Closed Tempered

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

Tempered

Postby Calla Davin on July 16th, 2019, 6:32 pm

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84th of Summer, 519 AV


Thick, sticky, salty. Calla gulped down one of the most disgusting things she'd ever tasted, trying not to wince as it went down. It wasn't warm, but it sure tasted like it should be. Maybe then it'd be bearable. Everybody else always said it got easier the more you drank it, but she'd been trying to drink it for years and it still sucked. When the petch does this start tastin good?

Calla picked up her mug of kelp beer, looking long and hard into the soupy shyke, and set the whole thing back down. The woman leaned back on her bar stool and glanced around the bar. The Kelp Bar was loud, full of sailors off a recently docked ship. They didn't leave until the morning, so tonight they were living it up. Men just like them came in and out of here all day, everyday.

Calla clacked her nails against the glass as her glance intensified. Her eyes flipped from one rugged man to the next. Too skinny. Too tall. Way too skinny. Too young. The courier turned back to her beer, taking in another gulp.

"So petchin awful." Calla muttered as she pulled her bag into her lap and felt around the inside it. She was looking for something that would make this experience more...bearable.

"Nothin ya got in that bag'll make this shyke better." An unfamiliar voice interrupted Calla, causing her to start with shock. Her head whipped around to meet the owner of the gruff voice. A small part of her hoped that it was the sailor, but the rest of her knew it wouldn't be. And it wasn't. Calla's eyes met those of a rugged man with light blue eyes. His eyes were so pure and crystalline, a stark contrast to the filth that was the rest of his body. It gave Calla an uneasy feeling.

"I was lookin more for somethin to replace it." Calla recognized the cadence and immediately matched it. It felt good, in all honesty. Sailor spoke with a frankness that she missed desperately after her father left her to fend for herself among the University folk.

Calla sat back on the stool, leaning to take another glance around the bar. There weren't any open seats left, so the sailor to her left leaned on the bar next to her. "Or someone?"

He was right, but he couldn't be. Calla wouldn't allow it. "Nah, the someone is to replace you not the drink." To punctuate, she drank another swig of kelp beer.

"Ey, aintcha a feisty one." The sailor laughed. "What's 'is name? Maybe I know 'im."

"I sure hope ya don't." Another drink.

"Alright, fine, ya prickly petchin' prude. We'll start with my name." The man reached out his heavily calloused hand. "Mord."

"Great." Calla nodded curtly to Mord and gave his hand one quick, solid shake. There was a pause in the conversation where Calla knew her name would naturally go. But she wasn't putting it there. Unfortunately, it looked like Mord was going to be persistent: the bar stool next to him opened up as its previous owner toppled out of it, and Mord was glad to perch right next to her. After another chime of uncomfortable proximity, Calla slammed a hand onto the table. "Why're ya still here? Nothin' you 'ave is somethin' I'm interested in."

His grin was insidious yet oddly charming. Mord placed his own leather beltbag on the table, placing a hand on it as it came to rest. "Ya sure 'bout that?"

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Tempered

Postby Calla Davin on July 17th, 2019, 5:01 am

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"Unless you've gotta gag in there, then ye, I'm sure." Calla threw back at the man as she kept her eyes glued to the wall in front of her. Feigning indifference was the one thing she could do best, and, by all the gods, she was doing her best. At this point in her life, she knew apathy like the back of her hand--and her hands had a confusing jumbled of lines inked into them. The trouble was whether or not the indifference was a constant show or constant state . . . and which of those was worse.

"May 'ave one of them in 'ere, now thatcha mention it." Calla didn't have to look at the man to know that he had winked. He continued: "But I'm talkin' 'bout somethin' better 'n that kelp beer ya got." Calla had a split second to decide which was more convincing: that looking towards him made her look more indifferent, or if continuing to look straight ahead made her look more indifferent. She chose to to look at him, and look at him she did. The woman made direct eye contact and leaned.

