This is a short piece from a longer story I have in mind. Tell me what you think, and don't spare my feelings. I need to know if this is good or bad, if you want more, and what I need to improve. Release your inner demon and criticise.
The fog curled out of the metallic sea like kraken tentacles. The clouds above were flat and rough like pencil lines. The waves were dark lead grey. They smacked listlessly against the sides of the ship, green highlights glinting occasionally.
“You’re lucky you can’t see this,” Fae muttered.
She used the damp edge of her sleeve to smear condensation around on the small porthole. The glass was thick enough to be tinted blue-green, and cheap enough that she couldn’t really see out of it anyway, but there wasn’t much else to do. Look at me, she thought. Reduced to rubbing portholes. It’s amazing how far I’ve fallen. Just two days ago I was pulling splinters off the wall.
She sighed loudly and slumped over, sliding down the wall and flattening herself against the floor. The chains made a god awful noise. Whenever she slumped over dramatically they wore holes in her back.
Fae ground her teeth.
“Give up,” she muttered at the chains. “I will never surrender to rusty metal!”
She glanced at Torano. He just sat, head down. Fae sighed loudly and sat up again, rubbing her back.
“Really,” she said. “Your blindness is a gift. It’s mind numbingly boring around here. I’m getting dumber by the minute.”
“I know you’re trying to help,” Torano said. “But shut up.”
“I even set that one up for you,” Fae said. She slumped back on floor. “Disabled people. You can’t live with ‘em and they can’t live without you.”
Torano turned and glared her direction. His eyes didn’t focus, considerably undermining his glaring capabilities
“You know you love me,” Fae said. She punched him lightly on the shoulder. He jumped. “Sorry,” she said. They sat in silence for several seconds. “What would make you feel better?”
“Being able to see,” he said.
Fae went to punch him again, blind freak out or not. He put up his hand and caught her fist.
“Hey!” Fae said. “Look! You’re getting your blind super powers of perception! Finally you too can sense people’s facial expressions and know their deepest secrets by the resonance of their hearts!”
Torano punched her back, actually putting his shoulder behind it, and Fae pushed his arm around her, directing his fist away from the boxes stacked beside her.
“Jerk,” she said.
“Bully,” he said. “Picking on the blind.”
“Punching a Norian. That’s racist.”
“I’m filling you with the righteous fear that leads to salvation.”
Fae tried to laugh but she choked on it. “I’m laughing because I’m filled with rage, “ she croaked.
“Anyway. Really. What would make you happy?”
Torano’s head dropped again. “Leaving.”
Fae jumped up. The chains clattered violently and hit her in the knee. She winced. “Aish. Let’s go.”
He lifted his head.
“This is another of your illy planned ventures,” he said. “Like the one that got us kidnapped in the first place.”
“Nah, I have a plan this time,” she said.
Fae shook her head. “Nope. I have an actual, honest-to-goodness plan. Well, the plan isn’t honest. You can’t be a pirate with honest plans. It undermines your piratey-ness. And what does honest-to-goodness mean anyway? But as plans go this one is of honest plan material, not the fake plan material which I am often apt to use.”
Torano shrugged and shoved himself up off the floor. “Aish. Let’s go.”
Fae grabbed his hand and put it on her elbow. “Don’t trust your footing,” she said. “There’s junk everywhere.”
Torano paused and cocked his head to the side. “Chains?” he asked.
“Oh, they were stapled to the deck with this giant metal thing that I pulled out in a fit of rage like two hours ago. I was too lazy to move them out of the way when I slumped down in hopeless despair, and I appear to be wrapped in them.”
They made it to the ladder, and Fae closed her eyes and listened. She couldn’t hear anything. Not even faintly. She cracked open an eye and found Torano staring over her shoulder, eyebrow raised.
“Torano what are you doing.”
He turned to face her. “I am regarding you sarcastically if not accurately with a dry humorous expression of mild mocking because you’re trying to hear things while breathing loud enough to snuff out candles several rooms away.”
“Torano, did you honestly just use the words mild and mocking together?”
“Besides, we’ve already affirmed I have blind superpowers.”
“We’ve talked about this. We’ve talked about this before Torano. Alliteration is not cool. You’re not cool.”
“Listen, can you hear it? It’s the sound of candles, several rooms away, going out. Is that the smell of rage?”
“Torano, no. No no. You can’t make jokes. I’m banning you from joke making.”
“We aren’t moving,” he said.
“And here I thought we were running.”
“The boat’s not moving. We’ve dropped anchor, and there’s a lot of movement up there,” Torano said. “Probably a cargo drop. They’re selling us or transferring us to another ship. After dark.”
“Makes sense,” Fae said. “We can take advantage of that.”
Torano nodded. “Can’t run now. We’ll have twice the men chasing us.”
