Classified Advertisment, Pages of Arko Mella 18: WANTED to buy, fresh caught whelks, mussels, shellfish of all sorts, preferably live. Also wanted to buy garden snails, fist size or larger. For Domestic Octopus feed. Apply Marble Palace, Spark of the Sun’s Ray Household Chamberlain, preference given to first and second threshold sellers.
“Kaylebuh, how much are y’all chargin’?” They was sittin’ out of the way, as Dimae’s Hound flew across the nearly glass-calm sea, running ahead of the ships of the line, acting as landing platform for the aerial scouts. The girly had finally given up the baby to ‘Haians’ and it had been taken in-sea to that mythical healer’s archipelago where the Arkans had built an insanely large floating island hospital. He wasn’t sure he believed it, but he was sittin’ on a crazy fast ship and not slave to anyone anymore, which was dream-like enough. He blinked at her, beginning to be appalled at what he thought she was asking, but before he could do more than begin to sputter, she’d shook her head. “For teachifyin’ me, better Fehinnan,” she said.
She sat in what he now recognized as boy’s clothes, hair neatly clubbed back like the so’jer class, them solas. The Arkan classes were fairly blurry on their ships, since most of the fessas sailors knew some of how to repel boarders while any solas on board could pull a rope with the best of them, in an emergency.
“Well, er,” he stammered, not having considered it, nor having really had time to understand their odd money. He was still thinking of how odd it felt, to see Leweston and his crew packed off to the ‘Fehinnan Embassy’ in Arko, the City. Packed off with the clothes on they backs and not a weapon among ‘em. Even the fancy hand-carron that was Leweston’s pride and joy was flown away to their ‘Imperator’ as a prize of war.
“I’d say you should charge three copper chains, five links, per eight-day,” she said thoughtfully, pretending to not notice his floundering. “You’re a free man now.”
“You should be able to save up to buy out your family, if we can clean up these pest holes here, and send a factor over the sea to buy them.”
He closed his mouth with a click. Buy out my Beahlu? ‘n the kiddies? Thet’s, thets a thousand ta'er right there. In silver. But… but… but… we’s never been marrificated. Jest matched up by M’ss Leweston. Beahlu… she could… learn these odd folks’ gentry dressin’ ‘n cookin’ too. Mah God-King… am I dreamin’? “Missy, I thank you kindly for your advice,” he said as carefully as he could. If he were going to teach he weren’t going to teach no knuckle-draggin’, chaw-chewin’, beer chuggin’ language.
She answered in slow, careful Arkan. “You’re welcome. This is equal to equal, since translators are considered fessas.”
A series of flashes from above, so high it was almost impossible to see the true shape of the flyer. A series of yells… the ship turned so high into the wind that Kaylebuh nearly bit through his sleeve that he had jammed into his mouth. Then the Hound ran back toward the Arkan line. “We… the Fehinnans...” he said diffidently, spitting out his damp cuff. “Have flying machines… but they’re ballon not them.. those... bird-wing things. Waxed silk filled with hot air nor kohl gas.”
She turned sharply to him. “Really?” She pulled out a book of blank pages, paper common enough for everyone, and one of them fancy pens, held it out to him. “Could you draw me a picture?”