Healing a Princess...3 (Setting Sail)


Healing a Princess...3

 (Setting Sail)


by Tim Knight




            “Hurry up Tonya.  Everyone is waiting on you.” Isebell called from the door.  Two of the Palace guard stood ready to carry her down to the carriage waiting for her.

            “I’m ready, mother, I just wanted to check to make sure I have everything.  Monyka, could you carry these for me?”

            Tonya handed her friend a leather bag and a book on Dwarven science.

            “Okay, get her down stairs, and Don’t drop her.” Isebell directed the guardsmen.

            Two lines of Palace servants lined the Palace courtyard.  When Tonya exited through the doors, a great cheer went up as flowers were tossed in her direction.

            “I’m just going to the doctors.” Tonya protested the pomp.

            “And you will be representing Riponia in every nation along the way.” Her father said from the carriage.

            The soldiers set her down in the doorway of the open top carriage.  Tonya waved to the servants and settled down next to her father.  Her mother sat across from her, while Monyka, took up a seat next to the driver.  ‘At least It is a nice day for our departure.’ Monyka thought to herself looking up at the partly cloudy sky.

            Isebell piled some furs around Tonya, despite her protests that she was warm enough.  Her protests stopped with a look from her father.  She hoped that once they got moving that she would cool off enough to want them, otherwise, they were going to be thrown back into her mother’s lap.  The cheering died down as they rolled out of the courtyard and down the road towards Pershore, Riponia’s chief harbor.

            “I have given Zareb a bunch of letters of state, but here are some more, for you.”  Tobias said, patting a leather case.  “I also gave Zareb a few purses of gold and silver to help with expenses.  In this case are some letters of credit that you can use in case of emergency.  You won’t have to worry about much through Truno, Talison and Dianthe will take care of most everything for you. “Tobias lightly patted his daughter’s leg and smiled.  “I have paid the honor guard handsomely up front, so that they could take care of any family or expenses that they might have had.  They are also each being given a signing bonus, once they reach Truno, so that they can have some spending money on the trip.”

            “You mean drinking money, don’t your Tobias.” Isebell put in her two cents worth.

            “The good Captain has assured me that there aren’t any drunks under his command.” Tobias defended.  “Oh, before I forget…..Monyka listen up,” Tobias raised his voice.  “I had the carriage builder add two special compartments in your coach.  One is under the floorboards.  It contains a small chest of silver, some gold and a few jewels.  The other is under the piss pot.  If by any unfortunate chance, you are attacked, robbed, kidnapped or any other horrible thing happens.  The thieves, cut-throats, highway men, or robbers should be able to find the small chest under the floorboards.  Although it has some wealth, it is a dummy.  If you lift up the board under the piss pot, you will find another chest with gold and gems.  This is to be used only in dire straights, understand?  I would prefer that it comes back with you, if at all possible.  It is from our private savings.”

            “that is pretty cleaver, father.” Tonya smiled.

            “Actually it was your mother’s idea.” Tobias grinned at his wife.  “Only the Captain of your bodyguard knows of this, and I would rather keep it that way.  Don’t tell anyone, not Dianthe, Frydmond, or even Zareb.”

            “Yes, father.” Tonya said.

            Tobias looked to Monyka.

            “As you wish, your Majesty.  Not a soul will know.”


            “Yes, daughter.”

            “I have repeatedly tried to meet with this Captain, and he has either refused or eluded any and all of my attempts, to speak with him.  I’m a little concerned about what kind of man you have as my body guard.  Monyka and I did speak with one of his Cavalrymen at length, and he seems to hold the Captain in good esteem, but….well…..what do you think?
            “I did some research as well.  I even questioned Takoda.  The Captain’s men are loyal to him and trust him more than they do their own mothers.  When I interviewed him, he seemed honored and eager to accompany you…. He had a level head, and a no nonsense attitude, and he has served three tours in Haslemere patrolling the North West Passage…..He has even seen action.  From what Takoda said, he handled himself superbly well, fighting his way out of an ambush, that would have been certain death for anyone else.  I think you would do well to listen to his advise and trust him.”

            “The Cavalryman we spoke to said much of the same.”

