Untold Stories from the World of Myrrah: Ty in Sardinia – Part 1
Born of Water hints at Ty’s first visits to the illicit port city of Sardinia without providing many details. Why Ty makes his way there is a story on its, own and one that is given in Born of Water. Escaping from manipulation and the threat of abuse during his apprenticeship, Ty washes up on the shores of Portoreayl and almost immediately falls in with a questionable saviour, Via. Via doesn’t care that Ty has abandoned his apprenticeship, providing Ty food and a refuge. With few options other than finding a way home to face his disappointed family, Ty begins a new life, one with dark depths that drags Ty in with slow ruthlessness. What pulls him out can be found in the Born of Water Novel Companion, but how he became entangled in a life so far from what his upbringing and set path determined is found here…
Ty in Sardinia: Part 1
He didn’t have anywhere to go. That’s why Ty didn’t say anything when Garath and Via said they sailed for Sardinia. Not even the Gypsy Empress had dared to visit that port city, and her crew, or at least the Air Elemental who guided the ship and blackmailed her captain, were the most dangerous sailors Ty knew. Though he didn’t know his present company very well.
“Not all of them,” Via added, eyes full of dark mirth. “Be careful of the harbor. The rocks are shallow and I don’t want to have to find a new boat.”
Via’s boat was smaller than most merchant ships in his family’s fleet. Despite the length, the wide beam made her sail like a barge. That alone would have made Ty nervous. When the first rocks appeared with broken boards wedged between rock and spray, Ty nearly turned around.
There were no channel indicators or buoys marking dangerous shoals. The turbulent sea between him and the small city rising along the ridge of the peninsula was a sunken maze with pitfalls that risked life and limb. That neither Via or Garath appeared worried told Ty that either he was overly concerned or both of his new friends had no idea on how to sail. Having watched Garath struggle to untie a slip knot, Ty doubted it was skill.
He eased the ship through the rough waves while searching for signs of a safe channel. Attention absorbed on hidden rocks seen only be odd waves and occasional spray kept Ty from glancing at the town known as the most dangerous port in all of Myrrah until he brushed the boat alongside a dock. The first thing he noticed was the dock looked ready to fall into the ocean.
The pilings leaned seaward with rotting boards nailed as bracing. Ty didn’t trust stepping off the ship onto the poorly framed mess, much less thought it would be stable enough to tie the ship to. Via didn’t share Ty’s doubt. He threw a line to a man standing with legs stretched over a gap of missing boards. Before Ty could protest, the boat was attached to the tenuous mooring. He hid his distrust of the dock and the town by taking his time lashing the sail.
“Nice boat,” the man on the dock said to Via.
“We picked it up in Portoreayl,” Via said with a glance that slid over Ty without sticking. “And the boy too. Bastion, this is Ty. He comes from a sailing family down coast. Says he’ll help us out for a bit, right boy?”
Ty nodded, not liking the shores of the town he found himself about as much as being called ‘boy.’ He was eighteen, but Via made it sound like he was twelve and a runaway. The three men chuckled at his reaction. The minor humiliation was still better than the treatment he’d received on his abandoned apprenticeship, especially considering the treatment that had been planned. Ignoring the three was not that difficult.
Garath and Ty hefted bundles of merchandise onto the dock, being sure to keep the bags on the most solid boards. Even with help from Bastion, it took several trips down the length of the dock to get everything to shore. By the time he made the final trip, Ty had memorized most of the gaps that needed to be jumped as well as a wide space crossed by a narrow plank.
Dropping the last of the bundles in the back of the cart that Via had arranged, Ty caught Via’s gaze sweeping him with an evaluating stare. “See I told you, the boy would be useful. He’s got good sea legs on him,” Via said to Garath. Garath grunted, flicking Ty a thoughtful glance as Ty climbed into the back of the wagon.
Garath snapped the whip at the small donkey hitched to the cart and they started the slow climb up the hill. Buildings in not much better repair than the ramshackle wharf lined a dirt street. Broken bottles glinted in untrod corners.
There were parts of Mirocyne, the town where Ty had grown up, that were rough, especially along the poorer docks. But nothing from home matched the broken windows set in buildings of cracked and unpainted boards. Ty had run through the streets of Mirocyne even at night as a boy. Navigating the streets of Sardinia, in daylight, as a young adult dried Ty’s mouth.
But there were people about. Most were hooded and kept their faces in shadows so that Ty couldn’t guess home ports or gender easily. His first taste of Sardinia validated every rumor he’d heard about the place. Worries about the men who’d found him and helped him in Portoreayl crept into Ty’s mind even though he tried to ignore them. He had no choice and nowhere to go.
Just when the warnings hissing through his mind became too much to ignore, the cart slipped under an arched gate set in an old wall. Ty stared. The rough and decrepit building were gone. In their place was a market unlike any he’d ever seen or heard.
The cobblestone main street was lined with shops set beneath deep overhangs. An assortment of tables and chairs set outside a cafe. The smell of coffee and sweets infused into the air as they passed. Tiny side streets, some barely wide enough for an adult man to walk down, led off between buildings. The signs of shops glinted in the dim light of the narrow pathways.
“Told you Sardinia wasn’t so bad,” Via said with a laugh.
Ty blushed. “What is this place?”
“The heart of Sardinia: its bazar. We are heading to my home, set up there in the nicer section of the city,” Via set with a nod toward the pinnacle of the ridge. “I want to look through everything once more before we take it to a few stores in the market.”
Larger buildings rising several stories crowned the height of the peninsula, trees peeking from balconies and rooftop gardens. That section of Sardinia competed with the better parts of Mirocyne. Ty was impressed. He settled back into the cart with a bit more confidence.
Perhaps his worries about Sardinia, as well as Via and Garth, were wrong.
read Part 2 here.