"Poet, then." Sir Evan took the Weedsman's hand and shook it, sealing their agreement. "An unusual name for an unusual hunter, I suppose. May the gods watch over you and grant you victory, in any case."
There were more murmurs of derision from the town's assembly but nothing stated outright, at least until Poet's question was asked. Begrudgingly, the double-chinned man whom Poet had so thoroughly trounced grumbled for a moment before answering. "...Those that could travel largely have. I would put the number still in Crest at... hrm... perhaps twenty, at most. Why? What do you intend for them, Weedsman?"
Cordell, meanwhile, had merely nodded to Poet's words and half walked, half wobbled her way to the door -- how much of it was acting and how much genuine drunkenness was anyone's guess, given how her behavior had wavered between utterly inebriated and sharp as a tack during the whole of their encounter.
(OOC: Sorry there isn't much to respond to -- got a bit of writer's block at the moment. >_< )
"I'll need to ask them questions about the beast - when it first appeared, any local folk remedies that may have been used to ward it off, that sort of thing," Poet explained, at first not deigning to look in the direction of the double-chinned oaf who had seemingly made it his goal now to sound as disdainful as possible of the Weedsman as he possibly could, if only as a matter of principle for the sake of his bruised pride, "Usually the elders of a village or town tend to be the ones to remember things like that," at that Poet's gaze shifted and looked squarely at the man, his voice carrying its own disdain, "unlike the 'forward-thinking' men of younger years who dismiss them as folly."
With that, the hired hunter turned and made a waving gesture towards the table of men, carelessly tossed over his shoulder, "I'm off, then. I'll find my way around on my own," and with that he disappeared out of the door, letting the heavy thing swing shut behind him. He heard the sound of angry shouting from within, but did not care to listen - he had a job to do.
"Sir Evan, I demand that you reconsider this!" cried out Marvolo, his double-chin wagging like that of a flustered bulldog's flaps in tandem to his head swinging left and right to his fellow merchants, "You agree with me, do you not?! This, this.. vermin.. this weed.. we need to drive him out. He'll take all our coin and coffers, despite what he says, and leave us destitute. You cannot allow it to happen! I will not allow it to happen!"
"C-Calm now, Marvolo," spoke another merchant, thin and gangly, with an assortment of gaudy rings on his fingers, and a severe overbite, "We can simply drive him out after he has taken care of the problem for us, no?"
A murmur of concurring nods trickled around the table.
"But.. I hear that Weeds do not take kindly to being unpaid," remarked another merchant, adjusting spectacles, "There are tales.."
"And tales is what they are!" Marvolo grunted, his face reddening all the more, "He's but a man - and if he does not accept our ways.. well, then a few arrows will sort that out, won't they?"
Another murmur trailed the table's rim, though less concurring now, and more concerned with the talk of murdering their hired Weedsman. Finally, one of the town's leaders spoke. Though not old enough to count amongst the town's elderly lot, he was still getting on in his years. He spoke level and calm, his voice rough with the sound of many years out on the waters, "Careful, Marvolo" he spoke pointedly, "Though your trade is important to this town, you do not speak for it altogether - nor are you of this town, or know its ways in depth.." He paused, and his eyes turned to one of the candles set upon the table, staring into the flame, "You've not seen what lies beneath the waters beyond here. There are things there, dark things, dreadful and full of woe.."
The man's gaze broke from the candle's light, his brow furrowed and he looked about the table, "But I'd brave those things a dozen times over, if it meant not to draw the ire of a Weedsman."
"We are not savages." It was Sir Evan who spoke up now, fixing his disapproving gaze on Marvolo. Though not fierce, Evan's look was one that spoke clearly that he was not to be trifled with. He shook his head in disapproval. "I don't claim to know how things are done in the circles of the merchant houses, but an oath struck with a Templar is binding. Were I you, I would reconsider -- is not, after all, the future prosperity of Crest of far more vital import than the prosperity of its present? Would you really sell away the futures of your children and grandchildren to afford yourselves some meager comfort from a passing storm?" He placed one hand upon the "war table". "For that is what I seem to be hearing."
