Staying On Board – Kumara – Chapter 4 Part 3
The decks were clean, the brass was polished and everything was in its place. There was still the rigging, of course, but why bother sending a charr up there when you had much more nimble bodies on board? It was one of the rare moments where all I could do was wait for a task to be thrown at me.
The wind was soft, cool and refreshing, gently pushing the ship forwards without causing the waves to be too big. These waves, I could handle with ease. Larger waves however send my stomach reeling. Amethyst told me—when she finally stopped laughing—that this was normal, as it has been only a week since I boarded this ship. Not to mention that this was my first sea voyage.
“How are you holding up, eye candy?”
I rolled my eyes as Amethyst walked towards me. It wasn’t hard to image the way she looked at me, as I, like the black charr Garron, had chosen to wear nothing but a pair of trousers. The sun out here on the open seas was far too warm to wear anything else over all this fur.
“Charr should not be at sea,” I grumbled.
“Ha! Nonsense! The charr have a great navy!”
“Do we now?”
She appeared to consider what to say.
“So, I take it that you are not too happy with being out at sea?”
“Well, there is at least one thing I did that I enjoyed a lot less than being out at sea, I must confess.”
“Oh, really,” she said with a smile. “Like what?”
“Nearly freezing to death.”
She frowned at me.
“Oh, ha ha. Very funny.”
“You almost froze to death?” a voice from above said.
Before I had the chance to look up, Kaya dropped down on the deck next to us, her bright eyes scanning me.
“Well, yes. When I…” I paused, for a second, holding myself in check. “When I first went to the Shiverpeaks.”
“Wow, you have been places, have you not?” Kaya said somewhere between surprised and amazed.
“The Shiverpeaks…” Amethyst mused. “Yes, that would explain your clothing when we first met!”
“Do you judge everything by clothes?” Kaya said in quite the cold voice.
“Clothes are my job. What is your excuse?” Amethyst replied in a similar tone.
I just rolled my eye, having no clue as to why they just did not get along.
“Oh, is it a deck party?” Garron said jokingly as he walked towards us.
“Well, now it is!” Amethyst said. “We just got eye candy to tell us about his past adventures.”
I arched an eyebrow at that, but before I could tell them otherwise, Garron spoke up.
“Why do you call him eye candy, and not me?”
There was a playful spark in his eyes, so I assumed he meant it as a jest. Still, Amethyst answered.
“Sorry, Garron. He’s just more my type.”
“It’s the horn, isn’t it?” Garron replied, covering his right horn with his claws, a toothy grin on his muzzle.
“Oi! You lot!” a shrill voice rang out. It was boatswain Bronk. “Get to work, and be quick about it!”
“Yes, boatswain!” all four of us replied in unison.
“I am not going.”
“But, Kumara, I thought you disliked being on a ship? So why do you pass up a chance to get your paws on firm soil?”
Kaya, together with Thornfang, dogged my steps as all of the crewmembers were scrambling to get on deck. Little to my liking we were near the end of the group leaving the cabins, so I had no chance of evading her questions.
“Don’t you want to go to the port and have some fun?” she added.
“It is a human port.”
“Even so,” she said, rolling her eyes, “this may be a human port, but they are merchants. They will still accept your coin. Besides, did the humans and the charr not sign a cease fire treaty a few months back?”
With a deep sigh, I said “Look, Kaya. Imagine it was a port run by skritt…”
“Oh,” she said tersely. “It cannot be that bad?”
“For some of us, it is,” Garron said solemnly. Once again I failed to notice him in the dim light. “Remember, spud, that for most of our lives, we charr were raised and trained to hate humans. That does not disappear just because some high-ups sign a piece of parchment, if it ever disappears at all.”
Kaya cast her eyes down, thinking about what was just said.
“Kaya?” I said softly.
“I will stay onboard, but you shouldn’t stay here because of me.”
She frowned, ever so slightly. Finally, she sighed.
A few moments later, we filed out onto the sun washed deck to see the captain, the boatswain and the first mate standing on the aft. As soon as we all stood in somewhat neat lines, the captain started talking about pay and how we were meant to behave while at port. I did not really pay much attention to anything he said, until he mentioned he needed volunteers to stay on board and guard the ship. He hardly had the time to finish his sentence before my claw went up into the air.
“Oh,” captain Tot stammered, “well, that’s great! We barely see such vigor when asking for crew to stay aboard. However… we’re gonna need more than one soul to stay behind.”
