Chapter Thirteen

on December 18, 2009 in Evermist

© 2009, Patrick Hester.  All Rights Reserved

Chapter Thirteen

Narut stared.  Southport was fading behind them and Elias wondered if it was only just hitting his friend that they were leaving home.

The days spent in Southport had been good ones, with Narut’s family keeping the four of them well fed and happy, not to mention the fact that the rest of their squad descended on The Lady Elle once they found out how amazing the food was and that Militia received discounts on everything.  Narut had said the place hadn’t seen as much custom in a season as they had in those two and a half days the Seaspray was in port.

They still had weeks before they would port in Evermist, but it seemed as if everyone onboard had become more subdued.  A calm and a quiet had come to rest on the Seaspray, and as Southport slowly melted away behind them, Elias felt that quiet seeping into his mind.

“Ravi is a good boy,” Narut said suddenly.  “He does what is asked of him and rarely complains.  Momma said he will have to go out with Poppa soon to work the nets.  The restaurant cannot support them all.  He will need to earn his keep in others ways and let the younger children work with Momma.”

Elias nodded, unsure of what he was supposed to say.  Perhaps this was one of those times when simply being there was enough.

“Ah, look at me, worrying over family, over things I cannot control.  You have a brother and sister don’t you?”

“I do,” he replied.  “Jaina and Aristotle – Ari for short.”

“What are they like?  Too serious like you?”

Elias frowned.  ‘Too serious’?  Shaking his head, he considered this for a moment, before answering.  “Jaina is the youngest.  She doesn’t do well with change, so my leaving was hard on her.  Ari…  I suppose he is ‘too serious’.  He always has been.  Father pushes them both very hard.”

“And you?  Did he push you as well?”

Eli nodded.  “I am the eldest.  I protected them,” he said softly.  “Put myself between them and him.  Took the worst he had to give so that they would not have to.  I never thought about it like that before, but it’s true.  I worry about them without me there.”

“Yours is a strange family, my friend.  I am sorry to say so, but it is true.”

Again, Eli nodded.  Thinking about how different Narut’s family had been, how happy they had all seemed, he couldn’t help but agree with his friend.

Jaina will be fine, he told himself.  She was the stronger of the two, but Ari, Ari would cave.  He shook his head, trying to dispel the anger he was suddenly feeling.  He didn’t see any of the pressure put on Narut’s brothers and sisters that Eli had felt through the years.  Narut had it wrong – his family wasn’t strange, it was wrong.  Children should not live in fear of their father.

“I will not be like my father,” he said softly.

Narut clapped him on the shoulder.  “I do not think you are anything like him, my friend.”

Eli nodded.  Maybe that was why the man hated him.

“Now, if you will excuse me,” Narut said with a smile.  “I must say hello to Adia.”  Narut walked off, and Eli smiled after him.  That must be the second mate Narut was so interested in.

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