Kelley Essex says with a smile down inside the hold of the ship to a ship hand taking a long drag off a Hoogah cigar. The seasoned shiphand takes a brief pause before sighs and handing it over to his captain who smiles brightly. Before snatching up the stogie he smiles to his fellow pirate patting his shoulder and says “Tell Mr. Chaeffer you’ar to be entitled extra rum tonight Mr. Felroy under my order.” The old salt instantly smiles at that knowledge and looks to his table of recently reunited friends with a mischievous smile to his hooligan friends who return it with pleased nods. Not even bothering to ask for the cigar back the sea dog briskly walks away from The Hold toward the Quartermaster’s Office.
Rubbing the residue off the back tip of the cigar and taking a moment to savior the burning cinder scent Captain Essex smirks widely saying “Wyrm’s blood, I’ve missed that smell…” his tone was reflective and almost lustful as he sighs out enjoying this brief moment of quiet and mild luxury. Before the ember dies Kelley takes a slow, methodical and long drag off the stogie letting the smoke churn inside his mouth coating his tongue and tickling his throat and nose before gently blowing out smoke with a sudden shudder and smile. A wide smile cracks on his face as the familiar taste of the herb stained his teeth and made him instinctive thirst immediately for a shot of rum or even grog to compliment the taste. Using his right hand, his steel fingertips don’t feel the ember as they crush the heat out of the stogie to be saved for another time as Kelley quickly stashes the cigar underneath his duster Captain’s Jacket.
Essex scanned the Hold and is surprised to see Golrick Steadfast, Master of the Hold surrounded by the recently liberated men of the Anchor’s Bane. He hid the pain of his wounds well while he drunkenly regaled them with stories of mostly imagined grandeur. Essex marveled at the hardiness of the Dwarf recalling him being twice burnt, stabbed and having his throat slit for a Thamarite Ritual the fact he isn’t bunked up with Mr. Synir was a marvel to him of Dwarven constitution or just true grit. Either way Essex felt Golrick more than redeemed himself for the debacles while he was unable to perform as a captain.
“You know, you appear to be working up the will to do something responsible for these drunkards.” The tone was familiar but it was overly comfortable for Captain Essex’s liking no matter how true it might have been. Essex looked behind himself to kind a sly grin on the face of a recent pressganger, Mr. Atticus Sweet.
According to his quartermaster, Kelley heard that this man was instrumental at freeing the crew despite lacking the keys to the cages inside Pointe Vigil. All that Kelley had really noticed was a man who was already treating himself like one of the crew. The fleeting smile of Essex’ lips returned to aloof as he sized up Mr. Sweets. He looked like a capable sailor, and a man who might be good in a fight but he witnessed a strong display of self preservation in the man as he bolted like any gobber thief in Five Fingers when the going got tough. With pressed lips Essex shrugged and said “You may have something there, but then again don’t see how that is any concern to yours or an-“ Atticus smiled and interrupts Kelley “Because your ship did the impossible, you broke out almost every convict still alive in Pointe Vigil, I want to join up.”
Essex’s couldn’t help but sigh at Atticus’ forwardness, he was direct but maybe not the best judge of timing. But no sooner than the thought crossed his mind “Ugh, ya know I’m sorry about that. I could probably bring this up to First mate Morgan or Quartermaster Erdrick if you are busy. You probably don’t appreciate the distraction to your duties, aye sir?” Kelley blinked hearing Mr. Ulvari’s name from Atticus as he had only been on board a few hours. “Ho.. how do you Mr. Ulvari’s name already?” Atticus smiled and chuckled “Living under a man like Dwyer made me very eager not to return to a life precisely because of the alternatives your ship offers. You’ve got a good ship but your crew look like they need to be in check more I asked who I could see about being a chief of some crew, naturally I was given your First mate’s name."
