Almost According to Plan

When the currents aren't current.

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Almost According to Plan

Postby Ayissi » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:20 pm

Saun 26th, 716th Arc

Here it was. Stacks of maps, papers and mess jumbled on the desk. When they told her that she would substitute a navigator who suddenly fell ill, she was excited. She was thrilled to return to the sea after waiting for this opportunity for many trials. Now, she was going through these familiar mysteries, trying to create a passage plan. The ship that hired her was a trading ship. They were going to Burhan, the captain said, carrying some materials for foresters and bringing back timber from Burhan.

Burhan. She had her forefinger stuck on Lake Krom on the large scale map. The captain said they can moor there. In fact, the beginning and the end of the voyage was no problem. Ayissi knew how to unberth, leave a port and approach with the final mooring. What she was doing now as the sun braved the highest point on the azure arch, was figuring out the en route part. How did the currents move? Where were the shallow waters? Was there any danger along the sea bed they'd pass over? She had a few nautical charts on a small scale map, all of which captured the Andaris coast and sea. Right now, she was trying to get her head around the coastline. Considering the geographical differences along that particular stretch of land, Ayissi was mainly concerned with the seabed. The jagged rocks of east coastline could very well have hidden, unpleasant surprise below the water level, which is what she tried to read from the charts. Brushing against shallow waters with that type of threat was much more dangerous and damaging than brushing against a sand one. Well, preferably, no brushing against any type of shallow water was ideal, of course. Cocking her head from side to side, pulling in her cheek from time to time and producing a pensive pout, as far as she could tell, if they stayed between twenty to thirty cable lengths from the coast, they should hit no complications with regards to water’s depth. Any further and manoeuvring into the mouth of Zor river would be unnecessarily difficult.

Scribbling away in her notepad, Ayissi moved to the next matter at hand - the tides and currents. For a smooth and swift journey, it would be best to leave during neap tide, but that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. Quarter moon was still a little way away and the ship was leaving tomorrow. Her next best option then was to leave during high tide when the water would carry them out of the dock and onto the west, north-west current towards river Zor. The journey back might be a little slower considering that they would be going against the current, but if the wind was in their favour, they would do just fine. Becoming a statue with eyes losing focus, her mouth moved silently as she performed mental calculations before she sharply breathed in. Early morning hours…never good for the sailors who spent the previous night drinks their brains dumb. Well, the captain would have to get his men in order for them to leave on time. It was not her problem to solve and so she made a note in her pocket book for later reference.

Twirling the carbon pencil between her fingers, Ayissi bent a little lower. She only saw her father do this, but he often drew lines on his maps. “It’s the set of the voyage,” he used to tell her. But as a small girl, it only appeared as one of many confusing bits and bobs. She preferred stars then and she did now as well. Unfortunately, stars did not shine when the sun was out and Ayissi could not risk a thing with this job. It was the first one, after all. She felt like she had to prove herself, which she probably did. And so, she dragged the tip along the paper, leaving behind a thin line. Mid-way, the frown on her brow was intense enough for her to stop. She did not like the shape of it. Just past the caves as the coast changed into menacing cliffs, it went almost too close to the land. Rubbing it out, she smudged the line into the sides until it was gone and started anew. Moments later, she repeated the process. The curve drawn as they went past the city to leave it behind on their left, the turn was narrower than it would be ideal perhaps. A ship loaded with trading items, heavy and heaving on the sea would not make such a turn. Hence, another large grey smudge was added to the chart. In fact, many more followed. She wasn’t quite content with what she was producing and something inside Ayissi told her that with this line, one had to be sure. It would be the way that the ship would have to follow. After covering the previously pristine white nautical chart in grey blots, the finalised line appeared somewhat a partitioning in amongst formless thunderclouds. Though Ayissi huffed contently. The dirty visage of the chart was not bothering her a bit. It didn’t even bother her that she left some carbon smudges across her forehead when she went to brush her hand through her hair during the line drawing.

Looking to a side, she left a few fingerprints next to the items on her checklist. She had a few more tasks to tick off. It was mainly calculating the speed with relation to the currents, as well as reading on the port in the lake Krom so she could get an idea on the approach and berthing. But for now, her eyes were hurting. Staring at the maps and charts ever since early morning hours, it tired her. This was the first time she ever had to work with these properly and alone. At first, she thought she’d never make sense out of all the numbers and lines! Thankfully, her wits did not leave her. Within less than a break, Ayissi’s mind was already creating a mental picture with all the information before her. But to speak frankly, she was worried at first.

