Though tha lass wouldn' beh discourage' from gettin werk dat quickleh. 'er reseves of coin wuz nearly deplete', bu' gettin 'er goal would prove 'arder dan expecte'. Franci' ain' qui sure wha she's gettin 'erself inta bu' tha wil' goosechase she waz bou' ta go on cou' ge' 'er a job.
(Last time: "Fergit yeh." She stands and goes back to the counter, getting another rum and leaning against the counter sulkily.)
The girl shrugs. "Impatience is as impatience does. You'll never get anywhere if you're not willing to bargain for what you want. Nothing comes for free in these parts."
She stops, and walks back to the chair, getting slightly drunk. "'ere. Le'ss try this 'gain. Ah'm lookin fer a Cap'm in need, yeh wan' a drink?" She pushes the rum towards the girl.
"I have a drink," she replies flatly.
"Righ'. Well, yeh've go' any infamatio' bou a Cap'm who be in Tortugah roun' now?"
"I might." She smiled, enjoying every minute.
She stares at her levelly, looking for an opportunity. She reaches into her pouch and realizes she's nearly out of coins, which initially prompted her on this search. She pulls out a few pieces of eight and puts them on the table in front of her, sliding them towards the other girl.
The girl places her mug discreetly on top of the coins and leans forward.
"You've seen Conroy, you've heard the cheers in this tavern for his new wealth, and I have seen you approach him and him turn you away. It's for the better, you wouldn't like to be sailed upon The Dishonor. But now think of this: How did Conroy happen upon this gold? Discovery of his own accord? Map and buried treasure?" She laughed. "That's the stuff of fairy tales. Conroy was never much a pirate, and he's made a deal with a certain official, no names here, not in the tavern. Conroy has achieved his new status by the sacking and sinking of the ship Sea's Intrigue. No small feat, and not achieved by his crew alone. The Intrigue is an old pirate name, one to feared around these parts. Conroy's fame will not last long, not with the Intrigue looking for revenge." Her voice dropped to an even quieter tone. "If I was a lass looking for a ship, my bet would be placed on the Intrigue, never The Dishonor."
She smiles and matches the other girl's tone. "Might ah get a fingah pointed in tha righ' d'rectio' ta fin' ah associa'e tah 'elp meh ou' wif findin a passag' on tha' ship?"
The blonde straightened her back and raised her voice to it's normal level. "I ask again, how much do you want it?" And smiled.
The girl frowns, digging into her pouch again annoyed. She finds only two coins left, pulls the bag off her belt, slips the last two coins out and slides them discreetly across the table, making it clear to the other that this was the last of it, to show both her desperation and her lack of further bargaining materials.
The blonde slid the coins off the table and into a small leather pouch of her own, showing no remorse. "Pay a visit to the Lea Dread Inn. Ask for Captain Hallfax. Mention my name, Anne Daustry. Don't make a fuss." She stood up quickly, pushing her way through the tavern and into the night.
The girl sits for a moment, looking thoughtfully after Anne. She considers the glass before her, stands a few moments later leaving the dirty glass behind her. She leaves the tavern and finds her way somehow to the Lea Dread Inn, despite the slight haze the rum put her in. She approaches the innkeeper and says casually. "'allo, sir. Ah'm looking fer Cap'm 'allfax."
A thin, balding man stood behind the desk, rifling through a tall stack of papers. Without bothering to look up at the girl, he simply stated, "No Hallfax takes his residence here."
"Anne Daustreh sen' meh." She says simply.
The man looked up for the first time, suspicion abounding on his face. "Anne Daustry?" he asked airily. "That's not possible." He turned away from the girl and began stacking books on the shelf behind the desk. "Where did you hear the names Hallfax and Daustry?"
She looks levelly at the man. "'roun'. Ah 'eard yeh'd know whar 'allfax waz fromma girl claimin' teh be Daustreh."
The man slowly took a red leather bound book off the shelf and turned around to face the girl, equally as slow.
"This Hallfax. . .He might be found in a room 17." The man pulled a small brass key from between the pages of the book and slid it across the desk. "I'm making no promises."
The girl watches the man and looks at the key. "Thank yeh, sir." She slides the key off the table and holds it lightly in her palm, hidden from anybody else. She starts for the rooms casually and inconspicuously. She goes down the hall looking for room 17. Upon finding it, she slips the key into the lock and taps slightly on the wood to alert any occupants to her presence. She turns the key and opens the door calmly, looking around cautiously. She slips the key out of the lock and holds it in her hand again.
The room was drafty and bleak, with only a few pieces of cheaply made furniture. A dark wood bed, wardrobe, table and two chairs were the only ornamentation in the single room. At first it appeared unoccupied, but upon closer inspection a man could be seen sitting at the table, hunched forward. His features were sharply cut and weather-worn, and his clothes dark and ragged. He seemed to be of the room, cut from the same colors and materials. A double-barrel pistol sat on the table in front of him, and he placed a rough hand on top of it. He swiftly folded a yellowed paper into his pocket and looked up.
