Waves slapped against the dock and rocked the boats berthed here. The worn slats are illuminated by the light that escaped dirty worn shutters of an old pub. A Heavy Black Iron door with a faded Red Mermaid painted upon it creaked loudly as it was pushed open. Sweat and cheap booze overwhelmed the weary travelers as they entered its threshold. A Short Old Man with a round face and belly to match greeted them, wiping his plump hands on a dingy white apron.
“Welcome travelers to the Mermaids tale,” as he motioned them towards a booth in the corner. “What will be your pleasure?”
“Just bring us ale.” Said the first traveler.
The barkeep left and returned with four mugs of warm ale and left the table counting his money.
“That should buy us some time.” Said the first traveler lifting the mug to his lips.
“Admit it we are lost Kreaven.” Said Mally quietly.
” We are not lost just merely taking a side trip.” Snarled Kreaven sipping more ale.
“Some sidetrip,” laughed Gren. “How about letting us in on the plan.”
” Good idea Gren.” Agreed Mally. ” Do let us in on this plan of yours.”
“All in good time Mates.” Said Kreaven.”
” You don’t have one.” Grumbled Rain. ” We are lost and our captain is missing.”
Kreaven stared into his mug. “Our captain is most likely dead along with most of the crew.”
“You take that back!” Yelled Mally.
The bar quieted and eyes set upon the booth.
“Keep your voice down girl.” Growled Rain. “We do not need any more attention.
Blushing, Mally sat down and lifted up her mug and tried to pretend to be nonchalant as she sipped from it. The Patrons soon returned to their business and the barkeep kept taking orders and serving drinks.
“We need to find a ship that needs four crew members.” Said Rain.
“That will be easier said than done.” replied Kreaven.
“Got to start somewhere,” Gren butted in.” Need money for food, supplies and travel.”
“I Know.” Said Kreaven flustered. “If you didn’t notice when we came onto the wharf there weren’t any ships larger than fishing vessels.”
Mally wrinkled her nose. “We aren’t fishing are we?”
“If that is all that is available for now.” Commented Rain. “We had better take it.”
Gren nodded in agreement. “Not to keen on fishing but better than nothing.”
“Hang on mates.” Kreaven scowled. ” I am still in charge here till we find our captain and ship.”
“Thought you said our captain be dead and ship lost.” Rain stared at Kreaven intently.
“I said it is possible mate.” Kreaven responded as he set his mug down. ” Be nice to recover the ship by any means.”
“Hmmph.” Growled Rain. “Our captain isn’t even confirmed dead and you already have your eyes on the ship Misery.”
“But if we find the ship. ” interrupted Mally nervously. ” The captain and others could be there, right?”
“Possible.” Said Gren.
Mally looked at her mug, it was almost empty. “We gotta find out where we are first.”
“really?” Kreaven sarcastically replied.
“No need to be rude, the girl is just speaking what is on all our minds.” Snarled Rain.
“Rain, no offence mate but Mally is going to slow us down.” Said Kreaven bluntly looking Rain in the eye.
Mally’s heart skipped a beat when she heard Kreaven mention leaving her behind.
“You”‘ Started Mally.
Rain held up his Hand to Mally to stop her from speaking. “We are not leaving the girl behind.”
“Wouldn’t be right she is part of the crew.” Said Gren.
“I never understood making women part of the crew on a ship. “Complained Kreaven. ” Ain’t right.”
“Our Capt n’ is a woman in case it slipped your mind.” Rain reminded Kreaven.
“If you didn’t notice it didn’t last for very long.” Kreaven replied smugly tilting his mug to his lips.
Rain Looked intently upon Kreaven.” Yes I did notice, I had better not find out if you had anything to do with the attack.”
“Or what?” Kreaven set the mug down. ” If you do anything against me it will be mutiny.”
Rain leaned back into the booth his eyes locked on Kreaven. “We are not leaving the girl behind.”
“Fine.” Kreaven sighed unhappily. ” She is your responsibility then.”
Rain lifted the half empty mug to his lips and leaned back into the booth.
Mally stared into her empty mug noticing the grooves and imperfections of the workmanship.
