Saturday, April 26

Chapter 16

--- Day Seven ---

This time of day was always best for stealing food. The Baker was firmly ensconced in the back of her small shop, busily preparing the day's supply of various breads, pies and cakes. The  patron - cook-- or whatever it was called in this strange human world - was not there yet. 

The front door was usually left unlocked, the baker believing she would hear the bell jingle if it opened, even though she sang at the top of her lungs while she worked. 

Lyrist had learned that, if you opened the door just enough to squeeze an arm through and grab the bell before it could bounce against the wood. He could slip in nearly silent and take whatever he pleased.

This was where he was now, breathing in the fresh, warm scent of baking. Looking around at the day old trays. He fumbled a small burlap bag from under his shirt and tiptoed behind the counter, then began to load up the bag with muffins.

This was the riskiest part, because the door to the back was right next to the counter, and if the baker passed by she would easily see him crouched behind the counter. He had thrown in about six muffins when the ever so unpleasant singing drew closer.

He didn't even stop to think, he just threw himself on the counter, crouching low as he bolted toward the door as adrenaline made him run even faster. By the time the baker had moved into the main shop, he had already fled across the road into an alley. 

It wasn't long till he was leaning against the cool brick of a wall. Softly he pants with the bag clutched in his left sweaty hand. Just seconds later, the baker poked her head out into the street, looking around in confusion. 

Lyrist knew he had not taken care of the bell this time. It would be awhile before he could steal from that bakery again. 

He retreated himself even further into the alley. It's not that he's been actually hiding out here. It's just a lot safer for him to climb up the building's wall without anyone noticing him. From there on, any roof can be his for the taking. 

Periodically he would change roofs, easily by simply running and leaping in a single go. But for the most part, he stays on one roof in particular. It has the best view of the castle, and yet it's not aligned with any of the window's of the castle.

Once he found a comfortable spot, he sat down. He wasn't really fond of sitting about, while the others were going through who knows what in that castle. Although he wasn't exactly sitting idly around. He's waiting for the right moment to sneak back into the castle to grab Yeldir the Magnificent cloak. 

The only thing, he could get his hands on so far, was Blazerine's sunglasses. They were just lying untouched in the middle of the town's square. 

Yeldir helped him conducted a plan to rescue them, but their contact has been silent for awhile.

While eating, the rain begins falling slightly to a moderately downpour. Most of the humans retreated indoors, however... one did not. It was Sir Emmanuel's daughter; Elizabeth.

Elizabeth didn't mind the rain not one bit; in fact, she loved rainy days. She loved how it brought out nature's scents from the soil and plants, not to mention it kept her usually frizzy hair damp. Well, at least enough to look smooth for once. Momentarily she looked up at cloudy sky, which was now becoming a lighter gray.

Softly she sang,

"Mama~ if flowers could talk...

What would they say?

'Maybe I need the sun every day,

so I won't wither away.' 

La, la, la, la~ 


The only thing, she carried, was a small, worn round basket. It held the herbs she had picked so far, but there was still plenty of room in the little container for spring flowers and a handful of herbs.

Speaking of herbs, she had came upon another small patch of it and proceeded to kneel down and gently pull the leaves from the plants' stems, trying not to damage any of them. 

Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply trying to smell the delicate scent of the flowers. Opening her eyes, she frowned, unable to smell even a tiny whiff of a flower. The rain masked the smell well... and replaced it with the smells of the wet vegetation and the ground.

Shrugging to herself, she switched the basket to her other hand and continued her search in the moderate rainfall. The little adventure came to an end after running into a man.

The man said, "Hey Beth, you'll catch a cold if you stay out here too long." Then he patted her on top of the head. 

Elizabeth stomped her feet for a second or two. "Nope, I'm invincible just like papa!"

"Of course, how could I have forgotten? Where is your papa anyway? Is he inside?" He asked with a smile.

Elizabeth scurried back to the house while shouting, "Papa, papa, Sir Faust is here!" 

