Skipper's Joy

A derelict fishing boat somewhere out on the Caspian Lake headed South towards the Sea of Azov.

It's dawn, the skies are grey, and a thick fog laps over the bays of the Caspian lake, rolling in with the autumn transition. There's a small fishing boat amongst all the other ships stationed at the harbor, called the Skipper's Joy. It's in rough shape and definitely doesn't bring joy to anyone anymore, not with all her rust and her aging planks. It has seen better days. Some fisherman parted with it easily enough when bags of marks exchanged hands and gave the old man a glint of happy retirement. Now instead of an old grizzled man at it's helm, a stout scruffy resemblence of one who was a rider has taken charge. He's fixing the sails and ensuring the rigging is set. It'll just be two of them and the boat was a little larger than normal for one man to handle alone - but he was confident all the same. Ers'lan, now taking on the name, Jax, looked like he belonged there. He's got a long trench coat over his shoulders to keep the wet off him, and a sailor's cap. The ship still flew Nerat's colors and Lan-now-Jax believed it would suit their purposes no matter what colors flew. He was waiting for his second crewmate, tying up a last knot to keep the sails ready to furl when Jaye arrived.

Jaye isn't long, the brownrider now going by Gayle has tended to her weyrmate and her daughter and now wanders along towards the vessel she was directed to. It would be the first time she set foot on any sort of boat or ship since the accident that claimed her memory so many turns ago, and now, as she prepares to board, she takes a deep breath and rolls her shoulders lightly. Spotting her shipmate for the short votage, she nods towards him. "H'lo." At least she has left her typical uniform at home, now she wears simple fisherman's clothes, easily breathable yet sturdy enough for sea-weather, her hair left loose and wild rather than tied neatly into her typical tail. She eyes the rusty boat briefly, well, at least it'll serve its duty for the pair.

"T'won't be missed-" Ers'lan answers Jaye's unasked question and perhaps skeptical gaze, further murmuring, "Reckon the man be havin a crew of five or six men aboard. T'will jus be us, but he be payin his fellas off as he be firin them, n' jus like we figgered, they be makin a big stink bout being fired fer younger crew. The Cap'n be givin travel ta Western I be thinkin, ta spend the rest of his days out in retirement." He easily hops up on the railing, using some of the rigging to help his balance as he dips a hand down to her, "Reckon they be thinkin he still be aboard n Cap'n this 'ere ship with some new blood. We best be goin befer the old mates be thinkin ta check on who be replacin 'em." He will help her up if needed and if not, regardless, he'll hop back down onto the deck and untie the anchor knots, leaping back up as the boat bobbles and drifts slightly away from the dock.

Five or six down to two, should be easy to sink, then, Jaye figures. "Aye, well, ain't been on any sort of boat since b'fore Maehwa, hope y'know what yer doin'." And with that, she'll clamber aboard the ship, and she will accept his help thankyouverymuch. "I ain't much of a seaman, I s'ppose, think I kin fake it real good tho." Let's just hope she doesn't get seasick or anything, because then how believable will the story be? This definitely ain't no dragon, but she does her best to remain upright and even asks after a moment. "Whatcha be needin' help with?"

"Aye. Tis in me blood Jaye, the sea, the sailin…" A casual pause to haul her up and get her situated on board, "Reckon ya can still navigate?" he is quickly slipping through the riggings, unfurling ropes and yanking on them to bring up the sails, which start to catch the wind. Ers'lan points to Jaye, toward the helm and the wheel, "Take 'er out Cap'n. All ya need ta do be keepin us pointed north by northeast 'n in the wind. I be hoping by the time we be out inta the channel, the fog be liftin so we can be seeing whar we be needin ta head due north." He is quick to get the main mast furled, if by using a curious twist of ropes that he had likely put together before hand. A job that would take two or three, he's making due on his own and not without sweating through it. He's soon ensuring that the jib and boom are also ready, "Get us in a windward position-" he notes, looking up at the sails, working underneath the boom toward the mizzen mast, sails lurching up slowly but surely there as well.

