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Author Topic: A Journey to the South  (Read 1075 times)
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Yurie Yileen
Walker of Dreams
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Posts: 760

Human, Eyelian


« on: October 13, 2010, 09:32:29 PM »

Eric watched as the last blood red fingers of the setting southern sun clawed at the tops of the scattered clouds above him.  Bursts of vivid orange and splashes of resplendent gold lay side by side with mysterious purples and cavernous blues.  The scene was a calming one, and it combined with the soft lapping of the gentle waves to ease the old sea dog’s nerves.  Closing his eyes, the veteran captain breathed in slowly, filling his lungs with the fresh breeze that was rolling in from the sea.  It carried all the secrets of the depths with it, and Eric smiled slightly as he opened his eyes again and exhaled.

The light was fading fast now, and the two ships that lay at anchor some way from the shore lost all detail, becoming patches of darkness against the distant horizon.

It was a strange thing that he should be standing on that remote shore at all.  The waters around him were much warmer than those he usually sailed, and they were filled with danger, too.  It was well known that the Crimson Blades held sway over the Scattersand Shoals, and Eric couldn’t help but wonder why Captain Blyte had insisted on this venture so far south.  He’d made a point of bringing Eric and his ship, the Rainbow Runner, come along with him.  And despite Eric’s best guesses, he still hadn’t managed to work out why.  A brief stop at Queen’s Harbour had seen the Runner get loaded with fine liquor and cloth, but now they were moored at this desolate bay, seemingly with no clear direction in mind.

The sound of boots crunching on the shingle made Eric come back from his musings and look around.  There was no mistaking who it was that approached him; the determined stride and proud bearing made it clear that it was Blyte.

“Evenin’ Eric, lad,” the captain said as he drew near.  “I see ‘ee’s not wit’ the others.  What’s wrong?  The rum not strong enough for yer?”  The captain laughed heartily and slapped Eric’s shoulder in a friendly gesture.

“Nay, cap’n.  Tha’ rum be stron’ enough, so it be!”  Eric replied jovially, his golden grin hidden by the encroaching night.

“Ar, then what be the matter, lad?  Missin’ the fallys o’ Marduran, no doubt!”  Eric shook his head in response.

“Well, lad, there must be somethin’ on yer mind!  Out wit’ it, by sweet Baveras’s name!  I can’t ‘ave me cap’ns a frettin’ n’ a mopin’!”

“Well, cap’n, I jus’ can’t work out what we be doin’ ‘ere.  Not tha’ it bothers me too much.  Bein’ an ex-navy man I’z a use’ ter not askin’ questions o’ me superiors.  But me crew’z a growin’ restless, not knowin’ where they be bound for.”  Eric’s gaze unconsciously shifted around to look inland to the motley group of men sprawled across the beach, their weather beaten faces and bottles of grog lit up eerily by the light from a scattering of oil lamps.  Most of them were chatting and laughing, a few had already passed out on the warm sand.

“Aye, lad, I had noticed as such,” the captain replied.  “But tell me, does ‘ee remember a fine man by the name o’ Dante?”  The captain asked, seemingly changing the subject.

Dante…

The name rang a bell somewhere in Eric’s foggy brain.

Dante…

An image of a young woman’s face came flitting into Eric’s mind; long auburn hair falling in curls around it.  Aye, that was who he associated with the name Dante.

“Juliet’ Dante o’ th’ Reckless!”  Eric said aloud as he remembered her name.  Captain Blyte laughed again.

“Nay, lad!  I said ‘fine man’, not girl!  But I seez ‘ee rememberz ‘is daughter well enough.”

“Simon Dante, then,” Eric said, correcting himself as realisation dawned.  It had been a long time since he’d spoken with the wolf, as Simon Dante was known.  A long time since he’d seen the young girl, Juliette, too.  Again the young woman’s face flashed before Eric’s inner eye, and this time he tried to imagine what she would look like after the passage of so much time.

“Aye, Simon Dante o’ the Avenger,” captain Blyte said, echoing Eric’s assertion.  “A fine man ‘n an even finer sailor,” the captain continued.  “’n ‘tis ‘cause o’ ‘e tha’ we be ‘ere.”

Eric came back from his idle musings on how the young lady’s body would have matured.  But before he could make a comment, captain Blyte pressed a small parcel into his hand.  It was covered in whale skin and sealed tightly.

“I needz ‘ee ter tek this ‘ere letter ter Cap’n Dante, lad.  ‘tis o’ the greatest importance.”  Captain Blyte’s voice had lowered and taken on a serious tone, and Eric knew that herein lay the real reason for this unusual journey south.  The Dante family had discovered a small bay in the Scattersand Shoals called Pirate Cay, and Eric guessed it would be there that he would have to sail.  “The goodz stored on the Runner are a gift ter the Dantes.  I wantz ‘ee ter deliver ‘em safe n’ sound; along wit’ that letter.  ‘ee’l sail for Pirate’s Cay at daybreak tomorrow.”  Captain Blyte leaned in closer to Eric in the darkness, his voice a mere whisper, but curiously clear against the distant babble of the drunken pirates.  “I trustz ‘ee, Eric, lad.  Yer the best man fer the job; n’ the Runner’z the fastest ship we’z got.”

“Aye, aye, sir,” Eric replied crisply, snapping to attention and saluting.  “I won’ letz ‘ee down.  I’ll deliver this ‘ere letter even if I ‘az ter come back from the dead ter do so!”

Captain Blyte slapped Eric on the shoulder again.  “Good man!”  He enthused warmly.  “Good man!”

The importance of the safe delivery of the letter and gifts couldn’t be emphasised enough.  But Captain Blyte knew that he didn’t have to say anything more to the formidable sailor before him.  If there was one man he could trust with such a task, it was Captain Kattaisson of the Rainbow Runner.
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