Building My Empire
This particular story takes place of the Forty Isle, where the Gwion live. I've always wanted to write a pirate story. The story below takes place in a larger story, and it is another character study as I work to develop the main character Minali who I find to be an interesting character.
"Oh to be at sea now that summer's arrived," a lazy male voice drawled. "Captain?" Qillaq's voice turned slightly petulant at the end of the n.
"Aye, Captain," one of the other crew members, a man in his thirties with short-cropped blue hair. For some strange reason, he had the sobriquet, Red. "The sea be calling." He cocked his hand to his ear. "Can't you hear the lonesomeness, Captain? Surely, your heart isn't stone."
The captain turned, crossed her arms and smirked. "When we were out at sea, you wanted land."
"We wanted booze," Qillaq corrected. "And better food."
"I heard that," Hisham, the ship's chef said from his spot by the barbeque pit. He turned and pointed a ladle at the sniper. "You'll be happy for my food once out at sea."
"I'm always happy for your food because it's all we have." Qillaq drew in a long breath. "And that smells divine."
Minali, as the captain was called, shook her head. "Very well." She tossed a rolled map onto the table, and it unrolled to reveal the location therein. "This is our next place."
The lead members of her crew, eight in total, gathered around the table. Of the nine members, only two were female - the captain and the doctor - who happened to be friends from childhood. Now the doctor looked up, a mixture of fear and excitement glazing her brown eyes. "That's a big catch, Minali."
"Dayo," Qillaq muttered, "of course it's a big catch. Our captain doesn't go after small fry."
"One of the Nine Lords of the Sea, though," Red said. He whistled.
"I figured she would go after the biggest one," Qillaq surmised, lighting his cigarette. He blew out the first puff of smoke. "Still, going after are current lord is important enough." He looked to his captain. "Not that you ever bowed your head to him."
"No need," Minali admitted. "First, though, we have to take out a few members, and this is how we plan about it."
Two hours later, they broke to gather the needed supplies. A few items only the captain could find, and to that end, she went to one of the best scavengers in the city. "Minali," Toad croaked. He had been in a fight as a young man, and lost his melodic voice. He could, however, still talk. "What do you need?"
"I need this placed onto an armband," she said, handing him a dull looking stone. "It's supposed to bring be good luck, but I can't wear it around my neck or on my wrist."
Toad studied the jewel. "I can have it ready in an hour if you wait."
Minali nodded her head once and went to sit in the coffee shop Toad had attached to the jewelry business. Technically, the coffee shop brought in the money providing him the needed revenue to do his dream of being a jeweler, but those who knew him said the coffee shop was the side business.
Truth was, Toad was a horrible jewelry designer, but to adjust, fix and repair, there was none better.
A man entered the coffee shop. He wore blue trousers, a gray shirt and a white coat. Only the Navy dressed that way in this weather. Turning her body away from the door, Minali waited. It would be her luck to run into a navy captain when she was about ready to leave to take on the Nine Lords of the Sea. There was no love lost between the Navy and the Lords. All in all, the two seemed bent on antagonizing each other to death, but if there was anyone who could stop the Nine Lords, the Navy thought itself quite capable.
"Hello. Don't see too many beauties in this part of town," the navy captain greeted.
Minali sipped her coffee.
The captain sat down. "The name's Ronen. You?"
Minali set the coffee mug on her table and smiled. "Nilami."
"That's an unusual name."
"I thought so. Many people would remember it."
Ronen leaned forward. "Now, Ronen's not so common around here. Me, I like my name. It makes sense. It's good, strong, and honest. Like me." He paused, cocking his head. "I suppose you like good, strong, honest men?"
"If he's in the Navy or not."
Preening, Ronen leaned to show off his captain's star. "I happen to be in the Navy."
"Really?" Minali teased. "Are you new here?"
"Just arrived about a month ago."
"What are you doing?"
"I was assigned The Charger."
"That's a good ship; a bit slow."
"Fastest ship in the world. No one can match her."
"Him? Ships are always female."
"I've always found men are faster than women." She shrugged. "The only time a man wants a fast woman is when he wants her naked."
Ronen laughed. "Good point."
Minali rolled her eyes and reached for her coffee.
"Are you fast?"
"Not in the least."
"Suppose you're here for a new start," Ronen continued, unfazed by her comment. "Most people are. You a teacher? No," he self-corrected. "You strike me as a shop-keeper." He nodded around them. "Your place?"
Ronen nodded. "Looks like a good place to work."
"I don't work here. I'm working on other things."
"Probably marriage ... A beautiful woman like you. Right? So single or taken?"
"You are a fast one.” She sipped her coffee then leaned forward. “What does it have to do if I'm single or taken?"
Ronen mirrored her position. "Depends if I should visit the coffee shop."
"You like the coffee?"
"But, if you're here it makes it more beautiful. What do you do?"
"This and that."
At that moment, Toad entered. "Here's your band," he greeted after a passing glance at Ronen. "Enjoying your coffee, Captain?"
"I am. Thank you." Ronen ignored Toad and turned to Minali. "So, you never answered my question," the captain pressed. "Single or taken."
Toad coughed as Minali rose. "Neither," Minali explained, reaching into her pocket to pay Toad. "I'm building my empire."