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Behold, the return of the story! I honestly wasn't going to repost this, but then I remembered that I was supposed to write a companion story... And so here this is, so my beginning reference will make sense. Oh, and I went ahead and corrected a bit of name confusion that can be found later in the story.
This is an Elini/John story. Only one I know of, even now.
Chapter 1: Gone?
It’s dark in here, really really dark. No, wait—my eyes are closed. Why are my eyes closed? I need to see on this journey I’m making with Rhen and the rest.
And why am I sitting? Last I remember, we were taking a break in the Wildwoods… I was standing guard… Now what?
I open my eyes. It is dark in here, but there is a little light, so I can see. But when I realize what it is I’m seeing, I rather wish I couldn’t.
I’m in a cell. There are chains around my wrists and ankles, shackling me to the wall. The light I see with is coming from a single window in the far wall. It looks like it would be about level with the top of my head, but I can’t get close enough to see through it.
I’ve been kidnapped. How long will it take for my friends to rescue me? I hope I can figure out what’s going on so they won’t be in too much danger just because of me. I wonder who could have a motive for taking me from them?
I laugh. What a silly question! There are endless possibilities. The authorities might have "rightfully” arrested me again under charges of successful piracy. It could have been one of my old pirate victims and their allies. And while on my journey with Rhen and the others, I must have made numerous enemies. It could have been any one of them.
I look at the light coming through the window. From the color of it, I guess that it is still pretty early in the morning. Only Rhen and the guard would normally be awake by now. So everyone will know that I’m gone. Will they think I ran? Or will they know what has happened and try to find me?
I wake up to the sound of yelling. Groggily, I sit up in the tent we erected last night and focus on what is being said.
“…gone! I don’t know what happened!” Rhen’s voice was panicked. “He must’ve been kidnapped!”
“Really, Rhen,” Galahad said. “Think about the man’s… Profession. He obviously robbed us and ran off with the valuables.”
At this, I jumped up and stormed out of the tent, eyes blazing. My voice overrode Rhen’s much more feeble response. “How dare you!” I cried, causing Galahad to jump back. “John is more of a man than you could ever be! Even pirates have honor! I wonder now if paladins do, if you could gather up the nerve to accuse your own companion of thievery!”
Now Te’ijal was there too. “Now now, Elini,” she hissed, placing a hand on Galahad’s shoulder to stop him attacking me, “let’s not get too worked up. We all know your feelings toward John. We know you wouldn’t want anything to tarnish a fourth marriage.”
I rounded on her. “This has nothing to do with that!” I said coldly to her, a blush creeping up my neck to settle in my cheeks. It might have had something to do with that, but… “This is about honor!”
“Settle down,” Dameon said, coming out of the tent as well. “Or I’ll make you,” he continued, raising his staff menacingly at Te’ijal, who had opened her mouth to retort. She contented herself with hissing at me, something I easily brushed off. “Now then,” he continued, “let’s get the story without opinions. Rhen. What happened?”
“I got up like always to practice some before you guys got up,” she replied, “but when I got out, something was wrong. John was the guard last night, but he wasn’t there. And before you say anything, Galahad, everything of value is still here, except for any personal possessions John might have. So no, he did not rob us and take off.”
Galahad flushed and muttered, “Well, it was a possibility…”
“Now that we’ve cleared that up,” I said, “let’s go. He’s obviously been kidnapped, and we have to go get him back.”
The others nodded. Pirate John was a valuable asset to the team.
“This might help,” said Lars, who was looking at something on the ground. He pointed down, and I saw that there were tracks on the ground—footprints. And next to them was the unmistakable mark of something that had been dragged beside them.
I set off down the path immediately, leaving the others to gather up the tent and bedrolls without me.
Posted on: 2008/4/21 0:52
Chapter 2: Dangerous Trail
I had only been walking along the tracks for a couple minutes before reaching the end of the trees. It wasn't actually a forest as we had thought, merely a few rows of trees whose only purpose seemed to be to hide a small town from view. Indeed, they had served that purpose, for the town I was now seeing was a new one to me.
As the tracks went only a few feet into the town, I decided to let my friends catch up to me instead of starting to rampage around the town. But when they did, I immediately set off to the tavern across the street, which had a large window facing the place where the tracks vanished.
I slammed the door open and marched over to the bartender with my friends behind me. Completely ignoring the rest of the now quiet room, I said, "You. Tell me what you saw out of that window last night."
He looked terrified, but answered with, "N-Nothing but the usual passersby." A bead of sweat ran slowly down the side of his head. He was hiding something.
I let out a tiny, mirthless laugh. "So, you're saying kidnap is usual in this town?" I asked scathingly.
