From Melior’s Personal Log:
Sea spray and outstretched skies. Gulls screaming and the steady moan of the drivewheels. I ain’t felt this alive an’ free in decades! Four days we’re cradled in the gorgeous metal hold of a Snazzclank class ship, keel ringing like the battlecry of a goddess. Snazzclanks are Gnomish in design and manufacture, but are one of few such vessels made to accommodate a mixed crew. Still, our loftier mates seemed a bit scrunched. Mr. Bhalasar for certain, precipice of a man he is. Seems too polite and longsufferin’ to let a complaint slip, though.
Iffin’ my compatriots had a grumble about the ol’ girl’s dimensions, I wasn’t attuned to hearing any of it. This crew’s multi-racial, sure, but enough are Gnomes. Enough to do things the way they ought to be. The steadfast sway of “Ehnsooleymoe” got me all nostalgic and afore you could say “Ol’ Leenakveau”, I was singing my heart out with the deckhands. Played more than my fair share of Kvar Tempesto below deck, too. Forgot how much harder it is against other Gnomes. Half of us had our pets with us: running cards, giving signals of who’s bluffing, knockin’ shit over. Tricky bastards! Slink and I loved every bleeding second of it.
I spent a lotta the daytime up in the stacks and rigging, tight-rope walking and soaking in the view. Let my hair down and felt the wind toss it about some. Mr. Slinksalot skittered up to the top of the main mast, made friendly with someone’s tuft-eared squirrel and spent a good deal of time on top of the world up there. Can’t say I blame him. Meantime, I took notice of the navigator and his optics – Stormsea, my Ma and Pa’s mark of trade. I gave ‘im an approving nod and a gleaming smile, but didn’t say nothin’ to pin my own self to the name, a’course. Navs tend to get my knees all jellified, and this one was a fine specimen indeed. Tall by Gnome measure, with a wild scruff of coal-dark hair and green eyes what looked a little angry. May’ve spent some “down time” in his bunk, ya know what I mean. Not necessarily the marrying type or nothin’, but a delightful tumble.
The hours flew by. I have my doubts that I slept more’n a couple winks here and there. Watched the sun peek its first rays over the endless horizon, curled under a woolen blanket with Kristof (the Nav). Felt the swell and pitch of the waves carrying us, moving with a living pulse what just lacks on land. Got rightly besotted at an indecent hour and placed bets for who could hop the most paddles on the drivewheels without going overboard. (Note: ‘twas not I. A wirey kid from the boiler room whooped us all.) Dried my clothes on the steampipes and sprawled out in my skivvies on the deck. Selfishly grabbed what sun I could while we had nothing pressin’. Danced on tabletop to the rhythm of spoons and wail of tin whistle. Almost slipped outta my professional decorum and gave these guys my real name at one point. No good could come from that… Fuck’s sake, Melior. Keep it together.
Went through that entire damn barrel of wine with these gearheads, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even when we spotted the Isle of Axespray upcoming, I could barely believe we’d come so far in what felt like a blink. After planting feet on Tok, I had not thought to return to a seagoing life so soon. And I never believed it could keep such a tight clutch on my heart.