The sea was calm around the ship, as calm as it had been for the entire length of the trip. Voyages at sea made Brother Vespian uneasy, and a bit ill, but he was used to them. At least the calm waters didn’t aggravate his seasickness, and his already tender stomach.
He’d spent the best part of the last month vomiting his food overboard, and when he wasn’t, he was eating. He was as thin as ever, though, and his skin had taken on an almost unhealthy tinge of green. As usual, he repeated to himself that he would be fine. He’d finally got his sea legs, after all, and this morning’s breakfast stayed where it was supposed to be.
“What news, Captain?” he called out.
The Captain – an old hand, who had probably bought the ship with his own money after years of saving – peered into the Brother’s cabin. Like most sailors, he was highly respectful towards Umbar’s Brotherhood, the clergy of the Spear. It would not do to have the Lord of the Seas be angry with you, after all. The whole idea was enough to make Vespian smile wryly.
“I do be told we be almost there, Brother.” The old man coughed. He had a lung illness, or so he said. Vespian didn’t doubt it. “Ye might want to come up ‘n see.”
Vespian watched as he left him, coughing as he disappeared, and sipped some water. It was good to be able to drink again, definitely. That said, though, he wouldn't go near the ale the sailors drank. He’d never had a head for alcohol, and years of abstinence had hardly made it better.
He sighed as he rose from his bed, careful not to hit his head against the ceiling. He was more than used to ships, if not to the sea, and he knew that the rooms were as small as humanly possible. Not that that changed much, of course. His head hurt from those times when he forgot he was not in the Temple, with its lofty halls. Another sigh, this time in remembrance of the place he regarded as home.
The Brother emerged onto the deck, narrowing his eyes in the fierce light that reflected off the water. Umbar, but the sun is a lot brighter here than in the city.
As he gazed out to the horizon, the sun setting ahead of him, he thought he saw the mounds of sand that marked their destination. It also occurred to him that the sound that rumbled in the background – something so deep it was hard to pick it out from the general din of sailors – might be another sign of their location.
“Captain!” he shouted.
“Aye, Brother?” the Captain said, appearing at his side.
“Pass me the lens, please.” He held his hand out. He reminded himself he was being firm, not bossy, though that didn’t stop him from feeling a little guilt. One of the reasons he’d joined the Brotherhood – there had been many – was his desire to flee from responsibility. It was not always easy being noble, despite what the commoners said.
“Here you go, Brother.”
Vespian felt the man put the lens in his hand. He raised it to his eye, letting the Breathing in it do the job. Soon he could see what he was looking for, and what he saw was reason for a third sigh.
“Captain, when’s the next low tide?”
The man scratched his chin at that. He obviously had no charts, but relied on some mysterious instinct that sailors had to determine when the tide was high, and when it was low.
“The tide’ll turn ‘round midnight, I think. Probs an hour or three before that, Brother.”
“Very well, Captain. You might as well anchor here: I can take a smallboat to the Edge.”
“As you wish, Brother.” He turned to his men. “Release the anchor, you god-forsaken sons of whores!” He shouted a few more curses at them, sending them scurrying about to do as he wished, before turning back to his guest. “I do be sorry, Brother, about me language.”