The little sound in the room silenced instantly.
"K-Kidnap? I don't know what you--"
"You know perfectly well what I mean!" I said, slamming a fist down on the bar. At the same time, a quiet but carrying hiss ran through the room, one completely unlike Te'ijal's. I didn't turn, even though the sound came from directly behind me, because I already knew what it was.
In my anger, a window to the demon realm must have made itself visible behind me. I left it there, thinking a view of Aesma and a few imps would frighten the bartender into answering.
"Th-They took him! The men in black--they picked a man with black hair and a red jacket up and dumped him in a carriage, then came storming in here just like you when they realized I'd seen while I was locking up. They warned me not to tell anyone, but I can't keep secrets!"
"Too right you can't," I said derisively. "Which way did they go?"
"You think I got up to look after they scared me the way they--"
"Which way?" I asked, much more menacingly.
He opened his mouth to answer, but before he could, there was a clang of metal on metal behind me. I turned to see that Rhen had drawn her sword, and a throwing dagger was now lying on the floor by my feet. As I watched, Rhen's sword moved to point at one of the men in the pub. "You," she said. "Are you working with the ones who took John?"
He didn't answer, merely pulled more daggers out from under his cloak and threw them. While most were aimed at my friends, three headed toward the bartender, obviously meant to silence him. As Rhen blocked the others, I tackled the bartender, knocking him down. The daggers landing with a thunk in the wall a foot above his head and vibrated ominously.
"Which way?" I asked again. "If you don't answer, you lose my protection," I added.
"E-East!" he replied, then cowered under the bar.
I stood and looked around me. The attacker had now been joined by four more, and all were fighting fiercely. I summoned a Ravwryn, and the fight was soon over thanks to a nice Boot Slappin' Mara by Rhen.
"We go east," I said, then walked out the door.
Posted on: 2008/4/21 0:53
Chapter 3: Pause
It’s quiet here. I’m the only one around. There’s a door—locked, I imagine—about five yards away. I can’t hear any footsteps outside it. I don’t even know if hearing any footfalls would even be possible.
The silence is depressing. I close my eyes.
If I can’t see, maybe I can pretend… Imagine that the silence is just a pause. Just a pause, just a pause… I’m back on my ship, and this is simply a pause in the normal hustle and bustle of the ship. Just a pause, it’s just a pause, just a pause in the preparation for piracy. Just… Pause…
I open my eyes. There is never a pause. There is always someone up, always someone there. Always the sound of the waves, of the clashing swords of sparring crewmates, the laughter of my first mate. There is always, always, noise.
Even on my journey with E—with Rhen. They’re always practicing, we’re always fighting, and even during the night the guard makes some noise. I’ve never had to be in silence like this. It’s suffocating.
I sing quietly, under my breath. It’s an old pirate shanty my father taught me.
Waiting for the tide to change,
Waiting for the winds.
Waiting for a difference in
The comings and goings of things.
I can’t remember the rest of the words, so I think up my own.
Waiting for my rescuers,
The ones that I hold dear.
Knowing that they’ll come for me,
Now I have no fear…
I pause, stop walking for the first time in almost an hour. The carriage tracks I was just following have vanished. I turn to my friends. “What do you think happened here?” I asked them, already contemplating my own theories.
“They kept going on foot, knowing their tracks would be too easy to follow.” Rhen answered.
“So it must be close by,” I said, “if they walked…”
I looked around. We were in a plain—I could see everything around for what seemed like miles. There weren’t any buildings around.
My friends had done the same. “Underground,” Lars said. “Look for an irregularity in the ground.”
We walked off, searching.
Posted on: 2008/4/21 0:53
Chapter 4: Underground
“There!” Lars cried, pointing at a spot on the ground. I looked closer, my initial glance having failed to recognize what Lars’s keen eyes had. The line in the ground was much straighter than it had first appeared to be—in fact, it was a perfect edge. Like the edge to a trapdoor in the ground. One that I could easily lift up…
And so I did. It revealed a musty smelling, dark staircase. However, the stairs were completely devoid of dust, showing that they were often used. I led the way down them, moving easily despite the dark. But after I heard the sound of stumbling and Galahad cursing, I asked Lars to provide us with a light.
Soon, we were at the bottom of the steps. I heard a quick scrabble of hands on stone before a blade swung toward my head. I ducked, and as I did so, I heard a gruff voice cry, “How did they get in here?”
Soon each one of us had our weapons drawn and was matched up against an armed guard. I heard swords clang on each of my sides as I snapped my whip through the air, wrapping it around one guard’s blade. I tugged, and soon held his sword in my hand. As he tried to regain his balance, I used its flat side to knock him out. I dropped the sword.
