Well if you’re thinking my face looks familiar – drat!
You have probably seen this very unflattering mug shot on those tiresome WANTED posters the Admiralty keeps sticking up around the public houses of Bristol. Where’s a man supposed to go for a quiet tot of gin these days?
And as for honour among thieves – don’t you believe it! There’s only too many as would be more than willing to turn me over to the authorities for that paltry two hundred guineas.
So yes, I’ll admit my way of earning a living might not be honest, in the strictest sense of the word, but it is certainly not easy. My boys and I are out in all weathers, way above the streets where you land-lubbers lurk, lightening the loads of the airships and other sky-faring vessels up there. Out in all weathers, we are, procuring booty and capturing ships, captains and passengers for ransom. There’s always someone willing to pay a handsome price.
Let me tell you (very quickly, now – I don’t want to spend too long in these parts with those posters a-flapping in the wind. There must still be some I haven’t managed to tear down) about my most notorious crime. And this one took place on low land!
There I was, keeping myself to myself in a quiet little inn beside the Floating Harbour one evening, when in he walked. Oh, he didn’t have his fine hat or any of those weapons he’s always bragging about, but I recognised him well enough – Algernon Cholmondeley, the Admiral of the High Skies. Now it just so happens (don’t think I’m illiterate – there are some highly educated sky pirates around, you know) that I’d read Olivia Libris’ book The Vital Chapter, which told his story, so I primed my weapon and sauntered across to his table, just as he was about to begin his meal.
“That looks a fine bird you’re planning to eat, good Sir,” I says, standing right behind him and pressing the plasma gun very lightly against his back. “Not peacock, by any chance, is it?”
His lordship started violently at that. (You’d have to have read the start of the book to understand.) That was when he realised there was a firearm aimed directly at his heart.
He sighed deeply. “Montmorency Fairweather, if I’m not mistaken,” he said. “So is this your revenge? You’re going to blow me to the four winds in this pleasant little hostelry? How very ungentlemanly.”
“Not at all, Sir,” I replied, somewhat affronted that he should expect such coarse behaviour from a refined personage such as myself. “You are worth far more to me alive than dead. If you would do me the honour of accompanying me to my vessel, we will do the necessary and prepare hostage notes for your employers and that lovely wife of yours.”
Rather reluctantly, his Lordship pushed aside the roast pheasant and walked slowly with me from the inn.
We came to know one another quite well, during the time of his confinement on various vessels in my fleet. He took a keen interest in my ships, often asking the men most specific questions about the steering and engines.
In time, the Admiralty paid up and his Lordship was released quite unharmed, to return to his adoring family. He shook me by the hand and expressed a wish that we might meet again, but in quite different circumstances.
I certainly find myself substantially better off, thanks to that chance encounter beside Bristol’s fine Floating Harbour.
Monty Fairweather can be purchased – every man has his price – at 12th scale from this link.
Further adventures of Algernon Cholmondeley (now in a private collection) can be found on this blog in the Vital Chapter series of posts and here.