|Within the Year
Author: Do Play With Fire PM
A poor banished girl whose life consists of moving from nation to nation sets a goal to make it back home within the year.Rated: Fiction T - English - Words: 1,825 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 06-20-12 - id: 3034268
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The girl stood on the old rotting wooden dock waiting. She looked out over the vast blue expanse of sea in front of her that was now empty of all ships, even the regular fishing boats, for it was a holiday for the fishermen, who were now in the village behind draining all of their money on women and drink. The other people in the village were also on a holiday, but their actions were less wasteful. They just danced in the streets to the joyful music that the jongleurs played.
The festivities meant nothing to the girl. She had had enough of these foreign celebrations, for she was not from anywhere near the village. She also was leading a rough life, and she no longer found any enjoyment in the celebrations that the people would have. Her life was hard, and she had the scars to show it.
The girl did not look like one who had had the hardest life. She was tall and thin, and her face with her perfectly set crystal clear blue eyes and rosy cheeks made it look like an accomplished artist had painted it. She had long golden hair braided down her back. Yet her face was completely impassive, and she dressed like a man. She wore pants and tall boots, a gray tunic, and a leather vest on top of it. People would often frown at her because she was not wearing a skirt.
The girl's name was Rae, and she was eighteen years old. The village above her was the village of Jart, which was in the kingdom of Wallenforn, which was part of the Rögen Lands in the Calpar Realm. Rae was not from Wallenforn, or any of the Rögen Lands, but her homeland was in the Calpar Realm. It was just isolated from all of the other countries because of the sea.
The sun began to set in the west, but it did not matter, for Rae was facing the east, still waiting. Finally, a speck appeared on the horizon, and Rae smiled. She had been waiting for hours for the speck to appear, for the speck was a ship. It was a trading ship from the kingdom of Rogman, which was south of Wallenforn. Rogman, like Wallenforn, was part of the Rögen Lands.
The ship got closer, and Rae could see, that like most ships that sailed in the open sea, it was a caravel. It was stopping in Jart to pick up and drop off some goods, and hopefully it would take an extra passenger as well, for Rae was looking for a way out of Wallenforn. She never spent a long time in one kingdom. She always kept moving.
The ship pulled up to the dock, and the gangplank was thrown down. It was surprising that the old rotting dock was able to hold it. An extremely hairy bear of a man with a barrel stepped on to the gangplank and said in Rogmanian, "I speak no Wallenfornian." Someone from Wallenforn could have understood that well enough, for Rogmanian and Wallenfornian languages were very similar, so were all of the languages in the Rögen Lands.
"That is fine," Rae said in Rogmanian, "for I speak Rogmanian."
"I can see that," the man said. "Now what would a young woman in pants want?"
"This ship goes to Billiga. Am I right?" Billiga was the northernmost nation on the mainland of the Calpar Realm, but it was on the other side of the Osheran Mountains, which separated the Rögen Lands from the Romantia Lands on the other side. The Languages in the Romantia Lands were completely different from the languages in the Rögen Lands.
"Do you have room for an extra passenger? I speak Billigan."
"Do you now?"
"Yes, I speak Billigan," Rae said in Billigan.
"Are you from Billiga, because your accents says that you are not from Wallenforn?"
"Yes." That was not the truth, but Rae could not tell where she was from. It would only result in her getting throne in jail. As much as she tried, Rae was never able to perfect her accents.
"What are you doing here in Wallenforn?"
"I sailed here as an interpreter. I was running low on money." Both of those statements were the truth. Rae got onto ships because the trading ships often needed an interpreter. Rae did not charge much, for it was really her that needed the help. She always needed to leave the nation that she was in.
"I guess that you could come. Go on the ship and tell the captain that you are a Billigan interpreter, and that Gregor sent you."
"That shall be done." Rae smiled at Gregor as he walked down the gangplank, but once the gangplank was clear for her and his back was turned. She replaced smile with her usual impassive face, and she walked on to the gangplank and up to the ship. She had smiled in order to look human, but she often failed at faking emotion. Rae had trained herself not to feel emotion. Her life had been hard, and it was the only way for her to keep her sanity.
