Silas watched The Winter Woman carefully as he approached along the short dock yard, feeling as if he had just woken up late and come down the stairs to find his mother rearranging the house for a party that no one told him about.
The ship was covered in the same sort of tight, happy flurry, the sailors in their uniforms moving smartly in all directions exactly the way his mother’s servants would take to their invisible courses with their arms full and feet flying. They called instructions back and forth in the same way, threw jokes between them in the same way, and carried on their conversations in bits and pieces in the same way, sharing the work. Even the Captain, her hair wrapped in a tight tail that turned carelessly loose after an inch or two, stood as the center that the rest referenced as they spun while simultaneously threading her way invisibly to put hand or shoulder just where help was needed, like his mother.
He just couldn’t recall his mother ever chartering a crane to bring in supplies, or allowing anyone who worked for her to hang off the side of netted freight that swung about twenty feet overhead.
Captain Britomartis was grinning up at the deck hand though as Silas approached the boarding planks.