Prompt 9 - Steampunk
Her jaw tightened for a moment before she let out a slow breath trying to recover some modicum of patience. She turned her attention to Basilith, “I’ve no idea how much longer it’s going to take those Bariss finish wanking one another off but I’m going to lose my damn mind if I have to stand here waiting much longer.”
“Probably moved onto bumming each other by this point,” Basilith said with no indication of sarcasm in her tone but the other crewman on the bridge chuckled nonetheless. Basilith was a beast of a woman, often mistaken for an orc given her size and general demeanor, and it had taken her crew some time to feel comfortable enough around her to laugh at the dry delivery of her humor.
“Not exactly a mental image I’m thankful for but I’ll be in my quarters,” she said with a smirk, “come get me when they’ve finished and signal us down.”
“Aye, Rev,” Basilith said with a decisive nod, “we’ll hold things down out here.”
Revlyn nodded and once she was through the doorway and off the bridge she paused a moment, taking a few deep breaths. The last four days had begun to take their toll. She had hardly slept or eaten since leaving home and could tell by the way Basilith looked at her that she was not hiding it as well as she would like. Ship-to-ship combat was one of the most destructive and violent in all of Urth, akin to a battle between dragons more than it was between two ships at sea. Every member of her crew knew this and the constant dread of the lives lost over the last few days and those she continued to put at risk was nearly more than she could stand.
She snapped back to straight as she heard the footfalls of an approaching crewman. The worst thing she could do as a captain, aside from needlessly putting her crew in harm’s way, was let them see any form of weakness in her. They needed to know she was invincible and in control at all times. They need to know without even a hint of doubt that she knew precisely what she was doing in any situation. They were allowed to fear and dread but seeing her as immune to defeat allowed them to ignore that fear and their training to keep the reins in their minds. None of them, not even Revlyn herself were military but she and Basilith handpicked every member of their crew. True, they had been found in some of the scummiest pirate hangouts in the free region but they were the best of that scum.
When she reached her quarters, Korvin was deep in his meditative focus. She grinned at the look of serenity in his posture and expression. She wished she felt even a semblance of what the shaman felt.
“Even after a year sailing with me, the idea of you dressed like one of the crewmen still seems wrong. Like someone taught a worg to wear trousers,” she said softly. His consciousness was elsewhere, working the lines of etheric energy that channeled throughout the ship. While the dwarven engine let the ship maneuver, it was the etheric energy strands woven into the ship that allowed it to remain airborne. She continued when he didn’t respond, “I don’t think I’ll ever get quite used to seeing you without the fang and claw decorated furs.”
Wanderlust was already the fastest ship of the free houses but he had improved its speed and maneuverability significantly since coming aboard allowing the ship to take full advantage of the engine. She had been considered it a blessing from the gods when she found out what he was capable of but even more so when she found out he could repair the lines and work them around the damage taken in combat. She was one for gambling but she’d wager such jury-rigging had likely saved Wanderlust and the crew on more than one occasion.
She sat on the edge of the bed behind him and place a hand gently on his shoulder.
“Rev,” he said almost as if waking from sleep but doesn’t turn to face her. She could hear the gloom in his voice and didn’t need to see his face to know his expression, “I managed to work the strands around the damage near the stern of the ship but I can’t be certain how well it will hold if you attempt another dive in the next engagement with the Leviathan.”
“Engagement? I aim to kill those Roth sons of bitches, not court them,” she says but he doesn’t react. “Oh come on, that was funny!
His head lowered for a moment and he turned to face her with a neutral expression, but concern still obvious. She loved the way the green of his eyes practically seemed to glow against the dark tan of his complexion but hated that look on him. She hated when other worried over her, but even more so from him.
“This is serious, Rev,” he said.
“I don't like serious you nearly as much as,” she began as he rose to his feet and faced her. She stood as well, crossing her arms over her chest and scowling at him, “you never laugh when you get like this.”
“I know you hate to hear it,” he put his hands on her shoulder, “but I truly believe you should leave this fight to House Bariss. Their ships are better armored, better armed, and more capable for such a fight.”
