"Take a look at you!" I couldn't help saying as I stumbled over a fancy piece of work laying in the middle of the alleyway.
I couldn't tell what the thing was at first, just bits and pieces of cloth and metal, then I saw the face, the little porcelain doll face that looked so sweet under all that dirt. I crouched down next to the jumble to take a closer look.
It was a girl, though she seemed to be made of metal. I checked for breath, it was faint, and cold, not like any human breath I'd ever felt. Standing I clicked my fingers at my first mate.
"Mr. Kilaro, why don't you take this little package up to the ship for me. She looks like she could use a friend."
Kilaro was my main man, he was my muscle. He stood over six feet tall and was heavily muscled and tattooed. As were most of my men. He picked up the small parcel of a girl and carried her gently. She was made of precious materials, I could see that.
I watched him take her way in the direction of my ship and turned around to the alley. I narrowed my eyes, listening for any sound that may arise from a street urchin or other vermin that crawled the streets of the city on nights like this.
The fog rolled in thick and heavy, smelling foul, like the river it came from. It was good cover for someone up to no good.
I strolled down the alley, letting my sword clank against my belt to make others aware of its presence. I got to my location, a dirty pub called the Squeaky Carrot, though where the owners got its name I had no idea. There was a meeting to be held between pirate captains in these parts and this was where it was to be held.
I opened the door and warm light and the smell of ale spilled into the street.
"Wethertoppe!" Called the barkeep. "The usual?" I nodded with a grin, nothing like a warm barroom to make you feel comfortable on a foggy London night. I sat at my usual table, next to the fire against the wall and put my boots up on an empty chair.
"No crew tonight Cap'n?" The barkeep asked as he put down my drink. I scooped it up and took a swig.
"Not tonight Lionel, it's meeting night, you know the rules."
"Aye, I do." He nodded solemnly and walked away. The rules were simple: captains meeting, captains only. But I understood the barkeeps feelings about it. Just the pirate captains wasn't good for business. Captains don't drink as much as mates.
I looked around, some of the other pirates were already here, Blackjack III, though I didn't know who the first and second were, Tony Malone, his crew was legendary along the Mediterranean. And Patricia Barkey. My biggest rival, the only other female captain around here. I stood and walked over to Patricia.
"Will we be on steady terms then Patricia?" I asked. She looked scornfully up at me from under her wide brimmed hat.
"We will see little snippet. It all depends on how the dice roll." She had a thick accent that I couldn't place, maybe Caribbean. I nodded curtly and walked off. I was passing the door just as Captain Harper Avery walked in. Seeing me he threw a heavy arm around my shoulders.
"Ah! Captain Kat! Won't you leave your crew and join me as my piratical mistress! We shall be legendary throughout the seven seas if only you would be mine!" It wasn't a question, it was a greeting. A very loud greeting. I shoved his arm off and gave him a coy look.
"Ship out, captain." I said, using the aquatic vernacular. "I'm only here for my share."
"Aye, 'tis a pity, but I shall get you some day, I'm sure." I laughed, it was going to be a long night.