|The attack by Captain Scarblade on Maraqua was finally quashed and peace had settled once again to New Maraqua. It was a hard defence against the notorious Captain but with the mysterious foreseeing powers of two sisters, Isca and Caylis, Maraqua’s luck turned for the better and victory was won. King Kelpbeard had since sent out royal edicts to both Isca and Caylis warmly inviting them back to the kingdom with honour after their efforts in stopping the invasion but the sisters were uncertain. After all, Caylis was shamed and exiled not so long ago and Isca almost lost the trust of the King forever.
“Isca, if Kelpbeard really wanted us to be there in the first place, he wouldn’t have cast us out like that,” Caylis said as she held the edict scroll in disbelief.
To be fair, you were the one outcasted,” Isca pointed out. “I was only misunderstood.”
Caylis shot Isca an icy look. “What, so you’re going back just like that?”
She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She had been forced into cold, hard exile by the King after much pressure from the common citizens of Maraquan for months now. With the growing mistrust the King had for Isca, she had thought her sister would finally join her. They had been discussing the possibility of moving somewhere away from here together once they saved Maraqua from the sudden attack. In fact, Caylis only agreed to help because Isca begged her to. Isca had always been loyal to the king and the kingdom and Caylis was too – once.
Date: Jun 15th
"We can't live like this forever sister, alone in exile. I'm lonely… I miss being in the city." Isca looked down sheepishly, afraid of her sister's reaction. "The King wants to express his gratitude and if he's willing to put this all behind him, why can't we?"
"He exiled me from the city to prevent further protests without even hearing me out." Caylis fumed. "I may have had trouble harnessing my nightmares back then, but I wasn't a danger to anyone."
"You don't have to tell me Caylis, I know you better than anyone." Isca smiled at her sister, trying to brighten her mood. She grabbed the scroll and studied it. "Listen, the King mentions a celebratory feast tomorrow night at the castle. I think we should go to make amends, enjoy the night, and then we can leave in the morning. We'll come back here, pack up, and move somewhere new to start over. Just like you wanted. Let's just go somewhere I can make new friends, please!"
"Do you promise?" Caylis' eyes shimmered in the moonlight, full of hope. There wasn't anyone in the whole world that she trusted more than her sister Isca. However, Caylis knew that their presence at this feast would be controversial. Many of the citizens still didn't trust her and refused to acknowledge her hand in defeating Captain Scarblade and his pirate crew, even with the Kings endorsement. They would need to be very careful.
"Yes, I promise. I just want you to be happy. And don't worry, this is a very public event and security will be tight. We'll be very safe there; the King has personally assured our safety." Isca smiled again, reassuringly.
Caylis let out a deep sigh. "Okay I'll go, but no matter what happens we're out of here tomorrow. Did you see anything of concern in your dreams last night?"
"Nothing at all, we should be in the clear."
And so, the sisters began their trip to the City of New Maraqua. At a comfortable pace, they should arrive just in time for the feast to begin. After a few hours out in the open sea, a dark mass began descending from above…
"What… is that? Caylis, do you see that?" Isca muttered, her voice cracking slightly.
Caylis squinted into the blackness and said… "That's The Revenge, and it's headed straight for us."
Date: Jun 16th
“We have to hide!” Caylis grabbed her sister’s hand and swam towards the nearest cave as fast as she could. Beads of sweat dripped along Caylis’ forehead. They could only hide here for so long until the ship would make its way into the deeper waters where they were hiding. Caylis felt her sister’s hand trembling. She turned around to see tears rolling down Isca’s face.
“Come on, don’t be scared,” Caylis said and squeezed her sister’s hand. “We’ll make it through this.”
“We’re all alone here with no reinforcements. And there's no way we can escape in time.”
“Don't forget,” Caylis started softly, “I’ve been living out here in exile for a long time. No one knows the Outer Waters of Maraqua better than I do. Listen, we’re not far from the First Gates of Maraqua. They’re the first line of defence to protect the city. We have to warn the guards outside the Gates. No time to waste.”
Isca watched as her sister swam to the opening of the cave. She always admired Caylis for her braveness. Being alone in the Outer Waters must have been so hard, so lonely. Yet, her sister’s spirit never broke. She never thought of giving up, and never hesitated to help Isca when she asked for help.
“You go first.”
