Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 91,590,388 Issue: 174 | 21st day of Sleeping, Y7
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Change Of Tune: Part Four


by twirlsncurls5

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So when dusk settled over Krawk Island, Lana and I were aboard a pirate ship named Speedwell.

      "I can't believe you volunteered us to do this!" I said to Lana.

      "You heard the pirates Moonabi, unless we find some way to earn dubloons we'll be drying out on the sands of Krawk Island until doomsday," she moved Melody to her shoulder. "And unless you're the master of dubloon disaster, this is the best plan we've got."

      I sighed, knowing she was right. I looked over the stern and watched our little stolen sailboat drag weakly behind. Lana had insisted that it be tied to Speedwell so that we could sail away on it when we were the closest to Meridell and had earned the dubloons we'd needed to pay for supplies.

      "'Ey minstrels!" we heard the pirates call, "lets 'ear a song!"

      "You heard them," sighed Lana, "and the sooner they pay us, the sooner we get to Meridell."

      "Yeah, yeah," I said.

      We walked to the bow where I stood ready to play before on the most mangy, haggard and scruffy crew of sailors I'd ever seen. But maybe that was just the rich pet in me, and maybe that was the reason I decided to once again dawn my black sequinned mask.

     Regardless, I pulled out my violin, brought the bow across the strings, and played the nicest tune I could muster for such an unworthy audience.

     And yet they booed.

     I was completely unfamiliar with others being disgusted with my music. "Maybe they just didn't like the song," I thought and quickly switched to another. But the mutter of revolted pirates grew to a roar.

     "Bleugh! What is this?"

     "Whose 'e thinks he's playin' for? Queen Fyora?"

     "I say we toss 'im off the ship!"

     To this comment the entire crew rose in agreement. I could hear the ching of rusted swords being drawn from holsters.

      "Lana," I hissed as all the pirates came towards me, "I could use a little help right now!"

      "Well, you know how I told you that fiddler was a cheap street performer and a pathetic waste?" she said.

      I backed farther toward the edge of the bow. "Yes…"

      "Well, forget it."

      "But I don't think I even know how to fiddle!"

      Lana looked over at the pirates who were slowly closing me in like a pack of wolves. "Then I sure hope you know how to swim."

      I was at the very edge of the boat, with nowhere to go but down.

      Desperately I tried to think back to Bell's birthday party, and the worn old Aisha whom despite age played with vigor. In my head I could remember the fingerings, the measures he moved to, which notes to blur the strings. I closed my eyes and tried to match my playing to my memory.

      And then something happened.

      All the angry clanging and shouting stopped. Everything was silent.

      The pirates applauded.

     Even after hearing the whoops and cheers, the sound of feet stomping and dancing, I still didn't open my eyes.

     We played well into the night, with Lana's singing earning her praise from the pirates and me as well. When she'd told me to follow her lead I just nodded unsurely until she began to sing:

     Take ye' yer battles

     N' fiery brigades

     I'd trade 'em fer seadogs

     Any ole' day

     An' have ye' yer warm beds

     To rest on yer soft heads

     Just give me the ocean

     The sweet lady ocean

     An' I'll have a notion

     For not a thing else

     Ye can soak me in white squalls

     Or slap me with wet pfish

     I'd still take the ocean

     As my only wish

     Just give me the ocean

     The sweet lady ocean

     And I'll have a notion

     For not a thing else…

     The pirates had hooted and yelled, soon joining in and clinking their glasses in good cheer. They threw dubloons and yelled for more verses even after Lana couldn't think of any more.

     We stopped only after most of the pirates had stuffed themselves with food and fallen asleep, strewn all over the deck. They almost looked helpless…well…not really. It was then that the pirate uni and mynci we had talked to much earlier motioned us over.

     "I bet you two're hungry," said the uni, handing us a leg of grackle-stuffed turkey. I realized then that I really was starving. As I ate like a wild animal the uni said, "I don't thinks I intr'duced meself," he said, "I'm first mate Robbins, n' this 'ere is Peter." The mynci nodded. Lana and I introduced ourselves.

