10: Wrath of the sea
The ship’s sails flicked and whipped in the wind under a cloudless sunny sky. The smell of fresh salt water filled her nose and the water’s surface sparkled calmly. But for all the beauty the sea could deliver, Mylene never felt more trapped in her life.
After the night Mylene had a bag stuffed over her head, Olrick and his men escorted her to their ship and locked her in a room under the deck. They kept her there for many hours until they were far from the sight of land. For hours she sat in that room with her hands tied behind her back and a bag over her head. Alone and scared, she wept for hours and hours as she began to think she would never see her daughter again.
When at last Olrick came to untie her and pulled the bag off her head, Mylene bit his hand in a desperate attempt to escape. As Olrick cursed her and his bleeding hand, Mylene jumped to her feet and raced past Olrick towards the door. But he was ready for it. As she made her attempt to get past him, Olrick grabbed Mylene by the wrist, pulled her back into the room, held her mouth and then smashed her up against the back wall of the room. The impact caused Mylene to lose her breath. She was pinned against the wall with no escape and he kept her mouth covered so she couldn’t scream.
Mylene was frozen with fear as Olrick closed in on her. The fear she felt brought on tears again as Olrick pressed up against her. Mere inches from her face, he kept her mouth covered and stroked back the hair that was in her face. She wiggled away his hand and slapped him in the face. “You fucking bitch!” roared Olrick. He grabbed her by the throat and pulled her forward and then smashed her back into the wall again. Mylene whimpered from the pain and slid down to the floor drained of energy. “Please.” she begged faintly.
Olrick smirked at her and laughed. “Good, beg me for it.” Olrick’s thoughts were quite different from Mylene’s at the moment. As he reached down to untie his trousers, a man in a navy blue sailors coat walked in the door. The man looked to be in his late thirties. He was handsome with his long dirty blond hair, perfectly dimpled chin and piercing blue eyes.
Olrick heard the man’s footsteps and then turned around to find the man standing in the door way. Olrick had a worried look on his face. “Captain!” he said surprised. “I…I…It’s not what…” As Olrick scrambled to find his word, the captain reached into his coat and pulled out an object that Mylene had never seen before. It had a handle and hollow cylindrical pipe that ran to length of the object.
The captain held the object in his hand and pointed it straight at Olrick’s head. “Olrick!” shouted the captain. “Don’t you know it’s improper to treat our guest in such a manner?” he said in a cool collected voice. “What is the meaning of this, if I may ask?” He frowned.
“I was just… I…” Olrick slurred and stuttered trying to find his words. But the captain grew impatient and squeezed the little switch on his object. In the blink of an eye, Mylene winced at the sound that came out of that object. It was like an explosion. I mere second later, Olrick fell to the ground dead with a hole through his forehead. There was blood and brain splattered on the wall behind him. It was more than Mylene could bare to see. As the captain put away his weapon and turned towards Mylene, she flinched in fear. Her body began tremble ferociously and then she fainted and slid over onto her side.
Mylene woke several hours later with a pounding headache. Her head was spinning and she was nauseous as well. She was in the same room as before. The waves outside must have been big because the ship steadily rocked back and forth. It wasn’t helping Mylene’s condition at all and because of that, she puked over the wooden floor. She spent the next few hours stifling her vomit back, but the constant swaying of the ship only made her more and more dizzy until she puked again and again.
Minutes later, the captain was standing in the doorway and lightly knocked on the wooden frame. Frightened by the sight of the captain, Mylene sat up and curled her knees up. “My lady…” he started in a soft and comforting voice. “…I just want to apologize for that ugliness earlier. I want you to know that I did not order any such action on you. Olrick broke my trust and he had to pay the price.” He walked over to her and squatted down in front of her. “I have ordered my men to keep to themselves. They will never harm you or mistreat you again so long as I am captain.”
Mylene could never trust a pirate. “How can I trust someone who kills his own men?”
The captain frowned at her question. “Olrick broke my trust my lady. I can’t have disloyal people around me.” He smiled an innocent smile and starred longingly at Mylene with his blue eyes. Suddenly, as Mylene looked into his eyes, her fear withered away and a strange warmth began to stir inside her. She looked at him in awe. “Who are you?”
His smile turned into a grin. “I’m the captain of this ship of course.” He laughed. “Who are you?”
“Mylene.” she found herself answering.
He smiled again. “Well Mylene, I‘m captain Olivander.” He took her hand in his and kissed it with graceful charm. Suddenly, as though the world around her jumped back to reality, Mylene pulled her hand back quickly. “What do you want with me?” cried Mylene. “Why do your men kidnap innocent travelers?”
The captain didn’t show any remorse. “I told them to of course. It can get very lonesome on the high seas.” Olivander stood up and put his hands on his hips. “If you are willing to be mine, I can promise you this: I will never be cruel to you. You will have a high position by my side. You will have my protection and no man will ever do you harm for as long as you are mine. But if you disobey me, you will end up like the rest of them, trapped here on this ship bound to do as we bid. And if should you try to escape…” he grinned. “…Well let’s just say you’ll be joining our friend Olrick in the locker. So what say you?”