"Leave. Me. Alone." Calla chose to go with the monotone approach as she tried to convey just how "serious" she was. She most definitely did want Mord to scram, but she also wanted to know what he had in the bag. Perhaps he had a flask of some exotic alcohol, or food. As Calla slowed herself back onto the bar stool, she couldn't help but long for a real cold drink. Something from another city, one far away--but one with a port! A port with a bar just like the Kelp Bar, full of sailors returning home and celebrating. The sailors would grab a drink at the foreign-version Kelp Bar before walking back to their respective homes. Their drunken and joyous shanties would echo down the streets and into every sleeping home for miles. Everyone in this bustling town would've learned to sleep right through these shanty yawps, but their children would train their ears for the sound, train themselves to stay awake. Even the little girl who hadn't seen her father since she was six years old, would listen for that sound--a sound she could pick out even when she was old and drunk and in a crowded bar--and she'd leap into her father's arms. That foreign sailor would dump out his bag onto the floor, and his little girl would grab at trinkets from all the fantastical places her father had left her for. They'd laugh at the stories, cry over what they had missed, and drink the alcohol from the other cities.She would fall asleep under a fog of intoxication and in her fathers arms. And then the next morning he'd be gone, taking their famous shyke beer to another port town.

Calla pulled back. On second thought, it better not be a flask of some exotic alcohol. Mord tapped her on the shoulder and she jumped. "Looks like ya don't need what I got, little girl." His body erupted with a booming laugh. When he settled down, he added: "Or ya really do." The man continued to cackle as Calla got up and left her seat. She pulled her bag on and tossed the five silver mizas onto the bar. She'd estimated that she only drank about 1 silver mizas worth, but the rest would be well worth it.

"Well, 'ere's to 'opin' ya fall off the docks." Calla took one last (admittedly small) swig before slamming down the glass in the most theatrical way possible and sauntering her way right out the door.
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Tempered

Postby Calla Davin on July 30th, 2019, 2:31 am

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The evening air was refreshing as it hit Calla's face. This summer had been brutal, and it felt nice to be able to do something--anything, really--without fear of being baked alive. To make matters worse, the Kelp Bar simulated that fear; all the bodies and their movement made the bar swelter. The woman took in one cool breath of relaxation before Mord interrupted her peace.

"Alright, listen. Ya look like ya got somethin' weighin' ya down. Let me help." The portly man popped back up at her side. Calla rolled her eyes. He's really tryin' to make this sale,

"Dontcha ever give up?" Calla wondered why he had followed her out here. There were plenty of people inside that he could've pitched his product to. Following her out here? It was bizarre.

"Not with you, no."

Mord's words caught her off guard, stopping her midstride. There was something about his tone. It wasn't playful like back in the bar. It was more urgent. She squared herself with Mord. "Excuse me?"

"He said ya'd be a handful." Clearly happy that he got her to stop, Mord returned to his previous jovial mood. Calla, on the other hand, was more annoyed than ever.

"What the petch are you talkin' about? You're following me around, talkin' in petchin' code. I'm over it." She waved off the sailor and turned away. Calla picked up speed as she made her way down the docks. Behind her, Mord followed. The sound of his footsteps stayed right behind her, soon followed by the sound of frantic rustling. He was looking for something in his bag, and Calla wasn't going to wait around to see what it was.

She took off.

City running was something she did almost every day, so she didn't feel weird as she began to sprint down the street. Besides, between being stabbed to death by an overly attached sailor and judged by drunks for running, Calla would always choose the latter. Her bag obnoxiously slapped against her left hip. It made so much noise, that she couldn't hear if Mord was following her or not.

"Petch, girl!" Mord began to cough as he slowed behind her. Calla didn't turn as she saw the opportunity to pull away. Just as she rounded a corner, Mord shouted: "Calla!" At first, Calla didn't realize that Mord wasn't supposed to know her name. People used her name all the time, and it wasn't like it was some secret. But as she remembered that she specifically didn't give this man her name, she turned around. She was still running, of course.

"Kol sent me!"

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Tempered

Postby Calla Davin on July 30th, 2019, 11:30 pm

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Keep running. Lie. Lie! Lie right now! Calla's dishonest tendency pulled at her, willed her to move. But she couldn't. Memories weighed her down. She remembered the last time she saw her father, but she found herself forgetting the details. What was he wearing? Carrying? Had he shaved? Her brain tried to logically place the components of Kol's face together--of course he hadn't shaved! So there was definitely some kind of dark facial fur--but it was becoming a struggle. All she had left of him was a vague shape with brown eyes and a bulbous nose. And Mord, apparently.

