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Solo III
Demon World
Part 034

At the clearing Uncle ties the rope and is the first one out of the stream. Cookpot shakes his head and pulls the boat much closer and reties the rope. By the time he walks ashore Uncle has dissappeard into the woods. He turns around and takes a big puffy canvas bag out of the boat. Then a shovel. "Time for work. If you ladies will excuse me." He winks and strides over to a massive pile of dragon dung and starts pulling more canvas bags out of the full one. Then he doesn't say anything for quite a while while he fills the bags and ties them off. Just after he stows the last bag on the boat Uncle reappears. He just pops out of the woods next to the boat after cookpot tossed the last bag in. "It was sleeping. Have you ever accidentally killed one?" Cookpot looks at Uncle with new respect. "You went in the cave?" He shakes his head and his face screws up a little like he want's to be mad at Uncle but doesn't have the courage. "You could have brought him down on me fool." "Accidentally killed one." Uncle says again. He moves closer so Cookpot gets a clear look at his face and he cocks an eyebrow like it's a question. "Uh Aye uh. How would I know? I don't go bloody crawlin around inside their caves. That's a fools task, and you shouldn't a be doing it either." His face relaxes like he can no longer bother with being angry at Uncle. "Blahhhh." He turns to the boat. "We gotta be off, the captain won't linger past sundown. And he'll be down right dissappointed if he doesn't get to cast his eyes on these two lovelies." He and Uncle climb in the boat this time, instead of wading. Uncle unties the rope and pushes out into the middle of the stream, and he sits in the very back. The boat flows down toward the beach. "Captain split runs a top heavy ship. Anyone not in the circle is cargo and balast. What can you two ladies do. And you old timer, you're gonna have to fight to stay onboard. Hope you can swim." The whole time Uncle has had the glove holding the dragon heart either behind his back or in front of him so Cookpot couldn't see it. Right now Uncle is sitting in the front of the boat, and Cookpot all the way in the back with his oar. Uncle turns around on his seat to give him his first clear look. On Uncle's right hand is the glove. Held in the glove is the dragon's heart. Cookpot's mouth goes slack and opens. "You ripped its heart out with your hands?" His face wrikles up and he squints staring deep into Uncles face. Sizing him up anew. "Who are you old man?"
    "I am nobody."  He says matter of factly.  "Just an old man."
Gail and Ada are sitting on opposite side boards facing each other at the middle of the boat. They supress giggles at this and bob their heads a little. Cookpot is instantly distracted by Gail. "Bahhh. You'll have to do better than that. Ain't nobody do that to a dragon. How much you weigh. Seven stone maybe eight? I told. Tell me your name." Gail speaks up. "We spared you life. What could we possibly owe you? A name comes at a cost. I'm afraid you are too far in dept already." "Hold on. We're just talking. Just nobody does that. Just nobody." He shakes his head. "You asked to come. You owe me a name for that. Passage is not free." He winks at Gail.
    Gail says "He's Uncle."
Cookpot looks from Gail to Ada and back again. He sees no resemblance. He looks at Uncle. He shakes his head. "Rich Uncle more likely. Lookin at the gowns you're wearing." He and Uncle hop out of the boat and push it accross the sand bar at the end of the stream. "Bet you were ship wrecked here. But, by the look of it those clothes have been washed this morning." Uncle pushes with one hand and helps Cookpot work the boat against the waves of the beach. Both hop back in as the shore drops away. Cookpot pulls out a second oar from two hooks under a seat and moves to the center of the boat. Gail and Ada move to the back, passing around him. "Maybe you two could be washer women." He fits the oars into two oar locks. A wave rolls past and he holds the oars up, out of the water. Then he counter rows and spins the boat around. "Though you'd never be able to pay your way off the ship as a washer." And he starts rowing hard, backward and against the waves. In sixteen strokes he has cleared the break and the swells just roll by underneath unbroken. Clear of the break he settles into an easier stroke.

The water is crstal clear. The sand tapers off underneath through emerald, blue, saphire, and dark violet. Your three dragons lift off and fly out ahead to get a preview of the ship. Slowly going higher and higher as they race out to sea. Their wings folded in beside them. Moving at the speed of thought. They spot the ship about half a kilometer off shore. It's at anchor. Instantly the astral dragons are there. Twenty seven men on deck, and one in the lookout nest. Captain on the bridge wearing a metal breast plate and a rapier. Four of the men on deck have blunderbuss, the rest are shirtless sailors. In the hold are empty crates, and two empty iron cages for animals. There is fresh hay strewn about. The crew bunks are empty except for one man with bandages on both his hands. In the galley are three cabin boys helping an old cook cut vegetables for a stew. In the captain's room is a woman sleeping in his bed. There are bird cages in here with an owl, a raven, and a falcon. Outside the ships name is 'profit' and the bow carving is of a gargoyle. Right now it flys no flag. Many of the deck hands are gathered in a circle playing cards. The captain is leaning against a rail chatting with one of the men with a blunderbuss and forked stand slung over his shoulder. Around the captains neck is a collection of different coins separated by varnished wood, hanging down over the shiny breast plate he wears. It's laced around his neck twice and still comes down to the middle of his sternum. It is tooled with gold vines at the hems. And under that a long sleeve white linen shirt. He laughs at what ever the man is saying. He has decent teeth.

David Michael Grouchy II

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