Sir Faust greeted Sir Emmanuel, and the two of them ended up sitting inside; at his table, speaking for a spell. 

"I'm telling you something weird is going on." Faust brought up halfway into their conversation.

"What are you getting at?" Emmanuel questioned him.

"The exchanger that Avon Voltaire killed. It was a member of the Blood Pack...but -"

"But what?" Emmanuel pressed on.

"Why would an Exchanger go to all that trouble of saving the kingdom from a witch? And above all; his wrists have been slit. I don't know what kind of method that is to kill an attacker, but even so. Avon was covered in blood, and it's the only wound we could find on the guy." Faust irritably rubbed at his chin.

"That does seem a little odd." Emmanuel thought. 

"And I've been hearing among the guards, that the Archbishop Lucius has been secretly extracting blood from the witch."

"What are they going to do with a witch's blood?" Emmanuel asked rather puzzled.


"Well, if you can even call it blood. I've heard it's completely black. " Faust explained.

Emmanuel suddenly lifts his head after hearing a thud from above. 

"What the? Somebody's on the roof -"

Hanging off the side of the house; Lyrist jerked his lower body all the way into a swing, which sent him plummeting through Sir Emmanuel's window. 

His feet made contact first, by smashing the shutters wide open. 
The table is just inches away from touching his back, but he can't avoid hitting what's on top. As soon as his feet were planted to the ground. He reached out for his target, Elizabeth. 

She, of course, wasn't smart enough to react quick enough. Easily he restrained the girl; who was now screaming and crying for her papa.

Within the first step, Sir Emmanuel made, Lyrist unsheathed his nails like a cat, ready to slice open today's catch.

"Please I beg you, don't hurt my little girl! She's the only thing I have left!" Emmanuel cried.

The thought of reaching for his weapon comes to Faust mind, but all, that did in return, was make Lyrist applied additional pressure to the girl's neck.

"Don't even think about it..." He hissed at him. 

"Papa!" Elizabeth horribly sobbed. 

"What - what do you want? Is this about what happened to Blazerine? It's not my fault, neither is it hers. She has nothing to do with this.  So please - please just let her go." Emmanuel pleads.

Lyrist knew it would be impossible to ask him to break Blazerine out without being noticed, but that didn't mean he couldn't sneak something else out.

"Her life for every single belonging that has been taken from our group. If one thing turns up missing, so will she." He threatened.

"Emmanuel no, this is treason! You can't obey the demands of a criminal!" Faust yelled at him.

Sir Emmanuel eyes focused a single glance at Faust. Was he really saying this right now? Is he truly wanting to test the boundaries of their friendship? This is his little girl they're talking about here. Specifically the thought is making him rather agitated. And he wasn't going to take any unnecessary risks when it comes to his own flesh and blood. 

So he picked up his helmet up off the table, then knocked it as hard as he could across the back of Faust's head.

When Faust dropped to the ground, completely unconscious, Emmanuel said, "You better keep your word."

Now Lyrist was left all alone, well not entirely. He's now sitting there with a little girl; who is nowhere near done shedding tears. And the sound was three times worse due to his sensitive ears. Elizabeth was now the second human he has ever seen cry. Fauna being first... cried in a similar childlike manner too.

"Mama..." The thought sprung up into his head as plain as day. Those little hands of hers were reaching toward the flowers that had been knocked down to the floor.  There was no doubt in his mind that he's the culprit.

"Mama's...flowers..." She cried out loud.

Lyrist very well knows what it's like to experience the loss of a family member. It must be harder for someone of her age to understand, or even cope with it. Once he loosens his grip, the girl bolted to the flowers. While she gathers some, one of her fingers gets cut by a shard; from the broken vase.

Elizabeth began to cry harder at the sight of blood. Lyrist could tell she wasn't exactly in pain. She's more likely scared than anything else. Quickly he unties the bandanna that's concealing his ear against his head. 

Then he moves in closer to the girl and uses the bandanna as a bandage to wrap her finger up.

