High Seas and Short People [Private]

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    • The Bourbon Buzzard. It wasn't a new ship, nor was it a famous one. It wasn't an awe-inspiring vessel that towered above the others, a or a slickly-designed boat designed to track down pirates and destroy them without mercy. It was a little thicker than most ships, with worn sails, wood that was slightly different colors, and few weapons. Still, it wasn't a bad ship. It had come cheap and it was a reliable ship-for-hire that had served in several naval campaigns, tracked down a few reputable bounties, and lived through more than a few famous storms. It was a solid ship, that was the best way to put it. It had a rather frequently changing crew, but a little over half-a-dozen of the twenty or so minimum crew had been on that boat for years.

      Shushanuu, a skilled cook and warrior-mage known for using a heavily-reinforced mop as his primary weapon. He was a huge, muscular Darfellan, a race of semi-aquatic natives of the colder climes that looked like a barbaric human and a killer-whale fused together.

      Durok, a squat Orc who wielded an enchanted hammer. He was the first mate and as fair as he was strict.

      Toulouse and Loose-fist, rivals and brothers in all but blood, are quick-fingered pickpockets and skilled mariners, even if neither clears three feet in height. The first is a fair halfling with black skin and glittering blue eyes, and the other is a Goblin with dark-green hide and ears that have far too many pears stuck in them.

      Telea, a half-giant woman big enough to punch a ship's mast out of its moorings, is the navigator, and loves her ship almost as much as Carrn loves it.

      Speaking of Carrn, he's the ship-wright. As skilled with a mallet and nails as he is with his war-pick, the beefy, tan-skinned dwarf takes pride in his ship. It may look a little rough, but it won't fall apart, and its better reinforced than some of the heavily-armored frigates out there.
      The captain of the ship is an odd individual as well. A rather fat lizardfolk warrior dressed in mail and wielding a mace, Sheng Swamp-strider commands respect even if his chubby, double-chinned countenance wouldn't do so. His crew appreciates him for more than just his authority in times of need, but also for his ability to channel deadly magic through that mace of his, and turn a large, blunt weapon into a flaming maul of destruction, or an electric blast that knocks grown men off their feet.
      A new crew had come on, since some of the old regulars had gotten a bit old or had decided to retire with their earnings from their last merchant-guard gig. A few had died, but on the open seas that can happen, and the entire crew had finished mourning long ago. Now, a fresh batch of would-be adventurers and mariners were coming aboard. Mostly half-elves and humans, but Sheng saw a half-orc tossed in there, and...an Aventi? Curious...

      However, he was not particularly worried about them all. Durok had handled the majority of the enlistment process. No, it was their most recent funder that peaked his interest. A gnommish explorer, paying for an entire crew to travel straight out into the open ocean? It was an interesting and potentially lucrative operation.
      Carrn, on the other hand, was fed up with it, and stomped over to the brown-and-green scaled commander.

      "Captain, I request permission to speak a touch freely."

      "Granted." Sheng's diction and cadence was quite the opposite of the surly dwarf's. While Carrn's was as gruff and guttural as to be expected from a dwarf, Sheng's was in control and almost lilting, as if he'd spent years honing his reptilian mouth-parts to communicate as clearly as possible.
      "Are yeh out of yer bleedin' mind, captain? We are headin' out into uncharted waters, and yeh give me a crew o' fresh out of the sack pups?"
      Sheng raised an eyebrow at the odd idiom, but chalked it up to the ship-wright's heritage. No one else save the original crew knew of Carrn's... unique gifts, but after almost nine years of sailing with the bulky carpenter they were still learning new quirks to his unusual upbringing and background.

      "I'm sorry to inform you, Carrn, but you know I didn't sign up any of these. Durok did. If you have a complaint, take it up with him." Sheng had to contain the chuckle that almost rolled out around his forked tongue when the braid-wearing warrior glared at him in annoyance. After a few moments, though, Carrn let out a sigh and shook his square-chinned head.

      "Bleeder'd probably toss me into the brine again."

      "And you still haven't installed that ladder yet. It'd be terrible if you couldn't climb back in."

