"Geno. Cyde." The young male addressed, frowning deeply at the battered parchment paper splayed out before him.
At his beckon two males rose from their seats in unison and spoke simultaneously, weary of their commanders clipped tone.
"Captain, somethin' the matter?"
The man lingered on their worried words, pondering the shortest and most appropriate answer to respond with.
"I have an insufferable itch in my throat," he started, nodding in deep thought, "that can only be permanently scratched by a pistol."
"Captain!" The youngest of the three men sputtered, shocked by the mans brash words. "What in heavens name are you suggesting!?"
The second male sighed sharply and clicked his tongue irritably, aware the Captains far-fetched claim was just another one of his mindless jests.
Unlike his twin brother, Cyde, who was a worry wart and believed anything their Captain said, Geno had grown accustomed to his insensitive jokes.
"What he means to say is — he's in a foul mood." The elder twin explained, tiredly running a hand through his scarlet locks.
His brother blinked once, then twice, and on the third time he tilted his head as if to ask why.
"Cyde of the two of you I expected you to be the one with the brains, but that's not the case." Captain Fauvel exhaled, reclining in his seat he kicked his feet up on his desk and crossed a leg over the other.
Of course of the two brothers one was more wolf natured while the other was sheep like, nevertheless both were considered scums in the face of society. Identical in every aspect: shaggy unkempt scarlet hair, droopy porcelain blue eyes, a long nose accompanied by general sized rose lips, and a smile so ravishing it could kill. A deadly spell that charmed even the most urbane women was a threat to the men of higher ranking.
The Lords and Kings had no trouble dismissing them however; pirates and criminals had no place in a life of class and it's common women tend to gardens and not jungles.
Cyde grinned and scratched the back of his ear with a finger, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet. "Why, thank ya' Sir!"
Geno mentally face palmed at his brothers vivid oblivion, hoping the fourth man Ares Ebron hadn't over heard their foolish conversation.
"You're ridiculously dim witted." A raspy voice snapped, the antagonizing tapping of foot steps sounded from behind the two men, followed by a door slamming shut.
The fourth man had entered the room and he looked nearly as blood-curdling as the Captain.
Long pale hair in contrast to his dark tanned skin, violet orbs mirroring lavender, and loose robes that revealed a subtle amount of chest hair and a chiseled plate.
"I am not dim—"
"Be still," Ares uttered abruptly, setting a hand in front of Cydes face. "Captain I assume you've summoned me because of our current destination?"
The Captain nodded stiffly, reaching out to pluck a knife impaling the paper and table, and twiddled the dagger between his fingers.
"Which sea will we be crossing Ares?"
"The Vylkalian Sea, Sir." Ares responded confidently, standing at attention.
The corner of the Captains mouth twitched open in a low scowl, the tip of his knife scraping at his teeth as he flicked his tongue over the silver blade, displeased with the unforeseen report.
Before the Captain could speak, Ares was quick to explain: "The Filx will be crossing the Neptain Sea and the Jacks are arriving from there."
The Captain didn't need to hear any more, he understood well. If they were to take that route they'd be caught between a war and with the number gap between the enemies and themselves, it was hopeless.
The Black Sea wasn't an option. From there would be a pointless battle between man and Poliy — the eight eyed sea demon.
"If I'm not mistaken," Geno muttered to the Captain, taking a brave step forwards. "The Vylkalian Sea is owned by the Marquess Ron Limaken, yes?"
"Certainly. The careless rich bastard owns the entire division. I think it's about time we took it back, don't you agree?" Giving them no time to think, the Captain answered his own question for them. "Well of course you do, you have no choice." He replied sourly, laughing dryly at his own joke.
"Ay, whatever you wish." Ares added through gritted teeth. "The crazy fool outside says there's to be a storm by the time we greet them."
"Phenomenal. Have the rest of the crew be prepared to attack. Warn the Powder Chimps to ready the cannons, sharpen the deck, and set the boards." The Captain instructed, rising from his seat.
Twirling around, he ripped a sword from the wall behind him, tying its sheath to his leather belt.
Beneath his loads of papers and plans he lifted a dagger to his eyes and thoughtfully read the initials embedded within the weapon, smirking deviously to himself at the flash of a fuzzy memory.
Whichever man owned the dagger was going to pay in a few hours. Him and that stupid fool Ron or Rob, however you say his name, were both going to learn the consequences of larceny.
No one robbed a pirate.
— Some where else —
How do mermaids pee?
Those were Talhea's thoughts as she was splayed out on her back in the shape of a star over the gentle ripples of water, bathing in the soft caress that lapped over her limbs in a comforting manner.
Mermaids were amiable creatures, or so that's what they wanted you to think.
