Advice In Peculiar Places
Chapter 8: Pirates and Cowboys
Location: Steamhawke in hangar
As soon as Miyra emerged from the sick cabin, Nate made his way towards her. "Miyra, how are you, girl? Hear you were right sick, n' all." He barely gave her time to draw another breathe, and in the next sentence he was telling her all he had witnessed.
"Chago... and another girl?"
Nate nodded. "I hate to tell you it, but I saw it all with my own eyes. That Chago. Bit of a shock, that was. He was the last 'un I'd expect to play dirty buggers with his ladies."
"Well, I... Thank you for telling me." She bit back the tears, nodded to Nate, and stumbled on her way. She didn't look back to see where Nate had gone.
She stumbled along the deck, pausing to grip the handrail and take a deep breath. Her back ached more than usual, although she hoped no one noticed her discomfort. The last thing she needed was questioning voices and raised eyebrows with regard to her health. So she'd stayed in the sick room, told them it was a simple fever, and that was that.
Yet now her heart was torn, and left bleeding. Chago, she thought. My dear Chago, what have you done?
The sound of boots on the deck made her look up to see the captain strutting down the deck. Daenelia was constantly on the lookout for things McGinty kept putting back on the ship. It was getting irritating trying to get the wagons packed and ready to go. 'Cap'm, leave me with the ship. Master Brem wants me to, I can take care of her," he kept saying. She was sure Brem had put him up to this and she kept telling him no.
But right now she saw her young lookout looking rather distressed. She had been notified of Miyra having a fever and not being able to work, so it was good to see her up and about. But there was something in her face, something in her eyes that Daenelia didn't like. She started to get uncomfortable already. "Feeling better, Miyra?" she asked, while thinking of a good excuse to leave the ship as soon as possible.
Miyra shifted slightly, and decided to try and put on a brave face. It wouldn't do to have a meltdown right here on the deck, in front of her Captain.
"A little," She let go of the handrail and tried to straighten up. Deciding her reply was too feeble, she added: "I'll be ready to resume my duties within the next day or so, Captain." But even as she said this, it still didn't sound right. She coughed, and faked a smile. "It's good to be out on the deck again. I was near going mad in that enclosed space. Nothing like a gentle sea breeze to wake me up."
"Well, we're very far from sea," Daenelia smiled as she looked through the hangar door at the arid landscape around the building. "But fresh air will do you good." She was concerned about Miyra now. She already had two crewmates who would have a hard time traveling to Kanesville by wagon, with Carol still injured, and Melisande still being under doctor's orders not to do anything too strenuous. And if Miyra had something contagious, that would put the whole expedition at risk. She'd have to consult the doctor on this.
"Oh, so we are." Miyra rubbed her eyes. "Sorry, Captain. I'll be myself in a short while. In the meantime, I... seem to have missed out on some news about our current situation. Are we planning on leaving the ship soon?"
"Yes, as soon as we figure out how to get the ship stored away safely. Daenelia chuckled and said: "I take it as a good sign you forgot where we were; means you got plenty of sleep and rest. That's best for what ails you." She didn't mention alcohol, which was her own favourite way of recouperating.
"I take it someone must have packed your stuff for you. I swear I saw a sea chest with your name tag on it on one of the wagons." Daenelia had an idea who might have helped; It was no secret on board that her lookout and the deckhand Chago were close. Very close.
As if Miyra had been thinking the same thing, she muttered under her breath. "Cheating, lying-" She shook her head. "I'll want to check that sea chest. Wouldn't want to be thought a fool, yet again, to find something stolen."
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about that," Daenelia said. She thought again. "Or maybe I would. Come, I'll show you to the wagons." She went ahead and walked down the steep wooden ramp from the deck to the ground. Her boots kicked up dust as she made her way to the few wagons that were packed full. She shouted over her shoulder to Miyra: "Thought you might want to ride in one of the wagons? I mean, as opposed to sitting on a horse for a long time." She saw the wagon marked with two blue hands, McGinty's way of making sure those who couldn't read could still make out which wagon contained what. Daenelia climbed in and started rummaging around.
Miyra joined her by the wagon. "I'll be fine on a horse. I've been riding since I was a young girl. It'll be good to get some exercise done, anyway." And it'll keep me away from Chago, too.
Once Daenelia had found the seachest, Miyra began to look through it at great length, making sure nothing had been taken. She found the pin Chago had given to her, and held it in her hands for a moment. "Daenelia, what would you do if you found out the man you'd been promised to was already... envolved with someone else?"
Daenelia stiffled a laugh. "What I would do?" She grinned at Miyra. "I... eh, I never ... Let's just say, I would enjoy it while it lasted, and if it stopped being fun, I would stop seeing them. Regardless of anyone else involved." She may have had her share of relationships, but not one of them was exclusive or meant to be permanent. "Life's too short to cry over heartbreak." She stopped seaching when she found the chest.
"There you go," she said. "Oh. I have the key here. Chago handed it to me, I think. Or to McGinty. Or McGinty packed your stuff. I don't remember." She looked at Miyra, who reacted to Chago's name. "What? Is... is Chago eh...? Or are you ... ?" After all, Miyra was an attractive young woman, and Daenelia would not blame her one bit for trying out other options on board.
Miyra shrugged. "Chago and I... /were/ something."
Suddenly a thought came to Daenelia. "You're not pregnant are you?" It would explain the absence, the illness and the confusion, Daenelia figured. But a pregnant lookout would be disastrous.
At the suggestion that she might be pregnant, Miyra burst out laughing. It was a nice change for her permenantly weary attitude the previous few days. "Very definitely not, Captain. I'm not the sort of person who would sleep around, and if what I've heard is true, Chago won't be getting even get a few strides in my direction." She sat down on the edge of the wagon, glad for a slight break in standing up so much. "Daenelia, I think Chago has been going behind my back. Nate- Nate told me he saw Chago with some other woman. I don't know who she was, he might have said her name but I don't remember. I doubt I've met her. Oh Daenelia, what do I do?" She put her head in her hands. "I can remain at my duties, but if I am forced to confront him, I don't think I would be able to."
Daenelia sighed and looked irritated. "You better be able to remain at your duties. We may not be traveling by sky, but we will need a focused lookout for our journey over land! If you can't deal with Chago, or any other man, that is your problem, not mine."
She shook her head at the issue brought to her. "You have known Chago for all of what, a couple of weeks? That's longer than most relations at sky last. Most of the crew are just looking for a way to pass lonely dark nights, and if Chago hasn't even been doing that with you, no wonder he went to look for someone more... welcoming." She snorted. "You didn't expect commitment from a sailor, did you?"
She realised Miyra was young, and she remembered how young she was when she got tangled up with Jack Stallion. She had known from the start she was not the only woman in Jack's life. She had accepted it, and used it to be able to sleep with other men who took her fancy. Commitment was never something Daenelia had been after. It was hard for her to imagine someone so young looking to tie herself to one man. There was so much to explore and discover.