Chapter 2 – A New Life
Part 2: Anvil and the Monger
After another quick trip to Sadri’s, both Velroth and Silas went their separate ways; upon advice from Sadri, Velroth to the docks, Silas to the smith.
“But. I’m not looking to be an apprentice.” Silas said exacerbated. “I’m a fully qualified smith.”
“I’m sorry,” replied Oengul War-Anvil, “but I’m in no position to take on another apprentice, let alone a partner. Especially not based solely on your word.”
“And the word of a Dunmer, at that. And before you ask. No. You cannot rent space at my forge. What kind of incentive is there for me to do that? So that I have that much more trouble selling my own wares? I don’t think so. Isn’t there need of a smithy for your own kind in the Quarters?”
“Yes, I suppose so, but I don’t have the equipment I need.”
“Not my problem. Now, be off with you, little elf, I have work to do.”
The conversation was clearly over. Frustrated, Silas made his way slowly back to the Grey Quarters.
At the docks, Velroth was pointed in the direction of a Nord by the name of Ingnar Speartip, Windhelm’s leading fishmonger.
Ingnar was an aging man with short white hair. He wore a tattered fisherman’s cap, faded by years in the sun. And though his physical strength was not what it used to be, he obviously had not lost any of his vigor.
Velroth soon discovered that he was a pleasantly agreeable man. His pale blue eyes sparkled in the early morning sun. As his breath crystallized in the cold air, he replied loudly, “Sure, I can put you to work right now!”
“Sven! Come here, lad!”
A tall, wiry looking man with sun-bleached hair and deep lines upon his face came over. He looked suspiciously as Velroth.
“Sven, this is, er, Velroth, was it?” Velroth simply nodded. “He just landed yesterday. Looking for work. I know you’re short-handed right now.”
“I don’t know, Ingnar. Uthur won’t like it much when he finds out.”
“Uthur shattered his damn leg! Even with a healer’s help, he’ll be lucky if he’ll ever be able to walk again without a crutch. Let alone being able to keep upright in rocking ship.
“Oh, don’t give me that look. You know it’s true, and so does he. All I’m asking is you give this man a chance. Dammit, Sven, you need the extra pair of hands.”
“Look, Ingnar! My men are the best in the fleet, and you know it!”
“I wasn’t questioning you, or your men’s abilities!” Ingnar interrupted. “You are the best in the fleet, and everyone knows it. But even so, being a man short has cut into your numbers. And on top of it, your men are getting beat up out there unnecessarily. Weren’t you telling me just yesterday that you were lucky to have that healing salve on board because Eshburn got caught up in the nets and was thrown down hard on the deck?”
As Sven was obviously about to make some sort of retort, Ingnar continued. “Look, this is the first inquiry we’ve had since Uthur’s accident 2 months ago. I can’t have another down month like last. If anyone can put this man to the test and tell me if he’s worth the investment, it’s you.”
“Alright. Alright. I’ll look him over. When can you start?”
“Right now, sera.”
“Good. We’re about to sail, go wait for me by the plank over there. And that’s the last time I hear that ‘sera’ crap, got it?”
“It’s a term of respect, but yes, I understand.”
“Oh, Velroth.” Ingnar quickly added as he was about to leave. “Today is a trial, and on your time. If Sven says your worth keeping, you’re officially on the books tomorrow.”
“Agreed,” was all Velroth said before turning and walking away.
Once Velroth was out of earshot, Sven continued. “You know the men are going to react poorly to a grey skin on board.”
“Yes, I know.” Replied Ingnar. “But, I’m desperate, Sven. Just yesterday I was called out by Jorleif, himself! I have to get back on track or the trade routes will dry up. Even now several of the traders are beginning to give Dawnstar a look.”
“Is that what Jorleif told you?”
“Yes. And I don’t have any reason to think he’s not telling the truth.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind competition, but when it’s due to labor shortages…well, it just doesn’t seem like fair competition. We need everyone we can get.”
“But it’s just one man.”
“I know. Uthur was a damned good fisherman; his loss has been felt. The fleet looks up to your boat,” Ingnar continued, “and like it or not, when your numbers are down, so are theirs. Please, Sven, make him work. Besides, Dunmer are sea-faring folk, and have an excellent reputation as such.”
“I know.” Replied Sven. “Why do you think I’m worried about my men?