The new chapter of Lead Heart is up, please let me know how you like it. I’m playing with pacing and details, so do feel free to comment if anything is confusing!
A mess of coins clinked playfully into Leliana’s hands.
“Here’s the advance to get outfitted darling. Head on over later today and I’ll introduce you to the crew.” Jovi pocketed the list she’d had Leliana write up of her own talents and swept from the room, Gib in tow.
The common room was still pretty sparse, but was slowly filling with patrons and gossips alike. Elaborate stories and exaggerations were flying more freely than oatmeal. She didn’t pay them any mind, instead replaying this interview in her mind. The captain certainly fit the part; she was all smiles and handshakes until business was broached, then the woman exuded authority. Leliana stowed her belongings. The first thing she needed was a way of carrying stuff without flailing this enormous sack about.
She was fond of it, to be sure. She liked hiding things inside and having a soft armor of sorts. Trudging around town with a 50 pound coin purse just drew some sorts of attention she didn’t want. The instructions from Jovi were crisp on the white parchment in her hands. A couple of uniforms, new shoes, food, and ammo? This was basically why Leliana was in town in the first place, and now somebody else was buying them for her?
Maybe Antros was right about that whole career thing.
Six hours later, she stopped to admire her new home. Well, temporary home. And workplace. And bedroom. Okay it wasn’t the biggest ship, but right now the biggest thing it represented was freedom. An escape from locked doors and steam guns and chains. For that, it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever set eyes on.
About 15 feet tall by her estimation, something like twice as wide and four times as long. It felt like a squat warehouse with a pointed bottom levitating a few feet off the ground.
Captain Jovi waved Leliana over to where she sat poring over a stack of papers. “Goodday Leliana. How goes it?” Even though her eyes were hidden behind a pair of dark glasses, anyone could hear that she was about four seconds from falling asleep. Probably using the papers for a pillow.
“So far so good. I need to pick up a uniform at sundown, but I grabbed everything else.” The heavy canvas bag was indeed filled to bursting, as well as a new bag fastened at her hip. A thick belt she’d taken fancy to wrapped twice around her, holding an assortment of new bullets, knives and a few small explosives.
“I certainly hope you overdressed for the job,” Jovi quipped. “I”m not about to complain about my security detail being too armed, though. Last fellows figured a gun each would suffice and ended up…Well, it wasn’t enough. Let’s get you settled. First to take stock of the added weight.”
They stepped to a small plank held by a joint in the middle, so a platform at one end was raised while the other was on the ground.
“Step here please.”
Leliana hopped onto the lowered platform while Jovi clambered up the raised one. Jovi made a small frown as nothing happened. “What on earth is in that bag? Can you put your things on the ground a moment.”
Leliana set everything aside and they tried again. The platform didn’t move. Jovi peered over her glasses. “Oh. Okay. Uh, Gib, be a dear and stand here will you.”
Gib frolicked to the seesaw and hopped up. The platform slowly evened out, both figures suspended about 2 feet up. Jovi didn’t hide it this time, and spoke with open-mouthed astonishment. “Skymother above, where do you keep it all?” Gib went ahead and set Leliana’s packs on the platform he’d been standing on, and the board leveled out once again.
“Okay, okay. I’m not even going to ask. Please tell me the uniform isn’t a steel pillbox or something. I’m not confident we’ll be able to take off in that condition.”
Leliana laughed nervously. “Ah, no it should be pretty light.”
Jovi waved the matter aside. “Well it’ll be fine, the cargo from here to Rosewood is just a crate of logic cards so we should be fine.” They marched up the gangplank, the heavy board bowing dangerously in the middle as Gib and Leliana walked side-by-side.
Leliana stowed her belongings in a small sealed chest next to the only cabin on deck and then she and Jovi took a quick tour. Fore, aft, starboard, port, the ship was surprisingly similar to some of the clippers in the strategy books she’d memorized years ago. The sail design was a bit odd though. Each sail was held aloft by two masts on either side of the ship with a couple of support beams in between. She said as much.
“That’s because these sails slide on the air like a glider, so the forces exerted upon the mast structure is all pulling away from the ship and need the extra stability.”
A girl with enormous, fluffy, pink pigtails popped up in the raised base of a vertical propeller near the ship’s peak. It was Leliana’s turn to gape as the tiny girl continued in a tiny voice.
“It was quite a challenging design feature to implement if I were to be honest but we increased the ships flight range by 100% so I’m definitely glad we perfected it.” The mousey girl waved, holding a wrench almost as big as she was. “Hi captain!”
Leliana leaned to Gib and whispered. “She’s. Adorable.”
Gib whispered back. “Yes!”