Sailors had unfolded a spindly light table and chairs for the two captains… and Alfalaria was confused to see a third chair being placed. “Serina, yeh kin get a bite tah eat and a cup o’ kaf while translating,” a sailor whispered as he escorted her to a spot just behind the Captain.
The Haian salve she’d hastily rubbed over her raw hands before gloving was soothing and smelled good enough to cover up her own smell that a quick wash wasn’t going to get rid of. She firmly dismissed her embarrassment, clasped her hands behind her back.
“Captain!” Captain Leweston hailed him first. “You have an amazing ship.” Just as if they were meeting on friendly terms.
She translated softly and Captain Filarias smiled slightly as the Fehinnan tried to gain the upper hand by speaking first. “Welcome aboard,” he said lightly. “Please let the honourable captain have a seat.” His first officer pulled his chair for him and a sailor held the chair for Alfalaria. Leweston sat himself down.
“Captain, I really must protest this high-handed and cavalier treatment!” Leweston took up one of the kaf cups just poured, sipped and raised his eyebrows. “You have excellent Joh!”
“He’s protesting his treatment and he’s feeling slap-gloved. He thinks the kaf is good.” Alfalaria was suddenly light headed and did her best to bite into a pastry daintily instead of wolfing it down as fast as she could chew. She hadn’t had anything since oat-gruel the night before and had lost it during the sea chase. It was sweetened biscuit and she nodded her thanks at the reddish-blond sailor boy who was helping her.
“Tell him that it’s pleasant to talk instead of needing funerals, healers and hangings,” Filarias said. “Word for word, Serina.”
“Yes, Ser.” She swallowed hard and turned to Leweston who looked down his round nose at her. “T’ Cap say, “Good to talk ‘stead o’ needin’ getting’ ready to be planted, needin’ healers and stringin’s.””
Leweston didn’t answer, looking down at the line of boats going between the Arkan warship and his Dixabelle, ferrying away his profits with every oar-stroke. “So… since y’alls people are finishin’ their ocean cruise, y’ll be sendin’ us on our way then?”
“Captain Filarias… I don’t understand the fancy words he’s using but he’s asking if you’re going to let him and his ship and crew go after we’ve got everyone rescued…” she hesitated. “I think that’s what he asked.”
“I see. Have a sip of kaf yourself, my dear. Then tell him “This is what is going to happen. You are going to surrender your sword to me, personally. We will put our own people onboard that stinking schooner and she will be going back to the dry-docks in Marsae, for ‘refurbishment’ and a good scrape down.”
She managed to convey that to Leweston, who listened, stony-faced. “Y’all are insultin’ me, having my words put on your ball-washin’, taint lickin’ tongue!” he snarled at her. “Yer taking my life away from me!”
“He says we are stealing his life.” She didn’t translate the insult to her and Filarias raised an eyebrow.
“I see. Borienas, refill the young serina’s cup, hmm?” He signaled to his first officer who stepped over to Leweston and held out both gloves, a sword-length apart. Leweston snapped to his feet and the sailors around him tensed, but he drew a deep breath and forced himself to unsnap his sheathed sword. He looked away, over Filarias’s shoulder as he thrust it towards the first officer.
“Excellent, Leweston.” Filarias said. “You and your crew will, of course, be the responsibility of the Fehinnan ambassador and will not be allowed free run of the city, until your passage home is arranged. At your own expense.”
Leweston paled, then flushed as he gritted his teeth. “Slave-bait, the lot o’ you,” he snarled. “Only good for sellin’ tah them that want exotics in their beds, burn red ‘n die in the fields. Go blind from sun!”
Alfalaria held her tongue though Filarias turned to her. She shook her head. “He’s being very rude.”
“Tell him he’s lucky I didn’t put him in an open boat with two weeks provisions or less and tell him to not set foot on our lands again.” His gloved hand slapped the table. “Tell him that if he’s rude, that is exactly what I’ll do.”
“Cap’n Leweston, he say if you’re rude he’ll put you in an open boat with two weeks provisions, and ordered not to come back. He say, you lucky he ain’t done it yet.” She brushed crumbs off her gloves and picked up another biscuit, bit into it.
Leweston coughed and turned bright red from the collar up. “Of… course.” He said through clenched teeth.
“All your slaves are free in Alliance territory,” Filarias said. “They will be allowed to stay, should they wish.”
“Y’all are pretty high-nosed fer people as what had slaves not ten year ago!” Leweston snarled.
“He’s impressed that we’ve gotten over being slavers so quickly, he says. In the last ten years.” She washed her biscuit down with more kaf and felt much better than she had all day.
Filarias nodded and took the sword from his first officer. “They’ll be riding in the out-most boats with access cut off.” He turned to a scholar near him. “Min… we did not add anything like a brig. That’s an oversight we’ll have to fix. Good day, Captain Leweston.”
“Yes, Captain!” A sailor pointedly took hold of Leweston’s chair, to encourage him to rise, or get dumped on the deck.
“Add a brig…” the scholar said, scribbling in his fluttering notebook.