Hey everybody, hope you've had a great week. Here is my second snippet from WDtW, still no reply yet from my letter. I'm going to give them a month and then send it on to someone else (which means rewriting the cover letter- shoot me now *g*). This is the second scene in the first chapter. Cassie is the main character, Adharshala is her best friend (only they've never met, they only see each other in dreams). Mare is the godess they worship, she is Toba's mother (the crazy god in last weeks post). Hope you like it. I'm going out of town tomorrow for the day and then going out to dinner with friends, so I probably won't get to everybody's snippets until Saturday (but I will get to them- promise). Have a great weekend everyone.
Cassie was cocooned in silence and darkness. This time though she felt safe; safe and wanted and loved. As the silence faded Cassie was aware of the faint singing of birds as they called to one another. The darkness slowly faded with the dawning of a new day. A light breeze blew the hair off her neck, cooling her sweat dampened brow. Taking a deep calming breath and looking up, Cassie watched as the waxing moon set, growing and full of promise.
Looking to the east, Cassie caught her first glimpse of the sun peeking over the horizon. As the sunlight pushed back the darkness, she realized that she was sailing on a ship, sliding gracefully through the gently rolling swells. Cassie stood on the forecastle deck and took everything in: the triangular jibs and behind them the square- rigged foresail and fore topsail snapping briskly in the wind, luffing and then billowing and catching again as the ship tacked, turning until it was reaching across the wind.
The sea birds wheeled and darted, diving for the scraps thrown by the unseen watch in the crow’s nest. Cassie was so entranced with what was happening she didn’t even think to question how she knew the words for what she was seeing.
Knowing there was only one person who could have brought her to such a place, Cassie smiled in relief and delight as she turned and made her way back to the quarter deck, and the young woman steering the ship. Standing at the wheel, her long white-blond hair hanging loose and blowing in the breeze; stood Adharshala, Cassie’s best friend and partner in these adventures. Practically skipping in her excitement, not an easy feat on a rolling vessel, Cassie made her way to Adharshala’s side and threw her arms around Adharshala’s shoulders, laughing as Adharshala returned the hug enthusiastically before turning back to face the wheel.
Cassie and Adharshala had been many places and seen many things over the years, ever since their first meeting in one of Cassie’s recurring nightmares, but this was the first time they’d ever been on the open sea. Sailing for the first time was such a fantastic experience that Cassie wanted to savor all of it. Cassie had never felt so free in her life, she felt like they were flying. The closest Cassie had ever come to this feeling of freedom were some of the magical memories she had of her early childhood when it had been just she and her mother. But life without her mother had turned out so differently that Cassie had grown to wonder if those memories were truly real or just wishful fancy.
Standing at the prow of their ship, listening to the wind as it danced around her, snapping the sails and whistling in the shrouds, making the tall ship slide effortlessly through the water; Cassie felt as if she had grown wings. Or rather, looking down into the sun dappled water, she felt as if she could dive from the railing and join the dolphins as they surfed the bow waves.
Cassie looked at everything as she explored every inch of their ship: from the crow’s nest at the top of the main mast to the bottom most hold where the barrels of fresh water were stored, from the very tip of the bowsprit and the figurehead carving of Maré surrounded by Her salamanders, and firebirds, and a solitary phoenix, to the small private deck beyond the aft windows of the Captain’s Cabin. And wherever she went on their ship, her explorations always led her back here; back to this one spot, where she belonged; up on the quarter deck, behind the wheel, at Adharshala’s side.
She had never dreamed she could feel this free, this happy, this alive. Pain and sorrow did not exist here, and guilt had no power. Instead the sun was shining to the south in a cloudless sky with just a hint of winter’s chill in the brisk wind billowing in their sails. The late afternoon sun was now behind them, and Cassie felt as if her whole life was before her. Laughing as the wind whipped her hair across her face; Cassie turned her gaze to the young woman standing beside her, drinking her in. Cassie had never met anyone like her before: her courage, her honesty, her generous loving spirit. Adharshala’s friendship was the beacon that had gotten Cassie through the many dark days and the troubles that had started for Cassie even before her mother’s death.
Cassie felt she could stay like that forever, watching Adharshala sailing her ship, the wind blowing her white blond mane. Feeling Cassie’s eyes on her, and sensing her thoughts, Adharshala turned to look at Cassie, a wondrous joy lighting her eyes; eyes the blue of a cloudless summer sky, and laughingly asked, “Didn’t I tell you sailing was the most amazing thing in the world? And to think, she’s all ours!”
