Chapter One

Irivae didn't belong here. The medieval town of Nem passed by in a blur as she made her way to the butcher's shop. She'd seen all of this already; she'd lived here since she could remember, for the past fourteen years. She needed something new, something different.

She entered Romulus's shop, and he greeted her cheerfully.

"Ahoy, Mistress Irivae!" he called gallantly. Romulus was a stocky, middle-aged brunette, with the biggest arms Irivae had ever seen.

"Good day, Romulus," she replied. She attempted to return his enthusiasm, but made it to about the half-way point. She was just so bored with all of this.

Suddenly, Romulus's son, Laebri, emerged from the backroom. He had a head of flowing, chestnut brown hair and blue-green eyes, the color of the sea. He was already wearing his sailor's uniform- a dignified tunic underneath a heavy, tailored coat, and heavy black boots; he was leaving later today. Irivae had known him since they were both very small.

He caught sight of her and smiled, his expression friendly. "Hello, Irivae," he said brightly.

She smiled back; this was the whole reason she had come, or volunteered to come, for Madam Tyde. "Laebri, wait!" she said quickly, jumping towards him.

He jumped as well in surprise, then froze. She was in his face, her grey eyes wide and pleading. "Can I join your crew? Please? Oh, please, oh please, Laebri, can I?"

He blinked down at her a couple times, caught quite off guard. Finally, he sighed, relaxing, and went to itching the back of his head. "I… I don't know, Iri, this is kind of short notice," he tried.

"Oh, but I can be ready in an hour if I need to be!" she insisted. "Please?"

"But… but Madam Tyde needs you here, doesn't she?"

Irivae let out a tired sigh. "But I don't want to be a seamstress, Laebri. She can always find someone else," she tried. "Anyone can make dresses."

"But… but you're like a daughter to her, Irivae," he said.

She rolled her eyes again. "Yes, but I'll come back. Oh, come on, please, Laebri, you're the captain, after all. For me?"

"But I'm not sure I have much use for you. I'm not even sure you'll enjoy it!" he tried.

"Oh, I can do plenty! I can help cook and clean, I can do manual labor. I can do lots of stuff!" she assured him.

"But it's dangerous out there, Irivae, you don't know what you're getting into-"

Suddenly, Lyro, Romulus's other son came darting out of the back room, also in a sailor's uniform; his, however was fitted for a twelve-year-old boy, rather than a man.

""Even Lyro gets to do it," Irivae prodded. "If I have to stay here any longer I might just kill myself!"

He stared down at her for a few moments, then let out a long sigh. "Oh… oh, I suppose. But if you're not down by the docks by noon, we're leaving you."

She squealed, lunging for him. "Really? You're the best, Laebri! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she squealed one more time before crushing him in a hug.

She then darted out the door without another word.

"Madam Tyde, Madam Tyde!" she bellowed, bursting in through the front door. A silvery-green snake immediately came to slither up around her shoulders.

Irivae grabbed the snake, holding it out in front of her. "Can you believe it, Riba? He said yes!"

She pulled the scaly serpent close, then spun it in happy circles.

"Irivae? What is all of this?"

Irivae practically dropped Riba when she spun to Madam Tyde, hugging the diminutive woman around the shoulders.

"Madam Tyde, you won't believe this! I asked Laebri to join his crew and he said yes!" she screeched, clutching the middle-aged woman close.

Madame Tyde didn't respond for a long time, but she did pull away, frowning pensively. "You mean Laebri… the Captain of that horrid ship? The one that-"

Irivae scoffed. "Oh that's just a fairytale, Madame, just a children's story," she assured her mentor. "Really! This could be my big opportunity to see the world!"

Madame Tyde studied her up and down with an unimpressed look on her face, then droned, "Absolutely not. You're going to get yourself killed out there, and even if I did want you to,-"

Irivae suddenly tackled Madame Tyde into a hug. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" she squealed, then turned and bolted up the stairs.

Madame Tyde stood there for a few moments, stunned, then just hustled towards the stairs. "Did you not hear me?" she cried.

But Irivae ignored her as she started to grab her things. She was more than ready to do this. She would break out of the house, even if Madame Tyde strapped her down to the kitchen table.

She would find a way to be at the docks before noon.

When she was finally done packing, she bolted down the stairs, coming to a complete halt as she found Madame Tyde waiting at the front door, her arms folded across her chest.

She studied the woman, then sighed deflating. "I'm sorry, Madame. I know you don't want me doing this. But really, this is something I need to do," she started. "And even though-"

"Isn't Laebri that boy you always drew pictures of when you were younger?" Madame Tyde asked, a small smirk growing on her face.

My mouth snapped shut, and I felt my face turning a bright shade of red. "What? That was- that was like ten years ago!"

The smirk just grew. "I'm sure. No matter. If it's really that important to you, I don't want you to be stuck here, I guess." She then moved aside, grinning and pulling the door open. "Have fun, dear."

For a moment, Irivae couldn't even comprehend the words coming out of her mentor's mouth. And then all of it came rushing to her, and she let out another squeal as she tackled Madame Tyde one more time. "Thank you so much!" she cried, hugging the woman tightly.

