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Chapter I: A Journey Begins
Three days. Three days was all it took for Selene to understand why boats were rarely the subject of great adventure stories. They were very, very boring.
The part where they left port was exciting. Back then, everything felt new. People were running about while the captain shouted orders from the top deck. She felt the wood beneath her feet creak as sails unfurled and the ship headed out to sea.
She held tight to the railing as the ship picked up speed. She resisted the urge to turn back, look one last time at the city. She already gave her goodbyes. Now was the time to look forward, toward the horizon. Toward the future. Toward adventure.
“Git out of the way, horngirl!” The captain yelled when he caught her wandering about as everyone ran along. “Like I said before if yeh don’t know a thing about ships, go below deck. Yeh can come up after we’re out proper.”
The sheen of adventure wore off quickly after that.
Selene was not used to being treated in such a manner. She wanted to make some kind of witty retort, but thought better of it and scurried below deck. It was dark and damp. Reminded her of an alleyway after a heavy downpour. Her eyes were uniquely suited to the dark, so she adjusted quickly. The ship moved beneath her, throwing off her balance. Nearly falling once, twice, several times, she finally regained her bearings and found her way back to the sleeping area.
Her bags waited where she left them. Thrown in a corner in the rush to see the ship’s departure. She grabbed one in each arm, then spun so her back faced the wall. She sat, huddled in the dark.
“He’s completely ridiculous, I know things about ships,” Selene mumbled to herself, thoughts drifting. “They got a poop deck, a big wheel you spin, and sails. Easy.”
“Not that I know…how that makes the ship go. Bet they’re involved somehow,” she muttered under her breath.
Time passed, and she came no closer to an answer for this great mystery.
Selene spent much of her time in similar fashion on the voyage. The crew left her to her own devices. Above deck, she often spent time climbing about the masts and sails or performing acrobatics as practice for future adventures. The crew found it “dangerous” and that she was “bound to break something.” When practice inevitably went too far, the captain would give her a sharp scolding then banish her below deck once more. Time was also spent observing the crew. She learned a song or two in the process that would make her mother blush.
But that was by accident. Honest.
Over time, Selene managed to learn more about the nature of this voyage. This route was considered relatively safe. No real threat of pirates or fearsome beasts of the sea since they stayed so close to shore. The same crew made this route every time, so rarely were they unprepared. Everything else was handled by the captain and his decades of experience traveling the route. The only real worry she ever heard was a dwindling booze supply.
In short, the route was safe, predictable, and oh so very boring.
The only interesting part of any given day was supper. The crew ate together each night, and stories were always told in the waning light. This was the one time Selene felt part of the crew. She even managed to earn a reputation for telling the best stories. She also gained a reputation for swiping your bowl if you got distracted, much to the amusement of the crew and the chagrin of the poor sap.
They would stop frequently at ports along the way, either to resupply or buy and sell goods as needed. These were welcome reprieves from the drudgery of the ship. Occasionally, the town would have things worth her coin, such as a pair of razor-sharp daggers. She hid them on the small of her back, always in reach and easily drawn as needed.
Months passed. The weather grew colder as summer fades to fall. Nothing of note occurred.
Until a new passenger joined the crew.