If you were anything like Talhea, who wanted to be a mermaid when she was a child, you'd know for a fact those fin tailed sea folk looked nothing like the Disney version of Ariel.
Mermaids were unsightly creatures with lengthy gills; webbed claws extending to the length of a flute, a fish tail that was neither color of the rainbow, beady eyes that looked either like pearls or urchins, two holes in place of a nose and a thin line with razor sharp teeth for a mouth.
Voldemort with a tail to be exact.
It was after years of rewatching Little Mermaid and scrolling on YouTube for mermaid transformation spells did she finally come about a documentary titled 'The Truth About Mermaids'.
It was a traumatic realization. She specifically remembered weeping about it for two days.
Despite the actuality of it, it was still a meaningful part of her childhood and was one of her many ways of escaping reality.
She hated the ocean as a kid because it was usually gloomy and hard to see through; a dangerous combination that made anyone believe some kind of undiscovered sea creature like the Kraken would reach out and drag them beneath the waves. But her desire to become a mermaid lead her to the sea and she grew to love the cerulean tides.
Unfortunately she couldn't remember the last time she had been to the beach, memories like that were forgotten or replaced by evocative words and were a constant poignant reminder of why she couldn't hark back to it.
Hence what lead her to an abandoned beach where she figured no one could bother her and she could peacefully drift off in her own little world, making new and better memories.
But there was a pestering truth drawing her down.
She shook her head and rose to her feet, burying her toes in the cool sand. Her thoughts were dreadful and she did everything she could to avoid them like the plague.
Who wanted to think about the life ahead of them anyways — what would happen after high school, where you would go, what you would do? The worries and struggles you'd face just when your life really begins were inevitable.
She sighed as she realized she was still thinking about her inescapable future.
Blanketed by the chill of the sea, she inhaled deeply and dunked her head beneath the blackness, ridding her mind of anything but peace.
Though as her senses dulled and she heard nothing but the brushing current, she tensed, feeling something creep at the nape of her neck; which was never a good sign.
Something wasn't right.
A spark of white flickered beyond her eyelids, and her eyes shot open in panic as she kicked at the sand beneath her, roughly pushing her up through the waters.
She broke surface and simultaneously an alarming crack resounded, overpowering the oceans relentless roaring. The moon had been blanketed by a swarm of endless grey, and it began to pour from the sky.
Her eyes gleamed a brilliant white and another strike of lightening hit, much closer this time. Panic grew and she made way for shore, frantically flailing her arms ahead of her.
She was no Michael Phelps, but at the moment she was positive if they were too compete she'd win without question.
But not even Michael Phelps could escape the wrath of a wild sea, especially if it was abandoned — for a reason.
That reason she immediately remembered as darkness engulfed her and she spun around to see a wave of pitch black. Struck frozen, she gasped and was instantaneously sent below the lethal waters.
The gloom entered through her mouth first and reflexively she swallowed, regretting it as she inhaled from her nostrils and felt the salty pool sting her wind pipe. She tried her best to kick her way back to the top but was immediately pushed back down, this time feeling something violently collide with her temple.
Her mouth snapped open in shock, forgetting she was drowning and through her nostrils was a searing hot burn. Her eyes fluttered shut and her body convulsed as she took in loads of water, mind slowly drifting into nothing.
Am I dead?
A voice as smooth as wine had asked; it couldn't have been her own could it? It didn't sound like her.
She hadn't recognized the firm and feminine sound and she knew it didn't belong to her. Her own voice was pinched, raspy like she'd never spoken before, and an annoyingly high pitch.
"Milady! Milady!" Someone desperately called out.
Now she was definitely sure that wasn't her voice. She paired it to a fully-grown male and was shocked to see an unfamiliar boy her age hunched over her with an expression that read dread and trepidation.
But that wasn't even the strangest part.
The boy was wearing a white tuxedo with silver frilly material around the collar, a silver vest with odd swirly intricate details, and a head piece with a silver drop on the center of his head.
"Milady? Are you well? Are you hurt any where?" The boy queried, squirming uncomfortably at the sight of the half-faint woman.
"Who are you?"
The girl gasped and clapped a hand over her mouth in bewilderment.
There it was again! That voice!
"Milady?" The boy stammered and took a step back, blinking a few times with a heavy hand over his chest. He looked like he was ready to cry.
"Milady it's me! It's me, Thomas Feynman! Your faithful shelter! Do you remember me?"
He tried running the ladies memory in hopes she'd remember him but all she could think about was how he associated the word 'shelter' with himself.
"Shelter? I- I'm sorry, I don't know who you are. Where am I?" She couldn't help but ask, the idea of waking up to someone random was nerve wracking itself but as she got a glimpse of her surroundings she entered full panic.
