Sunday, December 15, 2013

Page a Day: One Hundred Thirty One

             This hold was not as cavernous as the one I had woken on outside the Profuse Hand; the ceiling was only my height when I stood. I stopped for a moment and cleared my head and realized that this greatship had many different decks. My mastodon was directly below me and asleep, its ankles aching with new growth. I checked my person; armor and quicksword were still in place. Teetering, never having been aboard a ship at sea before, I made my way to the nearest upward ladder.            
            And emerged into the blinding brilliance of the light of the southern sun. Dazzling, it dappled the crests of the waves all the way to the horizon as far south and east as I could see. To the north it fell on white sands just at the edge of visibility, and to the west on tiers of cliffs tumbling into the sea. I turned around again and counted: a dozen other greatships dotted the nearby waters. Around me on the deck soldiers skirmished and talked and sat in circles playing lots, all the things that soldiers when no one’s going anywhere anytime soon. Some I recognized by their short squat build as Never-born. But I was drawn toward the bow, where smoke arose.
            Jerem Cozak sat beside a campfire, waving his hands back and forth across the flame. Some whiteness shone and fell and disappeared between them. I gasped and he started. He had not heard me approach. He did not get up, but looked back into the fire, waiting for me to speak.
            “We’re in Sepira,” I said, trying to remember my Temple geography. “Hope’s Horn, where the Gidwinn Mountains enter the ocean-between-the-lands. It’s the southwest corner of the continent.”
            He nodded, waving a hand toward the sand. “And all this is the Bay of Repose, where some say humans first came to this world, when their ship fell from among the stars.”
            I nodded, considering. “Our engines run, but we aren’t going anywhere. I suppose it’s to fight the tide. But we aren’t fighting anything else. What are we waiting for?”
            He nodded, pointing again toward the shore on the horizon, and a small speck there. “An ally,” he said. He handed me his oculars, and I looked through them.

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