Suddenly she stopped crying... Just a little sniffle here and there. It wasn't long till she was looking up at him. Not out of fear, but in amazement. Lyrist restrained himself once the girl started playing around with his ears. But not so much the one, that's been blown down to a more regular size.

"Gentle, gentle now..." He said with a wince.

Delightfully she laughed with the biggest smile on her face. "Fairy, you're a fairy!"

Out of nowhere, his ear twitched at the slightest sound of someone screaming. Since she wouldn't let go of his ears. He ends up picking her up and carrying her over to the window. From what he saw; there's some kind of commotion going on at the castle. 

Suddenly panicking thoughts flooded his mind; from patrons to servants, to knights and even guards. He wasn't sure why his listener ability chose now of all times to finally work properly, but he wasn't going to let this opportunity go to waste.

"The Prince is dead!" 

"Who would've done such a thing?!" 

Slowly he closes his eyes, while draining out the little girl, and everything else nearby him. Through all the darkness, he imagines his father blank canvas, like he had once done before. The beautiful swan feather, the ink bottle, which is tied around the top with a blue ribbon.

The feather fluttered briefly in the air before dropping itself into the ink. Then right before his eyes the feather danced across the canvas, creating long and short strokes. 

Slowly the image became clearer and clearer until the image of a crying woman appeared. She's lying on top of a small bundle. There was the illusion of motion as the canvas recreated the image repeatedly, making slight changes in each recreation to give the appearance of movement.

"Where were you when this had happened!? Where were all the guards?!" The queen angrily shouted in between sobs.

Not standing too far from the door, was Princess Elena. A small little smile crept across her face as she thought, finally... he no longer stands in my way of the throne. 

A familiar voice immediately redirects the canvas to paint a brand new scene. There he was, in the guest quarters, was Archbishop Lucius, but he wasn't alone. 

Several hooded men were lying face first on the floor. None of their faces could be seen, until the archbishop had turned one over, only to discover, his brethren has black glossy eyes of a raven.

"You weren't worthy enough, but you know what? I am, I AM!" He bellowed, right before raising a vial to his lips. Without hesitation, he drank every ounce of the black liquid, till there was none left. 

Right afterward he began to cough and shake violently. Every vein coursing through his body had turned black and was now sprouting up to the surface of his skin. Once the veins finally met their end; at the face. It drips the leftovers in the eyeballs as a means for a storing container. 

What was years of progression on Blazerine's life, just took over this man in just a matter of minutes. And yet it had gone on a step even further. 

Immediately his face was split by a wide, leering grin. His thin lips completely pulled back, until they had been ripped off; exposing the gums and teeth. His face continually kept stretching apart unnaturally, half hidden by the fall of his straight black hair; which kept growing and growing.  His shoulders hunched, his hands stretching, clasping, waiting for a chance to grasp, take and tear.

Lyrist couldn't quite comprehend what he's seeing, nor could he help but wonder if this too will be Blazerine's fate as well. 

However, his concentration comes to a crumbling end after Elizabeth screamed. His eyes readjust to their surroundings, only to realize there's a wolf at the window. It was no ordinary wolf, mind you, it was Argo. He barked happily while smelling his familiar scent. 

Lyrist wasn't exactly too fond of his... wet dog stench. And to top everything off, Argo shook himself dry, getting the two of them wet in the process.

Suddenly a loud rumbling was heard, after a flash of lighting. And it was getting pretty dark, despite it being day time. The gusts of the wind funneled between the surrounding buildings and blew about at his vest, as if he were a wind chime. 

The storm was enough to lure Argo through the window. Whether he was welcome or not, he seeks warmth from the fireplace. This is when he set the anxious Elizabeth down. Then she wandered on over to investigate the new house guest.

After an hour and a half, Lyrist's head twists as the sound of the door opening, reaches his ears. It wasn't the only thing he heard. Sir Emmanuel hastened heart increased solely by the sight of his daughter. 

Immediately he dropped everything he carried and swooped Elizabeth right up into his arms.

