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Where Adoros is finally forced to grow up

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Center of scholarly knowledge and shipwrighting, Zeltiva is a port city unlike any other in Mizahar. [Lore]

New Chapter

Postby Adoros on January 20th, 2014, 2:12 am

38th day of Winter, 513 AV

The knock had been soft, a mere brush of the knuckles across wood, yet it sent shivers down Adoros' spine all the same.

The boy was seated on his bed, fingering the wold pendant that hung loosely in front of him. He didn't not verbally answer the noise, nor did he move to open the door; the former was obvious, being a mute, while the latter because he already knew who awaited him on the other side. They had informed him two nights prior of their decision, giving him no say in the matter. They had let him wait, and wait, and wait. For an entire year, he had waited for the parents who weren't coming back. For two seasons after that, they had waited for a different kind of parent to take the mute away, though that had proved as fruitless as well. Now with Winter in full bloom, and food as difficult to acquire as always, the waiting was over.

Adoros had expected it would be Vasos who came for him, or one of the other regular caretakers, someone's who services wouldn't be missed for the day. Instead, it was the Old Bear herself, Mother Thea, who stepped through the door to take the mute away. Adoros had seen the woman in many lights. He had seen her scolding a disobedient teen, her face stern and her eyes cold. He had seen her bouncing a toddler on her knee, singing to the babe softly with a smile on her face. She had been a teacher, a master, and a mother to them all. Even to young Adoros, who had never felt apart of this home, had grown fond of the woman.

And now she was giving Adoros away.

Oh, they lessened the blow with their soft words and softer embraces. They claimed an apprenticeship to the Sailor's Guild was a prestigious role that any child should be overjoyed to have. Two years ago, Adoros would've agreed wholeheartedly with them. The sea had always been his home, not Zeltiva. He had been sailing with his parents for years, traveling with them on their yearly trek north to Avanthal. Now, though, with his parents dead somewhere, their bodies at the bottom of the ocean, Adoros dream of sailing around the world had lost its flavor.

Of course, he said none of this. When Mother Thea asked if he was ready, Adoros meekly rose to his feet and moved towards her. Even if the gods had given him a voice, Adoros had not been built for arguments or fits of anger. All his life, he had kept his thoughts to himself, bottled up away from the prying curiosity. Oh, the caretaker could easily see Adoros' reluctance on his face, just as he saw it on hers; stern or not, Mother Thea was losing a child this day, and part of her still pained at the thought. But neither of them spoke out.

This was the day that Adoros grew up, not the day he was given a say in his own life.

So Adoros followed quietly as Mother Thea led him out of the Orphanage and into the big, wide world.
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New Chapter

Postby Adoros on January 20th, 2014, 8:54 pm

Beyond the walls of the Orphanage, the city of Zeltiva was alive and bustling despite the chill. Syna has hidden by a wall of clouds, her rays failing to penetrate through the haze. Zulrav was active today, though, sending a wet breeze off of Matthews Bay into the the city center. His cloak rippled around his ankles, blowing back and forth like the water to which they were heading towards. His curls repeatedly fell across his eyes, only to be blown back just as often. His fists were clutching to the wool of his cloak, pulling it close around his thin frame in a weak attempt to stay warm; to his right, Mother Thea did the same with her own cloak.

This was how the pair made their way through the city, both shivering beneath their clothes, both brooding on their own thoughts. Adoros knew his own, but not of the woman beside him. He understood his own fears and worries, and could see that Thea had some of her own, too; the specifics, though, he hadn't a clue. Furthermore, he comprehended the situation and what it held for him, but did she? Did she understood that by giving Adoros away to the world, they hadn't saved him, only delayed his fate. After his grandmother had passed, Adoros would be doing then what he was doing now, begging for work. He would've died or lived, but at least he would've accepted the fate. By taking him in, though, they let him nurture a futile belief, let him convince himself that things would get better on their own. Before, if he had died, it would've been a sad story of a child lost to the struggles of this world.

Now, though, after having everything for a year and then been tossed aside like a lost cause . . . well, in that case, it was murder. Murder of a child after his saviors found it too difficult to keep him alive.

Alas, this was the curse of being a mute; his never ending silence allowed his mind to fabricate such complex and philosophical ideas that no child should ever have to bear. He should've been playing with other children, enjoying his childhood like others his age were allowed to do. Instead, he had been alone among the world, left to form his own ideas and beliefs. He over thought everything, understood barely anything, and was even given a voice to question it all.

Shaking his head slightly, half to get his hair out of his eyes and half to rid himself of such thoughts, he put his full attention to the scenes around him. The pair had come upon the fish market by now, with all its sights and smells. All around him, fishermen were crying out the catch of the day, a hundred voices mixing together to form a cacophony of noise that was music to Adoros ears. Regardless of the wariness he felt towards the ocean, it had always been his life. Many a day he had spent among these stalls, absorbing all of it like a sponge absorbs the water.

The smells of the market hit him the most, the scent of fish cooking over the fire. He hadn't eaten breakfast that morning; in fact, he had lost his appetite for food after the caretakers had given him the news. Now, though, his stomach growled at him, crying out for nourishment. Mother Thea made no move towards the stalls, though, her long strides carrying her further into the docks. Maybe she hadn't noticed Adoros perk up at the food, or maybe she just didn't care. Either way, Adoros quickened his own strides to keep up with her. And soon, the aroma of cooked fish disappeared, though the smell of the sea remained.

Adoros had expected Mother Thea to head directly for the ships, asking each and every captain to take young Adoros on until one agreed. Instead, though, Thea turned towards a large, ornate building that was built away from the docks. She led the child through the oaken doors into a small antechamber where a few individuals mingled. She turned right, knowing exactly where she was going; Adoros followed meekly, not even glancing to his left where the actual Guild Hall was. Seven doors were there, some closed, some open. All bore the same plaque in front of it, bearing the title of the position, but not the name who held it. Adoros believed that strange, though Mother Thea paid it no mind; she stepped through the first open door, announcing her presence with a simple "Good morning, sir."

Adoros merely inclined his head towards the man who sat behind the desk. He was small, with short black hair flecked with gray, and a nose that a hawk would envy. The man had been reading over a ledger, but marked it quickly with a strip of leather, and set it aside. Gesturing to the chairs across for him for Thea and Adoros to sit in, he spoke with a soft voice. "To you as well. What brings you to my office?"

"I seek an apprenticeship for the boy here. He's grown old enough to serve the city of Zeltiva and the Sailor's Guild."

"You must know I don't provide apprenticeships, only approve them."

"Yes, but I'm sure you know of the captains who are in need of apprentices. I'm sure there's someone out there who needs a cabin boy or rigger, and you can point me in the right direction."

"I will admit I know of a few ships who are in need of crew members, though these open roles require a little more experience than the boy here possesses."

Mother Thea leans forward, patting Adoros on the shoulder. "Adoros here can read and write, a skill somebody in this Guild should require. He can handle someone's books, tally their cargo. I know for a fact that the Guild enjoys extensive log books to pore over, and Adoros is the one to do so."

The Guild officer turned his blue eyes towards Adoros, looking at him for the first time. "Is this true, Adoros? If I were to show you this book here, you'd be able to read it out me?" To emphasize his words, he pushed the closed book towards him. Adoros flipped the book open at a random page, and began to read.

The words were written in a large hand, easy to read and comprehend.
Yton's "wheat fleet" returned to the city on the 20th of this season, filled with foodstuffs and other supplies; his official ledger has been copied later in his journal. The merchant has since committed to send three of his ships north laden with stone and lumber for the Isle of Mura, as well as Sunberth. As of right now, we have more raw materials than his ships can carry, thus I suggest we attach a fourth ship to this fleet. Garom Forecastle's Encounter is currently docked with no foreseeable departure in sight. He has been asking around for an aide to handle his log books for him, though, so the Guild may need to find him one to carry the goods . . . Adoros cut off, looking first at the Guild officer, and then to Mother Rhea. He shut the book.