      Carrn let out a barking laugh at the crack, and rolled his powerful, bare shoulders. "Bah, it doesn't matter, I'll whip them into shape. I'll have to make sure they can swim first, though." Now it was Sheng's turn to laugh, and the two companions enjoyed a moment of companionship even amongst the loud noises of a new crew banging around on the deck, preparing to cast-off later that day.

      "Well, I better get back to work. Tell me there ain't anymore surprise pups on this voyage."

      Sheng's suddenly awkward glance up at the crow's nest was all Carrn needed to hear before his face turned as red as the setting sun.

      The shouting voice of Durok turned Carrn's attention away from the sheepish captain, and the dwarf tossed up his hands in defeat. "We're all gonna nap with the seaweed, ain't we!" He stormed off to go kick a cabin-boy in the backside for bending too far into the hold, then started shouting about improperly secured lines.

      Sheng knew the dwarf didn't mean much of what he said. He was a bit pessimistic and not a big fan of unknown hands messing with his ship. Carrn was as close to a third in command as the ship had, with Durok being First Mate, but the dwarf would never go against the captain or Durok for that matter. The three had been through far too much in almost a decade out on the ocean. Once again the lizardfolk spell-blade cast his eyes about for the last of the crew, curious to meet their patron...

    #1 poisonbite01, Sep 19, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2016
  1. "Now, Bertie darling, we've been through this already," Lorna Stonecracker's voice trailed off as she squatted on her thick heels by the desk. Freshly scattered papers with neatly printed letters littered the stone slab and spilled off the sides. An ink bottle lay overturned on one corner, the sticky, black juice oozing from the mouth onto the polished wooden floor. None of this bothered the editor as much as the young gnome huddled under the desk.

    "I've changed my mind!" Thorberta Ivytoes squeaked, her leathery arms covering her head. "You can't make me! I won't do it!"

    "Darling, of course you will." Lorna set a heavy hand on the authoress's shoulder affectionately. "Remember what we talked about?"

    Thorberta peeped from between her elbows. "I'm dissatisfied with life," she said hesitantly. "And... my writing."

    "Yes, and do you remember why?"

    "It needs a fresh perspective. And, I'm jealous. Of my characters."

    "And do you remember what you suggested to me?"

    "Doing what no gnome has done before."

    "And that was..." Lorna prompted.

    "Circum...navi...gate... the... the.... the... world." A fresh batch of tears streamed down her cheeks as she wailed, "But I can't do it!"

    Lorna groaned and banged her forehead multiple times on the ledge of the stone desk in frustration. "Just think, the publicity! The fame! The expense! You spent half of your paycheck this year on securing this ship, now are you going to throw it all away? Become a laughing-stock? This is your chance, Bertie, darling! Your chance to make it big! Your chance to finally rid your family of that hideous last name of yours. Your chance to prove you aren't an ivy toe!"

    "But, but I am an ivy toe!" Thorberta blubbered. "We've been a laughing-stock ever since Great-great Grandpa fainted at the first sight of his shadow. I'm used to it!" A soft giggle worked its way past the sobs as she murmured, "Poor chap, he always had to walk facing the sun when he went outside. Or walk backwards. That's how he died, you know. Stepped right back into a well. What a soggy mess." She giggled again.

    Lorna's head dropped in relief. Thorberta's tantrum was passing.

    "I think... I think I'm ready to go now," the authoress said at last.

    "Thank goodness!"

    The carriage pulled up too quickly to the dock. Lorna pushed her too eagerly up the loading ramp. Thorberta blanched too readily at the sight of the churning, murderous waves down below. Another panic attack began swelling in her chest.

    "Don't even think about it," Lorna hissed as she set her shoulder against Thorberta's back and shoved the frozen gnome the rest of the way up the ramp and onto the ship deck. And then, before she even had the chance to recover, to ask about her luggage, to plead with her editor to try to get her money back, Lorna was gone. Thorberta wrapped her arms around her chest and hugged herself tightly; wide, brown pupils roving over the rough but seaworthy ship in distrust.

