Part 19:

You Never Got out Much, Did You

Tekole arrived at the pier, where he found Kajulan sitting on the ground, watching the sea with her legs shoved through the railings. It looked uncomfortable, but she didn’t seem to mind.

“Hi,” said Tekole, walking up behind her.

Kajulan craned her neck to look at him. “Oh, hey Tekole!”

Tekole kneeled down beside her. “I guess I’m the one finding you this time.”


“Oh, it’s just, usually you’re the one finding me, but this time, I found you.”

“But I told you where to meet me?”

Tekole shook his head. “Nevermind.” He stood back up, and leaned over the railing. “It looks really different. When you can’t see the Sun through it, I mean.” He looked up at the sky, where daylight was finally starting to break through the clouds. “I guess it’s up there right now.”

“Yeah,” replied Kajulan. She looked up at Tekole. “You never got out much, did you?”

“Not really. But I guess I do now.”

Kajulan laughed curtly. “Hah! I’ll say.”

A ship came into view on the horizon, and Tekole took something out of his pocket. Kajulan strained to see it, but found her current position rather ill-suited to the task. She carefully fed her legs back through the railing, and stood.

“That ship,” said Tekole, excited. “It looks just like the one on my coin!”

Kajulan grabbed Tekole’s hand, and gently guided it back from over the railing. “Probably want to keep that coin on this side,” she said. “Believe me, I’m speaking from experience.”

“Oh yeah. Right.”

“So, you kept it?” asked Kajulan, swinging around so she could lean against the railing. “I thought you gambled everything.”

“Well, I kept the coin. It was cool.”

Kajulan nodded “I know the feeling.” She reached into her pocket and produced a silver ring. “Nabbed this before you and I first bumped into each other.” She thought back a few days. “Well, it was actually like an hour or two before we bumped into each other. Or maybe part of an hour. I’ve never been great with timekeeping” Kajulan observed the ring a second more before putting it away. “Could still sell it to someone, like Rudim suggested. Don’t really want to now, though.” She looked over, where the ship from before was now docked. “Hey! Let’s go check out those pirates!”

She began to walk, and Tekole followed. “I don’t think they’re pirates, Kajulan. They’re just sailors.”

They got closer, and saw a woman standing next to a ramp, descending down from the top of the ship. She wore a wide-brimmed headdress and a heavy black coat, and beneath it a shirt tucked into baggy pants, which were in turn tucked into wide-cuffed boots.

Kajulan leaned towards Tekole. “Come on,” she said. “Pirate.”

The woman turned as they got closer. She had the minty green complexion of a kapi, and her teeth held a long stick of sweet smelling incense, burning purple at its end.

“Can I help you?” asked the woman. Her tone was mostly friendly, but also carried with it the hint of a threat.

“We just wanted to check out your ship,” said Kajulan.

The woman swung around to face the floating arch. “She is a beaut, isn’t she? I’ve had her since I was just barely old enough to ride. Youngest in my family to become the captain of her own ship.”

Two men began to come down from over the hull, carrying a large crate from between them.

“Careful!” said the woman. “That’s a heavy load!”

“What are you delivering?” asked Kajulan.

“Grain,” said the woman, keeping her focus on her crewmen. “They can’t grow shit here in Uruda.” She went off to help the others as they went deeper into the city, and Kajulan gave Tekole a knowing smile. He didn’t respond.

“Tekole,” she said.


“What would you say to some thieving?”

Tekole gave her a confused look. “Why would we steal grain?” Kajulan looked at Tekole as if he was crazy.

“To eat it,” she said.

“We can’t just eat raw grain,” said Tekole. He looked away briefly. “Or at least, I don’t know why we’d want to.”

“Okay, fine,” Kajulan said, conceding the point. “But it’ll still be fun to check out the inside of the ship, won’t it?” She tugged on Tekole’s sleeve, but he didn’t move. “Okay, fine. I’ll go by myself, and you just wait here.” She ran up the ramp, and as she reached the top she heard Tekole coming up behind her. She smiled, and quickly headed below decks.

The passage was skinny, and lit by the dim glow of a single lamp. Kajulan continued to lead the way, but Tekole was directly behind her. There wasn’t really any way he couldn’t be.

“What if someone finds us?” whispered Tekole.

“Don’t worry,” Kajulan whispered back. “I think that was the whole crew out there.”

“Tiny crew,” Tekole replied, in a rare moment of sarcasm.

“And tiny ship,” Kajulan retorted. “And besides, even if someone does find us, they won’t mind. Pirates love showing off their ships to people.”

“You run into pirates a lot?” asked Tekole. Kajulan nodded, although she didn’t mean to lie in response. She was just distracted by the excitement of Tekole apparently capitulating to her pirate theory.

They went down another level, and found themselves in the cargo hold. It was small, matching the modest ship it belonged to, and was lit by two small port windows on either side of the room. A couple of crates were contained within, similar in size and shape to the one they had seen being carried out. Kajulan walked over to one, and began trying to pry the top off with her hands.

“What are you doing?” asked Tekole.

“Trying to get this crate open,” Kajulan answered, ignoring the deeper, more important layer of the question.

“I thought you said we weren’t stealing any grain?”

“We’re already here,” Kajulan replied. “We might as well steal a little bit.” She continued to fruitlessly pull at the wooden board. Tekole sighed, and finally reached down, taking a metal tool from the floor and shoving it beneath the lid. He gave it a quick push, and the top popped clean off.

Kajulan smiled sweetly at him. “Thanks Tekole.” She looked down into the container. “Huh. That’s not grain.”

Tekole reached in, and picked one of them up. “Oh yeah! We used to make a ton of these at the scroll mill.” His mouth fell, and he suddenly dropped it as if it had turned out to be something toxic. “Kajulan. These are bullets.”

Kajulan nodded. “Yes they are. We might actually be in trouble.” She looked around, before giving Tekole a notably unreassuring reassuring smile. “We should probably go now.”

The two quickly left, making it back to the walkway just in time for the crew’s return. Kajulan froze in place, her mind rapidly trying to come up with an escape, while Tekole froze as well, his mind rapidly waiting for Kajulan to do something.

“Well well well,” said the woman, putting her hands on her hips. “You two wanted to see the ship, huh?” She walked over to them, and ruffled Kajulan’s hair. “You crazy kids. Guess I can’t blame you, though. She is a beautiful ship.”

The woman boarded, followed shortly by her two crewmen, and Kajulan let out a dramatic exhale. She then let out another one, but after that quickly regained her composure. “Well, that was lucky!” Tekole began to walk, and Kajulan followed. “But it’s like I said, pirates love showing off their ships, you know?” Tekole didn’t reply. “Is something wrong?” she asked.

“That was a stupid thing to do,” answered Tekole.

Although he was including himself in it, the accusation still hurt. “I thought you wanted to see the inside of the ship?” asked Kajulan.

Tekole looked back at her. “No.”

“Then why’d you follow me?”

Tekole looked forward again. “I don’t know.”

The air grew uncomfortable, and Tekole quickened his pace, while Kajulan stopped and looked down. She felt as if she probably had to do something.