Daylight barely lingered in the air when the ship slowly docked in the port. It knew not to come in too conspicuous, much to the eagerness of her crew. A false flag was drawn up to hide her true face. Even the name on her side was not her real name. After all, a pirate ship, particularly the Fenris, was not very welcome in London.
Most of the crew was anxious to dock. For months they had been out at sea. Tonight was the first night on land and their desires were wanting. They had not seen other human beings apart from each other for a long time, nor had they had a taste of other earthly pleasures. As the ship finished docking, the men gazed out into the city before each one turned over to their captain, leaning casually on the mast post. The wide brim of her hat kept her face shadowed with only the light from her oak pipe illuminating her face, unfeeling and uncaring.
“Do what ye will. Unless you hear otherwise, meet back here at midnight. No later. Understood?” The men grunted in impatient approval. With a small nod, she dismissed the men. They hastily left the ship, howling and whooping as they ventured into the city. Some men ventured down below deck to gather some other effects. The only man that remained still on the ship was a tall ragged man. As the last of the crew leapt off the ship, he only gazed at them. He wanted to go, but it could wait. There was something he needed to know first.
“You’re not going with ‘em?” the captain asked of him. He took a heavy sigh. He knew she’d find out soon. His captain was an observant one.
“I will,” he responded. “I just wanted to ask you something first.” The woman leaned up from the mast and removed her hat, revealing a red bandana underneath covering light brown hair. Upon her bandana bore the emblem of the wolf, similar to the flag that showed the ship’s true nature. She gave her minion a look before walking past him and sitting on the ship’s edge. She gazed out where the rest of her crew gathered, telling each other what they had planned during their stay. She could only let out a soft laugh for them. The man rubbed the back of his head, from which a black skullcap covered his long dark hair. “Captain Gwilt, we have been out at sea for months,” he began, his voice shaky. He knew what kind of person his captain was and had to be careful with what he said. “We’ve had a fair amount of profit and have had… well quite a bit of excitement. I’m not to say that we’re not grateful… but… well, some of the men have been talkin’ and –”
“From your tone, I would say that something is concerning ye greatly… You would not be thinkin’ of what I think you are…” She didn’t even have to turn to him to know that his eyes suddenly went wide with shock.
“No, cap’n! You know I would never–”
“Have I not been a fair and just captain to the lot of ye?”
“You have been more than generous in every plunder we do!”
“Then why does this sound like a prelude to a mutiny?” She eyed her first mate with her piercing green eyes, waiting for an explanation. “And to think, Nemo, that out of all the men on this ship, I could trust you the most. Was I mistaken?” The man called Nemo was almost shaking. He knew the penalty for even thinking about mutiny. The whole crew knew better than to challenge their captain. A man would be foolish to even think he could challenge this captain and live to tell about it. Each man who slept in that ship knew what a dangerous woman the captain was. They had heard tales of her ferocity and cruelty. Some have even witnessed it firsthand. Even fewer lived to tell of it. Nemo was one of them and never did he wish to witness it again.
But they also had no grounds to challenge her. Every plundering they’ve ever taken, she split the profits among her crew first, so long as she picked out the miniscule things she wanted first. She, herself, was not a pirate. Her crewmen were pirates. The man cowering before her was a pirate. But since she governed them, it made her a pirate by proxy. To her, she was merely a collector… and a hunter.
“Cap’n, we would never dream of it! we were mostly wondering… after months at sea, why London?” She relaxed as she turned to face her first mate and sighed heavily. Her lips curled into a grin. She had expected this question earlier than now. As her eyes drew back to the port, Nemo understood. “There’s somethin’ here, isn’t there. Somethin’ you need?”
“You were always an observant one, Nemo,” she replied. “I need to find someone. Two people, actually”
“They’re both mages. I know of one them lives here. He’s a young mage… but a powerful one to boot.” She took a long huff from her pipe.
“What does Captain Gwendolyn Gwilt want mages for?” Nemo asked.
“I do not want them…” Her body shivered with the thought of encountering a mage. “But I need to find them.”
Gwen took a heavy sigh and gazed at the burning tobacco left in her pipe. “You remember that place I told you about?” Nemo turned to her slowly and nodded. “I need mages in order to get there, but not just any mages will do. It has to be two specific mages… one of the day and one of the night. I need you to keep your eyes and ears open.”
Nemo looked to his captain almost surprised. If there was any errand she had to do, she needed to do it alone. She rarely, if ever, asked for assistance. This had to be big. Perhaps too big for her to handle. He began to grow concerned.
“Who is the mage that lives here, milady?”
“He calls himself Talis Riverwind. A moor who has somehow gained some sort of status.” She laughed at the mere notion of it.
“Lemme guess. This is a bounty hunt.”
“Ah. An assassination then?” he guessed. His concern now turned into curiosity.
“If only I were so fortunate.”
“You been asked to look for mages and NOT kill them?”