    She was actually here. There was no way out now.
  2. The sound of boots scraping up the gangplank halted what little activity was left on the deck, and the ten people on the deck of the ship turned to stare. When the gnome came to a stop, there was a moment of silence before Durok's loud voice shouted "JUST GNOME! KEEP WORKING!" The crew returned to their duties, and Sheng strode towards the gnome, smiling slightly. His crocodilian face had numerous short, sharp teeth jutting out around his scaly lips, and he spoke in as welcoming a tone as he could.

    "Miss Ivytoes, welcome aboard! Your quarters are already prepared. If we could retire to my office we can discuss the logistics of this venture, then we will be underway shortly after." He stopped a few steps away and held out a single, gloved hand in greeting, then gestured towards one of the doors set along the stern-side of the main deck.

    Peering up from below-decks was the broad forehead and inquisitive eyes of Carrn. So this was the person who'd hired their ship to sail around the globe? She sure didn't look like much...
  3. She jumped. Or at least tried to jump. The little gnome's feet were practically glued to the wooden deck and not even the reptilian captain's pointed smile could dislodge her from her spot. Oh goodness, he wanted to discuss logistics? Thorberta gnawed on her bottom lip in consternation. Part of the reason she'd looked for an experienced crew was to avoid the discussion of logistics completely. Besides the odds and ends of ship terminology and piratical jargon she'd picked up to write her latest romance, she knew nothing about plotting courses and the way the world worked. Thankfully, her readers didn't know a thing about it either. Gnomes generally avoided water if at all possible and everything associated with it. And Thorberta in particular was a gnome who had cultivated that avoidance into a phobia.

    "Th-thank you," she managed to stutter as she slipped her hand inside the beautifully gloved hand of the captain's. "P-please, call me Thorberta. Miss Bertie, if you must use the Miss." Clutching the strap of her satchel, her gaze followed where his hand led and went to move her foot. It didn't budge. "If-if you don't mind, Captain..." her large eyes dropped to her bare toes. "I won't, I won't fall through the floorboards into the ocean, will I? The deck is safe and sound?"
  4. Sheng's large, intelligent, yellow eyes blinked slowly at the odd question. Fall...through the floorboards? Was she serious. However, he noted her posture, the tight grip on her things, the stare at her bare-feet, and understood, at least a bit.

    He put on his best quiet-the-hatchling expression, and said "No, Miss Bertie. The Bourbon Buzzard is a bit ramshackle and dirty, yes, but it is as sound as could be. Besides, below this deck are three more before you will even hit the incredible thick outer hull of the bottom of our boat. You have nothing to worry about. Plus, the railings are high enough to prevent most of our crew from falling over the edge, courtesy of our wonderful Ship-wright, Mr. Blackreef." He gestured again, but this time at the cleanly-shaven scalp and glaring eyes of Carrn, who begrudgingly raised his entire head into view.

    It was neatly shaven on top, but with two thick braids made from the hair on the sides of his head and jowls. There was no hair on his broad chin or around his mouth, which was very strange for anyone who had met more than a few dwarves.

    "I told yeh about callin' me Blackreef, Swan-striper."

    The captain winced at his nickname. It was both a play on his actual surname, and a reference to an unfortunate incident involving a badly cast "animal shape" spell and a pair of striped pajamas he'd been wearing during the incident.

    "Very well, Carrn, I'll use your unsatisfactorily short given name." Sheng then turned his attention back to Thorberta, and said "As you can see, a number of our crew is a tad...below the human norm in regards to height, and the railing was made a bit taller to provide better cover and to decrease the chance that any of our smaller crew members are tossed into the briny waters below. No need to fear, Miss Bertie."

