Stranger at Sea

“Land to port!” Jekob cried from the crow’s nest. “City lights, I’ll be my week’s pay!” The crew cheered. All except Nialla. She maintained her stoney silence and continuing tying off the sails. They would be switching to oars soon, this close to shore.

They would be putting to dock for at least a month, what with the damage the Drakesbreath had taken in that last storm. Time enough for the crew to get into trouble. And far too much time for Nialla to be idle. She had a tendency to think too much when she wasn’t keeping her hands busy. The sea was a much better place for her.

The ship was a place where her homeland, her accent, her traditions didn’t matter near as much as her ability to haul a rope or pull an oar. No sailor she’d ever worked with had doubted her past the first night. In time, some even grew comfortable enough to laugh at her peculiar humor, joke about her lack of wardrobe on even the coldest nights. Cold for these southern seas, anyway. None of the humans knew what cold really meant.

On shore, though, people cared too much for appearances. It was more about “fitting in” than showing your ability. Being on land made her long for the north, the land she could never return to. Even the thought of being on shore was making her maudlin.

Nialla yanked another knot into place, nearly snapping the inch-thick rope. She was getting careless. That wouldn’t do, even with the ship so close to its “home”.