            “Now when you get into Truno,  not the city, but into the real heart of  Truno.  Listen to what is going on in Haslemere and the North West Passage.  I don’t want you going through there if there is a lot of Elven activity going on up there.  Listen to the advise of Takoda, Zareb, and your Captain.”

            “Okay, father.  I get the picture, listen and get advise from Zareb, Takoda and my Captain.  What is my Captain’s name anyway?”

            “I think it’s Dickee, or Micke or something like that.” Tobias said.

            “What?  You are sending me off with a bodyguard, who’s name  you don’t even know?”

            “I’m tired, Tonya……Do you know how many people I have met and dealt with this last fortnight?  How many letters of state and letters of credit I have written?  How many queries I have sent out gathering intelligence of the areas you will be going through?.....  I’m sorry I can’t remember one person’s name.”  Tobias ran his fingers through his hair.  “Besides, Takoda will be with you, and Takoda likes him, and trust’s him.”

            Tonya huddled in the furs, now thankful that she had them.  She watched the green scenery of Riponia glide by as she  and each in the carriage seemed to be wrapped in their own thoughts.

            “Now when you reach Truno, behave yourself.  Dianthe is a good friend of mine…..”

            “Yes mother, I know, don’t embarrass you.” Tonya interrupted.

            Isabell continued, “I still have a lot of friends in Truno, who I correspond with. I would like you to take these letters with you to the Trunonian court.  Just correspondences with friends.”  she added looking sweetly at her husband.

            “Will Uncle Bedyr be at court?” Tonya asked.

            “The last I heard, he was defending his lands from the elves.  The news I hear is that the savages are becoming more bold……  They aren’t satisfied just attacking caravans in the forests.  Now, they are making attacks on farms and villages in the plains.  Burning farms, crops and villages, as well as butchering the farmers.  It is rumored that they are even eating them.”

            “Father, why doesn’t Talison send his army into the forest and clear them of elves?”

            “It isn’t that simple, Tonya, the elves won’t stand and fight, they are sneaky bastards, who attack and flee, never staying long enough for the Trunonian army to mount a counter attack.  Talison says that the scouts he sends into the forest to gather information, are never seen or heard of again.”

            “What about the Court scryers?” Isabell asked hopefully.

            “Nothing.” Tobias rolled his eyes at such a thought.  “Which is one of the reasons I want you to abort the North West Passage if there is trouble up there.”  Tobias directed at his daughter.

They were just entering the outskirts of Pershore.  The breeze brought with it the twang of salty air.  They were seeing more wagons loaded with goods imported from the Continent rolling out of Pershore.  At the same time, wagons of Riponian goods were entering Pershore for export to places like Truno and Malden.

Seeing the Ripon Royal guard, escorting a fine carriage, the gate guards of Pershore cleared the gates of traffic and saluted their Royal Majesties.  Tonya smiled and waved to the gate guards, which caused one or two to smile as they passed.

There had to have been more than casual gossip that they were coming.  The streets all the way to the docks were cleared of wagons, horses and carts, and the sidewalks were packed with the people of Pershore, waving cheering, bowing, and throwing flower petals in front of the carriage’s team of white horses. Tonya and Isabell smiled and waved to the crowd, while Tobias smiled and bowed slightly, here and there. 

A few minutes later, they were approaching the wharfs.  Tall masts webbed with ropes, dripping with white canvas and topped with colorful flags, towered over the buildings.  Tonya’s heart started to pound a little harder.  The only ship she had been on was a small one, that ferried her to one of their southern country estates.  These ships were massive, compared to that small ferry.  In two nights she will have traveled farther from her home than she ever had before in her life.  And that was just barely the first step on this journey. 

As they neared the docks the mix of classes became more apparent.  Clusters of wealthy merchant men and their wives stood chatting and waving to the carriage in clusters among a throng of wharf workers and sailors.  Satin and lace among a sea of rough cotton and wool.  Glitter and shine sparkling besides dirt and sweat.

The Royal entourage of soldiers parted to either side of the street and allowed the Royal carriage to travel up the center, and come to a stop at the base of a stone pier which stretched a few hundred paces into the harbor.  At the end of the pier was a large Aukai trimor-an.  Tonya’s breath was practically taken away at the sight.  How could something so massive float, was almost beyond her reckoning. 