Madame Tyde sighed, hugging the sixteen-year-old for a number of moments before pulling her back. "I suppose you're too old for me to tell you what to do anymore."

"I'll come back and visit, I promise," Irivae said, walking out the door backwards so she could keep talking. Just as she set foot outside, Riba slithered after her, jumping up her leg and coming to a coiling stop on her shoulders, around her neck.

"You better," Madame Tyde told her.

She nodded, smiling one last time at Madame Tyde, before turning away and skipping off. It was a quarter to noon. She was going to make it.

It was only a five minute walk to the docks from Madame Tyde's dress shop. When she arrived, she saw the Laebri's ship tied to Pier Two, second only to the governor's own ship.

She approached it slowly, her eyes wide and full of awe as she approached it slowly. She stopped at the very end of the docks, just staring up at the grand white exterior of the ship, the ship's title, The Golden Serpent, painted in glimmering gold paint on the left side of the anterior.

"Irivae!" called a voice from behind her. She turned to find Laebri striding towards her, all dressed in his captain's garb. "You actually made it," he muttered, sounding half surprised, half disappointed.

Irivae didn't notice the whole of it and just grinned at him. "Yessir, right on time, just as you requested," she assured him.

"I appreciate that very much," he responded, only slightly lying. Suddenly, Riba shot towards him, trying to inspect him.

He flinched and gave small yelp, but didn't resist. "Is… is this… lovely… ah, snake going to be accompanying you?"

Irivae nodded, grinning. "She likes you," she informed him.

He chuckled stiltedly. "Does she? Wonderful," he murmured, then turned and headed down the dock. He gestured for her to follow him. "Let me show you around."

Irivae quickly picked up everything she had brought, which turned out to only fill a small knapsack, and trailed him as he strode onto the ship.

The deck of the ship was scuffling about with life. Some sailors carried enormous crates, others were working the ropes. A group of men dressed in high-end, tailored coats and hats with feathers in them were poring over a map which was spread open completely on a round, wooden table just behind the wheel. Younger shiphands scurried about, scrubbing here and there on the floors, some performing last minute repairs.

All men.

Irivae felt her face start to pale. "So… where's the women's quarter?"

Laebri laughed. "women's quarters? Funny. You'll be staying with everyone else."

"But… but Laebri-"

"Irivae, we're all esteemed merchants on this ship. They won't hurt you, I can assure you," he promised. "Besides, you'll be rooming with Lyro. There's not much he can do to you."

She relaxed a bit. Lyro was only twelve. Suddenly, it didn't seem too bad.

He showed me to my room, furnished with a hanging chandelier, the candles already lit, two hammocks on opposite halves of the small room, two chests, and barred window which looked out over the ocean.

Irivae decided she could get used to it.

"I'll leave you to get your surroundings. I left a change of clothes here, since you can't at all do any work in that lovely dress of yours. And I would appreciate it if you came to see me in the Captain's quarters for evening meal. I need to… assess your abilities."

If she had any, he reminded himself.

"Thank you," she said quietly, and he left.

She picked up the slacks and loose white shirt he had left her. These clothes were for a man.

She shrugged to herself. It couldn't be too bad. At least this way, she wouldn't ruin the dress Madame Tyde had made her. She tied up her white-blonde hair as well.

She removed her shoes as well, and didn't put them back on when she was done changing. She didn't see much use.

When she was done, she headed back up the steps to the main deck. Judging by the sun's height in the sky, it was almost one.

It was about time for them to leave.

Suddenly, a burly man brushed past me as he was washing the deck.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she tried.

He just grunted at her, then continued. She frowned at him, but he didn't see.

"Excuse me, miss!"

She turned around to find a man in maybe his late thirties, striding towards her. His sandy blonde hair was cut short against his scalp, and his smile easily reached his piercing blue eyes.

Irivae smiled back. "Hello, sir. Who are you?"

"My name is Calibrae. I'm Laebri's second mate. I'm assuming you're Irivae, correct?"

She nodded. "Yes, sir, I am. Did Lae-… did the captain tell you about me?"

How odd. Laebri was twenty three. This man could almost double his age. How did Laebri end up as captain?

"In fact he did. It was a pleasure to meet you," he said, then shoved a pail of water at her with sponges in it. "Now get to swabbing."

Irivae frowned and looked up to protest, but he had already turned and started striding off. She huffed, but put the pail down on the ground, got on her hands and knees, and started scrubbing.

Not two minutes later, her arms already hurt.

"Excuse me, Miss?"

She paused, glancing up. A boy about Lyro's age was looking down art her, his dark eyes friendly. "Who are you?"

Irivae sat back on her but. "I'm Irivae. Who are you?"

He grinned. "I'm Bradwi. You want help with that?"

Irivae smiled back at him. "Sure, Bradwi."

He got down on his hands and knees as well, pulling a random sponge out of his waistband. Apparently he carried one on him at all times.

She looked back up at him and smiled. "Thanks."


A/N:

Hiya :) so this is something I randomly came up with. This chapter's weird, I know. but hopefully It won't go from bad to worse, right?

Please read and review! You would be my favorite person in the entire world! :D

...No?

Fine. I don't like you anyway.