Music for a seacrafter

A cothold in Tillek
The weather is warm in Tillek, the spring day leaving little whitecaps on the waves and the scent of the fish and the sea strong in the air. Just outside the Hold proper, in a little stone cothold near the docks but not attached to them, is the home where Mohria grew up. It is neatly maintained, a small little two bedroom cothold with a little garden and a view of the sea. Chickens peck around the garden and a small shed holds a cow that is milked daily by the cothold's one remaining occupant - Salenzy. Many wondered why Lyeton remarried after the death of his beloved Anthera, and most figured it was so the young Mohria would have a mother. However, Salenzy was not the best example of a mother figure despite what she might have told Lyeton. Now though, she seems perfectly content to work around the cothold, living off of the marks that Lyeton saved for his entire life in the hopes of purchasing a larger ship and providing for his family. And she's sold some things as well to maintain this lifestyle of simplicity and leisure.

The woman's intent to live a life of leisure on the money that Firmin knew was earmarked for a better ship was not lost on the lad. In the past, he used to take a route from the docks up further along the shore to his home that always went past the small cothold. After the wreck of the Stargazer, however, he had purposely found a new path. It's been many long months since he has even looked at the place, and his blue eyes sweep over the yard and the building, before he takes a deep breath and looks over his shoulder at his father. The older man, only barely maintaining his height advantage on his son, gives a nod, and Firmin lifts a hand to knock on the door.

"One moment!" calls the voice from within, before Salenzy pulls open the door. She's dressed in a nice outfit, a simple gown of proper make and nice fabric. Again, nothing too extravagant as she is a very smart woman, knowing that spending too much now will leave her with nothing in the end. A silver necklace is around her neck, and her wedding ring - not Anthera's, but one Lyeton chose just for Salenzy - glimmers in the daylight. She blinks in surprise at the sight of her guests, but then smiles. "Good to see you both. Firmin, I was sorry to hear about your accident, but so glad you came through it okay. How are you both?" She does not invite them in however, standing in the doorway.

Standing on the step, Firmin musters a smile himself in reply, being polite. "Good day, Salenzy. Y're bein'kind, thank y'm I'm well enou'." He pauses, rolling the piece of hide in his hands. "I thought y'd be relieved t'hear that Mohria didn' drown, as we'd thought."

Salenzy's reaction is one of shock, and then disbelief as she puts on a gentle look. "Oh, Firmin," she says placatingly, glancing past the boy to his father with a 'this poor boy!' look. "I know you and Mohria were dear friends, and I know how hard it's been for you to get over her loss, but she's gone, honey. And no amount of wishing will change that."

Nodding his head, a gleam in his eyes, Firmin nods. "Aye, she's gone. Up t'th'weyr. She's livin'an'workin' in th'stables there. I saw her when I was recoverin'. She near broke my shoulder again when I saw her." He waves the roll of hide in the general direction of the weyr. "Bronze rider Mr'az could bring her down if y'like." His offer is given ingenuously, his blue eyes are quite open and sincere.

Salenzy blinks a few times, shaking her head and lifting a hand to her mouth. "The weyr? But…why did she…" Then she shakes her head again. "Mr'az? No, no. We shouldn't trouble him with such things…b-besides," she says, only stammering for a moment as her mind kicks into gear, "besides, clearly she doesn't wish to come home. Which is her choice, as much as it pains me to know she did not even send word. Not even to you?" she asks, peering at the boy with a flicker of shrewdness in her eyes. "Perhaps she wished to leave /all/ of Tillek behind."

Firmin's eyes narrow as the woman talks about her 'pain', and as if he knows his son's mind, Firlan reaches his arm forward to grip the younger man's shoulder. The apprentice takes a deep breath, and steadies himself. When she mentions wanting to leave all of Tillek behind, he grins slightly. "She is very sorry t'have caused any pain by not writin'. She was distressed an' didn' know what t'do. And," he takes a deep breath, his eyes genuinely saddened as he continues, "she doesn' want t'come back t'Tillek, no." He exhales the deep breath and he works hard not to grin too brightly when he unrolls the hide. "But there're some things sh'd like from Tillek."

Salenzy tilts her head, glancing first at Firlan and then back to the boy. "Things?" she asks, a bit sharply. "I'm not giving you any /things/, especially not without proof that she /is/ indeed alive. Convenient, isn't it, you showing up here turns after her death, demanding things from a poor widow. I'm insulted. You need to leave." And she steps back, gripping the door and trying to swing it closed.

Firmin has grown quite a bit over the turns, and his foot steps forward to block the closing door. His good shoulder sets so that it will halt the swing of the wood. The boy forces a smile to his face. "Aye, y'd know a fair bit about insults," he grits, letting his real feelings about the woman seep through. His father steps forward, bracing another hand on the wood to help his son.
"My son has already told y'that we can have a dragon bring her down, if y'need proof." The older man says gruffly. "An' I'll no take kindly t'y' claimin' m'son t'be a liar, if y'try t'repeat that." Then he pauses, as if thinking. "'Course, if we were t'bring Moh down here, then she could make her rightful claim on th'cothold an' all its contents," he adds thoughtfully, looking to his son, and then to the woman trying to shut them out.

Salenzy straightens, taking a small step back when both men block the door. Her jaw clenches tightly as she stares at the men, and then exhales with a narrowed gaze upon both of them. "Don't try to intimidate me," she says heatedly. "She clearly doesn't want to claim the cothold, or else she would have come back and not run away to the weyr."