A hand came from behind me to grab me by the throat.
Whoever it was dragged me backwards, away from my friends, who were caught up in the fight. I thought about trying to yell, but at that instant, the person’s other hand clapped over my mouth. I was taken down a couple of corridors, and then thrown into a room. The door slammed behind me as I gasped for breath.
“Sleep lullaby!” I cried. The last of the guards fell, fast asleep. I looked around, having already gotten a bad feeling during the battle.
“Guys, where’s Elini?”
“How did you get in here?”
I looked at the man who was interrogating me. His tone of voice—angry and murderous—didn’t at all match the expression on his face—something more along the lines of nervous and terrified. I decided to go with the face.
Color rose to his face. “Don’t you get sassy with me! Tell me how you got here!” he yelled.
“I told you, I walked,” I replied. “It’s not like the trapdoor was that hard to find.”
“Why are you here? You—You’re probably here to stop the shipment, aren’t you? Well, I’m not going to let you. Not you, not your little friends. No one’s going to stop me getting my profit from those slaves—”
My heart stopped for a moment. John… Captured… Into slavery? I’ll save him, I thought.
“What was that?”
I looked up. The man’s expression was fearful again. I realized I must have said what I’d thought out loud as well. “I said I’ll save him,” I said harshly as I stood. I brushed roughly past him and ran out the door.
I turned to see Rhen and the others running after me. “This is a slave hold,” I told her as we ran down another flight of stairs. “I think John is one of them. We’ve got to free them—all of them.” We turned a few corners, chose random paths at the forks, and ran through a few rooms multiple times… All until I heard moaning. “This is it!” I cried.
We were in a room full of cells. There were people in the chambers, would-be slaves. I saw the keys on a far wall and immediately grabbed them. I walked to the closest cell door, unlocked it. I waved the slaves on after I looked for John, and did not see him.
The process repeated until only one cell was left. I couldn’t see the occupants of the room, didn’t know if John was in there or not. I turned the key in the lock…
I heard a lock click open. My cell door opened…
Posted on: 2008/4/21 0:53
Chapter 5: Try Again
I swung the door open. Out stepped a man.
One with straight, brown hair.
“Derez?” Te’ijal asked. “The necromancer from Veldarah?”
“Who—” the man, who was indeed Derez, began, but then he stopped and smiled. “Ah, it is the lovely vampress. I must thank you for rescuing me. Those ridiculous slave traders caught me in a weakened state after I created yet another hex to add to my collection…”
The pair walked back out of the corridor, Te’ijal having completely forgotten about the reason we were down there in the first place. And about Galahad, it seemed. Rhen, however, walked up to me.
“I guess… This isn’t the right place after all,” she said to me in a quiet, consolidating voice.
“If it wasn’t the ground into which they entered,” I replied, sounding more strained than I wished, “then it must have been the air.” I looked up and away from her, not wanting her to see that tears were gathering in my eyes. And I had planned it all out, like a scene in a play, I thought forlornly. I was going to leap into his arms… Or something of the like.
Rhen, seeing my discomfort, followed Te’ijal, Derez, and the rest of the group back to the stairs to the surface. I joined them soon after.
I looked at the burly man who had just entered the cell. He was tall, and rather long-haired… And he looked vaguely familiar.
“Is that you, Ray? I—”
I was cut off by Ray’s fist colliding with my jaw.
“You’ve lost the privilege of using my nickname, you backstabbing son of a—”
At this point, I stopped listening. Ray always got long-winded when he started a rant. Unfortunately, he must have remembered that I’d always tuned out his rants, because he hit me again. My head slammed painfully against the stone wall. I rubbed it gingerly. “Ow.”
“That’s nothing compared to what you’re about to experience on my ship,” Ray said coldly.
“Wha, you gonna torture me or something?” I replied, still rubbing my head. It hurt quite a bit. Then I saw the expression on his face. “You—You’re not going to torture me, are you? Ray, really. For just—”
“Just leaving your first mate and the rest of your faithful crew to rot in a Navy jail?”
“Well, when you put it that way…”
“I will make you pay for this, John. I am back—with a vengeance.” I rolled my eyes at the line. “And I’ve got more motivation than just being left in a jail cell, my dear captain. I didn’t just lose my freedom then—I lost Eda in that place.” His voice was full of bitterness. My blood ran cold—Eda was supposed to marry Ray the next time we got to land. But we were caught before we got to port… There had been one too many reports about our crew, and the Navy finally hunted us down. I escaped on dragonback, but my steed was small enough to fit inside our ship. There was little chance she could’ve taken more than one passenger at her size.
