“The sails won’t be good for much…” Jazz says to the captain, the young man watching as the captain’s bloody, bandaged, arm is being rewrapped in some more cloth. “The explosion of pitch burnt clean holes through some, but,” He begins, a little chipper. “We did survive! I never thought we would ever see something like that when I signed up!”
The captain grunts as he ties the bandage off using his teeth to tighten the knot. He then grabs a bottle of rum, from his private stash, and pulls the cork out with his teeth. Spitting it onto the floor, the pirate captain takes several deep gulps before putting it, forcefully down on his desk.
“So, what ye be sain’, is that me ship is gimpin’, just like me crew?” He takes the bottle back and drinks a few more ounces.
“But she still floats, sir.”
“Aye…” He throws the bottle against the wall and slams his fist down on the table.
“Sir?” Jazz asks, looking at the shards of glass.
“Why dont ye go bother Mejo?” The captain growls again. “I got some thinkin’ to do.” He turns his chair around so his back is turned.
“What about the sails, captain?”
“Are ye deaf, boy!?” He yells, still facing the wall. “I said get ye gone!”
* * * * *
Mejo rubs the last of the dried blood from Alex’s face, the woman’s arm in a makeshift sling. She feels his head and finds that his body temperature, while higher than it should be, is rising faster than she would like, fearing that she didn’t catch the infection in time. She signs deeply and feels around for a small vial of pink liquid. She doesn’t think the contents have held up after so long, but without much options, she continues with it, propping his head back, slowly putting the vial to his lips so the liquid can go down his throat. When it is empty, she tucks it away and puts her head down on his shoulder, quickly falling asleep, her mind and body exhausted from the attack of the other vessel.
Suddenly Alex starts to shake and convulse.
“Alex!” Mejo screams as she is woken up, shocked and alarmed. “No, no, no!” She looks around in her belongings, through various herbs and potions, trying to find something, anything, that will help. With nothing forthcoming, she can only hope her one desperate act can help. She stands up and focuses intently, closing her eyes to fall more intune.
“Blue…” She whispers. “Blue, if you can hear me, please… I desperately need your guidance…” She opens her eyes and hopes that she was able to hear her plea. It had been quite awhile since they once worked side by side; master and budding apprentice. She smiles briefly as she remembers the good times, their creation of ‘Moondust’, a powder that has the enchantments to make anything it adheres to receive a powerful deomener of light. How she misses those days. “Oh, Blue…”
“I heard you, my child.”
Mejo turns to see the image of Blue standing inside her room! Just as mesmerizing as she was back then, even more so after witnessing the power on the opposing vessel. Bowing her head, she looks up to meet those rich crystal orbs, orbs that would both congratulate her, and also scold her when she would succeed and fail.
“I… I don’t have anything to help him.” Mejo looks at Alex, the brother she never had. “The sickness has spread beyond my control.”
“Mejo…” Blue says, becoming the teacher once again. “I am shocked to see you give in so easily. The woman I knew would have found a way.”
“That was a long time ago…”
“Not so in my eyes.” Blue counters. “I cannot help you in this. I can only watch as you figure things out for yourself. There is something that will reverse the infection, you just have to remember.”
Mejo takes a deep breath to calm her nerves. She is a very powerful mystic in her own right, and feels silly for acting in such a manner. She tries to recall her early teachings, the days of books and lectures, discipline and rewards. She finds the right memories and replays them inside her mind, an out of body experience, her spirit re-walking the memory.
“Aragast.” Blue says, confirming the base ingredient. “To do…?”
“To bind.” Mejo answers, the young woman writing it down on a piece of parchment, the charcoal nearly gone as she writes.
“Now than.” Blue continues. “Aragast is not like Berimore. It is…?”
“Hot!” Mejo answers. “To counter the temperature so you can manipulate the ingredients, it is best combined with Winter Wood…”
Mejo opens her eyes to a smiling Blue, the woman knowing she has found it. She was watching, deep in the back of her mind, proud at how knowledgeable this young student has become.
“Winter Wood!” Mejo exclaims, elated by the fact that she could remember, and also that she knows how to mix the ingredients to form Oxnalt, the salve she so desperately needs for Alex. As happy as she is for remembering, she frowns. “We are nowhere near Nevermelt…” The place where the trees grow, the sap – in which is given the name – inside those frozen limbs, the item in question.
“We are not.” Blue says, optimism in her voice. “Take these…” She hands Mejo two small hourglasses, the sand being replaced with a light blue liquid.
Blue nods. “The last thing we had worked on. They are temporary extra dimensional doorways.”