The man approached her, heaving as he did. He leaned over, hands on his knees, as Calla took a cautious step back. Calla sneered down at him and placed both hands on her hips. "What kinda sailor are you? You can't even run for two ticks." She had dropped the accent, instead preferring to focus on clearly displaying how put off she was.

"That ain't runnin'" Mord groaned as he began to straighten. "You was sprintin' like a pack a wolves was after ya. Whys a pretty gal like you able ta run like that?" Mord's potbelly thrusted in and out as his breathing continued to be laborious. Calla crossed her arms in front of her chest and waited. "Ah, no matter. Kol gave me this letter, told me you'd be 'ere if you'd be anywhere." The man stuck his grubby, grimy little mitts into his bag and fished out a tattered letter.

Calla snatched the piece of paper out of Mord's hand before he could hand it to her. The parchment was yellow and covered in stains. Throughout there were circles of varying sizes that swelled from coming into contact with moisture. Between her hands, it was soft. The woman raised it to her nose and inhaled the scent . . . sea water, booze, sweat. Her father didn't ever wear any kind of perfume or scent, but this would be it if he did.

The courier stuffed the letter into her own bag. "That it?"

Mord, stunned, stammered: "Aintcha gonna read it?"

"Not in front of you, no."

"Fair 'nuf." Mord reached into his bag and gave pulled out one more thing: a small pouch of low quality. "May not wanna sniff this un out 'ere." The sailor dropped the pouch into Calla's hands, then nodded. "Be seein' ya, girl." And with that, the man slowly turned and began waddling away.

"Oh, now you're in a hurry to leave?" Calla huffed in one part amusement, two parts annoyance.

Mord nodded. "He talks boutcha a lot. Just wanted to see what the fuss was 'bout." Questions flew through the woman's mind, but she let the sailor go. Mostly because he creeped her out, but also because the poetic ending to their encounter wasn't lost on her. She wasn't one for ruining cosmic beauty, or whatever. Mord crept around a corner and out of sight, leaving Calla alone with her letter and pouch.

Her eyes dropped to the package in her hand. It was small and light--it barely felt like she was holding anything at all. She closed her palm around it and squeezed. The contents crunched together; there was nothing of real substance inside. It was all malleable feeling. The woman tugged at the opening, releasing an interesting smell. It was new to Calla. As she rolled a leaf around in her hand, the scent intensified. A couple turned onto her street, and Calla quickly remembered Mord's words. She stuffed the unknown herb back into its pouch.

"What trouble are you gettin' me into now, dad?" Calla muttered as she stuffed the whole shebang back into her bag. Night was quickly approaching. If she wanted answers tonight, there was only one place that came to mind. The woman took a heavy step, exhaling deeply as she made her decision. "Well, petch."

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Tempered

Postby Calla Davin on July 31st, 2019, 6:15 am

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When Calla was seventeen she moved out. Money was tight and life was hard, but she didn't really mind. She had food and a place to sleep. Not to mention that living on her own was quieter, more peaceful. Even though her father had left and the screaming fits drifted farther and farther apart, Calla couldn't stand staying in her family's house. The halls echoed with the vibrancy of her childhood--a life that she'd never get back. The house screamed emptiness. She didn't have the time nor the energy to put up with that.

The only problem was her mother. The two were close. Once. And although Calla had moved on, her mother still clung to the relationship they once had. She'd never tell her mother this, but sometimes Calla'd look out her window and see her mother looking at her apartment door. Whether it was a drug-induced hallucination or truth, Calla didn't know. She also didn't know which was better.

The woman was attached, and there was no way the courier could get rid of that baggage. Which became a problem when Calla needed something. As the woman walked through the darkening streets, she tried to place the last time she'd seen her mother. In all honesty, it probably was on the job. Her mom got a lot of mail. Maybe Calla could pretend the letter was for her mother? She could always steal it back later; she knew where the spare key was.

