The Sail Weaver

The Sail Weaver by Muffy Morrigan Page A

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Authors: Muffy Morrigan
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it feels that way.”
    “Same thing.” Fenfyr put his head on the deck and watched as Tristan got ready.
     
    At five minutes before eight bells in the second dog watch, he stepped over the threshold and into the Gunroom. When humanity had embarked into the stars in sailing ships, they had reclaimed the old names from the Great Age of Sail and the Gunroom was now, as then, the dining area for the officers. The first officer presided over the group, and it included the sailing master and the boatswain—the only deviation from the old days of sail.
    Tristan smiled at Shearer as he entered, and waited for Barrett to introduce him to the rest of the officers. There were two men and a woman in Naval uniforms, a Marine colonel in bright red and, to Tristan’s surprise , the formal black uniform of the Dragon Corps—worn in this case by a grinning Chris Muher. That must be part of the extra security Darius had been talking about.
    “Sir, welcome to the Gunroom!” Barrett said, approaching him with a smile. “I’d like you to meet the officers of Winged Victory. The Air Weavers often dine with us, but they have opted to stay with Theresa Aether.”
    “Of course,” Tristan said with a smile.
    “This is Second Officer, Commander Patrick Aubrey; Navigator Elizabeth Avila; Third Officer and Gunner Richard Fuhrman. You know Shearer, and our Shi p’s Master is Geoffrey Kinser . Colonel Steven Hall leads the Marines, and I believe you know General Muher?”
    “Yes.” Tristan nodded to each as he was introduced, smiling at Muher. “Thank you for inviting me for dinner.”
    “Our pleasure,” Aubrey said. “Believe me!”
    Barrett indicated that Tristan should take the seat of honor at the foot of the table and then they were all seated. The first course was served, the wine glasses filled with a rich dark red wine. Tristan took a sip, but no more. He knew that there was more food—and alcohol—yet to come. By the third course, several of the officers were speaking more freely, and from what Tristan could tell, they seemed to be generally loyal to the Guild, although Fuhrman was keeping quiet.
    Interestingly, Aubrey had served on the Constellation, but had been transferred before the ship’s final battle. He was a man in his early fifties, comfortable in his rank and his place in the ship’s day-to-day operation. He didn’t seem to be one of the overly ambitious men that ended up never reaching their desired commands, although there was something—Tristan couldn’t put his finger on what—that was upsetting the man about his position on the Victory. It wasn’t anything he said directly, only an offhand comment or two that got him a growl from Avila once and a kick under the table from Colonel Hall.
    The colonel had served in the Rim Wars and was in the middle of a particularly gory story when dessert was served—unfortunately for the diners, it was a cake drizzled with raspberry syrup that almost perfectly matched Hall’s description of the blood-smeared severed limbs he’d encountered on the ground. Most of the officers looked a little white and turned away, but Tristan ate. He knew they were watching him, gauging his reaction, and he suspected this had been, in part, staged.
    When the meal was over, Hall and Kinser left together, staggering towards a hatchway that was on the far side of the room from Tristan. Shortly after they left, Fuhrman stalked off alone, then Shearer, Avila and Aubrey, leaving only Tristan, Muher and Barrett.
    “A glass of wine before you turn in, sir?” Barrett asked, turning away from the table. “I have some stock in my room…”
    “Of course,” Tristan agreed, he half-expected Muher to leave, but the man merely stretched his legs under the table and leaned back in the chair.
    “It’s quite an honor, having the Dragon Corps serving with us,” Barrett said, returning with three glasses and a bottle of wine. “My family owns a vineyard.” He poured them each a glass and Tristan

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