Making Port

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With over 8 cycles at sea under his belt, it was easy to convince the Sirocco's captain, a hard bitten fellow who took risk only for profit, to take Patrik on as a deckhand. Every hand was vital in getting the vessel back into Scattered Kingdom waters, especially when it came to running the Septan blockage ringing Gorgon's Port, a vestige of Septa's on again, off again war with the kingdom of Mamra.

Expecting the worst, perhaps even a boarding from the ever-present Septan ships of the line that manned the blockage, Patrik was instead surprised and even a little disappointed when the captain took his vessel north by keeping tight to the shore and in the shallows, beyond the reach of the deep keels of the Septan ships. 

Still, there was work to be done, and plenty, as hard as he had ever done on the decks of the Pony during the runs. That work exhausted him to the bone, though he was a seasoned deck hand and no stranger to hard labor, the fatigue thankfully driving the dreams and the dark thoughts that accompanied them out of his head as he slept in his hammock, swaying to the motion of the ship. And so the days passed swiftly by, with little time to consider either the ramifications of his decision or the lost trivialities of his old life.

Thusly occupied, it was almost a shock when he awoke one morning, still feeling last evening's watch in every bone in his body to hear the ship's bell sounding the watch. 'Bah!' he silently grumbled, rubbing the sand out of his eyes even as he rolled with a practiced twist out of the hammock to slap bare feet on worn smooth decking. 'Morning already!' He sighed with resignation and quickly made his ablutions before dressing and scampering up the ladder leading to the top deck.

As the dark tanned young man's head came clear of the hatch leading downward, he felt a thrill race through him as his bright blue eyes caught the sight of dozens of triangular sails above the gunwale. Two more steps cleared the hatch and Patrik grinned as he felt the Sirocco heal to port to swing into the small harbor that was swiftly filling his view. He was further satisfied by catching sight of low slung buildings beyond the sails, painted white against the heat and nearly hidden behind the forest of masts between the Sirocco and them.

"Beth Kabahla," the hard sailor, who coiled rope beside the hatch Patrik stepped up out of, said when he caught sight of the young man's startled look of discovery. His Taren was marked by a hard Southerner accent, making it nearly impossible to understand. But his next words were as clear as a ringing bell in Patrik's ears.

"The Sirocco's home port."

Pulling his eyes from the harbor long enough to nod in thanks to the sailor, tanned dark, head shaven, tattooed and bare-chested in respect to the elements for his explanation, Patrik took in a lungful of the hot, salty air and nodded. 'Then here, in Beth Kabahla, is where my journey truly begins!' he thought. Then any further consideration was lost as he joined the rest of the crew in preparing the Sirocco for landfall.

It was nearly a full Watch later that finally found the Sirocco tied up at the end of one of the harbor's many piers, cozened up between two other ships that could've been hewn from the same trees as the Sirocco, so close did they match her lines. Down came the gangplank with a rough slap of worn wood on wood then the air was filled with the captain and first mate's hard voices as they bawled out commands, directing the ship's unloading from their positions on the foredeck.

A veteran of the workings of sailing ships even at 17 cycles, Patrik quickly stepped in to help with the unloading, working one of the hand cranes that lifted cargo nets filled with oaken barrels of chud oil out of the hold and up, out onto the pier deck. There they were swiftly loaded by hand into waiting wagons. They belonged to a number of merchants already waiting for the Sirocco's arrival, having been informed of it beforehand via bird.

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