Date Posted: 12th October 2019
Taril let his feet take him down to the docks, where he wandered past the women mending nets and drying fish. The air smelled like brine and fish guts, and the day was impossibly bright. The ships in harbour bobbed with the waves as men scurried to load their cargo holds with goods from across Pern, barrels of water and crates of citrus.
The Lady Agate was still tied to the deck. She looked abandoned next to the swirls of activity that surrounded the other ships. Usually shore leave was only a few days unless there were repairs. Days at port were days when the ship wasn’t earning marks. And yet, there she was, sitting pretty with not a soul about. Taril frowned at her from where he stood on the cobbled street.
Perhaps Dhavri was belowdecks. Perhaps the Lady Agate was still in port because someone on board had his ledger. It made a sick sort of sense, since she wasn’t being worked on. What other reason would she have to stay?
Only Dhavri wasn’t on her crew manifest. Either the dockmaster’s assistant, Gleon, had lied about it or the manifest had been altered. Or Dhavri wasn’t on the Lady Agate. Taril’s frown deepened as he resumed his walk back to his office. Everything seemed to lead back to the Lady Agate.
Taril mulled over it as he walked. **The Lady Agate....** Her captain was relatively clean. Garik didn’t owe him marks or favours. Maybe Garik had nothing to do with the whole black business at all.
Assuming that Dhavri was crew on the Lady Agate, perhaps he was one of the men who’d waited outside his office for Garik to conclude his business. Perhaps he’d taken advantage of the panic that Humari’s accident had caused to sneak in and steal his ledger…
...but someone would have seen him. And the Lady Agate would have sailed on to her next stop by now. Taril pulled his keys from the ring on his belt to unlock his office door. Inside was still and dark. He lit a glow to supplement the dim light from the window high beneath the slate eaves and left the door open to let the air circulate.
So the captain had something to do with it. Taril sat and ran through his visit with the Captain in his mind. Taril had sold him nails for the new Weyr, salted fish, and vegetable oil. He’d asked after Humari. They’d chatted briefly, and Taril had left…
He froze. The Captain’s cabin had a carved lintel above the door. Leophric had a carved oar hanging above the bar in Taril’s tavern. Dhavri was a carver, Leophric had said. Taril closed his eyes, summoning up the oar. It had been carved with a school of leaping fish. The lintel in the Lady Agate was also carved with delicate leaping fish.
There it was. The connection. Taril swore. Dhravi was here. Dhravi was crew on the Lady Agate. Captain Garik’s ship. The same Captain Garik who had been in his office when Arnolt had told him what happened to Humari. The same Captain with the delicately carved lintel above his door. The same Captain who had told him that his crew was from Topaz Seahold-- who had lied to protect his sailor.
Last updated on the October 26th 2019