“Would you like your wheeled chair?  Or would you rather be carried, your Highness?”  Monyka asked.

Tonya looked down the distance of the pier, then at the surrounding crowd of well wishers.

“The chair, please, I don’t think it would be dignified if everyone saw me thrown over someone’s shoulder like a sack of flour.”

Monyka smiled and nodded to a wagon behind them.  A steward brought forth the chair.  Tonya winced at the pain and stiffness in her joints as she stood to be helped into the chair.  The long ride in the carriage, sitting in one position, really took its toll.  The thought of being able to stretch out in her improved carriage brought some solace to her.

“Thank you, All; for seeing me off on my journey.” Tonya said to the gathered.  “I am touched by your show of love.  In a few months, I hope that you will see me strolling back down this pier, when I return to our beloved Riponia.”

The gathered, cheered, and threw flowers in her directions.

“Nicely done.” Tobias said for her ears only.

Tonya waved as Monyka wheeled her down the stone pier towards the massive ship.  A large ramp ran from the stone pier to the deck of the ship.  Standing in front of the ramp stood a female Aukai.  She wasn’t the tallest Aukai Tonya had seen, and next to the giant vessel, she seemed ordinary in height.  That is until you realized that the person standing next to her was a man in uniform and not a child.  The Aukai stood more than twice the height of the soldier next to her.  Thin golden braids with bits of pearl and metallic beads woven in, hung down over her shoulders, clashing with her magenta blouse.

“Good day, Captain.” Tobias greeted.

“With a scarlet sky last night, it is supposed to be.” The woman Captain agreed.

“Captain Jurysa, this is my daughter, Princess Tonya.” Tobias introduced.

“Good day Princess.” Jurysa greeted with a smile and hands open.

“Good day, Captain Jurysa.” Tonya imitating the gesture while looking up at the towering woman.  “May we come aboard?” She asked.

“Of course, Princess,  Igashu and I do hope to leave with the afternoon tide.”

“Igashu?” Tonya queried.

“The name of my ship.” Jurysa explained, pointing to the painted name on the side of the ship.  “He’s been sitting here so long taking on provisions, that he anxious and rearing to get back to sea.”

“He?” Monyka asked.

“Of course.  Do you think all ships are female?  How would we get new ships if their weren’t males as well.” Jurysa smiled.

Tobias chuckled, while Isabell looked shocked.

Jurysa gestured them up the ramp.  The soldier next to her took Monyka’s place and pushed the Princess up the ramp and onto the deck, followed by Tobias, Isabell and lastly by the Captain.

“The ship with the horses and most of the soldiers left with the morning tide, your Majesty.” Jurysa informed. 

“Good, good, Captain.”

Tonya’s breath almost caught when she came upon the deck.  Igashu seemed tall from the pier, but now she could witness his girth.  He was quite wide.  Large Aukai men and women, scrambled over the decks, rolling up ropes, storing provisions, and swabbing the deck.  Compared to the ferries she had been on Igashu was a rock, hardly swaying in the soft swells of the harbor.

The soldier pushing Tonya wheeled her towards the aft to a large door.  A soldier standing beside the door opened it and bowed slightly to the Princess, and deeper to her father.  Inside was a large room, with polished wood planking.  Shelves fronted with netting, lined the port wall.  An Aukai sized table took up one side of the room, along with chairs sized to match.

A large bed built into the Starboard bulkhead of the room could have been twice the size of Tonya’s.  The entire aft of the room was made up of windows made up of panes of glass joined together with lead.  In front of those windows was what must be Captain Jurysa’s desk.

“Igashu is a good ship, but unfortunately he is not very grand.”  Jurysa gestured around the Captain’s cabin.

“You must be kidding me.” Tonya said looking up at the Captain, “He is the most beautiful ship I have ever seen.”

Jurysa beamed with pride.  “Thank you.  You are too kind, but thank you.”

“Captain, these quarters will be more than my daughter could have hoped for and will work splendidly.” Tobias agreed with his daughter.

“Your luggage should be coming aboard as we speak, your Highness.” The Aukai captain explained to the Princess, changing the subject.  “Your Majesties, would you care for some tea? Or a dram?”

“Some tea would be lovely,” Isebell spoke up for the first time since coming aboard.

“I will return shortly.” Jurysa excused herself.

