A Thousand Words
If I were to vanish tomorrow, to leave without a trace,
would you remember my name?
Drifters and loners by nature. Unbound by homes or
families, they wander without a destination or an ultimate purpose. They have
no responsibilities. It is a liberating life.
It is also paralyzing lonely.
The green Scorchio leaned over the ship’s port side.
The sea glittered and danced for miles and miles, an omnipresent entity. A pirate
lives and dies by the whim of the winds and the waters. To him, it is his ticket
away from the laws and constraints of the land. He is forever in awe of the
power of the sea.
This Scorchio was no different. He felt like a verdant
speck, lost in the great expanse of the world.
He hadn’t always been like this. He used to be a landlubber
with a family and a home. Many happy years he spent on that shoreline, racing
the wind, his breaths coming in sharp tongues of flame and bursts of smoke.
His brother, a Peophin, racing the waters, churning the waves with great strokes
of his powerful tail. His sisters leaped and spun in the air, dancing over the
thermals created by the water.
No… These memories were not his. There was another
Scorchio, long ago. One with a different name. A name that was devoured by the
The dream isn’t over yet, though I often say I
can forget. I still relive that day…
The ghost of that day, nameless and silent. It had
haunted him since his departure from home, well over a year ago. The ghost of
a war, of arrows whistling through Meridell’s fields. The shadow of a Citadel,
the looming shadow of vengeance. The starless, moonless night which had closed
in on his older sister.
But his younger sister, the songstress, was still
living in downtown Neopia Central. Singing at night clubs and scraping a living
off her talents. Her name, too, had been lost. Her sea was her sorrow. “Angel,”
they now called her, because her eyes were like those of an angel.
The Scorchio’s ship would be docking in Neopia Central’s
uptown docks. With any luck, he would be able to avoid her.
He was too ashamed to face her. Over a year ago, he
had abandoned her in the Meridell countryside and forced her to fend for herself
in a land torn by war.
The sea is completely impersonal. It has no sympathy
for the tiny emotions of a speck on the waves. With a roaring heave, it tossed
his toy-like vessel into an anchored galleon near the shore.
“She’s taking in water!”
There was a flash of sunlight reflecting off brass.
The Scorchio wasn’t even aware that the telescope had hit him. He was only aware
of falling off the edge of the ship, cold water closing over his head. The wavelets
played with the sunlight that fell from the sky in gentle drops. Like a golden
butterfly, it curled and flitted above his head, just beyond arm’s reach.
He felt like he could catch it.
He reached upwards…
A blue paw reached down.
His name. It broke through the impersonal beauty of
the sea and seized him. It dragged him out of the waters and forced foul seawater
out of his lungs. The Scorchio, dazed by his blow to the head, hadn’t been able
Now, he lay on the dock, at the hem of a gown of pristine
He looked up to see an Eyrie as blue as the seawater,
glittering in her pearl-like dress. The sun was directly behind her head, wrapping
its warm corona around her face like gauze and shielding it from view.
Wild thoughts dashed through Emerald’s still-dazed
mind. Where was he? Who was this beauty? Only one word escaped his lips. “Angel?”
A tear fell to the dock, at the ground between the
Eyrie and Scorchio. The Eyrie had long been dreaming about this day. She had
so many words prepared for her brother. Sad words, angry words, forgiving words,
happy words. A thousand words, all at this moment drowned by the impersonal
roar of the sea.
“Emerald, do you remember me?”
“We met in… another life. A past life.”
“It was really that long ago for you?” Though she
said it as a question, she meant it as a statement. “How much have you forgotten?”
Wearily, the Scorchio pulled himself to his feet.
Now, he was able to look at the Eyrie in the eyes. Eyes that used to glitter
like gems. “A blue jewel, a sad jewel. You don’t choose to remember, as our
brother Amethyst has. You cannot forget as easily as Ridergirl or I. You are
trapped here with your memories.”
“These memories, though painful, are a part of me.
I’ve grown stronger because of them. I have changed. I cannot judge whether
these changes have improved me.”
“I’ve changed too. It was not my memories that changed
me, but the act of erasing them. There’s this hole in my past that I can’t seem
to fill. I’m not any stronger than I used to be…”
“What do you remember?”
Emerald turned his eyes towards the glittering waves.
He couldn’t look at his sister’s innocent eyes. Those sad eyes, like deep blue
gems. “I failed you, Sapphire.”
Her real name had been Sapphire. Like a buried pirate’s
treasure, it was lifted from the waves and polished to shine in the sun.
Her eyes were sapphires. Beautiful and precious, tangible
and real. Angel had been made half-ghost, half-legend by her stories of pain
and her voice like a songbird. Sapphire was solid. She was more than just a
blue speck on the waves. Her laughter mattered more than Angel’s song.
And a thousand words call out through the ages…
“You failed me? Is that why you couldn’t come back?”
She laughed. “Who’d have known that you were capable of feeling such guilt,
Emerald laughed too. Because now, he remembered what
Sapphire’s laughter sounded like.
“You always were causing trouble for yourself and
everyone around you,” Sapphire admonished playfully. “Remember when you used
to put Cobralls in the teachers’ desks?”
“Classic, but not overrated by any means,” Emerald
said with a grin.
“Do you remember the days when we would stop by the
ice cream shop and borrow some of his popsicles?”
“He was becoming too greedy, charging 800 neopoints
for a popsicle.”
“You brought him down a peg or two. You never felt
“He wasn’t family.”
There was an awkward pause.
“You say that I shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving
you, but… you don’t remember who you were back then,” Emerald said softly. “So
alone, so vulnerable…”
“I cried so easily.”
“You were very much the baby of the family. You put
your trust and your life in our hands completely. Rider would always ask us
to keep an eye on you and protect you. It’s a bit off, looking back on it. You
had the power of song-magic. You could have easily looked after yourself.”
Sapphire shook her head. “I did need you. You’re right.
You were the world to me. You were so important.” She paused. “I want you to
be important to me again.”
A pirate Poogle hobbled up to Emerald. “Matey, we
be commandeerin’ that galleon we crashed into. We be ready to set sail again.”
He hobbled away.
“If you leave the pirates,” Sapphire whispered, “the
sea will only be losing another lawless speck on the waves. But if you leave
me, I’ll be losing my world all over again.”
In Emerald’s mind, the dam of forgetfulness burst,
flood waters of regret pouring into the holes in his past. His memory was becoming
In a last-ditch attempt to find her family, Rider
had tried to contact him. He had hidden from her like a scared child.
But now I’m strong enough to know it’s not too
A thousand words, he had wanted to say to her. A thousand
words could not express his regret.
“I don’t know how well I’ll adapt to civilized life,”
he said with a smile. “Especially your world of multiple forks.”
“We hardly have multiple forks,” Sapphire said, laughing
again. And Emerald realized that if he left, he would miss that laugh the most.
The sea would no longer swallow his memories or his
He would become stronger than that.