"Even if mere arrows could down the one you now wager against Lhamorourix -- and do consider that notion carefully--" He swept an appreciative glance towards the older man who'd spoken against doing harm to Poet before looking again to the portly chin. "You would, at best, be trading one woe for another. For what if the day comes when another monster comes to claim Lhamorourix's hunting grounds? Who will you turn to then? Another Weedsman, who doubtless will have heard how well you honored your bargain with his fellow? Perhaps you intend to loose archers against the pirate woman as well -- who, then, will you bargain with? Common mercenaries? Perhaps you think striking bargains with Baron Black or House Maggisa will do less to damage your coffers? I doubt it."
Standing upright and picking his helmet up from the table, Evan surveyed the room with a wide sweeping gaze. "If your intent, oh noble patrons of Crest, is to use your defenders and then put them in the ground... you had best be prepared to do the same to me. For I shall honor my arrangement with the Weedsman, and the pirate captain -- and, fear not, hold them to the bounds of their terms with you and I as well. Consider well whether you wish to risk the support and protection of the Citadel in the course which you pursue."
And with that Evan, too left.
Cordell had found her way back to the Red Corsair in something of a tipsy state, but that was nothing new. Tendrils of unearthly haze, gray in color but shot through with wisps of pale green and blue like momentary flickers of unearthly flame, reached out for her as she strode up the gangplank, materializing first a pair of hands and then the ethereal, translucent body of a ghost sailor supporting the swaying pirate queen.
"Welcome back, Cap'n. Purloined a bit of drink while a'land, 'ave we?" The phantom chuckled.
" 'Ey, watch where th' 'ands go Harker, or I'll 'ave ye in 'th brig fer th' big fish-hunt." There was no edge to Cordell's words and a faint grin on her lips.
"Now that ain't fair, Cap'n!" The ghost pirate had her up on deck now and gingerly released her to her own balance. "Ye know we's all lookin' forward t' this."
"Aye, dun' worry Hark." Cordell waived absent-mindedly to him over her shoulder, turning her head just enough to cast a wicked grin his way. "Them landies' going t' cough up th' coin fer th' beast an' th' nest, so ther'll be plenty t' be done. And," She paused a moment. "When th' gardener comes, lemme know. He'll be th' one has three swords."
"... Gardener, Cap'n?"
Last Edit: Oct 11, 2015 12:05:38 GMT -7 by Nascent
His knuckles rapped against the wooden door, as Poet looked over his shoulder in brief passing, casting a glance towards the phantom ship, visible from the house he now stood before. It hadn't been hard to find, a few questions here or there, a few knocks on some other doors to ask for directions. He'd managed to narrow it down to a handful of elders who might be able to assist him, and decided to start with the nearest one.
"Who's there?" crooned an old woman's voice from behind the door, while the sound of a latch being undone could be heard faintly, "If it's your prankings again, Batty, I'll have your mother box your ears - honestly, what sort of lad are you, bothering a poor old woman like this all the time, I--" Her speech fell short as her eyes, half-lidded and tired, caught on the hooded man. The woman looked to be into her seventh decade of life, or thereabouts. Her hands were old and worn from a life of sewing nets, with the drab, grey clothing that seemed to so frequently accompany those who lived in the gloom of a fishing settlement. Her hair tied back into a knot, allowed a few locks to fall over her dull, green eyes. When Poet looked at her face, he could make out the faint hint of freckles amongst the wrinkled and pale skin. She tensed at his gaze, and then frowned, "Do I know you? If not, what business have you, pestering me, looking like a ruffian out of the woods?" Her voice had turned sour like vinegar, when before it had been merely tinged with the grumpiness of old age. "Relax, old woman," Poet replied with his own souring tone of voice, "If I wanted whatever pittance you had lying around, I'd hardly have knocked, would I?"