“Where be the fun in that?” He paced, now frustrated like a child who just had his sweets taken away. Gwen looked at Nemo and smiled amusingly. She couldn’t blame him for his reaction. She had felt similarly. Both took great pleasure in subduing mages. After his small rant, Nemo leaned against the side of the ship and gazed out into London, the light of day just starting to die. “So what do you want me to do?”
“If ye meet him before I do, tell him to find me.”
“Where do you want him to meet you?”
“Nemo, use your head for once. He’s a mage. Furthermore, he’s a seer. He can find me on his own.” She let out a low giggle to herself before taking a small huff. “Besides, what fun is it if you simply tell him where I am?”
“You’ve a point there, cap’n.” He smiled before pulling out a rusty dagger. “Usual method of delivering a message?” He let out a devilish laugh. Suddenly she reeled in his direction with burning eyes.
“Did ye not hear me, pup? He be a mage! Unlike me, you have no idea how to deal with mages!” Nemo almost staggered backwards. He cursed himself for angering her, especially now. He could do nothing but stare back into her golden eyes. He gasped, fearing what was going to come next as she slowly began her advance to him. “There are things that they could do to ye that you couldn’t even dream of! Horrible things that you would only witness in the darkest depths of your nightmares! You of all people should remember what the last mage did!”
“Right! Right! Forgive me! I… I should know better. I shan’t attack him.”
Gwen caught herself and turned back towards the city. Her hand went straight to the rune stone around her neck. Isa, she remembered it being called. A silver marking painted on a black tourmaline stone. She closed her eyes and tried to control her breathing. “No worries, Nemo,” she gasped. She looked to the west as she gained the last of her composure. Nemo nodded. He had seen her act like this before and knew what this meant.
“Are you certain you can do this task?”
“Aye. I’ve been fine for these past moons. I believe I can do this without drawing too much attention, but I thank ye for the concern.” Nemo turned to her surprised to hear a comment like that out of her. She caught his glance for a split second before she turned towards her chambers and cleared her throat. ‘Shouldn’t ye be out there with the rest of the lot?” Nemo sighed. He knew he wasn’t going to get anymore out of Gwen. She didn’t need to tell the crew much. Their own motivation was enough to do her bidding. But she usually gave a better idea of what she was getting them all into.
“I should. Meet back here at midnight, right?”
“Unless you meet Riverwind… or you hear me… then wait until midday. Understood?”
“Aye, cap’n.” he replied as he prepared to step off onto the docks. He paused for a brief moment before turning back to his captain. ‘If I may ask, how are we gonna convince him to come along?” A small sneer grew across Gwen’s face.
“Only one proper way to do it, Nemo…” she grinned. “Bribe them with knowledge…” Nemo’s face twisted into a quizzical look. His captain was becoming a lot more cryptic as of late. He wondered if it had anything to do with that woman she spoke to when they visited Venice. Before he could think about it anymore he shook his head and prepared to turn to the docks. “Oh, and Nemo, before I forget…” He turned back to her just in time to catch a small iron coin. Upon further inspection, he found it to be covered with silver runes that were arranged look like an eye. He looked to Gwen wondering what to do. “Slip that to him.”
“What is it?” he asked?
“I got it from one of our more recent ventures. It will disable his… louder powers.”
“And if he finds it on him?”
“I expect him to,” she nearly purred with a sly smile. Nemo wanted to ask more questions, but she had already brushed him away once. He nodded to her and left for the docks. The rest of the crew was beckoning him to join in their debauchery. They would enjoy their precious moments on land. Nemo turned back to his captain and smiled. ‘Happy hunting, Gwen.”
“Same to you, Nemo.” She replied back to him. As Nemo rushed to join the last of his crew, she gazed out to look at her men. Scrapping, degenerate dogs, but they were loyal and reliable. They would not do anything she did not wish them to do.
“Remember,” she yelled after them, “unless ye hear otherwise, meet here at midnight! Savvy?”
“Aye, cap’n,” they all barked back at her. Gwen let out a loud howl like a Spartan warrior.
“HAAAAOOOUU!” she howled.
“HAAAAOOOUU!” they howled back. Each one of them turned towards the city to savor their moments on land. She smiled after them. They’ve all earned it.
She gathered the remainder of her belongings, including her two pistols and cutlass as she prepared to step out onto the dock. The day was long gone and the air had chilled since they first arrived at the port. Good, she thought to herself. Her senses would be sharper. She was ready to hunt for this Talis Riverwind. Once she had him in her possession, she would hunt for the mage of the Lunar Tribe. She didn’t have much time. She looked up into the sky to see the half moon waxing. This task had to be completed by tonight. The sooner this was done, the better.
It had been a long time since her last encounter with a mage and this time she was ready. It saddened her that she had to let the mages live. Her eyes glanced out into the night as every bone in her body quivered in anticipation. This new prey was going to be a challenge and she would make it a challenge for him. Before she stepped off the ships, she unbound the leather band on her right wrist and grazed her fingers over the ink that lay there: an upside down triangle with a crescent encased within. She remembered the woman who gave her that symbol and sighed heavily before taking that same hand and clutching her rune.
“This had better be worth it,” she thought to herself as she leapt off the ship and sauntered into London… The hunt was on.