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Fulfilling Illusen's Quest: Part Two

by grapesourhorse


Raerrgarn found his back against the wall. "What does that mean?" he snapped, a gleam of defiance shining in his eyes.

      Jannick took a deep breath and leaned toward him, until his golden eyes were facing her glowing amber eyes. "That contract you signed," she breathed softly, "was cursed. You are doomed to stay on 'Jhudora's' forever. And it makes you immortal."

      Raerrgarn leapt back quickly. "Oh yes," answered Jannick quietly. "I am not lying. We all could've died a million years ago. Storm. Sea monster. Capsize. But we lived: because of that contract. And Lief will never rip up your contract. Ever."

      Raerrgarn tried to run, but Jannick's eyes gripped him tight and her eyes bored into his. "Don't drink any grog!" she hissed. "Don't! It gives you an illusion…that you're on the best place in the world and you are perfectly content…stay away from it at all costs!"

      The feverish light seemed to dim from the Lupe's eyes, and she sighed. "You might as well take a mop," she pointed out.

      Raerrgarn took a mop and the two began deck swabbing.

      "You're Raerrgarn, correct?" she asked.

      "Yes," the bewildered Lupe answered, blinking. "How did you know?"

      "Part of that little curse," sighed Jannick, placing down the mop. "I might as well show you around 'Jhudora's.'"

      "This is the kitchens," said Jannick, swinging open double doors. Raerrgarn choked and wrinkled his nose as the strong scent of grog came wafting up his nose. "Remember…" reminded Jannick warningly.

      Raerrgarn nodded and the two stepped out of the kitchens past unconscious sailors.

      "Here are the cabins," Jannick continued. "You'll be bunking with me. I called tops," she added, with a cheesy grin.

      After Jannick had showed Raerrgarn and taught her mostly everything she could in a few minutes, Lief shouted to set sail.

      Raerrgarn sighed. He was a pirate forever now.


       They had been on the verge of entering Maraquan Waters for days, now. Raerrgarn found Jannick pleasant company when she wasn't warning him about the 'curse'.

      The two were talking about stars when out came a Pirate Kougra, muzzle dripping from what suspiciously looked like grog.

      "Who is that?" exclaimed Raerrgarn softly. The Kougra looked as if he had many sleepless nights and cared for nothing but grog.

     "Fo shizzle the main mast!" roared the Kougra, staggering from side to side perilously.

      "You heard the captain," snickered Lief, changing his laugh into a hacking cough. "Fo shizzle that main mast!"

      Raerrgarn was confused. In the various nautical books he had read, this command didn't sound the least bit familiar. The 'fo shizzle' part was, though. He remembered Chomby and the Fungus Balls saying that in their concert.

      "Captain Sourge," answered Jannick with disgust. "Captain Sourge spends far more time consuming grog in his cabin than paying attention to his ship. It's Lief who really runs 'Jhudora's.'"

      Raerrgarn nodded. It made sense.

     The Kougra squinted up at the towering Krawk, perilously tipping back and forth. "Who are you, and why are you being my echo and repeating my orders?" he asked with a loud and very disturbing belch.

      "I'm your first mate, captain. You appointed me yourself."

      The captain seemed confused and scratched his head. Well, he tried, because as soon as his paw left the ground, he tipped over unsteadily and sprawled across the deck, where he lay, winded. "What's a first mate?" he asked, still lying on the ground.

      Lief hid a chuckle. "The person you tell all your orders too. And then I tell them to the crew."

      Raerrgarn nodded, grinning. His smile slid off his face as Sourge tottered toward him, leering. "What are you grinning at, you lazy good-for-nothing-Lupe!" the Kougra roared, beady eyes glaring at him, piercing him with strange acuteness.

      "Umm…nothing Captain," stammered Raerrgarn.

      Sourge staggered closer to him. "That's right, you lazy Lupe, you better not be smiling at anything!" he bellowed. He turned back to Lief, blinked, and said: "I need some grog."

      "Perhaps the Captain would like to go into the kitchens?" Lief suggested, turning red with the effort to not laugh.

     "I don't need you telling me what to do!" roared the captain, swaggering about. "I don't need some good for nothing first mate telling me what to do!" he repeated.

      "Yes, sir!" answered Lief, straightening up. After all, Sourge was reputed to have a horrible temper.

      The two stood in silence for a while, until Sourge announced: "I'm going to go into the kitchens," and slunk unsteadily off.

      As soon as the crew heard the double doors of the kitchen closing, they roared with laughter.

      The two pirates Raerrgarn had seen wrestling yesterday were slapping each other on the back like friends.

      "That's Sourge for you," mumbled Jannick in between her bouts of laughter. Her eyes were merry, and her mane rippled through the wind.

