Storm at Sea: Part Two
On Pirate’s Horn, Lady Vengeance cackled as the storms pent up by the spell started to spread. Vast amounts of destruction would accompany the first wave alone, and the rains wouldn’t let up. The spell had pent up enough energy to keep the storm going for years. Not that they would need that long. Soft-hearted Fyora would see the chaos and do the only thing she could do to save her people – hand over Faerieland and the powers of the Crown.
Others were less thrilled with the whole situation. The Queen of the Seas was almost at the edge of the huge black cloudbank. The waves were high and the wind was strong. Mayrie clung to the mast with all of her might, keeping her eyes squeezed shut.
Jaykob wished he could do the same, but he had his duties as the captain. He touched his twin’s shoulder, trying to reassure her. “We’ll come through, Mayrie. We always do.”
She nodded without opening her eyes, so she wouldn’t have to look at the horrible, threatening, thunderheads. Jaykob ran to the tiller and Zane. “Zane, are you ready? A lot depends on you.”
“I’m fine, Cappy – just don’t mess up my concentration.” Jaykob didn’t like being called “Cappy,” but he wasn’t about to argue with someone a lot bigger than he was. Zane focused intently on the wood under his hands and the sea around the ship. The massive shadow Lupe knew that the survival of the Queen could depend on his skills as a helmsman. Fate was cruel. One eighteen-year-old boy was responsible for the lives of five others. Zane stopped thinking about that very quickly. He couldn’t worry – he had to concentrate!
They could see the rain pelting the water ahead. Suddenly, a huge wave rose in front of them and crashed over the deck. Jaykob yelled, “Here it is! Hold on tight, everybody!”
The brown Kyrii grabbed the mast like his sister, keeping an eye out for anything he could do. Mayrie was shaking and sobbing.
“Mayrie, we’ll be fine. You need to be calm. We will be fine.” It didn’t sound very convincing when he had to shout to be heard over the roar of the wind, rain, and sea. Then, another giant wave rose up, practically throwing the Queen into the air. Mayrie shrieked as the ship hit the sea with a jolt. When the ship tossed again, Jaykob noticed a glowing green blur fly across the deck.
“ALEC!” he yelled. A blue-and-yellow streak followed the glowing Grundo, and Calder caught him just as he cleared the rail. The younger boy said, beaming, “Thanks, Cal!”
The starry Eyrie said only, “Don’t call me Cal.”
Vivian ran out of the cabin. The Ixi sorceress cried, “I scryed a close island where we can wait this out! It’s a little hunk of rock with some trees and a stream – it looked uninhabited. It’s north of our position now – Zane, due north for shelter!”
“It’s practically all I can do to keep us afloat, but I’ll try!”
There were several more close calls, but they eventually managed to land the ship in a sheltered cove on the little island. Calder and Zane scouted it out – it really was a little hunk of rock. It was, indeed, deserted. Meanwhile, the other four set up a shelter from spare boards and sailcloth. Mayrie and Alec started a fire and tried to dry out some of their soaked clothes and supplies. The Kyrii girl was thankful to be on dry land, where she could keep herself busy and her mind off the thunder and lightning. Vivian was using the galley fire to make dinner. And the storm didn’t once start to let up. Jaykob looked out the galley porthole at the raging sea. “Viv, any sign of the edge of this?”
She looked at him, troubled. “No – that’s the problem. It’s not moving so much as it’s growing. The clouds just keep spreading. They aren’t moving over and leaving anywhere. This isn’t normal, Jaykob. I’m afraid that there’s magic behind this storm. And if there is, that means there’s an immensely powerful sorcerer, sorceress, or Faerie who means nothing but ill for Neopia.
Later, Jaykob, Zane, Calder, Vivian, and Alec sat down to dinner. Vivian asked, “Where’s Mayrie?”
Zane told her, “She went for a walk.”
Jaykob frowned. “Is it safe for her to be out?”
The huge Lupe assured him, “Relax, Cappy. We’re the only people on this rock. She’ll be fine if she stays out of the water, and even Mayrie’s not absentminded enough to go wading in weather like this.”
Just then, Mayrie burst in, dripping wet, her brown eyes alight with excitement. She said happily, “Look what I found!”
She held out a bottle in both hands. They had never seen one of these this close, but they all knew what it was – a bottled Faerie. The little form inside glowed red – a Fire Faerie. Calder said, “Wrap that up safe – those are worth thousands in the big cities.”
Mayrie asked indignantly, “How can you even think that? There’s a person in there!”
“I’m thinking about people. I’m thinking about us six mortals, who can’t live off air and magic the way Faeries do.”
Mayrie looked at the bottled Faerie with tears in her eyes. “But she’s trapped in there. How horrible would that feel - a creature of the air unable to stretch her wings?”
Zane groaned and rested his head on the table. “She’s going to let the Faerie free, Calder. Just not in here. I’ve finally gotten dry, and if she sets the ship on fire, we’ll be out in the rain.”
Mayrie went to the canvas shelter – she wasn’t sure if rain was harmful to Fire Faeries. Vivian went with her, and after a few moments Jaykob followed.
The remaining three looked at each other. Alec said, “You know we’ll miss something important.”
Calder grumbled, “Yeah, dinner.”
But they followed their friends outside.
All six of them were huddled under the canvas shelter. Mayrie gripped the bottle’s cork and pulled it out.