At Tonya’s direction, the soldier wheeled her to the windows.  The windows gave the occupant a vas view of the port of Pershore.  Large sailing ships, dwarfed by Igashu slowly maneuvered into berthing areas for unloading, while others were a flurry of sailors deploying sails, readying their ships for the ocean.  Small skiffs and rowboats crawled across the water on paddles manned by sailors bearing cargo or people to and from shore. 

Tonya looked down to see how high the cabin was from the sea and regretted it immediately.  Dizziness from the height forced her to close her eyes and settle back into her chair.  It was only a drop of twenty paces or so, but anything more than a short flight of stairs caused her stomach to knot, and dizziness to take her.

“Are you alright, Tonya?” her mother asked.

            “Yes.  It’s just that it is a long way down to the water.”

            “Those go in here.  Yes, thank you.” Monyka directed from just outside the door.  Three Aukai sailors ducked in through the cabin door, each carried a traveling trunk. 

“Please place them along that wall.” Isabell instructed.

Jurysa followed them in.  “The tea will be up in two flaps of a gull.” she announced.  “Please take a seat and make yourselves at ease.”

“Thank you Corporal,” Tonya said over her shoulder,  “Monyka can manage from here.”

The soldier behind her bowed, then bowed to her mother and father as he left the cabin.

Tobias hopped up onto one of the large chairs, making him look the size of a child.  He grinned like a boy as he took in how small he looked among the large furniture.  Isabell rolled her eyes and shook her head, then approached the windows to take in the view.

“Ah, here we are.” Jurysa announced.

Tonya watched as what must have been an Aukai boy entered the room carrying a large silver tray.  He was taller than her father, who was a fair size for a human.  The young boy bowed his head to the occupants of the room and gently laid the tray upon the table.

“Thank you, Kontar.” Jurysa smiled as she poured the tea.

The young Aukai quietly left the cabin.

“My Cabin boy.”  She informed Tonya. “My brother’s son, may the sea comfort him.  His father was lost in a typhoon, when Kontar was just a fry.  He’ll make a good sailor someday.”  Jurysa handed them each a tea cup which were the size of bowls. “Honey, your majesty?” she asked Isabell.

“Thank you, Captain.”

“I have some Malden cookies for such an occasion.  Your Highness, I have heard that you enjoy the finer things in life.” Jurysa smiled at Tonya.

“thank you, I’ll split one with Monyka,” Tonya smiled  “I really couldn’t eat a whole one.”

The small, odd group made small talk and pleasantries while they waited for the rest of the provisions and cargo to be loaded.  A knock at the door was followed by the head of Kontar poking in.

“He’s ready to make sail, Captain.” He announced, then ducked back out.

“Well, Captain, it has been quite enjoyable chatting with you, but we need to get ashore and back to Ripon before it gets too late.” Tobias said dropping to the deck.  “Say your good byes Isabell.”

“Be careful, Tonya.” Her mother said embracing her. “Come home in good health and safe.”

“Yes mother.” Tonya hugged back.

Tobias embraced Monyka.  “Watch over her and take care of her as I know you will.”

“I will do my best, your Majesty.” Monyka answered.

“Thank you, father.  Thank you for making this trip available, and setting it all up.”

“You just make sure you come back healthy, strong and able to dance.”  Tobias grinned, then took his daughter in his arms and held her tight for a few moments.  “I still want to put you in that crystal box in the tower.” He said into her ear.  “Come back quickly.  He released her and took his wife’s arm and exited the cabin.

Tonya and Monyka looked at each other, then around the cabin, then back at each other.  Smiles slowly lit up their faces as they realized that this was it.  This was the beginning of their adventure. The beginning of their pilgrimage to heal a leg that never healed properly.  A knock brought them up short. 

Takoda poked his head in.  “You two aren’t dancing in here or having a pillow fight are you?”

“Sergeant at Arms, I’m surprised by you.” Tonya said trying to sound offended.  “We haven’t yet had a chance to.” She grinned.  “Have my parent’s gone ashore yet?”

“Yes, your Highness.”

“How long before we set sail, Sergeant?”

“The Captain says in a few more hours, your Highness.”

“Sergeant, is the Captain of my bodyguard aboard?”

