Meet Brant. I love this character. This is the first scene written in his point of view and I think you'll enjoy reading more of him. Remember that comments up until January 19th, 2013 on this post, or any of the other excerpts which are linked to at the bottom of this post, will get you entered into a draw to win a $10 Amazon Giftcard.
In a far corner of the bar, hidden by shadows that the lanterns and candles didn’t quite reach, a man got up and followed the girl out into the dark night. He was tall and moved smoothly from years of practice at walking on rolling ship decks. A brace of pistols and a long rapier were strapped to his belt.
He had not been blind to the transaction that had occurred between the girl and Old Richard, nor was he oblivious, as she seemed to be, of the danger she was in.
Following her at a safe distance, he waited to see what she would do. There were only a few short hours before she would find out that she had not bought passage but instead sold herself into the white slave market, of which there was plenty of demand and good return. Old Richard was no fool. He had seen how naïve this girl was, and he immediately saw the profit he could make. She had been sheltered, it was apparent by her trust in humanity. Stupid girl, foolish girl. It would serve her right if he just allowed her to continue on her self-destructive path. She thought her life was hard now? Just wait until she started her new life, the life Old Richard chose for her. He couldn’t allow it though. For all his questionable morals, Brant Foxton could not, with clear conscience, allow this girl to fall into the hands of Old Richard.
The girl had led her horse down the docks a little way, but now she chose to stop. Looking around she sat down, looking ready to wait for the next two hours. He studied her and sighed. He was sure he would not be able to trick her into coming onto his ship instead of Old Richard’s, nor would she be so trusting as to accept passage for free. That would raise red flags in her mind. She was not stupid, merely sheltered.
Watching her a while, he became certain she wouldn’t leave. He had less than two hours to get his crew together and leave town. Turning, he left the girl and her horse and walked the short distance to where his ship sat docked. Most of his crew would be away from ship. He had promised them a two day leave and they would be enjoying it. The only souls aboard the BlackFox would be Karl and Matt, taking care of tonight’s watch, and James, the cabin boy, who was likely sleeping soundly below deck. But even with the four of them, that was not enough to sail a ship of the BlackFox's size, nor enough to successfully kidnap a girl at the same time.
Walking aboard, Matt, a young sailor who had been with him for the past three years greeted him. He had proven himself honest, hardworking, and exceptionally skilled as a sailor and had quickly worked his way through the ranks. Matt was the sailing master and a damn good one. If Karl ever decided to retire, which was unlikely, he was set to take his place as Quartermaster. For now, Brant took advantage of Matt’s exceptional navigation skills.
“Top of the evening to ye, Cap’n.”
“That it is, Matthew. I need you to do something for me.”
Matt, who was sitting near the mast playing a guitar, stopped and nodded. “Yes, sir?”
“There’s a bit of trouble brewing, and I need you to collect the crew. We need to set sail as soon as possible.”
“No, just some trouble with another Captain. Tell anyone who won’t come that he’ll have to find a new billet. I wait for no man.”
“Yes, sir.” Matt took off without another word.
An older man stood up by the railing of the upper deck. He stood unsteadily, visibly leaning on the railing for support. “Brant, there'd better be a damned good reason why you're hollering at me at this time of night,” he slurred.
“Karl, is there a reason you’re yelling at your Captain?”
The man slowly made his way down the stairs and approached him. Standing closer than was comfortable, Brant could smell the rum on his breath. “Brant Foxton, you may be Captain but I raised ye from when ye were naught but knee high. I’ll talk to ye however I wish when the crew ain’t around to bear witness.”
Brant laughed and took a slight step back. “We’re leaving in a couple of hours. When the crew arrives, I need you to make sure things are ready to set sail. I have an errand to run.”
“Aye, Brant. Trouble?”
“Nothing to be too worried about, I would just rather not be in port come morning. Go sober up; there’s some coffee in the galley.”
Karl walked off somewhat unsteadily to the galley.
Brant sighed. James would be asleep in the crew’s quarters. He would rather he stayed asleep till morning, but someone had to get together a makeshift stall and collect enough water to make the next port. The rest of their supplies would be collected then. As for the crew, if he could find a handful sober enough to function, things might just work out.