Jaye nods, "Prob'ly." Then she snickers softly at the cap'n comment as she moves to take the wheel, turning it so that the sail can catch the wind and hopefully send them away from the dock and towards the direction necessary. "Got it, north by northwest." She calls, concentrating on getting the ship turned in the right direction, wouldn't do to wreck it yet, so she'll give it her attention until they're safely headed towards the channel. She's really not a sailor, but, well, she's making do with what little she learned from watching when she stowed away on that ship headed to Ista.

"North by northeast!" Ers'lan calls out with a slight smirk, "Ye are rusty, aren't ya?" he says from further above, having climbed a ladder to help him up the main mast, sinching the lines and tightening them as the sails begin to catch. At least the ship wasn't a huge one, something manageable, but he had to work fast all the same before the sails ripped or the rigging ropes loosened which could sent the rope whipping through the air dangerously. "Jus keep 'er steady bit longer…" he calls down, half hanging over the booms, fingers working to secure the knots in the sails. Eventually, when it looks like they hold, he slips back down, breath from him adding to the plume of the mist. His eyes search the fog and his eyes flicker toward the light up above, still holding steady flame in the small lantern. Making for the bell on the ship, he rings it, a signal that they were coming. 'Bing bing bing' … a series of bells. He stops, then listens, cupping an ear. Nothing responds. Out of the corner of his eye he smirks at Jaye, "No turnin back now." Another almost eerie set of 'clangs' into the foggy grey world before them, as the prow starts to slosh and cut her way through the choppy water.

Jaye ohs, "Right, jus' testin' ya." Yeah, that's her story anyway. "North by northeast, aye." She lets her gaze wander a bit, looking upwards as her partner deals with all the riggings and stuff tht she really has no clue about. She manages to hold the boat as steady as possible, narrowing her eyes in the fog to try and see where they're going with a frown. "Dunno how y'all do this, I canna see a damn thing." Just a random comment, really. "No turning back, ineed." And, well, she shifts briefly, peering once more into the grey haze that is the fog.

Ers'lan taps the compass, which was made into the steering column, "Reckon by this 'n maps, when we can narh see, by stars 'n sun when we can." He looks back over his shoulder and the fog has already consumed the docks from their sights. Leaning over the railing, he checks the depth reading before returning back to Jaye's side. "Whar made ya wan ta do this?" He asks as he puts his hand on the wheel to steady it in the direction they need to go, head spinning back to watch the sails spilling full, "Jus seems with yer weyrmate, ya would narh risk his anger." His eyes watch the riggings and the sails, as the boom sweeps over the stern when the wind changes some, having to adjust the wheel with a touch to put the nose back into the wind.

Jaye nods, listening to the answer to her query about how they do this steering thing in the fog. As for the question of what made her want to do this, she gives a bit of a shrug. "D'nno, s'ppose I felt I needed t'prove m;self maybe. Or maybe I jus' needed a bit of a change in m'life. S'better'n sittin' on th'sands of a foreign weyr which s'what maehwa'd have me doin' right now iff'n I wasn't out 'ere with ya. Th'ero thought since I had exp'rience with th'renegades b'for that m'skills would come in handy fer this adventure. B'sides, th'renegade gave me all these.." She motions to the various scars that seem to cover most of her body. ".. so I figure it'd be nice t'give 'em some payback, y'know?" Probably not the best answers, but, well, she's the crazy adventurous type or something. "Didna think Kal'd take it s'hard as he did, but, well, s'too late now. I'll 'ave m'self a talkin' with 'im when I return."

