Two Edges, Same Blade.
A cold night on the docks,…
Your wandering feet have taken you to a small dingy tavern just off the docks. The Wharf district doesn’t have many warm places for the night and this one was as good as any. After arranging for a warm meal you take an open seat to wait. After a few moments the barmaid comes over and sets a steaming bowl down and promptly hurries off to deal with other customers. Your nose tells you that the meal may not be the best fair you have ever had but it will fill and warm you. As you eat your mind wanders and you find yourself reflecting on Your Life to this point and the events that have led you here.
While Starting into your meal, a grey bearded man with a slight limp sits down across from you. Though salt air is all around you this man seems to carry a cloud of brine with him as he settles in across the table. After a loud call for a pint and a pie, he sits back on the bench and looks about. As his eyes reach you, you meet them for a moment. The moment slides on past comfortable acknowledgement and intensifies. You are not sure why, but looking into this old graying mans eyes brings your past into sharp relief. All your joys and sorrows flare and you feel your pulse quicken slightly.
The moment fades as the graying man turns to accept his drink and shepherd pie from the barmaid. After taking a long pull from the pint of ale he starts into his pastry.
“Nothin like one o’ Isabel’s pies when the northerlys come round.” He says between bites of the steaming confection.
“Ye’ve a worldly look about you”, he says with an appraising look, “Where abouts ye from?”
“Heh, in any case, t’would seem anyplace’d be more welcoming than this barnacle trap. Still, any port in a Storm. There’s a truth saves more lives than most." He finishes up his meal and pushes his plates down the table.
Rummaging through his pockets, the aged sailor pulls out a black pipe and a small snuff box with ivory inlay. While preparing that pipe he calls out, “Bell Lass, bring us some port. Two cups, atta girl.” Isabel brings over a dark bottle and two small snifters. After setting the cups down she pulls out a corkscrew and opens the bottle in front of the old man. He watches her intently and then takes a deep breath as the aroma of fine port swirls out of the bottle. After setting the bottle down she departs with a smile.
After pouring a glass for himself the old sailor leans back to enjoy a pull on his now lit pipe while swirling the port about.
“Come to think of it, even this Harbor is a better choice than bein’ anywhere inland. Never been a day I’ve woken up landlocked that was any good. Usually pretty dicey truth be. I guess the sea just calls me more than most. Though don’t get me wrong the waves carry all kinds. Doesn’t matter if you’re a Cobbler or Clergy, everyone has a place at seas. All you need is a desire: to be somewhere else, to see something new, to meet different people, to get rich, or become famous. Names and Fortunes, both Good and Bad, can all be made on the sea."
Silence holds for a bit as the old man straightens up to empty his glass and set it down. Leaning back on the bench he looks you over again before continuing, "I’m no great judge of character, nor do I care about it much one way or another, but I know the look of a body in need of travel. Tis a bit of Good Fortune then that I am a captain in need of a few more hands to fill out the deck. I can’t say what’s driving ye nor do I really care. No matter if you are running away from something or after it, the seas are a path that cover some ways and reveal others. So I’ll put it to you to decide." leaning forward he sets up both glasses and fills the one in front of you and then his own. “Join me in a toast to freedom and Our Mistress the Sea, and ask what questions you have of this ol Seadog. By the bottom of this bottle we’ll know if you’re comming with me.”
With that he offers you the cup with a kindly but weathered smile.