"Be ye friend or foe?"
"Frien'." She replies immediately, raising her arms showing she has no weapon on her person or at least within reasonable accessibility. She's calm even with the threat of the pistol.
The man does not release the pistol, nor show any signs of trust.
"Who sent you, and for what?"
"Anne Daustreh. Ah'm lookin fer werk onna ship, Cap'm." She doesn't make any movement other than that required for speaking.
"Daustry?" The man shows the first signs of interest. "Where have you seen Daustry?"
"Ah tavern in tha citeh," she replies, thinking it best to give what she knows about things while the other has a weapon.
The Captain relaxes only slightly and motions with the pistol for the girl to close the door.
"What's your name?"
She does so quickly and without threat. She keeps her hands away from her belt and her poorly crafted sword to keep the slight amount of confidence she has gained. "Francis Blair," she responds, not taking her eyes off the pistol now that her escape is blocked.
"What makes you think you can sail with the likes of the Intrigue?"
"Ah can pull mah own weigh' on any ship. Ah'm 'ard-werkin, obed'ant, an strong, bu' ah dun eat az much az yer average lug. Ah've go' three y'rs sailin' sperience an fi' yers wif a sword. Ah'm also loyah jus' lak any goo' sailah shou' be. Ah won' turn on yeh. E'rey boa' needs more jus in case thay shou, Gods ferbid, lose somma da crew. An ah won' cause no problums er nuffin." The last is probably a lie, but it wouldn't hurt to throw in, in her mind.
"The same has been said of many a sailor, and many a sailor has been found wanting." The Captain set down his pistol, realizing the lass was not here to cause harm.
"What has Daustry told you of the ship?"
With the removal of the threat her posture becomes slightly less defensive.
"Issa ol' an feared ship, one dat comman's respec'. Ih's lookin fer revenge fer a wrong dat Da Dishonah 'as dunnit."
The Captain laughed as if this was an understatement. "Alright, lass. How's this sound to you? Take me to Anne, and you shall have won your passage."
She frowns slightly. "Anne dun an' lef' tha tavern an Cap'm Conroy's still thar. Ah 'aven' a clue as tah whar she wen'."
The Captain answered in a cool voice, "Then you haven't a place on my ship, have you? Find Anne, and bring her back here. I will only wait two more days. If you take longer than that, I have no reason to allow you on board." He looked back down at the table and pulled the yellowed paper from his pocket once again.
Francis looks at the Captain for a moment, then nods and turns, leaving the room and re-locking it behind her as she had found it. She quickly trots out of the hallway and toward the door. She realizes she's still got the key and wonders if she could get away with taking it with her. She decides against it and goes to the desk, sliding the key subtly across it towards the innkeeper, nodding a thanks to him.
The Innkeeper takes little notice of the girl but places a book on top the key, hiding it from view.
The girl takes off towards the Blue Dragon Alehouse, hoping to see Anne again there, but having little faith in it.
The tavern has grown twice as loud and twice as crowded as earlier since night began to take its claim on the town. Anne's table is not empty, but is it not Anne who sits in it now. A barmaid pushes Francis out of the way as she carries a tray full of rum into the mob.
Francis scans the crowd quickly and anxiously for the blonde, forcing her way through the crowd to get a better look around. She curses quietly in Spanish and continues on.
"Lookin' for someone, Miss?" the barmaid takes notice of Francis's quick glances as she sets the tray on the nearest table.
She looks back at the barmaid and shakes her head briefly, before thinking better of it. "A blonde girl. Bou' yeh tall. Wuz in 'ere earlier." She gestures before her in an estimate of Anne's height.
The maid shrugs helplessly. "I can name at least five blondes here earlier."
"She waz sittin at tha' table." She makes a motion at the table in which Anne and herself had occupied previously.
"Oh, you mean Annie! Well, sure I know her! She stays upstairs at The Greenbottle House."
"Thank yeh ma'am!" She says cheerfully before starting towards the stairs.
The barmaid shrugs in acknowledgement and scurries back behind the bar for another tray.
Francis trots up the stairs and surveys the room. She instantly goes towards the person whom seems most in charge.
"'Ello, Miss!" A young girl looking to be only of 15 or 16 years jumps out of her chair at the sight of Francis. "'Ow cin I be of service to ya?"
"Iz Annieh in?" She pronounces it as the barmaid did in her own dialect-inflicted drawl.
"Rickett or Daustry?" the girl asked, leafing casually through a large book.
"Tha last one. Daustreh." She distractedly examined her dirty fingernails.
"Try Room 23!" The girl answered cheerily. "Have a nice night!"