There was so much joy in Adharshala’s smile that Cassie had to answer with one of her own, but it was more than that. There is a kind of beauty, a grace, to watching someone do something so well, something they were meant to do. Something this rare was meant to be treasured for the gift it truly was.
“And someday we’ll even look the part,” Cassie laughed, looking down at the outfits they were both wearing. Sailor’s cotton long pants belted with a length of rope and rolled up at the cuffs, and homespun cotton jerseys so large they kept falling off one narrow shoulder or the other, the sleeves rolled up like the breeches but still too long and hanging down over their hands. “This is the most fun I’ve ever had. I don’t ever want to go back; I could just stay here forever.” Cassie laughed as the wind whipped her hair about, entangling it with Adharshala’s: long strands of flame red a stark contrast with Adharshala’s equally long white-blond hair.
“That sounds wonderful to me, too,” Adharshala agreed, “I can’t wait ‘til I can captain my own ship. I want a trader, just like this one.”
“We could call it the Friendship.” Cassie looked seriously at Adharshala, trying for an innocent expression and almost succeeding.
“Friendship?” Adharshala asked archly; a mischievous gleam in her eyes, which she had just rolled hearing Cassie’s pun.
Cassie looked back, grinning and asking, “Partnership?”
Adharshala thought for a moment before agreeing, “Partnership.”
“Partners?” Cassie asked.
“Anytime you want, partner, just say the word and I’ll be there.” Adharshala assured
Cassie as she gently untangled them, “Mmm? What do you say?”
“I wish I could, but there’s no way I’m leaving mum’s babies with him.” Cassie admitted honestly, shaking her head wistfully, “Something has to change. I don’t know if I can take it much longer. And no matter what I try, everything I do just seems to make things worse.”
“Well, don’t worry about that now. Just make it through the end of the summer, and see what happens. You never know, I just might show up some day and steal you away.” Adharshala teased her, looking at Cassie as if she knew something Cassie would dearly love to know.
“Her only daughter, kidnapped by Free Traders, the scourge of the thousand islands and the breakers of lonely hearts in seaports far and wide. What would my dear departed mother say? She’d be scandalized.” Cassie teased Adharshala right back, laughing and smiling freely in this place of dreams as she hadn’t in a long while elsewhere.
“Oh, I don’t think she’d be as scandalized as you seem to think.” Adharshala’s tone was quite sure as she answered. She was about to say something else, perhaps even explaining what she meant. Not that Cassie really expected her to when she could have so much fun teasing Cassie with hints instead. All hope of an explanation was lost with the clanging of a bell.
“Oh damn,” Adharshala exclaimed, turning to face Cassie and holding her shoulders, “That’s the watch bell, and I have to go. This talk isn’t finished, you know.”
“I know,” Cassie sighed, hugging Adharshala tight, “I have to go too. Morning will be here before you know it. Good bye.”
“Good bye.” Adharshala hugged her back before letting go reluctantly, “Maré keep you. Stay safe, shala.”
Cassie woke up, a smile on her face and the smell of the sea in her nose. Her dreams of late were all that made it possible for her to get out of bed in the mornings, but as much as she needed them and went through her day with the thought of going to bed and being able to dream, she reminded herself that that’s all they were: Dreams. Dream or not, she likes me, she thought to herself, wanting to shout, and finding herself giggling aloud at the thought; she likes me and actually wants to spend time with me. Someday I’m going to meet someone just like her, Cassie resolved, even if I have to sail around the whole world to find her.
I wish I could tell mum about her, Cassie thought with a grin, as she put Yan back in his crib and shuffled sleepily off to her bed. And somehow thinking this didn’t bring with it the crushing guilt or overwhelming sadness of the past few months. I wish I could tell mum about a lot of things, Cassie mused. Imagine, me meeting someone in my dreams. There aren’t too many people around here who’d believe me if I told them that. They’d probably say that I made it up, or that I was crazy. Maybe I am crazy, Cassie decided with a sleepy smile, but if being sane means not being friends with Adharshala, I guess I’ll just be crazy. And thinking this, she fell back asleep.
Construction Photos- Week 27
6 days ago