Something Like Progress

Darling Du Jour, or Just to Show That I AM SO working on the sequel to Black Kath’s Daughter. The working title is Power’s Shadow. Subject to change, of course.

In this scene, Marta and her companion Sela are getting a report from Longfeather, a once and future pirate who, for Marta’s convenience, is currently a goshawk:

            It wasn’t long before Longfeather also returned from his scouting mission. He landed on a nearby pine branch and gave his report. “There’s not a lot of activity at the docks just now. There are two merchant ships making ready to set sail, but of course they aren’t going anywhere near the Five Isles. They’ll hug the coastline until they reach Borasur.”

           There was an aspect of the debt-bond that made it difficult, even painful, for the one who was in bond-service to work against the interests of the one who held the debt, in this case Marta. She could see how uncomfortable Longfeather was, and she easily guessed the reason.

                “Is that really all you saw?” Marta asked, and she put the power of the debt-bond behind her words.

                “No,” Longfeather finally admitted. “There was someone else.”

                The way he’d phrased his response wasn’t lost on Marta. Not ‘something else’ but rather ‘someone else.’ “No more dancing around the subject, Longfeather,” Marta said. “Tell me who you saw at the docks.”

                “I saw a vessel called Blue Moon. Her captain is a woman named Callowyn. She’s mostly a smuggler and does errands for Boranac, and so operates under his protection, but she’s a pirate, too, at opportunity. I do not trust her.”

                “And is there a pirate or smuggler that you do trust?” Marta asked.

                “Well…no,” Longfeather admitted. “Most of them are like me.”

                “So why did you feel it necessary to point out this particular lack of trust?”

                Longfeather apparently gave up. “This Callowyn…we have a history, of sorts.”

                   “What sort?” Sela asked. “Or shall we guess?”

                   Longfeather shrugged, and briefly displayed his wings. “She’d probably cut off my privates with a dull knife and spike them to her mast as a trophy before bothering to chop off my head  for the reward. That sort.”

                Marta smiled then. “A woman of taste and judgment. I think I like her already. But do not worry, Longfeather. She’s not going to see you. She’s going to see a goshawk.”

                Longfeather sighed, which was a very strange sound indeed, coming from a goshawk. “She’ll figure it out. I know she will.”