     "Y'see," said Robbins, "we pirates aren't such a bad folk after all! We love our music and dancin' just as much as the next man," then looked at Lana, "'er women."

     Peter nodded, "Ay, and Robbins'll always tell ye' that if ye' ever want yer crew merry as mirgle, ye'll always get a good minstrel to play a happy tune the night b'fore a raid!" He slapped me hard on the back and I choked on my turkey a little bit.

     "Well," sighed Lana, standing up from the table, "I thank you gentlemen for your kind meal and generous dubloons, but my masked friend and I really ought to be on our way to Meridell."

     The two pirates protested with groans. "Aww, just stay till mornin' at least," said Robbins.

     "Oh no, we really should be going," Lana insisted. The pirates continued insisting that we stay. I smiled as I looked off the port side; pirates really weren't so bad after all. But then I saw something moving towards us, like a huge ghostly shadow gliding across the ocean, its features unclear in the darkness.

     Whissssh!

     A cannonball flew past my head and crashed into the deck. Suddenly the entire crew was alive.

     "Get the captain," said Robbins to Peter as he ran to go ring the bell. "Fire off the port side!" he yelled, "all hands to the cannons!"

     BLAST!

     Cannon fire lit the night and gunpowder hung in the air like fog.

     I grabbed my violin and a lantern. "We have to get out of here!" I said.

     Lana agreed and we both ran towards the stern through screaming men and firing weapons. I looked down and our little sailboat seemed very far away. "We have to climb down," I said grabbing the rope that held our boat to Speedwell. I counted to three and leapt over the side of the ship, swinging down the robe like a mynci on a vine. But by the time I'd neared our boat my momentum was too great and I flipped over the bow. The sound of shattering glass followed close behind as the lantern I'd been holding broke.

     Where was Lana? I heard splashing and sharp wistling and looked over the side of the boat to see her flailing around in the dark water with her beekadoodle flying around above her. "Help me Moonabi!" she gurgled. I lunged over the side and grabbed onto her hands. I pulled her up and we fell back onto the deck with Lana soaking wet. Melody was still whistling loudly.

     "Moonabi, the lantern!" Lana cried and I turned to see the brown tarp aflame.

     "Oh no," I whispered, "the fireworks." The tarp sizzled.

     "Get down!" I screamed, grabbing Lana and jumping back into the water.

     The fireworks exploded into the night and flew into the air.

     BOOM!

     A group of them went off and flew right towards the other pirate ship!

     The fireworks crashed into its big dark side and went off in a burst of reds and blues and greens. I could hear the screams of surprise and defeat from where we floated

     Speedwell's crew however, screamed in joy.

     -----------------

      Once again we stood aboard the pirate ship, facing the same grubby crew. A pirate Wocky stood before us, looking us over with his one eye.

      "You," he said to me, "masked Zafara."

      I stepped forward towards the Wocky's wary glare.

     I untied my mask.

     The pirate's suspicious glare melted away to a beaming black toothed smile and he put an arm around me as if he'd known me his whole life. Then we turned to face the crew.

     "I thank ye' lad," he said in a booming, commanding voice that only a captain could have, "'fer savin' our ship from the rotted Nereid's Song. That'll teach any buch o' raid stoppin' scallywags from ever tryin' to sink lady Speedwell and her mighty crew!"

     All the pirates aboard responded with a roar of approval, swords waving in the air. The captain continued.

     "Even though we pirates be a dishonest, stealin' lot-"

     "Don't forget crooked!" interjected a crew member.

     "Ay, Ay to that!"

     "-and crooked," added the captain with a smile, "we always return a favor fer a favor." He looked at me and Lana. "So," he grinned again, "what'll it be?"

     I glanced at Lana and the shiny new flute she'd gotten from a sack of loot the pirates still had on board. I looked over the side of Speedwell to where our stolen sailboat now floated along as mere rubble from the fireworks incident and then back down at my violin. What other favor could I have asked for?

     "Captain Scarlet," I said, "sail us to Meridell."

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Change of Tune: Part One
» Change of Tune: Part Two
» Change Of Tune: Part Three
» Change of Tune: Part Five



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