Buldaveho was leaving home, forever. His brother was getting too bossy and there wasn’t benefit in him staying around for the younger brother to put up with being pushed around all the time. As Gocamo kept telling him, they were barely covering expenses for the two of them and their mother. The problem, as Buldaveho saw it, was that his brother wasn’t open to suggestions on how to make things work better – every time he opened his mouth , Gocamo had dismissed what he was about to say before he made a sound. Which was why, in Buldaveho’s eyes, they were scraping by on one man’s labour when they should have had the benefits of two.
The only way he could make things better, if his brother wasn’t going to listen, was to leave. There was, he admitted, no point in just leaving. There would be more talk if he if he got a job working on another fishing boat in their home town than if he was working somewhere else. Unfortunately, Gaeta was the biggest town around and he knew that the local fishing villages wouldn’t have a berth for an unrelated deckhand and he wasn’t such a catch that some boat owner’s unmarried daughter would want him.
That left the two nearest large coastal towns, Cuma and Gehalu. Buldaveho picked the southern one, Gehalu, and set off on foot, carrying his possessions in a seabag. After he’d said good bye to his mother, of course, and told all his friends that he was off to be a pirate. Being a pirate seemed exciting: going where you weren’t supposed to, thumbing your nose at the Emperor’s officials, and hanging around with exciting, even dangerous people. Pirates were rumoured to tie up in Gehalu every so often, so that had seemed a good place to try to become one.
The night he’d arrived in Gehalu had been wet. Very, very wet. And seemingly unnaturally cold. Buldaveho had headed for the waterfront and into the first open bar to try and find either a ship, or a boarding house bed, or both.
Afterwards he recalled meeting a couple of friendly fellows who said they knew a ship that might need crew. They had introduced him to another friend who had looked very Calenyen, but lots of people had Calenyena blood and wore braids…. At some point the night became very blurry.
He woke up in a hammock on a ship. He was surrounded by the sounds of other men o a tight living space and water on the outside of the hull. It smelled, well not sweet because sweaty men with limited washing opportunities in a small space, but there was no rotting fish or ordure in the mix, and it smelt like a well-kept ship. Then he opened his eyes and found himself looking at painted wood.
Garish repeating patterns danced across the cabin’s bulkhead. He turned over far too quickly for the state of his head and found one of his companions from the night before grinning at him from a squatting position on the floor. “Awake now are you?” The man had a nest of greying braids on his head but blue eyes. “Time for you to get up and put a proper set of clothes on. You’ll want to be properly dressed when you meet Himself.”
“Himself?” Buldaveho had croaked that out.
“Aye. The captain likes to meet all new crewmen as soon as possible. That’s Captain Lord Urrankanan to you, lad.” He grinned wider at Buldaveho’s shocked expression, “You’re in the Navy now, lad. Welcome aboard!”