“I remember! You throw them upon the ground and the doorway opens.” She replies, the sad look no longer on her face, replaced by pure elation. She looks up to her master, “I thought you said you were not going to help me?” Mejo asks looking at her, very much feeling like old times.
“Think of it as giving you a nudge in the right direction. Who knows. You might also find something to help your other friend.”
Blue shrugs, leaving the answer shrouded in mystery. With one last nod, the extreme being that is Blue, slowly disappears from view until Mejo is looking at the wall. She rolls the hourglasses in her hands and looks down to Alex, the man calm for now, but slightly shivering.
“I won’t let you down.” She promises, pocketing one hourglass. She looks at the other, bringing it up to her face, tilting it back and forth to watch the liquid flow to and fro. With a smirk of determination, she throws it down onto the floor, the tiny instrument exploding on impact, purple smoke billowing up like a rising cloud. When it slowly dissipates, a shimmering outline of a door stands in front of her, the lines twinkling and passing through the spectrum of colors rapidly.
She looks back to Alex one final time and concentrates on the location of where she wants to go. When she has the frozen forest of Nevermelt in her mind, she reaches out to place her hand onto the ‘door’. It ripples downward as the image turns to that of the Glacial Pass. A cold, bitter, wind blows through, causing her to shiver. She flicks off the snow flakes from her shoulder and wisely goes into her wardrobe to grab a fur lined, hooded cloak to fend off the bite of the elements. Tying it off, she boldly walks through the doorway.
“Mejo?” Jazz asks peeking into her room, finding that she is not there, missing her by seconds, Alex still lying on the cot. He peers around , looks back at the hallway, and enters the room thinking he will just wait for her inevitable return. Feeling the chill as he is inside, he rubs his upper arms and looks at Alex, sweat beading on his forehead.
“Fight on.” He says reluctantly, fearing they may lose one as powerful as he. “With all you can.” His gaze leaves the prone body and catches small droplets of water. Following the short trail, he looks at a peculiar white object, fast becoming a small droplet of water like the others before it. He bends down closer to get a better look.
“Snowflake?” He looks up from the floor to see one last flake drifting down every so softly. He catches it in his open palm, watching as it, too, begins to melt. “What the hell is up with this ship!” He exclaims suddenly, excited by the mystical aura surrounding this vessel. He rises, and with one more look to Alex, and wondering where Mejo is, he exits the room to return above deck.
“Did you speak to him?”
Jazz turns to his left to see Zoey walking over to him as he makes his way up the stairway. He nods to her when she comes up, a worried look on her face.
Jazz shakes his head and sighs. “He… Isn’t in the mood to speak with me.”
“But his ship!” Zoey cries, looking at the sails, and the holes dotting most of them, Jazz following her gaze. “We are sitting ducks out here. What if that, that thing comes back with another ship full of zombies?”
Jazz turns to regard the ship she was referring to, the vessel now barely above water, part of her deck slipping below the surface. “I know.” Is his reply.
“What are we to do then? Sit and wait for him to decide what to do?”
“Yes.” They both turn to see Ivonelfe, a dried cut on her forehead, standing by them. “He is the Captain of this vessel. We are bound by his word. To go against that word is treason. I don’t think I need to remind you what would await you on that path…” To accentuate her point, several splashes echo in the dark, the creatures down below getting anxious as their appetites have not yet been filled.
“Now.” Ivonelfe says to get their attention. “I do not know how long it will take, but when the Captain is ready to act, WE need to be ready.” They both nod in agreement. “First, we need to patch the sails and make this bird seaworthy again. Find something strong enough that will hold and I will look through Huff’s things. Hopefully the party planner has some needle and thread we can use. After that, get everyone up here so we can organize and carry out orders when they arrive.”
If she was a Captain, they would have saluted her, but instead they jump to action, both of them splitting up to take on the designated task.
* * * * *
The binding of rope tied around her wrists digs in as she tries to move, the secure knots not allowing her to escape. Alexandria Beaumont leans her red hair covered head up against the large log of wood, her thoughts racing through various scenarios of where her other two helpers have gone. When she was brought here, there was only the one – the conscious one – , but shortly after he was tied up, he was retrieved by the indigenous tribesmen. Where they are now, and even if they are still alive, haunts her. She grimaces as the ropes dig in again while she shifts her weight.
“At least I’m not over dressed.” She says, only to hear her own voice, the foliage around her not very good company. She looks down at her khaki shorts, finding that they are still comfortable, even when she cannot move her ankles, her shapely legs bound nearly as tight as her wrists. Her red, buttoned up blouse, however, is tight around her shoulders from the strain, the tight buttons holding on with all their might.
