When Mana and Cobal returned to the docks, there seemed to be some sort of commotion. A bunch of people were circling around two men who were arguing. On the edge of the group, sitting on some crates and eating lunch, were Dylon, Mirgia and Kimi.
“What’s going on here?” Cobal asked.
Mirgia pointed at the ship. “One of the ships apparently hit the other ship and they’re both trying to figure out whose fault it is. The short guy is the one whose boat got hit and he’s furious. The lanky man is apparently a crew member of the other ship, trying to do some damage control before his captain comes back from town.” Mirgia shrugged. “It didn’t seem like something we should get involved in.” He went back to his food.
Mana sat down next to Mirgia.
Cobal looked at the people arguing. He then noticed someone walking up through the crowd. The figure was a tall man, probably well over two meters. He had a scraggly black beard that reached almost halfway down his chest and his long hair was tied up in a bun. In one hand he held a bundle of books that were bound together by string. With his other hand he grasped a large axe. He was wearing a purple tunic and black billowing pants. He immediately stood out as he bouldered his way through the crowd and stepped up to the two people arguing.
“What seems to be the problem here?” His voice thundered throughout the area, causing most of the murmurs and discussions between onlookers to immediately halt.
“This’ll be good,” Mirgia commented, just about finishing up his food and standing up to get a better look at what might be going on.
“Captain Ferla, this man sailed your ship straight into mine on our way into the harbor,” the shorter man said, apparently recognizing the tall boulder of a man.
“You have to be kidding me, you suddenly dropped speed without warning, there was no way that anyone could have avoided a collision there. You should be happy that you managed to get off with only the tiniest bit of damage,” the lanky man argued back. “Captain, there was nothing we could have done, this is clearly their fault.”
The tall man that had now been identified as Captain Ferla looked at the short man, who instinctively took a step back. “How bad is the damage to your ship?”
The shorter man pointed at a nearby ship that had some splintering in the rear of the ship. “See, there’s a big hole there.”
“If that’s a big hole then I’m a giant,” Captain Ferla said, laughing. “Give this man some of the planks we have stored up, he should be able to patch that hole up just fine.”
The shorter man wanted to protest, but the lumbering captain reaching a full head above him made him change his mind. Grumpily and defeated he went back to his ship.
The captain then looked around until he spotted Cobal and party. He immediately walked towards them, almost pushing over two people that were between him and the party.
“You must be my new cargo, right?”
Cobal looked at Dylon who nodded. “That would be us, Captain Ferla I presume?”
The man grinned. “The one and only. Nice to meet you, Prince Cobal.” He reached out and gave Cobal a big bear hug. He then turned his attention to Mana. “You must be the hero I’ve heard about then,” he said.
“I’m Mana, nice to meet you.” She reached out her hand, thinking she wouldn’t be subjected to the bear hug that Cobal just received. She realized the mistake when her feet were lifted from the ground. “Good to meet you, Mana.” Ferla then did the same with the other three there. “Be so kind as to help lift those crates onto the ship, we can depart as soon as that’s done,” he said to them, before walking off towards some other unassuming poor soul.
Cobal laughed. “We’d best do what he says then.” He looked at the ship, which was much larger than the one they took to get here. Into the wood on the sides, a name was etched. In large letters that were best described as aggressive, it said Chandecobra. This was the ship that would sail them to Jasodar, the port city of the Rilodar Kingdom.
“So this is where you’ll be staying during our journey.” Ferla pointed at a small room below deck. Compared to the mercantile ship that they traveled on to get here, these lodgings were far more luxurious. They were still simple cots, but there was enough room to walk around for a bit and they didn’t hit their head every time they got up too fast. The room they were put in had six places to sleep, so one would stay empty. “Dinner is when the loud gong rings, if we need someone to help on the deck, you’ll help on the deck. Any questions?”
“How long is the journey going to take, from here to Jasodar?”
Ferla thought for a moment. “The weather looks a bit harrowing, I’m going to keep it real with you folks. But I think with a bit of luck we can get there in nine days.”
“That’s a long journey,” Kimi complained.
“You are traveling all the way to a different country, after all.”
“Well then, I’m going to make sure my men get the ship out of the port without hitting another vessel on the way out, make yourselves at home in the meantime.” He waved and left the cabin, leaving the five a moment to rest.
