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Chapter 9

As he was pressed along the piers with the rest of the seething mass of people, he thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye, almost as if it wasn't there, but it was. Something moving of by the headland of the bay, what bothered him was that he couldn't figure out what it was.

Somehow this is my fault. Derrl thought to himself as he made his way along the headland of the bay towards the sandbar that had struck down the "Pribe of Portsend." He recognized the ship now, though it was hard to read the name at the angle upon which the ship lay. He kicked his way through the low sand-grass towards the crashing breakers. The water was cold for this time of year, as he felt it through his boots as he walked along the sandbar towards the beached hull. He couldn't help but feel sorry for his poor boots; this day was taking its toll on the leather. Sure, the outside had been oiled against the rain, but the inside wasn't waterproofed. He was going to have to do some hard work if he was going to save these boots from dying.

"Hello, the Captain of the ship!" He called over the waves hoping to catch the attention of the ship's master. A weathered man in his mid-forties walked over to the wildly canted side of the ship and leaned on the railing, looking as his he was about to pitch himself over the rail into the surf below.

"What would ye be wantin' bucko? Can ye no' see that I be a wee bit busy?"

Strange accent he has. Wonder where he's from?

"I was wondering if there was something I could offer in the way of help. I don't have much, but I can carry things." Derrl said earnestly, he had, after all, once had an honest job, carting barrels and whatnot for a local tavern, before he decided that old men with twigs were a better source of income. That was a sorry mistake if he ever saw one.

"I thanks you sir, don't mind if you do." He leaned even farther over the railing and extended his hand to Derrl, threatening to topple. A bit apprehensive about the situation, Derrl hung back a bit. Sensing that something was amiss, the weather-beaten man waved with his outstretched hand.

"I be not about to fall over bucko, if that be what gnaws at you. Come here, I'll give ye a hand up."

The angle of the ship combined with the length of the man's arms and the faint rolling of the ship, timed well enough, enabled Derrl to scrambled up over the railing in time for a large wave to barrel past where he had just been standing. Feeling fortunate from having missed getting drenched, he sauntered over a few paces to watch what the crew were busying themselves about. Unfortunately, he wasn't watching closely enough, since one of the wooden crates that was being passed along a chain of men from the hold to the end of the ship nearest the port to a waiting barge came through the air towards him. The crew near him dropped their jaws. They all knew how hard they threw those things, and how little the man knew about what was happening. A major incident was inevitable.

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