"Look I couldn't get everything." He said, "Most of the inventories has been cleaned out. All that's left is a dusty old cloak and a wooden sword."

"Since you did not retrieve everything. Keep Faust here for awhile." Lyrist quickly places the cloak on and grabs a hold of his father's sword.

"What - you're not planning on sneaking into the castle, are you?" Emmanuel asked.

"No I'm going to walk in." Lyrist said after brushing the sleeve of the cloak against Faust's face.

Emmanuel cowardly backed into the corner with his daughter, once Lyrist's entire being began to unravel like a ball of yarn. Then it knits itself back into place, but with Faust's appearance instead of his own. As soon as the last stitch of armor is in place, he turned to Emmanuel.

In Faust's tone of voice, Lyrist said, "You're still obligated to keep your word or else I'll come back and kill the both of you." 

-----

Leon now had a pleasant look to him, not smiling, but rather smiling with his eyes. 

"He can help us." He said with both of his index fingers softly gripping the little imp's shoulders,

"He's small enough to fit through the bars. All, he has to do, is find the keys." He explained.

"I thought you wanted to wait for your headmaster to come release us. Now you're wanting to ruin whatever left of your reputation forever?" Fenix asked.

"I changed my mind." Leon stood up now, ready to take charge.

"Wait, wait a second. Are you telling me that if this little guy didn't come about? You were just planning on leaving her here, weren't you?"  Fenix couldn't help but look at him in utter disgust.

"Fenix - I don't know, I'm full of mixed emotions right now, okay?" Leon said.

"You're the one who dragged us into this journey, and you were just going to abandoned it completely?" Fenix swallowed a bit hard before continuing, "After everything WE all have been through, TOGETHER!?" 

"You sound like her now..." Leon sighed.

Mister Breebo kept listening to the humans, while scratching a claw right in between his horns. 

"Whatever we'll talk about this later." Fenix excitedly smacked his legs, "So what's the plan then? 

"There's a guard that patrols the halls, once in the wee morning, once at noon then lastly at midnight. All, he has to do, is snatch the keys from him." He explained.

"Nay!" Mister Breebo softly snorted, "Did chu think I would do this theeng for notheng?" 

Fenix and Leon both exchanged glances, before looking together at Mister Breebo. The same thought is lingering between the two of them. What could possibly a creature this small would even want anyway?

A low growl escaped somewhere from deep inside of the little imp, when he spoke out in a mischievous voice, demanding, "MEAT!"

Leon was quick to say, "Deal! Now be quick, he should be making his rounds."

Mister Breebo arches his body in a stretch, till his little back popped, preparing to go out and do his little antics. His body wobbling cutely as he fixed himself back to his proper position. Then he was off, scurrying easily through the cell's bars. Naturally his pace became faster to avoid being spotted. 

Shortly he paused, right beside the wall, after hearing an odd noise. Listening in closely, he deficers the sound. It's nails, sharp nails continuously getting scraped across stone. There he stayed, frozen in place, not daring to make a further move.

 "What is that?" The first human asked another one; who is approaching him.

"I don't know." He said, "I can't figure out where it's coming from." 

"Well, it stopped now."

"Yeah, it did, how odd. Well, I best be on my way, gotta finish my rounds." 

"Yah well make it quick, there's a wench with your name on her."

Mister Breebo flicked his eyes up, once he spotted the shiny silver keys, which were dangling from the human's belt.

"A wench eh?" The human continued. 

The other one cupped his cheeks and shyly replied back, "Aww shucks I can't believe you remembered my birthday!"

With the humans preoccupied, he made a move. It takes only a matter of seconds for him to reach the patrolling guard. A venomous smile had spread across the imp's face, all the while his little devious claws edges for the keys. The smile shortly fades, after realizing he's too short to reach them. He hopped once, twice, but it was no use. He was now determined more than ever.

His determination would never be satisfied, for there is another force to be reckoned with; a knight. He single-handedly render both of the guards unconscious, by blindsiding one guard with a blow from just a stick, which bluntly smacked him, harder than any blade ever could. He fell forward, straight into the other guard, resulting in their heads meeting in a hard collision. 

