Title: Eternity Is Forever: Book One - The Jewel Ch. 2
Warnings: This piece contains 2 deadly sins - Pride and Wrath (mild violence)
Other Info: A Collaborative Writing Piece
Attack! Dragons be approaching!"
Mathieu's Ship - The Coastline off Carthana
1A cloaked figure slipped stealthily through the cargo in the under belly of the ship, gloved fingers clasping tightly the leather straps of a satchel. The figure paused, head cocking to the left as though listening for an evening watch, though it was said the crew rarely, if ever, checked below - unless dipping into shipments of transported liquors.
Satisfied, the figure edged open the door, eyes glancing left to right before spiriting itself up the wooden stairs towards the deck. A gloved hand patted tightly the satchel hidden beneath the weight of its ebony cloak, murmuring a soft prayer, as the figure made ready their escape.
2The girl had had enough. Murmuring quietly to herself as she snuck around the unconscious bodies of the drunken sailors, she adjusted the hood of her cloak and hid close to a porthole, watching anxiously for the thin line that would indicate land. If my Father thinks he can just trade something as beautiful and special as this...he must be insane.
Caught off-guard, a drunken crewmember found her hiding spot, grasping her wrist and yanking to her feet. “You! Traitorous leech! I know you took it!” Her father hauled her onto the deck as she fought the rising panic in her chest.
Her father was by no means a small man. She’d been beaten before, but he had always been sober. In this state...she swallowed forcibly, stumbling to keep up with him, until she was thrown harshly against the deck, backing up against the mast, hood fallen from her face, cloak opened to reveal her traveling clothes, a dark leather shirt and a skirt with enough room that’d allow her to run. The sailors still able to stand gathered around her Father.
“This little witch took the gem that we were going to use to buy our families food!” He roared, shaggy beard glowing in the torchlight.
She resisted the urge to snort, which would have insured her death. The other sailors were so drunk, not even her brothers would stand up for her. The fool, does he not remember we found the thing washed up on the beach among the ruins of an old dragon! Silently, she cursed her stupidity. She should have waited until he was asleep and then taken the round ball. When they reached shore she could’ve escaped, seeing as all the men would be busy haggling or whining over the headaches the ale had caused. With an inward sigh, she turned her attention to her father.
“We have to teach her a lesson! It will be beaten into her that stealing is death!”
She cringed, awaiting the first blow, splinters from the mast digging into her back. The fist did not come. Instead, something large slammed into the side of the ship, causing the entire wooden structure to shudder.
A loud call came from the man in the crow’s nest, “Attack! Dragons be approaching!”
Opening her eyes, she took advantage of the impending attack, left hand disappearing into the recess of her cloak as she drew her dagger, arm arcing upward, to slash her Father’s arm. Hearing his cry she brought the heel of her boot viciously down atop his foot darting past him, satchel clutched tightly against her side with her free arm as she sheathed her dagger. She’d not lose her charge, for the stone had no business being in the hands of inept fools.
“Stop her!” Her father bellowed, clasping tightly the sleeve that was soaked crimson, “Don’t let her escape!” His eyes flashed murderous rage as he watched his daughter’s retreating form.
Her eyes widened as the men scattered, rushing to take arms against the onslaught of dragons, while others drunkenly staggered after her, giving chase. On her left, a hand reached out to clasp the hem of her cloak shredding the fabric. Spinning on the balls of her feet she allowed the material to be pulled free, dropping to her knees in a crouch, rising only after she felt a crew member’s legs contact her shoulders, pitching him head first onto the deck with a moan.
Giving her head a fierce shake, she regained her bearings, clutching fiercely the satchel as she ran headlong into a charging shipmate, sending them both sprawling across the deck. Wincing, she rolled to her knees pushing up with her freehand, but hit the deck again, left leg jerked backwards.
Her lavender eyes narrowed at the gap-toothed smile of her Father’s first mate, Lysechen, whose hand clung vice like around her ankle. Her smile was slow as she sent the heel of her right boot squarely into his face, causing his grip to loosen and allow her escape.