Must make his own mugs she thought running her fingers over it. The grooves were uneven along the side like a madman at the pottery wheel she mused. Mally glanced about the table and saw how disheveled the others looked, before the realization of the last two days started to settle in. Mally noticed that Kreaven was watching the patrons and barkeep going about his business. His dark gray hood was pulled back a little showing bits of dark brown hair sticking out. He was unshaven and had a scruffy dark beard over a sharp jutted chin. She didn’t like Kreaven’s brown eyes they were small and close together with a big hawk nose protruding out. Makes him look shady she thought.
“what you staring at girl?” sneered Kreaven.
“Nothin.” whsipered Mally quickly averting her eyes.
Her face felt hot trying to avert his stare. I really dislike him and can’t wait to find the captain and ship she thought to herself. Anything to get away from here but first we have to find out where here is. Biting her lip Mally scanned the bar quickly and found the barkeep standing alone at the tap filling mugs of ale.
“Going to freshen up.” Mally slid out of the booth and headed to the barkeep.
“Excuse me.” Mally said standing at the barkeeps side.
“What can I do for ye miss?” He answered pulling the tap and filling a mug.
“Is there a bathroom or a place to freshen up?” Mally asked quietly.
The barkeep chuckled shaking his head. “The head is out back.”
Mally sighed and nodded thanks.
The barkeep paused and feeling sorry for the girl. “wait here missy let me deliver this and see what I can do for ye.”
“thank you.” Mally smiled.
The barkeep nodded his chubby head and walked to the tables delivering more ale to the thirsty customers. He returned wiping his plump hands in his white apron stained from many years of use.
“Now lets see what I can do for ye missy.” The barkeep motioned Mally to follow him.
Mally followed him through wide swinging doors that creaked a little as they swung back and forth. A waft of stale bread and mustiness met her nose. the backroom was a mix of a small kitchen and living space. This must be where he lives Mally thought.
“Not much but you can use the pot there to clean up.” Smiled the barkeep pointing to a gray bucket.
“Thank you very much.” Said Mally grateful.
Mally walked to the pot it was made of iron she noticed and very old. But the water was clean and tasted nice as she drank some and then splashed some on her face.
Rain watched the barkeep return from backroom. I”ll give her a few minutes he thought before I make sure she is ok. Nothing would make Kreaven happier than to have her disappear. Can’t have that he smiled to himself.
Mally washed up with the water and started to noticed how disheveled her clothes looked. she found a small mirror with a tarnished silver frame and saw her short brown hair tangled and matted. No wonder the barkeep took pity on me I look awful. Pulling her fingers through the tangles she started smoothing out her hair till it fell straighter about her face. Putting the mirror closer to inspect her face looked for more smudge marks. That will have to do for now she sighed brushing her hands against her clothes. Mally pushed the swing door open and she peeked out to see the guys still sitting at the table. moving out of the doorway Mally quickly Walked back to her table and slid in to the old wooden booth next to Rain.
“Feel better?” Rain asked.
“Yeah was nice to get cleaned up a little.” replied Mally.
Kreaven sneered. “This isn’t a beauty contest girly.”
Mally frowned at Kreaven. ” Just because we are in the middle of nowhere doesn’t mean I have to be uncivilized.”
Kreaven tried to hold back the laughter. “You lived on a ship not much for hygene there he snickered.”
” We still had water.” Mally retorted.
Rain interrupted. “Enough kiddies behave or bed without dinner.”
Gren smiled. ” That’s telling em Rain.”
Kreaven glared at Rain. “You stay out of it and….”
The barkeep approached and the converstion was cut short. “Any thing else I can help ye with?”
“No, we are good.” Answered Kreaven.
“Thank you kind sir.” Said Mally. “for the use of your water basin.”
“Ye are most welcome missy.” The barkeep beamed through his chubby face.
Rain handed the barkeep a tip and he nodded thanks and waddled over to another table.
Kreaven leaned forward and hissed. “Quit wasting money.”
“Good to reward folks for kindness.” Rain answered.
“Thanks.” Said Mally looking at Rain.
Gren piped up. “We should go check out our surroundings.”