Kelley blinked leaning against the wall of the hold as he resized Atticus. He was smart, cunning and above all else familiar with ranks and roles of the navy and his own insignificance to the crew at this time. The position of Chief was a naval one, meant as a liaison between officers and the crew to voice concerns ideally a pressganger would be an almost ideal candidate because the crew would know he wasn’t swore to the officers. In short, he couldn’t think of a single person every brought aboard the ship who has been so prepared to fill a role for their position, the fact it was deduced so quickly unnerved Essex just slightly as he wondered how premeditated this idea of his really was. Bluntly he just replies “A Chief of men will have to be know by the men, I don’t think many even know who are wet ear like you are yet.” Atticus smiles in defiance of the discouragement and pulls a fresh Hoogah Cigar from a metal tin pointing to the crew of men the old Sea Dog just returned to with his extra ration of rum. “I’m not too worried Captain, I tend to be leave an impression.” Atticus waves to the group who all smile waving back to him one even lifting a drink before gulping down the rum. He pushes it into Kelley’s undercoat with a smile and lifts a mug of grog with a smile chugging the citrusy drink before walking away “I’ll leave you to it then.” Essex shook his head with an impressed smile as he walked out of the Hold just catching glimpse of Matthias Crowley fretting over an exposed patch of the hull.
Heading toward the aft of his vessel he sees a small curtained off section of the hold always secured for Dr. Sinyr’s surgeon’s area. Abruptly a sigh from inside the curtained off area is heard, as a calm states “I know, I know how you feel about him and about this situation but I’m not leaving. I haves depending on me and more to still seek out on the ocean.“ Essex recognized Sinyr’s voice and approached up to the curtain quietly as a voice growled out. “He kidnapped you! He stole my brother from me and didn’t even ask! Then you defend him over me?! I feel confident Nysor himself could have gave me a warmer welcome at this rate.” The voice was unmistakably the dangerous knife wielding Iosan who took Chaeffer hostage, apparently she hadn’t been lying about her brother being Sinyr… he thought she looked familiar. As soon as he worked up the gall to disrupt the conversation a sudden sigh is heard from Dr. Sinyr “I’m glad you’re safe Alara, truly. I … I’m sorry I’m not more concerned just in the back of my mind I always thought you would have just gone home or gave up after a few weeks.” A slap is struck across Dr. Sinyr’s face cutting the silence as a quivering voice replies “Two years! Unlike you Felcyr, I don’t just give up on family especially know what these savages are capable of!” she sounded on the verge of tears which washed over Essex like a cresting wave of guilt as he lost all will to interfere and waited patiently for this squabble to conclude.
“Alara, why do you have to think the worst of th-“ Dr. Sinyr is unable to as Alara impatiently rebuttals “No, you don’t get to! You don’t get to tell me what they are like I know them better than you’d think!” She stormed out from past the curtain looking to Kelley who was stunned stiff having locked eyes with the Iosan he sees tears in her eyes as she looked ready to draw a knife. “… You take him from me again I don’t care how much he likes you. I. will. Kill. You. Understand?” Essex silently nods without another word pulling his hand away from “Cheat” as she stormed off . The curtain is pushed open with Dr. Sinyr’s exhausted looking face pleading without for his captain’s patience with Alara. Essex sighs motioning the Iosan back into his tent with a sigh.
Dr. Sinyr chuckled at that checking his recent stitch work on one of the sea dogs he patched up from the boarding party recently. “Is your sister as foul-mouthed as you captain?” to which Essex only replied in kind with a chuckle himself managing a “Certainly hope she isn’t.” Dr. Sinyr sits down for a moment and takes off his glasses to clean them on a fresh cloth. “Captain, what can I do for you as you can see I have my work cut out for me.” Essex looked around the room with about 30 men resting in pain around him as he smiles sheeply not saying a word but shoots a hopeful glance around the area. With a rolling of his eyes Sinyr questioned why he even bothered asking and quietly says “Ah, Lo.” Essex nods “I aye, it’s high time I checked in on my favorite powder monkey.” Dr. Sinyr’s expression looks a little somber as he inquires “Have you not discussed her conditions with Az or Erdrick yet?” Kelley strokes his rugged chin already growing thick scruff before he states “It was suggested to me by quite a few times in-fact, which is why I want to defy that little procedure and see her now as is.”
