Zaire: "We all liars, love,"
All? Oseanie's head swiveled in his direction, her chin tilted and eyes narrowed and eyebrows raised and nose scrunched in an expression she had long practiced to communicate nonverbally, "Maybe you're all liars…?"
Zaire: "But ya ain't wrong. S'all bullshit." "Peacekeepers talk real nice 'bout keepin' the peace but they know that ofttimes the best way t' keep it, is to remove the problem piece." "That it? Y'all can't claim to be neutral if ye go an' remove that problem piece. Yer 'ands are tied." "Y'need a dagger and I 'ave the best chance of bein' it?"
Jaya: "Officially, I'm here to provide you with an invitation to the Peace Summit and address any concerns you might have, to persuade you to join us in the People's City," "Officially, the Founders of the Peacekeepers don't know why I have such a good relationship with you. Officially, they think it's a bit odd that an accountant like me who helps merchants balance their books can get on with the Pirate King..."
"King of the Coast," Oseanie interjected, although her tone did not insist on interrupting as much as correcting. So many called her father the Pirate King, but there were plenty of subjects on the mainland loyal to him and under his control who didn't sail under a flag…
But Jaya was continuing, and Oseanie's analytical eyes weighed every claim skeptically, but felt herself relaxing over time as the Peacekeeper made more measured sense than she'd expected. And, bit by bit, it became clear to her that these were dynamics and negotiations outside the reach of her understanding, social protocols and dynamics that would have taken Killick a year to explain to her. She didn't always agree with her father, and she was fiercely defensive of him, but she had never doubted his judgment, and so she held her tongue.
But as the Peacekeeper's voice quieted and Oseanie felt her attention shifting to anticipate her father's answer… something else caught her attention.
Oseanie was the first to notice the sound, given how rapt everyone's attention was on the tense exchange, not to mention the general noise of the festivities outside. It was faint, at a distance, but rather calamitous… Nothing good had made that noise.
Oseanie bolted out of the tent, knocking over at least one chair as she went.
The crashing noise was a warning. Oseanie was outside the fabric flaps with exactly one breath to spare before she could focus her precise eyes on the vampire rushing toward her, draw her knife, and toss it into the creature's heart. Had her accuracy been less than perfect, she would have been dinner. The young pirate dove forward to retrieve her knife from the dead thing's chest, and she realized too late that she couldn't be sure that steel would kill it…
"Attack!" Oseanie screamed, at the top of her lungs. Her eyes cast up, she could see a massive flying machine no smaller than a pirate ship… except that it was in the air. The sails were round, instead of flat, ballooning the ship far above their heads. Maybe it carried twelve men? Maybe twenty….?