The Nightingale: From the Crow’s Nest

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Some say the crow’s nest was a punishment. The toss and the turn of the sea often was enough to make a seasoned sailor spill his guts at such a height. But Arameril did not feel nauseated as she leaned over the rail of the little platform to scan the surrounding waters for the prize.

“There she blows! Off the port bow! To the left, people, the left!”

The spray from the whale’s exhale reached her all the way up at the top of the mast and Arameril giggled in a very un-sailor-like manner. Below her, tourists and citizens rushed to the left rail to see the giant animal for themselves as Scuppers ushered the more reluctant ones to the view.

The sharp wind caught Arameril’s hair and she laughed as she held onto the rail lightly. Her feet were sure and adjusted to each roll of the ship naturally; she was born to climb the rigging and balance across tight ropes and sails and have the salt breeze on her skin.

The other sailors knew her well enough from her frequent visits as a patron to know her true passion for the sea. Her transition from school girl to sailor went as smoothly as it could have. Salty Sal, the ship’s captain, ensured that she did not hear any off colour comments, at least. Though if she had heard any, she had several comebacks prepared.

It helped that when the captain had ordered her to to top of the mainsail on the first day aboard, she beat the other men despite the strong wind that necessitated the refastening of the rope that had come loose. She heaved and hoed with the strongest, and if they marveled how such a petite little thing could lift so much, they did not ask.

She wondered if they remembered the trial.

Still, her life was happy. She had what she wanted, and her father had made it so. Her only regret was Neneth was the one cooking for Pengail and washing his clothes. Soon, she would be able to use her wages to pay her fee and relieve her father of the burden. Pengail would be able to give up the second (and third) shifts, and they would be able to spend more time together.

The ship began to turn back to the docks and Arameril smiled at the children rushing to the other rail to watch the city as they turned. Her city. And while the rumours of dark things stirring the past year grew with each passing day, she knew that her city would find its light as long as there were people to protect it.

People like her Pengail. People like her.

As the wind tossed her hair, she leaned over to watch over the docking of The Chipper Kipper. Already folks were lining up for the next tour. Once the ship was moored, she jumped lightly to a line and slid down to the deck below to laughter and light clapping. She helped people disembark with Scuppers. She greeted those coming aboard. She hoisted sail in open waters and climbed back to her perch and called out when she spotted a school of dolphins leaping in their wake.

Arameril was content in the near perfection of the moment, and she relished every bit of it.

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