Firmin tips his head. "Moh can be stubborn, y'know. We've all cause t'know that. She's stubborner'n'a runner beast who's dug in it's heels. And if y'don' give her th'few things she wants, then…" he trails off and looks at her. "If th'only way t'get them is t'claim th'cothold…" he lifts the list again, and raises his eyebrows for the woman to consider.

Salenzy stares at Firmin, eyes narrowed. "Fine," she finally says shortly. "What does the little weyr wench want?"

"I memorized it, but y'can read it f'r y'self," Firmin says handing over the hide. Firlan puts a little more pressure on the door to open it. The younger seacrafter bites his lip against saying more at the insult about Mohria.

Salenzy takes the hide from the boy's hand, giving him a glare as she lifts the hide to read it. Then she snorts, angry and bitter. "This is robbery," she says, putting the note down on the entry table with unnecessary force. Turning, she steps further into the neat cothold, down the entrance hall and into the main room. "The books are there," she says, pointing to an elegantly made bookshelf, carved from driftwood. "I will fetch the jewelry and the other things." And she vanishes into another room.

"Y're known f'r bein' a wise woman with y're money. I'm sure y'll manage." This time it's Firlan that speaks as they go into the room. "Y'r shoulder probebly isn't up t'carryin' these books, yet, son. Why don'y'help good Salenzy with th'rest, aye?" With a nod, he gestures for Firmin to follow the woman as she disappears into the next room.

Salenzy doesn't say anything, but the angry look in her eyes speaks volumes when Firmin joins her. They go into her bedroom, as neat as the living room, and if she's uncomfortable having the Apprentice in her bedroom she keeps it tightly in check. To her dresser, she pulls out a silver jewelry box and lifts the lid, poking around and laying a few things out. "The wedding ring," she says, "the pearls…" and a few other pieces, each laid out with a bitter tone as she names each one. "His old sextant, though why she wants this piece of junk is beyond me."

Firmin reaches down to pick up the sextant. "Well, then y'll not be troubled t'be partin' with… a piece o'junk, no?" he asks casually. Pulling his ruck sack from his shoulder, he pulls out a simple box, something apparently made recently, since it still has that new wood smell, and it's plain, not having been adorned, yet. He opens it, lifts out a tray, and lays the sextant underneath. The tray that he puts on top has small dividers in it, and it seems each one has been made with a purpose, as he carefully places each thing in specific nests.

Salenzy turns to look at the box that she is assuming Firmin made, and she sneers. "A present for your little weyr whore?" she says acidly, some of her true personality leaking through before she can corral it back. "Here," she says, pointing to the jewelry. "But I am /not/ giving up this last item," she says firmly. "Lyeton gave /me/ that silver and sapphire bracelet, and she's not getting it." In fact, the woman is wearing it right now.

"We all made it," Firmin grits his teeth. "Y'should no be judgin' other by y'self," he finally says, after a series of very deep breaths and a good ten count in which he has to remember that he does not hit women. When she claims that she's not giving up the bracelet, he turns towards her, his eyes blazing a deep blue fire. "Y'r sentimentality is very touchin'. How many o'th'things y'sold were things that he gave y'? I'm sure it's meaningful t'y, an' would break th'stone y'call a heart t'part with it. Until y'need t'pay y'r next tithe."

Salenzy draws herself up, braced for whatever this young man has to offer. And she almost looks like she /wants/ him to lash out. Anything - make /any/ mistake - so she can use it against him. No wonder Mohria ran. "That is none of your business," she snaps. "I did what I had to do to /survive/. He left me with no children of my own, no husband, and bills to pay. I am not a fisherman, what was I supposed to do?"

Firmin's posture softens when she wants to know what she should do, and he drops his eyes, his voice quieter. "I'm not sure. 'Specially since most o'th'men in this hold know y'r game, an' wouldn'be fooled int'marryin' an' supportin' such a sorry creature as y'self." Firmin's eyes rake over the woman. His voice hardens as he continues, and his nose scrunches as if he smells something disgusting. "Y'better pray a new man moves int'th'hold before y'r face gets t' wrinkled t'see where y'r nose ends an'y'r chin begins. If y'ask me, he better show up quick, I don'think y'can hold out much longer."

Salenzy steps forward swiftly and jerks her hand back, intending to backhand him across the face.

Firmin hasn't spent a life on the sea with things suddenly flying at his face to not have reflexes quick enough to respond to the assault of an enraged woman. His eyes flash and his hand flies up, but it doesn't reach to block or grab her arm. His fingers clasp around the outside of silver and sapphire, and only the silver and sapphire, so he can let the momentum of her swing rip her hand out of the circlet without his ever touching her. He feels the breeze from her hand as it passes in front of his face when he leans back, just looking at the woman.

Salenzy stumbles a bit when her intended hit is only air, and all her forward momentum has nowhere to go. And when he pulls that bracelet free she steps back, panting for breath and staring at him in shock. Total shock.

The silver and sapphire bracelet is settled into the one remaining space in the tray, the tray is set into the box over the sextant, and the lid quietly snapped into place. "Thank y'ma'am," Firmin says quietly, managing not to smirk, although the gleam in his eyes remains. The box is returned to his knapsack. "I'm sure Da has th'books ready b'now, so's we'll be leavin'y'in peace. Have a good day." He tips his head politely, and swings the strap over his shoulder, going back out into the living room.

Salenzy's shriek of rage is the only thing that follows Firmin out, the woman bested and she /knows/ it.

The men exchange a glance as the shriek rings out, like music to their ears. Firlan puts an arm around his son's shoulders. He doesn't need to say it, the pride is evident in his eyes.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License