Chapter Sixteen: Stowaways
“So let me get this straight, this boy of Aer clan descent who Aveline saw with the seer Aqua clan boy is the same boy from Graylow village who we’re now looking for?” Zack asked in disbelief
“It seems like it, I talked to an elder member of the village she gave me his description which matched Aveline’s, apparently his name’s Kaydence Banshaw he was the village leader’s adopted son” Helena explained to her brother who paced back and forth past the table.
“Do we know where he is? Aveline I know you said you saw him and the other boy heading over the bridge into Nirvariten but do any of you have an exact location?”
“No, but we are working on it I have personally contacted our allies in Nirvariten so they can keep an eye out and inform us if they spot anything or hear any rumours” she said looking at him making his pacing stop briefly to appreciate how her hair looked frizzier and fiercer than it did the day before and how the subtle marks of freckles dusted over her nose and rosy cheeks.
A light blush graced his own cheeks as he broke his gaze and looked to the concrete flooring, the memories of their night flooding his conscious mind.
“Good I want to know if we find anything, also has anyone heard anything of the leader of Graylow village? His name is Bregan Banshaw” he continued while beginning to pace again.
“No. No one knows anything of him, they said the last thing they saw was their village burning and Bregan fighting with some of the villagers along with this Kaydence boy” Helena chipped in from across the table.
“We need to find this Kaydence boy and his companion. They are obviously up to something and I want to know what and if we need to be wary of them. Find them, I want this establishment and all our allies on alert. If they see them or have even a possible sighting I want to know. Meeting dismissed” he called out walking swiftly out the room to get a breath of fresh air.
* * *
Rena had fulfilled her promise in leading them to the docks, it had taken around two hours on foot since taking their horses wasn’t an option.
The trek had been filled with playful banter once Mayfel had woken up a bit ultimately making him more cheerful, Kaydence was glad to see the purple replacing the green it just looked like he had life in him again instead of a dreary look.
The smell of salt was everywhere which was to be expected considering they were at the ocean’s edge, seagulls flew overhead surveying everything going on and calling out to each other with their findings.
There were a few small boats docked at the harbour most likely some of the locals’ personal fishing boats, the one that caught all their attention though was the ship bobbing over the small waves before them.
It’s huge blue sails marked with the insignia of the Aqua Clan curved as it harvested the wind, It was a magnificent sight with its dark wood structure and the rising sun gracing the sky with fabulous oranges and wisps of white clouds.
They were all hidden behind the bushes near the beginning of the wooden docks surveying the area to make sure they could pass by the small gathering of sailors without detection.
Rena would be staying behind and leaving once they were safely hidden on board, the plan seemed easy enough but who knows what could go wrong which is why they had a plan B and C.
“Rena it’s time” Mayfel whispered through the leaves making them rattle.
“Why are you whispering, are you going to tell me we need a bird call or something for a signal next” she questioned looking at him with a raised eyebrow.
“Of course not, I was thinking more of a cat or something, I do like cats” he replied matter of factly.
With a roll of her eyes she rose to her feet and dusted herself off before walking with an air of attitude but elegance which didn’t at all seem like the Rena he knew.
He watched her hips sway and her hair flowed in the breeze as she made her way to the group of sailors down the one end of the dock, they’d just finished loading the ship making it ideal for Mayfel and himself to sneak aboard and find a good hiding spot before the ship departed.
“We need to stay low but be quick” Kaydence said, watching intensely as Rena struck up a conversation with the group.
“Well, what are we waiting for, let’s get moving” he replied while grabbing his things and rising out the bushes.
If they played it right they could gain a little coverage from the small boats but once reaching the cross-section of the dock they’d be out in the open which is where the efficiency part of the plan will need to be as accurate as possible.
Both kept low crouching slightly as they jogged down the docking, Mayfel he knew was being extra careful as to not trip seeing as he was particularly clumsy and since they were against time and eyes they had no room for error if this was going to work.
He stopped suddenly behind a little boat and felt Mayfel bump into him obviously too preoccupied in watching the floor for raised boards or netting.
They hadn’t run far but the thudding in his chest would suggest otherwise, they had reached the cross-section of the docking which would be the toughest part of getting onto the ship.
Once they cross the large open space they’d have a straight and well-hidden run for the ship thanks to some cargo boxes waiting to be loaded on.
In his mind, it seemed easy enough but being on the verge of actually running out into the open with a group of sailors and a few guards dotted around on the ship made his heartbeat spike.
This was it he turned to look at Mayfel who peered back through the dim lighting.
“You keep your eyes on the sailors. I’ll watch the guards. On the count of three” he said quietly looking back to the ship, the guards were pacing back and forth slowly looking over the side of the boat at the rippling waters and down to the lower deck.
They each sported what looked like knives sheathed in their belts as well as a sword fastened closely to their sides much like Kaydences own.
“One” he whispered back to the boy, his nerves ate at his insides and his heart rate escalated to the point he was scared the guards would hear it.
“Two” came his voice again, he shuffled his stance and raised more ready to make a beeline for the ramp.
“Three” he said sharply and they were off, he tried keeping his footfall light which was probably easier for himself than it was for Mayfel since he was barefoot as usual.
His eyes glued to the ship and flicked from one guard to another constantly, the anxiety of being caught made him move quicker for cover hoping Mayfel would follow suit.
As they neared the crates a guard, that had been set on looking out to the ocean, turned around.
