I sorta forgot about this yesterday. While writing it up this morning I realized how little I truly know about sailing ships. Which is sad as I grew up with my dad being in the NAVY. Anyways, this Flash Fiction is set in the Elemental Wars world and my betas will recognize the names of some of the characters. This story takes place about 20 years or so before the beginning of E1, for those trying to keep track.
(c) 2013 Necia Phoenix
The wind kicked up the sea spray over the side of the ship. Kerga leaned against the rail grinning as her ship plowed through the rough waves. She laughed. This was the life! Not ashore, stuck in a house raising that bearded man’s brats. She pushed from the rail and made her way towards the quarter deck.
“Cap’in we found a stowaway in the lower hold.” Her first mate said. Behind him, two of the sailors were dragging a struggling boy. Kerga frowned. No, that was no boy.
Overlarge blue-gray eyes stared at her from a bruised face. Her lip was swollen and split. Clothing torn. There was a gash on her forehead. She couldn’t have been much more that thirteen, or fourteen. Kerga planted fists on her hips.
“You know what I usually do with castaways?”
“Throw ‘em overboard?” The girl whispered. Kerga could see the other sailors watching the girl. Their looks weren’t entirely friendly. Or chaste. Kerga sighed. Of course it had to be a girl.
“I’m mighty tempted.” She motioned to one of the other women sailors. Kerga’s ship was one of the few in this part of the world with a mixed crew.
“Aye?” Jules came up, golden curls bouncing on her shoulders.
“Take the girl below decks. Help her clean up.”
“Aye,” Jules took the girl’s arm, eyes twinkling. “Come on, girl.”
The girl straightened, eyeing Kerga severely. “My name is Corrin.” She bowed low, Dhaul-Style. Kerga frowned. “Thank you, honorable captain.”
Kerga jerked her head and Jules nodded.
“Come on. You’re about my size, I’ve got a spare tunic.” Jules said as she dragged the girl away.
“Capin, some of the men,” Her first mate started.
Kerga turned, glaring at him. “We’re goin into port at Lorn, you can find streetwalkers then. For now, you’ll not lay a finger on that girl. Warn the men, anyone does, they’ll wind up visiting the deep beyond.”
Kerga sat at the table. The stowaway, Corrin, stood before her. Jule’s tunic was a touch too tight, and the ties had long gone missing revealing a luscious curve of breasts, marred by dark, ugly bruises. Her hair was longer than most women on the high seas kept theirs, a silky blue black, confirming Kerga’s suspicion; Corrin was from the Dhaul region. Her eyes haunted.
“Yer a long way from Dhaul, lass.”
The girl narrowed her eyes, but said nothing.
Kerga leaned forward. “I’ve got enough people on my ship, lass,”
“My name is Corrin.” She gritted out.
“Yer name is bilgewater if I say it is, understand me?”
“Are you going to throw me overboard?”
“I might yet. Why should I let you stay abord? Eatin our food, takin up our space. Should I toss you to the men?”
“Only if you want a crew of eunichs!” The girl snapped. Kerga leaned back laughing.
“They’d prolly spend less time at port!” She sobered up. “But I canna let you do that. Who gave you those pretty bruises?”
“The villagers.” Corrin’s eyes closed as she swallowed. Her voice low.
“They tried to stone me.” Her voice was a bare whisper.
Kerga looked past her to Jules who was shaking her head. Stoning. An official stoning. Kerga felt her stomach twist. “Yer an elemental, aren’t ye?”
The girl’s eyes flew wide. She swallowed again and gave the barest nod. Kerga leaned back in her chair. “What element?”
“Water.” Her voice was barely audible.
Jules silently handed her a bucket of water. Corrin set the bucket down, glancing up nervously.
“Girl, this ship is not the property of, nor in control by Nekar.”
The girl held out her hand, took a deep breath. Kerga watched in awe as a small bubble of water lifted out of the bucket, higher, and slowly changed shape. By the time it was floating at eye level it was in the shape of Kerga’s own ship.
“Oiy, Cap’in, there’s a beacon fire in the distance!” The first mate slammed the door open. The water-ship splashed to the floor and Kerga. The first mate clamped a hand over his mouth before saying in a muffled voice. “Sorry Cap’in.” He frowned. “Was she just…?”
“Get out. I’ll be up in a moment.”
“Aye.” The first mate just sared at Corrin. Water pooled and lifted back into the bucket. The first mate looked up with wide eyes at Kerga.
“Not a word to anyone about this.”
“Aye.” He whispered.
He nodded numbly and slammed the door shut.
Kerga looked down at the girl, possibilities springing to mind. “Jules, set up a bunk in my room. I’ll keep the water elemental close.”
“Aye Captain.” Jules left, her eyes still wide.
“You could be useful, girl. How old are ye?”
Corrin looked down. “Fourteen.”
“Surprised yer not married off already.”
“No one would have me.” She whispered.
“Why not?” Kerga eyed her fairly lush form. “Ye have a babe already?”
Corrin swallowed and nodded. “Me dar stole her away from me, then they tried to stone me.”
There was more, Kerga could read it in the girl’s face. An idea crossed her mind. “Can you feel when storms are rising?”
“Can you stop em?”
“I’ve never tried.”
Kerga stood, wringing out the ends of her tunic. “Tell ye what, Jules will help you learn the ropes, we’re goin to Lorn next and then on up to Tyrsleth fer the winter. There’s other water elementals up in Tyrsleth and in Sandau.”
“I thought I was the last!” Corrin whispered.
Kerga laughed. “No, lass, there’re more, though the Seeress would have us believe otherwise. You prove useful while yer aboard and I might put in a good word to the Water Master.”
“Why would you do that?”
“Because I can.” Kerga turned her back on the girl. She stared down at the nautical maps, not seeing them, a sick babe’s wail in her ears. “Go on, girl and find Jules.”
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