• Graded • Casting Off

From Tried's Mouth to the mysterious Tower, the waters around Scalvoris and the island itself hold a vast array of secrets, just ripe for discovery. Here are landmarks, jungles, mountains, forests and islands of note.

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Darius Baer Bottom
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Casting Off

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Arc 720, 29th of Cylus
Darius hurried down the wharf, his leather boots thumping against the wooden planks with each heavy step. His knapsack was held over his shoulder with one hand, its contents bouncing against his back as he ran. His other gloved hand clung to a letter, his grip tight enough to permanently crease the parchment out of shape.

The jetty was narrow, but the blond human didn't break his stride as he navigated his way around other pedestrians and the occasional crate. Up ahead, a caravel beckoned, its sails unfurling as the sailors readied to cast off.

The human stopped just before he reached the gangplank. The water, dark and freezing, lapped against the hull of the ship as a grizzly old man with grey stubble. He was holding a ledger as he watched the younger man approach.

"What's yer hurry?" the man asked.

"I'm seeking passage to Almund," Darius managed, his puffing breath making small clouds as he spoke.

He held up his letter, as if the sailor might have an intimate knowledge of its contents.

"We don't be takin' no shirkers, mind," came the gruff response as the man ignored the piece of paper.

"I can work," Darius insisted. "I've sailed these waters before."

The man paused, studying the bearded blond as a pair of sailors walked down the gangplank and began to untie the knotted ropes that were keeping the ship from drifting away.

"Says you," the man eventually said with a sigh. "Get on board before she leaves ya behind. We can sort yer papers when we set sail. I ain't gonna delay her sailing jus' because you needs to leave Scalv Town."

Darius didn't hesitate; he was already halfway up the gangplank before the man had finished speaking.
Last edited by Darius Baer Bottom on Mon Nov 01, 2021 7:51 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 303
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: Casting Off

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Sea spray shot into the sky as a wave crashed against the bow. The caravel heaved from the impact, leaning slightly to one side as a strong wind rippled through its sails, before righting itself. The sailors moved about as if nothing had happened, while Darius, who had been clinging to a rope net when the wave hit, slowly recaptured his breath and found his feet, using a forearm to wipe the salty water from his face.

He heard laughter, then, and turned to see a sailor looking at him, a toothless grin from ear to ear.

"Some sailor you turn'd out t' be!" the man roared. "Ain't even out o' port, yet!"

The dentally deficient man laughed again, then shoved Darius in the shoulder.

"Come on, we gots t' weigh anchor."

Darius followed the man to the bow, and they each wove their own path around other crewmen and the tasks they were doing. Some carried goods towards the hold, while others hauled on ropes or climbed their way through the rigging. The man who Darius followed had a small build, but he didn't seem weak by any means. His arms were thin but toned, and his skin had been darkened by the suns so that they looked as old and tired as the bearded blond's leather boots.

When they both reached a capstan that stood above the deck, the sailor handed Darius a thick length of wood and pointed at the base of the sturdy windlass. The bearded human found that there were slots to insert the wood and make it into a lever, which was precisely what he did. The toothless sailor and two others did likewise, and then with a heave, they pushed on their levers. Darius gritted his teeth as the group slowly rotated the capstan, lifting the anchor as its chain wrapped around the windlass link by clattering link.
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: Casting Off

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The air that brushed against Darius' face was bitterly cold, but it could not be avoided. If he was to pull his weight aboard the ship and earn his passage to Almund, there would be uncomfortable moments like this one.

He was standing at the bow of the caravel, along with a handful of other sailors. Each was leaning over the rail, boat hook in hand, pushing small portions of ice away from the hull as the vessel moved through the freezing water. Treid's Mouth, the main bay of Scalvoris Island, was known for its icebergs, but the waterways were safer to travel than they had been a few arcs earlier, with fewer shipwrecks at the hands of the ice floes that were often known as Treid's Teeth.

"I might not be Treid, but 'is teeth is as blunted as mine," came the familiar voice of the toothless sailor. "But I reckons 'e'll never be as 'andsome as me!"

He bared his gummy mouth in a deliberately exaggerated attempt at a winning smile. The sight of a toothless man with a hooked nose and a wiry build pretending to be the epitome of beauty brought a chuckle to Darius' lips, but it didn't impress another seaman nearby.

"Quit joking around," barked the second sailor, "and keep shoving ice."

