Darkness settled over a small tribal campsite on a rocky island in the riff archipelago. Jokes and laughs were exchanged, stories told and foul smelling drinks swigged as the assembled pirates, representatives from several riff tribes, gathered preparing for another raid.
Above them, hidden between a boulder and a small bush, sat a cold and grumpy Domino. She’d been sitting there all afternoon, watching, listening and waiting for her opportunity.
Two more tribesmen appeared coming down a path from the beach they’d all landed their boats on. They were met by guards who asked them “Why do we sail?”, to which they answered “For freedom.” The guards let them pass and they went to join the celebration. From the tribesmen who spoke in English, Domino picked up that a big ship had been taken, and that they had gathered for a party before going back to sea to attack another big prize.
Several large ships were moored at a dock on the northern edge of the island. Mostly the sailing types favored by the Qaribal tribe, whose territory she’d now found out she was in the north-western islands of their stretch.
The presence of people from other tribes seemed quite a new thing and several fights had already broken out over old grievances.
The gathering was starting to settle down for the night. Drunken tribals stumbled to their tents, laying down to rest for the next days raid. A few stayed on watch, but they seemed more interested in chatting than keeping a look out. Domino gave them an hour to settle in and drift off to sleep before making her move.
Sliding out of her hiding place, Domino started to climb down to the camp. The two guards watching the path to the dock were deep in debate about the proper way to fillet a lizard, they didn’t notice as she slipped into a nearby tent.
Inside, the two occupants didn’t notice either, loudly snoring off their drinks. Domino quickly searched an untidy mountain of discarded clothes and found herself a headscarf and sash. With her crimson hair covered and the flowing fabric over her clothes, she reckoned she could pass for a Qaribal tribal, at a distance.
“Uuhhrg” Domino froze, hand on her sword. One of the sleeping tribals had rolled over in bed and thrown up some undercooked lizard onto the lower bunk. The soggy man below stirred. She slipped out just as he started jabbering at the offending tribesman.
Keeping to the shadows, Domino crept towards the dock. The stone path met the plank decking of the jetty a little way past where one guard was now waving one of the lizards organs at the other. If she kept quiet, she might get by unseen.
Stepping lightly, she hugged the edge of the rocks, flickering shadows from the torch above the guards masking her movements. A rock moved under her foot and she stopped. The guard was now viciously stabbing his finger at the lizards tail, paying no attention.
Her luck didn’t last. As she stepped onto the path, she was silhouetted by light from the dock lantern, just as one of the guards turned to throw the lizards spleen at the other.
She stopped and turned, trying to appear casual. “Huh?”
“Why do we sail?” he asked.
Putting on her best imitation of the tribes accent, she answered “For Freedom.”
The guard nodded and said something in their language with a questioning tone. Hoping he had asked where she was going, she gestured casually at one of the ships. He nodded again and went back to angrily waving the spleen, spraying lizard guts over the table and his partner.
Domino smirked, Turning and walking towards the ship. Stepping over the sleeping ships watchman, she slipped into the cargo hold and made a hiding place for herself behind a few crates of dried food. She settled in for the night, listening to the waves gently lap at the ships planks.
Part 4: https://cityofnewbabbage.net/pirate-among-thieves-tired-and-hungry-part-4/