Kaya was holding her hand high up in the air, but she was completely blocked form the captain’s view by a large norn in front of her. She was just about to speak up when Garron, who stood next to Kaya, placed a claw on her head and softly shook his head. He, then too, raised his claw. The captain gave him a nod and continued eying the crowd, looking for more.
“Will three charr do?” Amethyst’s voice rang out from somewhere on deck.
Tot seemed to ponder this for a while, before he nodded.
“Excellent. We have our guards, the rest o ya can hit the port once we are done unloading and loading!”
Cheers went up from the crew.
The sun was setting, its final golden rays scattered by the drops of sweat rolling form the deckhands. It was not that much cargo to haul, but the ship would not stay in port for long so the crew wanted to be done as soon as possible to have as much time on shore as they could.
“Keep your eyes out for baddies, Kumara,” Kaya said as she patted me on the hip. Before turning around, she cast one last look at Amethyst that I could not quite decipher.
After she had left, Tot came waddling over.
“Ah!” he said, eyeing me. “I see y’got ya weapons out already!”
I replied with a nod.
“Well…” he seemed hesitant. “Take care of my baby, will ya?”
“Of course, captain!” Garron replied with his usual cheer.
“Tick tack, captain Tot. The mead is waiting,” I said.
The captain grinned.
“Too bad ya don’t like sailing, ‘cause I like ya!”
With that, he turned around a waddled off the gangplank onto shore, where the boatswain and the first mate were already waiting.
After a minute of silence Amethyst scraped her throat.
“So, that leaves the three of us, right?”
“And Thornfang,” I said, nodding at the hound.
Amethyst drew breath to say something, but was interrupted by Garron.
“I’m not a big fan of humans, but Amethyst, why did you stay behind?”
It appeared that she did not mind the interruption, as she grinned broadly and her tail started swooshing wildly.
“Well,” she said drawn out, “I couldn’t leave two such dastardly handsome charr behind, now could I?”
I just rolled my eyes, but Garron pressed on. “I thought you said you liked Kumara more, but you still call me dastardly handsome? What gives?”
“Oh, Garron, that I like Kumara more doesn’t mean that you aren’t a handsome charr as well!”
Garron face lit up as he smiled.
“Anyway,” Amethyst continued, her tone more serious, “In lion’s Arch, there was no Thornfang, was there, eye candy?”
She was now staring straight at me as I weighed my answers.
“Let’s just say that my time in sylvari lands was not eventless.”
“I see,” she said with a smile.
“Keep your secrets close to your chest, and they shall become a wall of smoke that blinds you.”
Both Amethyst and me arched an eyebrow and turned to Garron. The usually upbeat, cheerful charr now had a serious demeanor about him.
“Kumara, I’m not asking you to share your secrets with us, but it’s something my fahrar master told me. Just, something to keep in mind…” As he said it, he turned away.
“Who was that addressed to,” Amethyst whispered in an uncharacteristic caring way, “Kumara or yourself?”
“Both, I guess,” the black charr said with a sigh.
An awkward, laden silence fell; only broken by the waves softly caressing the boat’s hull and the wind gently pulling on her riggings.
Without warning, Amethyst stood up and rushed downstairs. Garron and I exchanged looks, but before either of us could decide whether or not to follower her, we heard her heavy pawfall coming back up again. Once she stepped out of the hold and onto the deck she was holding a set of three drums.
She sat down and slowly banged the drums. It was a slow, soothing rhythm. One I have heard many times when I was a cub, and later when Taryc played his drums as the warband waited for new assignments.
“Even though you were raised in Lion’s Arch, you know some charr music?” I said, puzzled.
“My mother made a point of teaching me some things, at the very least.”
“Manners not one of them,” I jested.
She grinned widely.
“Well,” Garron sighed, “I guess it’s time we actually actively started looking for danger.”
“I can drum and look at the same time,” Amethyst said pointedly.
“Garron, you stand watch on the aft, I’ll take the bow.”
“Yes sir!” he replied with a grin. “At least we’ll have music on our watch.”
List Of Recurring Entities:
The following is a list of characters—apart from Kumara and Thornfang—who have made an appearance before this part, sorted by order of appearance. With all the different stories on CoT, I understand it is hard to keep track of all the characters.
Amethyst: A charr clothes merchant from Lion’s Arch that loves to travel from time to time.
Garron: a pitch black charr deckhand.
Kaya: An asura that Kumara got to know in a krewe they both worked in. Now, she sets out with Kumara to see the world.
Bronk: The boatswain of the Serendipity.
Tot: Captain of the cargo ship Serendipity.