The Conflagrare Dussack

∴ A Flickering Fury ∴

An ocean wave, or a tongue of flame? You never could make your mind up. You smile to yourself, turning the thick, wavering blade over in scarred hands, eying the twin fullers, the blackened rib cage of a basket, the copper strands that glimmer in the braided wire grip. The ceiling of your low, sparse cabin coughs dust as heavy footfall sounds above.

You pull an oil-slick rag from the box on the table, and run it over the rolling waves of the blade, humming an old shanty song to yourself. It is not one of your own crew’s – you must have picked it up in some port or another. A resounding cannon blast shatters the last bawdy chorus, but you do not look up from your task til the blade is bright and gleaming.

Only then do you rise to your feet, taking your time, relishing the feeling of the firestorm building within you. Sword in hand, you step without stumbling over the rough wooden boards, despite the alarming pitch of the ship. As you mount the steps to the deck, shouts and shots breathe a flurry of sparks into the very embers of you.

True, the waters ever did call you – but there’s always been fire in your heart.

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The Ingela Tessack

∴ A Sweeping Glance ∴

You’re woken by shouts from a sea-rocked slumber. Startled, you wrench back the draped curtain and clamber from your warm bed into still-damp boots. Haphazardly lacing your doublet, you steal a glance through the leaded glass of your cabin. Barely discernible through a thick stripe of fog, you glimpse the small yet unmistakable shadow of a ship.

Slinging a baldric over your shoulder, you throw open the small double doors and storm up the steps to the deck. Privateers, the mate says, he’s certain. You snatch the telescope from his hand to see the three-tailed flag for yourself. The crest is indistinct, but the colours unmistakable. You curse.

You swing the telescope downward, momentarily dizzied, to make out what you can of the crew. Gradually, the colours inhabiting the orb of your vision take form. The dark cylinders of guns, behind them a flurry of activity. One figure alone stands still, poised at the forecastle, a flash of slender steel to the right.

You can’t begin to make out the details, but somehow you know. Something in the posture, the intense unmoving brooding. You know, without waiting to see, that the blade held almost casually over the figure’s shoulder is long, curved and unforgiving, ending in a blackened scallop shell. You know that the hand beneath the shell is small, pale, adorned with a puckered scar and a garnet ring.

“It’s her,” you whisper.

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