"Like a barnacle on the underside of a boat."
That was how he described their home to her. It hung from the side of the cliff facing the western end of the river, cantilevered out on reinforced wooden stilts. The young girl had never left the confines of the village; after remarking on the distant hamlets and farms that dotted the fields below, she wondered what her own home looked like to outsiders and travelers in the world below.
"You mean a sea-carriage?" Her voice was light and sweet like honeysuckle, and carried the lilt of a soprano. He laughed then, a deep, appreciative chuckle. She loved it when he laughed. He always threw his head back like the horses in her mother's drawings.
"No, I meant boat."
She tilted her head to one side, letting her honey-blonde hair fall over her shoulder. It usually hung in a long, single braid woven with her mother's nimble fingers, but today it was everywhere. "Mama calls them sea-carriages. I like that better."