Re: Approach

  • Markshire PCs:

Ahead of the ship loomed a low, unmoving bank of ugly, brown-tinted clouds. Outside the clouds, the water was slack, the wind an intermittent sigh that slowly, fitfully, and inexorably pushed the ship onward. Under the clouds, a grey mist rose from the water, which seemed oddly alive with ripples and whitecaps, like a windy but wave-protected harbor. The patch of weather seemed lively within, but immobile, and the mist and low cloud obscured vision from without.

As they had neared it, over the course of the day, the crew had grown subdued, and Sun-Ok sensed among them strange currents of fear, agitation, worry, impatience, and despair. “Not big—see edges ‘fore close get—why go ’round not?” she asked Marco.

“It’s—where we have to go,” said Marco vaguely, with a tinge of fatalism. Seeing her uncertainty, he tried to raise her spirits. “Water’s pretty calm in it. Ye won’t need the bucket.”

She unthinkingly stowed the pail that was her near-constant companion in a locker, but Marco could tell she was still distressed. He shrugged. “Can’t do anything ’bout it anyway. Most likely be home safe before you know it.”

She turned and gave him an odd look. Damn, thought Marco, you idiot, let your head work before your tongue wags. He still wasn’t sure why she’d left her homeland, but he guessed she couldn’t return, or perhaps that she just had nothing there to return to. “Sorry—be in port before you know it.”

A brief, sad smile flickered across her face, and she turned back to look at the coming turmoil. “Then what?” she asked distractedly.

Marco grimaced slightly behind her. Double idiot, he thought to himself. Oh well, never will understand women—poor thing. “Then,” Marco paused, and she looked back at him. “Then you make your own path, your own…” He looked about, then pointed at the purple symbol she’d sewn on the flapping sail beside them, a symbol whose explanation he still wasn’t sure he fully grasped. “Your own…that.”

Sun-Ok glanced at the sail, watched the symbol flap and fold in the lazy wind for several minutes. She looked slowly around her, taking in the ship, the crew, the water, the sky, and the slowly sinking sun. Her eyes seemed focused and yet blank at the same time.

At length, she reached out and touched an increasingly fidgety Marcos on the shoulder. “Thank you, my friend,” she said in elven, then walked to the stern rail. Once there, she looked out over their minimal wake for a moment, kneeled, and bowed to touch her forehead briefly to the deck. She stayed kneeling, silent, eyes closed, facing astern.

Thrakh, at the wheel, just shook his head. Yep, thought Marco. Never will understand them.