by G. Scott Huggins
“Ah, Captain.” The pirate bowed. His accent was crisp and strange, and the crowd hushed as they strained to listen. “I thank you for your hospitality—”
Haraad cut him off with his usual tact. “The captain . . . has better things to do. I’m his son. And we aren’t rescuing you, pirate.”
The stranger’s odds would have been better a year ago, with the captain, but he had taken sick. And Haraad was just enough of a sailor to see Ekkaia safely back to the Grove. But there was no way for this man to know that.
The stranger’s face fell. “I was afraid of that,” he said calmly. “I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I told you that our, ah . . . situation . . . has changed?”
The crowd laughed, Haraad loudest of all. It was an oily, ugly sound. But even Responsibility felt the laughter well up in her for an instant. Pirates change? One might as well ask the sunspike to move! Ever since the First Fleet split, the Near Islands had been rife with pirates. It did not look good for the pirate, alone on a Century Ship.