition. The smallest of the two is really more like the Littles, sans tails. The dwarves are more like the halflings, except they like to dig. And then, there's the elves. These are played out as demons, night creatures. Whereas the first two races are more like man, the elves are completely different - and they're the enemy.

This story is just the opening - not sure if it's going for the tradition trilogy length, or what the scope will be - which is somewhat unfortunate. Because it takes longer to warm up, and has the tales of several different groups interwoven, by the time I become fully emotionally invested, poof, it's over - wait for the next book to come out.

Sometimes, the best plan is to wait for the next book - but then, there are too many series that crumble because people don't jump into them and the publishers look at the cold, hard facts of sales figures before committing to the next book, or the book after that.

So, everyone go out and buy a few copies so we'll convince them to make sure to pick up the next - and quick! - so I can read it! =)
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"Ahoy, l'Abattoir ! Captain Isaiah Pelham, late of the Bloodhawk, and officers, requesting permission to come aboard!" called out Seth Morse, who had been named first mate for their venture.

Worsley leaned over the rail, looking down at the two boats approaching. He dropped a knotted rope. "J-j-just the Captain, p-p-please." He smiled, feeling a bit more comfortable at the unease of the sailors, and at their readiness for trouble, clearly wary of whatever unknown threat was aboard.

Pelham swung over the rail onto the deck, finding it furnished in the same manner as the rest of the ship: clad with somewhat ill-fitting planking, loose underfoot. No other crew was visible in the lamp light, and nothing that could seemingly do any harm. Perhaps the rumours were overstated - but some vague menace still clung to l'Abattoir despite her ragged appearance.

"C-c-c-captain. Welcome to l'Abattoir. I am to understand you are here to sail with us, and not against us?"

Pelham read Worsley as shrewd and intelligent - yet seemingly unarmed. Confidant, despite his nervous mannerisms, despite being dwarfed by the captain's presence.

Worsley smiled at the assessment, ignoring Pelham's hand upon his sword. "In my absence, l'Abattoir will destroy you, as it did the bold men you sent. You will not be her master, but if you stay your hand, you may benefit from her destructive capabilities. I would not ask you to sail to the ends of the earth without an understanding of what she is about."

"Captain!" called the men in the jolly boats - and Pelham turned to see lights flashing further out in the harbour.

The navy holds little love for the Bloodhawk - that looks to be Alahandra, and if you do not act fast, she will destroy the 'hawk and your men )
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"...and you just ran away?" Captain Pelham leaned over Jilkey and the others, his voice carrying over the still night waters from the Bloodhawk's mooring in the outer harbour.

"Aye," John Jilkey, quartermaster of the Bloodhawk said, "Three losses, and not a damn sight of the man. That boat is an infernal machine."

"That it is. L'Abattoir, you said?"

Jilkey nodded, "That is the name beneath the name, if you get my meaning."

"I have heard of the craft before, she seems to be gaining some notoriety, although perhaps now I know why I've heard naught of crew nor captain. For the love of God, I can't see how that little man can manage her on his own." The captain paced back and forth before the remnants of the shore party. "Do you speak French, Jilkey?"

The quartermaster made a face, as if nothing could repel him more... (cut for length) )
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"Hoy! Look! It's our friend from the Eel... why, if he doesn't have 'is very own b-buh-boat!"

Worsley looked down in surprise at the laughing men in the jolly boat - which was off of the Bloodhawk, moored further out in the bay - and, quickly hung a board over the stern.

The men exchanged glances, and, with a nod from their ringleader, the first mate began: "The Falcon, eh? She looks more like a Pigeon, iffen you ask me, eh, Mr. Jilkey?"

"Nay, Jacob... 'tho I knew the boat what bore that nameplate and that isn't she," the great bearded one said, eyes flashing with mirth and an undeniable menace.

The second mate chuckled at their quartermaster's comment... (cut for length) )
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Worsley held the stump of a hand gingerly - as if afraid or disgusted, or both - at arms length and let it slip into the sour smelling harbour waters. He placed his hand back in the lock, the five levers sticky-wet with blood, the sharp teeth hidden within their sheathes, waiting to separate more hands from their owners. With some force, he pressed down on the levers, speaking quite clearly UNLOCK and was rewarded with a clicking and a whirring as the low metal bars that blocked his way swung freely.

"They'll never learn," he tsked as he stepped aboard and saw the handless man, facedown on the deck not far from where he had managed to climb aboard - a good jump towards the bow from the gangway. His head had rolled about ten feet away.

Scene Four

Note: Now that it is going to a wider audience, some explanation is needed: when you see something in capitals it is awaiting translation, most likely into French. At this time, I have made little or no effort to determine what these words - or phrases - will be.
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"There we are lads! To the taverns get ye gone!"

The majority of the crew of the Midnight Maiden needed no further encouragement from their captain. After a resounding cheer, they scrambled ashore and disappeared into Port Royal, to divest themselves of their share of the bounty of their recent voyage.

"Well, Mr. Cobb, what do you make of that?" Ephraim Mor, Captain of the Midnight Maiden, covered the mouth of the ivory pipe in his hands, lit it, and puffed it into life, as he looked at his first mate, and not at the oddly fitted vessel tied up to the berth off their stern quarters.

"I don't like it sirrah, and no mistake. It's no merchant vessel, and its like nothing I've seen in the Spanish nor the English navies. It's bad news, it is." Mr. Cobb glared past his Captain, scrutinizing the deck of the slightly smaller craft.

In addition to the odd lines - sharper, sleeker than the common vessels that plied the waters of the Caribbean regardless of intent, it looked built for a limited number of purposes: to go fast and to hit hard.

Almost like to a schooner in proportion... (cut for length) )
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by Everett A Warren

started November 30, 2006

A mouse among cats is a furtive creature. A nervous creature. A meal.

"Away w' ye!" scowled the tavern master, a heavy jowled, heavy accented, heavy bodied gorilla of a man. Still and all, perhaps the least dangerous one in the room save for the object of his scorn.

"B-b-b-buh-but I do have business here," replied the mouse to the cat, poking his thin-rimmed spectacles back up the thin line of his nose, his voice thin and fragile, like a delicate wine glass set upon a bar amongst overflowing tankards of ale.

"Is that business you have here, good sir, or b-b-b-buh-business!" guffawed the one sitting beside him - no housecat, this one, but a lion, full of mane and wilder than any king of the jungle might hope to be. His companions roared in laughter, lifting high their ale for the jest and for the good natured slap that nearly broke the poor mouse's back.

Perhaps he was not even a mouse: a mere insect, who crawled away as their good humour overflowed and he was no longer its target.

Charles Stefan Worsley stood quickly upon making the door, leaving the noise of the tavern behind him, slinking as best he could down to the docks.

Scene Two


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