“I was the only one who stayed living long enough to be released from that rat’s nest. And I’ve waited a long time for this moment,” Ray continued, grabbing me by the collar and starting to pull me out of the room. “I am going to make you pay for our pain and our suffering… With your own.”
He pulled me out of the stone corridor and up a staircase. I saw the sun shining excessively brightly onto…
My mouth fell open at the sight of his ship, which was anything but average. It was an airship, one that sailed not the seas, but the skies. I was thrown onto the floor of a room I recognized as the brig, which I saw was full of rather unpleasant looking instruments. My apprehension was increased when I caught what he was muttering: “…and then I’ll go for that one, ooh, he’ll like that…”
A few minutes later, the ship took to the air.
Four seconds after that, the first of my screams shattered the relative silence.
Posted on: 2008/4/21 0:54
Chapter 6: More Than One Kind of Pain
I lay sprawled on the floor of the room, my arms to weak for me to use them to push myself back up. I was gasping for breath. Ray really was thorough in his torturing. Not that that’s a good thing—especially not when I’m the victim.
His booted foot connected painfully with my side, sending me even more painfully into the wall. It wasn’t even a close wall—Ray’s kick sent me flying over twenty-five feet before I crashed into something. That something being, in case you’ve forgotten, the wall.
“You were never a good sport, Ray,” I said as loudly as I could. At the moment, that volume was barely more than a whisper. “But kicking a man while he’s down? That’s a new low, even for you.”
He kicked me again, in the stomach this time. I curled up, clutching it. “Just like leaving your crew was a new low for you, captain,” he hissed. I admit that that would have made me feel bad—if I hadn’t been covered in injuries at the time, many of which I was sure would scar.
Ray picked me up before kneeing me, again in my stomach. I almost said it was low for him to attack the same area twice in a row, but stopped myself just in time. I knew there were much worse places he could attack. My face, for instance.
“Get ready for pain,” he told me as he dragged me back off to the side of the room with his “toys.”
“What?” I snapped at the unfortunate questioner.
I saw Dameon tremble a bit at my reply, but he gathered the nerve to continue nonetheless. “Um… Well… What exactly is it that we’re supposed to be looking for?”
Rhen shook her head sadly. I could almost hear her thinking, Honestly, why would he ask her that?
“I. Don’t. Know,” I said through gritted teeth. “If I knew what kind of thing we were looking for, then I would also have an idea of who had taken John, now, wouldn’t I? Just watch the sky for something odd!”
Dameon didn’t respond. The next time I looked back, about a minute later, Dameon had moved—he was now half-hiding behind Rhen.
We walked along in silence after that. Te’ijal wasn’t even talking to her necromancer friend anymore, as he had left just before Dameon spoke. It was almost an hour before anyone spoke again.
“Elini,” Rhen said, placing a hand on my shoulder as she did so.
“What?” I replied in a voice much different from the one I had used with Dameon. I sounded… weary.
“Did John ever tell you anything about any of his old enemies?”
“No,” I said, sighing. “Otherwise I’d have a possibility in mind. But he never said anything about old rivals or anything. And he probably had so many of them that if he’d told me about one of them, it would probably be the wrong foe anyway.”
She must have seen a trace of hopelessness in my eyes, because she said, “We’ll find him Elini. I know we will. We—”
She was cut off by Galahad’s crying, “Great light of the sun, what is that?” We all looked the way he was pointing, and saw…
A ship. One that was sailing through the skies.
And it had pirate sails.
“We’ve got to get on to that ship!” I yelled. We all took off, running after it.
Posted on: 2008/4/21 0:54
Chapter 7: Almost There Now…
“Gate Exura! No, wait, that’s on the ground, isn’t it? Um… Bomb! No, that won’t work ei— Argh! Shoot!” Lars quickly threw the bomb he had just conjured away before it exploded—and killed us all. “I forgot my range with that thing isn’t very good… Darn. I can’t think of anything else. Rhen, you try.”
We stood in the shadow of the ship, night falling fast around us. The sun was almost completely hidden by mountains; in a few minutes, it would be twilight.
It had taken us mere minutes to catch up to the ship. We had been trying for hours to enter. A shield stopped Te’ijal’s grappling hook from hitting the ship, Galahad hadn’t had any ideas, and Lars had just finished trying his spells. And now it was Rhen’s turn.
“I’m not sure what might work, but here goes,” she said as she unsheathed her sword. I could tell she went through her mental list of skills before selecting one. “Windwatcher’s Song,” she whispered. A blast of air sped toward the ship. I’m not sure what happened after it left her sword, but since the ship was unaffected, I guessed the wind hadn’t been able to reach it. “I was hoping that one would change its course or something… Ah, well. Wind Vale.”