    Carrn scoffed a touch at that and rested his powerful forearms on the edge of the deck from where he was peering up. So this was there sponsor? The one who had hired them to travel around the world on a boat much too small and understaffed for such an undertaking? Why, Sheng had spent almost all of the advance on the payment to buy a few magic crates that'd keep them stocked on bread, pickles, limes, and beans for decades, and Durok had hired a young druid who'd be spending almost all of his time casting spells to maintain their water supply throughout the journey. It just wasn't fair to the boy, who should be jumping with the dolphins and such, not couped up below decks for hours at a time.
  5. Thorberta visibly relaxed at the reptile's answer. Three decks between her and the liquid of death. She could handle that. At the turn of the captain's hand towards the Ship-wright, Bertie again followed the direction the neat, white glove pointed to with her eyes. Was he actually a dwarf? Her eyes widened. She'd always thought them a bit more... hairy. The human axion she'd heard regarding telling apart a gnome and a dwarf came to mind and made her smile.

    Dwarves are square
    Like the letters in their name
    With lots of hair
    Because they never shave.

    Gnomes are round
    Like the n, m, and o
    With skin of brown
    That's leathery and smooth

    It wasn't a very good rhyme, to be sure, but one learned not to expect much from the humans. They were so bland in general. At least, according to what she'd read. Now, what had stirred all this fuss in that head of hers? Oh yes, Carrn, the Ship-wright. Thorberta bobbed her hooded head in greeting.

    "I'm quite pacified, thank you Captain," she answered. She waited to see if the captain reissued his desire to speak with her about the voyage. If she didn't bring it up again, maybe it would slip his mind. But that was wishful thinking and the small gnome found herself trudging after the lizard toward his office.
  6. No such luck. Sheng did indeed wish to speak to her, but as it turned out, there wasn't much she had to do.

    He led her into the captain's office, a nice room built almost directly above the rudder of the ship, and adorned with nice furs, magical lights that could turn on at a word, and a large desk. She could see his armor and weaponry attached to a mannequin in one corner, and numerous supplies that she may recognize as the components used to create magical concoctions and items. He had a bookshelf with many books on it as well, with leather straps that secured them in their places should the ship be tossed about violently. When they arrived, he gestured to a straight-backed, wooden chair set in front of his desk. It had a wooden ring around the base that would allow her to climb comfortably into it, as well as put her feet against it. After all, Sheng had learned that the shorter races didn't like leaving their feet swinging about below them when talking to the taller races. It made them feel smaller, so he'd had Carrn build a chair that would remedy that sensation.

    When she'd taken a seat, the lizard-folk captain simply wanted to double-check their destination, explain that they'd have to make a few stops along the way so it wouldn't be a perfectly straight line around the world, and warned her of some of the dangers of ship life for non-sailor crew. Mostly he made sure that she understood where she had to be in the case of a storm or an attack from pirates or any such thing. She was to be in her quarters during events such as these. He went over the rules about ship-board conduct. Most of them were self-explanatory: no drinking on the job, no lighting fires of any sort unless you had express permission from the captain, meals are to be eaten in the galley, no exceptions, so on and so forth.

    "Any questions, Miss Bertie?"
  7. Apparently, when captains wanted to "discuss" something they actually meant they had a prepared lecture in mind. Thorberta didn't mind the change in her fortune in the least. In fact, she was rather relieved, though the abused diction caused her to mentally cringe. Perhaps at some point along this doomed voyage she could kindly suggest he find another word to use than "discuss." It was such an unsettling word. Her toes wrapped and unwrapped around the wooden ring, relishing the way it fit snugly in the little space between her toes and feet, while her eyes darted here and there about the cabin in silent marvel.

    As the lecture continued on, Bertie listened attentively as her expressive face rolled through the emotions of confuzzlement, excitement, admiration, and horror. Her hands followed suit-- flitting between fidgeting in her lap, clapping with glee, and clasping over her mouth on the appropriate occasions. When the speech finally drew to a close and Captain Swamp-strider paused to allow her any questions, she shook her head adamantly.

    "Oh no, not about anything you've said, no. Everything, for the most part, was quite clear. But if I may be so bold, I would like to know..." she stroked the arm of the chair adoringly. "Where did you find such a lovely chair?"
  8. She certainly was a marvelous listener. She'd enjoy listening to Toulouse's stories at supper. After all, he had a fresh audience, what with a new crew and all. He handed her a detailed map of the ship with incredibly fine writing and detail, that she was expected to study. She'd have to know where all the important places and locations were on the reasonably-sized ship, so as not to get lost or in anyone's way in times of crisis. Also, she'd be able to get to her quarters much more easily. Then she asked her question, and he smiled slightly.

