Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Father Paolo, pt. 1, 413 words

Father Paolo cracked his eyes open and sighed. The feeble light of early dawn shone through the porthole in the small cabin he shared with the Soaring Lily's navigator. He wanted to go back to sleep, given the hour, but sat up in the bunk nonetheless. Sloth was not exactly sinful nor dishonorable in the eyes of Vaoz, no, but the disrespect it showed to others when you were needed... Ah, that was another matter altogether.

From outside the cabin, he could hear running feet and the clanging of the warning bell. The mate on watch was ringing for all he was worth, rousing the whole ship to action. When you were needed, well, that's when it was disrespectful and dishonorable to give in to the urge to turn over and pull the blanket up.

He took a moment to consider the saber hanging on the wall. It had been pressed upon him by Captain Armandsdar when he had come aboard. She didn't plan for trouble, she said, but 'twas better to be prepared than not. He agreed, in theory, but his creaking joints reminded him that his best fighting days were past. Nonetheless, he pulled the saber down and belted on its scabbard. He pulled a robe off a neighboring hook, more for the warmth against the open Sky than because his vocation demanded it. Despite the frenzied rushing outside, he took a moment to smooth his thinning hair down and peek out the porthole.

Ah, he thought, there. Another ship, far off but closing fast. The winds seemed to be on the side of the black-sailed pirates that accosted them, and not the Kingdom ship. A shame, but such things happened. Vaoz had made the world, but He did not command its every nuance and detail once it was set in motion. To do otherwise would have been to deny men their freedom under the Skies, if the world itself strove to constrain them against ill deeds. Might as well have made every man unable in his heart to lift a sword, then, and where would be the value of honor and proper piety then, if goodness was written into man as immutable as the motions of a child's wind-up toy?

Still, this was a good crew. Honorable and pious. And skilled, which in many ways was more important than faith. With luck, they would fight off the pirates and go on their way only a little the worse for wear.

No comments: