Here, we meet Van. It is a continuation of the plot line in Chapters Two and Four. We’ll return to Makenna in the next chapter (which is still in progress…actually, so is this chapter!).
To make things easier on you, the novel has three plot lines – Makenna’s trip to Llewling, the politics of revolution (Nikolas, Tabor, and Van – as well as Makenna and Oren to a lesser extent), and Oren’s trip to Agralax. They all tie in together eventually – though I’m still working that out. The characters like to defy my plans for them as I write…and then I have to rearrange everything!
I have no background in maritime culture, so the ship and it’s layout are a bit confusing to me. I read Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea yesterday, and I learned a few things that I’m going to work in. I’ve also been reading up on medieval ships, but I’d appreciate any feedback you could give!
“Yes, Lieutenant,” the soldier replied before saluting, turning on his heels, and exiting the cabin.
Van said a silent prayer of thanks that they would at last be on dry land once again. He’d spent the last fortnight with his head hanging over the hull, losing what little he was able to stomach when he wasn’t retching.² A fine sight he made as a commander. At least most of his men had been right alongside with him.
Goffans had never been seafaring folk, though the stronghold was bordered by the ocean to both the south and the west. The currents didn’t favor the land the way they did in the eastern strongholds of Vustania or Rana. The coasts of Goffany were rugged and rocky. A handful of Goffans lived in small villages that spotted the coast, but they were mostly immigrants from the south who’d left when the Doxa took over their homeland in a futile attempt to convert them near a hundred turns ago. While most Goffans adhered to the Doxa, they were more accepting of other walks of life than the South Islands’ other neighbors to the north.
No, most true Goffans preferred the foothills of the Pentheas to the sea any day. The Unified Guard established Vust Goffany – the only city even remotely resembling a true sea port – as far east as possible to avoid the choppy waters that increased in intensity the further west one travelled. Before converted into a Vust, the town was little more than handful of traders’ houses and a few Ranan sailors who chartered voyages to the islands or the eastern Strongholds for a hefty sum. Now, Vust Rana was nearing the size of Goffany’s capitol, Haverty, but neither came close to the size, population, or grandeur of the realm’s other major cities.
Of course, Van and his crew weren’t putting in at the Neban Guard’s major foothold in Goffany. In fact, they’d spent an extra two days in deep waters to avoid being spotted. This likely saved their lives, but did little to help the seasickness.
Van read over his letter to Captain Walters to make sure everything was in place. It contained a brief account of the mission’s progress and confirmed the rendezvous place and date in Haverty. Once satisfied, Van rolled the scroll and set his seal upon it.
He left the cabin for what he hoped would be the last time and handed the letter to the guard posted at the door. “Make sure this gets sent the moment we make land.”
[To be continued in Part 2…]
¹Is “docking” the proper term? The boat is out in the water, and the people on land send longboats out to get them.
² Would “hull” be the correct term? He’s basically throwing up over the side of the ship.