Fae started snapping her fingers. “How about we take out everyone on this ship, scuttle it, trick the buyers on board then take their ship out of here while this one sinks into oblivion.”
Torano shrugged. “If our assumptions are correct, sure.”
“Eventually we have to take down everyone on this ship.” Fae said. “That’s something we’re solid on.”
Torano nodded. “Plan?”
“Distract and attack. You distract, I attack.”
“Is it because I’m blind?”
“No, it’s because I’m Norian. Incoming.” Fae punched him in the shoulder.
Torano let her hit him. “Punching blind people is wrong,” he said.
“What can I say, I’m a sinner.”
“My plan is simple,” Fae said. “I’m going to take the contents of these crates, put it in a sack, and sneak up into the rigging. Then you’re going to come out and start running around and screaming and drooling. They’ll all come out of the cabin, and I’ll throw the stuff in the sack at them,” she smiled. “Then we stuff them in a closet.”
“Um,” Torano said.
“I knew you’d like it. Stay here,” Fae said.
“Drooling?” Torano asked. She threw the dragging lengths of chain over her shoulder and left him by the ladder.
The storage area was a mess. Boxes were scattered everywhere. Whoever stocked the ship had been an idiot. Or a genius. It was easy to hide contraband when your ship had its own ecosystem.
Fae snapped her fingers. “Ah shucks,” she said. “Those smugglers sure know how to make a mess.” She stuffed several oranges and a disassembled chair into some torn netting.
There was no one else in the entire lower deck.
“It’s good to know we’re being guarded,” Fae muttered.
“Eh?” Torano was standing by the wall.
“No one here. Everyone’s up top.”
Torano took a deep breath. “Fae, listen,” he said. “If you leave me, you could get out of here easily. I can’t fight, I can’t run. I barely function as a distraction. Get into one of the long boats. I’ll run around and make noise, you row away. It’ll be a cinch. You’re guaranteed freedom.”
“Shut up,” Fae said. “I need you. Leaving you would be the worst decision I’d ever make. Your usefulness far outweighs how incredibly blind you are, and I mean that in every definition of the word. I’m an incredibly self interested person so don’t worry about me lying. You aren’t a burden you idiot. Come on. I have a plan.”
Torano nodded. He started tapping the wall. “Are you sure you don’t want to just draw them down here one by one and hit them over the head with a chair?” he asked.
“Well, we’d have to build the chair first,” Fae said, glancing at her net of throwable objects. “The idea did cross my mind.”
Torano looked at her.
“Don’t make me ask why your plan is better,” he said.
“I don’t have a strong reason.”
“If we go up we could be spotted. That would ruin our plan,” he said.
“Yep,” Fae said.
“If I get caught, or fall overboard, that would ruin our plan.”
“If they hid, and you couldn’t hit them from the mast, that would ruin our plan.”
“Yeah. I know.”
“So why not just hide down here, make some noise, and ambush them one by one?”
Fae sighed. “I’m not good at fighting in close quarters. If something goes wrong we’re screwed, and with these chains, it’s too big a gamble.”
Torano tapped on his leg.
“Okay,” he said. “Then I guess we’ll start with your plan and go from there.”
Fae half smiled. “Yeah. Okay. Ready?”
“What’s the signal?”
“Probably people shouting,” she said. “But I’ll yell your name when I need you.”
“Fae,” Torano said. “If we don’t make it, and one of us dies, I’m glad you’re my friend.”
Fae couldn’t actually smile, but she tried. “Yeah,” she said. “I saved your blind butt didn’t I.”
“Aish. Let’s go,” she said.
Fae climbed the ladder, her sack bumping behind her. She shoved up the trap door and jumped out, discovering their guard.
“Hey,” Fae said, knocking him over and out with her sack in a fantastic pirouette.
“Incoming,” she whispered to Torano, pushing the man into the hole with her foot. The fog flowed down the trap door and Fae was invisible.
She heaved her sack onto her shoulder and walked to the mast. There was a huge gash that cut deep into the wood, more than halfway. It was badly filled with something that looked like burnt toast. The thing would probably come down the moment they unfurled the sails.
“That doesn’t look safe,” Fae murmured.
She set the sack down and pulled her knife. She cut the shrouds, the last of the mast’s support, and hefted her sack.
The wind started blowing then. She looked out to see just as the fog blew back like stage curtains to reveal a second ship. It was smaller, sleeker. A sloop. There were new faces on board too. Government officials, used to land by the way they swayed and spilled across the deck and up the rope ladders. Fae smiled wolfishly when they looked at her with dead eyes.
There were also three sailors, ten feet away and gaining. They started when they saw her.