    "Ah yes, it is an excellent contraption, isn't it? Hard to believe, but Carrn was the one that made it. It can support about 800 pounds of weight and is as stable as this desk, thanks to lead weights in the bottom of the legs." He leaned back in his own comfortable chair, and continued. "Despite his surly attitude, he's an excellent builder. If you need a contraption, he is the fellow to see."
  9. That irascible dwarf she'd briefly seen earlier made this beautiful chair? Bertie wiggled her toes around the ring in a new-found appreciation for the piece of furniture and the dwarf. Irascible might not be the word for him, not on so short an acquaintance, but she adored that word and rarely had a chance to use it. Besides, the look he'd given her and the captain suggested that even if irascible wasn't in his vocabulary, it certainly could wiggle its way into his actions.

    Thorberta rolled up the map and stuffed it into a side pocket on her satchel. She would wander on deck and study the beautifully penned document in detail right after locating her living quarters. Already the stress and fear she'd felt prior to this interview began melting into her subconscious. The crew, at least the captain and what he said of the crew, seemed very capable for making a journey like this and she had multiple decks between herself and the waters below. Multiple decks. She grinned. One little boat and one little female with a host of males at their call. What a delicious setting for another High Seas romance novel. She was very glad she brought her writing implements.

    Turning her thoughts round to the captain again, her grin brightened, showcasing her glinting pearly-whites. "Thank you, Captain. This map will certainly come in handy. You have assuaged many of my fears. I trust you and your crew will prove capable" she internally grimaced. She was beginning to sound like Lorna! The toad. Bertie cleared her throat and flashed the captain another winning smile. "I'm starting to actually look forward to this!"

    With one last handshake with the captain, the gnome hopped off the chair and scurried out the door to hunt for her bed. Her lack of a stress-induced adrenaline rush had suddenly made her extremely sleepy.
  10. Sheng nodded to her, and smiled again. "I'm glad I was able to quell some of your fears, Miss Bertie. I hope you enjoy the voyage. If you ever have any questions or complaints, please, don't hesitate to come to me. You could also go to Durok, the rather short orc you'll see bellowing about. He's quite amicable when you aren't a novice sailor that he has to whip into shape. Have a nice evening!"

    He then watched her leave, and leaned forward to double check the course again. She had reminded him of an old friend that they'd lost a few years ago, and he wanted to get to work on this map, make sure it was perfect, make sure the stops lined up with their emergency rations and all that. If he didn't, he would dwell on his lost comrade...


    Once she left the office, she would be once again assailed by the noises of a ship preparing to cast-off. The sun was nearly at its peak, and Durok wanted to cast off at noon, so everyone was bustling about trying to get it ready. Most of the rigging was in place, the sails were a little loose but in their optimum position, and the majority of the lines were untied from the dock. In all, they weren't far from being ready to leave the dock and begin their journey.

    She could hear the clipped bellows of the orc, who almost cleared six feet in height. Not short by any means, but definitely smaller than most orcs and half-orcs. He was a scarred, tunic-wearing behemoth, with the porcine face and tusks of his people. This was no half-orc, not even an ogrillon. This was a true-blooded, pit-spawned orc. Still, he stood straight and his eyes glittered with an intelligence that was unheard of among his barbaric people.

    She'd also notice that her fantasy of a ship full of men was not to be a reality. The exact numbers she wouldn't know, but she'd see at least four females rushing about with the males. Mostly half-elves and humans, but she did notice one huge woman that had to be part giant. The woman was probably seven and a half feet tall, with broad shoulders and wide hips. Her head was rather large and her hair was a ragged nest of dark-grey curls, and her skin was a sea-green color. She was at the helm, mockingly imitating Durok's gestures whenever he wasn't looking in her direction.