It seemed unfair to her. On one side she would be protected and have a high position but on the other side she could end up a slave and possibly die. Mylene knew she would never see Alyssa again if she was dead. But accepting the captain’s proposal, Mylene knew that she would be bedded often, as though she were a common whore. But she didn’t have to love him. In the end she did the only thing she could do and she did it for her daughter. “I accept.” she said as she pushed herself to her feet. Mylene’s best hope of escape was to remain alive however she could. She swore to herself that the next time they would make port she would get away one way or another.
Olivander smiled warmly. “Wonderful!” he exclaimed. “I shall inform the others! Tonight we shall have a grand feast. The whole crew will join us! It shall be a night to remember. I’ll have a servant show you to your new lodgings. There you will be able to have a nice bath and find fresh clothes for tonight, clothes for a proper lady such as yourself. I’ll join you afterwards, after I have broken the news.” he laughed with joy as Mylene forced a smile. “Prinna!” the captain called out over his shoulder. A second later, a tall girl in grey rags walked in with her head held low. Mylene judged the girl to be a little younger than Alyssa.
“Yes captain?” replied Prinna in a soft and beaten voice.
Suddenly as Mylene stood there looking at Prinna in pity, a memory flashed in her mind. Prinna’s hair was unnatural. It looked like the long leafy vines found on a willow tree. Her height was abnormal as well, she was nearly as tall as Mylene but Prinna’s voice suggested she couldn’t have been older than eight. Then, she remembered everything, Weerscrow, the elementals, the death of her husband and that his spirit lives, everything. But Mylene dared not speak a word of it in front of captain Olivander. “She is earth bound.” Mylene realized.
The captain turned towards Prinna. “See lady Mylene here to my chamber. See that she is bathed and clothed appropriately for tonight’s feast.” he ordered.
She bowed her head low. “Yes captain.”
Olivander smiled happily. “Many thanks, my dear.” The captain turned back towards Mylene and kissed her hand once more and then he took his leave.
Once the captain left the room, Prinna made sign to follow. As Mylene followed young Prinna through the lower decks and up to the main deck, the men they crossed all delightfully congratulated her. Some men only acknowledged her with a grin or nod. But Mylene’s mind was elsewhere. She could only think about her daughter, her husband and this girl in front of her. Mylene had questions, but she couldn’t speak to Prinna here, not with all those eyes watching them.
As they immerged from the lower deck onto the main deck, Prinna signed towards the back of the ship. “Just a little further, it’s on the first floor of the upper deck.” said Prinna amidst the commotion on deck.
The men were everywhere. There were men scrubbing the floors, hoisting sails and working on the lines. Officers walked about shouting orders left and right.
The captain had made his announcement on the lower decks and is now standing beside the helm ready to announce it to the rest. “Attention men!” he shouted in a commanding voice. “Tonight there will be a feast the likes of which we have never seen. My lovely Mylene has graciously accepted to be mine.” Olivander pointed an open hand at her and the men took up a stomping cheer. Moments after, the captain raised his hand in the air for silence. Immediately the cheers subsided. “On another note, if any man here dare lay a hand on my beloved, they will share the same fate as Olrick. With that said, I will see you all tonight here on deck for the grand feast. Now get back to work.” ordered the captain.
When the captain finished his announcement, Prinna and Mylene continued their walk to the captain’s chamber. As they climbed the steps at the back of the main deck, Mylene caught a fresh breeze and a ray of sunlight warmed her face. She had been below deck for nearly three days without food or water and being outside brought a smile back to her face for a moment. Then she opened her eyes and noticed that there was nothing but water in every direction.
“This way my lady, we cannot tardy.” insisted Prinna.
Mylene turned her gaze back onto the ship and nodded at Prinna. She never thought her search would lead her to sail the open water with no knowledge of the ship’s heading. There was no escape from her floating prison and Mylene knew that. She would have to wait until they made port she thought.
The ship’s name was The Lady’s Grace. It was unlike any other ship Mylene had seen before. Its masts stood over a hundred feet tall and its black sails were enormous. Mylene stood just beneath the helm on the first level of the quarter deck just in front of the captain’s chamber. She had a view of the entire ship from there except the helm above her.
The captain’s chamber wasn’t quite what she expected. She had expected it to look old and musty like in the stories she heard when she was little. But this was nothing like what she imagined. The walls were painted smooth with shades of navy blue and deep yellow. The floors were covered in reach thick rugs. All the furniture was carved beautifully out of dark mahogany and the bed was so large that you could sleep four wide comfortably. The only light was that of the candles that hung from the walls.
Prinna beckon Mylene from inside. As Mylene made her way in and closed the door behind her, she looked around the chamber in awe. It looked more like a very wealthy lord’s chamber then that of a pirate’s, especially one she had never heard of. The bed was placed beside the door and Mylene brushed her hand across the sheets as she walked by. The fabric was so soft.
“It’s from Dalport. It was made long ago, long before the desolation of Dalport. It is said to be one of the rarest silks in the world. But that’s all I know.” said Prinna shyly.
