The baby was still squalling in LeVane's arms when he reached the departing boat and the small screams intensified as he struggled to climb on board with the deepening waters of the shallows. The water splashing against his lower abdomen caused his coat to become a hindering anchor. A man aboard reached out to grab LeVane's hand and pull him aboard, much to the protests of some of the other men who were pushing him away with their oars.
"LeVane, what do you have there?" questioned the Master, stepping forward with a harsh but curious face.
"It's cursed!"549Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡDTu64DDxWr
"Put it back, put it back!"
"Stop, men! It's just a babe!" LeVane shouted back above the protests of the other men. "Peace!"
"Row men! Row! We do not have time lest you want to keep the night company," the axemen Master called the men to order. The winds were not in favor of the mast and hard rowing was to be ahead. The hollers of the men quieted to low grumbles and focused rowing, the raw ache of their muscles from the work of the day causing an even deeper soreness. Even without the threatening coming of the night, every man obeyed the Master of the axemen if they knew what was good for them.
"Thank you, Shawson," LeVane turned and patted the man who helped him aboard. Shawson was sitting near the back where he secured the bags of tools down to the moving boat as it slowly picked up speed. Shawson gave a quiet nod of acknowledgment and set back to his task as he noticed the Master come towards his end of the single-masted ketch.
"LeVane, you did the right thing-- but a minute more and we would have left you there. Be more diligent," The Master noted. LeVane nodded at his words but focused on gently rocking the baby into quiet submission. The Master went to have a brief look at the babe and took off his blue coat, exposing his clean linen shirt underneath. "Your coat is wet. Here," he said gruffly. LeVane unwrapped the babe from his damp coat and put her in the offered dry woolen coat. Immediately she quieted, and then to the Master's surprise, grabbed his finger as he was peering over her.
In that moment, LeVane saw something he has never seen on the Master's face: the hint of a smile. The Master didn't say anything, but obediently let the little babe suckle his finger, and admired the bluest of eyes, ever-changing as the sea. With a clearing of his throat he addressed LeVane, "Take good care of her. Peace bring her," he said thoughtfully, and then he gently took back his hand and turned back around to overseer the synchronicity of the rowing oars.
The further out to sea the boat went the smooth rocking motion of the boat silenced the baby. Her curious little eyes changed from a stormy blue to bright, calm waters that roamed contently. LeVane could only stare in awe at this beautiful little babe. His wife, Kreta, just had a stillbirth and still had aching breasts full of milk. Lord knows there was still four young boys to feed, but with time, they would work too. There was room for this little creature amongst their brood. "Mira..." LeVane breathed. "My little ocean, my peace..." he murmured.
The babe's eyes closed as if pleased on what she was to be called, and then fell asleep sucking her thumb. ns126.96.36.199da2