3 Cylus 716The fingers of Bronik's right hand flinched, causing him to stir and seek out the source of the strange warmth he felt there. Ruby, a young vixen he and his sister Lacey had raised throughout the cold season, stopped licking the man's hand to peer up at him in the hopes of charming the Biqaj into an early morning feed. Bronik threw his right leg out of the hammock and mumbled, "it's too early, Ruby, go back to sleep." Undeterred, the fox nipped at her keeper playfully and convinced him to rise.
Bronik rolled out of his hammock and stretched, knocking closed fists against the low ceiling of his vessel. In the dark he felt around for his shirt blindly before crossing the small room to the stairs and overhead hatch that led up onto the main deck of the sloop. As Bronik lifted the hatch and the room was flooded with dim light, and blinking, he climbed up onto the deck, closely followed by Ruby.
Outside the colour of the sky caused the man to catch his breath, and for a moment he stood, taking in the colour of a twilight horizon, awash with blue, pink, and gold. All across the dock was quiet save for the faint call of gulls somewhere in the distance, and gently the boat rocked on an outgoing tide. With eyes newly adjusted to the morning light, Bronik checked the anchor and the ropes that bound his vessel to the dock before inspecting the small fishing net he had set before bed. As he heaved the net aboard, Ruby watched intently, her red, white tipped tail jerking every now and then like a cat's, looking for anything that might spring from the net that she would be able to get her teeth around before Bronik was quick enough to lay claim.
The man spotted movement lower down in the net and managed to wrestle a small, silver fish from the ropes, it's skin oily and hard to hold onto. He couldn't determine what kind of fish it was at a glance, but had spotted quite a few of them the day before, when he had first arrived in Ne'haer. At less than a foot long, and no wider than the width of a closed fist, Bronik wasn't sure whether or not his catch was any good for eating, but decided to fire up the fish smoker before he beheaded, and then gutted the fish. The innards were saved for Gav, Bronik's pet hawk, and Ruby was free to chew on the head, minus the eyes, which Bronik liked to save for himself, believing them to be a delicacy.
Carefully, Bronik used a knife to scale the fish before setting the pieces skin side down on the grill of the fish smoker, above a fresh handful of wood-chip he had gathered the day prior. Bronik had a rough idea regarding how long it took to smoke a fish, long enough, he thought, to get a little more sleep.