This is part of the beginning of Locke’s story, at this point she is just 19 years old. The main story takes place when she is in her 30s.
”Dinnae think they grew ’em tha’ tall down South.” The jovial dwarf muttered between the puffs on his pipe. The young woman gave him a sidelong glance, he had fiery red hair that was decorated with braids and golden beads. His garments were colorful, purples, pinks and greens, interspersed with yellow. He looked entirely out of place on a ship like this.
“My father is a Northerner.”
“Ahh… tha’ll explain it, lass. Ye almost look like half a giant from down ‘ere, ‘cept on the count of yeh bein’ a li’l on tha scrawny side an’ all. Where’s ye pa? He on the ship too?”
She inhaled sharply through her nose and held her breath for a moment before exhaling.
“No, he’s out there.” She nodded towards the ocean.
“I see, I see. So tell me, if ye don’t mind me pryin’ – why’re ye leavin’ the isles? Ye fresh outta the hold?” He eyed the bruises on her face. She touched the back of her hand to her broken lip as she shook her head.
“Nothing left for me here, not from the hold – I lived below.”
“In the Dens?” He gave a surprised look. “Forgive me for sayin’ so, but well! The Dens! Tha’ just ain’t no place for a young lass, aye? Not tha’ the hold is either… bloody dreadful place if ye ask me.”
She nodded in agreement but remained quiet as though she was processing.
“Say, it’s goin’ te git cold as we’re headin’ north, lass. Ye gah anythin’ else but tha’ rag te wear?”
She shook her head; he gave a slight smile and began digging through his satchel which was filled to the brim. Items clanked together, a faint smell of herbs and perfumes escaped into the air but was quickly whisked away by the wind. Finally, he pulled out a heavy yellow-faded cloak and offered to her.
“Here ye go, lass. Keep ye warm.”
Her eyes locked with his, as she with some reluctance accepted the cloak. He had blue eyes like her own. There was a genuine kindness to them, something she hadn’t seen for a long time.
“Thank you.” She bowed her head. “What’s your name?”
“Ahh, folks call me Flint, lass. Flint Runaheim, tale spinner and bard extraordinaire!” He extended a meaty hand to her; she noticed his fingernails were exceptionally clean as she shook it.
“Bard…” She said softly.
“Aye! Ye got a good handshake, lass. Firm. Got some strength te ye ‘eh?” He grinned at her.
“I’m working on it.” She smiled.
“What’s ye name?”
“Galston? I’ve heard many a tale of a Cap’n Galston: Red Galston! Dreadfully fella tha’ one.”
She turned her head away and grimaced.
“Ye know ‘im?”
“I’ve heard of him.”
The dwarf grunted and puffed on his pipe again. After a few minutes he continued: “So where’re ye headed lass?”
“To the mainland, I heard there’s coin to be made in Dunnam.”
“Dunnam? The fighting pits, ‘eh?”
“Ye a fighter?”
She turned around and leaned against the rail, the wind tore at her hair as a crooked smile slowly spread on her face.
“Locke.. ‘eh? Say… ye the same Locke who won tha championship in the Cerulean Pit?”
The smile turned to a half grin.
“Yes, yes I am.”