"Sir, Adoros cannot speak. I guarantee you that he understood all that he read, but he won't be reciting it back to you anytime soon."

The hawked-nose man intertwined his fingers on his desk, his shoulders shrugging.

"A mute, huh. That's someone a smuggler or pirate would like to have on his ship, someone who could follow orders and not tell others about the work; though, they usually prefer their mutes dumb as well, unable to read or write." The man retrieved the book from Adoros, who handed it over without protest. He stared at the boy and the boy stared back. His blue eyes narrowed and then he shook his head; Adoros' visage remained blank, though inside his mind was fast at work. Mother Thea had the right of it; this man wouldn't get the show he asked for, but Adoros understood all that he read. And now he had an answer.

Thus, when the Guild officer said, "I'm sad to say I don't have anyone to send the boy to," Adoros grinned. Mother Thea saw the boy's smile, no doubt thinking he was overjoyed to be spared the work. At this point, there was nothing else to say. The officer returned to his journal, the dismissal plain in his actions. Adoros rose first, followed closely by Mother Thea. She reached to grab his shoulder, a gesture both to comfort the boy for being denied and to prevent him from running off. "Come, Adoros. I'm sure one of these other officials will help us."

Adoros shook his head, and wormed away from the woman's hand. Before she could reach out and drag him down the hall to another office, Adoros tapped his temple with a single finger, as if telling the woman
I know something. He gestured to his caretaker to follow, and then turned away to exit the building. The man had underestimated the boy, believing he had just been looking at the book. No, Adoros had read it, and furthermore, he understood it. And now, he knew of a man who needed the very same services that Adoros could provide.

Something about Adoros aura convinced Mother Thea; maybe it was the confidence in his eyes, or maybe she had thought differently about the boy's smile earlier. Either way, she followed the boy as he led her back to the docks, in a reversal of roles that brought a smile to the boy's face.
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New Chapter

Postby Adoros on January 20th, 2014, 11:39 pm

Adoros had lived in Zeltiva for most of his life, yet he was still floored by the size of Zeltiva's port any time he found himself walking the piers. Maybe it was because he had sailed to other cities and seen their own docks, all of which couldn't compare to Zeltiva's. Avanthal and Mura paled in comparison to these docks both in size and in amount of traffic. In those cities, it never took Adoros long to see everything. Here, though, Adoros always saw something new.

Today could be considered a lax days for the laborers of the docks, even though "lax" referred to twenty-some ships docked at the various piers along the shore. Half of these ships were small fishing vessels, most of which had already been unloaded, their goods for sale in the fishing market. Only a single foreign ship was docked this day, one of the sleek Kersha from the south; even from afar, Adoros could see the six-armed captain speaking to a customs officer on deck, gesturing often with the extra appendages. Out on Matthews Bay, Adoros noticed a pair of small ships patrolling the waters around the Ancient Quarter, manned by the Wave Guard.

All of these sights, though, Adoros looked away from. Any other day, he would've sat with his feet dangling off the pier and just watched the the bustle of the docks. Today, though, he was in search of something, specifically the ship named Encounter, captained by one Garom Forecastle. Mother Thea followed close behind the boy, knowing none of what Adoros knew; in her eyes, the boy was just wandering. But really, Adoros was searching, searching for the man who would take him on board as an apprentice. All the fear and worries Adoros had felt up to this point had dissipated, replaced with the desire to prove the hawked-nose man wrong. He didn't believe Adoros capable enough, something Adoros wasn't going to let slide. He was old enough to work, by Mother's Thea insistence, so in Adoros' eyes, that meant he was old enough to stand up for himself too.