His remark didn't seem to stem the barbed look the woman was casting his way, but neither did she say anything further, so Poet merely took that as her waiting for him to state his business, and no doubt hurry off and leave her be, "I'm here about the sea beast. I'm a Weedsman," he stated plainly, "I was told you could tell me a thing or two about the creature." "A Weedsman, is it? The beast's been around since I was but a young woman - never did any of your lot come around to deal with it when it first showed and stole from us, hrmf!" "As far as I know, you never put out a contract on it until now--" "Bah! Coin, that's all your kind are after," the woman spat at his feet. Poet grimaced and clenched his hands into fists, reminding himself of the matter at hand. "You said it had been around since you were a young woman," he instead deflected, trying to move the conversation onto a better topic than the usual Weedsman prejudices, "How long ago, exactly?" "Long ago enough that I still had my scarlet locks," the woman snorted in derision, though Poet wasn't so sure that it was him she was deriding so much as it was the passing of the years, "I don't know, Weedsman, perhaps fifty or so winters past now? Maybe more." "So it's not a creature the town has always known, or anything of that sort." "Of course not, what on earth makes you think we'd choose to live with such a beast?" The old woman huffed and put her hands on her hips, nose wrinkled in disgust, "Scaly and slimy that it is, like a swamp lizard, near as long as a longboat, I tell you. And the stench of it when it comes out each year, pfeugh! Foul thing should have been put down ages back." "Did you try any folk remedies to drive it off? Things left in the water, or structures?" "Humf! We did, for all the good it did. Beast didn't like the smell of stinkfish - though the thing smelled worse than it by far - but it did us little good. It just moved on to whatever was nearest, even if that meant the men who were out on the water, fishing." "I see, so it eats men as well, then." "Men, fish, my aunt Pernethia's dog when it jumped in for a swim. They say it ate Bimford's horse one of the times it came up on land when there was nought for it to steal out on the waters." "Interesting," Poet ran his hand through his beard, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, "Is there anything else you could tell me about it? Anything at all?" "No, but you may want to ask Bimford," the old woman seemed to have relaxed, though not by a lot, after being allowed to speak her mind, as such. She gave the Weedsman a curious look, and then sighed as if in relent, "You might want to ask Bess. Her husband was attacked by it thirteen winters ago, bit into his leg and near tore it to bits. He survived, the poor fool, but died three years later - sickness got into his leg and finished him off slowly." "Bess, hm?" Poet nodded at that, "I guess I'll go ask her if her husband told her anything before he died. Thanks."
With that, he turned to leave. Three paces off, the old woman barked at him one last time, "Weedsman! You put that bastard under, you hear? Too much suffering, it's caused!"
He didn't stop to respond, but merely kept to walking. He'd have little time to keep investigating before he'd be expected to have a plan ready, after all. "Time to find Bess," he muttered to himself, and trudged onward.
After collapsing in her quarters, Cordell awoke roughly an hour later in a right and proper mess. Half on the bed and half off it, the pirate queen awoke to a sensation of wobbliness that had nothing to do with the undulations of the ship. Everything was a blur as she stumbled to her feet, realizing belatedly that only one boot was where it should be.
"Thrice-damned sonova blasted eel-biter..." Vaguely profane words rolled in a random jumble from her lips as, with arms outstretched to steady herself, the unsteady captain floundered and shuffled first into the edge of her seldom-used but decently impressive looking desk, then down into the floorboards at an altogether awkward angle before somehow managing to make her way to and unlock a small wooden chest near the back of the room. Three swigs from a darkly-colored bottle therein -- an alchemical solution with the smell of a drowned rat and all the potency of a punch in the face -- and a few dry heaves later and the brown-haired swashbuckler could finally see clearly. Getting to her feet came after a few minutes rest slumped next to the chest, during which muttered complaints against the town and the ship and whichever god held dominion over hangovers perforated the quiet, steady backdrop of sea and faintly groaning woodwork. Her legs under her once more and head rapidly clearing, Cordell set about sorting herself and becoming presentable. It would do the crew no favors to see their leader a drunken shambles, after all. "Really need t' learn when t' stop... ugh. Now where's me damned hat?"