Then again...her mother might have some adverse emotions in that scenario. She didn't understand it, but Renia still had feelings for her father. A letter from him probably wouldn't go over well.

So she could pretend the herb was for her mother? Her mother loved plants. She even dreamed to be a Herbalism teacher at the University one (far, far away) day. So it made sense to Calla that Renia would get a strange plant. That leaves her with making the additional, redundant trip back home to retrieve the herb, though.

Calla sighed. The truth it was, she guessed. The young woman neared her childhood home. In that last few chimes that it took to close the distance, Calla felt annoyed by the banality of this whole situation. She normally would take this time to prepare the details of her lie. "Just workin' late cause of the heat." "No idea who this is from. No return label, no name. Just was told to bring it here." "Yeah, I've missed you." But she was committed to the mundane route, however boring.

She knocked on the door, and it took a solid four chimes before Renia answered the door. "I told you there's no need to knock." Her mother sighed as she awkwardly shuffled the door wide open. "This is still your home."

"Well get the Waveguard then, cause somebody has been stealing my mizas every season." Calla replied. She stayed her distance, leaving a noticeable large gap between the two. "I gotta get going, can I ask about a plant?" Calla tried to sound at least a little bit enthused and pleasant.

"Sure, hon. Come in?" Renia assumed she knew the answer, so the woman retreated a few steps back into the house. Calla stepped forward as well, but only enough to catch and hold the door open.

"Nah, ma. Sorry. I really can't be too long." Calla waited for her mother to return to the door before she pulled out the pouch. Her mother immediately recoiled a little from the smell.

"You seriously don't know what that is, Calla?" Her mother coughed slightly before smirking. "I thought you were all grown up now."

"Should I know what this is?" Calla opened up the pouch and took out a small leaf.

"Well, I guess it isn't all too common around here." Renia took the leaf and sniffed in quickly. She nodded. "It's Temper, honey."

"What's that?" Calla took back the herb and sniffed it herself. It had a light stench. It was strange, though; the plant was just a hair away from being unpleasant smelling. As it was, it was tolerable. Maybe even...nice.

"It's like Poppers, just not from a fish. You grind it up and smoke it." Renia crossed her arms in front of her. Her tone shifted. "It's a drug. I can't believe you're buying stuff without even knowing what it is first."

"I didn't buy it--"

"Oh, no, not with mizas I'm sure." Renia interrupted. "I just wish you would--"

"Mom, knock it off." Calla returned the favor. "I don't need a lecture from you. Besides, I don't even think you're certified to give one."

"Oh, look at you. Judging people who haven't achieved their dreams." Renia shook her head as she spoke. "At least I have something to live for."

"Then act like it." Calla quickly raised then lowered her eyebrows, gave a quick smirk, and backed away. "Thanks for the help, Renia."

"You're just like your father." Renia threw back at Calla before slamming her door shut. Calla turned and headed for her apartment. It was several chimes away, which was normally good. But right now, it only gave her more time to think.
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Tempered

Postby Calla Davin on August 1st, 2019, 5:15 am

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Calla wasn't sure why she was so bitter. She had heard once that your relationship with your parents stays fixed. Even when you move out and grow up, they still treat you like their child and you still treat them like your parents. Trouble was, Renia wasn't any good at being a parent. So how should Calla treat her then?

The pouch felt much heavier than it did before. Nothing intrinsically, but it weighed heavy with new knowledge now. Like when a child squeezes your hand: it hurts, but only because you know you can't fight back. Value adds weight, and this herb was suddenly valuable.

Why would her father send her a drug? After all this time, this was what was supposed to bridge the distance? Calla scoffed. Kol always had an unconventional way of showing his love. He'd bring her alcohol from faraway cities when she was younger and they'd bond over the giddiness they'd bring. To Calla, it felt like they were friends more than family.

The woman finally made her way home, scaling up the stairs and into her apartment. It was a mess, as usual. She didn't own much, but it was all on the floor. She freed herself from her bag and placed it onto the floor next to the door. Despite the appearance, Calla had developed a system: necessities near the bed, unimportant stuff farther away. The less important an object was to her daily life, the farther away it was from the bed.

