Monday, 8 June 2015

The Quest for Verdisc (part 8)

Davelron burst up the stairs of the Black Addison and out onto the deck, his always booted feet slapping against the deck. Marcus and Emilia quickly pulled on their boots and their borrowed Trident Holder jackets and followed him out. The night air was refreshingly cool, compared to the usual heat of the day, and the moon was out in it's full disc, resplendent in the sky.
Marcus, Emilia and Davelron didn't notice the moon though. They were too distracted by the flailing body in the water. "Marcus, drop the barnacle swing!" Davelron called.
"Aye aye!" Marcus replied, running to the oak chest which sat patiently on the raised platform just in front of the propellers at the rear of the ship. He flipped it open and pulled out the plank of wood which acted as the barnacle swing. Large extents of knotted rope connected the plank to the interior of the case, and so it was thrown overboard. It clattered down the side of the wooden hull and stopped, just above the lapping waves. Davelron swung one foot over the edge of the deck and began to climb down the planks that made up the ladder towards the swing. When he got to the bottom he sat down, but rather than facing the hull as intended, he looked out to sea.
The Mechanical Wizard's message of the man over board rung loud and clear in their heads. If there was a man over board, there were two scenarios that were possible. Scenario 1: A creature called the Man Whale might be attempting to kill them. Davelron had told them of it one night, as waves crashed to either side of the ship, knocking them from one side to the other. There'd been the mating call of a Man Whale in the far distance and Davelron had grinned, telling them of it. They were colossal creatures, seemingly made of endless cold fat, that would destroy boats with flaps of their massive fins. As the boat began to sink, the whale would digest all but one member of the crew. The one person they didn't digest, they'd connect their tentacles to and then leave to bob up and down on the surface, until a good doer boat approached.  And then the Man Whale would strike again.
Scenario 2 was that the man over board was an actual man, and that begged the question of where he was from. On the off chance that there was pirate vessel nearby, Emilia slid a new round of bullets into one of the gattling guns.
Davelron leant away from his barnacle swing and reached a hand out for the body in the water. It was dripping wet and cold as his rugged fingers graced it. He managed to grasp one finger, but as a splash of water drenched him he moved back, letting go. He took another grab at the hand and caught it, pulling it in. The body floated over to him and he attempted to lift it up. However, another wild splash of the black water nearly dragged him from the swing. Davelron used one hand to grip tightly onto the swing and the other to hold onto the man's hand, whilst turning his head to face upwards to Marcus and Emilia. "Bring me up!"
Marcus rushed to the side of the wooden case where a bicycle wheel with a handle protruding from the rim waited. Marcus grabbed the handle and began to spin it in grand circular rotations. The wheel turned another and then another which spun pulleys and various other overly complicated systems which began to haul up the swing. At first it was hard to turn it, but it became easier and easier until eventually Davelron's head was pointing up over the side. "Emilia, come help me will you?"
Davelron's hand, turned white from the muscles it must have been requiring, pulled the drowning man up slightly more and Emilia helped him to pull it over. Davelron pulled himself onto the deck and then Marcus packed up the barnacle swing, joining the others to stare at the body.
"I'm surprised he didn't drown." Marcus laughed. The body was quite large, with a significant swell around his sides. He was wearing chain mail, too, which was evidently weighing him down.
"Don't be rude, the man may be dead." Emilia said.
Davelron's index and middle finger slid around the man's wrist. "I don't think so. Merely comatose."
He stood up. "Emilia, set course for the nearest floating port. We'll seek a Gqirha there."
Marcus still hadn't got use to the speak of the Trident Holders, and it's own unique language.
"It's not a unique language, Marcus." Davelron told him. "It's a variant on some old Earth tone. A Gqirha is what you would call a doctor."
"Oh!" Marcus replied, helping the Trident Holder pull him below board. They put him onto one of the beds in the four person bedroom. It was decided that Emilia and Marcus would sleep in the main crew's quarters, at least until the morning. Davelron wasn't planning to sleep anywhere, but instead stand with the Mechanical Wizard on the deck all day as they ploughed on towards the Floating Port.

Marcus was awoken by the clap of a mooring rope slapping against the deck of the Black Addison.
"Emilia!" He said, nudging her on the sofa from the floor where he lay. "Emilia, wake up!"
Emilia stirred slightly in her sleep, moaning sleepily, and then rolling over, falling off the sofa onto him.
"Ow!" Marcus complained.
Emilia burst out laughing. "Oh my sweet Thinker! Your face!"
"You've been doing that since Uncle Thaddeus got us a bunkbed."
"And yet you continue to fall for it!"
"I think you're the one falling." He laughed.
"Oh, shut up." Emilia replied, climbing up. "You always have to make such bad jokes."
"At least I make jokes."
"You wouldn't realise." Emilia laughed, pulling on her heavy Trident Holder's jacket. "Anyway, why were you in such desperate want of waking me up?"
"Because we've arrived at the Floating Port!"
They both climbed out and walked up the stairs back to the deck. Davelron was on a small jetty, discussing something with a port hand. Beyond him was the Floating City of- according to a large sign welcoming Floating Merchants- Nexelspire. Beyond an armada of moored ships was a large silhouette of wooden buildings projecting out from the wooden platoons. Davelron saw they'd woken and waved.
They waved back and went over to the Mechanical Wizard. When it's gas lit eyes spotted them, the familiar tickering of it's inbuilt typewriter began and it announced several more long pieces of paper. It rolled out of the silver hatch on the front and Emilia took it, reading, "I am currently running low on supplies. Whilst you are in this section of the Quadrant Seas, I require a selection of new Ink Ribbons, at least ten rolls of circular parchment-" She stopped and looked up from the paper. "Good Thinker! This list goes on and on and on!"
"I can imagine." Marcus replied. "Uncle Thaddeus had a penchant for creating things that needed a hell of a lot of material to keep running!"
Davelron leapt back onto the Black Addison and padded over to them. "You two!" He cried. "It looks as if I'm going to have to stay with the boat. Due to being acting Kapteni, I'm not entitled to the boat itself, thus meaning I can't sign the insurance. Wait, I'm boring you. Anyway, long story cut short, I'll have t stay with the old girl. Can you go into Nexelspire to find a Gqirha for me? As well as getting food supplies and anything you two need. Nothing fresh, nothing that can't be preserved easily outside of a fridge. So on, so on. Think you can manage it?"
They both nodded excitedly, took some money and then the crew of the Black Addison strolled into Nexelspire.

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