Lan considers the woman whose to be his partner in crime, head always on a swivel since there were numerous things to keep attentive of on a ship this large, bigger than a simple skift. The sails do not fill completely, they wave and linger as the air isn't strong enough to get them going full speed. The man listened quietly to the words she gave him in answer, his mind clearly on numerous things but still active enough to listen to her as well. "Aye… out 'ere, we be havin no 'mates." As if not to let the worry over his interfer with their job they had to do. "I reckon I was thinkin, that iffin you had the renegade tie, perhaps ya be convincing me tha thar was a better coin ta be made than on a fisher boat, so ya be leading us in. Tha way, iffin we get questioned, my ignorance of renegade ways be a boon fer me. At least ye be knowing some of thar ways tha ye be fitting in… Ye reckon they be puttin us ta some question once we be in."

Jaye takes a moment to consider his words. "Aye, s'ppose that'd work iff'n we had t'use it. Nay sure iff'n they be askin' questions, I'm nay familiar with this particular group, so hopefully they'll nay ask too many questions. Tho I do know th'basics an' such. Could prob'ly toss out some names iff'n worse came t'worse, though I d'nno iff'n th'names I give'd still be in bus'ness or not." So that could be dangerous if she has to resort to that, so hopefully she won't.

Ers'lan nods a bit at the woman, a cautious look thrown to her as if he wasn't sure he should rely on her one hundred precent. Though it could be his nerves as well, "Last time I be facin renegades be 'em pirates, stormin a ship like this one, that I be workin on… Killed me cap'n befer they be havin fun with the rest of us. Took a tongue from another bloke, be batterin in the head of a third…" He shakes his head, gripping one of the rigging ropes, looking onward, "Jus can narh imagine whar we be facin… especially iffin he has women 'n children turned inta monsters." A beat, "Th'ero did be sayin tha the men be in one camp 'n the women be in the other. Suppose we'll be seperated fer some time. Best come up with an idea of how ta communicate 'n when." No need to wrecklessly use their dragons if they could plot some other scheme between them.

Jaye never said she was one hundred percent certain her ideas and schemes would work, she doesn't show much emotion however even as he regards her with that cautious look. The look of complete neutrality seems to be her norm. "Pirates, hmm? Th'group that had me was mostly thieves an' murderers, led by a dragonless man, least that's what I was led t'b'lieve. Seen plenty o'torture, been through plenty as well, nay gonna say 'twill be easy." A shrug, then, and she considers the seperation. "Reckon I'd jus' hafta show 'em I dunna b'long with their w'men but their warriors. Been trained right good with th'blades, tho I wouldna d'cline bein' in a camp with their w'men, I do enjoy th'company of a purty woman now an' 'gain." But, anyways, back to the subject. "Well, I be havin' a fair o'four 'lizards, reckon we kin use 'em iff'n th'need arises. M'gold an' bronze're pretty well trained, th'green an brown ain't too bad either. Though Jingle be egg-heavy, dunna know iff'n she'll be 'round much, specially iff'n she feels her unhatched children be in any danger."

"At least we be havin tha much in common-" he mentions about being witness to torture and experiencing it himself, shouldering through the conversation with a straight face, "Jus dun reckon I be wantin ta sign meself up fer the same ordeal yet again." Once was enough, thanks. Though he does consider her words about being a warrior, "Mm, nay, narh at first, afta, aye. We be wantin ta know whar happenin in the women's camps too. Need ta know how many he be brain washin in thar." He scoots back a step or two, reaching up for a rope ladder, climbing it as he sees a rigging loosen, tightening it before it can get out of control completely. Dropping back down, he seems pleased with their headway so far. And for a way of communicating, the firelizards have him shake his head, "Unless we be showin up with 'em, I reckon they be right suspicious fer strange 'lizards showin up 'tween us both. Sexy can be useful, she be a gold, but, t'would narh want ta put her in danger. The less they be thinking we be connected to dragons 'n kind, the better."

Jaye nods, "Aye, s'ppose y'be right there. B'sides, wouldna wanna show 'em m'strengths too easy, might need 'em iff'n things go south." She considers the showing up with firelizards. "Well, nay sure what else we kin do t'keep in touch, reckon it d'pends on where th'camps be, iff'n they be close 'nough. Likely th'men will want their women at least within walkin' distance, men do have.. certain needs afterall." As do women, especially women like Gayle AKA Jaye. "Signalin' prolly ain't th'best move either. Dunna have any trained avians handy, do ya?" She jokes lightly.