“Torano!” Fae turned and shouted at the trap door. “We’re in trou–” she turned in time to get floored by a punch. There were little black dots, flickering with silver. She turned her head and they wavered after her.
The deck was so smooth. It felt like the soles of countless shoes, soft and dusty. Someone had a grip on her shoulders. Fae blinked. She was being hauled across the deck. Torano was behind her. She shook her head to clear it.
“One,” she said. They dragged her and Torano over closer by the men. She managed to get her feet beneath her in a way which supported standing. The captain was talking. “Two.”
They stared, and she felt figures piling on top of her head. Millions? It didn’t matter. But she should be at least more than Torano. “Three.”
They were holding her, one on each side. Torano just had one holding him up. All men with big rough hands.
Fae jerked left and slammed her head up under the sailor’s chin. They both dropped away stunned, but she managed to drop away and down, with the slightly raised heel of her boot, on the other sailor’s foot. He yelped.
The first sailor swayed forward, punching at her, and Fae ducked and hit him hard in the solar plexus with her elbow. He fell back, and she slammed the other way, with the arch of her forehead on the other sailor. Torano was standing, his man flat on the deck.
More were coming their way.
Fae grabbed Torano’s shoulders and spun him toward the sloop. “That way. The boat came earlier than we thought. Secure it for departure or do whatever you can, I’m going in.”
“No,” Torano said. “I’ll charge them, you go. We won’t make this together. Either I die or we both die.”
“Shut up. We’re gonna do this together. Either we both live, or we both die,” Fae said. “If you try to pull any heroics to get me out while you stay here and die like an idiot, remember you’re blind, so it ain’t gonna happen. Get moving.”
She brought her knee up into the chin of the first sailor as he rose, and he went down and out. Fae breathed, let everything out, and grabbed her netting. There was stuff still scattered over the deck, and she grabbed a few heavy lump. The enemy reached her and she charged swinging her sack.
It had a nice weight to it.
“Torano! Secure the bloody ship!” she yelled, closing her eyes and swinging hard. A man went down. “Go!”
The sunset was really nice. With all the fog gone it shone brilliant yellow. The ocean was a stained glass window, with heaven pouring through it from a wrent in the sky as the sun dropped.
There were too many, and she had no idea what she was doing. I didn’t think this through.
There was a weird noise. Not quite like drumming. More biting.
“Fae! Look out!”
She turned. The mast was falling. The mainmast and all of its baggage, was falling. Toward her. It fell graceful as a dancer dipping.
She leapt sideways, and everything flashed bright, bright white.
When she could see again she had a mast on her leg. “Ow,” Fae tried to mutter ironically. She screamed.
“Fae!” Torano yelled. “Get on the boat and get out of here!”
“I’m not leaving you!” Fae yelled. Breathing felt like exploding.
“Why not! I’m obviously worth more than you. They’ll be fine without your bounty.”
“Shut up and get over here,” she shrieked.
“Faelynn,” Torano said.
“What?” she snapped. She grit her teeth, then bit her lip hard until it started bleeding. Pain to distract from pain. She could barely see through tears. Her foot and calf were completely crushed. The bones were probably powder.
“Promise me that if I ever hold you back or endanger you, you will leave me behind.”
“This is not a good time for you to feel deeply insecure!” she shouted. She turned. He looked like death, with an axe in his hand. “I promise!” her voice broke when she almost started sobbing from the pain in her leg, which sent the wrong message.
“How can I trust you?” he asked.
Fae took a deep breath and blinked hard. “Torano, throw me that axe,” she said.
He threw. It landed close enough she could grab it.
“God help me,” she whispered, and slammed the hatchet down just below her knee. She screamed.
“Fae!” Torano yelled. She couldn’t see. It hurt so bad.
Torano was holding her.
“There’s blood everywhere,” he said. “But I can’t see. What happened!”
“I promise if you ever hold me back or endanger my life, I will cut you off, just like this,” she lied.
Torano inhaled sharply, then ripped her scarf off of her head and wrapped her stump in it, swearing.
“I’m going to pass out now,” she said.
It was clear. The clouds were pushed back to the edges of the sky, heavy blue watercolour lines. Fae sat up. Torano was leaning against the mast.
“Hey,” he said.
“Your blind superpowers increase?” she asked.
“You have metal chimes in your hair which wake the dead every time you move,” he said.
“If you ever do something that stupid again I will kill you myself,” he said.
Fae looked around. The ship was small. She liked it.
“What happened to our pursuers?”
“While you were flinging oranges at a bunch of cutthroats I hammered something big and metal through the side of their ship.”
“You can thank me later. So. What now?”
“Well, I think I need a peg leg,” Fae said. She looked at her bloody stump and winced. “And a doctor.”
Torano stood up and walked over to the tiller. He pushed it left. “Aish. Let’s go.”