The Knight watches the imp wildly run for its dear life, to avoid being squashed to death. Suddenly he squatted down and rolled the guard over to snatch his keys. Then he tosses the keys through the bars of a nearby cell, telling the prisoner to free himself and the others. 

Fenix and Leon looked stunned, unsure how to react, until they saw the knight unsheathe his nails to work the lock of their cell.

"You came back for us!" Fenix blurted out.

Lyrist nodded and said, "Precisely..." 

Once the cell was unlocked; Leon overhears the commotion of the prisoners rallying up. All this did was make him question Lyrist's motives. It's obvious they weren't going to be exactly sneaking out of the castle at this point.

"You're going to use these prisoners as distractions." Leon assumed.

"I had to." Lyrist began, "There's something running a muck in the castle."

The three of them made their way down to the level below. Leon followed short ways behind, wondering if there's a possible chance of running into Sinner.

Lyrist slowed his pace quite a bit, after realizing Leon was purposely falling behind. "There is no time..." He he told him, "Are you going to save her or will it be only Fenix and I?"

Leon lowered his head down and sighed, "I never in my wildest dreams, thought the words of my father, would burn a hole forever in my heart. My path was set in stone, when I pledge my allegiance to god...but now..."

"You must know now there was meaning behind my words, when I told you - she's helping you for whatever time she has left in this world." Lyrist told him. 

Leon stopped because the question impaled him, his heart ached painfully for several long moments before he could even suck in a breath. By the time he lifted his head up to respond, Fenix and Lyrist were already out of sight.

During their search, Lyrist moved off ahead to save several prisoners; who were begging and pleading for their lives. Sadly they did come from a prisoner that is nowhere near capable of moving on his own. The most he could do is give him a merciful death. And so he did.... 

Lyrist broke the man's neck with his bare hands, knowing it'll be impossible to get both him and Blazerine out of the castle alive. So gave his apologies shortly before leaving.

Finally, he reached their destination...  There he stood quietly in the doorway, staring at Blazerine; bloodied, bruised, and battered were only a few words that could describe her condition. 

From a closer examination, he realized the black smears that adorned her face, looked awfully familiar. 

When he approached,  he brushed his hand across her cheek to remove the liquid, only to reveal a slit beneath, that's gushing more and more of it out. Then he realized, the black substance the Archbishop had taken, was actually blood, her blood.

"Can you hear me?" Lyrist asked, but there was no response.

 He continued while yanking off his hood, to reveal his true form. "Look it's me." Yet still there was no reply. She's just lying there, staring into nothingness.

"Let's get you out of here." Quickly he unlatches her wrists and ankles.

Blanketing her with the cloak, he then scooped her up into his arms and headed for the door. Surprisedly he's caught off by a guard. A unsheathed sword is aligned point blank at his neck, ready to slice. 

"What do you think you're doing - she's a witch, you know -" The guard words were cut off by a direct blow to the back of the head.

 "She may be a witch, but she's our witch!" Fenix passionately yelled.

"I wasn't expecting it to be you." Lyrist seemed to be a bit disappointed. 

"Yeah well..." Fenix began, then he tossed aside the thick chain, he had just used against the guard. 

He looked around for a second, before asking, "Where's Leo?"

"I believe he has chosen another path." Lyrist pushed passed him and continued, "We must go."

"No this way." Fenix disagreed, "There's a water canal beneath the castle. I don't know how deep it is, but if the water can get out, so can we."

Lyrist turned back to ask, "How are you sure?"

"They got 'em fancy fountains, don't they? Where else would the water be coming from?" Fenix irritably mumbled. 

As they were running, the images erupted inside of Lyrist's mind.  An oily black being stood out, stark against the darkness of both its surroundings and apparel, which is beginning to sink beneath.

