Captain Amia, now of the Valencia, sat up in the crow’s nest of her new ship, watching the last of the crew board. From her perch, she could see most of the city, but not nearly as much as she may have on a larger ship. Smoke still billowed from some areas of Chariot, especially closer to the fort where most of the cannons had focused on the last attack. There was movement all over town as people tried to salvage their homes or businesses. While the port usually had a lively feel to it, this morning it felt much more sombre. People were afraid of the livelihoods they may lose to the Marrans.
It came as a surprise to Amia that Avoir put together the crew so quickly. Barely a full day had passed since the last, move devastating yet, attack. The best of the best, he said he’d given her. She didn’t doubt it as she watched the crew file across the boarding plank; she could recognize some that she knew by reputation. However, the mission Avoir was sending them on was more surprising to her than his connections, impressive though they were. A legend, she thought. He has us chasing a legend.
The Raven Queen’s Crown. No one even knew what it granted, other than “immense power.” That was lost to time. Some people speculate. Perhaps it grants magical powers, like the Persephane Dagger does. Or perhaps control over ravens, or the dead, like necromancy. If it does exist, the one thing that’s certain is that it’s power will come with a price. Amia knew the crew was aware of what they signed on for, but she still wondered why on earth they agreed to it. Money, perhaps. Avoir had plenty of that. In her case, Avoir was lucky she trusted his judgement.
As about half of the crew was boarded on the ship, the captain adjusted her hat and swung herself over the railing of the crow’s nest. There was no ladder; she climbed down the rigging. She held a beam above her head with one foot resting in a loop of rope, hovering above the crew.
“All right, everyone! Get settled into your quarters!” she called, loud enough for the whole crew to hear her. “We set sail as soon as possible.”
One crew member was boarding the ship with a bottle of rum in hand. Her red, wavy hair was blowing in the light summer breeze, and she looked absolutely appalled to be awake at such an early hour. She carried a small sack, though most of her supplies was being loaded on board in a box. Kerris, along with the captain, first mate, quartermaster, and usually a medic of some sort would have their own private quarters aboard. Luckily, they didn’t need to prepare to take on much inventory besides their own rations and belongings. The captain’s room was of course the largest, but hers was second to it, as she shared it with all the documents and charts necessary for what they were going to do. She had already been aboard once to check it out.
She, hungover and unhappy, briefly avoided the crew to head to her quarters right away. Aware she would need to be back above decks to set sail soon, she took only a moment to unpack her belongings around her tiny cot in the corner of the room. The desk she would have to work at was larger than it. There were a few bookshelves covered on the walls, and a large window at the back. She walked over to the basin in the corner of the room and splashed the cool water on her face. She felt a bit more awake, but her head was still throbbing.
After taking one more mouthful of rum from the bottle to stave off the head pains, Kerris exited her rooms, locking the door behind her. The quartermaster and the captain both also had keys to it; and, she supposed, it was a flimsy piece of wood if someone really wanted to get in there. But regardless, the room was full of sensitive and important documents – and money.
As she emerged up the steps onto the deck, the sun glared in her eyes and she cringed. She sat down on a barrel near the helm, waiting for others who, unlike her, were boarding for the first time and would need another minute to find a bunk or their rooms.