[Week 6] [P] Splice Willow <Prologue: Bad Luck & Cards>

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[Week 6] [P] Splice Willow <Prologue: Bad Luck & Cards>

Post  CapnWillow on Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:19 am

The fat man on the far side of the table had started to sweat. Willow watched the bead of perspiration make its erratic way down his head, bumping over the thick folds of skin and fat where the man’s bald shiny head met the rest of his corpulent body. The body in question was perched on the edge of a chair that seemed far too small to support his weight. Rolls of flesh hung over the sides where his backside met the seat. The man reached up to brush the sweat away; a mistake.

Willow could feel the shift in the room, the change in the flavour of the air, which before had carried scents of beer and frustration. There now floated a scent of triumph, like that first droplet of blood a shark detects. There was more than one shark in the waters of this establishment. Most of them were sat round the same table as the fat man, and they had scented the kill. Willow could see it in the almost imperceptible shift in the way they set their shoulders. He felt himself shift ever so slightly forward in his seat along with them. He was sat across the room from the poker game, but in the absence of anything else interesting in this dump of a place was following it closely. The fat man had started off well, winning several hands and building up quite a collection of chips. They were stacked in front of him now, monuments to greed. The other players around the table were poorer in chips, but were richer in skill. They’d been playing him from the start, letting him get his money up, winning the odd hand here and there to make it at least look like they were trying. The fat man had been completely taken in, caught up in this unexpected run of good luck he was having. Even so, they’d nearly lost him. He’d nearly taken his winnings and left earlier. The decision he made to stay and keep playing was on the surface a bad move, but it had probably saved his life. If he’d left with his ‘winnings’ he would have shortly met with an unfortunate accident on the street. As it was, he was going to lose his money, that was inescapable, but he would keep his life. As long as nothing went horribly wrong anyway.

Shaking himself a little, Willow stood up and headed for the bar. His footsteps were loud above the background of murmurs and mutterings from other patrons in their respective corners. Sat there in the shadows, clutching their poison of choice they whispered to each other, the majority focused on the same game that occupied Willow’s attention, but a few discussing their lives, problems with other pirates, Marine officers and sea-kings.

Spotting the huge silhouette of his crewmate Galeo, Willow walked over and patted him on the shoulder.

“The Cap’n was asking for you” rumbled Galeo.

Willow nodded, then turned and scanned the rest of the bar, looking for Pelew, the Captain of the Scarlet Chance. Over in the corner, secreted away in a booth with his first mate and helmsman, he spotted Pelew. Pelew’s hat, a very distinctive bicorn with a huge vividly red feather stuck in it, was resting on the table in front of the Captain. The 3 men were veterans, the Captain impeccably dressed in his customary red velvet suit, the first mate in a long leather greatcoat that he’d neglected to shed in the musty heat of the room and the steersman in a sleeveless white shirt. The helmsman, Arthur, had huge burly arms tanned a dark brown by long hours fighting with the ships wheel in all weathers and seas. He’d covered them in tattoos, each one with a different story behind it from his long and varied career. The first mate, Ludwig, was tall and gangly. He was a harsh man. He worked the crew hard and was unforgiving of incompetence. Willow had seen him bawling out crewmates for imagined slights and had felt the lash of Ludwig’s language himself a few times. The Captain was resplendent, not a crease in his velvet apparel, golden buttons polished to perfection, glinting occasionally in the dim light. His white shirtsleeves blossomed forth from the rich velvet like white flowers, incredibly intricate lacework ghostlike in the dark.

“I heard you were looking for me Captain” Willow said quietly. He had a large debt of gratitude to the Captain for taking him into his crew to begin with, he also respected him as a leader. Pelew had earned the respect and loyalty of his crew with his cunning, his sense of honour and his vicious fighting skills. The newest crewmembers treated the sometimes foppish captain with well-hidden contempt. Up until they saw him literally take apart 15 Marines and their captain on his own that is.

“Ah, Willow wasn’t it? Sit ye down sir, sit ye down” said Pelew, gesturing to the empty seat next to Arthur, who shifted a little to make more room. Willow nervously sat in the indicated spot. As he did so, there was a loud commotion across the room, the sound of wood being thrown back and splintering, accompanied by a loud yell of anger, several fleshy sounds, a whimper of pain and the slump of a large fleshy corpse hitting the ground. Willow threw a glance back to the game he’d been watching earlier and saw the bulky body of the fat man leaking ruby essence onto the floor. The card sharps had melted into the darkness, blades wet and money safe in their respective pockets. The fat man had evidently noticed he was being taken for a ride and had reacted with anger. A mistake. Looks like things had god horribly wrong after all.

Willow turned back to the table and his Captain.

“I was thinking Willow; you look like a man suited to a little more responsibility. A promotion perhaps...”

[1000 words]
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CapnWillow

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Join date : 2012-06-26

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