Lending a ghostly visage to an already unnerving figure. Spending long moments soaking in the atmosphere, it finally descended, emerging soundlessly through the corridors of the castle. It was almost electrifying, the moment when an outsiders eyes graced its form. 

Then it stopped... and bubbled itself up, till it stood a liquidity three feet, over every person who opposes. 

Nevertheless the tides of humanity flowed ignorantly around it, like a stone jutting from the surf and just like a stone, it stood unmoving in its continued observation. The flames of candles, lanterns, torches, throughout the area, had flickered overhead. 

Voices faltered in conversations, faces turning upward in curiosity. As soon as its mouth opened, a hellish screech echoed from inside their minds. Some screamed or tried to escape the discomforting noise, by covering their ears in vain. 

Between the screams and unsteady shuffle of half-seen forms it entered, unfolding its limbs, some appearing to be an obscene flower. Lashing blackness contrasted vividly with the room around it, as everyone overhears the lanterns exploding.  

During these brief bursts of shattering glass, it moved across the room, lips spreading wide as it approached the one chosen for its evening meal.

One of its many limbs reached forth with lightning swiftness, its tip splitting into three long digits that sought to snatch her up from where she stood, others following suit in a surge of life intent on swallowing her in their atramentous embrace.

Smaller pieces eventually budded off and caught up quicker. They slithered up the woman's legs, traveling all the way to the face, entering through her nostrils, eyes and ears. 

Lyrist dropped Blazerine, after being plummeted by the painful terrifying thoughts of its victims. A rapid series of heartbeats matched his own accelerated heart.

"It's too much..." He groaned while clutching each side of his head. 

Fenix grabbed Blazerine right before her head fell beneath the surface. "What the hell is the matter with you!?" He yelled.

Lyrist tightened his grip, as if it would keep the voices out of his head. They were getting louder and louder, one by one. He hated them, hated them all. He couldn't even think clearly anymore. Full sentences becoming fragmented and broken pieces in his mind now. 

"I hear them.. -ah." He winced.

"Drown them out!" Fenix snapped, but he shortly looked down at Blazerine in his arms. 

"Okay, maybe those weren't exactly the right choice of words. Hey, now that I think about it. This is like the first time we met... expect, well, you had more clothing on. Not that I'm complaining or anything." He chuckled.

Fenix swung Blazerine's arm over, making her smack Lyrist upside the head, repeatedly. "Get", smack, "a", smack, "GRIP!", smack, He demands.

Lyrist blink blankly at Fenix suddenly.

"Better?" He slyly grinned.

"Oddly...yes.." Lyrist said, quite stunned.

Fenix had him distracted him enough to pull him out of all the chaos. But he was quick to say, "I can't take all credit, she helped a tad." He wiggled her arm aimlessly in the air.

"Let's, let's just carry on." Lyrist shook his head and continued down the canal.

Fenix followed after while saying,"You never did explain, what you meant by, "something's running amuck.'" His eyes were narrowing accusingly, waiting for the answer.

Lyrist runs the scenario through his mind, of the possible outcomes Fenix might have if he were told that the atrocity running around, is a result of drinking Blazerine's blood. He also knows Fenix has a lot of issues, when it comes down to trusting another individual. It might be in his best interest to be forward, instead of allowing a backlash to recur later on. 

"You're not answering me, because this has something to do with her, doesn't it?" Fenix voice slightly trembled. 

"I'm afraid so." Lyrist simply replied back.

"Well, spill the beans long ear." Fenix blurted out impatiently.

"Members of the priesthood have been consuming Blazerine's blood, for whatever purpose, I do not know of. There's no denying that they've contracted symptoms of the black mark of death. All but the archbishop had perished, and turned into something monstrous." Lyrist said.

"You think, no.... I mean, well, I hope not." Fenix sighed.

Lyrist looked back at him to say, "Do I think, she's the very cause of the black mark of death?  I fear that it may not be far from the truth. I believe they're connected."

"But why, how even?" Fenix questioned it. 

"Ask her once we've made it out of here." Lyrist wheezed a bit.