“No, your Highness, He went into Pershore soon after he arrived.  Said he had to run some last minute errands.”

“Can you send him to me when he arrives?”

“Yes, your Highness.  Anything else?”

“Yes, Next time, come in and shut the door, so that I don’t have to be ‘Highnessed’ to death.”

“Of course, your Highness.”  Takoda grinned and ducked back out.

Tonya looked to her friend with a big smile, “Let’s explore.”

The two girls spent a good thirty minutes exploring the Captain’s cabin.  The oversized objects never ceased to bring them wonder. 

They were just getting ready to go out on the deck to explore Igashu when there was a knock at the door.  Takoda stuck his head in. “Your Highness, Captain Kalhoun has returned.”

“Captain, who? She asked.

“Captain Kalhoun, the Captain of your bodyguard.” Takoda prodded.

“No one has told me his name.” Tonya looked perplexed.  “Can he hear me?” She asked in a whisper.

Takoda shook his head.

“Give me to the count of twenty, then send him in.”

“Yes, your Highness.”  Takoda slowly departed.

She and Monyka sprang into action trying to find the best place for her to have a commanding presence in the cabin.  Monyka quickly wheeled Tonya to sit with her back to the window, so that the Captain would have to squint to see her clearly.

There was a knock at the door.

“Come.” Tonya tried to make her voice sound full of authority.

“I’ve heard that you wanted to see me, your Highness.” A vaguely familiar voice said.

“Please come in Captain.”

Tonya watched as a well built man strolled somewhat hesitantly across the cabin and bowed deeply as he entered the wash of light from the windows.

“Eachan, you are the Captain of my body guard?” Tonya asked in surprise.

“Well yes and no, your Highness.  My name isn’t Eachan, he is a Cavalryman in my squad.” The Captain said sheepishly.  I am Captain Kalhoun.”

“Why did you not say so last night?”  She demanded

“I wanted to find out who you were, your Highness, what I did last night, however insincere it might have been, did let me see the Princess of Riponia in a way that only a few close to her get to see.  I……”

“So you were spying on us last night?” Tonya’s anger was creeping into her voice.

“Reconnaissance if you will, your Highness.”  Captain Kalhoun admitted.  “I wanted to know what kind of person you were.  Much like you wanted to know about me.”

“So you lied to me.” Tonya snapped.  “You’re as sneaky as a….as a savage elf.  How dare you.”

“I will let that insult slide, your Highness,” Kalhoun’s voice became harder.  “If you will remember, the only time you asked for my name was after you unknowingly questioned me about  myself,  and at that time, to save us all embarrassment, I gave the name of one in my squad.”

“’To save us embarrassment’, you lied to a member of the Royal family…..’to save us embarrassment’.  Or was it to cause me to be embarrassed today?  Why, Captain, couldn’t you avail yourself to me any other time during the last fortnight?”  Tonya was almost shrieking.  “As Captain of my body guard, I wanted to meet you, so that we might trust one another, to come to some understanding!” 

Takoda entered the room, looking first to the safety of his Princess, then to her Captain, finally to Monyka.  Monyka looked at him with wide eyes and slowly shook her head.  Slowly, he backed up and slipped out of the room before any attention could be directed at him.

“I’ve been busy, Tonya…….

“Tonya?  How dare you, you have no leave to address me by my name!” her voice almost a whisper, was just as sharp.  “You will address me as your Highness.”

“Your Highness, your father, had many things for me to take care of before we were to set sail today.  I was unable to be avail myself to you.”

“Do you mean to tell me, that during the last fourteen days, that there was absolutely not one moment that you could have visited with me or answered my summons?”

“Your Highness, I am a Cavalry officer.  I am in charge of the destiny of fifty  fighting men.  Now, thanks to his Majesty, that number has grown to more than one-hundred.  In doing so, I follow the orders of my superior.  Your father out-ranks you, Highness.  I do his bidding first, for better or for ill, he is my commander.”

“You forgot one little detail, Captain.” Tonya was almost hissing.  “I am your commander now.  For better or for ill, my father is in Ripon, while you and I are to travel half-way across the world together.  I need to trust you, Captain, and right now, I can’t even stand your presence in my vicinity.  You will keep yourself out of my sight until we have reached Truno.  I will decide what to do with you by then.”

