I had decided. I was going to train as an Air Sailor. The only one I knew of was Hakka, and I really did not want to ask him. I had been hard on him. I had thought that he was sloppy and that he was a security risk. He had also served the Therands as an Air Sailor.
I asked around the village, surely with a village this size there is an air sailor. I was shocked to find out that I was wrong. I was going to have to swallow my pride. I was going to have to ask Hakka to train me.
The next day I saw Hakka on the Dashing Stag. I waited till his work took him to a place where I could talk to him alone. As I approached he acknowledged me with a knuckle salute. I returned the gesture and spoke, “Hakka may I talk to you a moment?”
“Yes Sir.” was his reply.
“Hakka, I know that we have not always gotten along. I did not trust you at first, but you have proved me wrong. You are a loyal and dependable member of this crew. You are an excellent example of your of your profession. I wish to train as an Air Sailor.”
Hakka smiled, “Good for you sir and thank you sir.” I could see that he did not understand that I was about to ask him to train me. He continued before I could speak,” As far as I know I am the only air sailor adept on the boat or in the village.” With that statement his eyes widened, now he understood.
“Yes.” I replied. “You are the only air sailor in the village. I would request that you to teach me.”
I saw Hakka was thinking hard now. “What makes you think that you are supposed to be an air sailor?”
I smiled “I dream of it Hakka. I am the captain of an air ship. We are being chased by some winged creatures that I can’t make out. I am pushing the ship to its max, my crew is cheering and we easily out run the beasts. Also I believe that I am being guided to this by my passion Flouranuus.
“We have all seen what your questor power can do to speed the ship.”,stated Hakka. “No.” I said clearly. “I’m sure of this path, as sure as the day I became a Tail Dancer.”
Hakka smiled, “I will train you. Come and see me in three days and we will start.”
I could see he was thinking hard about his new role as a teacher. “Hakka what will my cost be?” I hated to ask this question. I just knew that Hakka was going to charge me a fortune or want a promotion on the ship. Again I judged him wrong.
“When I trained to first circle I paid a tribute of two hundred and fifty silver pieces, so I think that would be fair.” Hakka said with a smile.
I had been prepared for this answer. I pulled a large pouch out of my shoulder bag and took fifty silver coins out of it. I gave the rest of the pouch to Hakka. “I will meet you here on the deck in three days.”
Hakka smiled at the bag of coins, “Sir.” He said with a bit of caution in his voice. You are training to be one of us, he motioned to the deck crew. “What I am saying is that you should dress like us. Be like us.”
The morning I was on the deck of The Dashing Stag at the crack of dawn. I am not normally a morning T’skrang but when it came to training I always gave my full effort. I was dressed in a light weight off white linen shirt and a pair of brown canvas pants. I felt like I was dressed for some kind of costume party. I left the hammer and the tail mace in my room and was wearing just a dagger. I am a questor of flouranuus so I did wear my red sash the King gave me.
I saw Hakka come up the stairs. He was eating a biscuit and carrying a steaming cup of tea. He looked surprised to see me on deck already. He smiled and nodded to my clothing, “I see you found some plain clothing. Good, sailing is not about being flashy. I know that you have some skill in working an air ship. I hope you realize that you will have to relearn all of that again. You will have to learn how to do it with magic and skill.”
I nodded,”If you show me I will learn.”
Stilicho took his place on the aft castle. He started to give the order to take the ship out of dock when his eyes landed on me. He stopped mid-sentence. I nodded and offered a knuckle salute. He saluted back and finished his commands.
Hakka told me to get up in the rigging and get ready to loose the sail. I took off running, using my gliding stride to get up to the sail. Hakka yelled at me to get back on the deck. My first instinct was to be appalled at the way that he was talking to me. Then it dawned on me he was my trainer not my crewman.
I dropped to the deck. Hakka barked at me that I was to be an air sailor. I would climb the rigging like I was supposed to. I took off climbing the rigging. My natural dexterity helped me but I was slow in the rigging.
I spent all day going up and down the rigging. I did begin to feel the magic at the end of the day. I could see where the rigging was going to be, instead of where it was. I stopped feeling the movement of the rigging of under my feet. I started to use my tail as third hand adding to my balance and allowing me to use both hands to work.
Hakka and I took out a small air sailing boat later that week. He had me take the rudder in my right hand and the ropes the sails in my left. We took the boat away from the dock and out of the village.
“Do you have the feel for her?” Hakka asked.
I nodded concentrating on the wind in the sail. Suddenly all went black. Hakka had pulled a bag over my head and tired it closed. I let go of the rudder and tried to get the bag off. Hakka slapped my hand away.
“Feel the wind in the sail and what the roll of the hull tells you.” Hakka said.
I tried to feel the movements of the ship and what the wind was doing. I pulled on the rudder and turned the boat to the starboard side. The boat started to slow and I could feel the pull on the sail ease. I brought the ship back to port and the ropes pulled against my hand the little boat picked up speed. I settled in ridding the currents of the wind for about an hour, making small adjustments to keep the boat at top speed.
Hakka pulled the bag off of my head and smiled at me. You picked that up fast. Trust your instincts and feel what he boat and the wind will tell you. Now grab an oar and let’s row back to the village. Hakka set a hard pace. I was concentrating too hard on the work. Hakka smiled at me and started to sing a sailors shanty. I had heard the men sing the song while rowing. I had thought it was just to pass the time but I soon learned it had everything to do with the work. The song set the pace and told you when to breath, when to pull, and when to reach. Soon we were working like an old team of plow horses. The boat was cruising through the air nicely and the village was coming in to view.
Hakka looked at me as we were docking the small boat. That is it S’kram you have learned all there is to being a first circle air sailor. It is up to you to follow the path now.