Thus he scanned the harbor, reading the names of the ships as he passed, in search of the ship Encounter. Had he been able to speak, all he had to do was ask for the whereabouts to the ship; being him, though, he had to rely on his eyes. The Kersha was named the Sandfly, the two Wave Guard vessels the Seagull and The Black Swan. None were the ships he sought so he continued on.

Nearing the end of the dock, Adoros noticed a large ship floating, with laborers moving up and down a gangplank with barrels and crates. The excerpt Adoros had read mentioned the necessity of Captain Forecastle's ship to carry the stone; this ship here definitely looked large enough to make a difference in a fleet. But the man had said that Encounter wasn't set to sail anytime soon, so taking on cargo made no sense . . . the pair drew closer and then Adoros understood. He looked back at Mother Thea and then pointed ahead at the ship ahead. "The big one?" Thea asked aloud, to which Adoros shook his head. The big ship was Lord Regent, a naval vessel that was only in the way.

Adoros pointed again at Encounter which had been hidden behind Lord Regent until just now. The ship was small, with gray sails tied in a bundle atop the single mast. The gangplank was down, allowing anyone to step onto the ship if desired, not that anyone had any desire to, since the ship held no cargo. Adoros glanced back to make certain Mother Thea still followed, before turning onto the pier that the ship was tied to. Stepping gingerly across the gangplank, Adoros was standing on deck before anyone even noticed him.

The two men dicing noticed the boy first; the red-headed man appeared curious, but said nothing. The second man narrowed his green eyes as he turned to face him, and to Adoros' surprise, green suddenly became purple, marking the man as a Vanthan. It was a bald man, though, who spoke to them from atop the forecastle. He was young, younger than the Vantha, but he radiated authority. By then, Mother Thea had stepped onto the ship herself, so she spoke; though, she looked at Adoros first, who only nodded. "We're here to speak to the captain."

The bald man considered them for a moment before nodding. "Kimolt, inform the captain of his visitors." The red-headed man rose from the deck, disappearing through the door of the forecastle; neither the Vantha nor the bald-man made any attempt to move. Thus the pair stood there awkwardly while the two sailors studied them until Kimolt returned with the Captain right behind him.

Garom Forecastle was past the half-way point in life, with a white beard that was neatly trimmed and groomed; what little hair Garom retained atop his head was covered by a woolen hat. The man was of average height, though he carried a heavy physique on his short frame. Unlike his crew mates, though, Garom's eyes were warm and his smile wide. Adoros noticed he walked with a limp as he drew close to the pair. "Welcome aboard, miss and mister. How can I help you?"

Again, Mother Thea looked at Adoros, who looked back at her in a way that plainly said
You know why we're here. "I'm seeking someone to take Adoros here on as an apprentice. The Guild Office said no one would be interested, but Adoros thought differently. He came to this ship on his own."

The captain looked down at the boy, his grin widening. "Seems this boy knows something. Turns out, I'm in need of someone to handle my log books. The Guilds loves their information, so they request us captains keep a journal detailing our travels. I never learned to write, so I've always had someone else handle that tidbit for me. And as it happens, my last someone recently given up sailing to study at the University. . ."

"Adoros here can read and write. He'll keep your logbook for you, and he can keep ledgers too with a little guidance."

"My quartermaster keeps a ledger well enough, but Adoros can copy Lorol's lists for the Guild's official copy; that way they'll have what they want and I can still keep up with my own transactions too. The logbook would be his as well to record whatever he sees fit." Garom looked at Adoros again. "He doesn't talk much, does he?"

"At all, actually; Adoros is a mute. A smart kid, fond of reading and stories, but sadly unable to express himself like normal people do."

"Stories, huh. I happen to love stories myself, especially telling them. Though Bankala over there would say I just like to here myself talk" Garom chuckled as he gestured to the Vantha, who crossed his arms. Looking back at Adoros, Garom bent down so he was eye level with the mute. "How's this, Adoros. You join my crew as an apprentice. Record the information in my log book, and in return, I'll pay you both in coin and with stories. Sail with me, Adoros, and I'll give you a story a day. How does that sound?"

