As the Winds Blow - Chapter 1

(Ugh, not much to share, but it's what I've got so far. It's more of an exploration of character than anything right now.)

"That would be fifty."

"Fifty? You said thirty earlier!"

"I said thirty for the fare. You want room and board? Twenty on top of that."

The client rumbled a grunt of frustration from the back of his throat and pulled a coin purse out of his pocket. Alaellyn grinned in triumph and snatched the payment from the man. She leaned against the main mast of the ship and crossed her arms, smug.

"Pleasure doing business with you," Alaellyn said, saluting to the client's retreating form. "Ship leaves for the island at midnight. If you're late, you’re staying on the mainland. No refunds."

Another sound of irritation came from the man as he stepped off her ship to disappear into the bustle of the market's crowd in the streets.

"Why'd you charge him so little, Alaellyn?" her first mate asked her. "A one-way trip's starting at sixty at least. That client should've been more grateful."

"You know how this place is," she replied. "Parting with anything worth more than a day's worth of grain and they act like they've got a sword at their throat."

"And you actually used to do that kind of thing."

"Oh, we don’t talk about those days." She dismissed his statement with a wave of her hand. "They don’t know that I’m a true lady of gentility and good breeding, a refined woman of the island. Unlike these people. If you’re not rough with them, they’ll suspect something.”

"Sure, everyone on this ship knows that. Them? Not so much."

"These people are real savages, aren't they? You’re very fortunate that I saved you from your own kinsmen by hiring you."

She snickered, pushing herself off from the mast.

Her first mate rolled his eyes. "You haven't told me why you gave him a discount."

“What? Am I not known for my generosity?”

“As a matter of fact, no. You’re more of a cheapskate.”

“Name one time where I wasn’t generous.”

“Last week. The girl.”

“She forced my hand; that’s not being cheap. She was taking more than her fair share of food from the galley.”

“You tossed her overboard.”

“She knew how to swim. The dockmasters fished her out with no serious harm done.”

“You called her a dolphin as an insult.”

Alaellyn’s face parted into a grin. “Good thing I’m not a pirate. I’m terrible with trash talk.”

Her first mate sighed. “You need to stop hanging around that lord all the time. He’s corrupting your serious nature.”

“Well that’s too bad. The request went through.”

His jaw dropped. “What?”

“Mhm, and you’re taking charge of this ship on the return journey. I’m finally settling down.”

“You? Settle down? With him? Oh heavens, please tell me the world isn’t ending yet.”

“Oh please. You gave me your blessing, so did my family, so did his family. Don't act so surprised."

"And what are you going to do? Just play 'Lady Alaellyn' for the rest of your life?"

"You're just worried that you're going to lose the winds in this ship's sails once I'm gone."

"As a matter of fact, yes. You're forgetting that I'm self-taught when it comes to that sort of thing."


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