Ten minutes later Cordell emerged from her quarters, striding out onto the Red Corsair's deck with as much poise and confidence as any pirate ever born could muster. She was no stranger to the dull throb in the back of her skull that told her she'd overdone it on free drinks around the "war table", nor would it keep her from the needs of the moment... or, for that matter, from doing so again if the opportunity arose. The salty breeze did wonders for her even if the daylight did not, awakening dulled senses and stirring her imagination for the hunt to come.
"Pleasant rest, cap'n?" A haze took shape alongside her, a phantom face with scars and a ragged tricorn forming. The specter floated alongside her as she made her way to the bow and leaned out, closing her eyes and taking a deep, full breath.
"Enough so, I s'pose." She shrugged, then opened her eyes and turned around. "Right. Time fer preparations. Tell Ol' Saltpeter t' reinforce th' hull along th' underbelly an' 'ave supplies ready fer' patchin' us up. Let Jack know I need 'im t' check th' arsenal an' meet me fer plannin'. An'... ask Peasely if'n he knows any good ways t' cook up sea dragon." Cordell smirked. "Jus' fer kicks."
The words came from a now-familiar voice as Poet set out from the old woman's door, hunting his next lead. Sir Evan, freshly departed the tavern-turned-meeting house, strode up to the Weedsman with a friendly tone... and the look, fairly well hidden but perhaps not quite well enough, of someone who'd just spat an unpleasant taste out and was trying to forget it. "Any way I can assist? It... sounded like you weren't exactly warmly received there."
Last Edit: Dec 28, 2015 19:14:24 GMT -7 by Nascent
"You thought that wasn't a warm reception?" Poet cocked his head to the side, the brow above his one good eye quirking upward in bemusement, "Seemed downright lovely compared to most I run into in this line of work," he adjusted his bracers while he spoke, "One time I got snatched by the local guards in a city for not taking off my hood, and then talkin' back to 'em - earned me twenty lashes in the doing so." Finishing with his bracers, he began to walk past the knight, though he did not make a show of dismissing him as he did so, instead speaking over his shoulder in a passive invitation for the knight to follow, if he saw fit to do so. "Another burg tried to accuse me of being in league with a witch who'd been stealing children, refused to pay and then tried to lynch me for good measure."
As he walked, he looked about for the paths the town took, upper and lower, always choosing the ones that took him closer to the houses that rested nearest to the fishing boats resting near the shore. "Suffice it to say, an ornery old woman who doesn't like strangers is hardly the worst treatment I've had to deal with." After a few more paces, he halted, and ran three fingers along his scarred cheek, and then down through his beard, scratching it thoughtfully, and then began to march straight towards one of the nearby houses, knocking on the door. As it creaked open, a middle-aged woman with dark locks and a weathered face that added more years to her than was its due peered out beyond the crack, nervous eyes flitting at once to the scarred man with one eye covered, "Pray, sirrah, I want no trouble."
Evan fell into step with Poet, listening attentively as the Weedsman detailed the far less hospitable treatment he had received in prior encounters. It was no secret that Weedsmen were feared and distrusted, nonetheless the young Templar found that unpleasant taste coming back to him as the inherent injustice in each retelling sank in. So that was the life of a Weedsman... of the vilified outcast, the so-called "necessary evil". Evan searched for words to say, some response appropriate to what Poet had just revealed, and found himself lacking. The only thing that came to mind was something that Sir Gale, his beloved mentor, had said to him once: "Monsters often wear the faces of men, and sometimes men those of monsters".
