An Oracular Visitation
#16

Kelsey sighed deeply, her shoulders sagging. "I am ever at your service, my queen. Two hours should be more than enough time to prepare my crew." She gathered herself, resigned to the fact that she would ferry yet more people in the opposite direction of where she should be. Her head turned to the Oracle, and flashed him an angry look. "If you trust this thing, then I suppose I must as well. You are correct that I would have preferred to hear from you rather than him, as I am sure you would have laid it much better." the Oracle seemed to pout at this but-perhaps thankfully-he remained silent. "I shall see you on the docks at high noon. If you would care to take custody of this man and ensures that he remain here until then," she jabbed a finger at the Oracle, "I would consider it a great favor."

She stalked off, muttering under her breath. The Oracle's visage appeared apologetic, "I am sorry, my queen. I am perhaps over eager. It has been some time since any Oracle has ventured further than Chail, and on an expedition no less!" He seemed to caper on the spot. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

The Grand Bosun, Parcival MacDonnaugh, Voice of the Grand Admiral and Master of the merchant fleet
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#17

She raised an eyebrow and a finger at him, pretending to start to scorn him but immediately broke character and laughed. At that moment she felt a brief spark of excitement, truly curious and looking forward to this adventure. She knew that it was ultimately time she could not afford, but her shoulders were very heavy with the weight of responsibility and leadership. Perhaps this adventure could be a chance to be herself. Allow the brief time on the seas to be full of excitement for a journey and exploration. It probably wouldn't happen, but she could try her best. She reigned in her laughter before continuing. "What's done is done, and we have an important task before us. I must admit though... I am feeling rather excited myself." She gave a big grin. "The thought of even a brief escape from this war is guilt inducing, but necessary, and I believe I may just allow myself to feel the excitement during this journey." She addressed his last question. "I don't believe I require assistance at the moment, but if you would like to accompany me to the docks a bit before noon, it would be appreciated."
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#18

The Oracle laughed as well, "Things are in place, my queen. Even if we have made little progress as of yet, we will still win through. I have a certainty in this." His smiling mask seemed gentle now, reassuring. "You should be happy when you can. Soon your regent will return from his voyage on the Fleet ship. Then the pair of you can plan out your next strikes." The Oracle stretched, "Well, if I am of no immediate use, I shall be in my chambers here, reading." He made a gesture of farewell and strode out the room jauntily.

The sun was high in the sky and the Shining Wind stood high in the harbor, a mighty warship that hummed and buzzed with activity as Kelsey oversaw the supplies being loaded into the hold. She looked in her element now, proud and confident as she took command of her ship. the various mates and masters bellowing as well. She caught the eye of Aynia, and strode down the gangplank to greet her. "Ahoy there, my queen! We are just about ready to be underway, and I'll happily welcome you and yours aboard!"

The Grand Bosun, Parcival MacDonnaugh, Voice of the Grand Admiral and Master of the merchant fleet
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#19

Aynia gave Kelsey a big grin and looked at the gang plank. She then lifted her fitted skirt slightly above her ankles to show black suede boots. They had a small heel, but were not the most appropriate choice for aboard a ship. In fact, Aynia had donned a lightweight blue and tan travelling dress, with a matching blue parasol. It would have been practical for carriage rides, or a day trip to the horse tracks, but not the best for sailing. She shrugged a bit and looked at Kelsey.

"I suppose we did choose rather impractical shoes." She looked back at the small group of guards seeing to her welfare and her handmaiden who accompanied her everywhere and gave a small wave, beckoning her over to them. When she arrived, Aynia took a moment to introduce the woman to Kelsey. "My Lord Captain, this is Maeni, my personal handmaiden. I will go nowhere without her. Her things are with my trunks, and I presume they have arrived and have been loaded?"
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#20

Kelsey's grin was broad and warm, a humoring smile. "I am sure you will find your sea legs in no time, heels or no. And yes, your trunks are in the large cabin below the helm." She looked puzzled for a moment, "I don't believe that your.... oracle sent along anything."

"I did not!" Came the joyous call of the Oracle, who was bounding up the gangplank in the loudest, most garish parody of a naval uniform possible. The sailors all stopped and stared at the gleaming white and gold fabric that creaked with starch. The collar groaned as it rubbed against the porcelain chin. The fae man held a small case by his side, a trunk that looked incredibly dull and lifeless against the shining outfit. "This small trunk is all I need!" He seemed to be incredibly proud of himself, with his small case. "I need very little, I find. The Warren provides," he said beaming around the room.