Ers'lan considers the possibilities of what they were going to face, as there was little to do now but think about it. The sailing would take a few days, at least, especially a ship this size and for how slow it was truly going. He had prepared enough food for them to last two weeks if the worst happened. Still, thoughts drifted and his lips grew tension and his eyes started to narrow. "I reckon I know whar tha bluerider be sayin, as well as the rest of 'em, but iffin it comes to it, iffin their camps be set up a short walk between, we may be havin ta … indulge." Whether that meant taking other partners to bed or eachother, he wasn't sure, but his hand rested on her shoulder for a moment, "Promise, whar happens out thar, that is narh fer our Weyrleader's ta hear bout, stays thar. Whar we have ta do, iffin anything, stays between us." It would be easier to bear that way, especially if they had to commit further crimes or get involved in some of the cultish activities.

Jaye had probably considered that as well, you never know afterall, right? The sailing she still wasn't exactly comfortable with, and it showed a bit, though all the while that neutrality remained over her face and body, so carefully practiced for so many turns, it just felt natural for the brownrider. "Aye, reckon we might hafta do jus' that." A shift to glance out over the water briefly. "Reckon it'll be easier on ya, bein' male an' such. Iff'n 'tis anythin' like when I was in, th'females nay really got much of a choice in th'matter." Which, well, she could deal with, if she had to. "Guess we willna know 'til we get there, s'no use worryin' o'er it." And, well, she's gonna try her damndest not to dwell on things, really. The hand on her shoulder gets a brief glance and even the slightest hint of a smile, or at least it seemed like one anyway. She will do what is necessary, there is no doubt of that, even if it means being tested by the renegades in whatever way they deem fit.

The Weyrleaders told them not to be wreckless, but Lan knew the consequences if they were found out. His hand squeezes gently on Jaye's shoulder, before he peels it away. Nothing held too long to be uncomfortable or rude. "I reckon the Weyrleaders be havin one shot at this… Tha be us… Iffin Laris finds out the Weyr be tryin ta smuggle in thar own to spy on him, he be shuttin down his recruitment drive faster than we can be blinkin. We cannarh fail 'em…" He was intent to get to the bottom of it, though his eyes drifted back to Jaye, hearing her for saying tha a woman's place was harder in such bands of men. "Aye, t'would be tha way I reckon. Iffin it do be matterin much, iffin -it- do be comin ta tha, I can be claimin tha ye be mine 'n no other. Jus so they dun narh touch ya." Yet, something in the uncertain glint in his eye said he wasn't so sure he could do such a thing, but at least he would try to protect her from the cruelest part. "Suppose we ought ta think of it like 'flights' …"

Doing what they have to for the renegades not to suspect them may be considered reckless by the Weyrleaders, but Jaye knows that it would be more dangerous not to do what the renegades tell them. "Aye, we're their best shot at this, indeed, s'why we must follow through." Not that there's much choice now, and not that she's one to chicken out. Nervousness may bite at her very core, but she'll endure. At the thought of him claiming her as his own, she gives a headshake, "Wouldna do fer ya t'get challenged by 'nother o'er me. Maehwa's flown plenty, an' least I been with all types. T'will be a'right. Thanks, tho, fer th'offer." She gives the hand on her shoulder a light pat with her own before withdrawing it and chuckling. "B'sides, m'weyrmate be sayin' I be insatiable at times, reckon I'll be wantin' some b'fore too long anyway." She smirks briefly.

