The Melniks walked arm in arm from their now docked airship across the docks in the port of Ravila. Accustomed to holding their breath as they walked by a waterfront, they both deeply inhaled after noticing that the scent of the water was more salty than nauseating. As they passed by some familiar ships, both for air and sea, they made a small game of pointing out nations they recognized. There was an fishing boat from Steelhead, a dilapidated mass that looked like it was from Bump, some elaborate hybrid of boat and mansion from Caledon…
“…and Winterfell! Ten for me and nine for you!” Sky teased Scottie. They had reached the end of the docks and their game was over.
Scottie grumbled playfully but fished a few quatloo out of his pocket, handing it to her. Giving a wide smile, Sky pocketed the coins and squeezed his hand.
“You’re Sky Melnik!”
Sky jumped at the voice suddenly at her side. It came from a medium sized man who filled out his cassock a little too well. He held his hands close to his chest and smiled blithely.
“I can tell you what day you were born on. Do you know what day you were born on?”
Sky looked at Scottie uncertainly. The man was dressed in clerical black, but it was plain to see from the man’s face that he was simple. She opened her mouth to form an answer, when another black-frocked gentleman strode up and put his hand on the first man’s shoulder.
“You’ll have to excuse him. I’m Paul Nimbus. Dominic asked me to meet you.”
Scottie was still staring at the first man, he was hardly what he expected after dealing with Brother Lapis and the others in New Babbage. “Brother Miguel has been touched by the Builder,” Brother Nimbus explained. “He spotted your ship an hour ago. I understand you have something for me, perhaps you would be so kind as to let Miguel see your ship. He gets very excited to see airships up close.”
The Melniks exchanged glances and shrugged in unison in response to the question. Sky turned back towards the brothers and smiled, “Of course! Pleasure to meet you both. We’ll take you on a quick tour of our airship if you tell us a few of Brother Lapis’ deep, dark secrets. Didn’t you two go to school together or something?” Her eyes flickered playfully as she pulled Scottie back in the direction they just walked from, the two brothers following closely. Scottie chuckled and shook his head, his wife was always working some kind of angle.
Brother Nimbus’ professional demeanor melted slightly at the woman’s joking, giving a small smile as he responded, “Dominic had said you were forward, but my, you do cut to the chase.” A loud laugh escaped Scottie’s lips. Sky in turn gave Scottie a half-hearted dirty look and flared her elbow out towards his ribs in warning.
Oblivious to their joking, Brother Miguel continued with his blithe smile, his eyes widening as they neared the airship. Scottie tilted his head to the side as he noticed the man’s amazement, “Have you ever been on an airship before, Brother?” Brother Miguel did not answer before stepping onto the deck, walking to the exact center and standing there, transfixed, while his eyes quickly danced along the lines and curves of the ship.
“He’s calculating. That will keep him busy for a while,” Brother Nimbus explained. His eyes moved to the couples’, perhaps for the first time since they had been introduced. “I’ve been told you have something for me?”
Sky blinked quickly before suddenly understanding what the brother was referring to. “Oh! Yes! Let me grab that package for you…” She darted to a pile of her canvas bags, pushed her arm in between two on the bottom and pulled out a long, slender box with a flat package affixed to it.
Nimbus walked over to her with outstretched hands, which Sky quickly filled with the packages. “Thank you, Mrs. Melnik,” he said.
The sound of bells from the church tower sounded, reminding the Melniks and Brother Nimbus of the late hour. Brother Miguel was unmoved as he continued to calculate the angles of everything around him. Scottie grabbed his small canvas bag along with two of Sky’s, “Well it is getting rather late. We’d better find a place to get some rest.” Sky followed suit by grabbing her shoulder satchel which was heavier than it looked.
Brother Nimbus did not take his eyes off of the items in his hands, but nodded and said, “Yes. I have arranged a room for you both. I can possibly locate some food as well if you are hungry.”
Scottie grinned at the mention of food, already making his way off the ship, “Lead on then, Brother.”
Sky gave a concerned look in Brother Miguel’s direction as he remained motionless. Without even looking up, Brother Nimbus said, “Albert, let’s go count tiles.” Brother Miguel came alive at those words, pressing his hands together in excitement and immediately disembarking from the ship. Sky and Scottie both raised their eyebrows at the display before quickly following Miguel, with Nimbus walking alongside them.