She looks up to the starry sky, gazing at the twinkling dots. “Hey, big guy…” She begins up towards the heavens. “I know I haven’t really prayed to you since I was a little girl, but I come to you now in hopes that you can give me something, anything, that can help me out of this. I don’t think this was the fate you chose for me, right?” She chuckles softly, then frowns. “At least I hope not.” She clears the lump in her throat. “Please, All Father, if you can get me out of this…”
“Untik mabla oohtik…” A tribesman comes walking by, checking the restraints and looking at her. He grins, the bull ring in his nose large enough to hide his upper teeth. He motions to the other log where the other detained man used to be. “Meatag oopla numnog!” He rubs his stomach and laughs. When she doesn’t flinch, he brings his hand up to touch her hair, the woman bravely facing whatever it is he is going to do.
“Ooka dobik..” He leans in and smells the scented hair. When he leans back he pulls out a stone dagger, the handle made from a jaw bone of some animal, or something like that. He teases her by bringing it before her eyes, tracing it along her cheek. In one quick movement he slices off the portion of her hair he is holding, laughing as he walks away, sniffing her hair along the way.
“Dear, God…” She whispers, her heart pounding in her chest. “Or any God for that matter. I don’t want to die out here in the middle of nowhere…”
* * * * *
The Captain’s door suddenly bursts open, the man, half sober – but when has he ever really been sober – walks out from the doorway. With a snarl on his face, and a bottle in his hand, he walks the deck, looking for someone to take his frustrations out on – his rum too valuable to be that conduit.
“FIX ME DAMN SAILS!” He growls, turning in a circle, before balancing himself, remembering Jazz’s report from earlier.
“Done.” Ivonelfe answers, watching him sway. “She will sail Captain, but will will need new ones when we make it back to port.”
“I AINT LEAVIN’!” He roars, sitting down, or rather falling down, on his rump. “COWARDS!”
Ivonelfe, knowing how he is now, is not who he was before, pain and sorrow causing him to behave in an irregular manner. She wonders how she is going to get him to snap out of this funk. A mood he finds himself in more and more as of late.
“I will handle this.”
Ivonelfe looks on as Mighty, the ever silent one, wades over and props the Captain up. A few growls ensue until Mighty punches him in the face! He shakes the man again, slugging him as he is nearly bitten.
A few tense seconds pass.
“All yours.” Mighty says as he walks away, returning to his seclusion.
Ivon walks over, expecting the Captain to be unconscious, or at least immobile, but when she gets to him, he is actually chuckling!
“That be why I like ye.” He says to himself. He looks up to Ivonelfe, as well as a few gathered crew, and gets to his feet.
“ALL RIGHT YE DOLPHIN KISSERS!” He yells so everyone can hear him. “LIsten up, cuz ole Pirate’s gonna say this once.” He waits dramatically, peering at every one. “I be needin’ volin… volla… I be needing some of ye to come with me. Now, before ye go jumpin’ for joy at the chance to be a hero, know ye might not make it back. Hell, I might not make it back.” He looks deeply into the remaining shipmates, the effort they have all put in not lost upon him.
“But, I can’t be doin’ this myself. I be needin’ help ta do what needs be doin. If ye got the guts, then lets get them boats down so we can come on that island.”
“I’ll go.” Tarnaa volunteers.
“No.” The Captain denies. “If ye be goin’ solely to put yer sword through Huff again, then ye be stayin’ here. But,” He says, Tarnaa’s face slightly brightening. “If ye be with me all the way to the end, usin’ yer sword for the other one, then I welcome ye.”
Tarnaa, deep in thought, wants to end Huff, or rather the thing that Huff has become. She was fearful that she had ended the young woman when she ran her though, and now, with no other options, she likes the idea of cutting the head off the snake. In turn, maybe it will then bring Huff back to her normal self.
“I go, only to do what is asked of me.” She answers confidently. “But, know if Huff attacks, I will defend myself, and any others she may target.”
“Fair enough.” He says with an understanding nod. “Lets…”
“Me too!” Jazz interrupts. “I will go as well.”
“And I.” Zoey states, slipping up to stand beside Jazz.
The Captain looks at the two of them, thinking of how they saved all of them just hours ago. “All right. Who was it that blew up the other ship?”
“I did.” Jazz answers, his next words halted by an upraised hand.
“And who threw me rum off the ship?”
“I did.” Zoey, looking away, states.
“And the fire to the planks?” The Captain continues the interrogation. “That be yer doin too?”
