Keeping an Alibi
Beau Bergeron was up early, despite his exhausting night. Always a light sleeper, he had extra motivation in getting up early: Making a show of doing his menial tasks and chores. Assisting in the cleansing of what parts of the deck they could in the continuing storm (Beau had started to wonder what kind of storm it was, lasting so long), and general maintenance and upkeep of the weapons and equipment used by the ship.
He also made a show of eating breakfast with the crew, rather than his usual practice of taking it back to his room. He had a more lavish breakfast than the normal hardtack and gruel, too, mostly fish and various fruits prepared by the cooks, available both because the ship was in port and as a form of bait to get the crew to return to the ship willingly. No man refuses a free expensive breakfast.
“You were out late last night, m’boy”, the Dwarf, Larman Ogges said upon Beau’s sitting at one of the long benches in the Calinda’s mess hall, “and it’s not like you to eat with us. Something up?”
Beau scowled. He’d assumed the Captain’s twit had been in his room the night before. “I’d gone below decks to check our weaponry, one of the crossbows developed a crack in the stock. I merely felt it would be prudent to repair it now, rather than in the heat of battle”, Beau replied, relying on his alibi that he’d maintained the night before.
“Hmm, yes, that’d be smart. A lot of things going wrong lately, like this storm still going on around us,” Larman said, looking around at the crew at their meals, silent for the rest of his own.
The Trials of a Mage
Tayliana Winddancer Dahtaligaar decided that the experiment she so longed to complete was no longer the prudent option, given the information she now had obtained. Instead she simply decided to acquire sleep and put off her experiment for later.
Throughout the night she had decided to keep her incense going, the essence of calm allowing her to drift to sleep without the machinations of her mind dreaming of the possibilities of the enigmatic machine that dominated her sleeping quarters at the rear of the ship. It was only upon her awakening that she allowed herself the freedom to wonder exactly what the machine was capable of, whether its gears and pistons would bring the ship to life as she imagined.
But such wonderings were allowed only for the briefest of moments. Like the others, she too had chores to attend to, chores which only the Calinda’s wizard was capable of carrying out. Making her way up and out onto the main deck of the ship, beneath her buoyant bladder of air, she began the singsong tune of the ancient Atul language that would commit the spell to give the Calinda resistance against the battering rain from the power of Mannawydden. Yet another weighted her against the god’s winds, and the final one warded off lightning from striking the vulnerable airship.
By the time she had finished over an hour had passed, and Tayliana was exhausted from the energy expended. She decided to pay a visit to the mess hall to take part in the in the rare treat of a traditional Selkie breakfast.
The Impromptu Meeting
Captain Jean Lafitte III took his meals in his cabin alone. It was not that he didn’t enjoy the company of his crew, far from it. He simply was not a fan of the food the Selkies enjoyed in the lands of Aeldreth. Having taught his cooks to cook meals he enjoyed, Lafitte took a usual breakfast of biscuits, buttered when it was available, as it was on this day in port. And a side of grits, the corn for which (though he’d always noted a subtle difference from his own memory of its taste) was expensive to procure from the lands of Danul to the east of Aria, but easily stored for long voyages across the ocean.
However, it was after his meal that the first frustration of the day took hold of the Captain. His crossbows were not available to him on his own ship. Always the creature of habit, his morning routine always ended with the strapping of his weapons to their various places upon his person. But today he would have to make do with simply his machete strung onto his hip.
Discovering a still thundering storm outside his cabin, he cursed at his second frustration. Whatever had brought this plague upon him and his ship had still gone unappeased. Lafitte would have to talk to Ionas about what they were going to do about that at some point. Farseer was a good lookout, and Lafitte had no desire to lose his services, but the fact remained, he couldn’t be dogged by this thing for the rest of his life. Something would have to be done.
In the end, he decided that Ionas didn’t deserve his talking to just yet. After all, with the ship in port there was nothing to be done about it at present anyway. The Calinda simply needed to leave Sesus as soon as possible. Lafitte knew what extensive flooding could do to a city, no matter how prepared it was. The problem was, he couldn’t do so without knowing where to take the embattled airship. And that entailed seeking the advice of the Prince and the Magus, the very men who had taken his weapons from him the night before.
This final frustration set Lafitte in motion to pay the Magus a visit, with or without an invitation. Prudence be damned. Taking the blue coat he’d been provided, he left the castle deck and out into the storm. Saluting a crewman who’d been detailed to guard the ship’s entrance, it would signal that he was leaving, and that the crew should prepare for his return.
The winds had calmed somewhat from the previous evening, Lafitte hoped due to a weakening of its power, but the water was still knee deep and the rain still heavy on his back. The Captain pulled his hat lower over his head to shield his eyes from the rain as he ascended the steps of the embassy.
“Halt!”, an Embassy guard said upon his arrival. “What business do you have?”
“I have a meeting with the Prince and Lord Magus, Captain Jean Lafitte, they’ll know who I am.” he said.
“We’ve been informed of no such meeting,” the guard said simply, and Lafitte scowled.
The bluebloods could at least show some common courtesy, he thought. “Look, you may not have been ‘informed’, but I assure you, I do have cause for meeting with them.” Lafitte continued.
The guard sized Lafitte up, and raised an eyebrow, before turning to whisper something to his fellow guard. “Wait here,” he said when the other guard left to recesses of the building. Lafitte narrowed his eyes in frustration as he’d have to wait out in the rain longer still.
Not long after he returned and whispered into the guard’s ear.
“You’re allowed to proceed up to the Lord Magus’ apartment, but I must insist that you go only to the apartment, and under no circumstances wander anywhere else,” the guard said. He then detailed a guard to follow him.
Lafitte bowed, as was custom, and made his way, as instructed, up the stairs and to Jeneyeru’s apartment.