“More capable?” She said loudly and there was an edge of anger to her voice. Much as she hated others worrying for her, she absolutely loathed when others doubted her abilities, “Wanderlust is more than capable and I have no intention of letting those Bariss bastards take all the credit for this victory.”
“You’re right, Wanderlust is more than capable and with you as captain she is one of the best airships in the free region,” he said and she scoffed at him, “the best in the free region but Wanderlust is injured and in no condition to go up against the Leviathan again.”
“The Leviathan is crippled and we’ve left it with no other ships to protect it.”
“Regardless, you cannot risk another dive if you insist on being part of the coming fight and in a ship this light, that removes a considerable portion of your advantage.”
She sighed but that edge of anger remained. She knew he was right. Wanderlust was a smuggler’s ship intended for outrunning and avoiding combat. Even fitted with cannons as her ship was, the Leviathan and heavier cannons and more of them. The glancing shot Wanderlust had taken was nearly enough to ground them. A direct hit would turn her into a rain of debris. She had come to her chambers looking for affection and a moment of respite, not logic. No, fuck that. If he insisted on making this a fight, she would give him one.
“You think I don’t know this, Korvin?” She snapped surprising both him and herself with the real anger in her voice, “but the greater risk is allowing it to return home where it will be back to slaughtering our people in less than a month! There has been too much bloodshed just getting this far to not throw everything we have at the Leviathan now! We have a real chance to end this. We have a real chance to keep the free regions free and I will do my part to see that day. Now, you can either believe that I know what I’m doing and be there on the bridge when that happens or you can sit in here and fuck yourself because I sure as the nine hells won’t.”
“Rev,” he said. She could tell she had hurt him and already had begun to regret it, “you know I believe in you but if anything was to happen to you—”
“Don’t you dare say it," she said through her teeth and he paused, wounded again.
“Then House Stonehill loses its greatest asset in the fight once this rebellion is over,” he finished as though it had been what he had intended to say. She reached a hand up to his cheek and smiled.
“Nice save,” she said with a smile and pressed herself against him, allowed him to wrap her in his arms. She was uncertain what difference it made not to speak of things they both knew but for some reason it comforted her not to hear it. She let out a deep breath, “there. Was this really so hard, nature boy?”
He squeezed her slightly and rested his head atop hers.
“You worry about that magic crap and ask the wind for a favor. You let me worry about my ship and the crew. Me and Wanderlust can do this.”
“I know you can,” he said and for a moment they were silent until he said her name in barely a whisper, “Rev?”
“The fang is in the other pocket,”
“Dammit!” She exclaimed in a mixture of genuine and mock frustration. She slapped him on the chest with both hands and leaned back so she could glare at him, “I used to be able to sneak the fang off you every time. I must be losing my edge.”
“Perhaps or perhaps I simply enjoyed your little dance and smile when you thought you bested me,” he said with a chuckle and she stuck out her bottom lip in a mock pout.
“You don’t like my smile anymore?”
“I certainly do but I’m growing quite attached to the look of determination you give me when you swear that you’ll best me next time.”
“Oh, I’ll show you determined,” she said as she pulled him against her, her lips to his, and they fell together onto the bed. His teeth found the side of her neck and she groaned digging her fingers into the back of his head and then there was a knock at the door and a long string of cursing in the draconic tongue from Revlyn.
“Rev,” Basilith’s voice came through the door while Revlyn continued cursing in draconic under her breath, “Falson Bariss has signaled for us to dock with his vessel.”
Revlyn growled and kissed Korvin with her hands on either side of his face, a short kiss that ended with his bottom lip pulled briefly between her teeth. She growled again and pushed him aside, “fix yourself and join me on the bridge. Falson is a lecherous little prick and I’d feel less inclined to put my boot to his backside if you were there.”
“Aye-aye, captain,” he said now kneeling at the foot of the bed beside her. She smirked and kissed him once more before making her way to the bridge. She dreaded Falson almost as much as she did the upcoming battle.