Thomas noticed immediately and grasped her hand reassuringly but the minute his fingers touched hers, she pulled away, looking him up and down with disgust.
"Don't touch me,"
"Milady..." Thomas said dejectedly, "please tell me you've developed a sense of humor after all these years?"
The nerve of this guy!
"You think this is funny?" She snapped, sitting up right, pointing at him accusingly.
She winced at the sharp throbbing in the left side of her head and cupped the area gently, retracting her hand to see red staining her palm.
Suddenly a door was thrown open and another well dressed man came stomping in, urgently searching for someone or something.
"Ah! You there! Where the hell is the Marchio— Milady!!" He gasped, heavy footsteps scrambling towards the injured girl.
"You're bleeding!" He spluttered, gaping like a fish out of water at the trail of cerise slowly dripping down her face. "You! What happened here?"
Thomas yelped, pointing to himself and blinked a couple of times to tame the burning in his eyes. He was a sensitive thing and hated getting yelled at but now he'd done it.
"Spit it out boy!"
Yeah! Spit it out! I wanna know how I got here too, she thought. The last thing I remember was swimming at night and then the waves—
"Oh my sweet baby Martha" She mumbled to herself.
The waves. The lightning. She was drowning.
Slowly everything started to flood back, literally. She remembered being whisked away beneath a sea of black and something hard hitting her head. Now here she was, bleeding from the exact same spot she was wounded from.
Am I dead?
Is this Heaven or Hell?
Instantaneously the wound thundered again and she almost threw up from the overwhelming pain and terrifying discovery.
Immediately she tried to distract herself with the space around her, inspecting the small room with apprehension. Wood, wood, and more wood. Was she in a cabin? An asylum made of spruce?
Apparently examining her surrounding only made her more conscious of her new reality.
"While we were preparing for the storm the lady was running from someone. I tried to chase them but after the lady slipped and hit her head, they got away." She overheard the boy admit.
"They got away? Did you see who it was?" The man interrogated, expecting something good out of the whole situation.
"No Sir. I only managed to get a peek of his hair and cut a piece of his cloak." He admitted shamefully, yanking a dark fabric out from his coat pocket.
But that was nothing to be ashamed of because he'd just got them a lead! The man was more than ecstatic to hear such great news, finally.
"Boy! Why didn't you tell me sooner!" He grinned, slapping the boys back enthusiastically. "You've just found us a clue you brilliant lad!"
Startled by the abrupt praise, Thomas rubbed the back of his neck bashfully and dismissed the compliment with a wave of his hand. "Well, I suppose I did..."
"Look, I hate to be that person you know, but where the hell am I and who the hell are you?"
Both men stopped their mini celebration and stared at the bewildered woman sitting on the bunk.
"Boy, how hard did she hit her head again?"
Thomas swallowed and fiddled with his fingers, "Hard."
He scratched the back of his neck, sighing at the sudden turn of events, "She just lost her husband and now she doesn't remember a thing? Tsk, every time we take a step forward we move ten steps back...and I thought things couldn't possibly get worse."
"Yeah uh, I don't know what you're talking about and sorry about whoever lost their husband, but could someone please answer my question already?"
Instead of fulfilling her simple wish they stared at her like some unearthly being communicating in foreign tongues.
"Hello? Are you deaf? Fine. If you don't tell me where I am I'll just find out for myself." She grumbled, impatiently hopping to her feet.
Making way for the door the men swiftly scurried to her side and tried to convince the lady to lay back down.
But when she turned to snap at the both of them she caught herself staring into a circular mirror framed in silver and someone staring right back.
She hesitantly placed a hand on the glass and felt her stomach twist as the figure reflected the same movements.
Long jet black hair in loose waves were shaped neatly around a pale face and reached just below her waist. Her coal eyes were almond shaped and lively unlike the narrowed, baggy and tired traits she was used to seeing. Her attire was different too. The giant shirt she wore was now a plain ruffled night gown that looked straight out of one of those old vampire movies.
"Who is that?" She mumbled, loud enough for the two to hear.
Their eyes flickered between the lady and each other, not completely catching on to what she was saying.
"I don't quite understand what you mean Milady."
"Who is that." She repeated.
"Uhm, it's you?" Thomas said, now unsure if his reply was right or wrong.
She whirled around and stared into his soul, silently demanding to know what was going on.
"Who am I?"
The other fellow straightened his posture and flashed her a pearly smile, positive of his response to her question he cleared his throat and said: "Milady, you are the daughter of Marquess Frank Winifred, widow to Marquess Ron Limaken, specialist in Magics and Musics and..."
He smiled proudly.
"Marchioness of the Vylkalian Sea."