    Then again, she may be too busy searching for her room, which was below decks. If she'd looked closer at the map she'd know that the door next to the captain's led to a stairwell that went down, and there was always the ladder jutting up from one of the large, open hatches that went below.
  11. Thorberta was, in fact, completely oblivious to the activity upon the deck. Her mind more agreeably engaged itself in forming the main characters for her next high seas romance novella. The maiden fair would be of elven kin, a stowaway escaping from an arranged marriage. The dashing hero, by default, would be a stocky dwarf. Though taboo in the real world, that kind of forbidden multiracial romance sold in the realm of fiction. Bertie excelled in forbidden romances. Her last heart-wrenching novella told the tragic story of a frost giant and a mermaid love affair on board a pirate ship doomed to sail off the end of the world. It still rocked the best-seller lists months after publication.

    Although Bertie wasn't necessarily an expert in all aspects of the subjects issuing forth from her pen, she was quite knowledgeable when it came down to the basics and knew how to glean from resources. From her glimpse of the map before she'd stuffed it into her satchel, she'd known to look for "quarters" and "galley" and surmised her quarters were located down a level. This mildly distressed her, for it meant fewer levels between her ivy toes and the briny sea, but it was manageable. The stairs, now they had been near the captain's rooms. She turned and headed in that direction. Ah, the door. She hesitantly pushed it open and trotted down the steps to the next level.

    She paused before the second door on the right. Yes, this was her room. Reaching up to grasp the handle, she gave it a twist and was surprised that it opened easily. She'd half-expected it to grunt and groan and wedge itself halfway open like the ones in her book did. Apparently, old ships didn't mean rusty hinges. Slipping inside her room, she was relieved to find her steamer trunks and hatbox sitting neatly in a pile by a rather odd-looking wardrobe and a freshly made bed fitted snugly under a porthole. Ignoring the unpacking for later, Thorberta shrugged her satchel off and crawled onto the bed. Burying her round nose into the sheets, she inhaled the salty sea scent happily and soon drifted off to sleep.
  12. Her effects had been delivered some time ago, and placed in this room. She'd find it was actually quite posh, with a specially designed bed that would limit the effects of the rocking ocean, so one could lie on it, close their eyes and ears, and it would barely feel like the ship was moving. Granted, it didn't do much in a storm (yet) but it was still quiet useful for the occasional passenger who didn't enjoy the stomach-warping wobbling of a ship on the open sea.

    It was also curiously magical and technologically advanced. The wash-basin in the corner could be adjusted so that the spout was very high and the drainage basin receded into the deck, and the curtain over the porthole could be adjusted outwards and around the space, making a very rudimentary shower. The spigot itself was actually a rare magical artifact that could create a jet of water at different settings, from a simple stream to fill a glass to a powerful, lukewarm cascade for bathing. Instructions for its use were in a small booklet tied to the corner of the bed.

    There were also instructions for the lights, which were actually another magical artifact called a "heat-stick." The heat-stick could be activated in four settings, so the booklet said: Dim light, Dim light with heat, bright light, or bright light with heat. In all, it wasn't something one would find on board a ship that looked as worn as the Bourbon Buzzard. Then again, she might not notice any of this until she awoke.

    While she slept, the ship continued on. It soon left the harbor with a great cheer, and the crew began communication more freely now that there was less to do. Within a few hours they had left behind the coast, heading far into deeper waters, aimed for a small island about four hundred miles out. There they would stop, restock on what they needed, then head out across the next seven hundred miles to the far coast of the Diruvian Empire.

    So the crew knew they had a long journey of nothing but each other to entertain one another, and it seemed the Durok had known this going in. Everyone had some interesting skill, be it artistic, musical, or combat oriented. No one would get bored learning and observing one another's unique skills (though the orc was loathe at the thought of Carrn learning to sing from the handsome elfling that was currently making up words to go along with Loose-fists' zither playing).

    After about six hours, with the sun beginning to fall on the waters to the southeast, their songs were still going, with different members of the crew adding in their own verses about some of their most memorable tales out on the open ocean and elsewhere.