Again on foot, she ran to the bow of the boat, looked once over her shoulder at the Father who’d been incapable of love, and dove headlong into the awaiting waters below, “Luna, protect…” she whispered as the water rose to meet her.
Sargain swam through the water, observing the battle. Something had gone wrong. He knew it. The humans had some sort of sticky substance, napalm he’d heard a human cry, and it burned even in water. The Arnyths were slowly being worn down.
May Orthon protect us, he thought silently, hearing a pained cry from above. Varyan!
Sargain swam quickly towards the floundering warrior, a human spear stuck in the soft skin around his legs.
“Varyan! Are you going to be all right? What should I do?” He asked frantically, nudging the warrior cautiously.
“Sargain...the Jewel...get the Jewel...tell...stay with her. The human...give it to Bauna.”
Sargain was confused, but the time for asking Varyan what he’d meant was done. Sargain roared sadly.
The great warrior was dead.
He turned to leave when a tiny figure plunged into the water ahead of him, causing him to propel himself backwards in surprise, noting the features were human. But there was a strong force of magic around it. The Jewel...but...how can that be? I thought...but Varyan said...very well. Putting aside his mental debate, he moved forward and opened his mouth, taking the human gently in his jaws, swimming quickly towards the surface.
He may not know a lot about humans, but he knew they couldn’t breathe underwater.
Her body knew shock as the water enfolded her lithe frame, trying her damnedest to find the surface once more, legs hopelessly tangled in her skirt. Overhead, the murky salt-water gloom brightened with a dazzling assortment of oranges, yellows, and reds.
The water was on fire. The men had used the napalm in defense. Her lavender eyes closed as she felt herself sink in the water, hands floating uselessly above her head.
Weightless, there was this sense of weightlessness that began to curl in the pit of her stomach, body beginning to lose its will to thrash against the current that carried her further from the ship. She felt warmth curl around her body - a feeling of propelled levitation.
Bent on succumbing to unconsciousness, she was aware of a burning sensation in her chest as her mouth opened, gasping for air. Air? Dazed, she opened her eyes, spying Luna’s silvery light, fingers of dark smoke sliding over her ivory visage in the sky.
I’ve been spared…
The last thought that spiraled through her mind, unaware of her savior, knowing only that the stone was safe.
Sargain glanced up at the moon overhead, spotting Luna. I suppose humans have their gods too. Noting she’d passed out, he swam to shore, navigating carefully through the rocky bay to the small beach. Hauling himself onto land, he concentrated, gills disappearing, lungs inhaling fresh air. A long thick rope-like tail, with a blade on the end for defense and battle, replaced his finned tail as his wings grew longer and scaled over to better weather the harsh land conditions that he might encounter.
Traveling away from the water, he deposited the girl on the grass, laying down beside her in order to get a better look at her. Long tangled hair was poking out of two odd looking bunches (braids) and she was wearing leather in an attempt to armor herself. Fang holes and light scratches had been left in her shirt where he’d carried her in his jaws. He shrugged it off. She wasn’t bleeding. She’d be fine. At her side, he smiled triumphantly, reaching forward as he plucked her satchel in his jaws. At least the human had enough sense to keep it safe, he thought grudgingly, remembering his conversation with his cousin. I guess it means I have to stay with the human for a while.
Attention turning once more to the girl, his eyes narrowed with a slight snarl. Her lips and the skin around her paws were tinged a faint blue, not healthy for humans. He watched as she shivered, curling slightly in the sand. He sighed at the thought of having to degrade himself to such a level, but something had to be done or else the girl might die. Moving closer, Sargain built up the smoldering chemicals in his stomach to warm himself before curling around her. Before sleep claimed him, he smiled slightly.
At least she smells nice...I like the scent.
© of Embyr Koal and Angela Harelson, 2002.
1Angela's writing is in purple
2Embyr's writing is in black.