The sailors leapt nimbly from little vessel as it bumped against the jetty; tying ropes, dropping anchor, heaving to and other such nautical things.
Prester shivered and pulled his robes about him. Although the journey from the Small Isles to the mainland was short, it had been freezing cold and the sea had been choppy at best. Indeed, for an apprentice more used to the sedentary life of Littleton, it had been positively tempestuous.
He stared goggle-eyed as dockhands came forward to assist the sailors – huge lumbering fellows when compared to his fellow islanders. They stared back, equally surprised – it was common knowledge that everything - Humans, Dwarves, Elves - grew a little smaller on the Small Isles, hence the name, but neither islander nor mainlander appreciated the difference until they got up close.
Prester turned to his fellow passengers who in the main looked just as nervous as he felt. Apprentices who, like him, sought better opportunities in the frozen north than the overcrowded hiring fairs at home, thieves eager to put their slight statures to good use, thugs and fighters keen to show that shorter people were just as tough as anyone in Frostgrave.
The apprentice carefully scanned the loiterers around the quayside as the Little Islanders were ushered along the gangplank like field mice being chased into the cat’s basket.
‘Don’t show ‘em fear boy,’ growled one of the passengers, elbowing past him before striding confidently along the pier. It was the taciturn ‘man in black’, as Prester had dubbed him, making his first utterance since they began the voyage. Now he was off, crossbow in hand, melting into the crowd ahead.
‘Don’t show them fear… very well…” Prester tucked his scrolls more firmly under his arm and, jutting out his chin, marched past the others. “I want a job!” he declared.