Jordan Baldric sat on a little pile of leaves and old clothing she had found in the alleyways and streets, waking up. She was currently wearing a shift she had owned for at least three years, which was made of linen. Since linen wasn't the warmest fabric in the world, in addition to the fact it had been an unusually cold spring that year of 1784, she had gathered the old clothes, which ranged from big old black and blue greatcoats to red military jackets to white shirts, even a few old cloaks and shawls. That year, some were wearing woolen shawls and jackets clear until the end of May, when it warmed up a bit and began to feel more like summer. Today was June 4th, but it still felt like winter. Jordan shivered and wrapped a big blue shawl around her. Now it was sunrise, and only a few people were out on the street. She managed to avoid everyone on the street and found a rubbish pile. She rummaged through it and found an old knife like one might use for fighting, almost a dagger. She set it aside and rummaged some more. She didn't find anything else of her interest, so she wended her way towards the tailor's across the street.
Near the back door (facing the alley) she found an old pair of tan breeches and a white shirt and brown vest. She tried it on and found it was warmer than her shift, but still a bit too small. She was turning to leave when the tailor, a small man wearing a green vest, walked out and mistook her for a boy. He dragged her inside and told her that he was so excited to find someone to try on his clothes that he made, since most of his customers had been complaining of how small his clothes were. He shoved her into a back room and gave her several pairs of clothes to try on. The first was light blue breeches and a cream-colored shirt. Jordan decided she might as well do as he said, even though the cold bit her every time she undressed. The first, second, third, and fourth outfits were too big or too small, but the fifth outfit was just right. Dark green breeches, a white shirt, a brown leather belt, and a green vest the same color as the breeches was the outfit. The breeches were a bit large in the legs and rear, but otherwise just right. After telling him what size each outfit was, the tailor giddily rubbed his hands together like an excited child, thanked her, and tossed her a coin. He told her she could keep the outfit, and Jordan found the shiv she had found earlier and tucked it into the pocket of her pants.
Several days after receiving the outfits (she pretty much slept wearing her shift with the breeches beneath it), she heard somebody on a street corner talking about a ship that was docked. Jordan was desperate, since there weren't very many oppurtunities for an orphan girl. A ship's boy, on the other hand, got to see the world. She decided right then and there, and washed her clothes before curling up under the old shawl she had been wearing. The next morning she cut her hair with the shiv she had found and managed to find the ship. The man standing at the top of the gangplank asked the crowd of boys at the bottom what they could do. One said he was a good carpenter, so he was let aboard. The next one said he could sew, and he was let aboard. Jordan waited until she and a few other boys were the only ones left. The master, who was the man at the top of the gangplank, asked them if they had any talents. That left Jordan and only two others. The master looked around and settled his eyes on Jordan. He asked, "And what is yer talent?" Jordan pondered what she could do. She knew how to pickpocket, she looked lighter than any of the other boys that had been let aboard… That was it!
"I could climb the…" She hesitated as she tried to remember what sailors called the big long sticks that held the sails… "mast, Sir!"
The master summoned another man and they held a whispered conversation before he summoned her to the top. Once she walked up the gangplank, she noticed that the ship was a three-masted barkentine. The other boys that had been let aboard saw her and called her over to watch. Another boy came aboard since he claimed he could splice a line, and the other boy said he could play a drum.
After the two others were aboard and the ship set sail, they ate dinner in the mess and were told that they would sleep between two of the cannons on the gundeck. They spread their blankets they were given out, then they laid down on them and asked each other where they were from.
The boy who said he was a carpenter, who was taller than the others and had tanned skin and dark brown hair informed them, "Th' name's Roger. I lived on the streets as an orphan" at this statement, almost everyone nodded "until a lady took me home. She happened to be a wife to this carpenter, and I was his unofficial apprentice until recently, when I ran away to here. I think I'm thirteen or so."
Then it was the boy who said he could sew's turn. He cleared his throat and stated, "My name's Malcolm. My father sailed off and on until I was old enough to be apprenticed to him, when I learned how to sew. I s'pose I'll have to fix your clothing once it becomes tatters." He finished his statement with a mischevious grin, and the others laughed as silently as they could, since the regular sailors were asleep in their hammocks.
Jordan said that she, too, was an orphan but left out that she was a girl. Then the boy who claimed he could splice a line, who had blonde hair and tanned skin said his name was Wyman and his father had been a fisherman. He had helped his father fish until a spar fell on his father during a storm, preventing him from ever going to sea again. Since that was how his family made money, he came here to save the pay, which he would hopefully send home to his family. Then the boy who claimed he could play a drum said that his name was Vincent and his father had been a drummer in the army, then he had moved to a farm where Vincent had been born and raised until they moved back to the capitol.
They went to sleep, the ebony of the oceans meeting the star-speckled velvet of the skies.