Lotye O’Tulvar had been on many ships in her life: Small fishing boats like the one of her father, ferries to cross over streams, lakes and seas, and big liners like the one she had arrived in in Sesus. But none of them had sailed the skies. Sure, she had heard of airships, but not even in her wildest dreams had she imagined she’d ever set foot on one. As she crossed the boarding plank of, she still couldn’t believe that the vessel she was about to enter was meant to fly. To her, La Danse Calinda just looked like any other ship apart from the business with the balloon, a construction that didn’t seem all that trustworthy to her. On a real ship, I’d at least be able to try to swim to land, but what if this thing crashes? Am I supposed to grow some wings and fly away? Her excitement for adventure slowly began to mix with a slight anxiousness concerning their means of transportation.
To say the least, her thoughts about the journey ahead weren’t the most cheerful while they were showed around by the young lookout Ionas. Which was why she couldn’t have cared less about the allocation of the bunks. She was surprised enough to have a real bed at all, as she had rather expected an hammock or a straw tick for her and thimble. Occupying the top bunk actually seemed like an advantage to her. When push came to shove, she at least wouldn’t be in anyone’s way. So Lotye settled in, stowing away the few of her belongings she couldn’t keep on her body. It most likely was the first time the locker in these captain quarters saw a bumbershoot.
After that she tried her best to stay out of anyone’s way. On prior passages, she had already experienced the gruff disrespect some sailors showed towards useless passengers, especially towards those who didn’t pay well. And in a way, Lotye could understand them. In her profession, there was nothing worse than people getting between her and her target. So she tried no to make the sailors’ job any harder than it already was. But that didn’t mean that she stayed in the cabin. She took a look around the ship just like everyone else, but she tried to avoid the people on it. When she met a sailor in one of the narrow corridors, she pressed against the wall to let him through, when a group of men were working on something, she stayed away. That way, she soon had gotten herself an overview of the decks of the ship before the order to cast off echoed through the ship’s innards.
Only then she set foot on the upper deck. The wind still whipped the rain over the deck and so Lotye stayed in the relative protection of the stairs that led down to the lower decks. Truth be told, she didn’t want to make any more steps as the Calinda began to rise. She felt as if someone had pulled the ground away from under her feet. It’s like falling up into the sky. The feeling extended through her whole body and finally lodged itself in her stomach. For some time, Lotye wasn’t sure how her body would react to it. She was all set to ran for the railing to rethink her breakfast, but nothing like that happened. With some more time, her new airsickness would have been reduced to nothing more than a strange feeling in her stomach and a slight dizziness.
But someone decided that she shouldn’t have this time. When the first arrow hit with a thud, her reaction was to look upwards, into the rigging, and at the deck in front of her to see what could have produced such a sound. Maybe it was just part of the normal procedure on this airship. A few thuds later, when the crew began to run around in a kind of effective chaos, she knew it wasn’t and her stomach rewarded this realisation with another wave of sickness and a sour taste in her mouth. Lotye tried her best to keep herself together.
From her position in the cover of the stairs, Lotye couldn’t see their attackers. What she could see not much later though, was the ship’s first mate, the rude man that had jumped onto their boat in Sesus, standing at the railing, ready to jump. She watched in awe as he jumped and how the rope uncoiled behind him on the deck. Neither the rain nor the ballista fire kept her in her cover now. Lotye ran to the railing and traced Beau’s fall through the grey rain. The man seems to have a habit of landing on other people, she thought, but despite such light-hearted thoughts and the fact that the first mate had just saved them all from a lot more problems with his audacious counter-attack, she couldn’t help but shudder about his cold precision and his readiness to violence. A killer. It was exactly what she had believed to see in him when he had stood in front of her. He was dangerous. For now, he was only dangerous for their enemies, but Lotye had seen enough men like him to know that he could be just as dangerous to anyone else around him. She decided to stay as far as possible from him for the rest of the flight.
Seeing how Beau Bergeron was pulled back on board, she left the railing again after she spat out one last time, trying to lose the bad taste in her mouth. It wasn’t just the airsickness now. For a moment, she thought about getting the healing equipment she had bought to help the first mate who seemed to have injured his head, and probably his ankle, too. But she decided against it. There were better people to take care of something like this. Instead, she looked around to see where she could be of help putting out the remaining fires.