Wood creaked as the ship rocked in the damp and dark. The atmosphere at the dinner table was thick, but the captain somehow managed to maintain a calm expression, sitting with his legs crossed and his mug held tightly off the table. The quartermaster had joined them tonight, which was a rarity, and was sitting next to the captain with a smug smirk. The rainy weather was worrying some of the crew members, it seemed; and despite the pirate’s tranquil appearance, any expression of unease was shot down with a glare and trite reprimand. “You seem tense, Soren.” his quartermaster suggested with a chuckle. “What an understatement.” The captain replied, finally setting his mug down. The indistinct sliver of land on the horizon was their only indication that they were entering noble territory. It would be only moments until the heist would be carried out. The objective was clear: kidnap that damned Beloreth’s daughter. “I just wonder if this will be enough?” The captain mused as he secured his black leather gloves, matching the rest of his outfit. The pirate hunters’ activities had tripled with the recent rise in bounties, hunting pirates down like prey, and many of The Empress’ allies—brothers, friends, acquaintances—had been compromised in the wave; thrown in jail or lynched. The opposition had been civil at first, with pirates contented by the search for Vendamina, but the attacks grew erratic, and there were those that took pejorative action. Petty noble kidnappings—and kidnapping attempts—littered the papers and at the helm of these attempts was Soren, a highly regarded pirate. Word of his plan to kidnap the most affluent pirate hunter’s daughter not only encouraged nobles to seal their homes up a little tighter at night, but also inspired a few others to follow in his footsteps. Luckily, and just like he had pig-headedly predicted, none had yet succeeded. The sky flashed with light as the large ship docked near a discreet cove off to the west side of the Beloreth’s estate, just below a cliff. On foot, Soren’s small group would sneak onto the property with the help of some inside connections and kidnap the girl, then escape using the family’s serving passageways and jump to the ship from the cliff. If all went well, they could get away cleanly. If not, they'd go down guns ablazing. “Let's make this count.” The three men behind him nodded, preparing themselves for what was to come; going through mental checklists: brought my weapon, brought rope, left a letter for home. A final sigh left the captain’s lips before he led his group to a covered pathway.