Without another word, Sinyr can tell when the captain has already made up his mind and rises from his chair leading Kelley to Lo’s cot. “She has been in and out a lot today it’s similar to her previous condition.” Sitting right behind her is a lumbering elder Orgun Gorgul Turnok who eyes the Captain with a blank neutral stare but quickly looks to twist into a growl as he looks in Sinyr’s direction who stops dead in his tracks. As Kelley looked to Sinyr who just shrugged at his captain motioning him toward Lorita the Ogrun stands up showing his bulk off despite his age in an attempt to keep Lorita sleeping peacefully. Essex walked past the doctor frozen in terror as Gorgol holds at his hand in a stop motion and points at the doctor then to the captain again. He shakes his head ‘no’ and gestures with 2 fingers and a thumb a pushing thumb action which resembles pushing in a syringe. Essex studied the gesture and opens his duster showing him the two cigars and nothing closely resembling a needle. “Do you give the girl injections now Sinyr?” The ogrun stood back down and Essex pulled himself up a stool to talk Lorita if possible. The Iosan doctor pauses for a moment then answers “Per advisement of previous acting Captain Chaeffer, and the suggestion of Master Gunner Az ekka sir, Only when she started acting erratically, to help her sleep and stop spouting nonsense.”
Sinyr shrugged which is an action Essex wasn’t accustomed to seeing from a person as educated as Felcyr Sinyr. He looked him over quizzically at that response to which the humble doctor only responded “I don’t feel her issues are physiological anymore sir, she is healthy just extreme sleep deprived and suicidal. Whenever our Gunnery Sergeant pays her a visit she sleeps more soundly, familiar faces I suppose.” Essex studied the girl slowly and carefully, she’d grown quite a bit since the first time he’d ever talked to her two years ago, she was starting to bud as a woman and it showed even the two months he slept she changed so much to his image of her. She may have grown but she didn’t look very healthy to Essex. Her eyes were sunken, her arms were covered in self inflicted scratches and chewed fingernails and knuckles. She twitches suddenly while he watches that looked more like a spasm as she tosses and turns in the sheets weakly whimpering. Gorgol, like a worried mother dabs a cold water soaked rag on Lorita’s forehead which causes her eyes to shoot open as she vicious bites his thumb not unlike a cat only the groan from the Ogrun signified she drew blood as he promptly jerks his hand away from her clenched jaws as she spits out the small amount of blood in a confused daze.
Kelley’s eyes locked with Lo’s who in a haze suddenly whimpers “Ca..ptain? where have you …been?” Essex stared silently at Lo and noticed her breathing was fast, she was trembling and her tone came of almost pleading. Essex leaned in closer but keeping his wits that if she would attack Gorgul she likely would do it to him. Calmly he asks “Ms. Ginory don’t you remember paying me a visit when I woke up?” Lo stroked her lips and examined the blood resting on her lips. A surprised look on her face intensified by Kelley’s question as she responds “Wait… you’re awake Captain? C-can ‘t believe… No, just like before. We both need to wake up, nothing …“ She looks right into Kelley’s eyes which couldn’t hide his depression to hear her right now. Without another word she tenses up and looks to the doctor and Gorgol who looks helplessly at her. “Nothing… n.. I’m fine. Of course I remember.” She tries to hide it but her nails are digging into her thighs enough to draw blood and break her own nails. Essex looks down to her hands and up to Lo again as he holds out both hands to her. “And I believe ye’ little miss, ain’t a tougher little lady on the Meredius other than may My Penny.”
Sinyr could see through the lie but Lorita maybe because she was so exhausted or maybe because Essex knew just what to say smiled holding both his hands laughing almost in disbelief. “So… no more shots then and I can return to work?” Lo couldn’t help but bite her lip anxiously hoping to hear him say something else she wanted. Essex’s face didn’t crack as she smiled stroking both of her captain’s hand one flesh and one steel she noted the sensations differing between the two as her head felt fuzzy and transfixed on the action. Kelley gently held her hands back but he dug deep mustering a tone in his voice like his old Uncle Byron.
Lorita’s face looked hurt and fear entered her eyes as she heard her captain insult her like that. More than hurt pride he saw a terror on her face that didn’t befit the statement. “Are they hurting you here Ms. Ginory?” he said with an authority looking to Gorgol and then the Doctor. Lorita looked to them both and while she wasn’t particularly pleased with either she didn’t show signs of the same abuses that had become part of his ship. He wondered what terrible things a girl who coped with lecherous child abusers could still be frightened of on his ship. Lorita pulled her hands away defensively backing away from the Captain as her breath quivers like a frightened mouse. Essex tried to calm her again by presenting his hands which only caused her to back away even more gripped by sheer fright. Gorgol growled lowly at Essex who shot the Ogrun a look that demand he pocket that type of thinking which the Gunnery Sergeant reluctantly obeyed.
