Leopold Briar - New Crewmates

It had been a productive week for the captain. As well as fully restocking the ship and finding a new objective, he had also allowed on board two new members of the crew.

The first was a hooded man whom Leopold had encountered whilst just leaving the ship to head into the city. Despite being reasonably tall and robust of appearance, Leopold had presumed by his silvery hair and beard that he was an older man, a theory that was soon abated when the man spoke: his voice was without signs of aged ruggedness or croaking. His request for a position on the crew was polite enough, but this was not enough to convince the captain. 

"Good man", Leopold said warmly. "Just wait here, would you? There's something I need from the city."

Leopold smiled as he walked away, the man staring after him, expression ambiguous beneath an eye-shielding hood. This was a trick the captain had used often, to leave the candidate waiting a long time for his return - the ultimate test of patience and loyalty. Three hours later, he came back, the bag around his shoulders filled with fountain pens, ink and parchment. He sighed when, as he rounded the corner where the Jackdaw resided, he saw the space the man had occupied empty. He was further dismayed not to find his crew loading the new supplies, something they should have been doing for an hour by now.

He made his way onto the decking, only to gasp. Crates, tens of crates, all the crates, even, had already been brought on board, and the men were now in the process of unloading them and taking individual parts and rations below the decks.

"Fenlock!" he called out, signalling the man to his left. "This is fast work indeed, I'm surprised you had enough hands!"

"We 'ad help, cap'n."

At this moment, the hooded man emerged from the stairwell.

"You mean to say Moldark allowed unknown persons on board this ship without my permission?" Leopold burst out.

"'E couldn't 'ardly help it, cap'n! This gen'leman made his way on board, so to speak, said he was bored with watchin' us move everything so slowly. Great help, he was."

Leopold approached the stranger sternly.

"So you thought fit to make your way on board without anyone's say?" Leopold demanded.

The man nodded.

"You are not to do so again. From this point onwards you are to do nothing outside of your orders to me - or if I am absent, Mr. Moldark - and your duties to the ship. Do you understand?"

He nodded again.

"That's 'Aye Captain'. And 'Aye-Aye' when you are accepting a command."

The man smiled. Leopold was reassured to notice the smile was not snarky.

"Aye captain" he said.

"What's your name, crewman?"

"Drakmor."

"Your last name."

"Vayr."

Leopold smiled too.

"Welcome aboard Mr. Vayr."

The second addition was mostly for convenience's sake. The decision of Briar to charge Bollis with the task of buying a celebratory crate of rum proved unwise when they found, as dinner-time approached, the pig-man drunk and unconscious in the kitchens. It was the day of leaving, and the crew had been hard at work getting the engines running to fuel the propellers, unfolding out the wings, and manning the three hot-air balloons on the decking in order to prepare for lift-off, so a good meal -the sort of thing that a sober Bollis could make blindfold, singing to himself as he dashed across different ovens and storerooms - was necessary.

As it was, he had to put initial reservations aside when a well-spoken young woman (hardly crew material) named Rosewood came up to him, asking for a place on the ship and declaring that she could cook. He saw that it was a lie in an instant, yet something about the fortune of the circumstance and her determined nature was too much to put aside, so Leopold acted on instinct - something that had served him well - and brought her on board just as the ship was lifting off. After being given a crossbow and the task of feeding an entire crew, he saw that she had been used to a life of luxury and that it was quickly falling apart. Only time would tell whether she would give in completely, or adapt to her new surroundings. 

He was amused as, after both new crewmembers commented on how amazed they were by the size of the Jackdaw, they saw another of the Galabrian airships - The Kestrel - soar by as they were leaving the edges of the Galabrian harbour. Four-times the size, manned with a hundred iron-cannons, fuming with thick steam, the spectacle of The Kestrel did not invoke amazement, but intimidation.

"This is the Galabrian age!" Leopold had declared. "I've seen greater ships than that in my time as a captain." Before adding "But that's what makes us the Jackdaw. We're no Bird of Prey, but we can be vicious - oh, yes - and cunning, and faster than most." He patted the banister heartily. "Yes my friends, new and old, we're on the best ship of all."

The End

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