Again, nothing happened. And she tried, time and time again, until long after the moon had risen to its full height in the night sky. In fact, the sun was starting to rise when she said, “Alright… This is the only one I think could work that I haven’t tried yet. Siren Song.”
As she said the words, which were barely audible due to the girl’s fatigue, I found myself hoping, Please, please let this one work. Please…
But no amount of hoping will get past physical incapability. Rhen and I both groaned when we saw that the spell had no effect. “I was really hoping that would call it toward us,” Rhen said. Her voice was so quiet I was about to ask her to repeat herself when suddenly, she collapsed.
“She’s overexerted herself,” I said, moaning. “I didn’t want her to try this hard…” I sighed. “Take care of her, Dameon, Lars—it’s my turn to try now.”
But thinking of a way to get us up to the pirate ship was harder than you’d think. Obviously, my talent was demon summoning. The problem was that each of the demons I could summon came into our realm aggressively, and the first thing they did was attack. I merely pointed them to the enemy.
My first choice would obviously have been Ravwyrns, since they came as a flock, but they were vicious creatures. I doubt they would let us ride them. The imps were too small, succubae can’t fly… And I wasn’t sure about the Daevas. For one thing, I couldn’t remember if any had wings. For another, they were quite difficult to control—and became increasingly more so as it got stronger. Nangaithiya, who was by far the most civilized of the seven, was an earth and fire demon, so he couldn’t fly. And as for the others… I was fairly sure that they would wrest themselves out of my control and attack once they realized I wanted to use them as transportation.
As the sun rose, however, I realized that it would be my only option. I opened my mouth to start the chant to summon one of the daevas, but stopped. I had just remembered the window into the demon realm that had opened when I lost my temper in the bar. If I looked through it again, I could save the energy that would be wasted if I had merely chosen demons at random to summon.
I remembered the things that had made me angry. Finding John gone, Galahad’s accusation… And soon enough, the window appeared. Demons strolled by, and the deavas stood just inside my field of vision, together. It was rather strange to see them—it looked as though they were plotting something.
But more importantly, I could see each of them fairly clearly. And I saw that Aesma had wings. Wings that looked way too small to support him, let alone the other seven of us.
But Zarich was hovering about a foot above the ground. And he seemed to be getting higher and higher—he was gesticulating forcefully, as if to make a point.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have found our demon,” I whispered, closing the window.
A few moments later, we were all flying up to the ship, hanging on to a magical rope tied around the daeva’s waist.
I didn’t really notice it then, but the look on Zarich’s face was more murderous than it normally was. I would later wonder why.
Posted on: 2008/4/21 0:55
Chapter 8: Thinking of You, Wherever You Are
Ray was walking towards me with that terrifying look of insane pleasure on his face yet again when a bell rang loudly through the whole ship. He looked back toward the brig door, looking confused. I guess that it didn’t take him too long to figure out that it was just your average dinner bell, because he started walking away. As he opened the door, he said, without turning, “I’ll be back in the morning. Enjoy the break while you can.”
I leaned back against the wall of the room again, breathing hard. I closed my eyes, willing myself to think of anything but the searing pain. Soon I was thinking about my rescue… Which I hoped would be coming soon.
A face slowly came into my mind, one belonging to the person I knew would save me. I started out seeing only shades of gray, gray that formed a frame of long hair around her face. But soon those grays brightened into vibrant silvers and browns…
And now my mind turned to that day new gave the Veldtonian alchemist the magic kettle we found. We had been given a love potion in return, and after an argument between Elini and Te’ijal, said potion ended up on my head.
But it hadn’t really changed anything, just amplified a few feelings…
I hadn’t realized I had been dreaming until I woke up. But something was different from before I had fallen asleep. I knew I would get out. I had to see her again.
The door to the brig opened. "Ready for round two, John?" Ray's voice said.
When I looked into his eyes after I came back, I saw something that surprised me. He didn't have the look of a broken, defeated man—far from it. In fact, the look in his eyes was cold, hard, and blazing. I didn’t know why, but that look made me angrier than ever. It was a look of determination—and I wanted him looking desperate for an escape. One I would be happy enough to give him, so long as I drew it out.
Posted on: 2008/4/21 0:56
Chapter 9: Ship
“I swear, if I ever break this spell you’ve got over me…”
“Oh, shut up, Zarich,” I replied as I grabbed the edge of the ship. I heard him grumble again, though, so I accidentally kicked him as I helped pull the others up onto the ship as well. He vanished just as Lars and I both reached a hand out to Rhen—we only just caught her in time. “Stupid demon,” I muttered as we struggled to get Rhen safely over the edge of the railing.