“Ms. Ginory, we captains are notorious cowards. So whatever can razzle my favorite powder monkey this much I’m sure would send me overboard in no time whatsoever. But I need something from you, something all me crew give no matter what aboard the Bane…” Lo looked at him nervously shaking as she mumbled ‘what’ into her own pillow. “I need my crew to remember I’ll keep them safe, When you stowed away onboard and Mr. Zilo and Cadaco started their abuses who kept you safe?” Lorita sobbed immediately speaking the truth with a sob “G..Gorgol did.” Doctor Sinyr laughed as Essex looked embarrassed at that response. Lorita turned to Gorgol and cried asking for his forgiveness for biting him as Essex cleared his throat and tried it again. “AFTER… Mr. Turnok stopped them from attacking you who made sure they were punished?” Lorita sniffled almost curious what Essex meant as she replied “Mr. Lugosh did…” Essex literally went slack jawed and slapped a hand to his face mumbling “You’ve gotta b-… Lugosh!? You give him Cre-“ Lorita was sheepishly pulling away from the Captain.
Lorita’s eyes watered as Essex smiled at her offering a hug. With a sudden fear well up in her she rushes at him and clings to him crying uncontrollably. With his flesh and blood hand he pats the back of her Lo’s head and for the first moment in a long time Kelley felt like he was talking to his younger sister as he whispers it will be okay. “C…Capta..in! I’m just so tired … but I can’t tell, I .. I can’t be sure. I’m never sure… no difference than too many… Need to work working means I .. I … I don’t work when I dream or Am I?” The poor thing made no sense at all to everyone in the whole area except to Captain Essex as she trembled in his arms. The Captain thought about his visions, his dreams, his lengthy torpid state and realized the eerie similarities between himself and her right now. Her inability to express what she was seeing and feeling much like when he would attempt to describe his own visions and ability to see and alter fate. It nearly drove him mad… he turned to booze and vices to numb his senses and gifts, he shivered thinking about someone else going through something like that at this young and he felt sick to his stomach.
Essex hugs her tightly and plants a kiss on the top of her sweat ridden head “These things aren’t all just dreams Ms. Ginory, but no matter how bad they get how much you fear what is the one thing you need to remember while you float on me boat huh?” He says as Lorita trembles looking up to Kelley wiping tears from her own eyes “That my Captain wants me safe.” Essex lets go “Aye we all do, just remember that little lady. I don’t accept quitters; the ‘ship that never lingers’ will never drop anchor, we’ll sail and sail until we find better tomorrow. ” Lorita shakes he head crying “But how? Isn’t it hard? What if it only gets worse?” Essex smiles and sits up patting her head with a defiant grin “Then you solider on and tell those nightmares who will come looking when you cry.” Essex holds out his mechanical fist awaiting Lorita to confirm by pressing her fist against his own.
Lorita looks meekly at the fist, blood still drying on her lips as she follows through with his request. She looks almost in disbelief at her captain and his fist and leans back down into the bed “You’re … real right? So I’m awake?” Essex shoots a look at Gorgol to take over and smiles back to Lorita “I hear I’m not the best judge of that stuff, I was hoping you could tell me.” Lorita laughs as her eyes flutter closed as her Ogrun surrogate parent tucks her into her sheets with a worried smile as she mutters in her fast approaching sleep. Essex turned to look at Dr. Sinyr who had silently studying the all details he could.
