Chapter 2 – A New Life
Part 3: The Seas of Change
“Follow me.” Sven said as he passed Velroth.
As the two boarded the ship, all work stopped. Sven took the opportunity to address his crew. “Gentlemen. This is Velroth. He’s going to be helping us today. Ingnar…Ingnar…HEY!” Sven shouted as a murmur grew about the crew. Silence was immediately restored. “If I am ever interrupted by such squalor again, all parties will be shore-lined immediately. WITH. OUT. PAY! Is that understood?” After a moment, and apparently dissatisfied with the answer, Sven asked again, “I said, is that understood?” With a much more vocal response, Sven continued. “Ingnar has expressed interest in keeping this man onboard, so I expect all of you to show him a welcoming face. Hroland?”
“Assign this man some duties.”
“C’mon, let’s get you started. Man that oar, we’re about to push out from dock.”
Velroth, without hesitation, manned his station, picked up the oar and awaited instruction.
The vessel was a bit larger than he was accustomed to, but the motions were all the same, and he was soon moving about as if he had been a part of the crew since its inception. As the morning hours passed on, the crew began to open up a bit to Velroth, and at times, seemed to even forget that he was Dunmer. By mid-day, they had taken in the nets from the prior day; their bounty was marginal. With a new strategy in mind, Sven moved to deeper waters, and with the equipment ready, all there was to do at the moment was wait.
“How goes it with our newest member?” Sven asked his first mate, Hroland.
“Honestly, captain, he moves about the boat as if he’s been here for years. He keeps mostly to himself, but I’ve noticed the other men watching him, and have over heard a few of their conversations.”
“They're impressed, captain. They’re saying that he goes about things in an unusual way, but a smart way. Doin’ things that they haven’t seen, or didn’t think to do.”
“He’s smart, Hroland.” Replied Sven. “I’ve been watching him, too. He says very little, but goes out of his way to be seen. He’s teaching them, Hroland. And they don’t even know it.” Hroland smiled, “So it seems.”
“We’ve still some time, tell him to come here. I’d like a word with him.”
Approaching Velroth, Hrothland paused a moment while Velroth tied off a loop in his line. “What do plan to do with that?” Hroland asks. “It’s a type of slip knot. If I hold here, it stays, however, when I let go, it pops open. Now, if I wrap up the net, like this, I can cast it and reduce the chance of getting tangled up in it.”
“Cleaver. Captain wants a word.”
Setting down the rope, Velroth proceeded to where Sven was waiting. “Yes, sera…sorry. Yes Captain?”
“You know your way around a fishing vessel, no doubt about that. Tell me, what do you think of my decision to set out deeper?”
“This time of year, I think it’s a good one, captain. And no, I’m not simply agreeing with you. The cold winds are coming in early, it seems, that’s going to drive our catch out away from the freezing shoreline. The earlier nets were proof of that, I think.
“And, if I may. Judging from our current course, you’re heading for that outcropping of rocks. Where do you plan to set?”
“On the West side, where it’s calmest. Why?”
“If the winds continue as they are, I would agree, but from what I've observed during my journey here, they usually reverse at night, do they not?”
“Then we might be better served setting on the East side. The fish we're after will almost certainly begin to migrate to calmer waters at sunset. And though we will catch some of them during this migration, if we set up on the East, I believe we will trap many more of them. Our nets will be waiting at their destination.”
“Your logic is sound, I will take it into consideration. Although casting nets in rough seas can be dangerous, and those clouds are moving fast. We're going to get wet.”
“Aye, captain. It is. And yes, they are. We will need to be quick.”
“Thank you Velroth, you are dismissed.” With a nod, Velroth took his leave.
Upon arriving back at his station, Velroth was greeted by several of the other fisherman, all curious about his slip knot. Velroth spent the next 15 minutes explaining, and demonstrating, why he had prepped his line the way he did. He also fielded several questions about fishing off the shores of Morrowind. The sun was getting close to the horizon now, and the winds began to increase.
“I don’t know.” Said one of the crew. “Seems like a lot of extra work. I mean, yeah, I can see the benefit if you’re out in the big waves, but on normal waters, I’m not sure of the benefit.”
“I agree.” Replied Velroth, with a bit of ferver, so as to be heard over the increasing wind, "but once I noticed that we were heading to deep waters, well, I assumed we could hit some rough patches.” And then, suddenly, as if on cue, a clap of thunder sounded, and waves started breaking over the bow. They were at their destination.
Sven immediately began barking orders. “But Captain!” Shouted one of the crew. “There’s no way we can cast out in this! We should move to the other side where it’s calmer.”
“We will cast here, and now, as the Captain ordered! Is that understood?” Exclaimed, Hroland, an angry growl in his voice.
The next 3 hours, until they were in sight of the docks, were like something from a nightmare. The swells grew both in size and ferocity, throwing around vessel and crew alike.
Velroth took control of those around him, guiding them so as to cast their net as a single unit. He spoke with such confidence and authority, no one questioned him, and together, they cast in unison. After all nets were out, they began the long trek back to shore.
Once docked, the crew began to depart. “Velroth.” Shouted Sven, as Velroth disembarked. “I expect members of my crew here by sunrise.” Sven's mind was at ease It would seem that this rough outing was what his crew needed to instill trust in the elf; perhaps it was what he needed as well.
Velroth said nothing, but nodded.
As he stepped into his new house, Velroth said nothing, ate all he was given, and went straight to bed. Nehrine followed him to bed shortly afterwards, kissed him on the forehead as he lay sleeping. “I’m glad you had a good day,” she whispered. Then she blew out the candle on her night stand and fell asleep.