Today is Excerpt day at the Den of Debauchery's SubAnnex.
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From Kestrel on the Horizon:
Of his first sea battle, Adlai would later remember little save noise, confusion and smoke. Collins had issued him a pair of pistols, powder and shot, along with a quick kiss and orders to hold his post before the door of the Captain’s cabin. Each time the cannon roared, he wanted to cover his ears and scream. He did not. He was a man, not a child to be terrified of noise.
He’d done his best, standing as chaos raged about him. He watched Tobias run a man through with a cutlass and mild-tempered Deering swearing like a screeching parrot and reloading his musket as fast as he could fire it. Stephan strode through the din and press, a giant black demon who found it easiest simply to seize one enemy head in each hand and smash them together like the rocks that martyred his namesake. Even gentle Will, the cook’s assistant who was no more than fourteen, wielded a vicious-looking cleaver in defense of the galley.
A large man gave a wicked sneer and headed for Adlai, his cutlass raised. With shaking hands, Adlai raised the flintlock and fired. The man fell back, his sneer obliterated. Adlai reloaded the pistol, his hands still shaking badly enough to drop two balls and half his powder.
“You’ll need those,” Deering said, folding the lost shots into his hand while Adlai could do no more than stand and stare at the dead man at his feet. “We’re winning.” Deering vanished back into the fray.