A roaring pillar of fire shot out of the bottle’s mouth, causing the six friends to jump back. It punched a hole in the canvas, and the rain started to pour in, but they were focused on the figure forming from the flames.
The Faerie was tall – even taller than Zane. Long red hair was the color of the fire she had come from, and her eyes matched the embers of their shelter. She looked up at the sky and said sorrowfully, “It has started, then.”
Jaykob asked, remembering what Vivian had told him, “What’s started?”
Vivian said, “Let’s go inside to hear the story – this tent is history.”
They went back to their dinners, and the Faerie started to tell her tale. “I am Embyrr. I was sent to investigate a strange gathering of magic on a small island – no, not here!” she added, noticing looks of alarm. “I discovered a group of Dark Faeries. Unfortunately, they discovered me, as well. They trapped me in a bottle, and threw it into the sea. I assume that they hoped I would perish.”
Vivian asked, “So this storm is the work of the Dark Faeries?”
“Yes, I am afraid.”
Another faerie winged through the pouring rain, centuries of flying experience helping her to navigate the blasting winds. She was an Earth Faerie. Her chestnut hair was tied back in a braid, but a few escaped strands whipped in her face. She scanned the sea below with emerald-green eyes, looking for a sign of Faerie magic.
There! A faint glimmer, caused by a Faerie’s magic. It came from a ship moored on the island below – one of the unnamed ones. She dived toward her target, relieved that her exhausting journey might be over.
The crew of the Queen had just finished telling Embyrr their story when there was a knock on the cabin door, followed by a call. “I am looking for Embyrr the Fire Faerie!”
Jaykob warned, “Let’s all go up – be ready for a fight. Zane, you said the island was deserted!”
But Embyrr exclaimed, “I know that voice – that sounds like my mentor, Ivy!”
She called, “Ivy?”
The person outside replied, sounding irritated, “Embyrr – let me in! I’m half-dead from flying through this mess.”
Embyrr muttered, “Cantankerous as usual – definitely Ivy.”
She flung open the door and embraced the dripping Earth Faerie outside.
Ivy asked, “What happened to you? What are you doing here?”
“Ivy, there were Dark Faeries on Pirate’s Horn. Your old enemy, Vengeance. They caught me, trapped me in a bottle, and threw it into the sea. Luckily, Mayrie found the bottle and released me.” Mayrie looked at her feet when Embyrr pointed her out – she hated being the center of attention. Embyrr continued, “This is her twin, Jaykob, the captain of this ship, the Queen of the Seas. Zane, Calder, Vivian, and Alec are the rest of the crew.” She pointed each one out in turn.
Ivy took a look at this crew. They all seemed very young, though admittedly she wasn’t very good at determining the ages of mortals. But such a small group had carried the little ship through a killer storm. Plans started to take shape in her mind. Alec asked, “Can we please finish our dinner now?”
Vivian shot the Grundo with an icy glare – could he be more idiotic? – but Ivy said, “Yes. I would welcome the chance to rest and dry off.”
The next morning, the storm was still as strong as ever. The winds had mostly died down, but the rain still poured, and the thunder and lightning sounded at times like it would tear the sky apart.
Ivy told the crew as they all sat around the table, “I have a proposition for you. I have heard of your abilities in... acquiring... this ship and sailing it through the storm...”
Jaykob gave her a patronizing look that silenced her. He said, “Skip the flattery and cut to the chase.”
“I’d like you to come to Pirate’s Horn with us and help us to destroy the Dark spell.”
Alec choked on his tea and spat it across the table onto Calder, who gave him a disgusted look. He said, “You want us to fight Dark Faeries?”
Zane grinned. “Bring it on!”
The Grundo protested, “No, no, no, no, no!”
Jaykob looked around at his friends, and said, “A vote. All for, raise your hands.”
Zane’s hand shot up, closely followed by Calder’s. Vivian raised her hand next, then Mayrie. Jaykob raised his own hand, and said, “All against...”
Alec quailed under all of the eyes focused on him. He said, “Okay, I’ll go!”
Jaykob tried to talk to him later, when they were alone. “Alec, if you don’t want to go, you don’t have to. No one’s forcing you.”
The younger boy looked at him angrily. “Yeah, you are! What do you expect me to do? Do you want me to stay here for the rest of my life if you don’t come back?”
He continued, calmer, “What kind of friend do you think I am? One more person could be the difference between winning and losing when the group is this small. I’m in this ‘til the end, Jaykob, even if I’m not thrilled about it like Zane is.”
“Thanks, Alec. I’m glad I have this crew at my back.”
After two days of sailing through constant rain, they came to Pirate’s Horn. Zane landed the ship, and they climbed down onto the narrow beach. The sand was rather nasty, filled with rocks, sticks, and debris. But what did they expect from an island inhabited by Dark Faeries? The whole place felt unhealthy. They were all armed – Zane, Jaykob, and Embyrr wielded swords, Vivian, Mayrie, and Alec bore daggers, and Calder carried a bow. Ivy held a sword and a bow. In addition, the two Faeries and Vivian had their magic. It was a lot of firepower for such a small force, but would it be enough? Embyrr informed them, “The Dark Faeries are gathered in the ancient city on the other side of the island, but they could be anywhere around. Be quiet and cautious.”
Silently, the six friends and the two faeries set off into the hostile undergrowth. They had survived the storm, but there were worse dangers ahead, a danger that the teens had never seen the like of. They could only hope that they were strong enough to face the evil that lurked on Pirate’s Horn.
To be continued...