The sky became dark and the stars began spreading out out like an owl stretching its wings. The wind now grew along with the tide, the shadows of the sea shining black underneath the light of the moon. LeVane waited on the ketch, letting the other men anchor the stern and rope the bow ashore as they grumbled and gathered their tools so they could depart and walk home to their families. They didn't like what had occurred, but they were forced to deal with it and mind their own business. The men felt that the sooner they went home, the better; it was almost time for the toll of the bell and they had no desire to be locked out of the village gates.
LeVane lingered behind and took his time slowly making his way off the port, used to some of the cracks and uneven bowing of the docking board. The Master remained aboard to make the nightly inspection of the ship, knowing there was plenty of time and that the moon had not climbed its full length into the sky.
Waiting at the bottom of the docking board was Shawson, who held his lunch knapsack in his hand. LeVane knew he had needed to thank the man who defended him. When he reached the bottom he clasped the man's shoulder. The bravest of men became stone tree cutters, but an even braver man had the strength to defend a friend in need. "Thank you, Shawson. Blessings on your household," LeVane said thickly.
Shawson looked into the deep brown of LeVane's eyes and felt the sincerity. He knew the men could have pushed him and the babe to drown if they had gotten ahead of themselves, and a good man like LeVane didn't deserve that for an act of mercy. The gods had a reason for LeVane to have found this babe tonight; the stars were brighter than usual and the wind softer in rustle. Shawson held up his lunch knapsack and motioned for LeVane to put the babe inside to carry her home. Shawson was a man of few words, but showed through action his thoughts.
Now LeVane would be able to return the Master's coat to its rightful owner.
"My wife had a bae last win'er. We have clothes you can 'ave for the babe," Shawson offered. He held the knapsack open while LeVane carefully positioned her inside and she let out a small call of annoyance before she went out like a candle. "Are ye keeping 'er?" Shawson asked quietly.
Shawson could clearly see there was no hesitation in LeVane's mind. Even knowing where he found the babe, he was going to keep her. Shawson could admire that. Shawson and LeVane had walked towards the shoreline and that is where they began to depart. "Cheers to fatherhood. Gods bless 'er," Shawson said kindly with a twinkle in his eye and a hand on LeVane's shoulder. LeVane smiled and then Shawson staggered up the gentle slope of the sand, headed home to tell his wife of tonight's strange events. There was certain to be gossip before the church bells rang in the morning.
LeVane couldn't help but notice the stars seeming to glow and the Star of Fortune laying low in the sky close to the moon. This night was in agreement with his mood; this baby was meant for him and his grieving wife after the loss of their own babe.
The Master saw LeVane lingering and strolled next to him. "What's on yer mind, LeVane?"
The shoreline sand was white as the moon, and soft as a blanket underneath their feet, but boots became heavy after a long day's work. LeVane's calves ached and he was hungry for an evening meal. LeVane handed the coat back to the Master and he put it back on to protect against the night's chill. The Master's face was no longer harsh as it was when he was on duty. The beard and his frown lines could never make his face appear kind and pleasant, but his tone conveyed his interest and concern, which was maybe not for LeVane, but the babe.
"Children are a blessin' from the gods, Tollick," LeVane said once he felt comfortable. He sucked in bis breathe as the babe stirred when he reached the peak of the sand dune's incline, and relaxed when she settled once more.
The Master was a respected man of honor, and did not mind informality amongst equal men. LeVane remained his best and most trustworthy worker over the years. The Master Tollick folded his hands behind his back and inclined his head in thoughtful agreement.
"Kreta lost a boy a fortnight ago, and now I think I have a way to heal us. I am not worried about feeding all of us with the boys beginning to grow into work," LeVane started.
"--But little girls are different. Dowry, and schooling is needed," Master Tollick interrupted knowingly. The LeVane family was not the richest family, but they were a valuable family in the community because of all the boys that would one day begin to work. LeVane was the only working man in the family, and a family of six-- now seven-- was a task to provide for. "Listen, LeVane, you and your boys will always have a place to work with me. Let me put in a word with Elanthian."
LeVane's face could not contain his surprise. Elanthian was the wealthiest family who owned the cutting trade of Venura. "I would be honored, Master Tollick," LeVane inclined his head as best he could and would have bowed if he wasn't holding a babe.
"You have been my best worker since nine, LeVane. You've earned it and it's about time," the Master acknowledged.
Master Tollick and LeVane both heard the toll of the bell and hurried the last hundred paces to make it inside the village gates before they closed. Even as the babe began to cry and Master Tollick departed towards his home with a grumble about his wife going to have him eat cold leftovers for supper, LeVane really felt that good fortune was upon his family.
The Star of Fortune was truly shining brighter than ever.ns 220.127.116.11da2