Essex looks to one of Sinyr’s painting as he recognizes the location of Carre Dova from the Docks looking out to the Bay of Stone. He smiles looking to it and then waiting for Sinyr to acknowledge. Kelley could tell the kind doctor wanted further explanations, no doubt due to the fact that Az had discovered the key to curing his own specialized poisoning. “It’s a beautiful painting Mr. Sinyr, much like your art and your surgery they both have a time and place and it just so happens that the time has come for me to be useful to my crew. I ignored a warning I shouldn’t have and she’s paying the price.” Sinyr raises an eyebrow at that comment and replies “So Lanin was right… this is because of Erdrick?” Essex plants his flesh and blood hand on Felcyr’s shoulder and leans in close whispering. “A time and place doctor, let me be the one to ease the burdens you all took up while I slept… agreed?” Doctor Sinyr reluctantly nodded and states “I suppose I should ask how you’re feeling actually. A duel, a jail break, battle at sea…and is that Hoogah I smell on you Captain?” with a grin on his face Essex struts away with a grin saying over his shoulder. “ Tomorrow, at dawn I’ll be making sure we deal with this.” The Iosan doctor just nods watching he walk back toward the drinkers and merriment inside the Hold of the vessel despite the damage suffered.
Essex wastes no time walking through the celebrations in The Hold. Golrick is still telling tales and starting toasts to those who didn’t make it off Pointe Vigil. At another table sat Atticus, Boomur, and Kerchak look to be engaged in a game of cards. Boomur glowers his competition almost half as much as he grumbles at the indistinguishable. Kerchak takes a long drag off his cigar and glances at Boomur and Atticus with a greed filled poker face. As Atticus eyes the captain he says to the crew “So what exactly are we wagering for this round gentlemen?” to which a sudden cauldron of grey slop with cyan bubbles claps down onto the table. Essex stops dead in his tracks with a wide grin seeing Mr. Blackheel preparing to break in the new recruit as Kerchak says bluntly “Our stomachs seems a good place to start.” Atticus looks mortified at the concoction before him as he looks up to the unseemly ship’s dwarven cook, Eckers Blackheel with bits of dandruff and gravy clings to his hair and beard. The Dwarf salutes the captain and bears an unseemly grin toward Atticus showing his missing and discolored teeth. Atticus’ eyes dart right to the deck of cards as he groans seeing Boomur’s whelp Pub slides the deck back toward Boomur and Kerchak. “Fair hand.” He states matter of factly as the Troolbloods shiphands grin back at poor Atticus confident of their hands now. Atticus looks pleadingly at the Captain as Essex deviously rubs his belly and licks his lips waving goodbye to Atticus and heading toward the Gundeck stairwell.
Trudging up the stairs the urge to resume smoking his cigar crosses his mind till the smell of sulfur and gunpowder quickly fills his nostrils. With a sigh he looks over the gundeck not intending for many more pleasantries but seeing no reason not to take an account how the deck is fairing. After a few quick moments Essex notes Mr. Uldara isn’t on duty because the crew look to be fairly relaxed at this point. Ms Cara Applewhite is currently sitting on a stool nursing a mug of mead gently stroking a brass cannon right next to her as she watches the cresting night waters saying to the captain “Was a great scrap sir.” To which Essex nods in her direction before trekking up the next set of stairs having crossing his twelve cannons on their rail tracks. The cool night air against the sea whafted across the main deck was refreshing from the rotten stench of the Hold. The sails, what were left of them buffeted in the wind as the sound of thunder could be heard echoing over the ocean. Essex looked to a saluting Bosun Gorgun who was sporting from fresh wounds but carried them like they were skinned knees. “You did right by the Crew sir.” Essex gave a fatigued sigh and nodded once more finding guilt in so much freely offered gratitude. Gorgun sensed whatever Essex was feeling and suddenly bowed at his captain quickly finding an order to scream out at a ship hand, to which Essex was grateful for.
Opening up the doors to the promenade of his ship Essex approached up to a brass series of tubes. Each one lead to a different compartment of the ship, he flipped open the lid to one of the tubes and drew close before speaking. “Miss Ironfist, ye did well today I’ll be in talks with the quartermaster about increasing yer shares tonight among other things. I’m optimistic about the outcome, that’s all.” Without waiting for a response from the Engine room. Essex strolls up to the door of his quarters and his eyes drift down to the door slightly ajar. Grabbing ‘Cheat’ from its scabbard Essex bursts into his room weapon draw eyes flaring orange with runes swirling around his free hand expecting to find a stowaway.
Kelley rose an eyebrow to find Lidda McClay under his sheets with a wide grin, her hat already tossed onto his headboard he long brown hair and Midlunder qualities strongly coming through in the lantern light of his quarters. For the first time in years Essex saw spunky little Lidda without grease, gears or tool strapped to her, all he could see was the enticing form of a woman under his sheets as she helped herself to some of his rum resting on his nightstand. Stowwing away the blade and diffusing the runes Kelley sighed at her as he undid some straps of his armor.
