It’s springtime lad, you should be happy. The sun is shining, the flowers blooming, love is…
Ah, so that’s it then. You’ve been stung by love, have you? We have all felt that bite my young friend. Let me tell you of the maelstrom that was my first love, April.
I was just a young lad at the time, like you, working the docks in Strangelthorne’s Bay*. The Princess Cordelia II, an ocean liner out of Windenburg, had just come to port. I and the other dockworkers stood across the pier waiting for the passengers to disembark before we would move in to begin unloading any cargo the ship may be carrying. For a stevedore to interact with the well-to-do who could afford passage on such a ship, would get you a ripe tongue-lashing from the overseer, possibly a whip-lashing as well. Passengers typically handled their own belongings, or they had servants to do it for them. Occasionally, you would see someone in need of assistance, but only a chosen few of us were permitted to offer assistance, and I was not one of them.
When she stepped off the boat, my heart began pounding so fiercely, I could feel it in my throat. She was a goddess among men.
I stammered out a few incoherent words to the sea-dog standing beside me, and made my way toward the ship. I could barely comprehend his calling after me to stay my hand over the throbbing sound of my heart filling my ears. I knew I shouldn’t but I approached her anyway, introduced myself, and asked if she required any assistance. She shared the most beautiful smile with me, and told me her name was April. She said that if I was so inclined, she did have a small but important task that was suited to a man of my caliber.
She explained that she had a special piece of cargo aboard the ship, an heirloom that needed to be delivered to her uncle’s shop in town**. In return, I would collect from him a small sum of money to return to her, which was to be her allowance for the coming months. She told me she had reason to believe some of her staff had been pilfering from her estate, and this item was far too important to risk. I had a trustworthy face. She passed me a paper with the address, and description of the cargo, and bid me farewell with a gentle touch of my cheek.
The package was simple enough to find, as was the shop in town. I met with the man behind the counter, who took the package into his office for close inspection. Upon his return, he handed me a small wrap of coin and bid me a good day. As I exited the shop, I spotted April just down the block, signaling me to her. As I passed her the purse, she took a small silver coin from inside, and placed it gently in my hand. She thanked me for my trouble, and said she hoped to see me back at the shipyard when she departed in a few days. As she glided away down the alley, she blew me a soft kiss.
I floated back to the docks, so infatuated with this woman, I could barely think. When I arrived, there was a terrible commotion. The dock master and several guards where running about frantically, stopping and questioning every person they came upon.
The Princess Cordelia II had been robbed, a rare sapphire jeweled brooch was missing.