Silabrek to Ælim (2/5)

The accommodations were terrible; below decks, no windows, only a hammock and an oil lantern, and everything smelled like low-tide and pitch and wet wood and ripe banana.  I was only down there to sleep, or stay out of the rain we encountered that one day.  I would transit only from my cabin to the main deck, and back.  Never on my own did I stray anywhere near the foul-smelling, loud crew quarters or the creepy-dark cargo hold.

Angus was eager to leave port.  He was on a tight schedule.  He stated his intention to make the ports of Molbrek, Storvis, and Ivis, on successive days.  It was not until Ivis that he would speak to his urgency.  For now as I stood out of the way on the main deck, I noticed only that Angus eyed the sun frequently, and consulted charts on his navigation table at the ship’s bridge, and barked orders to hurry up departure.

The Bonnie Heather was making a long clockwise circle of the Bulgar Sea; it would skirt the coastline from Silabrek to the city of Ælim.  Then, weave back along the broken islands from east to west, coming upon the island nation of Bohem before making continental landfall again in Torim.  My leg of the journey would span about five hundred miles.  Angus did not object to my quiet presence on his bridge, or most of my questions about his planned route.  He, as with the others, pretty much just ignored me.  When I asked of his notes on the map along the Grison coastline, the captain looked fearsome and I withdrew to anywhere else and did not ask again.

As expected during the first days of the voyage, my presence was tolerated and my skills put to task for than a few times.  The Bonnie Heather has a crew of fifteen men.  Besides the captain and his first and second mates (Stubb, and Flask), there was a carpenter (Ford), a boatswain (an elf), a “sea artist” (another elf, this one a Ranger), and the rest were sure-footed, heavy-handed louts who could stay sober enough to follow orders.  Many of these gents cornered me and asked my expertise on matters ranging from loose teeth and poorly healing lacerations, to unsightly rashes and in one case a small hatchet unfortunately lodged in a foot.  In their own way they appreciated that I fixed what ailed them.

I did not leave sight of the ship in our first three ports; both as I had been to Molbrek before (and spent a month there one night – what an unfortunate place) and because I did not with the ship to leave me behind.  At a moment’s notice, the Heather’s captain was likely to decide that the cargo exchange was complete and all hands were in sight, and so call out his intention to depart.  And by his command the deck mates would cast off moorings as they came aboard and push the ship away from the dock.  Were I missing, I doubt that Angus would have waited for me.  Keeping schedule was of more importance for the next part of the journey than what I would learn my use to him was.

Before Storvis, and definitely in Ivis, I noticed the crew grew more restless, more uneasy about their tasks.  By day they would cast apprehension at the waters that lay ahead, as if expecting to see something appear.  When the ship anchored at night, the crew muttered amongst themselves, posted watches, kept lights covered on deck.  I noticed the started to carry knives and axes all the time.

Then, only half a day past Ivis, and ignoring what I thought must be a fair wind at our rear, Angus ordered the sails down.  The crew nosed the Bonnie Heather into the shallows, and anchored.  It was only just past noon, the ship had not four hours ago taken on a considerable load of cargo from Ivis, and we had stopped.  Something was obviously wrong.

{…more to come…}




About d20horizons

D&D player.
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