The bar looked like any other dive on the southern tip of the Makawi islands. It was an open air tap shack, with one side looking out over the tropical shoreline. Shoddy planks held up a thatched roof. It sloped at an angle, and protected the bartender from the elements. The other side opened wide to the harbor, and presented a gorgeous view of the gathered ships with their unfurled sails, to anyone who stopped drinking long enough to turn around and look.

Dragon was Captain and sole crew member of the schooner The Lady In Rapture. She drank her weak beer among the port whores, seafarers, and other rabble. She felt she fit in among them fine, but most of her company noticed a difference. Dragon had money which none of them could vouch. She looked like a lustrous pearl sitting on the oyster bed.

At five eight, the ship captain towered above the slouching menfolk. To compensate, she hovered forward over her beer. Her red curly hair fell untamed down her neck and shoulders. Her clothes would have been fashionable on the North Victorian mainland five years ago, which was as close to fashionable as you got in the islands. The lacy cravat and silk handkerchief were pricey, even second hand. Dragon had so much lace under her coat, she looked like a fop.

Dragon’s clothes were garish, but her mood was a sullen counterpoint. That was probably why the other patrons were leaving a few empty seats between them and her. They knew better than to antagonize the weekend drinker. No telling how many weapons she could have stashed among the ruffles.

There was one patron, an oddity himself, who was watching her with a drunken intensity. He was sitting on the opposite side of the bar, and if Dragon stood as an imposing figure, this fellow was a barge among tugboats. Even slumped forward with his legs curled under the stool like the parody of a nesting hen. His hair brushed the thatches collecting straw and seeds adding to his general unkempt appearance.

Dragon had noticed him the second he arrived, the look in her eye betrayed an easy recognition that was fraught with disappointment. Her frown had been deepening with every glance in his direction.

“Phenris,” she sighed to herself.

The enormous man stood, unwinding from the stool to more than fill the space between the ground and the ceiling. His evident intentions were to pass the whores by with a polite nod. His eyes, initially, were focused on Dragon. The women knew their trade, and Phenris was not immune to their femininity. A tawny haired skirt called to him playfully, throwing herself into his arms.