Kaydence grabbed hold of whatever part of Mayfel was closer- which to his luck was his wrist- and yanked his down behind a lone box.
A deep breath fell from between his worried lips, he didn’t know whether to dare a look or wait it out, his thought process was disrupted by a poke in his side delivered by Mayfel who’s face looked pale and his eyes wide as if he’d seen a ghost which seemed ironic to Kaydence since Mayfel himself looked like he was beyond the living.
“What is it?” he whispered peeking over the top of the box trying to be strategic.
He didn’t get a verbal reply just another finger jabbed into his rib, under all the pressure he was getting a bit irritated with Mayfel’s childish behaviour especially since it was not a time to be playing around.
“What” he hissed looking at him to see him pointing to the right where the sailors and Rena were still chatting.
That wasn’t the problem, the problem was they could see the sailors.
And if the sailors turned they’d see them too, they were vulnerable but they couldn’t move until the guard turned away, they’d be right in his line of sight.
Kaydence cursed under his breath and repositioned himself behind the box, what should they do? What could they do? Was the better question.
“We have to move”
“But the guard he’ll see us” Mayfel replied quietly.
“We don’t have a choice, we can’t sit and wait to be seen. We have to just stay low and hope luck is on our side” he breathed.
If it was under different circumstances the sound of small swaying waves lapping at the jetty’s legs would be soothing but it just acted as a ticking noise putting Kaydence more on edge.
“If we get caught you’re in charge” he joked to try and lighten the mood just a touch.
With a roll of his blue and gold eye, he glanced at the guard, as luck would have it he’d turned a small degree to talk to another across the ship.
Now was their chance.
They took off running, the meters counted down and he kept track of it along with the thrumming of his chest.
It was so close now, the guard was still not looking but there was no reassurance In it because who was to say how long the conversation would last.
No guards were watching this was there chance possibly the only and best chance they had, there’s be no second chances that was for sure.
Ducking down and keeping a low crouch he proceeded up the ramp checking briefly for Mayfel’s presence that gladly shadowed him, his breaths came in rapid puffs as he ascended the ramp reaching the connection between it and the boat.
This is where it could all end he thought as he observed the guards one last time before he silently dropped down onto the deck and took cover behind a large crate followed by a light thud of Mayfel.
Shouts rang out in the early air as others replied, he worked his way further into the maze of boxes wanting as much cover as possible for their voyage not wanting to get caught and thrown overboard.
The guards of the king- including the ones that watched over his supplies on their journey- were known to be ruthless when it came to protecting the Royal family, the kind, the queen and their only child and heir to the throne.
The guards were mainly those who fought in the war that had experienced much like the veterans that made their home on Havens Gate, they weren’t forced into their line of duty; it had been left up to them to decide.
It would be an honour to meet them and hear their tales of times before bloodshed but that’s not what they are there for, he had to focus and hopefully after everything settled back to normality he could visit again and possibly find a home among the ones left behind by the rest of the world.
“We did it. Kaydence we’re really on the ship” Mayfel’s excited and relieved voice uttered from his left.
“I know but now we have to stay low and quiet, we can not be seen at any cost” he replied taking a seat in a corner made by two boxes.
Mayfel took a seat in front of him and removed his bags giving his shoulders a stretch.
“Eye eye captain” he teased getting comfortable.
“Get some rest I’ll keep watch then we’ll swap” Kaydence explained as he passed Mayfel his own blanket for extra warmth now that the winds had awoken in a foul mood and whipped in from the vast ocean plane with chilling claws.
He had his wings for a blanket which was more than enough but he knew the boy got cold easily and he didn’t mind giving up his blanket as long as it helped and kept him safe from hypothermia or any other cold-related illnesses.
“Don’t stay up too long, you need sleep too. No offence but you look half dead” Mayfel stated bundling himself up under the rough and used fabric.
“Just go to sleep already” he sighed.
Kaydence knew he was right, he looked in no fit state to be under all this pressure as if he’d keel over if he had to run another meter.
His eyes clearly bloodshot and carried the weight of everything beneath them in puffy sickly purple bags, his hair an absolute atrocity sticking up in whatever direction it saw fit while casually being styled and guided by the winds rough fingers and don’t get him started on his lips they were sore and chapped but there wasn’t much he could do.
“Don’t rush me” Mayfel mumbled his head propped on his bag as a makeshift pillow.
“Sleep or you can stay on watch and I will sleep instead” he threatened lightly.
Five minutes he watched him shuffle, twist and turn from side to side and in the end, he’d completely turned in the opposite direction so his head now rested- without Kaydences approval- on his leg.
He didn’t have the heart to push the now sleeping boy away, not when the look he cherished resided on his pale sleeping face, his heartbeat an unnatural rhythm to a song with no name or clear meaning.
His fingers found their way to Mayfel’s deep brunette locks where they winded through like a snake in the grass, he curled some around his fingers before letting it slither away again.
It was soothing but he didn’t know what brought it upon him although he was really complaining at this point it felt good connecting with another part of Mayfel even if it was a simple gesture of playing with his wild hair.
Kaydence sat in serenity as the last crates were loaded aboard along with the sailors who left Rena waving at them from the jetty.
The wood beneath him shook each time the thud of a landing crate was heard and before long calls and commands were yelled and carried out, the ship set off out to sea.
The waves rocked the wooden structure like a crib lulling Kaydence into a world of lost memories and alternate realities.
His hand resting in his companion’s hair, the light rising and the easy breeze of ocean air and mist.
A gentle sleep at last.