Ord’taeril Ketiron stepped from the deck of the Relentless as it arrived in Boralus Harbor. It had been some time since he had set foot in Kul Tiras, and felt the bracing air of both the sea and the mountains. It was invigorating, he had to admit.
He had left the afternoon after that meeting in Stormwind; he could have just gone through the portal room in the Mage Tower, but where was the fun in that?
As he stepped onto the dock, he looked up to see a man in robes approaching. “Lorewalker Ketiron?” He pronounced it “Ketteron”, emphasizing the first syllable, rather than the second as Ord’taeril preferred.
Nonetheless, he nodded. “I am he.”
“Calum Granden. The captain is expecting you.” His eyebrows perked as they walked towards the Pearl Queen, down along the harbor. “Couldn’t have come through yourself?” Ord’taeril had sent a messenger through the portal room, requesting the meeting.
“Decided to take advantage of the fresh sea air,” he replied. “Too long in the land of the dead, you learn to miss it.”
The Tidesage couldn’t help but smile at that. “Fair enough.”
As they approached the boarding ramp, leaning against the door to the mess was the captain. There were more lines around her eyes and a hint of silver at her temples compared to when Ord’taeril last saw her. Without a word of greeting or small talk, she got straight to the point: “What’s this about a new deckhand?”
“A pleasure to see you as well, Captain Pellerin.” Ord’taeril held up a bottle of Gilnean brandy. “I remembered you’d developed a taste for this stuff.”
“So you’re trying to put someone on my crew, and you’re trying to bribe me.” Elizabeth Pellerin grinned. “I think you’re wearing the wrong outfit. Your getup says ‘mystic scholar’, your attitude screams ‘scheming cutthroat’. Sure I shouldn’t hang you by your nads from the bowsprit?”
“Much as I’m willing to accomodate you, Captain… no, thank you.”
Elizabeth laughed. “Eh, can’t blame me for trying to relieve things a bit.” She jerked her head upwards, towards her cabin. Ord’taeril followed, waiting for her to seat herself, then gesture to him to sit across from her. While she was not one for constant displays of decorum - she was nobleborn, but you wouldn’t know it just talking to her - he knew best to respect a captain aboard ship. “Now then, Ord’taeril… you volunteering?”
“Gods, no. With the monk training making how I move around so quickly, your crew would think I want all their jobs.” Ord’taeril chuckled. “Comes from having to juggle a lot of jobs already. But no, I have someone else in mind. You remember Sir Eran Heskin, right?”
“That old wolf? Literally, now that I think on it. Aye, I met him during the Second War. Decent man, good family. Son was a bit of a buzzkill, though. Didn’t he go all Mawsworn?”
“And was torn apart for his troubles, too.”
“Eh. Couldn’t happen to a bigger bastard.” Elizabeth snapped her fingers. “That kid that follows Eran around. What’s his name. Donny?”
“Donal, yes. Growing like a weed now… and Sir Eran is starting to rethink whether the knight’s path is a good idea for him.”
“Well, not everyone’s cut out for sword-swinging and armor plating.” Elizabeth’s eyes narrowed slightly. “And so he wants to foist the kid off on me?”
“That… was my idea,” Ord’taeril admitted. “You know what some kids are like, Elizabeth. Shuttered by their overprotective families until the world kicks their door off the hinges. Then they haven’t the damnedest idea of what to do with their lives, because someone else has always done it for them.”
“Happens to the kind of people I come from a whole hell of a lot,” Elizabeth agreed, as she poured out two glasses from the bottle, sliding one over to him. “The kind of people we come from, thinking on it. You turned out okay, though, the tentacles in your hair aside. Not that I’d want to try it out…”
Ord’taeril smiled grimly. “I wouldn’t recommend it, no.”
Elizabeth was silent for a moment, quickly coming to the Lorewalker’s line of thought. “You’re trying to unchain him from the old man.”
“At the very least, have him be part of something that does not involve a member of his family. All he has seen and done so far has been with his grandfather. Were it not for Lucia Zherron’s last act, he wouldn’t even have that now. And he would be…”
“Hawking for loose change on the streets like the urchins here.”
Ord’taeril nodded. “Or worse. I’ve been on ships a number of times over the years, including yours. It’s a rough-and-tumble life, but there’s a sense of belonging too - of family. Given how you’ve mentioned your mother’s been a frequent visitor…”
“She’s the High Exalted God-Admiral to these guys whenever she comes aboard,” Elizabeth grumbled, though Ord’taeril could hear the humor in it. “Nevermind the captain’s orders, what does the Lady Eugenie want?”
“Could be worse. They could be neverminding the captain’s orders when she’s not onboard. Mutiny would be a lot worse than playing hostess.”
“Eh, true enough.” Elizabeth sat back for a moment. “I’ll sound him out, see if he’s up for it.” She raised a warning finger. “But keep in mind, my good man. This is a warship of House Proudmoore and the Alliance, not a pleasure craft. If he’s gonna be a member of my crew, I’m gonna treat him like a member of my crew. No babying.”
Ord’taeril nodded in agreement. “I told Eran you would not tolerate nonsense. We’ll see how much the lad gives you.”
“Nothing that can’t be fixed with a paddlin’.” She chuckled. “Plus, I figure we haven’t been to Stormwind in a while. Care for another trip? I heard what you told Calum about the fresh air… still trying to shake off the gloom’n’doom from Revendreth?” They had both worked for the venthyr during the Shadowlands war.
“Among other things. Being home again, I’m starting to appreciate it a lot more.”
“A-bloody-men to that.” They both raised their glasses then. “To home. May we never need another one.”
“Hear, hear,” Ord’taeril agreed, as they both polished off their drinks in one go.
As she thumped the glass down on the table, the captain raised her voice. “Mr. McDonnell!”
“Aye, Cap’n?” came the voice of the first mate, poking his head into the cabin.
“Get those layabouts working. We’re shipping out.”
“To the land of lions, my friend. It seems we’re taking a cub aboard.”