Balance

Setting Sail On a New Path

23rd of Patchwall 379 ONT, aboard the Better Days in the port of Rehume

“Get those Gods-damned rations stowed properly, losing our food supply is a great way to earn yourself a one-way ticket off my ship!” the Captain yelled, as a stout halfling hurried about tying down crates with dizzying speed.

Aurellia watched in amazement, she had never seen a creature move so quickly, the small creature had pots and pans, and was that a hank of mutton? strapped to his pack – they clattered against each other noisily, creating the sort of racket one might expect from a tone deaf bard.

Serenity smirked, “Who is that?”

The Captain tried to conceal a smile with his hand as he watched the halfling clamor about, “His name is Eldon, I just hired him to replace Tobar in the galley. He claims to be the best chef this side of the Rhone.”

“Eldon, this here is our Master Gunner, Serenity.”

The halfling stopped, wiping sweat from his brow with a very delicate looking hankercheif, looking at the two women standing beside the Captain, he asked, “which one?”

Without looking, the Captain pointed beside him to Serenity, “this one, I’m guessing I’m about to hear a very compelling story about the other one.”

Eldon snapped to attention, and gave a small salute, “Pleasure to meet you, Master Gunner!”

Serenity snorted quietly at the formality, then stepped forward and offered a strong handshake, “We’re not exactly that kind of ship, Eldon.”

He looked surprised by the handshake, “Sorry, my last ship was part of the fleet. A lot more formal there. They were sad to loose me, because my cooking is the best. Like just Tremendous, everybody says so. But I said to them, look, you have to let me go, I’ve done all I can here. It was a very sad day for them.”

Serenity looked at the Captain, who was covering his mouth with his hand. The mirth in his eyes was unmistakable as he shook his head and turned towards the bridge.

“I’m sure it was, glad to have you aboard. As you were.” The halfling ran immediately back to the crates and the cacophony of sound began again. Serenity followed the Captian, with Aurellia trailing behind, a little unsure how to take Captain Quiwynn’s comment about her.

Once they were on the bridge, and a suitable distance away from the halfling, Serenity asked, “He was the best you could find?”

The Captain burst out laughing, “Didn’t you hear, he’s the best. Tremendous!”

“But Captain, why?”

“I thought we could use a little comedic relief on the ship, and he seemed to fit the bill. Besides, someone didn’t show up to help me with the interviews, so you get what you get.” He gestured, to Aurellia who had stopped and waited at the foot of the stairs to the bridge, “Would I be right to guess the reason my master gunner didn’t show for her duties yesterday is the fragile looking creature down there who is afraid to follow you on to my bridge?”

Serenity looked back and saw Aurellia, who had indeed stopped at the foot of the stairs and was watching her with uncertainty, “She didn’t grow up on this kind of ship, when she was a girl she would watch sailors get lashings for stepping onto the bridge without the Captain’s permission.”

“So she’s an experienced sailor then? We could use more of those.”

“Not exactly, her dad stopped letting her come with him when she was 12. She has the knowledge, just not the practice.”

“Then why is she here? We’re setting sail soon, have you broken the news to her that your little dalliance has come to an end?”

“No, she’s here because I want her to become part of the crew.”

Captain Quiwynn raised his eyebrows and crossed his arms, “You want me to take on another inexperienced sailor? What happens when you get tired of her and we’re still weeks from port. Take it from me, you don’t want to be in that spot, it rarely goes well.”

“I’m not going to get tired of her, and she’ll be good on the crew, I know it.”

“Being good at getting you to sing the high C is not the same thing as being a competent crew member.”

“I will take responsibility for her, any mistakes she makes will be mine to answer for.”

Quiwynn looked at this woman whom he still thought of as a child that needed his protection and guidance, she stood tall and sure of herself, and her hair was flittering slightly at it’s tips, as it always did when she was passionate about something, “We don’t have an extra bunk for her, but I’m guessing that’s not going to be a problem?”

Serenity smiled and relaxed slightly, “No, I’m pretty she’ll be okay with bunking in with me.”

“I don’t want to hear a single word about you challenging the Bosun’s decisions for her. She’s coming on as a beginner sailor, and you and I both know those can be long and hard days.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.”

He couldn’t help but smile, it was like he could hear an echo in those words that came all the way from four year old Serenity. “Alright, you had better introduce me to this heart stealer.”

They walked back over to the hopeful looking girl.

“You can come up onto the bridge, the Captain wants to meet you.” Serenity’s voice was flat, as though this were all a very serious matter, and it made a swarm of butterflies appear in the pit of Aurellia’s stomach.

Aurellia walked up the steps and held out her hand, “Hello Captain, my name is Aurellia Oulette, Serenity’s told me so much about you.”

Quiwynn took Aurllia’s hand and shook it, “That’s funny, she’s been pretty tight lipped about you, though it’s nice to finally put a face to the squeals.”

Aurellia turned a bright crimson almost immediately.

“Oh she blushes! You didn’t tell me she was a blusher! Alright, this is going to be fun, she can stay. We’re setting sail in three days time and there’s more than enough work to go around, so report to ”/characters/whynny-bd-mia-assumed-dead" class=“wiki-content-link”>Bosun Whynny on the deck and tell her I said you’ll be starting out as a beginner sailor. We haven’t had one of those since she signed on, so I’m sure she will be tickled pink to get to break you in."

Aurellia stood there, beet red and shocked into silence, transfixed to the spot.

Serenity stepped forward, and looked her dead in the eyes, “Aurellia, my dear. When the Captain says jump, it’s best not to make him ask a second time.”

Aurellia snapped out of it and turned taking the steps two at a time, a smile spread wide across her face. She was going to feel the river’s breeze on her face again, and she was going to stay with Serenity.

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Natalie

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