Thursday, June 18, 2015

148 - A Howl of Wind, a Barrel of Spray

Alfalaria managed to be diligent for a slow count of ten, then leaped up and slung on her harness.  It was as innovative as the rest of the design of the Hound. Instead of tying a rope around one’s waist and risking injury, the canvas straps wrapped around shoulders and waist and between the legs, like a Niah flying harness and it had loops where safety lines could fix on with the snap of a thumb, and locked with a twist.  She had to see what was going on.

Kaylebuh stared at her, horrified. “Missy y’all cain’t go out there!”

“I can, Kailabuas, and I will.  If I want to be a writer… like my parents…” she sniffled a bit and snapped the harness shut and tested it. “This ‘ud be the perfect story tah send tah the Pages.”

He folded his hand over his face, miserably.  “Missy… I’ll come with y’all.”

“No, no, you’re sicker ‘n a horse in a tun o’ apples.  Um…” she corrected herself.  “Seriously ill,” she said in more proper Fehinnan.  “Stay safe.  I’ll be back soon.”


She clung to the inside of the door to the cabin, reached out to clip her safety line onto the ring by the door.  Someone was thinking. The wind caught her as she crawled out, didn’t managed to tear her loose from her two handed grip on the frame rail.  Like you said Pap, three points of contact. My line and my hands.  If I could hold on with my toes I would.

The sailors were on the Red Hull, hauling hard at a line that disappeared into the spume and then right underwater. She clawed the wet hair that had pulled free of her queue and across her face, out of her eyes, edged closer to the Red.

They were hauling… a man, two men… two people… one was naked and she wasn’t a man.  Alefalaria could see that much as they were hauled aboard.  The man had his harness on and was wrapped around the woman holding on with arms and legs. She caught images in the storm; flickers of rescue.

The sailor was the boy who’d held her chair for her, nearly exhausted, obviously, the woman… a Niah maybe? Or a Srian half-breed. They were bundled up in blankets though soaked, and heaved across to the Main Hull, straight toward the cabin where she crouched.

“Serina, if you would assist?”  The captain’s aide, still polite though he had to shout and his hat was gone and his coat ripped and flapping in the gale. “I’m sending for ship’s carpenter, medic's coming.”

She nodded and the door shut the worst of the noise out.  “Lie down… oh…” Carpenter. Of course. The Fehinnans didn’t spend on things like slave chains made out of iron.  They used the hardwood links that held people temporarily, perfectly well.  He would be able to cut her chains off, with a saw and a chisel and hammer.

The woman struggled out of the blanket, coughed and seized both Alfalaria’s hand and the boy's, her clutch frantic even through their gloves.  “Arkani!” she cried. “Arkans, yes?” Her Enchian was very rough.

As they nodded she said. “Warn them! Tell them. They’ve got traps in two of their stinking ports. Underwater, sealed, with wicks… I don’t know the words!”

The sailor laughed. “It’s a good thing I jumped in after you! I thought I saw you on a dayan’s back! You were nearly done.”

“Really?  Please… tell someone.  Thank you for jumping in after me. You swim like a flying fish!”

“Thanks.  My da calls me that.  Rest. No one is going to attack anything in this storm, and…” He looked over at Alfalaria who was sponging the woman’s salt-raw face.  “We’ll write it all down and tell the captain.”

It was enough to get her to relax, to stop her struggle to warn them.  Even in the bang, bang, thump, bang of the Main slamming through the waves, she relaxed in her wet blankets, eyes already closed. “Good.”

Alfalaria looked across at the boy.  "You're da calls you 'Flying Fish'?

"Yah, serina, Irkaianas Moriren, fessas.  Irikai's the Niah word."

"I... see." A young Arkan/Niah half-breed old enough to be an able sailor in Arko?  She shook her head. The door opened to admit the carpenter and the medic both, along with a howl of wind and a barrel of spray.

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