Chapter 3: JAGE'S SEA LEGS
Captain Jonathon James of Quakenfalls, of the ship The Hampton Chase, woke in the same room with his sister, Brynn, the self-taught archer, the randomly inflicted necromancer, and it was his first time in a long while waking up in a room that wasn’t rocking to the current. But still, Jage felt like he was still on the ship. He felt his body move even as it laid motionless on the royal chaise lounge that was brought into this guest room specifically so he could sleep close to his sister. They have been apart so long, him on the sea and her on the cliffs of Quakenfalls, that to part now when they had just reunited felt, from what Jage could tell, very scary.
He wondered how his crew was. They had parted at the docks and the men, who all lived in Fortis, went back to their village that was tucked away in the forest on the Western part of the land, while Jage walked with his sister, not very far toward the outcropping of land that was the cliffs of Quakenfalls, when they stumbled upon Prince Thomas who took them hostage. In fact, it wasn’t a mere two hours before they had gone to sleep last night that Jage and Brynn were actually freed from being royal prisoners, fed a delicious dinner of roasted boar, fruit and bread, and then tucked in by a beautiful, royal attendant with light blue eyes. Jage didn’t get her name, but he certainly wanted to be friends with the lady moving forward in life.
Thinking about his men also made JJ think about the storm that was last night, and the evil spirits within it that he saw. He rose from the chaise lounge, feeling his body creak and crack away the sleep as he moved across the room and looked out of the window down upon Springborough below. There were no clouds today. The sun shone bright upon the village and all seemed so well that the thunder and lightening seemed to almost be a dissipating dream, and the evil, gangly ghosts in the clouds to be the nightmare within the dream.
It was one of those vicious things that had reached out with one its claws and snapped the tether that bound Jage to his boat, throwing him from the deck and into the water before the ship crashed. It was also the malevolent storm sprites that Jage blamed on the disappearance of two of his crew members that didn’t seem to disembark from The Hampton Chase when it was stranded on the rocks. What had become of those spirits and why were they in the storm in the first place? He had to wonder that, if they were gone, did all the carnage that they brought disappear as well? He thought about the first sailor he saw, a man cut in half, who was crawling about his ship as if the loss of blood couldn’t kill a man, and warning Jage and his first mate, Juba, about the spirits in the storm before disappearing in a cloud of dust. Or, at least, warning of a “they” right before the storm found The Hampton Chase on perilous waters.
If the storm was done, and the spirits were gone, could it be possible that that half-a-man had returned to being whole and alive? Did that sailor suddenly appear where he disappeared, fall into the water, and look for his boat? Jage hoped his men reappeared on the rocks and were returning to their families. In fact, if he thought about it, those were the only men with families, children, at least, if his memory served, for the other pirates who returned to the docks with him; Juba, Kyle, Bud, Beverly, and Murray did not have children, only wives and siblings, and their homes to look forward to.
Jage’s parents were missing as well.
So were Thomas, Kyrstin, and Patrick’s.
JJ wondered if that meant anything. It had to, didn’t it?
He looked over to the bed where his sister was earlier this morning, but she had gone off into the castle with Princess Kyrstin in search of something to drink and to talk with Princess about something neither of them wanted to tell him about. JJ hoped it might concern when he and his sister might be able to go back to the cliffs. His plan was to thank them (very much) for letting them stay in a nice, dry, non-dirt-covered-hut of a place for a night and eat copious amounts of meat and bread, but it was time for them to be off, and to resume the watch for their parents who might return from their expedition of trying to find the Lost Kingdom of Gambrille.
“Oh, you’re up,” a voice said behind him, and he turned around. It was the light-eyed beauty from the night before.
“Yes, I’m sorry,” Jage apologized, still feeling his weight teeter back and forth from being at sea so long, or maybe it was because he was alone in the room with a stranger whose eyes JJ would see when he closed his own. “I wasn’t actually sleeping all this time, though. I was just laying here, trying to get my bearings.”
“Where are you from?” The girl asked, cocking her head in curiosity.
“Fortis? Really? The village in the woods?”
“Yes, well, I was raised there. But, we left it for Quakenfalls.”
“Oh! The cliffs! Looking out onto the waters of Cornwall?”
“That must be very nice.”
The girl smiled, a brilliant collection of white teeth, and her face lit up. An awkward pause in the conversation was all it took for her to realize she had come with the specific goal of making the bed, making sure the sheets weren’t soiled so then it could be reused, and gathering the blankets that JJ had used on the chaise lounge. She went about her business, and Jage used the momentary pause to turn back to the window. The town below the castle was lively with horses pulling carts, barters yelling prices and items in the streets, and kids playing some type of stone game Jage had never seen before. He wondered when his equilibrium would return again, and he would stop feeling as if he was going to tip over at any moment. He decided, until then, he shouldn’t stand so close to open windows with long drops.
“Where are you from, miss?” Jage asked, turning to see the girl with a handful of blankets.
“The town. Here, Springborough.”
“Were you outside today? Is there any remnants of the storm?”
“Remnants of a storm?”
Yes, Jage thought, mainly spirits?
“Only puddles, Jonathon James of Quakenfalls.”
People used to call him Captain Jonathon James of The Hampton Chase. But, the new title would do for him as well.