      Raerrgarn chuckled and continued to mop up the deck.


     "Raerrgarn, Raerrgarn, wake up NOW! You HAVE to see this!" exclaimed a familiar voice.

      Raerrgarn blinked sleepily and saw the anxious and excited face of Jannick towering over him.

      "Wh-what?" he asked, hiding a massive yawn.

      "Sourge and Lief have captured a Maraquan Aisha! Come, quickly!"

      Raerrgarn was out of bed and out onto the deck so fast that Jannick blinked and wondered why Raerrgarn had suddenly vanished from his bed.

      The two Lupes crowded behind the other pirates and gasped in unison.

      The Aisha's scales were a delicate aquamarine blue, and she was slim and graceful. She would've been extraordinarily beautiful if her head wasn't slumped to one side and her face was weary and exhausted. Her eyes begged to be free, but her mouth stayed unmoving.

      Sourge and Lief laughed in unison and poked the poor Aisha. Jannick and Raerrgarn stared in horrified fascination until Sourge, Lief, and the crew grew bored. They left her, and then the two Lupes rushed to her side.

      Jannick lifted the Aisha's head onto her lap and Raerrgarn tried to wake her up. "Speak up!" he said boldly. "Who are you? Why are you here?"

      He felt a tendril of thought touch his conscience, and he recoiled. Was she magic?

      'Relax,' said the thought. 'The only way I can speak to you is through my mind. That Pirate Kougra and Krawk captured me. Will you let me free?'

      Jannick appeared to be hearing the same thing. When she spoke through her mind, both Raerrgarn and the Aisha heard it.

      'We cannot,' she said regretfully. 'We are pirates as well, under his curse. We must leave you now.'

      'Wait!' exclaimed the frantic Aisha. She lashed her tail in frustration on the floor, but Jannick and Raerrgarn were already gone.

      "Do you think we did the right thing, leaving her there?" asked Jannick worriedly. "I mean, anything could happen to her."

      "I don't know," answered Raerrgarn, for he too, was concerned about the welfare about the Aisha.

      The two Lupes turned back and immediately swore simultaneously.

      "Fyora!" spat Raerrgarn, while Jannick uttered a harsher word. The Aisha was gone.

      "We've freed her," Raerrgarn said with astonishment. "Look at the rope markings here. Our legs were caught in the rope, but we yanked our paws away and at the same time cut the rope. She's gone."

      "Jhudora and Fyora, we are dead!" hissed Jannick, looking around frantically.

      The two hurried into their cabins, hoping no one had noticed.



      Cold, lashing rain and whipping wind blew raw across bare flesh. The night raged above them with clashing colors of lightning and the roaring of thunder in the dark.

      "FULL SAIL, CREW! MOVE IT!" screamed the desperate voice of a Pirate Kougra, rearing on his hind legs and bellowing to the darkness.

      It was Sourge: for once in his life, in control.

      "Rocks ahead, captain!" shrieked a voice from the left.

      "WE'VE SAILED INTO ROCKS?!" screeched Sourge angrily, eyes squinting frantically into the dimness, looking for proof.

      But there was no answer needed, nor proof. The needle sharp rocks were in clear sight, points glistening treacherously in the dark night sky.

      "TURN HER!" shouted Lief to Raerrgarn. "TURN HER!!"

      Raerrgarn was flustered. He didn't know how to command a pirate ship! "I-I-but I-Sourge-I-I CAN'T, I don't know-"

     "You 'eard the 'aptain, turn 'er!" bellowed Lief, staggering against the blowing of the wind. For once, he wasn't menacing, or frightening, or threatening. For one single second, every single one of them on "Jhudora's" was equal: they were all afraid.

      "BRACE YOURSELF!" screeched Sourge and Lief simultaneously, crouching onto the deck of "Jhudora's."

      "Jhudora's" sailed full sail into needle sharp rocks. It tipped straight forward, tossing the crew deep into the unforgiving waters of the sea.

      All except Raerrgarn and Jannick, who were desperately scrabbling at the completely upturned ship. The wind blew and dunked the entire vessel underwater, Raerrgarn and Jannick with her.

      Raerrgarn flailed, eyes wide open, under the freezing water. He scrabbled with his hind paws to free his long claws from the deck and swam strongly toward the surface of the water. He could feel Jannick desperately clawing at the waves behind him.

      "JANNICK?" he screamed, limbs flailing through the ever-tossing waters, trying to find a stray piece of driftwood before he went completely under. "RAERRGARN!" Jannick shouted.

To be continued...

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» Fulfilling Illusen's Quest: Part One
» Fulfilling Illusen's Quest: Part Three

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