Emperor Field of Swords
UK First Edition Book & Synopsis
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'They're your coins, but the prices will be better in port,' he said.
She reached out and patted his shoulder and his gruff manner disappeared in confusion.
'Nonetheless, the sun is hot and after so long aboard, I'd love something fresh.'
The captain gave way with little grace, picking up the heavy coil of rope and heaving it over the side. The fisherman tied the end to a net at his feet and then climbed up to the deck, swinging his legs over the rail with easy agility as he reached the top. The young Spaniard was dark and hard from his labours, with white smears of salt on his skin. He bowed deeply in response to her appraisal and began pulling up his net. Servilia watched the play of muscles in his arms and shoulders with the eye of a connoisseur.
'Won't your little boat drift away?' she asked.
The young Spaniard opened his mouth to reply and the captain snorted.
'He'll speak only his own language, I'm afraid. They don't have much in the way of schools until we build them.'
Servilia caught the scornful flash in the young man's eyes as he listened. A narrow rope trailed from the net to his boat.and with a flick of his wrist the Spaniard hitched it to the rail, tapping the knot with a finger in answer to Servilia's question.
The net contained a writhing mass of dark blue fish and Servilia shuddered and stepped clear as they flopped and jumped on contact with the deck. The fisherman laughed at her discomfort and pulled a big one up by its tail. It was as long as his arm and still very much alive. Servilia saw its eye move wildly as the fish jerked in his hand. Its blue skin was glossy and perfect and a darker line ran from the tail to the head. She nodded and held up five fingers to an answering beam.