Sunday, January 3, 2016

A "Benevolent" Cause

 A Benevolent Cause

            Just to make things abundantly clear she did just destroy a perfectly expensive couch.  She took a knife to the red jacquard  fabric with the gold acanthus leaf embroidery.  The only halfway decent thing in the whole damn airship.   To let a woman like Juliet Idonia Keavney Payn on board a ship such as your own was a sure way to bring ruin to even The Hellish Poisin of Atlantis.  Would you have thought she would take so much offense at being rescued from the clutches of Krioål? (Or rather some thugs who intended to introduce the two of them in a rather sanguine manner) You acknowledge her nobility and let her have the run of command  quarters while you command your crew to make a clean getaway.  Granted she never really got a chance to meet big K and we only had to subdue a half dozen of his minions.  She should have had a clue! They call him Krioål the Render for a reason; you have good cause to be alarmed! Apparently he rends things and err... people!  What he would have planned for the noble child of the sleeping wolves could not be any thing but dire. 
            After two weeks aloft things have calmed down.  You have become more acquainted with your small crew and, she has remained mostly invisible though Juliet has came out for the occasional meal with the crew. They have taken to calling her “Lady Jules” despite her dislike for such a Sobriquet.  Usually your cook  Dillon brings a tray to her and usually tries to take her requests in mind when preparing in order to both lessen the work load and placate the VIP.  Dillon came on board originally as a mechanic.  You might remember the first time we had engine trouble after he came onboard.  He claimed that the problem was that we were suffering from a “puff-corned carburetor”. You gave him a puzzled look and explained that because of the altitude a carburetor would be less than effective which is why the airship's engines are not carbureted.  Fortunately he was able to help out in the galley and took over for Deidre when she was forced to leave the crew.  You now have a top notch cook but are still uncertain why he wanted to get a job as a mechanic when it seems Dillon is a cook that any captain would fight for.  You have quite the meal awaiting this evening as Jules will join the crew it seems.
            She entered the room with much of the grace befitting her social rank. You recognize the status exchange as usual but mention nothing.  If she feels like treating you as an underling and not an equal that is her business and none of yours.  Juliet sits down and there is awkward silence for a good ten minutes.  The coffee and slices of a rather decadent looking cake are served.
            Juliet finally speaks “What may I ask is this?”
            “Blackout Loaf” Dillon had to turn around in order to reply “I did try to dress it up a little with swirls of caramel and shaved almonds!”
            “This dessert is brilliant!” Juliet rotates to face you “how did you manage to find such a great cook?”
            Surprised by her sudden willingness to converse you reply in an uneasy tone “I assure you ma'am it was completely by accident.” you observe that several members of the crew including Rusty the new propulsionist nod in agreement.
              “My stay on board has been.... unexpected.”
            “How.” you are curious of course as to the expectations of Juliet who has been acting the part of a snotty noble. 
            “Well your ship is called The Poison of Atlantis or something like that?”
            “Actually it's The Hellish Poisin of Atlantis.” (you make a dramatic pause) “You see Poisin has two ayes not two ohs.” 
            “What difference does it make? Poison or Poisin, they are similar enough.” 
            “Deferring to your nobility I will leave that be then.”
            “Alright If your ship is called The Hellish Poisin of Atlantis then you must be pirates?”
            “Some might call us that.”
            “Some might call us a load of filthy flying bastards!” Jane Callan our navigator shouted out. 
            You turn to glare at Jane while she goes back to hiding behind a mug of coarse ale that the crew brews onboard from whatever is convenient. “Some call us that as well but I tend to prefer that we be called multidisciplinary entrepreneurial merchants.”
            Juliet looks both concerned and confused “So... abuse of captives is not the standard operating procedure for your crew?”
            You have a puzzled look on your face as well. “Ma'am I believe you have us confused with the Royal Air Corps that seems to be how they operate.”  (You laugh a little at your own joke.) “Anyway where is the captive?”
            “Am I not your captive? You do intend to ransom me?”
            “No not exactly we were going to return you home; though, now that you mention ransom it might be a good idea. How much do you think your family would give for your safe release?”
            “You are joking?” She looked concerned again.
            “Yes we will be within the Divine Principality soon, in 14 days we will return you to Casswater.”  You did not think it fair to offer that you had agreed to accept a bounty for her safe return.  You mumble something about foiling Krioål being reward enough.  you feel that the conversation is becoming hollow and so you stop talking.
            Juliet returns to Command Quarters and locks the door.  In about 18 days you leave her at Casswater.  You take the payment for her return which prompts her to throw a fit.  You return to your ship and leave. Business is business. 


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