An uneasy silence fell over the cabin.

“You are excused, Captain.”  Tonya pointed to the door.

“Yes, your Highness.”  Captain Kalhoun bowed with a flourish and quickly exited the room.


“Damn, Captain, what did you say to her?  I have never seen her this worked up.” Takoda asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it right now, Sergeant.”  Rikki stormed across the deck and out onto the bow of Igashu, away from the hustle and bustle of the crew tackling last minute tasks, before they set sail.

“Damn it all!” Rikki called out into the wind.  He hadn’t lied to her, of course he didn’t come right out and introduce himself and hug her either, but Damn her.  He was supposed to stay close to her and keep he out of harm’s way.  ‘How the hell am I to keep her safe, now.’ He thought to himself.  ‘How am I supposed to right the wrong, if …..oh, God, what if she decides to send me back to Ripon?

Damn the arrogance of woman, and damn it even more if they are Royalty.  He should have known better than except this mission.  He should have stayed as far away from her as he could.  ‘I need this.  I need this to work off my guilt.’  Rikki stared down into the water for a long while, trying to drain his anger into the harbor.  ‘Penance,  This is part of my penance.  If I can just put up with it and accept it, this whole thing will be over.’ 

Rikki found a ladder to go below, and took it down to see if Sefu was doing alright in the dark hold.  The Stallion didn’t take to ships very well.  When he saw that they were approaching Igashu, he started to balk.  Rikki had to dismount and with help from a few others, covered his eyes.  A few sailors and dock workers, laughed at the trouble Sefu was giving him, but all of the trouble was worth it once they could unload him.  Sefu was not only one of the fastest horses in the Cavalry, but sure footed and not afraid of anything, well, anything but boats.

Rikki found the stallion, his ears pulled back and stomping his hooves unhappily. 

“This trip shouldn’t be so bad, Sefu.” Rikki spoke softly to the angry horse.  “We are in an Aukai cat-a-mor-an.  The Captain assures me that this ship won’t rock nearly so bad as others, you have been on.”  Sefu’s ears flicked back and forth, undecided as to what to do as Rikki spoke to him.  He still stamped his irritation though. “It looks like I will be spending more time with you in the next couple of days than I first thought.”  Rikki slowly put out a hand and caressed the Stallion’s soft coat.  “The Princess is trying my patience right now, so I will have to just accept it as a test and try and work through it the best I can.”  He was almost humming to his four legged friend.  “Give her some time to calm down and apologize.” Rikki stroked.  Sefu stopped stomping and was listening to his human.



            “Can you believe the arrogance of men?” Tonya said through clenched teeth.  “I never……’I was just doing reconnaissance,  to find out who you were.’ “She mocked in a deep voice.  “Spying, my own body guard, spying on ME!  And then he had the mordacity to ‘save us the embarrassment’ by lying to me…….I ought to send him off the ship right now!”

            “You father wouldn’t appreciate that though.” Monyka stated, calmly.

            “He couldn’t even give me a good answer as to why he ignored my summons…..  ‘Your father gave me a work to do, and I only answer to him,’……..Can you believe that?”

“What upsets you more, Highness, The fact that you were caught questioning, who you thought was a simple soldier on his character, or that he has seen yours?”  Monyka asked.

What!  How dare you!  Get out, get out right now,  I don’t need this from you too.”

“Yes your Highness.”  Monyka stood up and curtsied before leaving the Princess alone in the cabin.

“Sergeant!” Tonya called.

“Yes, your Highness?” Takoda stuck his head in.

“Inform me when Captain Jurysa plans to disembark or shove off, or what ever sailor say.” She barked.

“Yes, your Highness.” Sergeant bowed his head slightly and closed the door behind him.  “What was going on in there?” he asked Monyka just loud enough for her to hear.

Monyka briefly explained the ‘conversation’ between the two, shaking her head from time to time, unsure as to what really transpired.  Takoda whistled between his teeth and started to chuckle.

“What is so funny?” Monyka demanded.

“Sounds like a lovers spat to me.”

Monyka looked stunned at the sergeant and stomped off.



so the journey begins

This is building very nicely and I look forward to seeing just where the journey takes us. Nice job Tim...I note 23 just got posted...ok, only 20 to catch up. No worries...


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