Solo [Quayside] Before the Harbor Lie

Minnie boards a ship to Abura

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

[Quayside] Before the Harbor Lie

Postby Philomena on February 27th, 2015, 3:36 pm


The rotten ice cracked and slurped in the dusk-light. It still clung to the stone edges of the walks, soft and filthy with the slow snow-melt from the house-eaves as Minnie followed the way from Wright Manor down the row towards the sea. She hauled, now, her last parcel, the chest with her books, and with the Kena’s indecipherable journals, and tucked carefully in the top, her Qalaya doll. The rest already was stowed on the ship.

It was to be her last walk through the city, and she would have to do it in shadow. Traveling across from the fence-rails of the gardens at the manor, she realized that this would be the first spring-seasonn since Gypa left her that she could not wait for him there when the bulbs began to force their way out toward the sun. She had left a little gift for the gardener and housekeeper, as shadowy as they were, as disinclined to communicate directly. She felt, somehow, that they found small ways to tell her they acknowledged her humanity - a fire stoked while she slept, a lilac trimmed back to disencumber her view of the snowy lawns from her windows. Little things. And, they did not give her secrets out, or poke into her things, and this, above all things, was a gift. She wondered if they had been this way with Ms Charm Wright. The gift had been small - the money, she humbly reminded herself, was not hers - but she hoped that they would understand her gratitude.

She threaded, now, along the crest of the hill, and then halfway down, to Mrs. Shears shop. Resting in the shadows, she watched, and no light showed. She took the little knife that Jossy had given her and struggled to open it - it was always persnickety, but especially so in the chill - then slipped across the street into the door shadows. Beneath her previous inscription, she carved as legibly as possible “To Abura, via Magpie, Winter of Same Year.” It was a bit long and she crouched on her knees to write the last letters of it, which ended up a bit crowded. It looked like a child’s graffiti, but she tried not to think about it, brushign chip and dust from it, and turning toward the street. She wondered, for a moment, if it had been stupid - what if the wrong person found it? But, after all, she thought, the Wave Guard would probably be more or less glad she’d tottered off to somewhere else, somewhere they need not concern themselves with her.

The rest of the walk was cold, but only cold enough to make her marvel at how wonderful it was to have well-made clothes. She had always thought, if she were honest with herself, that new things from a good tailor were only there to flatter a figure she didn’t have, or telegraph status he didn’t really seek. But, now, she began to see the allure of a well-made garment. She wore a heavy watch-coat of thick lambswool, that she’d spent hours brushing, simply for the pleasure of feeling the deep blue fabric and the smart nickel buttons, over a traveling gown with woolen stockings woven with a smoothness she did not previously think possible - and they were so light, but so warm all at once! She resolved, when she returned, to look more deeply into Kena and Charm’s parents - she knew a bit of them, of course, but there story ended before the circumnavigation, and she’d never considered the more prosaic elements of their influence - such as an education in how to chose clothing of fine, sturdy workmanship.

She hardly minded, even, that they did not quite fit - Kena had clearly grown a bit taller before her bust came in, and even then had not gone to curve with the same eagerness that Minnie’s body had done so. If anything, the constraint of the sturdy stitches was comforting, it reminded her that the clothes were there, and from whence they came. She felt a kind of discomfort, but a thrilling discomfort, in remembering the clothes had been Kenabelle Wright’s. She wondered what she had done in them. Was Minnie wearing the coat Kena had worn the first time she’d taken a reading on an astrolabe? Was this dress one she had worn to slip into the arms of some childhood sweetheart? The humanity of these things gave Minnie a feeling of almost wickedness, as if she had climbed into a hero’s ill-fitting skin, and was playing charades.

The wind bit keenly, then, promising one of the last bone cracking storms of the season, perhaps. She hoped it would not hold her ship back. Now that she found herself leaving, she wanted to simply be done with it. She had said her farewells, those that she could, and the very fact that she could not say more was a pain she wished to leave behind. She’d left messages with Jocylinda for those she would want to find her. She’d left a long letter for Lanie, if she should return, and she had felt surprisingly little shame at going. Lanie’s time for her, she felt, had not yet come. And perhaps, perhaps it was time for Minnie to find a story to tell, when Lanie came.

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