Island of the Kahts~Part Seven

Fiction By Kay J Fields // 8/25/2012

That following afternoon we were all aboard the Waveblade as she rode the smooth inland currents out to sea—thankfully, Bartholomew’s ship led the way so that we bypassed the reefs and shoals and saw neither hide nor hair of the sharks, and yes, sharks have hair. Kurrm’anair was fading into the ocean deeps all around us; its swooping hills leveling out into plains or climbing into erratic cliffs which came to extreme and abrupt ends as if to quite suddenly realize, ‘wait, there’s an ocean in front of us’. The one beach we saw was where we had entered the land… and where the sharks had been… and where the desert started. A deceivingly nice little stretch of white sand and sea shells and tall green palms.
Savadra stood with me on the deck of the ship, much happier now that she was dressed in baggy trousers, a long sleeved shirt, and a deerskin jacket. Her sword dangled at her side in its short sheath, threatening me much like a cat curled up in your lap; innocent and nice-enough at first glance but the claws and fangs are just awaiting an opportunity to come out. Actually, that describes Savadra herself rather well, come to think of it.
The twins, being not very keen of oceanic voyages, had secured themselves below in the hold, likely torturing each other and anyone else who was near with their sibling rivalry.
Our two vessels were crossing a barren and listless sea. The waves hardly bothered to break the surface and the water seemed to sleep beneath the warm rays of the sun. It was roughly two days worth of sailing toward the troublesome island, and it looked to be a smooth trip.
I blinked lazily in the oceanic warmth before my eyes flew open and then narrowed with a sudden thought.
Savadra noticed. “What is it?”
“Well,” I began. “I was just thinking how nice it was that the island was this close to the mainland, and that the sea is so calm for our two little ships when I thought…I thought, ‘why hasn’t this problem been taken care of before’?”
Savadra tilted her head. “I don’t get your meaning.”
“Montal is not a small city and we saw for ourselves how many soldiers were about and what able seamen can be found,”—here I gestured toward our companion ship—“so why hasn’t their navy taken care of this problem on its own?”
She smiled and faced the sea, saying nothing.
“What?” I exclaimed with impatience. “What could you possibly know that I don’t?”
“What is a gullion?” she asked.
“A ship.”
“Wrong. A galleon is a ship.”
“Then…a form of liquid measurement?”
She shook her head, that annoying smile still dancing across her lips. “A gullion is a messenger bird, one often used on ocean voyages with a fleet so that they need not rely fully on signals. It looks like a cross between a pigeon and a gull, hence its name.”
“And…?”
“Well, we have two on this trip. One is here aboard the Waveblade complete with its handler, and the other is aboard Bart’s ship, the Sea Gate.”
“What is your point?”
“My point is that I knew that and you didn’t. You may now retract your former opinion of being able to store just as much knowledge in that little brain of yours as I, if you wish. If you do, I might also be able to tell you why Montal sent for us instead of using their own navy.”
I muttered under my breath about girls and their high opinions of self, and woe to any one who stands in their way, and isn’t it so much easier to escape hungry sharks than to converse with a female, but in the end I gave up. “I take it back. What else do you know, oh Master of the Knowledge?”
“Many things, oh Boy of Fruitless Questions. For example, I know how to tell our position by the sun, the stars, and the instruments and charts available on any ship. I know that Gern has a fear of blue lizards—not green or purple.”
“Savadra—”
“I also happen to know that Montal’s navy has suffered these recent years and the ship you see sailing before us is one of the only vessels which can fully by outfitted for any sort of battle whatsoever. I believe the reason for this is that the king and his councilors have grown comfortable about their location. As we found out for ourselves in recent days, it is nigh impossible to access the city. You have to know that the little channel will become a bigger channel or else risk running aground. You have to survive the reefs in another direction, and then the desert with its peculiarities after that, and then the entire city is walled up. Not many armies could breach such a fortress.
“So the navy and the army has diminished in size. It’s the reason the gatekeeper—an old man, first of all, who should be reclining at home, not working the wall—didn’t send for anyone else to escort us to the palace but escorted us himself, due to the fact that there aren’t many escorts to spare. It’s also the reason the guards at the king’s own chamber doors were less than competent in their work. It may also be the reason that an esteemed man like Captain Bartholomew acted as a mere messenger before the king when we first met him. The king’s true and able soldiers are too busy about the needless, foolish, selfish tasks Greythan has put them on: like guarding and lording over his own people as if they were either a threat or his slaves.” She turned from the sea and met my eyes. “That’s what I know, Tory.”
I blink. “Oh.”
A whistle pierced the salty air and I glanced upward toward the crow’s-nest in search of the lookout, a spry fellow who loved heights and had gotten into the habit of swinging about the Waveblade like a deranged monkey after a ghost banana tree. For the moment it appeared as if he were at his post, as he again whistled. I was, by now, well acquainted with that signal and set my eyes to scanning the waves in front of us for land.
Craigin joined us at the rail, spyglass in hand, a few moments later. Word must have gotten to him already about the exact location of the island before us, for he didn’t waste time searching, but fixed his glass on a spot just a bit to the left of us and smiled. He handed Savadra the spyglass and left to order the crew.
“Oh.” Savadra said, echoing my last word without a second thought.
“What is it now?” I ask, somewhat short of patience.
For once, Savadra had no sarcastic reply. She handed the spyglass to me without a word. I raised it to my eye and pointed it more or less in the direction she and Craigin had looked until I saw what they had. The island
Daarimere was not a large stretch of land, indeed it was a mere spot in the roiling sea and I was surprised the lookout had seen it so soon. It was impossible to make out details yet, but it appeared as Bart had said; mostly low-lying, with dark lumps I took to be mountain peaks in the center.
With a question on my lips, I turned to Savadra, but she had disappeared. Shrugging to myself, I headed for the cabin to return Craigin’s spyglass. I found him easily enough, sitting at his desk, going over charts and scratching on a bit of paper some nautical notes I couldn’t begin to get the meaning of. He glanced up at me as I entered and returned the spyglass. A rather large bird with white and grey feathers and a thick, hooked, fish-snatching beak sat tethered to a perch beside the captain’s desk. This I took to be the gullion Savadra had mentioned.
“How far?” I asked.
Craigin checked his charts again and started to reply before catching himself just as his mouth opened. He eyed me, seeming to go over his words in his head. “Not long.”
I glowered. “Truly, I’m not that bad at sailing stuff.”
“And yet your very sentence says to me the opposite.” Craigin replied. “That, and your history of, shall we say…usefulness—or lack thereof—aboard this ship. Sailing ‘stuff’, indeed. You amaze me.”
“What’s got you so sore?” I asked
Craigin finished his scrawling and set the paper into a small cylinder on the gullion’s egg. He then threw open the window, spoke a word I assumed to be in native Montal, and watched the bird sail away. “Monsters; that’s what.” he muttered.

Comments

" like a deranged monkey

" like a deranged monkey after a ghost banana tree."

This line had me giggling out loud! But since this chapter has me rather lost...perhaps I missed a few in the middle. Time to go back and re-read!

Sarah | Sun, 08/26/2012

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

Ohh, mysterious!

I seriously can't wait for more!

Maddi | Thu, 08/30/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

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