The toothless man shrugged his lean shoulders and flashed a wink in Darius' direction before returning his attention to the chunks of ice that were nudging against the hull of the ship. Darius did likewise, shoving a chunk of ice to one side as the frigid air continued to numb his face.
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Darius Baer Bottom
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Re: Casting Off

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The wooden beams that formed the ship's skeleton creaked harmlessly as the vessel carved a dark path through the waters of the Hollow Sea. The moonlight danced off the surface of the water and the gulls that had been so talkative close to the shore were nowhere to be seen.

Darius was below deck, grateful to have a few breaks of rest after a tiring trial. His aching muscles were just relaxing when he heard the yell from somewhere above him.

"Man overboard!"

Darius didn't hesitate. He flung himself out of his hammock so quickly that he had to catch his own fall, but his leather boots found purchase on the wooden flooring and he was able to make his way to the deck, sending muttered prayers to U'frek and Cassion that they might grant the ship safe passage.

The frigid night air felt like a slap as it hit the blond's face, and he spun around, confused cries reaching his ears. He soon found their source when he spied the shadowed figures of two men looking over one side of the ship.

"A little further," one urged the other. "Ya can almost reach him!"

Darius rushed to join them. One man was leaning over the side with a barge pole, and the seafarer's grey eyes followed it down into the water where he saw a hand reaching out above the surface. Darius watched it for a few trills. It wasn't moving, and the sight filled Darius with terror.

"Treid's bile!" the blond cried as he lunged for the pole.

The other man was caught by surprise, but he held tight and a tug of war ensued.

"Hey, what are ya doing?" protested his friend as the two men tussled in front of him.

"You fools!" spat Darius between gritted teeth. "That's not a sailor! It's a drowner!"

"A what?"

The first man let go of the pole just as the sea creature pulled at it, and Darius - who was still holding it - was yanked half over the side, but he had enough sense to release the barge pole from his grip. He could only watch, blood rushing to his head, as the wooden pole was crushed in the drowner's grip.

The two sailors stared in stunned silence as Darius fought to cling onto anything that would keep him from falling. It was the sound of rushing footsteps and a familiar voice that came to his rescue soon after.

"Ya gots t' pull 'im in," called the toothless - and now breathless - sailor. "Young fella just saved ya worthless life!"

Just as Darius' grip was threatening to give way, what felt like a dozen hands grabbed hold of him, and he was hauled back onto the deck. It was only then, as he stared up at a starry night sky punctuated by the shadows of a small crowd of sailors, that the adrenaline began to wear off and he realised he was shaking.

So much for a restful night's sleep...

Arc 720, 30th of Cylus
It was a gull's cry that pulled Darius from his slumber the next morning. It was after dawn, and the ship's deck was already busy with the footsteps of sailors carrying out their duties. The bearded blond was rubbing his shoulder which ached from the Drowner's pull, when he suddenly realised he'd slept in. The other hammocks were empty, and he went to get up from his, but he stopped when he heard a voice.

"No duties for you t'day. Cap'n says ya get t' have some rest."

Darius turned to see the old toothless sailor standing beside him. The man held a bowl of hot soup from the kitchen, the rising steam obscuring his ugly grin.

"We told him 'bout last night," the sailor continued. "Here, have somethin' t' eat."

Darius slowly climbed out of his hammock and gratefully took the bowl of hot soup as the caravel peacefully sailed towards Almund's docks.

"Guess I was wrong 'bout ya," the old man added. "Ya turn'd out t' be a decent sailor, after all!"
Last edited by Darius Baer Bottom on Mon Oct 04, 2021 1:42 pm, edited 5 times in total. word count: 697
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Yrmellyn Cole
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Re: Casting Off

Thread Rewards
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Overview

I liked how realistic your writing about the work at sea was, the cold air and the wind, the hard work and the living conditions. You used just enough details to give the people and the setting of life.

The drowner was an unexpected twist. When I saw “man overboard” and Darius immediately reacted it made me think he would save a sailor - but instead it turned into a sudden encounter with a deceptive predator.

A well-written tread and a good story!

Darius


Rewards and consequences

Points: 10

Knowledge:
1)Endurance: Fear of falling can be a good motivator to hold on tight.
2) Running: Running might be the only difference between being on time and being too late.
3) Seafaring: Waves can catch you off guard, even when you're still in port.
4) Seafaring: Ice is no match for a skilled seafarer.
5) Seafaring: The sea is deep and full of terrors.
6) Strength: A burden shared is a burden halved.

Renown: +10 for recognizing the drowner and saving people from it


Skill Review: Appropriate


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