    An undead plague-ship. A sea witch. A sea monster. An ancient and blind sea dragon that was wrecking boats because it had lost its magical corrective lenses and couldn't see where it was going (that was one of Durok's), and the like. The only one who didn't join in was Carrn, who was at the moment that everyone was gathered around the magical heat-branch "fire" whittling at a piece of large wood. It was about the size of a dinner plate but square, and he was sitting cross-legged on the deck with his back to the railing and the block between his thighs. Slow, diligent swipes removing thin-but-long shavings of wood added a soft rasping sound to the background sound of the ocean crashing lightly against the hull and the other sounds of a ship as it made its way across the largest, deepest, most mysterious of places in all the land...
  13. With no alarm set except the glow of the setting sun, Thorberta slept soundly until she could feel the heat of the sun's rays on her eyelids. Gnomes were so sensitive to the sun! Sitting up slowly, Thorberta rubbed her groggy eyes with a fist and blinked lazily about the room. None of it looked familiar. It certainly didn't look like her cozy little bedroom in her boulder apartment, nor was it the couch in her editor's mountainous flat. It wasn't the back room of her favourite pub, Pit of Despair, either. A frown meandered down her lips. What had she been getting into lately?

    Hopping down from the bed, the unstable floor clued her in instantly. Her editor. The wharf. The ship. The water! Scrambling back onto her bunk, she shoved her nose against the porthole and gawked. Where was the city? The dock? The people? All she saw was miles and miles of sea. Blue, blue water as far as her large eyes could see. If she'd had an inkling of what "no going back" meant before, it fell even more heavily on her little noggin now. This time, there was one hundred percent no getting off this ship unless by way of water. "What a despairing feeling! I will never, ever write that line again!" she muttered.

    Actually, she wasn't as turned off by the idea as she made out to be. She'd half-expected to be throwing a tantrum on the floor now or curling up into a little ball on her bed and wailing her heart out, but the feeling of being stuck on a large, wooden box and surrounded by a never-ending body of devilish, deceptive, deadly water hardly phased her. A moaning sigh sounded from deep within her throat and ended with a burst of hot air against the glass of the porthole. In all actuality, it was probably a belch, but to the romantic mind... "I suppose it is the resignation to the inevitable."

    Clambering onto the floor again, Bertie steadied herself against one of her trunks and attempted to cross the room to the door. Exploring the wonderful little gadgets and gizmos inside her lair would have to wait until after. She desperately needed something to eat. The ship lurched and rolled unexpectedly, sending her pinwheeling into her door. She grasped the knob firmly and held on until the ship settled again. Maybe she would just get sick instead of looking for something to eat.

    Once she felt her legs were steady enough, Thorberta pried open the door and stumbled down the hall to the stairs. Thank goodness there was a railing! She made full use of it, dragging her feet up one step at a time. Maybe, just maybe she might get used to the rolling ship and not look like a fool any time she stepped outside her quarters. Maybe she'd hide in her bed until the end of the voyage, taking just enough substance to keep herself from starving. After all, it would only be a week or two until they made it back, wouldn't it?

    Her ears picked up the merry sound of singing and playing of many diverse instruments as she reached the top of the stairs. Another roll of the ship sent her over the top step and sprawled her onto the deck. Yup, she was definitely going to be sick. Unable to stand back up, Bertie crawled in the direction of the nearest railing and pulled herself up. Just the motion of standing lurched the contents of her stomach up her esophagus and onto the deck.

    She couldn't move, didn't dare move. Instead, she closed her eyes and held onto the post for all she was worth.
  14. If the crew noticed her approach, they didn't really show it. However, when she heaved onto the deck there was a moment of silence before some good-natured laughter and the clinking of coins filled the air. Then the revelry returned, with two figures approaching her position. One was the Darfellan, and the other was a young human with sandy blonde hair and wearing the robes of a cleric. The form pulled the large mop out of its special holster and with a grumpy frown stepped over to mop up the mess, pushing the worst of it out into the ocean through the openings in the railing. The other pulled out a small, tapered stick of wood and said "Miss? May I help?" This close, she could see that he too seemed to have some mild discomfort from the rocking of the ship.