"Yeh too." She starts toward the hall and walks along cheerily, looking for room 23. Upon finding it she knocks firmly.
She looks around annoyed and knocks again, this being her only hope of finding Anne.
The door opens an inch, and a light brown eye appears through the crack.
"Ah'm lookin fer Annieh. Ah needa speak tah 'er."
"She dun know mah name."
"Who sent you?"
"A friend'a 'ers."
"And what does this friend want?"
"Ta talk tah 'er as well."
"State your business already, or I'll state it for you." The voice grew impatient, and the click of a pistol could be heard through the door.
Francis rolls her eyes. "Ah'm lookin fer 'er fer a Cap'm she knows a'cuz othawise I can' get on da crew. Ah'm jus a messingah"
The door opened and a girl with dark brown hair pulled high on her head stepped through quickly, shutting the door behind her.
"I ain' know who's you ahr, bu' ah fink ah'm dealin wif delicate issues, so I be wantin' ta talk tah Annieh, no' you."
"You're not talking to Anne until I know who you are." The girl folded her arms sternly.
"Ah'm tellin yeh, she don't know mah name so even if I wuz tah tell yeh, it'd be o' no 'elp."
"Who told you to come here?"
"Somebuddeh from downstarehs."
"Goodbye." The girl turned around and slipped back into the room, slamming the door.
Francis's shoulders slump. She steps forward and knocks a bit more forcefully.
Her knock hangs in the air for a moment, before the door opens slightly again. A different eye looks through this time and a different voice asks, "State your name and business."
"Ah jus' did this. Ain't you guys got some sorta communicatio' system er sumfin?" She sighs annoyed.
"State your name and business." The voice asks again without impatience.
"Aight aight. Ah can see ah'm gettin nowhar wif dis. Ah'm Francis Blair, ah'm lookin fer Anne 'bou' some werk she 'elped meh 'rrange."
The door finally opened and the blonde from the tavern stepped into the hall. She crossed her arms somewhat angrily. "What is it you want?"
"'ey ey ey. Dun' git angreh. Ah was told teh get yeh ta come wif meh ta da inn bah da Cap'm."
"Why?" She relaxed a little, recognizing who the girl was.
"A'cuz otherwise 'e'll no' let meh in 'iz crew. I'm 'upposed tah fin yeh and bring yeh back in lessin two days."
"That's very interesting. Where do I have to go?"
"Tah da Lea Dread Inn, I'll bring yeh thar so 'e can lemme on 'is crew 'n e'erythin'."
"No. I'll go tomorrow. I'll tell him for you." She turned around and placed her hand on the doorknob.
Francis blinks. "Ah dunno, Miss Daustreh." Her suspicion about the blonde raises drastically. "Yeh sure ah can' be thar tew an we can' go now?"
"Quite sure. If you need reassurance, come to the docks Sunday morning at 7."
"Alrigh'...thank yeh Miss Daustreh. 'Ave a good nigh'." She nods and turns around, leaving and going to the inn she has her small amount of things in for the last night she has paid for and can afford.
Sunday starts bright, the sun rising and glinting off the lucid blue water of the ocean. The city comes to life, shaking off it's perpetual morning-after sickness that plagues the wanton city to function for another day. Francis wakes as well and makes her way towards the docks nearly half after six. She, not allowed to keep her things in the room anymore, carries a burlap sack that is nearly empty despite it being her entire possessions. She spend the night tossing and turning in anticipation of being on a boat again and was surprised she was able to sleep through most of the night.
The docks are full of fishermen and traders bustling about, preparing their ships, hauling in nets and traps, wagering last minute business deals before their crews take to the winds. It's all straight-laces now, as the drunkenness of the previous night is blasted away with a breath of cold air. Near the end of the docks Anne, Hallfax, and a small group of sailors stand together. Anne's face has been washed, and she and the Captain lean close to each other, their faces grave. Quick words dart between them, and Anne glances about the shore nervously.
Francis approaches them, nearly blending into the rest of the dock's occupants, her clothes resembling anything a sailor would wear, the only difference is her feminine features, even if they are masked by a small layer of dust that seemed to always be in place, even with her exposure to water. She adjusts a scrap of cloth holding her hair out of her face self consciously.
Anne gives Francis a nod of acknowledgement and turns back to the Captain to whisper something else. The Captain never looks up.
Francis stands there awkwardly, waiting for acceptance, needing validation or instruction. Without it she mills around, shifting from foot to foot.
Anne waves her hand for another sailor, and directs his gaze over to Francis. They speak for a second or two before the sailor walks through the mob toward the youth while Anne directs her attention back to the Captain.
"You the new hand?" The sailor asks gruffly.
Francis nods, puffing up slightly to make herself seem more formidable. Her face shows indifference while inside she is overly relieved.
The sailor nods and begins walking back in the direction of the group, expecting Francis to follow his lead.