Canva goat

Crescent

United States

A person who likes to read, write, draw, craft, and game
A person who is willing to struggle for what she wants
A person who loves her family and friends very much
A person on WtW

Message to Readers

Would you continue reading the novel?
Do you enjoy the characters?
Is anything confusing?
Thoughts on the tension/conflict/etc if it exists? If not, please let me know.
Setting—do you have a sense of what sort of world this is and where this scene takes place?
Is this a good excerpt?

The Second Admiral (Excerpt)

November 18, 2018

Peraphone laughed and slammed the flagon down, making the makeshift barrel table jump from the newly cleared deck. Rum sloshed over the mug, splattering onto the alcohol-logged table.

How wonderful! Doubles again! The Demon must be feeling generous today if her consecutive wins were any indication. She swiped the gold pieces from the table and downed the rest of the rum, letting it spill onto her jacket, soaking her white undershirt.

Her crewmen shot her approving looks; some let their eyes drop to where the shirt still soaked up the rum. She grinned, wolfish, at Tamin, her Quartermaster. His muscular shoulders exhibited the tails of what she guessed were whip scars. The Kurtnese wyvern tattoo that was hiding beneath that billowing shirt was a brand. A slave before a sailor. He looked exasperated—brows pinched, lips parted—as he rolled.

Six and one.

“Dammit.” He growled, took her flagon, and frowned when he realized there wasn’t anything left but the dregs.

Crowded around an untidy table, wind tousling the sails, her hair—she cared little for the alcohol, the paltry bets.

“Anyone next?” Pera raised her brow at her crewmates, lifting the empty flagon in challenge. Unresponsive but for muttering. “That’s no fun.” She sighed and pushed herself from the table, cocked her hat, and made her way to the front of Devilbreaker, where the siren figurehead gazed at the sun rising from the ocean-flooded horizon.

Strong arms wrapped around her waist after she lifted a gilded telescope over an eye.

“You need to teach me trick,” Tamin rumbled in his deep, accented way. She saw his ash and gold braids from the corner of her eye and stepped forward from his embrace, ignoring the hurt expression. He knew exactly what he had been getting into that day he entered the cabin. She forced herself to look at the horizon.

No ships.

So she mustered up a purr and replied, “There is nothing to teach, love. It was just luck.”

She started for her cabin, and Tamin called out to her, “It is three days. You want Arthur’s son’s head? You need to find him.”

“I will.” Pera stalked into her cabin, shutting the door behind her. Three days! Fast for any pirate except for her, the legendary Belladonna under the bruise-colored flag.

She sat at her desk and stared down at her map, its edges crinkled and burned by cigars—never again. This was one of the few rewards she’d reaped from a Demon’s gamble. A map whose waters swirled and revealed shipwrecks, fog-smogged islands, underwater cities, shifting demarcations of kingdoms and empires. A black pool, like an ink spill, marked her territory in the waters of Fracu, a landmass broken up into subcontinents and archipelagos and stretches of sea and sand.

Tamin had wondered about chasing the admiral.

“This,” she said to herself. “Show me Admiral Rontis.”

She touched the waters beside the land labeled “Maervae,” and the ink twisted, serpentine, into an image of her fleet and another—under the Maervaen flag. Forty ships just a horizon away.
She had sixteen ships with her.

Pera’s eyes darted across the map as it returned to its original state, and she closed her eyes. She’d dealt with far worse odds, so she allowed herself a twisted smirk as she remembered.

Cannonballs shrieked, sails bellowed, and ships sank around them. The storm surged onto the deck, and Pera loosed a twisted cry as she dug her dagger into the closest man and loosed bullet after bullet at the enemies.

From every dank corner of the ship, they scuttled, no better than rats tripping over corpses. She followed, spitting saliva and blood, trousers cut, jacket dangling from her tattooed shoulder.

“Come and get me,” she sang, in harmony with the storm. She fixed an eye on the closest sailor, a woman whose hair was pulled back with a blue bandana. Pera spat, “Following Admiral Arthur was your mistake.”

The muscled, tanned woman lifted a silver gun at her. “Following the Demon was yours.” How true that was. She was fearless. That’s what Arthur’s sailors were. They both pulled their trigger.

It was good Sesna wasn’t here to see this, that Tamin wasn’t here.

She laughed when her gun wouldn’t fire. Laughed because they wouldn’t find out until Maervae announced to Fracu that the Belladonna was dead. The world would cheer, and the other pirates would celebrate that the biggest menace in the seas was gone, that criminals far worse than she would rule the seas again.

They wouldn’t get her.

A bullet punctured her thigh first, and she stumbled over a wet body. She chuckled, rain dancing on her forehead, and picked herself up. “Your efforts are wa—”

The woman’s bullet, right through her chest. She hit the rail as she fell.

Looked back at the enemies, at her dead crew. Bless the souls that had stayed with her til the end.

Then she found herself glaring up at that woman, that smart, fast Maervaen sailor and First Mate to Admiral Arthur. Her gun flashed silver. “You’re dead, Belladonna.”

Spat again. “You can’t kill me.” Pera smiled, tasted the blood between her teeth, and launched herself from the boat. A moment frozen in time, as chilly as the wind and the pelt of rain, and she tumbled into the sea, empty gaze still locked on the woman’s.

The things that had happened afterward, the reason for another swirl in her tattoo—a deal struck with the Demon. A fleet of phantom ships had risen and decimated the Maervaen vessels and sailors, another one thousand crimes. But the Demon was merciless, and she smiled bitterly at sennight of agony that had followed. More would come if she ignored his demands.

Pera’s eyes fell on black pool. She needed that admiral’s head. Needed the other criminals, the other pirates, to know that these bickering kingdoms and their silly armadas were nothing to her. To her master. And she needed the treasury and cruelty of empires to rule these oceans.

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