It seemed a truth Poet was only too well acquainted with.
So in silent reflection Evan followed in Poet's wake until they reached another house, stopping outside its door. This, hopefully, would be where Bess resided. The woman who answered the door looked to have years beyond her seasons, even from what little could be seen through the narrow opening she provided. There was fear there, no question -- fear of Lhamorourix, yes, fear of what may yet come as well, but also the more immediate fear of the scarred man before her. A pang of empathy stuck in Evan's chest, even though the logical part of him knew that Poet would almost certainly just shrug and move on whatever unkindness or dismissal he received here.
"You shall have none from us, I assure you." Evan stepped forward, though still behind Poet, so that the woman could see him better. "My friend here is just looking for information, to help defend the town you see. Can you help us, please?"
Poet looked over his shoulder towards the Templar as he interjected on his behalf. Resisting his usual urge to tell him to mind his own business, wholly aware of his own penchant for starting trouble at times where none was needed - particular not when he had a job to do - he figured it best to let the dice fall first before he reacted to any potential assistance. Provided that this wouldn't result in some manner of favour-exchanging, or skimming off the top of his payment, there really was no cause for getting bent out of shape over someone smoothing things over for him, or at least that's what he reminded himself.. Besides, it wasn't the first time he'd had someone there to take care of such matters for him, as Poet's mind wandered briefly to wonder whatever that old bastard was doing now. Probably getting even more angry than he did at something, or someone. The woman's voice, however, brought him back to the matter at hand.
"Begging your pardon, sirrahs," the woman murmured around the corner of her door, "It's just with the way things are, folk've talk of bandits planning to make their home here after all the able men've left," her eyes wandered down in a dejected, if not defeated, expression, "More and more folk take to the road to seek better fortunes elsewheres." Poet listened, mouth turned to a sour expression as he responded a little flatly, "So why haven't you joined them? Not much for this place of your sea monster finishes everything else off in search of food." "I would," the woman nodded as if to concede the merit in his words, "But my gran can't travel, and I shan't leave her behind for some beast to devour, or some thug to thieve from." The Weedsman nodded in return, but offered no consolidations or false hopes. After all, if the old woman couldn't survive travelling, then who was he to tell the woman to abandon her? Instead, he decided to move the conversation along, "I'm looking for Bess. I hear her husband was attacked by the monster." "Bess? Well, she's not yet left town, no," the woman shook her head, "Although she surely could, with nothing tying her down. She's a stubborn one, I suppose. Won't leave her and Galyn's old house behind, even after all these years." "Galyn was her husband, I take it?" "Aye, died long ago now, he did, but she carried a torch for the man for years after. Took care of his boat, even set out on it herself a few times, up until a few years ago." "I see. Any idea where I might find her house, then?" As he asked, the woman looked to the knight, and then the Weedsman again, her former worry crossing her face once more before Poet pressed the matter, "I just want to talk to her - I need to know if Galyn told her anything about the monster before he passed away." "You plan to kill it then," the woman said, her lips pursed with further concern, though whether it was for the men speaking to her, or the possible reprisal of angering the monster wasn't something Poet could tell. "If possible," Poet frowned, "Though I'd stand a far better chance of it if I knew what I was up against."
The woman paused, thinking on the scarred man's words, before she raised her gaze back from the floor to look at both men, "Down the road, close to the shore. Hers is the house with a wreath hanging upon the door," seeming to not wish to say more than that any longer, the woman ducked her head back inside and closed the door swiftly. After a moment's pause, and as Poet prepared to turn from the door, it opened up a small creak again, as the woman's voice could be heard, "Master Weedsman? ..Please put that beast down. For my gran's sake."
