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Chapter 32

The sun beat down unmercifully as the two toiled relentlessly to finish giving the Pribe her new look. Derrl put the final line on her hull and stood back to gaze upon the ship. He stood there, leaning back slightly, resting with his hands at the small of his back, looking up over the hull at the sky beyond. He couldn't help but think that something was amiss. It was a particular nagging feeling that he could not shake, no matter how he tried. Seagulls had begun to converge on the ship, wheeling and dipping as they flew around and passed the poor ship as she lay there listlessly. No, she wasn't quite listless. There was something about her that bespoke of something inside aching to do something, being ready to face the world in the teeth of the gale. A particularly large seagull with perfect black wingtips slid gracefully along on the air around the mast, circling gracefully, knowing that he was dominant in this area. Then it hit him.

"That's why it looks so wrong!" he shouted, startling Yerril, who fell backwards off the deck railing he was sitting on and landed unceremoniously on the beach. His humour did not improve as a result.

"What is it ye be goin' on about? And warn me next time ye be about to holler like that. I can't take it no more." He was grumbling irritably under his breath about something or other, evidently not a happy camper, or seaman rather.

"That mast has not been altered by any runes, get this ship in a good strong gale, the hull will hold together all right, but the mast will snap off before long. I need to get up there. We have to fix that before we put canvas on her. And then of course, once we get her off the beach, we'll have to do the underside of the hull with runes as well. Hope you can afford a little bit of dry-docking. Have you got a seat on a pulley? I don't like heights too much, but I don't see how you can do this instead." Yerril grumbled something once more under his breath and clambered aboard the Pribe. Derrl only heard one solitary snippet of his monologue.

"… arse hurts…"

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