Thursday, February 7, 2008

chapter one

"Mr. Pritchard," said Captain Hollee tightly, his fists on his hips, "I may carry rum on this ship but I will not tolerate drunkenness, that is perfectly well known to you." The seaman in front of him swayed slightly as he nodded his head emphatically. Behind him, the smooth green ribbon that was their first sight of land in days spread evenly out over the turquoise water. "I cannot control what you do when you are off my ship, but while you are here, you will abide by my rules. Really, Mr. Pritchard, we are in half an hour of making landfall, you could not have held off until then?" The Captain was in a foul mood, his happiness at sighting land a days early wiped out by the sight of his best topman nearly falling out of the rigging. "I will dock your pay for this, and if you choose to sign on again--you better show up sober. Now get below. I don't want to see you for the rest of this voyage."

Pritchard complied, unsteadily, relief palpable on his face. Hollee had taken a belaying pin to one of the ship's boys a few years ago, even though no one thought him capable of it, and that offence was far less than being drunk while on duty. Pritchard had been confident that he could perform his duties with a pint in hand, until an unexpected breeze sent the Windsong skipping to larboard a point--he had missed his handhold and hung upside down by his knees until he was spotted by his mates and hauled back into the sheets. But not, alas, before Captain Hollee had seen him.

The Captain, for his part

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