But Mylene didn’t want to talk about bed sheets. She had questions that needed answering. But Prinna spoke first. “This is not the first time you have seen an earth-bound before is it?” asked Prinna with her bright green eyes ever focused on Mylene.
Mylene shook her head. “No, it is not.” she confirmed. “But nor did I remember having seen your kind until I saw you.” said Mylene puzzled as she sat down on a chest at the end of the bed facing Prinna.
Prinna raised a hand to her chin and began pondering what Mylene said. After a moment of silence, Mylene broke in. “You are from Weerscrow’s village are you not?” she asked.
Prinna nodded. “Yes, my lady.” she replied. Then, Prinna’s face lit up in realization. “I don’t understand this.” she cried out.
“Understand what?” asked Mylene as her eyes narrowed with confusion.
“As you were following me here, it was as though I was being followed by a ghost. You are as silent as the grave yet I knew you were following all the same. Like a ghost.” Prinna began pondering again.
“Weerscrow gave me my husband’s bow and something he called the gift of silence.” stated Mylene.
“And what happened after that?” asked Prinna surprised.
Mylene had to think about it for a moment. “I don’t know exactly. One second I’m speaking to Weerscrow and then I’m standing in the middle of the road a mile away from the ferry docks.”
“Impossible! “Prinna shouted out loud and then covered her mouth with both hands when she realized how loud she was. Mylene gave her an anxious look and told her to be quieter. “You shouldn’t be able to remember any of that even if you saw me. And your reaction to the captain isn’t at all like the other women.” she whispered.
“What do mean the reaction of other women?” questioned Mylene.
“No, I can’t say anymore. If the wrong people were to hear this…” she hesitated. “…They would tie me to the top of the mast and let the sun take me.” she said with a voice drowning in fear.
“I am not the wrong people my dear.” Mylene beckoned Prinna to sit beside her on the chest. She did, but slowly and hesitantly. Mylene wrapped an arm around the girl in a move to comfort her. “My husband gave his life to the earth bound. I have seen the mound at Weerscrow’s village. I swear to you that I will keep your secret. I vow to return you and the other earth bound to your village. I just need to find out what is going on here.” Mylene whispered in Prinna’s ear. “Just please help me help you.”
After a long while in silence, Prinna suddenly understood. “You are wife the of great Grimald Rothaide?” asked Prinna with hopeful eyes.
“Do you really promise to take me back?” asked Prinna unsure of her decision.
“I do.” answered Mylene.
A smile spread across Prinna’s face and then her eyes seemed to glow even greener. “Then I accept.”
Mylene rubbed Prinna’s arm in comfort. “Good. Then we are to keep this between each other and tell no one.”
Prinna smiled and nodded. “Understood.”
Mylene turned towards her. “Now, I need to know what is happening on this boat.” she urged.
Prinna’s expression changed. Her eyes showed only fear and doubt. But in the end, she spoke. “My lady, this ship is not like any other. You are not the first woman to stumble upon this ship. In the last six months I have seen dozens of woman come and go. They all shared the same fate. But you are different.” said Prinna.
“What fate?” asked Mylene anxiously.
“The captain has a power over human emotions. He orders his men to find women and bring her here much in the manner they did with you. He manipulates his victims and gains their trust.” added Prinna.
“Olrick.” Mylene realized.
Prinna nodded. “Yes, my lady. Olrick was hired to force himself onto you by the captain. But Olrick did not know he was part of the plot. So the captain killed him his pistol to gain your trust.”
Mylene got hung up on a word she had never heard before. “Pistol? What’s that?” she asked curiously.
“I’m not quite sure. I don’t know much about it other than that’s what the captain calls his killing pipe. He did tell me how ever that it comes from a land far beyond the lowland sea, where the sun shrines hot and bright and the nights are as hot as the days. It is as he said ‘it’s one of a kind’.” answered Prinna.
“But how can something so small unleash death so easily?” asked Mylene confused.
Prinna sighed faintly. “I wish I knew my lady.” she responded. “But that is not the worst of it I’m afraid. Tonight will be no feast. It is a trap. Yes you will sit down with the captain and the crew to enjoy an amazing meal but it is not what it seems.” warned Prinna.
Mylene was puzzled. “What do you mean? It sounds like an ordinary feast to me?”
Prinna looked into Mylene’s eyes. “Tonight will be your last night in this life.” sobbed Pinna. “The captain and his crew mean to sacrifice you to the water elemental god, Primzus as payment for crossing to the sunny lands to the south.” Tears began to run down Prinna’s face. “They will hang you by the hands on the bowsprit at the front of the ship until you are dead and have been claimed by the sea.” Prinna began to cry.
As worried as she was, Mylene took Prinna into her arms and held her tightly. Prinna reminded her of Alyssa when she was upset as a child. Mylene would take in her arms and sing her a song to calm her down. “Do not cry my dear.” said Mylene as she held Prinna. “We will find a way.” Just then a sudden flash of hope lit up in Mylene’s mind. “I think I know how to solve this. But I will need your help.”
“What are we going to do? Run away?” asked Prinna in despair. “They will catch us you know. It’s nothing but open water in every direction.”
Mylene smirked and shook her head. “No, even better, we are going to blow the ship up.”