"We're all going to be fugitives after this, you know?" Fenix couldn't help but chuckle.

"What do you suppose we should do then?" Lyrist coughed. 

Fenix thought for a second before he said, "Well that's a no-brainer. Hop on a boat and get the hell out of this region."

Lyrist starts to slow down, because he is bothered by a bitter thick scent, of scorched wood, which is getting worse by the second. He had no trouble running without losing his breath, but he's crippled due to the inhalation of smoke. It was all that sunk into his nostrils and it burned. It felt like he was being asphyxiated by the putrid aroma more than ever he wanted due to his sensitive nose.

"Now's not the time to be taking a nap." Fenix said as he adjusts Blazerine's body over to his shoulder, before grabbing Lyrist by the waist, to forcibly carry him the rest of the way. 

It wasn't more than thirty seconds after that, the castle started to rumble. Pieces of stone from above started to break away, only to crash down below. That's when Fenix started to run like hell.

Soon he felt relieved, after seeing patches of the starry night, peeked through the canal. 

Finally reaching the end; he's surprised by folks who are yelling top to bottom from a ship. 

Fenix couldn't believe there was a harbor hiding behind the castle all along.  Even though the ship was in bad shape, everybody was desperate enough to take the risk, considering there were only three ships. One had caught on fire, after being struck by lightning, and the other one had already set sail.

Boarding the ship, Fenix bumps into Argo, Sir Emmanuel, and his daughter, Elizabeth. She was weeping horribly while holding onto her father's legs, ever so tightly. 

"Don't go papa, don't leave me!" She cried. 


"It's papa's duty to serve the kingdom, whether it's standing or falling." He smiled warmly at her.

Then he glanced over to Fenix, "Here take these documents, they're require to travel inland from this outpost."

Fenix slumped Lyrist's against the ship's railing, before he took a gander at the documents. To him it looked like a ragged piece of cloth, stained with some ink and blood, since he doesn't know how to read very well. 

"Why...?" He started to ask.

Sir Emmanuel looked momentarily away at barrels being rolled by strong seamen, and chickens being rallied to captivity on the ship. Everyone was busy, the mast crawled with men repairing the ropes and sails.

Emmanuel slowly turned away, "I should have tried more to prevent all of this from happening." He sighed, "This is the only way I can redeem myself, but my daughter does not deserve the same fate as I."

Elizabeth tried chasing after him, but Fenix was quick enough to hold her back. 

Once Emmanuel had stepped off the ship, the plank had been removed.

 The big doors to the captain's quarters opened as a big, and proud figure emerged, out into the rain. The figure moved forward onto deck and into the moonlight. Immediately he took color in sharp black and red, fine garments than anyone else's on the ship. He glistened with details of gold and with skull symbols dominating the outfit.

The captain looked around, and as he did, he responded to his first mate. "Are we set for sail master Kensing?" He asked. 

Kensing bowed his head slightly, "Yes captain!" 

"Then let the message be heard all round' tat Zephyr!" The captain declared. 

Kensing acknowledged again and was already moving. "Ai captain"

------

The sun had arisen, men laughed and sing, while filling their guts with rum and ale. One especially drunk man with red hair, and an eye patch over his right eye, began dancing on one of the tables, singing a shanty of wanting to be a pirate, and sail the open seas. He was already a pirate, but that was beside the point. 

At times, the others would join into sing, sort of like a backup chorus. During the chorus, a small boy, was pulled away by an older lass, whose possibly as drunk as any other man on this ship. 

From the table, you could hear a much older, the larger man with a thick black beard. and rough exterior yell out, "She fancies you, lad!" He would then burst out with loud laughter, followed along by some of the others at his table, while the boy, who was probably the soberer of the bunch, had a very nervous look about him, as he began to dance awkwardly. 

Among this group gathered at the table were also a much taller man with a stern, yet, wise, face. He was only in his thirties, but just by looking in his eyes, one could tell he was wise beyond his years, even now as drunk as he was.

