Skull and Shackles

Prologue: The Wild, Wild Sea
In Which We Meet Sandara Quinn.

Posted by Darth Krzysztof

31 Desnus, 4712 AR

It was her own damn fault this time, again.

Sandara Quinn had arrived at the Formidably Maid far too early, and spent nearly an hour dwelling on her reasons for coming to this dive before ordering what turned out to be the first of too many mugs of cheap, spicy rum. By the time pirates started rolling in to fill the common room, Sandara was a wee bit too drunk to talk to them. And they seemed happy to carry on without including her, so she remained in her corner, staring into her tankard.

In the dim light, the rum seemed to ripple like the sea itself. No, Sandara thought, that can’t be right. You’re just loaded to the gunwales. She squeezed her eyes shut and regretted it at once, for Da’s face still hid behind her eyelids.

Limestone watchtowers ringed the harbor. She saw the names of every ship, and the waves on the sea aglow in the fire of sunrise. And Da was there, young and alive, as she always chose to see him, his hand on her shoulder. “I know I ain’t been there fer ye much, Sandi,” Da said… nearly twenty years ago, the words still as indelible as the tattoos on his daughter’s arms. “But I won’ say I’m sorry, fer thass a fisherman’s life. Thass the sea, lassie.”

That was the way of it, all right. Food doesn’t put itself on the table, Ma was fond of saying. She wasn’t sea-blooded like Da was, but being a seamstress didn’t leave her much time for Sandara, either. “I know, Da,” Sandara said, having made a sort of peace with the situation. “You got nothin’ to be sorry for.”

This brought the familiar smile to Da’s lips. “Bless ye, Sandi. I weren’t so nice about it when it were my Da gone to sea. But thass why I brought ye down here. Now, since I ain’t been here fer ye, I got no right to ask anythin’ of ye, but I still got one thing to ask of ye.”

“What’s that?” She loved her Da with all her heart, no matter how rarely she got to see him, or how little they spoke.

“When ye come of age, Sandara Quinn, I want ye to go to sea.”

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