The Chandecobra was a beautiful ship, clearly made by an expert craftsman. It was made of a dark wood and although there were marks of wear and tear, and the lower half was somewhat touched by the waves and showing a different color, it still looked sturdy and capable. The crew looked to be about twenty people, which was quite a lot, but with a ship this big, you definitely had enough room to house them all. Cobal and Mirgia then went to the rear of the ship and watched the harbor slowly vanish behind the land north of it, as they sailed along the coast. They watched people walk on the road and slowly watched as they got smaller and smaller until the ship was far enough away from land that they couldn’t make out any people walking at all.
“Is this your first time on a ship this big?” Ferla asked. Apparently everything was going smoothly as he found the time to walk up to the two.
“I hadn’t even been on any ship until a week ago,” Mirgia replied.
“What do you think?”
“I think I prefer the forest.”
“Give it some more time, the wide open ocean is the most majestic thing I can imagine.”
“Maybe if I show you the Liriath Forest one day you’ll change your mind.” Mirgia looked a bit unsteady. “Is it supposed to move this much?”
Ferla laughed. “That’s called sea sickness mate, no wonder you’re not being amazed by the ocean. Not much we can do about it, but if you sit near the center of the ship, the moving should be less intense.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Mirgia replied.
“I’ve been on a ship a few times, but not one this big.” Cobal said.
“I can’t say I’ve had a prince on board before. I did have the daughter of the Kirlarran Empire on my ship once, but that’s a long story.” Ferla turned around. “Well, I best make sure everyone’s still alive and no one’s fallen overboard.”
“That’s something that happens?” Mirgia asked.
“Sometimes,” Ferla said as he was walking away.
“He’s probably messing with you,” Cobal said after Ferla disappeared down the stairs. I doubt sailors would just fall overboard when the weather is normal like this. Now if there’s a storm out there, that’s a very different story of course.
Unfortunately for our travelers, the weather picked up shortly after they departed and by the time they finished their first dinner aboard the Chandecobra, the wind had picked up to the point where a storm was all but imminent. Snow had started falling from the sky in large heaps, signaling that spring wasn’t quite as close as they would have hoped. Still, to celebrate the start of this journey, they were all eating together in the main area. Cobal had taken a seat next to Mana and one of the sailors had taken the seat next to him. He was an older man that went by the name Goof. Cobal hadn’t yet dared ask if that was his real name or just a nickname that he’d earned by being, well, goofy.
“So how long have you been working with Captain Ferla?” Cobal asked the man, who was working his way through a large piece of ham.
“Been about twelve years now. I’m shit at counting so don’t take my word for it,” he quickly added. He took a big gulp of ale to help the food go down. “Good working, good company, shit money.”
“Why is the money bad?” Mana asked, leaning forward.
“I feel like that doesn’t mean that the money is bad per se, but that you’re bad with money.”
Goof shrugged. “Either way I have no money.” He squinted. “I saw you once. When you were a boy. Your dad was parading you and your family through town.” He smiled. “I still had all of my teeth back then.”
“I don’t believe old Goof ever had all of his teeth,” one of the sailors from across the table said.
They all laughed, including Goof. “Well, it looks like you’re a proper lad now, none of that stuck up crap you hear about in town.”
“What kind of stories do you hear about?” Cobal asked.
A lot of the sailors fell quiet, realizing the weight a question like this might carry coming from a prince. Goof had no such insight though so he happily answered. “Oh you know, rich folk don’t care about us common folk. I spent a few years on the street when I was a boy and the best a guard would do for me was not kick me into an alley so I wasn’t a public hindrance. That kind of stuff. You’d think a king would care about his people a bit more, but it’s a hard world out there.” He looked Cobal in the eyes. “You best be careful out there boy, people can be real pricks.”
Cobal nodded. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“But on this ship you don’t have to worry, none of the pricks would ever be mean to a customer, right folks?”
They all laughed. Cobal noticed that Kimi was having some heated conversation with Ferla and some other people at the far end of the table. The atmosphere was quite nice, if it would be like this for the next couple of days then the journey would go by in a flash. He was a little bit worried about the weather though. All through the night the wind shook the boat, but it never got to the point where the alarms were rung. In the morning it seemed to be a lot better but when Cobal asked Goof if the storm had passed he shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. Captain says these kinds of storms come back after a short break.” He pointed to the deck where several sailors were tying stuff down and preparing ropes and adjusting the sails. “Good chance it’ll come back much stronger, so folks are getting ready. When it hits, we don’t know, maybe it stays quiet until we leave this area, but it’s best to be prepared.