The courier knocked her boots off. "Now where are you hiding..." Calla muttered as she approached the bed. She didn't have any tobacco at the moment, so her waterpipe hadn't moved from the windowsill. "Gotcha." She sat in the chair that was in front of the window, using the moonlight to prepare her pipe.

The courier hadn't ever actually learned how to properly use the pipe, but she figured it was easy enough. Water cooled the smoke, which you then inhaled. Seemed simple. The rest she was sure she'd figure out along the way.

"Water for the waterpipe." She hummed lightly as she poured water in through the mouthpiece. The pipe was small and, as such, Calla overestimated the amount of water it would need. Water spilled out and all over her lap. "Petch, petch, wrong." The second time around, she filled the jar almost to the top and left the long stem open.

Now for the annoying part. Calla didn't have a grindy thing to make the herb leaves small enough to put into the pipe, so she had to get creative. She took one of the leaves and rubbed it between two fingers. Small pieces of the leaf broke off. Sadly, these pieces were still too big. Calla looked around her dark room for something that could be an improvised mortar and pestle. All she could see was waves of tarp and tent and shyke.

Turning to face front, she realized the answer was right in front of her. Calla rolled her eyes at her own stupidity. She placed a few leaves on the windowsill, put one hand just under the ledge, and ground the herb with the bottom of her pipe. It worked marginally better than her fingertips, initially producing flecks of leaf. The woman bent her arm and leaned into it, grinding in slow circular motions. She couldn't press too hard--that would risk breaking the pipe. So, instead, she just worked at it for long few chimes.

When she was done, she swept the crushed herb into her open palm. Some of it was permanently stuck to the windowsill, causing Calla to cringe. She put the product into a small bowl on the side of the pipe. She assumed this is where it went, because the bowl was removable and contained the only other hole leading to the water chamber. Calla poked the herb a few times, packing it down into the bowl.

Calla clapped her hands together in excitement. This was it! It was finally time to see what sort of knowledge her father was trying to impart! The woman grinned as she looked at all she had accomplished. For somebody who didn't know what she was doing, Calla thought she was doing pretty well. As she picked up the pipe to finally smoke it, though, her grin quickly subsided.
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Tempered

Postby Calla Davin on August 3rd, 2019, 5:56 am

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Calla was not one for planning. She wanted to smoke this foreign drug, so she did it. In her mind, obstacles would just sort of move out of the way. Don't know how to use a waterpipe? Wing it. No mortar and pestle? Use your windowsill. No matches? Use...use what?

The woman put the pipe down and looked around her room. Not a single flame of any kind was in sight. Her hearth lay cold in the corner of the room, and her lone candle sat extinguished on the table next to her bed. The pipe was small and fragile, so Calla figured it needed a small flame. The hearth wouldn't do, but she figured it was a start.

Calla crossed the room to her hearth, tripping over no less than three things as she did so. Her flint and steel sat on top of the hearth, and the woman picked it up. She looked at the stone and metal in her hand, wondering if she could light the pipe from that. Looking at the pipe from across the room, though, convinced her that plan was a dud; flints sprayed the sparks everywhere. She'd probably set herself on fire before she'd set the herb on fire.

So she returned to the original plan. She crouched and swung the small door to the hearth open. She poked around the inside of the hearth halfheartedly. It was dead. Calla had let it run out when the weather had started to get unbearable. She didn't need the extra heat, and cooking wasn't something she did too often. She preferred to stop at the Inn or just use up her ration chip. The hearth was redundant.

Just because she didn't have a lit fire didn't mean she didn't know how to start one. But it was getting late, and the woman was impatient. She didn't have the time or energy to sit there and nurse kindling into a flame just so she could light a pipe and then extinguish it all before bed. No. There had to be a better way.

Shutting the door to the hearth, Calla stood and leaned against the cold metal box. Slowly, a plan formulated. She needed to light a small flame. Candles produced that sort of flame. So she needed to light a candle. Calla crossed back to the other end of her room and picked up her candle off the table. Now that she had a candle, all she needed was a flame. And if she couldn't find a flame in here then she'd have to go elsewhere.