"... These people deserve better." Evan, not necessarily to anyone, spoke after the door closed a second time. He knew his duty here: the Templars wanted the defense of Crest and their interests in it secured, ideally at the hand of any hirelings who would dare to venture the hunt. Not put in those words, of course, but he knew from whom the directive had come and how they thought. There was no intention that Templars intervene directly in so risky an endeavor, but as sympathy for these people swelled in him and mingled with fiery ire at both the beast's menace and the selfish incompetence of the town's leadership Evan was more than willing to damn the intent of his orders to oblivion. The thought had been in the back of his mind for days since his arrival but it crystallized into decision now: he would stand and fight, no matter alongside who, to ensure these people had a future.
His gaze turned towards Poet. If there was hope to be found, it was with he and the pirates. "If it helps, you can consider me at your disposal for so long as this crisis lasts, Poet." His eyes turned towards the direction the old woman had indicated -- the house belonging to Bess was supposed to be close to the docks, and thus the Red Corsair. If she was half what they'd been told then the shadow of a ghost ship would barely give her pause. "I'll not abandon these people, nor sit idly by while others risk their lives to bring it down."
"Well, that's what knights are supposed to do, isn't it?" Poet commented as he turned his gaze towards the direction of Bess' house, "Protect the helpless, fight for truth, justice and glory and all that?" his tone was a little insincere, though he could do little to help that. He'd met plenty of supposed knights in his line of work who were just as keen on abusing their reputation and status to lord it over the common peasant as the next person in power. And many of those same 'brave heroes' had quaked and ran the other way whenever a monster reared its head. Those that didn't charged blindly into their own deaths, though the ones that survived and lived to carry off the monster's head as a trophy seemed fairly content with laying claim to all of the glory and fame, and used that as a prime excuse to hoist some farmer's daughter over his shoulder for a show of his manhood in the bedroom while spirits were high and temperaments properly appeased with liquor.
"Just don't get yourself killed, if you really want to be of use to these people," He finally said, after a short pause, and began the short walk to Bess' home. Sure enough, it was not far from the docks, even nestled close to the water, with a small fishing boat drawn up onto the shore. Judging from the dried and weathered nature of the thing, it had not been taken out to sail for quite some time. The house itself seemed humble enough, as befit the life of a fisherman and his wife. Upon the door was a wreath made of flowers and branches, tied together with string. It looked as though it had sat there for a while now, with much of the luster gone from the petals. Stepping up to the door, Poet knocked as he had done before, and waited.. Nothing. After a pause, he knocked again, to which a crooning voice complained "Damned it all, I'm coming!" from behind the door.
As the door swung open, the stern face of a woman greeted the two men, eyes of hazel narrowed in suspicion and betraying an obvious fiery spirit despite the wrinkles on her face. She seemed to be hardly much older than the other woman that they'd spoken to, with auburn hair and a dirtied apron over her dress. Judging from the stains, and the smell that Poet picked up on coming out from behind her, she'd likely have been cutting fish. Her demeanour, though, certainly seemed to add a few years to the impression, if simply due to the impression that she appeared to be carrying more years' worth of grievance with the world than she'd actually lived. "Bandits, is it? A bit early, aren't you? The bastard sea snake hasn't even gobbled us folk up yet, after all," she chided when regarding the two men, though she seemed to focus her words on Poet in particular, as once she gave the knight a second look-over, she scoffed, "Though I suppose you're dressed a bit too fancy for banditry, in the end."
Poet did his finest job at hiding his grin. Certainly, this wasn't much different from the usual haranguing that he received from people on the job, but there was a certain lack of spiteful contempt in the way the woman spoke that made it rather seem that she spoke this angrily and fiercely to everyone she met, not just him. Those people were the ones he enjoyed the most.. perhaps that was why he enjoyed the old bastard's presence so often when they went out on a job together. As it seemed that the woman was done, Poet finally spoke, "Bess, I take it? I'm here about your husband, Galyn - I hear that he was attacked by the monster years back?"
