The Blue Hawk was closing on us, full of Barathi cannon, sailors, and wingmen who’d like nothing better than to send us screaming down to the Blue in return for the last few months we’d been preying on their fat merchant ships. According to my Ilwuzi navigatior, Mr. Scissors, they wouldn’t have the chance: our sanctuary was at hand, right past the boundary of the Sky of Stones.

“Cap’n, according to my home-sense and our charts, Ilwuz should be coming into view… now!”

“Land ho! To starboard!” came the cry from the jackdaw’s nest, and I ran to the rail. There it was, floating like a jeweled skull wrapped in finest cotton: the pirate haven of Ilwuz.

The wheel spun, the rudder responded, and we set course for Port Gulliver.

That’s when a bell tolled.

The color drained from Mr. Scissors’ face.

“What?” I asked him.

“It’s the Clocklight, Cap’n! We need to pour on all sail, now! The island’s about to transit.”

“How long?”

“An hour at most.”

If Ilwuz disappeared now, we’d be up a creek without a certain instrument. The idea did not bode well.

“All sail, you lubbers!” I screamed. “Dorsal, ventral, and wing! Mr. Gunn, cut the anchors and cast off two of the long cannon!”

“Sir?” My Master-at-Guns asked.

I drew my pistol and pointed it at his head. “That’s an order, Mr. Gunn. Now.”

His eyes widened. “Aye-aye, sir!” and he leapt to it smartly.

Captain Alexei Rostand, Memoirs of a Sky Pirate

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