“So… Which way?” Dameon asked, looking around. There were three ways we could go: to the right of our current spot halfway along the port side of the ship, the left, or through a door a few feet away.
“Hm…” I said, looking around. “Well, we could split up—go in pairs. Three paths, six of us, right?”
“That’s a pretty good idea,” Lars replied. “I’d go with Rhen—”
“Why do you get to go with Rhen?” Dameon asked. His tone was one of forced calm. I immediately knew the reason, though Rhen probably didn’t.
“Well, it doesn’t matter to me,” Galahad said, “as long as I’m not with—” He looked to his right, saw Te’ijal standing there, and shuddered. She sighed in response.
I sighed as well. “I suppose we’ll just have to stick together, huh?” I looked around at the three pathways again. “I say we go through that door. If we go around, we might meet up with the crew. Frankly, I don’t want a fight just now—I want John.”
Galahad raised an eyebrow at me as we walked through the door. “Interesting phrasing,” he muttered. I glared at him as I took the lead.
It was strangely quiet in the depths of the airship. It was… Odd. An enigma. John had told me stories about his pirate days—it had sounded like a noisy life. I couldn’t picture silence on a ship, and yet here it was. It was out of place.
As if to prove to me that there was sound on the ship, a ticking sound started up. I looked down and froze. The plank I had just stepped on had sunk below the others, obviously triggering some sort of mechanism. I guessed it was something that wasn’t good for us.
I was right. Three seconds after I paused, a wide assortment of blades fell from the ceiling down toward us. Lars and Dameon both cast a couple of pretty strong shield spells, but we all still sustained a few shallow cuts. We were lucky to have gotten that few injuries. But whoever set up the trap wasn’t done just yet.
A strong blast of air came blaring out of nowhere. We were all slammed back into the far wall—or rather, the door we had entered through. There was nowhere near enough room for all six of us on the wall, so the stragglers—Dameon and Galahad—probably had it worst off, having been squashed by the rest of us. Regardless, we all collapsed onto the floor, winded. But the trap still wasn’t through with us.
Rhen and I had just gotten to our feet and taken the first stumbling steps when the wood below us suddenly vanished. We all gave our noises of surprise as we fell—I have to say, Dameon’s cry of “Demons steal your soul” was my favorite.
The reason for the trapdoor were fairly obvious: to capture any survivors of the falling blades. So it was only natural that we would find ourselves in the ship’s hold.
What we didn’t expect was to see a familiar black-haired man on the floor with an unfamiliar man’s booted foot on his chest. Everyone in the room stared in shock at the unexpected reunion.
“No!” The other man interrupted our almost-greeting. He took a step back and slammed his fist onto a button on the wall. John vanished through another trapdoor, cursing as he fell. “You will not interfere with my revenge!”
I pulled out my whip as I opened my mouth to reply—behind me, I heard the others take out their weapons as well. “I don’t care about your stupid revenge—I just want my pirate back.”
He laughed a cold, harsh laugh. “Yours, is he? Well, I’m afraid you can’t have him—his life belongs to me.”
I didn’t bother with more talk. I swung my whip at his legs, but he caught it. Fortunately for us, however, he was preoccupied with the spikes he had not noticed on it and which were now digging painfully into his hand. The others stepped forward, their various weapons raised.
We battled furiously. The man was unarmed, but strong—strong enough to disarm Lars, Dameon, and Te’ijal in addition to myself. But by the time he had, he had sustained quite a few injuries from Rhen and Galahad’s blades, and I had grabbed my whip again. As he aimed another punch at Lars, I aimed my whip at his arm. It wrapped itself around his outstretched wrist, some of the spikes entering his flesh. Blood fell.
He looked up at me through confused, half-closed eyes. He spoke one word, quietly, slowly. “…Eda…?”
I looked down at him sadly as he collapsed. I didn’t know his story, didn’t know why he had taken John… And I didn’t think I wanted him dead. I checked his pulse—it was strong for a man in his condition. I turned to Dameon. “Heal him,” I told him. “We’ll let him live—but make sure he doesn’t wake up.” To the others, I said, “Come on. We’re going to go get John.”
Posted on: 2008/4/21 0:56
Chapter 10: True Reunion
Rhen was happy—she was always the tie between the members of the group, bridging gaps that would never have met before. So she was happy to get John back.
Not as happy as I was, of course.
