Untold Stories from the World of Myrrah: Ty in Sardinia – Part 3
Ty tossed the rope skyward before he became lost in his thoughts. One sure cast looped it over the balcony rail. The heavy sailor’s knot tied to the thrown end weighed it down enough for Ty to lower the rope and grab it. He secured it with a loop and tested his weight on the rope, before hauling himself upward.
Rope climbing was an activity he’d begun about the time he learned to stand. Growing up in a sailing family, dangling ropes had always been present. For a boy, they’d offered access to things left out of his reach. As a young teenager, he’d climbed for the challenge as much as to get away from the confusion that came on the ground. Alone on a high mast, there was only him, the birds, and the sea air. Now once again he climbed to access something forbidden. Ty’s heart was in his throat in a way it hadn’t been since a very young age.
The climb was only a story, barely the length of a small mast. It only took Ty a minute, but the weight of what he was doing, and the fear of discovery made every second feel an hour. His palms were damp as he grabbed onto the marble railing and pulled himself onto the narrow balcony. Fully in the moonlight, Ty pressed himself against the building. Below, the shadows hid Via and the men with him.
Ty could alert the occupants in the house he was about to enter. The idea left him as soon as Ty thought it. This was Sardinia. Via’s story about theft didn’t have to be true for Ty to know his reception by the house’s owners would not be welcome or rewarded. Most likely he’d be killed before he could explain himself. Ty gently opened the doorway next to him and slipped inside.
In the dark, navigating the cluttered house was difficult. Not only was the upstairs a maze of small rooms, but they were crammed with furniture. What should have been open floor space held chests. Feeling very much as he did while walking the wall with its crest of glass shards, Ty inched through the upstairs. He found the stairs behind an ornate door. Happily, they led to the ground floor and ended only a few feet from a door leading outside.
Via waited on the other side, a cold grin on his face. “Good work, boy,” he said, nodding to the men with him to head inside. “We’ll go find what was stolen. You go down to the junction and keep watch. Ring this bell if you hear something and then run.”
Via pushed the smooth metal of a brass ship’s bell into Ty’s hand, one of the small ones used for signalling shift changes on the merchant ships. Happy to be able to put some distance between himself and what Via was about to do, Ty scurried down the dark alley to stand where a wider road crossed the narrow walkway. He ignored the faint sounds behind him.
Ty was groggy the next day. Via by contrast whistled as he walked with a skip in his step through his bright house. Despite the late hour when Ty finally crawled from his bed, he found fresh fruit and bread. Via, it turned out, had ordered them saved for Ty.
“You did good last night,” Via said again when he joined Ty on a sunlit patio.
“You got back what he stole from you?”
“Oh yes. It took some searching. You saw that house! But we found it. You’ve been running errands all week for me, boy. Today, just relax. Stay here, go to the market, do whatever you like.” Via dropped a small pouch of money on the table. “And here is the money you’ve earned for the week and your help last night.”
Ty didn’t want to stay in Via’s house for the day. Via’s exuberance turned Ty’s stomach even while he rationalized it made sense. Whatever Via had lost must have been valuable to make him steal it back. But the creeping unease kept him from relaxing. Within an hour Ty was pacing through the bazaar, keeping his money well hidden. His wandering journey led him by the same house he’d snuck into the night before, though Ty would have sworn he’d meant to avoid it.
It was quiet. There was no sign that anything had happened. Relief relaxed Ty’s muscles. He’d expected a hive of activity, men hurrying in and out. Maybe Via had really just taken back one thing. Ty had never seen the men leave or what they’d carried. Only Via had approached close enough to wave Ty away. He’d gone to his room and straight to bed, knowing only that over an hour had passed as he waited by the change in the moonlight.
Feeling far less troubled, Ty perused the market with more interest, stopping at a cafe and entering shops. At the corner where two of the widest roads met sat a shop with large arched doors and windows. The wooden shutters that protected the glass were wide open, allowing a view into a store that, thought packed, stood out from all those he had seen for the quality of the wares. Curiosity drew Ty in.
“I haven’t seen you around the market before,” a heavyset man said, brown eyes warm when so many in Sardinia held evaluation.
“Not been here a week yet,” Ty answered.
“You’ve done well to survive that long,” the man said with a laugh. “I’m Finneous. That’s my boy, Jistin. Probably about your age,” Finneous said, finally giving Ty a full glance. “Look around. I’ll be in the back if you have questions. There are dates on the counter if you’re hungry.”
Ty looked around the store and back at Finneous. “You’re going to trust me out here alone?”
“You don’t look like much of a thief,” Finneous said. Jistin laughed silently at that.
“No, I am… was a sailor,” Ty said with a stumble.
“There is a story to that, I bet. But then, most everyone in Sardinia has a story. Just can’t believe most of them. You though, you I’d believe for a sailor. Good profession. Honest one. Shame you washed up here.”
Ty looked away. “I had some trouble.”
Finneous didn’t reply. When Ty glanced at him to see if he’d left, he found Finneous’s eyes still on him, holding both warmth and sadness in his gaze. “We all have troubles. Don’t let yours keep you here too long. You got a place to stay…?”
“Ty. My name is Ty,” he said, happy that for once he wasn’t called boy. “And Via has been helping me out.”
Finneous frowned when Ty said Via’s name. “Via, huh? You’ve done really well to have survived a week then,” Finneous said.