Her boot slid down the loose wooden slate. She let herself slide, leaning over the edge of the rooftop, fingers curled around a chimney pipe.
If anyone noticed the girl hanging over the dockside market street, half poised and eyes set on the coastline, they didn’t bother themselves about it. Westport was a trade hub, plenty of odd people passing through. It was better to just let them do so, better for everyone that way.
From her precarious vantage point Ferra counted ships. Six months ago she’d not been able to tell a sloop from a snow. Now she could list off the dozens of vessels that made their way in and out of the port.
She craned her body, squinting into the bright noon and the sparkling flat of the sea. This ritual was as part of her day as the unending search for food and her nightly lessons with Ghost. Half a year she’d waited for Aren’s ship, she’d wait dozens more but she sure as hell wasn’t going to miss it when it did finally cross back into the harbor.
Seven new vessels. She could name their build but her eyes were for their colors. Two red for the Vrack Empire, one pale blue with lavender from the Gurish fleet. Those were easy. The mishmash of shades and symbols the pirates used were harder. Daggers, bones, hanged men….she’d seen so many.
An hourglass, white against a black field. Ferra blinked. The thing snapped in the wind like an animal caught in a trap.
It was here. She wanted to spring into the street and chase it down. Her muscles begged for it. But tearing her eyes from its colors for even a minute, lest it slip away again, was harder than it should have been.
That ship had taken Aren. It was the closest she’d been to finding her wayward cousin and best friend since she left home. Ferra took a breath drinking in the sight of the ship instead. Being rash got you killed here, she’d been lucky enough to find Ghost before her blind search ended that way. She had a little while to plan, the hourglass ship had just come in. Plenty of time to get close and find Aren.
Her six months in Westport had taught her more than the times bakers left bread unattended. A valuable bit of knowledge to be sure, she was alive because of it. But her talents had always rested in the sword still slung across her back. And now she knew no one ever looked up.
If Aren wasn’t on that ship, if they’d done something with him, they wouldn’t see her coming.