The market square was loud. Real loud. Bodies bustled here and there, big carts taking up the space of five men, cart animals stamping impatiently to be led away to food and rest. It was perhaps – no most certainly – one of the busiest places Elliera had ever been. Wrapped in her wool scarf, she peered out through the small slit she left for her eyes up towards the harbor, north of the city. She couldn’t wait to get away from all these people. She had also never sailed in her life and she surprised herself by being excited about the opportunity.
Gil was enjoying the hustle of the crowd, haggling with merchants for a bag of apples, a couple of rounds of cheese, some meat. He did it with such ease that it made Elliera a little envious. Only, she didn’t much care for talking up the merchants. She much preferred solitude.
Tevkin walked barely ahead of them perusing the wares silently. He had not said a word about their conversation last night and had greeted them very cheerily in the morning. She wondered what Tevkin had in mind. He had mentioned vaguely that they would travel, but with no hint as to where. She was also very concerned about the trunk, her eyes drifting over its ornate surface. Gil still insisted on carrying it for her, its wheels bumping along the cobblestones. There was also the matter of her furry companion. The lucien had parted ways after they had made their way down to the square. She assumed it was meeting them at the docks and that, if they had brought it here, it would have caused quite the commotion. She forgot that no one in Daverne knew that the creature was real. Having it suddenly appear and draw attention to their company would only alert the Council of Days.
After an hour, they had managed to gather enough items for their trip. Having heard that they would be sailing, Gil enthusiastically volunteered to join them saying that it wouldn’t hurt to help scout out ahead in case the energy surge had reached further than Daverne. She had grown up with him, but Elliera was still wary of his presence. He worked in close conjunction with the Council and any suspicious activities would force him to report her. That put a damper on his whole being here.
“What’s with the long face, Mouse?”
She was still gazing out toward the harbor. She hadn’t heard anything he said. After a few minutes, Gil came to that conclusion and flicked his fingers against her shoulder.
She swiveled her head around with a start.
“Hey, what’s up? Something’s turning those cogs quite a bit.”
“Yeah, just thinking about last night,” she lied, “I’m not sure what to make of it. Of all that’s happening right now really.”
Nothing ever seemed to pull Gil’s mood down. He still sat there with a big, sloppy grin on his face, seemingly unconcerned. He tore off a piece of bread and stuffed it in his mouth watching with glee the docks as they got closer. It was a minute before he shrugged off her concern, “Ain’t notta to worry about, Mouse. I think Tevkin might be exaggerating a little…just to keep us on our toes. I don’t doubt that’s how it all started in some form. But, come on, it’s a little surreal don’t ya think?”
Elliera shrugged but refused to speak. She was in complete disagreement with him and doubted Tevkin would ever exaggerate.
“Come on, we’re going sailing on the Azra Sea!” He bumped into her playfully, “And what a gorgeous, splendid morning for it.”
He flashed his pearly whites and sauntered up the planks to the ship as though he were one of the crew. It was all she could do to just let it go, smile and follow.
The ship was a phenomenal wooden giant. It’s masts stretched high into the air with beautifully crafted sails that were tinted a pale teal. The wood was dark in contrast, almost a blooded red. There were figures carved on the side of the ship that seemed to depict some epic scene. The bow of the ship had a set of small wings flying off. It was shaped very oddly. The aft and bow were fairly wide offering stability. But it was clear that the bilge was narrow. Senior Tevkin had said it was a ship belonging to the tribes far north, that of the tribe Or’maddom. She figured it must be structured as such to manuever more easily between glaciers and ice sheets. She wondered if they ever had difficulty sailing down here with the potential of higher winds, but realized there was a section of the ship that looked out-of-place. A compartment allowed for a section of the ship to roll out and connect down under to provide more width to the bilge. Energy bulbs on either side of the compartment fueled the contraption. There was also another contraption that could be spanned across the ship deck which was currently hidden. She noticed because the railings seemed wider than usual. Upon a closer inspection, it was clear something came out of another hidden compartment. It was perhaps one of the most fascinating ships in the entire dock.
Elliera was busy examining this second compartment when a shout rang out from the market square. The ship’s crew gave no attention to the sudden commotion, but the captain came strolling up to the railing.
“Be we be moving quickly. Naught else you need, Senior Tevkin?”
Tevkin shook his head and pushed his glasses further up his skinny nose, “We are ready to sail, Captain, and it is with great gratitude that we ride on your vessel. Pray tell, what is the name?”
“She be R’aak, be a sturdy gal she is,” he patted the railing affectionately. He was about to turn and give the orders to take her out of the harbor when a figure came bolting up onto the deck.
The commotion from the market was growing and a detachment of official looking figures were moving briskly towards the ship. The captain bellowed orders to bring her out. The ship shifted uncertainly for a minute as it navigated out of the harbor; then, when the wind caught in the sails, she was off with the smoothest grace.
Behind, the solitary group of figures seemed to split: one part staring at the departing ship, the other trying to galvanize the rest into pursuing them. Elliera highly doubted they would catch up. She turned from the harbor to look for the new comer. All she remembered seeing was a black shadow dash past. The only people she could see were ship crew, though. He was nowhere to be found.