Chapter 3: Mypos or Bust
Location: Mypos, Elladia
Timeline: Day 1, Morning
The goat chewed the mouthful of grass, not caring in the slightest about the sky ship sailing inland. The goat herder was only slightly more interested, thoughtfully playing with his grey beard as he watched the Steamhawke pass by overhead. It had started its descent into the water and gracefully hit the surface a few minutes later, its engines slowly dying as the ship sailed on its sails alone.
Mypos was not a large island by Elladian standards, but the crew still hadn't spotted civilisation except for a couple of farms nested in the valleys and a few small settlements clinging to the side of rivers. But then the Steamhawke had crested a large hill and the city of Myposia came into view.
It was bustling. A shining steel tower marked the centre of the city, with an explosion of streets sprawling out at every possible angle. The buildings were old and new and all of them squashed together, typical Elladian architecture, with criss-crossing alleys and plenty of places to keep out of sight despite the throngs of people on the streets. Many of them were congregated on the market quarter, the merchants local or from other islands or from further away. Plenty of Elphins were mixed in with the population and plenty of humans were not happy about this.
The port was equally busy, and the Steamhawke was far from the only ship in sight. Daenelia immediately spotted a battleship of the Nautikos Guard, the military authority charged with defending the nation. Its unusual curves and high-tech weaponry was in contrast with the rest of the Elladian ships docked at the port. They were all older ships, either for fishing, trade, or transport. A pilot ship came up alongside the Steamhawke, as a Myposian yelled through a horn of some sort, in a language Daenelia barely spoke. She pulled Brem close, who'd reluctantly been dragged out of the engine rooms to be the male spokesperson on deck. "Now listen," Daenelia hissed. "I need a man to speak for me, it's Elladian custom. They do speak the common tongue, you don't have to answer in Elladian. Just tell them, and yell loud, tell them we are here by invitation." She pushed Brem, as much as she could push the tallish engineer closer to the side.
He lifted the speaking horn to his mouth and yelled back: "I don't understand you! Speak normal! We're here by invitation!" He dropped the horn and said in his normal tone: "You flippin' fool." Daenelia kicked him in the shin.
The Myposian yelled back: "What invitation?"
Daenelia leaned over and whispered to Brem, who repeated it: "By invitation of the Head of the Council of The King!" Brem then looked at the Captain with a questioning look. She just nodded.
"What credentials do you have?" came the reply. "Credentials?" Brem asked Daenelia.
"We have a letter, and one hundred Elladian copper coins!" Brem looked at Daenelia again. "Only copper coins, Cap'n?" Daenelia nodded. "It's enough to get us docked, with the invitation."
The Myposian consulted his colleagues on the ship and then shouted to the Steamhawke they were to follow them and find a place to dock. Once they were in position Daenelia practically kicked Brem down the gangplank with the invitation in one hand and a purse of coins in the other. Moments later he walked back onto the ship while rubbing his rear. "They accepted in the invite cap'n. But we'll need to pay a fee if we want to stick around." "Let me worry about that." Daenelia was pushing as much of her hair into her bandana as possible. There would still be plenty of women on the streets, but in Elladia it would be to her advantage to look as less feminine as possible. She was already putting on a plain jacket to cover her womanliness.
By now the operations of the ship had stopped and most of the crew were on deck wondering what was going to happen next. Some of them were obviously eager to see some of the city, but others didn't look quite so sure. "Okay crew" began Daenelia, buttoning up her jacket. "Remember what I told you. Elladians are not into equal opportunities. Women are generally looked down upon, but you're all in trouble if they find out you are serving a female captain. I am going ashore now, and any of you are free to join me. Just let the quartermaster know on the way out, otherwise we may leave without knowing you are missing! We have a few objectives here. For one thing we need to be fully loaded with supplies if we are going to take off again. And I'm going to pay a visit to the high court to arrange a free stay at Mypos. Anyone can come along if they behave themselves. Otherwise stretch your legs, visit the port bar, take care of any personal business. I don't know how long our stay will be, so don't get lost." Everyone was waiting in silence. "Well, go on then!"