07 Kingsway, 9:42 Dragon
Of all the ships on her shit-list, Tevinter and Orlesian ones came right at the top: Tevinter because it was the embodiment of all the worst mages – blood and demon-dealing ones, and Orlesian because of how bloody stuck-up they were. The Seawolf had had the right idea of going after them before the Orlesians had been kicked out of Ferelden.
However, it wasn’t an Orlesian ship Willow had her sights on. There was trouble on land, and in the sky – a dark pit in the sky where there had once been a green, glowing rift in the Veil. She’d heard enough gossip in dock-side taverns to know about the Inquisition that had sealed the damn thing. She’d heard more, however, from the other captains in the Armada. How this mess with the Breach wasn’t over yet. How there was trouble brewing on the horizon.
A war against something monstrous. That wasn’t something Willow could help with, wasn’t something she was willing to die for. But this... creature seemed to have the loyalty of a Vint cult called the Venatori. They were normal people, who needed ships to travel from the Imperium to the south. Those, Willow could deal with.
As could several other captains in the Armada. Willow was one of a handful who had offered their services to this new Inquisition, asking where best they would be useful. The Storm Dragon
and one other ship had been assigned to this particular trade route, to help cut off Venatori supplies from the Imperium to Ferelden. Willow had been leery of working with another ship – it was possible, of course, but the Armada was nowhere near as... structured as most people thought. Each ship did their own thing, they fought amongst themselves more than they did non-pirate ships, captains changed from week to week. For all she knew she’d been asked to work with a total knobhead who wouldn’t listen to a word she said. She’d voiced this concern to her Inquisition contact, who had looked up who she was to work with.
Needless to say, Willow wasn’t complaining anymore. She was practically buzzing. Her crew had been giving her side-eyes since they’d set out, not understanding why she was so excited. Yes, Isabela was the Queen of the Eastern Seas, she was a living legend among pirates, but that was hardly a reason for her joy, they thought.
They didn’t know she’d worked with Isabela before, that the woman was a small but influential tie to her past, to Brannigan and his crew. They didn’t know Willow was keen to work with her as an equal, rather than as a child tagging along in her shadow.
They were due to rendezvous a few miles off Estwatch’s coast, with the little island barely in view off to port. From there they would sail further out into the Amaranthine Ocean, to intercept a Venatori ship. Willow had brought them into position then busied her crew about making all final checks, ensuring they knew exactly what to do and where to be when they launched their attack. Willow herself paced the deck, already in her light leather armour and coat, dual swords at her hips.
Her crew were working well. The first couple of months had been rocky, especially after that mess with Benoît on her first voyage. But six months in and they were starting to gel as a team. They certainly appreciated the stability she brought to the ship, after Asherah’s slap-dash approach. With the problem crew members either dead or abandoned on a random dock, Willow had a solid crew behind her. ‘Captain.’
Her quarter master handed her a spyglass and pointed out towards the horizon. ‘That her?’
He could have been referring to the ship or the captain, but either way Willow smiled and lifted the glass to her eye. The ship was definitely pirate, and she recognised those colours, though the ship itself was different to the one she’d first met Isabela on. ‘That’s the one. Make sure everyone’s ready; once they’re here we’ll be departing within the hour.’