The Fleet

Dec. 2nd, 2012 11:08 pm
thulcandran: (Default)
[personal profile] thulcandran
Well, NaNoWriMo has once again come to an end. But this year, I actually did it! 50,000 words by the end of the month, about this dude here, and his life and times. This was written today, so it's not part of the novel, but it was a three-word prompt - and thanks to Shoe, of the PPC, who gave it: Paper, Chickens, Gun. Enjoy!

Xerxes walked up the plank, feeling his legs turn to jelly as the surface moved beneath him. This was entirely a new experience, and so far he wasn't sure he liked it. Sara grinned at him as she rounded the end of the pier and headed up after him. He glanced at Raoul, who was a bit ahead, and grimaced. Thank the gods he wouldn't have to keep doing this...

"Welcome aboard, Sire!" The captain of the ship bowed neatly, and the men behind him saluted.

Raoul stood to one side, and Xerxes was just observant enough to notice his knuckles white on the railing. So it wasn't just him, after all. He gathered his nerves, forced the pitching bile down, and managed a smile back at the man.

"Thank you kindly, Captain - er, Shakir, I believe?"

"Aye, Sire." He bowed again, and spun to gesture the men. "Get a move on, there! Let's get this show on the road!"

Xerxes suspected he was keeping his language about twelve notches below his usual standards of profanity, and a sly grin from Sara as she came up behind them confirmed the idea. She winked at him and strode forward confidently; he hid his amazement as best he could, and followed her, slowly getting his feet accustomed to the deck's pitching and rolling.

Very slowly. By the time they'd reached the stern, he'd bumped into Raoul twice. Sara raised an eyebrow at him, a slow smile dawning on her face.

"Aha, now it makes sense." She smirked at him, leaning up against the ship's wheel. "I should've guessed! Beralt is a landlocked nation - you've never been on a ship before in your life, have you, Sire?"

He shook his head weakly, coming forward quickly, the better to reach something solidly elbow-height before he toppled... and nearly pitched over the rail.

"Heh." She leaned easily against the rail. "It shows. And you, Raoul - you're not much better, though you seem to be picking this up faster than your commander."

His advisor grunted something noncommittal and caught up with them, glancing over the rails.

"I'll also have to take your word that this is the finest ship in the fleet," Xerxes pointed out, "Which is a deficiency that worries me rather more, as I'm sure you understand."

She nodded. "Don't you worry, Sire - we'll send you home with a good ton of books, and you'll be educated as a born sailor by the time you're out here again."

"Here as in Raanc Harbor," he replied. "Not here as in the water, I think. Urgh."

Sara laughed again and raised a hand to block the sun. "Ah, I didn't expect to make a bonafide sailor out of you, Sire. The harbor would be just fine - with Siol as your major threat, you can't exactly ignore the naval half of your forces."

"I'm glad you're on top of it," he replied, nodding. "I have no intention of ignoring a naval component. We'll see what happens with Syr, and go on from there. Now - what's going on here, anyway? This might be a beuatiful ship, but I'm not entirely sure about her... er, cargo? Function?"

Sara smiled and pointed to the hatch. "Not much in the way of cargo - the chickens you saw earlier were more for the voyage than any trading purposes. Down there it's - ah, well, I'll show you."

He followed her down the dark hatch, feeling for the rungs as they moved, until they were down in the hold - the pitching was far, far worse here, he found, and he had to stop and lean on the wall for a good few moments, to calm his roiling stomach. (Raoul had stayed abovedecks.)

When his eyes and balance had adjusted, relatively speaking, he saw Sara moving up ahead, along the wall of the ship. Evenly spaced along it were what looked like irregular holes of light, partially blocked - as he moved closer, he realized they were guns, cannons aimed broadside of the ship. Well-stocked, gleaming, and, from what he could tell, quite well maintained.

"Aye," Sara said, as she saw him sighting along the barrels. "She's a warship, Sire. And she's all yours."

Edited slightly because ye gods and little fishies, 'feeling himself stiffen' is SUCH an unfortunate phrasing.
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