Rhen took off running from the room, a smile on her face. Lars, who had seemed to want to help Dameon with the healing, immediately finished off his spell and followed Rhen. I went after then, deliberately keeping my pace down to a fast walk. I figured someone had to be mature around here. The others came behind me. We rounded a few corners, found a little staircase leading down, turned right again…
And then I heard his voice. I’m not sure how I heard it, over Rhen and Lars’s running footsteps, since it was just a sigh… But I heard it, I’m sure I did.
Suddenly, I was running too. But I at my fastest couldn’t stand up to Rhen’s head start, so it was her who opened the door.
Though it was Rhen who opened the door, it wasn't her I really cared about.
I heard running footsteps. "Elini!" John cried. I blinked, shocked. He grabbed me, swinging me upwards and spinning around, embracing me the whole time.
Then his lips met mine.
I was stunned for less than half a second before I deepened the kiss, my arms tightening around his chest. When we finally pulled apart, Lars wolf-whistled.
"But, John," I whispered, still breathless from what just happened, "a Veldtonian woman never lets a man go after she has taken a kiss. You know that!"
"That I do," John replied. Then he kissed me again.
Galahad, ever nervous by Te’ijal’s presence, chose this moment to produce a loud, fake cough. I saw Rhen glare at him out of the corner of my eye. We ignored him, still kissing. I think I also heard Dameon say—a bit quieter than Galahad’s cough—“Um…” This may or may not have been followed by the sound of a fist hitting a shoulder and an exclamation of pain. It was all tuned out, the kiss being what it was.
We finally broke apart what seemed like hours later when I remembered that we were in the second hold of an enemy ship. “That has got to be the most awaited kiss of my life,” I said breathlessly, smiling at John.
He smiled back, and that small indication of happiness sent my heart rate skyrocketing up. But then he winced, and I saw what relief at being with him had blocked from my eyes before.
“Gods, John, what’s happened to you?!” I asked, shocked at the bruises and blood I could see on his face and arms. I knew that if I looked at the rest of him, I would find more.
My question seemed to stir a memory. “Ray,” he replied. “Where is he?”
“You mean the man we saw standing over you with his foot on top of you?” Lars replied. “He’s upstairs, out cold. We left him alive.”
John immediately looked up at the ceiling. I, realizing what he wanted, sighed and started walking with him over to the staircase. The rest of the group followed. It was only a couple of minutes before we rejoined Dameon in the first hold. John looked down at the unconscious body of the man I deduced—from the multitude of odd devices around the room—had been torturing him. I saw John’s expression—it surprised me. Whereas I would have probably summoned something to hamper the man even while he was unconscious, John merely gave him a small, sad smile and shook his head. “He was always too fiery and rash for his own good… It was his strength that got him the title of first mate.”
“This man was your first mate?” Rhen asked, surprised. “Then why did he kidnap you—and hurt you?”
“Because he lost his love while he and the rest of that crew were in jail. I imagine it was a horrible place, since they only got a year’s sentence… But Eda and the rest, all but Ray, died in there. I can see why he blamed me—I had escaped on dragonback, hadn’t offered to take anyone else. I’m not sure if my dragon could’ve taken on another passenger, she was so small… But I’m sure that she couldn’t take two. Either Eda or Ray would have had to stay behind, and neither would accept losing the other. Ray never did accept losing Eda, did he? I suppose now the best thing to do would have been to take Eda so she could rejoin Ray after he got out of the jail, but he might not have lasted without the determination to get out and get back at me.”
John paused here to kiss the top of my head. It sent a chill of pleasure down my spine. “After all,” he continued, “it was my determination to see you again that kept me going through all of the pain.”
“Speaking of which,” Dameon said. He came over with his staff and started up a healing spell. Lars joined in as John looked at Ray again.
“So, now what?” I asked. I’d forgotten any plans we might have had before I’d woken up on the day we’d found John missing.
“Well…” John replied, fumbling around in his pocket, “that depends.”
“Depends on what?”
His hand came out of his pocket, showed something to me. I gasped.
“On whether or not you’ll agree to marry me.”
Posted on: 2008/4/21 0:56
Chapter 11: It’s Nice to Finally Be Together
I looked at her face hopefully. I really did want this, had wanted it for a long time. Long before the love potion, before I saw the perfect ring I was now holding, before Ray had forced me to figure things out by separating us. So I’d been carrying the ring around with me, trying to work up the courage to ask her even while the resistant part of my mind told me the ring was for someone, anyone else. But I’d always known the truth.
I’m in love with Elini.
I have been since I saw her through the bars of that cell on the Islands. Since I heard her voice scorning me for running from that other woman. Since I refused her. Because that was really all just a ploy. I knew that I wanted her—but I hadn’t wanted to share her with three other men. So I’d pretended like I wanted her to stay away from me, as though that could somehow make it true.