    Carrn, meanwhile, sat off to the side and, reluctantly, reached into his large sack and pulled out a small pouch. He tugged out a few coins and shouted "TELEA!" He then tossed the fist-ful of gold. The rather nimble half-giant took a step forward from her position near the group of sailors, and snatched the glinting currency out of the air. Carrn had bet on the cleric boy being the first to chuck on their voyage...
  15. "Miss? May I help?"

    Oh, bother it. She'd been seen. Refusing to look more ridiculous than she must already appear, Thorberta managed to straighten her back and pry open one eye, then two. She instantly recognized the robes as that of a cleric and almost fainted in relief.

    "Can-can you actually help? Like-like a spell or... or... or...."

    The ship rocked gently over a wave, but it was still enough to tie up her insides in a knot. Groaning, she pressed her mouth into her hands clutching at the railing and worked really, really hard at keeping things inside where they should be. "...medicine?" she finished the sentence weakly after the sensation passed. Her legs shook beneath her. Bertie really didn't like water.
  16. The cleric smiled slightly and said "Oh, its just a little something I whipped up. I'm trying to use it sparingly so I can get used to the ocean, but when it gets too bad..." He tapped her lightly on th shoulder with wand and muttered "calm" under his breath. The wand tip flared slightly and she'd feel the queasiness begin to subside. It wasn't a permanent solution, and she'd still be off-balance and possibly disease, but at least now she wouldn't toss her meal up each time. After a moment, he cleric asked "Better?"

    Shushanuu the Darfelllan finished mopping up the mess then stuck his mop over the railing and twisted the handle positioned about halfway down, cranking the last of it into the ocean. He then tapped a small silver symbol set into the top and mopped it up again, sudsy water spreading from the mop and filling the air with a clean, lemony scent.

    Carrn returned to his whittling then, watching the exchange between the two novice sailors over by the railing.
  17. Bertie squeezed her eyes shut as the cleric murmured and tapped with his little stick. She wasn't sure what to expect, as the last time she'd seen a cleric perform a bit of magic the monk had been the life of a Ghouls and Goblins party with the animated skeleton of his grandmother. A person can't exactly ask a pile of bones how it feels to have spells performed on them as any and all opinions would originate from the spell-caster. However, as her stomach slowly settled and upon opening her eyes she discovered she was still a gnome, Bertie perked up immediately. Clerics were marvelous people, they really were. Always ready to help people, always willing to put the other person first, never a moment of selfish demand for their own problems, they were the epitome of a "good person." She could never survive as one.

    Flashing the human a charming smile, the little gnome bobbed in an awkward curtsey and finished with an exclamation of, "Oh yes, thank you! Much better, yes indeed." The scent of fresh lemons wafted by her nose and reawakened the rumblings in her tummy. "In fact, I feel in the mood now for a five course meal." Her brows knit in consternation. "I do believe I slept through lunch. And perhaps supper as well?"
  18. Seeing that she was feeling better, the cleric smiled and straightened up, before sliding the wand back into his robes. "I'm glad I could help, ma'am. My name is Torid Peteson, from the Northlands. The captain told me to keep an eye on you until you got acclimated to the boat." When she mentioned food, the youth thought about it for a moment.

    It was true that they had already finished their evening meal, but there were always uneaten portions stored for just such situations as this. "If you are still hungry you can head to the galley. I'm sure Shushanuu here can heat something up for you."

    When his name was mentioned, the Darfellan turned and glared for a moment. However, his heart wasn't in it. he couldn't really blame her for being new to this. With a grumpy sigh the mop-wielding warrior spun his tool into its holster, then said "Follow me, gnome. We'll fill your...newly empty belly."
  19. "Oh, I don't wish to be any trouble, good sirs, especially after causing such trouble already," she directed the last part of her sentence to the Darfellan with a meaningful look and a sincere wiggling of her toes. But when the custodian-- at least she assumed him to be a custodian-- trudged off toward where she supposed the galley to be, she trotted after him. She marvelled at how four of her little steps equalled one of his. Before they disappeared from sight, Bertie turned back and waved at the cleric.

    "Thank you again!"

    Then she ran after the Darfellan and to supper.
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