The ship made it into Port Caynn about a day before their water barrel went dry. As they docked at the bustling quay, Sandry looked over the railing towards the urban sprawl that steadily climbed upwards from sea level. The city was bright and colorful, painted colors of pink, green, and bright blue. Sandry grinned. It made the place seem cleaner and friendlier. It almost reminded her of Summersea. Back a ways, perhaps only a couple miles away, Sandry could catch the barest glimpse of another cities rooftops, settled on a hill set back from the coast.
Sandry turned. Daja was calling, gesturing for the thread mage to join them in speaking with a rather official looking man who'd been the first up the gangplank when it'd been lowered. He was dressed in livery, bearing the crest of what Sandry supposed was the Crown.
"-want to sell it." Briar said to the bored looking official. The man merely scribbled something in his log, looking about the masts and ship with appraising eyes.
"Hm, no more than 1,000 gold nobles." He said, sniffing hautily. His quill moved, twitching comically as he continued to survey the vessel. "And as for the cannon-" he broke off suddenly, looking about.
"Problem?" Daja aske, an eyebrow raised.
"Where are your canons!" the man exclaimed, peering behind the five as if they would magically appear.
Briar shrugged. "We didn't need any." His smile was decidedly wicked as he tapped the side of his nose. "Mages, you know."
Glaki giggle was muffled in Tris's skirts as the official's face turned a pleasing shade of puce, than ghostly pale. "R-right. Quite sorry. I'll draw up your papers for 2,000 gold nobles, then." He scurried off as fast as his legs would take him.
"Did you see him jump?" Briar laughed. Daja and Tris looked on amused while Sandry seemed indignant.
"Briar Moss!" she chastised. "That was incredibly rude!"
"It was funny." He defended, looking around for help. "Ah, Glaki! You thought it was funny, right?"
Glaki merely shook her head, refusing to get involved.
"You don't get to use Glaki as a shield, Briar." Tris admonished as she pushed her glasses higher on her nose. "My sense of morals won't allow you to."
"I can fix that." Briar said, half seriously as he fended off a swat from Sandry. "Those pesky inhibitions can be done away with given the proper application of alcohol and tomfoolery."
"Briar!" Daja said semi-sharply. Her eyes slid to the youngest of their group. Glaki had stood up straighter, very interested in the details of this 'tomfoolery'.
"You never let me have any fun." Was all Briar could say as the port official came trotting back up the gangplank, and negotiations began again.
For all their optimism about starting over in Port Caynn, they found it incredibly hard to find work. Thousands of men had returned home in droves after the victory over the Scanrans to the north. Competition for the paltry few jobs left was fierce, and in some cases almost deadly.
"We need to move." Briar said finally, about two weeks after they had first arrived in Tortall. They were settled around the small table in their room, just having finished their evening meal. Sunset flickered through their shuttered windows and made them all feel comfortably drowsy.
"Why? Glaki asked, sleepily blinking her eyes as she struggled to keep her chin out of her empty stew bowl.
"It's been two weeks, and we haven't found anyone to take any of us on, mages or no." Briar said. He laced his fingers across his belly and leaned back in his chair, staring up at the ceiling. "I heard a bleater muttering to his friend about the capital. He claimed that his sister and her husband had found work there right off and that if he had the coin, he'd join them in a heartbeat."
"That's all you're going off of?" Tris asked, her tone acidic. "Some bluster you heard an unemployed fool mutter to his equally stupid friend?"
Truly, the lack of work was getting to Tris most of all. After her return from Lightsbridge, she'd enjoyed a prosperous business selling charms and amulets to the general populace of Summersea. She was particularly noted for her expertise in tying winds into knots for the captains of the Duke's navy that wasn't matched even by the expert mimanders that the Traders employed. It had taken skill, dedication, and a lot of investment for Tris to create a reputation for fair business and excellence. To have that taken away from her was almost excruciating, considering that the odds of her doing so again were long. At least then she'd had contacts cultivated over her time at Winding Circle and Lightsbridge. Here, in this foreign land, she knew no one- in fact, she didn't even know if their licenses would count this far west.
Briar fixed her with an irritated look, his own frustration rising up as he spoke. "Well, it's better than sitting around this dump, moaning like bag-!"
"Yeah?" Tris stood, trembling in her effort to contain her rage. Lightning crackles softly in the braids that framed her face, glinting off her glasses.
"Tri! Briar!" Daja's voice, usually not raised above it's calm murmur, cracked sharply. Both mages turned to see Daja glaring at both of them, with Sandry and Glaki looking on. "Be quiet." Daja said in a firm tone that booked no argument. "We don't need fighting, especially not where anyone could hear us."
Daja declined to mention their unique connection, feeling that Glaki deserved to know what was going on in their plans. It didn't pay to keep children out of their own futures; something she'd learned from the Circle's various misadventures with their foster-parents.
Brair and Tris traded heated looks before slowly lowering to their seats.
"Continue." Sandry said quietly. Her disappointed face was enough to guilt Briar into swallowing his pride.
"We could probably get a few jobs at the palace." He said sullenly. "It would pay to be close to the seat of politics. It's unlikely that Franzen could make a move with us two months travel away, but it's possible. I'd rather be the first to know if the Duchy of Emelan begins to muck about in our business, that's all." He settled back in a huff, sulking as Sandry and Daja turned to talk about it amongst themselves. They'd apparently decided that Tris and Briar were being too childish to be part of the discussion.
"We'll keep looking for another week." Daja announced after a few minutes of intense whispering. "If no one gets anything decent by then, we're going to Corus."
Tris and Briar said nothing, but merely scowled at each other.