Adoros considered the offer. To refuse would only lengthen the search for work by his caretakers. They would start with the fishmongers, who would put them on their ships to work nets; he couldn't be a hawker, so he would be a fisherman. Or his superiors would shy away from the sea all together. They would apprentice him under a woodcarver or a carpenter, a cook or a laborer. To accept, though . . . Adoros was wary of the sea, but that didn't mean he wished to remain confined in the city for the rest of his life either. He missed his parents dearly, but he missed the traveling too. He missed the strange sights he found in Mura and Avanthal, the strange people and places he visited. Most of all, he missed the stories. Sitting in the orphanage, his creativity was limited. Out on a ship, his imagination was as wide as the ocean itself. Sail with Garom, and not only would be have stories to listen to, but he'd also have the chance to make his own stories as well.

Adoros held out his hand, which Garom took in his own for a firm handshake.

"That'a boy! To set this agreement in stone, though, we'll need a letter drawn up requesting the apprenticeship. A mere formality, really, since I already support you; even if they decline your acceptance into the guild, I'll take you on my crew anyway. Gregory, fetch some paper and ink. I can't write this letter myself, but I think I know someone who can. . ." The captain and the mute shared a look, and then a grin.

Two chimes later, Adoros was sitting cross-legged on the deck of Encounter, writing the words that Garom gave to him.


The hawked-nose officer was still sitting behind his desk when Garom Forecastle stepped into his office two bells later. The Captain's arrival was a surprise to the man, but his face gave nothing away. He had planned on sending for the captain anyway, so his arrival made things easier for the man. "Captain, I've been informed you're in search of an apprentice; I was going to send for you to let you know we've found someone to fill the role. He's a rather studious lad, a hard-worker, and loyal." He was also the officer's nephew, so there was some favoritism beneath the man's intent.

Garom waved the officer off though, producing a folded letter from the inner pocket of his jacket. "No need to bother, sir; I had an able lad visit me earlier today who I believe will do just fine. He even penned the letter that I'd like for you to approve." The officer pursed his lips in distaste, wondering just who had beat him to the captain. He took the letter, regardless, and read over it with feigned interest.

Dear Administrative Committee Officer,

I, Garom Forecastle, captain of Encounter and full-fledged member to the Sailor's Guild, wish to take on Adoros as an apprentice to the Guild. The boy came to me on his own accord, without the guidance of an adult, and requested that I train him. He has proven to possess the skills I require, as well as the eagerness and willingness to learn the skills I'm capable of teaching. I believe him to be a great future addition to the Guild, and am willing to guide him along the way. I request only for the permission from the Guild, to which I am writing to.


This time, the hawked-nose man's surprise was evident on his face. Adoros was the child he had turned away earlier in the day; how had he known Garom was in need of an apprentice? And then he remembered the book; it had been a report from a trade vessel, along with notes from a custom officer who had oversaw the logbook. The customs man had suggested Garom in his entry, and it was him who brought Garom's need to light; had Adoros feigned ignorance to the words, only to actually understand them and use them after he had turned him away?

The awkward silence was broken by a cough from Garom. "Is anything amiss? The boy seemed to know what he was doing when he wrote the letter, though I obviously couldn't double check after him. I liked him, though; he had the makings of a good sailor . . ." The captain left the rest unsaid, but the Guild officer saw the meaning behind the words. 'I don't really care if you approve him or not, sir. I'm going to hire him regardless, not your suggested man.' The Guild officer was in a bind, for sure, with only one option.

"No, everything seems in order, captain. You'll have your apprentice, but in return, the Guild is to have something from you." The Guild officer rose to shut the office door, leaving the two men to discuss Captain Forecastle's future. And now, to discuss Adoros' future as well.

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