“I won't be on the island long,” Breaker called over the wind whistling in the rigging, “I just need to see an Alerian about a certain new powder weapon.” The ship cut the water like a scalpel parting skin, sailing for Lornius.

“We'll wait for yeh at anchor,” the pirate captain said with a nod and a wink. Marigold the Freebooter had recently risen from first mate by way of his predecessor's death. “We've another hour at least until we're in range,” the silk-clad corsair added, “what say yeh show the crew a thing or two about the ol' pugilistic arts, eh?” The Freebooter bobbed back and forth, throwing jabs and hooks at the air in front of Breaker's face. “Who better than Joshua “Breaker” Cronen to teach the lads? No one, that's who!”

The demigod chuckled and the Y-shaped scars on his cheeks dimpled. “I don't make a habit of helping out criminals.”

“Just givin' us yer' gold!” Marigold said with a laugh, jangling the coin pouch Josh had used to pay for passage.

“That's just good business,” Breaker grinned, “you have fair rates, and the trip always comes with a show.” He indicated a pair of pirates wrestling on the main deck. “They aren't bad.”

“We practice the ol' catch wrasslin' often enough,” the Freebooter said sagely, “keeps a body sharp for raiding and pillaging. I mean, for honorable and charitable deeds!” He amended, noting the look Breaker gave him. “But I'm shore there must be loads of tricks yeh could teach 'em!”

Josh laughed. “My private lessons are worth more than this ship.” He patted the bulwark affectionately. The Deadman's Trove was a fine vessel, in truth. “I suppose I could provide one for as little as the same amount I paid for passage.” He pointed at the coin pouch on the pirate's belt.

“Yeh drive a bloody hard bargain,” the Freebooter growled, but he unlaced the bag of gold and tossed it carelessly in the demigod's direction.

Breaker caught the pouch fluidly and tucked it in his back pocket. “Right,” he said, “gather them up.”

All free hands assembled on deck, and Josh took them through an advanced grappling class. He demonstrated several rollout techniques, a modified anaconda choke, and a special collar tie for controlling the neck. After each demonstration the pirates drilled the techniques as determinedly as any student Josh ever trained. They ended the class as the captain called all hands, and the crew prepared to lay anchor.

Lornius loomed large on the horizon, the port city a mere five miles away. The sun sank beneath the floating city, but still shone above the bulbous buildings of Lyridia. Breaker paced across the deck as the ship came about and placed his hands on the railing.

“Are yeh shore yeh don't want a boat?” Marigold asked.

“It'd only slow me down,” Breaker said, and vaulted into the water.