The words resonated within Isca’s ears. She could feel the pounding of her heart. “What?”
“They’re too close already. If we both go now, we’re going to get captured. You have to go back to Maraqua as fast as you can.” Caylis turned around only to see one of Isca’s tears dripping to the ground again. Caylis turned the corners of her mouth slightly upwards in an attempt to comfort her sister.
“You don’t have to worry about me. Keep swimming until you see a huge Dazzling Blue Mussel Shell. Turn right when you see it, and you’ll arrive at the First Gates of Maraqua.”
Date: Jun 17th
Caylis watched as Isca swam away. As fast a swimmer her sister is, Caylis knew The Revenge was faster. If she didn’t do something, it would reach her sister quickly. What Caylis needed was a distraction. She took a deep breath, then swam straight towards The Revenge.
When Caylis reached the ship, she surfaced.
“Yo, you there!” Caylis called out to an intimating looking Skeith patrolling the deck. He looked at her, shocked.
“Yes, you. I need to talk to your Captain and make it snappy! I have something important to tell him.”
The Skeith continued to stare at her, claw on his cutlass. He furrowed his brow and appeared deep in thought. No one had ever approached The Revenge, let alone asked for the fearsome Captain Scarblade!
“Don’t think too hard you might hurt yourself!” Said Caylis mockingly. Although she was terrified of the pirates, she knew she had to put on a brave face. If they sensed her fear, it would be over for her.
Sure enough, the Skeith scowled but disappeared from the deck. Within minutes, she heard “Ah Captain no! I am just the messenger! Don’t throw me over! AHHHHH!” Followed by a splash.
She heard the sound of stamping over creaking wood, and then, glaring down at her from the deck, was none other than Captain Scarblade.
“Arg, who is interrupting my ‘me’ time arg!” He growled.
“Captain! I have some information that you may find most interesting…” Caylis stated boldly, successfully keeping the fear out of her voice…
How will this story end?
Date: Jun 19th
...even if she couldn't keep her heart from thudding in her chest. She worried Scarblade might hear, up on the deck of his ship, and she had only half-thought through her plan.
"You!" Scarblade said, drawing the sabre from its sheath at his belt and brandishing it at her. "I remember you!"
Caylis forced herself to smile, a wry, secretive smile, the kind the pirate captain would find intriguing enough to hear her out. "But do you know me?" Caylis asked. She channelled who the people of Maraqua thought her to be, dark and cursed and magical, leaned into all the whispers she'd heard about herself--but not too far, lest the darkness truly take her.
That, as she had intended, gave Scarblade pause.
"I'm more like you than you think," Caylis said. "Enough like you to know the kinds of bargains you like to make."
"The only bargains I be makin' 'r' for you to give me all yer loot!" Scarblade bellowed. "And maybe then you can keep yer head!"
Caylis shook her head. "Not my loot," she said. She had to think fast...faster! Where could she send him? Where would he look long enough to forget that it was she who had led him astray? If he turned his wrath on Maraqua again on her account....
She was taking too long. Scarblade would see through her rouse. As ill-spoken as he was, he was clever. Too clever. Caylis opened her mouth, started forcing words out, and as she did, it came to her. A memory, half-formed, of something she'd seen glimmering in the deeps while she was in exile.
"I know where the Jewels of the Deep are," she said. She couldn't entirely be sure. Choker, anklet, necklace, earring. A tiara fit for a princess, a coronet for a queen. The colours were right. And the way they had shimmered in the waves. She'd been so blinded by fury that she hadn't paid any attention to them, but now she searched back, trying to remember where she had seen them. "I will tell you, if you swear to leave Maraqua alone."
Scarblade looked down at her, still brandishing his sword. The distance between them offered no real protection and Caylis' heart thudded harder than ever against her ribs.
"We have a deal!"
She described the route of her wanderings to the pirate captain, described the mouth of the underwater cavern she'd sheltered in, the stone beneath which the jewels were hidden, then she watched the Revenge turn toward the open waters between Maraqua and Krawk Island. There was no guarantee he wouldn't come back. He was a pirate, after all. But at least her long exile had earned her something--a way to bargain for Maraqua's safety. For Isca's safety.
Caylis rescued the floundering Skeith and swam toward her sister. Yes, she was going back to Maraqua. She deserved to be there, after what happened today, after what happened before. They both did.
Date: Jun 22nd