Dropping the pencil on the table, the woman dressed in the simplest of her clothes stretched skyward. Rolled sleeves travelled down her arms, the low unbuttoned blouse allowing little breeze to cool her skin. A trickle of sweat was slithering down the groove of her spine. Saun was going to kill her one day. The heat was unbearable even in her sloop and coupled with the weariness she began to feel, Ayissi decided it was the best time for an afternoon nap. After all, she wasn’t meeting the captain until the evening in the tavern.
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Almost According to Plan

Postby Ayissi » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:24 pm

Saun 27th, 716th Arc

“Coming on time, aye?” The captain exclaimed across the pier as made his way towards her. He had the swagger of a seasoned sailor as well as the half smile of someone who thought they had aces up their sleeve. For Ayissi leaning against some crates, the morning breeze offered no relief from the usurping heat. So much so that she put on a shirt which was once upon a time sleeved. With her dagger, however, Ayissi made it sleeveless and a much nicer item of clothing to wear during this godawful time.

“Well you can’t let a ship sail without a navigator, unless you want to feed the fish!” Ayissi responded with bright smile, pocketing the shame of the previous night. Her nap lasted a little longer than she anticipated and when she woke up, it was already past mid-afternoon. She thought she might be able to finish the final touch ups for the passage plans in time, but next she looked outside the round window, the sky was already turning dusky and she knew she was already late for the meeting. Not only were her notes a mess when she arrived at the tavern, Ayissi herself looked like she’s been attacked by the sea birds. Thankfully, the captain turned out to be a hearty man after the initial shot of grumpiness and annoyance.

And so they set sail and no one could doubt Ayissi’s sailor upbringing as she stood on the front of the deck, legs planted in a firm stance, eyes set on the horizon. She had her hair pulled out of her face, like her mother often did. Just like Sonja, even Ayissi had a few soft, stray strands framing her face like materialised sun rays. She had her pocket book in hand, whilst the nautical maps were safely deposited in the captain’s cabin. Last thing she wanted was to further embarrass herself by having the wind snatch those maps out of her hands. Yesterday’s fiasco with her lack of punctuality was enough.

Saun 31st, 716th Arc

During morning of the fourth day of travel, Ayissi was extremely pleased with the way things have been going. Her navigation was leading them smoothly along the coast. She would not imagine someone else watching her any differently now. It wasn't such a great feat she was doing here. After all, she wouldn’t be hired if she was a null in her job. Yet, she did feel proud, free and certain.

“We’ll need to go down a few knots. We’ll be hitting a strong current soon and if we don’t slow down, steering this fat ship into the river will be difficult.” Ayissi told the captain after she briefly consulted with her book. Moments later, orders were given, some sails were rolled back up to stop the mild wind from pushing the vessel ahead too fast. There was no doubt in Ayissi’s mind that her notes, or even the charts were wrong. Well, no qualms were in need of resolving until a break passed and her dead reckoning placed her elsewhere on the map than they were meant to be. Frankly, they were behind by quite a bit.

Did she miscalculate? How? She checked and re-checked everything thrice! Even now, in the captain’s cabin she was doing the same estimations and the results matched. Once more, she frowned, fiercely this time. Based on the information peeking through the carbon smudges, she should have seen the mouth of the river half a break ago. Alas, she did not.

“Is there a problem, aye?” The captain spoke as he entered the cosy room, looking at her with a raised eyebrow. She could not admit a mistake, because it definitely wasn’t hers. “The current’s lazy.” She told him, sticking her fingers in their location and going on to explain how the information on the chart is different to the reality. Not that she needed to. The man next to her had some thirty arc of age on top of her and most certainly knew all and more of the stuff she was talking about. Hence, before she even got through half of her speech, the captain waved his hand at her.

“Bah, you just saying we’ll be late, uh?”

“No, no. At this speed, we’ll make it by tomorrow’s mid trial. It’s just -- “

“It’s just you did not anticipate that, aye? You got the rocks and seabeds, but the speed kinda walked by you without notice, aye?” This was the second time Ayissi could feel heat rising to her cheeks with mild shame. He was right in a way as much as he was probably just teasing her, guessing by that pull on his lips she started noticing during second night whenever he taunted his crew in good nature. Either way, it still didn't give her the perfect image she hoped for.