The man laughs at her last, not a long laugh, but one that seems to carry over the waters of the great lake spreading in front of them. "Alright, I will narh stand up ta challenge iffin another be wantin some from ya. Tis yer own fight thar, cause they would be usin it against me, iffin I did try." Any weakness would not be tolerated, he had that much gathered about the renegades before this tirade. "I suppose Th'ero did be pickin ya cuz ye can stand fer yerself," and so, he'll let her do that. He'll likely be engaged in some battle or another, testing him and his abilities to see if they fit in with what the cult needs. A brute. Perhaps why he chose the cover up name he did. And as they continue talking, the fog slowly lifts, showing them the way. "Jus let 'er go with the wind now… t'will be hours yet befer we need ta break 'round the coast 'n head fer that hold." And as soon as they break into the ocean water, it was likely to get rougher.

He can play the brute, she can play the slight little NightinGayle, keeping her strength under wraps until it needs to be shown. It sounds like a good plan to her anyway. "A gal gotta know how t'care fer themselves when 'tis all she had fer a long time. Least Maehwa be sidetracked 'nough t'nay need me t'check in s'much as usual." Once they're free from the fog, she'll do just that, letting the boat's course be decided by the wind, though she still remains alert. "Shoulda brought some rum, nay too good with idletime, since I couldna bring any of m'books or anythin'." She eyes the waves and the weather warily. "Y'reckon it'll take that long, hmm? Bah, s'ppose I'll hafta amuse m'self or somethin'." Yeah, well, she's not used to this having free time thing. "Think it'll get much rougher? Ain't a big fan of tossin' an' jostlin'." She chuckles a bit.

Ers'lan sneers for her remark about rum, "Aye, whar be a good sail without rum?" He points to the cabins, which weren't really that large at all, since the hull was made to keep fish not men. "Reckon I be havin some down thar, iffin it please ya. T'will be a while befer we be changing course, so iffin yer hungry or thirsty, tis all thar fer ya." He does smirk though for her last, chuckling, "Ye narh a fan of tossin' an' jostlin' when yer weyrmate says yer insatable? Tssh… narh much of a liar are ya?" He teases her, nodding about how long it'll be, "We be gettin used ta how quick we can go place ta place on dragon, ferget how long it do be takin any other way. Two days at best, four iffin we go off course, two sevendays at worst." He puffs out his chest some, noting when she speaks of just amusing herself, "Jus yerself? Ahh, lassy, yer a bit selfish thar. Thar be plenty ta do…" such as, um, fish?! Or play games on the deck.

Jaye ohs, she could get to like this other brownrider, indeed, "Well, reckon a glass or two willna hurt, huh? S'nay like Th'ero an' co are here t'stop me this time." Yeah, she wasn't a big fan of the whole not drinking as much as usual thing, but she did it because they might've pulled her off of this adventure if she hadn't. "Ah, but that be diff'rent tossin' an' jostlin' all t'gether, I like that kind of tossin' an' jostlin'." And with a wink of dark klah eye, she's headed towards where he motions, rum calls and who is she not to answer its siren call. "Dragon travel's th'best, got a tad spoiled by it, I'll admit. Dunna reckon I would like t'stay out here two se'endays, would def'nitely require some amusement." Nod, definitely. "Y'be wantin' somethin t'drink too?" She offers, then, waiting for his response before ducking off the deck and into one of the cabins.

Brownriders stick together like a flock of … brownriders? The man wasn't necessarily intrigued in her as he had been with his weyrmates or any of his lovers, since duty came well before any of those thoughts, but, his man's eye could not help but come screaming back into the picture when she retorts to his tossin and jostling comment. Such is, the fisherwoman look doesn't do much for her, though his blue eyes travel her all the same. "Nay. Jus dun go too crazy, jus in case we do be gettin rougher seas once we be hittin open ocean…" too much in the gut would mean someone would be too green to even function. The mention of needing amusement after two sevendays has him smirk, leaning back on a grouping of ropes, letting the waves adjust his balance, "Aye, jus a flask of rum iffin ya will." He smiles after her, watching her depart down the short and step set of stairs, before his eyes turn toward the clearing horizon, closing his gaze to let the salt air and the mist batter his face.


'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.