But my true feelings had won out in the end.
And so I stood there, ring in hand, hoping with all my heart that she’d accept, that she’d come with me to the chapel in Thais.
My heart leapt.
“Yes,” I cried, throwing my arms around his neck. “Of course I’ll marry you! Nothing would give me greater pleasure.”
So here we stand, surrounded by our friends in a room full of roses, hand in hand, waiting to be married.
“And do you, Elinidana’te—er, Eli…”
Elini sent the minister an apologetic smile and interrupted his failed attempts at saying her full name. “I do.”
“Then let this joining be known to all, for another pair has been formerly married.” Lars tilted his staff slightly, and a pair of doves flew out of the chapel from above our heads as our lips met. I swept my bride off her feet—literally—and carried her out of the room, out of the building, into another—private—room in the inn. We kissed again before I let her stand once more. Then I pushed her gently onto the bed.
“It’s about time,” she said, smiling.
Posted on: 2008/4/21 1:08
“I think he’s awake now.”
“Just maybe,” I growled, wiping water off my face. It had come from a bucket that was now lying on the floor by the feet of most of my crew. They were all clustered around me, clearly wondering what had happened. “The hell did you dump water on me for?”
“Well,” one of the braver men replied, “It’s been hours since anyone last saw you, and you didn’t come to lunch, so we came in here to check up on you. You were knocked out, so we decided to wake you up.”
“And you just had to use water?”
“Well, we could’ve kicked you or made loud noises or something, but I don’t think you’d have liked the first option and the loud noises wouldn’t have worked. I mean, you already slept through the meal bell.”
I shook my head angrily. Drops of water flew from my hair, probably hitting a bunch of the crew members. Then I remembered the whole reason I was down here.
“Um… There’s no one down here but us,” came the reply.
“Exactly! There should be. How am I going to—” At that point, I remembered the reason I’d been knocked out. “Those adventurers! Those stupid people skewed my plans! Now I—”
“Was it said adventurers who did that to the wall?”
I looked at the wall the man was talking about. I saw that words had been carved into it using a blade of some sort. But the fact that the words were on the wall was less important than what the words actually said.
You’ve changed. You might be channeling a demon. Try channeling Eda instead—she was always nice, even to our foes.
I shook with some emotion—I didn’t know which one. John was right, Eda had always been nice. Maybe that’s what I loved so much about her. And I thought that maybe I wasn’t always the way I’d been acting for the last few days. I knew for sure I hadn’t plotted as much.
Suddenly I missed Eda more than ever. I had always been told that she was a good influence on me.
I closed that thought down, knowing I wouldn’t get her back. Instead of dwelling on matters past, I turned to my crew.
“Come on,” I said. “We’re sailing.”
And so the story ends. Our newlyweds continued on Rhen’s quest while Ray sailed the skies to parts unknown. He was never heard from again.
Unless, of course, Phoenix hunted him down.
Yay! Okay, that last line has to do with the fact that Phoenix really wanted to go and beat up Ray for being mean to John...
Time for me to finish chapter one of that next story.
Posted on: 2008/4/21 1:10
you realy did well in this!
Posted on: 2008/4/21 5:52
"Life is a book. Everyday has a new page. With adventures to tell, things to learn and tales to remember."
Cool! It's a good story. I'm glad you reposted. I've been hoping you would write the companion piece.
Posted on: 2008/4/23 12:12
there was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more than to never feel the breaking apart all my pictures of you...
Thanks, you two.
Sorry about the huge delay--I got flooded with lots of ideas for stories and no substance for them. XD Although it is cool that I can now post a link to another story. ^.^
It's here in case you didn't know, non-posting readers.
Posted on: 2008/4/23 19:26
Oh cool! I hadn't realized that you had started that one. I'll need to start reading it! I wish we had the ability to bookmark threads -- that's more reliable than my memory. Ah well...
Posted on: 2008/4/23 23:55
there was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more than to never feel the breaking apart all my pictures of you...
And now it has more than one chapter. ^.^
I need to start (re)reading stories too--I'm starting to forget everything that happened.
Posted on: 2008/4/24 0:04
i'm so glad you reposted this, rena. great story! and still the only elini-john one i've seen.
i love that window into the demon realm. excellent image.
now, on to the really fun stuff...
Posted on: 2008/4/27 11:28
If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats.
i like it better then most tav stories!!
Posted on: 2008/7/17 15:50
I only got to read the first chapter, I have a TV show I need to go watch now.
But I think it's really good so far. Nice descriptive wording. Thanks for the read, I'll be sure to read more when I get a few extra minutes.
Posted on: 2008/7/17 21:30
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