I love snow days. I love being trapped inside with all that time that would've been devoted to classes to use for my own pleasure. And you may all thank the disorderly northeastern weather that I have now read through Stream Pirates and can say, completely unbiased and honest, that it is fabulous in every way.
But to get a more reliable opinion than the creator's (and to point out all the errors the creator missed in her completely unbiased read-through), I am now putting out the call for beta-pirates. I'd like about two to three, so if you feel compelled to dive into my exciting world of pirates and steamboats and magic tree sap, please raise your hand and wave at me.
And in case you are still on the fence about the sheer awesomeness of pirates, I decided to include a snippet full of emotional tension and piratic history. This takes place a little less than halfway through the book, after Yazoo has saved Alluvial from being drowned by river nymphs.
Further incentive: all who volunteer will get a Stream Pirates name, specified to them. The name-giving makes more sense after the book has been read, but who doesn't want a pirate name?
I woke up in the middle of vomiting river water. Which meant I probably wasn’t dead.
When the spell passed, I fell back and heard the familiar clunk of the Rapid Meander’s deck beneath my shoulder blades. My eyes snapped open, the dim light of twilight making it bearable to see, and focused on the face leaning over me.
His hair was wet, the matted blonde tendrils releasing fat droplets onto my forehead and cheeks. Eye strained and red, he watched me as though expecting me to start weeping or screaming or not to recognize him. But I couldn’t assure him I wouldn’t do any of those, because my attention strayed to the fact that his eye patch was – off.
The hollow where his right eye should have been was nearly refilled by two deep gouges running from the bridge of his nose down toward his right ear. The scars hadn’t healed properly, red and bumpy and a jig-jag of skin screaming of the horrors of the Croc-Mer War. Like the face in the water, my hand was a magnet to it and, inch by inch, stretched up toward it.
Before my fingers made contact with his skin, Yazoo jerked backward and stood up. Putting his back to me, he wrung his eye patch out and tugged it on, leaving his hands to cover his face. His crew, huddled in front of the pilothouse, gaped at him as though they had just seen him fall off a cliff. The entire boat was now cloaked in the sort of silence that hurt more than the voices.
I pulled myself up by the railing, my limbs cold and shaky. Yazoo, dripping wet, remained frozen away from me, every inch of him wound tight. I took a step toward him, my outstretched hand now only intending to go to his shoulder. For the shortest of breaths it rested on his damp shirt; spinning toward the stairwell, he dropped out of sight. A second later, a door slammed somewhere below deck.
The crew gradually moved back to the task of heading down the Hero. But now I couldn’t move, my fingers still cupped in the motion of touching his shoulder. I couldn’t help but feel as though I had tripped him over that cliff. That, after many years, he had finally decided to peer over the edge again, only to succumb to his greatest fear and fall. Because of me.