On the ship, there were barefoot men in rags like Gregor unloading barrels, packages, and parcels in order to be traded. They took no notice of Rae because they were too busy with their work, and Rae wondered how Gregor had escaped all or the hard work that went into unloading. She was beginning to expect that he was not the most competent sailor.
"Hey you!" a bald man with a whip in a red tunic, clean pants, and boots said when he spotted Rae. He was clearly some officer of some sort. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"I need to get to Billiga, and I was told that I could sail here as an interpreter," Rae replied flatly. She then repeated it in Billigan and in Wallenfornian.
This caused the other sailors to look up from their work. "And who told you that?"
"Gregor," she said calmly without a moment's hesitation.
There were a few snickers from the sailors, and the man rolled his eyes, and said, "Always trust the beer trader to hire someone. I am going to fire that man. He is drunk way too much." Then to the sailors he said, "He skimped on unloading again didn't he, and snuck off the ship?"
There was a chorus of, " Aye, aye captain," and Rae said impassively, "So you are the captain?"
"Yes, I am Captain Jonder. And you are?" He held out his hand to shake.
Rae looked at his hand before she shook it. "Rae," she said, still looking at his hand.
"Is there a family name that goes with that?" Jonder's face showed concern.
"Their dead," she said without the slightest trace of emotion. That was not the truth, but Rae knew that she would never see her family again.
"I am sorry to hear that." Now, Jonder was concerned.
"Don't be, I did not like them anyway."
"Well, Rae, you may go in my cabin until we find a proper place for you. It is right over there," he said pointing to a door on the ship.
Rae nodded and walked over to the cabin. Then she went inside. Jonder watched Rae go. She had greatly disturbed him. Her tone of voice was monotonous, and there was barely any change in rhythm or pitch when she spoke, but that was not the worst part. She completely failed to show any feelings. Jonder shook his head. That type of behavior inhuman, but Jonder needed an interpreter. He doubted that Rae would be expensive if she charged him anyway. She was the one that said that she needed a ride
Jonder watched the crew finish unloading and then go down the gangplank to the town. A good handful of them spoke Wallenfornian, so Rae was not needed at the moment. Wallenfornian was easy enough to learn. It was very similar to their native Rogmanian, and anyways, Jonder did not want to call on Rae. He wondered why he had hired her instead of a more human person from the village, but then he remembered. Something about Rae scared him, and he shuddered at the thought. He did not want to disappoint her.
All of the men were back by sunrise. In the middle of the night, Jonder had returned to his cabin and found Rae just standing in the middle of it. Nothing had been touched, and Jonder wondered if Rae had moved at all after he showed her where his cabin was. Jonder led her to a spare storage room that she could use as her cabin so she would be separate from the crew. She was up before sunrise, and Jonder wondered if she had even slept at all.
Rae sat down by the left over barrels as the men boarded the ship. They came back with new goods to trade in Billiga, and Rae noticed a man that she had not seen before on the ship. He looked just like Jonder except he was wearing a blue tunic instead of a red one. Rae assumed that he was the first mate. He appeared to be counting the crew. Then he looked up at Jonder and nodded.
Jonder began to speak, "Well, it seems like we are all here, except Gregor. He will be left behind. We do not need any drunks like him trading beer and not working. The exiles will probably pick him off. Yes, there are exiles in Wallenforn. Some scum sometimes manages to sneak past their borders unlike ours thinking that they can hide from the hatred in Allenfar and Billiga." Allenfar was the other kingdom in the Rögen Lands.
Jonder continued by saying, "If you see a northern exile, treat it like it should be treated, scum. Don't let it touch you, and have it arrested. It's not fair that the Northern Isles thinks it doesn't have to build prisons and can ship all its criminals to the mainland. All of those exiles belong in prisons, actually the whole population does. They are so hostile. They don't let their people leave and they don't let outsider's come in. It is a shame that they are part of the Calpar Realm."
Rae listened intently. Any ordinary person in her situation would have been afraid, for Rae was a northern exile, but Rae was not afraid. She simply felt nothing. She just simply remained impassive. Anyway, Jonder was wrong. There were exiles in Rogman. Some people were able to blend in easily enough to pass by the border patrols as a citizen from one of the nations in the mainland. Rae was one of them, and for all she knew, she would always be one.