“That be why ye aint goin’.” He puts his hands up again to stop any replies. “Because I be needin’ yer quick thinkin’ to solve a problem we be havin’. Down in the ship we have a mirror. Inside that mirror be a crewmate ye never met yet. Tricked and caught inside, me First Mate, Torrinda, aint got much time left. Find ye a way to break him out.” He smiles briefly at her change in emotion, Zoey taking the order with a nod.
“What about me?” Jazz asks.
“Yer comin’. Tarnaa, Ivon, yerself, an me.”
“I’ll go too.” Arlynne interjects.
“I wish ya could.” He tells her sullenly. “I need ye here in case that damn shade shows up with more of his tricks.” He looks off into the darkness. “Mighty!? Ye got her down yet?”
* * * * *
“What do you mean, ‘they wont listen’?” Bladen’Kurst asks Malakai, the shade relaying the information to her.
“It appears that I, unintentionally, pulled one of the leader’s daughters.” His gaze falls to the long dead body – Huff’s kill that helped her heal from Tarnaa’s attack when she arrived – to see that the bone armor has more jewels than the previous ‘guests’.
“You fool!” Bladen’Kurst yells, followed by a roaring laughter. “They think that one of the higher ‘chosen’ was what?”
“They said that even though she was chosen, she had a higher purpose. Some even whisper she was to bring another sliver of the tribe back together by an arranged marriage.”
“They also say they will not bring you any more until you make things right.” Malakai finishes, his report in full.
Huff, listening to it all, looks back and forth between them.
“Me?” Kurst asks, pretending to care. “I shouldn’t have to do anything! THEY should be groveling at their idols, wishing it was them that i chose. Me. HA!” She laughs the thought away, the humans being playthings to her.
“They will not hold up their end of the bargain.”
She suddenly shoots forward in her throne, her eyes filled with fire. “What!?”
“I heard what you said.” She snaps. Her fiery glare deep in thought, Malakai bowing in respect. “Maybe I need to remind them who it is that they are dealing with. Show them not to mess with my plans.”
“I’ll go…” Huff, unexpectedly, says.
Both Bladen’Kurst and Malakai look to her, both of them puzzled by her sudden impulse to go.
“What?” Huff asks into those curious stares. “I can go and show them the evil you can unleash on them if they do not cooperate.” Brilliant! Huff thinks to herself, coming up with that right then and there. She watches the succubus mull it over, thrumming her fingers on the skulls, as she wonders about the possibility.
“You wanting to leave us, so soon?” Kurst asks, half parts sly, the other half actually asking.
Huff shakes her head, stalling for seconds while her mind paces through a plan. “No. I was just thinking we could kill two birds with one stone.”
“Im listening.” Bladen’Kurst puts in, the demon queen resting comfortably on her throne, one leg hanging over the armrest.
“I help you in scaring them into order, and I get what I need.” She thinks about gathering information on the island to better prepare her for when the Captain finds his way to her. “Other members of the tribe to fulfill my thirsty appetite.”
It is a sound argument, Bladen’Kurst admits, shifting so her other leg joins with its place over the armrest. She squints as she looks at Huff, unsure, but willing to gamble. After all, no one is more powerful than the queen of demons.
“No tricks planned?” She finally asks, her right arm reaching up, folding back at the elbow, and comes to rest at her shoulder blade near her wing, the arm being used as a support for her head and neck.
Huff shakes her head.
“Oh, I do want to believe you.” She states, the demon hoping that this powerful creature, spending more and more time together, will help change her mind and come over to her side fully. “So, I will.”
Yes! Huff says in her mind, her face stoic and unreadable. She nods, inside she is fully elated.
“Malakai will go with you.”
“I don’t need a babysitter.” Huff argues, her hands going to her hips.
“Don’t think of him as one than.” Kurst concludes, sitting up normal again, her wings stretching out behind her. “Think of him as your guide. How will you communicate with them? Who will give you the right leverage? He knows them well. Take him and show them my Huffy is not someone to anger. Drink. Do what you feel will be adequate to get the point across.”
“I understand.” Huff concedes, thinking it may be wiser to have the stooge along. Who knows? Maybe she can get some information from him as well. A weakness, how to get him back so Thor can have his body back…
“Do not let me down.” Bladen’Kurst adds, Malakai bowing. “Perhaps if this goes well, we might get to know one another better. Malakai is a fine follower, indeed, but even in that body, he is still a male. It would be nice to have another female around.”
Huff, unsure how to take the comment, wonders what that might entail. A new plan begins to form in her mind, one that she will tuck away until more opportunities present themselves. For now, she has to show she is willing to ‘get her hands dirty’ in order to gather some trust and respect.
Maybe, just maybe, this partnership could work.
Buried At Sea by Matt Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.atramentous.net.