“Aye.” She said simply, acknowledging that error at least. “I’ll go and check if Zor is in sight or not. We should be seeing it by now.” Packing her spying glass, she left truly hoping she would see the damned river. She wasn't as furious as she was kicking her butt for not thinking about everything.

Indeed, she did see the river a few bits later. Thanking U’frek for his grace and pleading him for smooth proceedings still, Ayissi shouted across the deck that they should start turning landward.
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Almost According to Plan

Postby Ayissi » Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:41 pm

Saun 32th, 716th Arc

A night travel down the river was something Ayissi hasn’t done so often. It was the unfamiliarity that prevented her from restful sleep, causing her to eventually give up on sleep altogether for a while. Leaving the cabin, she made her way on deck where some men were keeping night watch. It was not odd to see her outside at night. Ayissi seemed to have woken up once every night over the past few days, feeling the need to check on the course of the ship.

Tonight she was antsy, however. Swiftly making her way across the boards, not even wearing her shoes, Ayissi stopped on the bow, eyes clouded with unreasonable anxieties which made her hues appear as if the moon was drowning in the water. She credited her restless mind to the fact that they were travelling on a river where the borders of possibilities were narrower. In other words, if something happened here, if they were to hit something and sink, or become immobile, it'd be on her. Even though she was more than sure that the sailors were competent, anything could happen really. With a heavy sigh, Ayissi turned her unsettled eyes skyward. Clouds were rolling lazily around and from between their breaks, stars winked at her lively, almost telling her she would be fine. They brought her solace more than anything.

For the next few bits, she caught glimpses of constellations she knew and some that weren’t so well-known to her. It was an exercise. Astrology went hand in hand with navigation by stars, but for Ayissi it went further. Her family and crew said that it was all thanks to when she was born. The darkness that shrouded Idalos gave her stargazing eyes, they used to say. She could only hope to ever learn all the secrets of the obsidian dome.

On this particular night, she noticed a group of celestial diamonds that caressed her memory which refused to come. She’s seen this formation before but in that moment, she couldn’t remember what it was. It looked distorted to her, as if the shape has been broken by something and no matter how much she frowned, squinted her eyes or bit on the inside of her lower lip, she could not guess the right shape. Perhaps, it was tiredness settling back in so the young navigator only made a mental note of looking through some more maps, her notes and books to find the truth. For now, she needed to retire.

Saun 39th, 716th Arc

“Oi, you!” The captain shouted across the deck for her just as she emerged from lower deck with her duffel bag slung over her shoulder.

“You, come ‘ere.” His hefty hand was waving her closer. He had his head tilted up slightly, looking at her over the bridge of his nose. This was the evaluation part and Ayissi felt it so much stronger than she thought she would. All her little mishaps were growing into disasters inside her mind.

“You're an odd one, but you have a knack for this. If the old cockrell doesn’t get better when we set sail again, I expect you to be here.” He passed his judgement, needn’t to say more. He wanted her back! The fact was met with the widest smile Ayissi had, the one that split her face in two, made her look younger and undoubtedly delighted.

“Sure thing, captain! Opportunity waits for no one!”

“Yeah, yeah, especially in Burhan, aye?" He replied with a snicker, before shaking his head and adding. "You and your Biqaj thirst for adventures...”
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Almost According to Plan

Postby Faith » Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:41 pm

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Peer Reviewed: Rewards!

Ayissi

Points!:
Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 0/ 5 (solo thread)
Structure: 5/ 5

Knowledge:
Navigation: Map Reading and Route Planning
Navigation: Understanding currents
Navigation: Know the deep and shallow waters
Navigation: Draw your route on the map for added accuracy
Navigation: Accuracy is even more important in confined spaces
Endurance: Mental fatigue is as draining as physical tiredness
Discipline: It's important to be on time
Seafaring: Slow down when sailing in currents


Loot: NA (job thread so pay dealt with separately)
Fame: NA
NB: your fame is currently set at 0 and you have no famy ledger in your CS. Could you make sure that it's recorded somewhere in that CS, please, even if it comes out to zero. Thanks!
Overview:
General comments. A nice job thread where I felt that I started to get to know Ayissi a little bit. I look forward to reading more about her!
Story No worries - a fairly straightforward first journey and she was meticulous in her planning!
Structure All good!
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