This is the rewrite of Chapter One, following suggestions aplenty from persons here on this blog, from writers and readers from Twitter, and from (as usual) my good friends and compatriots in the North County Writers of Speculative Fiction group. Though it will embarrass her, this time, I'm going to call particular attention to one of those members, Irina, who helped me - not only with good feedback, but also with good advice.
For whatever reason, this chapter was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to write and/or rewrite. I can't tell you why; I simply don't know. All I know is that after a couple of weeks of fruitless rewrites, one very long conversation with her helped immensely.
I count myself genuinely fortunate to have people such as y'all - people who'll read, offer praise and criticism both, and (most unusually) come back again for more.
I'd salute you, as Malcolm does, but that might send a message that I was about to sink your ship, and that's not really what I'm trying to say.
How's this? Thank you!
Chapter One - Malcolm
Dragonfish plowed through the green and white waves of the Sea of Men, launching salt spray into the whipping wind with every crash. She was a bit smaller than most traders, her hull smooth and round-bottomed. She was laden with trade goods from Geshuan and sat low in the water. At eight knots, she was pushing her top laden speed, a fact that could not be lost on the vessel pursuing her.
On the main deck, sailors assembled ballistae along the gunwales and marines issued heavy blades and crossbows to the men. On the poop deck above, half a dozen officers readied for what was to come next. Only one man watched the preparations below. Satisfied with the crew’s speed and demeanor, he nodded and glanced up at the ribbons dangling from the rigging. The telltales pointed toward the bow; they couldn’t ask for a better wind in which to run. He turned to face his fellow officers.
To continue: http://www.writersownwords.com/washroomannex/work/234/