Rashied paced the nest. He’d never noticed how cramped the space was before. He could fix all of it. But the woman would know, and then she would drag him to whatever dark hole she was taking the girl. He would lose the voices of the ocean in exchange for ugly words.
There was no question Chetana would go mad when Rashied was thrown overboard. He would shove past the entire crew if he had to, just to leap in himself. He’d spend the last minutes of his life fighting to keep Rashied’s head out of the water for just a few seconds longer. It would be an utterly pointless death.
“Abyss take me!” He shouted to no one. A sudden wind caught the words and took them away. The sails snapped to life and the Fortune’s Promise jerked, wood creaking under the strain. It was supposed to send everyone on the deck scrambling, but they didn’t seem to notice. The mass of sailors continued to press in closer. They didn’t even seem to notice.
He wrapped his hands around the wooden rail and leaned over, holding his balance with the toes of his bare feet. “Come on you idiots!” He shouted down as the wind picked up intensity. Still, their attention couldn’t be pulled away. In desperation, he grabbed rang the bell and rang it as hard as he could. The clear noise cut through the air and put a sudden end to the events unfolding below. Rashied dropped back into the nest, relieved.
Of course now he would have to call up a storm. And he’d have to figure out how to do it quickly, because they’d be expecting him to come scurrying down to help secure the sails.
He drew in a slow breath.
The angry clouds rolled in like a wave. Lightening flickered from deep within, promising violence and destruction. He could hear the shouts of his fellows working to ready the Fortune for what was coming. Rashied tried to push himself over the railing. Dizziness washed over him. He collapsed backward with a startled gasp.
Waves were rocking the Fortune forward at a terrific pace, most of the sails still up and catching the blasting winds. Every movement was like a hand pushing against the world as it spun around him, making things fly past faster and his grip on it grow weaker. He cried out, dropping his head to his knees and pressing his eyes closed. Rashied couldn’t decide if that made it any better, but he couldn’t bring himself to open them again. Exhaustion greater than anything he’d ever felt before crawled into him, devouring the energy from his very bones. He gripped his head and moaned quietly, the sound lost in the first crack of thunder as the storm settled in around them.
A sudden lurch flung him into the railing behind him, stealing his breath and nearly his consciousness with it. He tried to scream anyway as his right ankle snapped beneath his weight. When he finally got his air back, Rashied pulled the rope that held up his pants and looped it around the railing. He tied it around his waist, securing himself to the smooth wood. Then he slid down into a place a breath away from sleep.