"Hmph, and who told you that? Bunch of old busybodies in this damned village, can't keep their nattering mouths to themselves, can they?" the woman responded and gave a spit of disdain, "Aye, I'm Bess, and aye, my dear, late Galyn had a nasty run-in with the beast. But what's any of that to you, hm? You're a bit too late for condolences, or for funeral rites." "I'm a Weedsman," Poet simply said, in a tone that impressed plenty of meaning all unto itself. "That so, aye? You're a bit too late for saving my husband too, in that case," Bess chided, though that absence of genuine contempt was still present in her voice, Poet noted. He said nothing, but merely waited.. after an awkward pause, Bess sighed irritably and stepped aside, gesturing for the men to step indoors, "Fine, come in, and we'll talk. Bloody Weedsmen, I swear. I knew this town was in the pits for years, and now here's the proof of it."
The woman's tone was coarse, surely enough, but it seemed that their venom wasn't directed at the Templar and the Weedsman -- not specifically, leastways. Evan nodded his head in appreciation as she gestured the two of them inside, otherwise keeping his peace for now. He'd been of some help with the last one, perhaps, but now that they'd found the person they were after it seemed best to let Poet take the lead. This was, after all, Weedsmen's business they were upon now; with the bitter old woman willing to discuss with them it seemed better to simply follow along unless a clear opportunity emerged.
It would be interesting too, Evan couldn't help but think, to hear what questions Poet would ask -- a small window into how some of Iendol's most notoriously effective monster hunters thought and reasoned. The though briefly crossed his mind, wondering whether his beloved old mentor Sir Gale had ever had the company of a Weedmsan before... and what he would think of this turn of events now.
Below deck was awash with ghostly haze, the phantom crew bustling about attending to one task or another. One in particular strode alongside Cordell, a lantern held aloft with a ghostly cold-burning blue flame lit within; Jack Haul, with his ghastly and sunken visage, nonetheless cut a commanding figure even alongside the flamboyant captain. His ethereal form was bedecked with the same crisp black leather coat he had preferred in life, set with steely iron buttons and trimmed with patterned navy blue about the edges. In set with his tricorn hat and shin-high boots, equally dark and similarly styled, he had the air of an almost lordly highwayman about him -- appropriate for the pirate who was not only first mate but also quartermaster and taskmaster. Haul's twin glowing orbs flickered like the flame he held aloft, peering about and making note as they went.
"How stand th' supplies? I want t' know all as I've got t' work with against this beastie." Cordell, too, was sweeping her gaze about as crates and barrels were being carried back and forth, seemingly held aloft on clouds of supernatural haze. "Cannons first."
"Three-score charges an' two barrels a' loose powder, as it stands. Fuses number eight dozen and half that in rounds." The dead man's words licked the air like a hot flame, strong and confident even with their unnatural resonance. "Ten lances fer th' Fang, an' I've taken th' liberty t' 'ave th' lads set upon th' nets as well."
"Aye, right smart on that, Haul." Cordell seemed to think for a moment, a sly grin rising on her face. "Have some rags an' scraps rounded up an' set t' some bolts, oiled if'n ye can. I want 'em t' be fer lightin' aflame. 'Ave some o' th' powder cut with sawdust... an' lard if'n Peasley can provide. Separate barrel, mind."
"Like we did off th' coast a' Littore?" Haul's gaze seemed to brighten and take on a keen, wry edge to match the hint of a smirk on his face. Cordell matched his expression.
"Just th' same." The two walked on, Cordell becoming somewhat more serious. "Hows about patchings? Have t' assume we'll be in fer a fight with this thing."
"Plenty o' timber stored an' Sidney's confident as t' bein' able t' manage th' rest. Bracin' and wutnot's bein' doubled up proper tough. We'll be ready."
"Should hope so. We've faced nasties a'fore, true -- this 'dragon' got ol' Crest more scared uv' it than us. We'd best be changin' that right sharp... we've a reputation as t' uphold, after all!"