Will often watched the harbor, surreptitious glances, time stolen from errands to watch the ebb and flow of the tides, human and ocean, wave and ship. Today he was on his way back from the Governor's Mansion, having delivered the loveliest of his creations to the hands and credit of another. The bitterness was welling in him, black and heavy, hatred for this life and longing for something simpler, something like freedom.
He stopped at his favorite rise, a spot that hid him from casual query but showed him the entire harbor. Silvery clouds moved serenely across a sky of aching blue, or maybe it was him that ached. His useless love for Elizabeth, his thankless hours of toil to perfect an art no one would acknowledge was his, and now this new thing.
His eyes, wandering aimlessly along the horizon, caught on a speck. Something odd about it, growing larger and yet not quite right. It formed itself into the mast of a small ship, a scruffy man standing arrogantly in the crow's nest, with poise and grace like a cat lounging in a tree. The true oddity of the situation didn't really strike him until he realized there was no boat visible beneath the mast, and even that was swiftly sinking beneath the greedy waves.
Will could only wish for the kind of confidence that allowed a man to step serenely onto the dock, as if he'd planned all along for the boat to bring him down to it as it sank. His walk was half swagger, half stagger, and Will found himself sighing softly as the mysterious scoundrel meandered out of sight.
Somehow, thought Will, this is poetic justice. I admire the man from afar, and now here he is in front of me, a pirate of the worst sort. And I have to fight him, to aid in the capture of a man for whom freedom is obviously much more vital than mere air. As their steel clashed, dancing, a thought suddenly interrupted him, and he blurted it out right in the middle of some of the man's inane patter.
"You're out of your tree."
That stopped him in his tracks, but some part of Will refused to press his advantage, needing to hear some kind of answer. The pirate cocked his head to one side, teeth flashing gold as he grinned.
"It's not my tree."