"I... see..." Kelsey said, stifling her disbelief and derision, "well, the hour is upon us! Shall we set sail, my queen?"

The Grand Bosun, Parcival MacDonnaugh, Voice of the Grand Admiral and Master of the merchant fleet
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#21

Aynia gave a wave as the Oracle approached and declared his need for very little. Turning her smile to Kelsey she slipped a hand through her arm and turned her attention to the magnificent ship before them. "I must say, she is beautiful. It's been a long while since I have been on a ship, and it's a pleasure to return to the seas upon such a fine craft." She winked at Kelsey before looking back towards the Oracle and Maeni and piping up, "My dear Oracle, would you like the pleasure of escorting my dear Maeni up the gangplank with us?".

Maeni glanced warily at the Oracle before quickly composing herself. She gave a small curtsy and a shy smile, waiting for him to take her arm as well. Fortunately she was much more practically minded than her Queen, and was dressed in a loose dress and fashionable boots - without a heel. She hoped to herself that it meant she would not make a fool of herself and fall into the water.
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#22

Kelsey took the arm with a bit of surprise, looking up at the queen. "My ship is a proud thing indeed, my queen. She will take us where we need to go, and she will be swift." Kelsey beamed with pride as she led the queen aboard. "I suppose I am the ferrywoman of queens, ah well. She rolled her head back and forward around her shoulders, limbering herself up. "I can imagine many would fight for this position," she tossed a smile and wink to Aynia.

"Why, certainly!" The Oracle moved his chest to his other side and graciously took Maeni's hand, "a pleasure to meet you, Maeni," he said warmly. The steps the Oracle took were slow and heavy, forcibly so. Especially with the maid on his arm, he was exercising what to him was herculean restraint. The Oracle was, after all, an embodiment of the mind, and when set on a journey, the mind has a tendency to be hasty and impetuous. The fae spirit seemed to be ready to burst into song and run from one end of the large warship to the other. There was such excitement in his frame that he seemed to shake with it.

The Grand Bosun, Parcival MacDonnaugh, Voice of the Grand Admiral and Master of the merchant fleet
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#23

Maeni gave the odd man a practiced smile and a trained reply. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." She kept her smile as they walked but gave into curiosity as they stepped down onto the ship. "Forgive me for being forward, but you are not what I was expecting. Though I must admit, I was not expecting... most of this." She hid her annoyance under politeness. She let go of his arm and looked over to Aynia. "If you will excuse me for now." With that she slipped away and positioned herself near her Queen.

Aynia kept her balance, even with her impractical shoes. She stepped down and onto the ship rather gracefully she thought to herself. Aynia laughed at Kelsey's wink and looked back to see Maeni a few steps away, the Oracle left behind her. 'Maybe I need to also talk with Maeni about taking time to relax...' She knew the poor girl needed it. She was stiff as a board and had lost her usual joyousness since the start of the war. She snapped out of the thought and turned her attention back to Kelsey. "If you could please show us both to our chambers? We'll unpack and change into more sea worthy attire."
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#24

The Oracle looked at Maeni and shrugged, "you may have found my predecessors more to your expectations, Maeni. Each of us have chosen different forms when we... I suppose you'd say 'ascend'." He took a breath, centering himself as he felt the wind pick up. The sailors had cast off when everyone was on board, and two robed men stood beside the helmsman, clutching glass rods filled with black ichor that roiled.

"Such marvels I have only heard of," the Oracle said under his breath as the wind began blowing in earnest. For a being of knowledge, he seemed to be awestruck.

Kelsey smiled at the queen, "why my queen, follow me!" She led Maeni and Aynia over to the aftcastle, to a pair of large doors and opened them to reveal a remarkably well-prepared cabin, with a large bed and cot, a table that had a large map of the warren on it, and an imposing desk. "Your accommodations for the journey, my queen. I hope that they are up to snuff, as a Lord-Captain, I have some fineries, but I doubt we have all that you are acccustomed to." She indicated the various trunks and other cases that had been brought aboard, "your luggage is there, my queen, and if you do not mind, I shall let you be." She bowed and left the cabin.

The Oracle had been escorted by one of the Blackblade lieutenants belowdecks, and had set his case down. He hummed to himself as he meandered this way and that belowdecks, greeting and talking with the Fleetmen easily, his demeanor cutting through the awkwardness of his outfit.

The Grand Bosun, Parcival MacDonnaugh, Voice of the Grand Admiral and Master of the merchant fleet
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