Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,
Rowyn
rowyn

Periplus

The rocking of the ocean's waves was barely perceptible in the forward cabin of the Good Try, where the captain and navigator studied a periplus of the Vandorian coast and compared it to the chart of their current position. "There." the captain pointed to a line two-thirds of the way down the long, painstakingly annotated scroll. "We'll make port at Jango."

"Jango?" The navigator gaped at his captain. "'ave ye gone daft, Cap'n Wymar? D'ye not remember what 'appened the last time we ported at Jango?"

Wymar tapped his fingers against his lips. "Jango ... Jango ... no, it's not ringing a bell."

"Jango! The mess what started at the pub. Wit' the general's daughter? And the two seamstresses?"

The captain cocked his head to one side. "Could you be a tad more specific?"

"Ye were all playin' that game wit' the bottles and the scissors, and then the general an' his men stopped by fer a drink? The whole army ended up chasin' after ye in the dead of the night!"

"Ohhhhhhh. Oh! oh." Wymar frowned. "That was Jango?"

"Yes!"

Wymar clapped a hand across the navigator's back. "Buck up, Arnie. That was years ago."

"It were 16 months!"

The captain waved a hand in dismissal. "A bygone era. I'm sure they've forgotten by now."

"Ye burnt down 'alf their city in yer escape!"

"No! No. Not half. A quarter, maybe. Anyway, it was an accident. No one can prove I did it, and no doubt they've rebuilt since. Look, we need to resupply and the crew's restless because we only stayed in port two days at Innstere. It'll be fine." Wymar waggled a finger at the navigator to forestall further objections. "We'll be out of rum in three days' time if we don't port at Jango. Do you want to be here when that happens?"

Arnie ducked his head and pulled his cap down over his eyes. "No. No sir."

Four days later, the Good Try was berthed at the north end of the Jango port. Arnie was at the navigator's table again, when the door flew open. Arnie hunched forward over the table as a wild-eyed sailor looked in. "Mr. Arnold! Where's the first mate? The captain's been captured!"

"'as 'e now? Mr. Linton's at the helm, I believes. Ye go tell 'im, see what 'e wants ta do."

The sailor blinked and nodded, heading out. Arnie sat back and poured the small heap of coins he'd been hunched over from the tabletop and into his purse. A few minutes later, barked orders from without carried through the cabin door. "Everyone back on board! Shore leave's cancelled! We're leaving 'fore they decide to hold anyone else here responsible for our former captain's actions!" The door opened. "Mr. Arnold! How soon can you have a course prepared?"

"Gots one all ready here." He gestured to the chart before him. "Figured as we might 'ave ta leave in a hurry, Mr. Linton. I means ... Cap'n Linton?"

The new captain grunted. "Good man!" He exited.

Arnie shook his head. "Told ye not ta port 'ere, Cap'n Wymar," he muttered to himself. He gave a thoughtful look to the periplus unrolled beside him, then took out his pen to jot down two new annotations beside the entry for Jango: one symbol for strong rule of law and another for pays high bounties for criminals.




Periplus: an ancient navigation term for a document listing in order the ports and coastal landmarks, with approximate distances between, and other annotations added by navigators. Source: Wikipedia.

Bard threatened me with this word this morning, so if it shows up in sythyry at some point, that's because I took it from him, not because he got it from me.
Tags: fiction, word of the -, writing
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