Calla didn't bother putting her boots back on as she exited the room. She looked up the hall, then back down. The building was mostly quiet as people prepared to turn in for the night. Upstairs, there was laughter. Calla noted that as a last resort. Her neighbor to the right hated her. He always slammed on the wall whenever she made the slightest noise, so she figured he wouldn't take kindly to her knocking on his door. The woman began to walk down the hall in the other direction, peering under the doors. Finally, she reached a door with a warm, soft glow reaching out from underneath it. She knocked.

Another woman answered the door. "Hello?"

"Right, yeah, hi. I'm Calla from down the hall." She pointed her door out to the woman, who, in turn, leaned into the hall to look. "My fire's dead. Can I get a light from you?" Calla lifted the candle, placing it between the two.

"Oh, sure. Hold on." The woman took the candle, shut the door, and returned a chime later with a lit flame. "Here you are."

"Thank you so much. Night." Calla nodded and the shuffle-ran back to her room. She continued to shuffle after she entered the room, moving her feet in sweeping motions so that she wouldn't trip over anything. She needed a light, but she wasn't in the mood for burning her whole room down. After re-situating herself in front of the window, Calla breathed in a sigh of relief. "Finally."

Calla lifted the pipe and examined it. She knew the basics of a fire: air plus embers equals fire. In this case, she figured the herb was the kindling. It just needed air. So, Calla placed her mouth on one opening and the candle on the other. She began to suck in--because blowing out would get water everywhere--as she moved the tip of the candle to the herb.

It took a while for the plant to catch fire. Calla tried tilting the candle, but as she did this the wax dripped off the candle. Luckily, it landed on her pants. The shock of almost getting hit with hot wax caused her to break her connection, though, so she had to start once more. Again, she began to suck in while hovering the candle around the bowl of the pipe. The leaves began to catch fire. Slowly at first, but, after a little bit of effort, a decent amount of the herb was turning ashy-black.

The problem was that the smoke wasn't coming out of the pipe. Calla continued to inhale, but nothing happened. Even after she stopped lighting it, the pipe kept its intoxicating secrets to itself. Calla was beginning to run out of breath, so she had no choice but to pull back. She lifted her face from the pipe and smoke wafted out.

"Oh, now we do the thing, hm?" She rolled her eyes. "Fine. Round two." She was optimistically calling this her second try, but at this point she was definitely in the double-digits. Smoke built inside the pipe's chamber, but still refused to escape into her lungs. Maybe if it came out when I cleared this hole... Calla thought as she eyed the second hole. She stopped lighting the herb, placed the candle on the windowsill, and pulled the bowl out of the hole.

Bubbles erupted inside the pipe as the smoke rushed into her. Calla continued to pull, watching as the water turned inside. To her enjoyment and dismay, the smoke kept coming long after she had decided it was enough. Her body convulsed, her eyes bulged, and her lungs rejected everything they had just taking in. Calla cough violently. She put the pipe down as she rocked back and forth. She couldn't stop coughing--she couldn't breath!

Her throat was on fire. Clearly, her body was upset with her. This is nothing like poppers! Poppers went down rough, but a toddler could get used to them in a matter of chimes! This, on the other hand, felt like it had the potential to kill. Calla scrambled for her bag, continuing to cough the whole way.

"Get over it and die already!" Her neighbor screamed as he pounded on their shared wall. "Some of us are trying to sleep!" Calla coughed right through the witty reply she thought up. Speaking was completely out of her realm right now.

Finally, she found her flask. Thank Priskil for ya, Flops! Calla saluted the dead man who she had pilfered this flask from before beginning to chug down water. A never-ending stream of water rushed down her throat, temporarily soothing it. Some coughs fought through the water, but for the most part they subsided. Calla fell onto her back, breathing heavy as her body began to calm down.

She didn't know what kind of sick petchin' joke this was, but she was sure that her father was rolling over with laughter. "Petch you, dad. Some petchin' gift." Even though her insides hurt and and her clothes were now wet, Calla found that a part of her was happy. Somewhere out there, her father would be proud, or disappointed, or entertained. It didn't matter, because, at the end of the day, it meant that a sailor was out there thinking just as much about her as she was about him.

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