Oh, a sailor's life for me... Sennet Seahold
And the very ports they blow,
All the Quarters that they know

Though his bark cannot be lost,
Yet it shall be tempest-toss'd.

"Batten down the hatches!"

The waves crashed against the bow of the schooner, sails furled against the storm. Belowdecks, the young and inexperienced huddled together in fear.

Together, the captain and his first mate shouted orders to the hands.

"Look to the sail!"

"Man Overboard!"

After the storm passed, the damages to the craft were surveyed. The secondary sail had been torn clear through when the mast cracked, but the mainsail was intact. Two journeymen had been lost overboard, and only time would tell if they'd been lucky enough to survive.

The captain retired to his cabin, leaving first mate Nemato at the helm.

"See to that line, sailor!" he shouted. The sun was shining hotly now, and the seacrafters were often shirtless -- at least, the males were. Nemato stood 6'1" tall, and was muscled and sturdy. His skin was a weathered golden tan, and his dark hair bleached nearly blond from so much sun. Hidden by his wind-billowed white shirt was a long scar across his back from left hip to right shoulder, from a loose line in a gale. A vivid wine-red sash tied tightly around his waist served as a belt, and dark indigo breeches covered his legs to the knees. His sturdy waterproof boots were planted securely on the decking.

The sternsman ordered for the hands to get out oars, but Nemato took control. "Belay that-- wind's picking up. Hoist the main sail!"

"Aye!" came the crew's response. Soon the schooner was making it's way back inland.

Nemato set crewmen to swabbing the deck, and held the course steady towards Sennet Seahold. The dolphins raced alongside the bow, leaping gracefully and escorting the ship back home.

"Land ho!" came the cry of the lookout, and a cheer went up from the crew. After a terrifying storm like that, homecoming was a much-anticipated event.

The drinking and shouting went on into the wee hours; the returned sailors with their arms around spouses, and young unattached women bringing around wine and ale to whoever's glass was empty.

Some wine ho!
And let me the canakin clink, clink;
And let me the canakin clink.
A sailor's a man;
O, man's life's but a span;
Why then let a sailor drink!

Nemato sat back, his feet propped up on an empty chair. He had 22 turns, and could have his pick of the women, but not tonight. Oh the flirtation, the debauchery! With a chuckle, he drained his mug, and stood, intent on departing.

A pair of brunettes tried to draw him back, but the liquor and the rough night had not taken all the strength from him, and he escaped.

Safe in his own bed, Nemato stared at the ceiling. He could hear the waves as they splashed against the rocky cliffside. He let them lull him to sleep.

In the morning came dragons. The dolphins had brought the two journeymen ashore near Bell Hold, and Ryslen had been called to bring them home. One was all but drown when they'd found him lying on the beach, and the other was severly ill from a seathorn.

Nemato was glad to see them back; and wished the journeywoman a quick recovery. The dragons couldn't stop looking at Nemato though. What was it?

D'run knew, and marched right up to the first mate. "Hoy! Okserth noticed you over here... are you setting out again soon, or have you time for a diversion?" he asked.

"I'm landbound until the mast is repaired, Rider. What did ye have in mind?" Nemato asked, curiousity sparkling in his dark eyes.

"If Okserth is to be believed, there's a dragon with your name on it." D'run said.

Nemato had a hearty laugh over this. "I believe the dragon would have his own name, Rider, but if you're Searching, I'll check with m' captain..."

The captain was willing to let Nemato go, as long as he promised to come back and crew the ship again if he didn't Impress. D'run assured the captain that Nemato could come crew the ship even if he did Impress... though that would be his vacation, rather than his employment.

The story continues at Baeris' Healing Den

Note: The two blocks of text in Italics were written by William Shakespeare. The first block are from Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 3, lines 15-16 and 24-25. The second block is from Othello, Act 2, Scene 3, lines 68-73. The original text is "Soldier" not "Sailor" and has been changed here to fit the story. I believe that Master Shakespeare's works have long since passed into public domain; if I am mistaken, please notify me so I can correct this.

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