“When it is lighter outside.” Said Rain, “Unless you can see in the dark.”
Gren nodded, folded his arms on the table and laid his head down to sleep.
Mally thought about putting her head down for a few winks but her distrust of Kreaven kept her awake. She looked out the window for a bit and the sun could be seen just peeking over the horizon. Releaved she knew they would be on the move again looking for the ship.
“Looks like we can get moving.” Said Rain. ” the dawn is here.”
Kreaven thumps Gren on the head to wake him.
“Ow.” Gren rubbed his eyes and gave Kreaven a hurt look.
“Time to move lug.” Said Kreaven pushing Gren out of the booth.
Gren shrugged and sauntered to the door.
“Lets move girl.” Said Rain.
Mally slid out of the booth and walked towards the door pushing it open and was met with salty air and the smell of the ocean waking with the morn. The ground was a bit soft as she walked to the dock and the 4 climbed up the ramp to leave the harbor. Mally could see fisherman moving along the docks and shore getting ready to set sail. The boats were moored at the docks and the seaman were loading supplies and using pulleys to get the heavy items aboard. The yellow hue on the horizon shimmered across the water and seagulls flew about the sky looking for free tidbits. The road to the village was rocky and clumped with dirt in the middle with wagon wheels deeply embedded on either side. Red and gold wildflowers covered either side of the road spreading out like wildfire. The hot sun was almost overhead by the time they reached the village.
Mally could smell fresh bread and fish cooking in this small village. Many people bustled about the market stalls and had their wares set out for sale. Mally stopped at a small stand and was admiring a beautiful red hair ribbon with 3 yellow silk strands and a string of blue colored glass beads.
The shopkeeper smiled. “Such a beautiful lass shouldn’t be without ribbons for her hair.”
Mally blushed. “Thank you but…”
“You must be mistaken sir.” Said Kreaven behind Mally. I don’t see any pretty girls.”
Mally felt like hitting him over the head at that moment and Rain must of noticed and intervened.
“Ignor him girly he has no manners.” Rain made sure Mally stayed by his side as they began their search for information.
Mally realized Gren was missing. “Where is Gren?”
“Following his gut no doubt.” Grumbled Kreaven.
Walking through the market they find Gren at a smoked fish stall.
“There you are.” Said Rain.
Gren smiled and held up some smoked fish. “Pretty good fish here,” offering a piece.
Mally took a piece of the salty fish and it tasted wonderful, melting in her mouth.
“There is no work. Gren said, ” but to the northeast down that road he pointed east is a coastal city about 9 days travel.”
Mally shook her head. It figures the oafish one can get information she laughed to herself.
“You wouldn’t have found out where we are or what the city is called?” asked Kreaven.
“Oh yeah.” said Gren scrathing his head. ” I shoulda asked that to.”
Kreaven clenched his fists and shooed Gren off to find out those answers. “I swear I am surrounded by idiots he ranted.”
Rain put his hand on Mally’s arm and they walked away. “Where are you two going?” demanded Kreaven.
Rain turned and smiled at Kreaven. ” Us idiots are getting supplies and information.”
Mally giggled and looked up at Rain who winked at her.
“Belgol is the closest coast city,” Motioned the old fisherman to the east. “About 9 days travel if the weather is good.”
Rain nodded. “Know where to get some supplies?” He asked the old fisherman.
Mally watched the man stroke his long gray beard as he thought of an answer.
“You should ask Coris, he is on the outskirts of town here.” He motioned with his hand pointing the direction. ” you can’t miss his place.
“Thank you.” Said Rain.
Mally nodded thanks to the man and followed Rain towards the direction the Old salty pointed to.
The hot sun was almost straight above them as they walked through the village. Mally wiped her sleeve across her forehead to wipe the sweat off and paused a moment. Rain handed her the water skin and she drank from it, the warm water did not do much to pacify her thirst. Thanking him she handed the water back and they continued on to the edge of the fishing village. Both stopped in front of a run down hut that was surrounded by lots of odds and ends.
“Must be coris’s place.” Said Mally
“Yar Missy.” Answered Rain.
Rain walked up to the old door and knocked.