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Chapter 8



There was a great rending sound that filled the air, accompanied by the sound of tortured wooden planks. The sodden streets were full of milling townsfolk who seemed to all be rushing in the direction of the port. Kevesk felt himself get sucked along with the flowing tide of humanity that clogged the streets. He had nowhere else to go in particular, so he didn't much care where he was going. The rain beat down senselessly upon the people crammed into the streets like so many sardines. He heard one passer-by yelp as he slipped in the rain, and then the storm was gone. Except for a few scudding clouds in the sky as they raced off to the far corners of the earth, nothing remained of the massive storm which had overshadowed the city two minutes prior. As the mob of warm, sodden people wormed itself around the last bend in the inevitably crooked streets, there was a sudden collective intake of air, as the mass registered shock at what they saw. The "Pribe of Portsend" lay beached on its side on the sandbar a little further out to sea, a great wound in its side. It seemed that it had ripped a hole in its hull as it ran aground, presumably during the storm. The townsfolk were dismayed to see the end of this ship loom so near, not particularly because it was a great ship, but because it had brought them such entertainment from its beginning. The "Pribe of Portsend" was the ragged mutt that everyone in the town looked after because it made them laugh. The day it was christened was a laughable disaster. The ship had been meant to be named the "Pride of Portsend," but as luck would have it, the man in charge of painting the name on its hull was very drunk when he finished his job less than a quarter of an hour before the ship was put to sea. And due to a lack of funds, and any real motivation, the ship's captain had never repainted the name. "'Twould be a shame to repaint it, 'twould take away me ship's character!" he would say. The local townsfolk usually ran out to watch the ship as it came in after a run, generally because they would find some reason to laugh at it. And now their favorite mutt lay dashed on the rocks, sides heaving, threatening to roll over and die.

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