A random piece of writing that I’m not sure I’m going to use for anything…although it might develop into a longer story! This is a continuation on from Salt Winds & Wandering, so potential spoilers if you haven’t read it. If you haven’t, then it is stand-alone, and it’s only novella length!
Obak lay in his swaying bunk, listening to the waves against the hull of the Gull. The storm had passed over an hour ago, and they were now in the lull that always came after the winds had battered their fury out against the waves and the small ship that bobbed on them. He knew Henyrich was up at the tiller along with Karin, and Iilde was in her bunk for some much-needed sleep, and so he could lie here staring up at the low ceiling above him.
But he wasn’t seeing the wood. He was seeing the stars that he knew were overhead, probably half-hidden by clouds. The pinpricks of light against the dark sky, turning slowly around the world, guiding them across the oceans…
He absently wondered how Catter Jeck was faring, in the now far-off city of Meton, half an ocean away from the Gull. He was in the middle of another study of the ancient city of Treloolir, and his last mail packet to Obak had been full of drawings of the carvings on the-
And Obak swung his legs over the side of the bunk, tangling the sheets in his haste to find a robe and spill the news of his realisation to his partner. “Iilde! Iilde!”
Mage Iilde, 3rd level Water, did not enjoy being woken at the best of times. She wasn’t a morning person, and as they often sailed overnight, ‘morning’ meant the end of any sleep cycle. It would be fair to say that Iilde wasn’t an anytime-of-day-if-you’d-just-woken-her-up person.
She lifted her head from the pillow blearily as Obak stuck his head through the small hatch leading into her bunk-room. “What broke?”
“Nothing! The stars, Iilde. Catter’s carvings. They’re stars.”
Iilde stared at him for a long moment, taking in her partner’s wide smile and bright eyes, his tousled hair, his baggy shirt barely covering his hips. And then she sighed and flopped her head back down on the pillow. “You’re not going to let me sleep, are you…what’s stars, Obak?”
The Mage sat down on the end of her bunk, flipping through something. Iilde sighed again. “You can’t even see! Put the light on!”
The spark-light lit the tiny wood-panelled room in brightness, and Obak thrust a sheet at her. “Look. The drawings they did of the patterns…Catter didn’t know what they meant, but they’re stars.”
“It means they had a reason to use them!”
The woman rubbed her eyes. “So what?”
Obak rolled his eyes.
Iilde squinted at the drawing. “They don’t look right.”
The Mage glanced down. “That…half? That does.”
“But that one’s not anything,” Iilde said.
“But this is!” Obak almost smudged the drawing in his excitement. “I know I’m right, Iilde. They’re stars! They’re a map of the skies. That’s what the ancient cities had on their walls. This is going to be huge!”
“Obak,” his sailing partner said slowly and patiently, “we’re in the middle of the ocean. We’ve got no way to contact anyone until we’re back at the coastline, whenever we finish this latest survey. It’s exciting, yes, but it can most definitely wait. Just….let me sleep, would you?”