++Lady in Red
I sat at a dirty table in the Full Cup Tavern, an instution in Kyongju known for its wenches rather than its drink. In fact, the stale wine they served was rather foul as far as gentlemen are concerned, but it was hot enough for a sailor's throat, and it only took a few cups to redden their cheeks. As it says, the maids usually kept the cups full of the stuff; what the lost on product, they made up in tips.
Why did I associate myself with such a place? For a few simple reasons. The place had decent music, the women fair enough--as fair as a man like me could merit in my line of business--and it was a notorious place to recruit desperate, cheap sailors, and even more notorious for desperate clients. I cringed at a sip of the bad wine. In the old days, I would have brought my own, but lately I just came here for the nostalgic atmosphere, reminiscent of earlier times.
Yes, I thought. It was in a near corner that I had taken captainship of the Hausson Maid from a desperate man, losing money on maintaining the boat. He had purchased it from a state auction, after it had been captured from a pirate far past his time. The vessel, when properly outfitted and cleaned up, proved uncannily swift on the water. For this quality in particular, I named her the Hausson Maid. At last, my first mate asked about the sails. We had borrowed some from another vessel to test the boat's seaworthiness, but it was due time to return them (the ship was scheduled for an imminent cargo run). I thought for a moment, and then answered with a sly grin, "I've always loved a lady in red..."
So, you found a burnt note of my old log? I'd suppose you'd like to know what happened next. I had never before been much a captain of anything. In retrospect, it wasn't a surprise when the Hausson Maid's scarlet sails were furled, and she was locked at of the KRA's dock. The crew was held in the brig, and I was being escorted to their leader's chambers. Courtesy to a gentleman, I was not bound, nor were my effects taken. One of the two guards in my company tripped over something, my foot exactly, and the other reeled from the slap of my naked blade against his face. I kicked the stumbling soldier in the face, and he fell over the edge of the dock.
Of course they suspected I'd go to either the ship or to the rescue of my crew, and they were right in that assumption. I was moving in the shadows of confiscated cargo. I noticed our newly brought crates of illegal rice wine from the Ilbon islands. The guards could not find me, but I was forced to wait it out, until I deemed it more safe. That is when I turned to my captain's log--a foolish little vanity I allowed myself. It was at the end of this, however, I figured it useless, compelled by a sudden idea to stop writing in it. I burned down the Royal Warehouse and all its impounded cargoes; the various liqours made for good fuel. The fire rose high in the sky, and the orange flames danced with incredible heat even on the faces of those standing some distance away. I was able to free my crew while panick took the soldiers. With a few small tussels along the way, we managed to recapture our ship and free it from the dock.
The scarlet sails fell open and billowed in a fiery light; we were off into the deep black night quietly and quickly, official outlaws of the state of Koguryo. It was time we take our Ilbon wares elsewhere, and in my mind the southern and western coasts seemed mighty delightful. Also on my mind was a nice, relaxed stay at a little tavern where they keep your cup full and the ladies make you feel like a captain...