There was also one more at the table, Fenix; who appeared perfectly sober  and yet was putting away the rum with the best of them. He tried to resist the urge to smack Elizabeth upside the head while she annoyedly pulled at his arm. 

"Felix!" Elizabeth continuously whines. 

"My name is Fenix kid, not Felix, for the LAST time!" Fenix angrily snapped back., "I can't believe I got stuck babysitting this little rodent." 

"I wanna see the deck! Take me! Take me, me, me!  Please Phoenix, mister smelly, birdy - man!" Elizabeth cried louder.

"Fine!" Fenix finally gave in, "As long as you clamp that trap of yours shut!" 

---

The captain walked through the hallways of the lower deck of his ship, it was a magnificent thing, this ship. It was as if it had a spirit of its own, that guided him on the path of righteousness. Taking a deep calm breath, his mind began to wander. He had known no other life than the sea. No love, no relationships, not one single friend outside of the crew. 

Sighing, he reached out and touched the hull. "But it was worth it." He said quietly to himself and continued walking along the massive ship. It's very strong and heavily armed with cannons. It didn't take him long to walk around a corner to the observation deck, at the rear of the ship. From there he paused, only to look over at clouds. Shortly his glance is redirected to a small child, running about the deck, chasing after a wolf, followed by a slow paced man.

He turned to Fenix to ask, "She's quite the handful, isn't she?" 

"More than you'll ever know." Fenix sighed, right before swallowing down another gulp of rum, from the bottle, which he held tightly in one grasping hand. 

The captain scratched idly at his neatly trimmed beard, "Where's the mother? She on board?"

Fenix curiously watched a woman stumbled across the deck, on a wooden peg leg. Eventually, he gave a response, by saying, "She didn't make it." Then he offers the captain a drink, and he happily accepted.

---

Rolling over in his bunk bed, Lyrist listened to the seagulls, as they chirped, right outside the round window. Then he peered down, to look at Blazerine, lying in the bunk below his.

It's been four days already since they've embarked on a journey, out to the sea. And yet he hasn't heard Blazerine's voice, not even once; since the rescue.

Fenix basically has said, she might as well just be dead to the world. But he never needed to hear her speak verbally, for he could always hear what's going on inside of her mind. If there ever were a bad time to see through someone's eyes, it was now. She, herself felt defeated, broken, and guilt is washing all over her.

Slowly, he lowered himself from his bunk and landed beside hers. 

It wasn't very visible to the naked eye, but he could see that she's shaking in her gown, which he had managed to swap out from the cargo bay below.

Suddenly his head turned to the sound of the door opening.

"Any changes today?" Fenix asked, upon barging in.

Lyrist was about to answer, until he noticed the girl wasn't with him, "Where's Elizabeth?" He questioned him. 

Fenix closes the door while saying, "She's playing around with the captain and the mutt." 

Then he mentions, "I had an interesting conversation with him. He said the queen and a few of em other royalty types were on the other ship. It's a possibility, Leo could be too."

Lyrist's face hardened at the thought. "If that's true..." He said, "Even more humans will be aware of Blazerine's existence."

Fenix dropped himself into the lowest bunk on the opposite side of the wall. 

"That could be a problem." He sighed, "Most of the survivors on this ship haven't even spewed a single word about us. They're just glad to be alive. I'm betting the queen won't do the same."

"Do you have the slightest idea where we are heading?" Lyrist asked him. 

Fenix laid back with his arms folded over along the back of his head. Once he's comfortable enough, he replied, "Freyrgard, the queen is paying the crew for the safe arrival of her citizens."

Lyrist's eyes shift over to him, "I hope you're aware that we're going to have to get off the ship before we reach Freyrgard."

"Yah, yah I know." Fenix yawned quietly, "Maybe Leo will have the same idea."

"Don't get your hopes up too high." Lyrist tells him, "If Leon is alive... in the end, he chose to be faithful to the Templar hood. He may, in fact, be our enemy now." 


























© Tiffany Ann Adkins 2015 - 2019