To which came a disappointed glance from Lidda’s blue eyes. After a moment or two her freckled checks smiled again as she grabbed his bottle of rum pressing it against herself as she sat up showing she wasn’t in her normal jumpsuit. “You know Kell, you could be considerate enough to think about it from my perspective.” She said with a musing smirk to him. “Oh no, that is exactly why I am in no mood you seem to have made your life plenty complicated already to join up with me when your Brother holds the rank of Admiral in Ord.” Lidda sighs and pats the bed commandingly “Come here. I’ve got something to say, I need to make sure you get it through that thick head of yours.” Essex shakes his head ignoring the command still undoing his armor. To his surprise Lidda waits for a moment and giggles “Or don’t I don’t mind savoring the show” She says with a gently bit lip teasing at the fact Essex was undressing in front of her which Kelley glares at her flustered as he decides to sit down next to her still half undone.
“You know Kelley, just by being here I’m not likely to ever be mentioned in another inheritance or get to see my nieces or nephews. I knew that full well before getting on that gangplank and that was my decision.” Essex sighs deeply trying to mentally retreat from that guilt by digging into his pocket to retrieve one of the two cigars only to find Lidda already had her hand in his pocket. She fished them out and grinned at the half used one planting it firmly in her lips and stashing the over between her breasts looking defiantly at Kelley’s stupefied response. “All because of some dare to kiss my brother’s best friend out on the docks on a night that I never got over."
Essex stared to his cigars, her chest, his rum, her smile , his sheets, her figure and left speechless for the first time in ages. She grabbed the back of his hair and smiled pulling him so close he could feel the hot breath coming off her. “You promised me right after that kiss I could be part of your crew.” Essex dumbly replied "I was pretty drunk.” She grinned and pulled him in the rest of the way giving him a long, heated and passionate kiss before letting the two of the breath “Maybe, but you were charming.” She sits up and smiles stroking his Mechanikal Arm likely putting her engineer mind to work mentally disassembling and examining it before saying “Captain, I’ll understand if it’d never work out between us. But I’ll be damned if I’ll be a pariah without a reason and a left behind again. I want to see this world the way only you could show me. So I really was just Lucan’s little sister to y-“Essex leans against her and pushes her into his bed staring her dead in the eyes. “You talk too much… and you better be ready to share those with me.” He says with a grin as Lidda responds with a smile and with flush cheeks as Essex realized what it looked like when he pointed at her bosom.
She tosses her bra at him to which Essex grabs with a smile and then snatches up the bottle of rum from her taking two big gulps before blowing out the lantern light. Lidda giggles anxiously as she raises above the sheets showing her twilight frame to him as she helps undoing the rest of his armor before kissing the back of his neck “Oh captain, my captain…” she whispers playfully pressing against his back before throwing him into the bed and pouncing into it with him. Kelley chuckles as he feels Lidda’s fingers trace along his chest as she caresss his neck with her forehead. Kelley weakly smiled informing her “I’ve a meetin with Mr. Chaeffer within the hour.”
Lidda rolls her eyes and laughs “Ha, no.” she states plainly to Kelley’s surprise. Before he can look down she smiles sheepishly. “I don’t care if you have your meeting, but for your sake i’ll just let you know now. I’ll be fucking you until i faint… for your own pride, you might want to lock that door right now because not even my brother could get me off you now” She says dripping with lust as she begins to back up her words with bold action. Essex laughs almost nervously starting to see the savage side of Ms. McClay as he realizes the futility of talking her down and bolts from the bed half naked locking the door. He bare is able to turn before Lidda pins him to the door.
She says with a smile before using her strong body to throw him back into bed like a rag doll. Essex twirled around in bed stunned to see little polite Lidda the girl he’d know for nearly 20 years acting so dominant. Strutting over to his bed Lidda smiles starts to forcefully fake a pirate accent “Now stand down Capin, and prepar ta’ be boarrrded hehe.”Kelley laughed, and for the first time in a long time Captain Kelley Essex didn’t feel the burdens of leadership, just bliss.