“Yes, unfortunately he has,” Lafitte replied to the wizard’s first question. Truth be told, he wasn’t liking where this was going. He had already taken far more damage than he’d intended on this journey, and captured exactly none of the loot. More delays would only be more costly.
“But I’m given to understand it was a comparatively short fall into the treetops, I expect he should be fine and just needs a retrieval,” he said, measuring his words as carefully as he could. “My original plan was to have my first mate, who was the last to see him, having attempted a rescue already, lead a small team to get him and then meet up at a specific rendezvous point. Allowing us to continue to Mt. Isolla unabated,” Lafitte explained.
With any luck, Jeney would pick up on his careful use of the words “original plan”, so as not to seem as if Lafitte was directly contradicting him.
— — —
Jeneyeru did notice the words “original plan” and took them as a signal that there was room for a better one.
“I regret, Captain, that is unacceptable,” he said. “I will not recite the maritime code to you, of course, but to carry on without seeing a rescue effected is out of the question. Besides that, the Prince is my brother. I will see to his safety. Kindly bring the ship about at once, please. Thank you.”
Jeneyeru met Lafitte’s eyes squarely and with a small, gracious smile, waiting to see how he would take this assertion of captain-like authority.
— — —
Lafitte didn’t like being told what to do on his own ship, but on the other hand, it was the wizard’s brother. Lafitte rolled a cigarette, as was his habit when making a big decision.
“Damage report!” was the first thing that came out of his mouth. It was something he should’ve asked and assessed already, but the shock of the Prince being sent overboard had jarred him out of normal procedure.
One of his crew showed up just as Lafitte was lighting up. “There’s significant damage to the bow sir. Bowsprit was torn clean off. We can still fly, but maneuvering will be extremely difficult until we can set her down and make repairs,” the crewman said, and Lafitte nodded as he took a drag and let out the pungent smoke.
Something about the brew in Aeldreth did have a way of clearing the head that his own native tobacco didn’t. “Thank you,” he said as the crewman turned and left. “Let me get one thing straight, I don’t like taking orders on my ship.” Lafitte said to Jeneyeru, holding a hand up to indicate that he had more to say. “And we can’t get into Mt. Isolla without your help, of that I’m reasonably certain,” he continued.
Lafitte grimaced as he took another drag — he didn’t like backing down to the Selkie. “But,” he said, blowing out the smoke, “I see your point, and if it were my bother I’d probably do the same, sans aucun doute. And considering the shape the ship is in, maneuvering if we have any further difficulties, there’ll be real trouble,” he said, putting the cigarette out beneath his boot.
“What do you say to sitting her down and continuing on foot for the time being? We’re sitting ducks up here in our present state,” he finished.
— — —
Jeneyeru’s smile broadened with relief, and he bowed his head to the captain. He had overstepped the bounds of propriety and the maritime code itself by presuming to instruct Lafitte on his own ship, but if it had come to it, he had been prepared to leave the Calinda under his own power and continue on the magical ship, the Cairn Hawk, even though he had been hoping to keep that ace up his sleeve, as it were.
But Captain Lafitte’s reasonableness saved him. The wizard’s smile warmed and an appraising gleam sparked in his eyes as he considered what it was he saw in the eccentric eorman.
“My profoundest gratitude, Captain,” he said, “but if I may make so bold as to suggest, would it not be prudent to seek a vantage from which to locate the dragons before setting out on foot? I gather the immediate danger is past, but surely we must know where they are to know where to set down this ship.”
— — —
Lafitte smiled internally at the bow. At least I’ve managed to maintain my authority in all this, he thought.
“Yes, I was hoping to find a clearing nearby to set her down in. I know I saw one dragon turned to stone, I had figured that was your work. The other I’m not so certain of, but it certainly left the skies around our ship,” he said. “Unfortunately, I’m afraid with a lack of maneuvering ability, we may be in more danger in the skies than out of them anyway,” he continued. Now that his mind was set the logistics of the coming journey were setting into place as well.
“Then it is settled then? We’ll take our principle members while the crew effect repairs upon the ship, and we retrieve your brother,” Lafitte finished.
A Maurepas/Muravyets Production