117 A Ship called The Miranda*
Rassa had never been on a small boat before, let alone a ship such as the one they were currently making their way towards. Despite working at the docks for a month, he hadn't actually been allowed to step foot on the ships. The cargo was usually removed and loaded by the crew of the ship. Rassa, Aegin and Ebony had been amongst those tasked with transporting the cargo from the docks to the warehouses and back again. Now, as he got used to the strange feeling of being afloat, of the rocking motion that was constantly felt, he had to second guess himself.
Was a long period of time on a ship really the best choice? Rassa kicked the thought aside quickly. He'd been fine with flying, as if a ship could sway him.
While Rassa may not have been so easily conquered by the rocking, Ebony seemed to be an exception to the rule. To put it plainly, she'd been feeling unsettled since she got in the longboat, and as they drew closer to the ship anchored in the bay, couldn't help the sense of dread that washed over her. Were ships always that big?
Jeremiah ignored the looks of his new recruits, instructing them in how to properly hold the oars and paddle. He'd have to get Midas to assign them some teachers or they'd become deadweight on the ship pretty quickly.
Rassa was the fastest to pick it up, though he didn't feel obligated to explain that he would be fast at learning most things, his mind was hardwired to do so with its enhanced senses and greater capacity. Aegin wasn't all that far behind though. He was good with things that were physical, and the rhythmic pattern of was rowing was not all that hard to fall into.
After about ten minutes of rowing, the longboat finally came alongside the massive ship. The first rays of sunlight were appearing on the horizon, illuminating the massive merchant ship. It's hull was sunk half below the water, but it still towered over those seated in the longboat. The longboat itself seemed like it would fit a dozen full grown men, The Miranda was at least fifty times the size, probably more than that.
Despite it being a merchant ship, there seemed to be a row of port holes along the side for canons, upon spotting them, Rassa looked at Jeremiah questioningly.
"Pirates aren't all that picky about who they rob and pillage," was Jeremiah reply to the unasked question.
Rassa just nodded in return.
"Longboat Portside!" came a call from up on deck. The call was repeated before Rassa heard the voice of an authoritative man order the ropes to descend.
From over the side of the ship, two thick ropes, each about the size of Ebony's dainty wrists, descended into the water with a resounding smack, missing the longboat by inches. Jeremiah was unphased, he took the forward rope, or the rope near what Jeremiah refered to as the bow of the longboat.
"You take the Stern rope and follow what I do, tie nice and tight," Jeremiah instructed. The three looked at each other, unsure whom he referred to directly. After a few seconds pause, Aegin stood and wobbled to the back of the longboat, scooping up the other rope and following Jeremiah's movements as best he could in the lowlight. There was a metal ring attached to the inside of the keel, which was the beam that ran from the bow to the stern of the longboat, the spine. The ropes were tied tightly to the rings attached at the bow and stern, then the longboat was hauled up out of the water, a jarring experience despite the trained men doing the hauling.
When the longboat was level with the main deck of the Miranda, Jeremiah ordered them all to jump off onto the main deck where a tall man with curly black hair and an imposing aura stood awaiting them.
"Captain on deck!" he called.
The sailors around all respectfully nodded their greetings to Jeremiah before getting back to work.
"Captain," the man said, his voice softer as he greeted the captain.
Jeremiah nodded, "Midas, everything ready to go?"
"As always, Captain, awaiting your orders," Midas replied.
Jeremiah nodded, a satisfied smile on his face before he turned to face Rassa, Aegin and Ebony who were all looking around at the happenings of the ship in wonder.
"These three are new recruits, Rassa, Aegin and Eb, see that they're assigned a teacher and a bunk each," Jeremiah instructed.
"Aye, Captain," Midas nodded, then Jeremiah made his way to the Stern of the ship where an elevated deck awaited him, a large wheel at least two metres in diameter overlooking the rest of the ship.
"Right," said Midas, gaining the attention of the three new recruits, "Lets get you three settled quickly, the Captain will order us to set sail soon so best you get acquainted with your jobs real fast".
Midas didn't wait for them as he turned and headed towards a large square hold in the middle of the deck that had a staircase leading down, he just expected them to follow.
The three new recruits didn't disappoint, scurrying after him for fear of missing anything.
"My name is Midas, I'm the First Mate on board The Miranda," Midas stated, "I command the ship in the Captain's absence and am in charge of ensuring everyone does their jobs. The Miranda is first and foremost a merchant vessel, it consists of five decks in total. The two bottom-most decks are for cargo to be transported only. The rear half of the the third deck consists of mainly of supplies for the crew, which whilst on board is strictly rationed by the cook. The bow of the third deck consists of the galley and the quarters for the cook, quartermaster and on-board doctor".
Midas had descended into the hustle and bustle of the second deck as he spoke. The second deck seemed to consist almost entirely of one main room, only section off at the bow and stern, and with large openings that were roped off and descended to the lower decks, no doubt for when cargo was stowed or unloaded. As Aegin, Rassa and Ebony took in the stowed canons, ten on either side of the ship, as well as the hammocks that were tied close to the roof and out of the way, they couldn't believe the amount of efficiency the simple act of moving those items out of the way had created.
"This second deck is where the majority of the crew sleep as you can see by the hammocks, they only descend at night and are tied up when the crew awakens at dawn. You'll noticed that there are small storage compartments above each hammock, these are for personal belongings".
Midas led them to the stern, pointing out two hammocks that were unoccupied on the left (portside) and one on the right (starboard).
"These three hammocks belong to the three of you, quickly put your things away so I can get you introduced to your mentors," Midas said.
The three looked at one another, deciding that Rassa would take the bunk on the right whilst Aegin and Ebony would take those on the left. They quickly stowed their belongings as asked, then turned to Midas who waited impatiently. It was clear that he wasn't annoyed with them, simply a busy man.
Midas looked over the three of them then seemed to nod to himself before getting them to follow along back up onto the main deck. He pointed to the elevated deck at the stern, specifically the door that that stood between the staircases on either side.
"That's the Captain's quarters and office, best you leave it be unless ordered there," Midas instructed, then he pointed to the front of the ship where another elevated deck existed, though this one only about a metre higher. It wasn't boarded off like a room, stead it was wide open apart from the cover, and a total of ten long boats sat there, the tenth that had just been lifted from the water being slid into place.
"That's the foredeck, the only access to the foremast on the ship, the two main masts on this deck are the tallest on the ship, and the crows nest is atop the rearmost of the two, which is where you will spend half of your time," said Midas as he pointed at Ebony.
Ebony, who was terrified of heights, visibly paled.