Weekend Writing: January 30 — A Per Diem Pirate

“Orders, Acting Captain?”

So, writing every Sunday in January was good practice for my plan to write every day in February. Look forward to that.

“And how is Dunstana, Katherine?” Amara asks.

“She’s a little drama queen, is what she is,” Kat mutters. She groans. “I swear, it was like something out of one of your Bridgewalltonshire books. All she has is a cold, but she’s over here acting like Marquess Fordleford bequeathing the estate to Mrs. Grimsby.”

Amara giggles. “I knew it, Katherine! You always pretend to be so aloof and bored, but I just knew Bridgewalltonshire would win you over.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Kat murmurs.

Once Dunstana gets over her cold, Kat is going to get her for this.

Despite the little pirate being laid up with nothing worse than a head cold and Kat’s assurances that she’d be fine in a few days and more than able to deliver 300 tablecloths to the Goldharbour Culinary Festival herself, Dunstana was quite insistent that Kat look after her ship and her crew and make the delivery with all the severity and melodrama of a character straight out of Bridgewalltonshire Priory.

So now Kat’s here, the very last place on Terrace she’d every want to be: on the deck of a pirate ship as the acting — and she can only hope, very, very temporary — captain of Dunstana’s crew. Sure, Dustana was overreacting to a mere cold to a farcical degree, but she just look so sad and forlorn that Kat couldn’t find the heart to refuse her little sister’s request.

But, by the Powers, once Dunstana has recovered from her cold, Kat is going to get her for this.

Kat isn’t entirely sure why Amara offered to come with her and can’t quite decide if she’s here to support her or laugh at her, but she’s glad she’s not completely alone with Dunstana’s pirates.

“Orders, Acting Captain?” the pirate who introduced herself as Dunstana’s first mate — and whom Kat is sure she recognises as an acquaintance of her father’s.

“Right,” Kat says, glancing around the deck of the ship. “Mizzen the mainmast. And, uh, main the topsails. Up the anchor. And, like, thing the… thing.”

Dunstana’s pirates stare blankly at her.

Kat sighs. “Look, you’ve all done this before, right?” she says to the pirates. “Just do whatever you have to do to make the boat —”

Ship, Katherine,” Amara notes.”

“— Make the ship start sailing,” Kat concludes.

One of the pirates tentatively raises his hand.

Kat turns towards the pirate with his hand raised. “Yes?”

“When we get to Goldharbour, Acting Captain, can we stop for ice cream?” the pirate asks.

Kat stares at him.

“Well, it’s just that whenever we make port with Captain Dunstana, she always lets us stop for ice cream,” the pirate explains.

The other pirates mutter their agreement.

Kat glances to the first mate. “It’s true,” the female pirate notes.

Kat sighs, slumping against the ship’s wheel.“Yes,” she says wearily. “We can stop for ice cream when we get to Goldharbour.”

“Huzzah! Three cheers for the Acting Captain!”

Kat’s face darkens and she surges back up from her slump. “There will no three-cheering on my ship,” she warns the pirates. “I will personally keelhaul any man who even whispers the words hip-hip-hurray.

“You heard the Acting Captain,” the first mate tells the others. “She’s not the cheering sort. Now, back to work or there’ll be no ice cream for anyone.”

“Spoken like a true pirate, Katherine,” Amara notes with a sly grin.
Kat is absolutely, positively, absotively, posolutely going to get Dunstana for this.

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