Pirates, the Sight, and the Sea: Part Eight
As the distance between the Thunder Savage and the Crimson Storm decreased, Roselia’s heart pounded fervently in her chest. Tresor fiddled with his cutlass absentmindedly, his eyes glued to the ship in the distance, while Faer made his way over to them from across the deck, the Savages by his side.
“We lower the gangplank onto them in a minute, Roselia,” Faer said to her, standing to her right. “The Savages will rush in and then you two will follow. They’re a loyal bunch; the crew’ll do everything they can to keep you safe.”
Roselia raised an eyebrow at him. “And what are you planning on doing?”
The pirate Gnorbu stared at the oncoming vessel, his grey eyes focused on the skull and crossbones flag it flew. “I’m doing what I’ve should have done all those years ago: confronting Alieria. I think it’s time to show her what a true pirate is.”
Roselia turned away from him and glanced at the brown Lupe to her left; he looked strangely odd without his customary blue cap on his head. “What about you, Tresor? Are you ready?”
Tresor turned towards her and attempted a grin. “Let’s do this,” he said, trying to mask the fear he felt with a fake smile. Luckily, Roselia didn’t notice; she was too busy trying to stifle her own worry.
But they didn’t have time to worry anymore. The Crimson Storm was suddenly right beside them, the large vessel dark and imposing, looming over them like a massive storm cloud.
“Lower the gangplank!” Faer shouted as Hajj and Seamus unwound the ropes that made the crossway clatter down onto the adjacent vessel. No sooner did it touch down on the deck did the Savages start running, clamoring over the makeshift bridge with cutlasses raised high, a war cry bellowing from their mouths.
The water faerie amulet around Roselia’s neck burned with an intense light as she climbed across the wooden gangplank onto the other ship, running with the mob of pirates. She just had to follow the light of her necklace and she’d find Mithy and Tresor’s father. All she had to do was follow the ligh—
Suddenly a pirate lunged towards her, a giant purple Cybunny with an eye patch obscuring one eye and a skull tattoo on his chest. Roselia gasped as his cutlass swung towards her throat, not having time to defend herself. But before the blow could hit her, a flash of brown fur jumped in front of her and there was a clatter of metal on metal.
“I’ve got this brute covered,” Tresor called and Roselia’s eyes widened, realizing that the Lupe had just saved her. He glanced back at her, his cutlass held defensively to shield himself from the overgrown Cybunny’s attacks. “Go and find my dad and your brother, Rosy. Go!”
Snapped back to life by her old nickname, Roselia withdrew her own cutlass from its holster at her hip and started running, but not without giving Tresor a glance over her shoulder. She had never seen him in action before, but he really was a natural born fighter. He parried every one of the Cybunny’s attacks, darting this way and that, and used his cutlass as an expert.
Turning back to the task at hand, Roselia picked up the pace, jogging as the deck boards groaned under her feet, the amulet almost tugging at her neck as she skirted around pairs of pirates sword fighting. The light was blinding, obscuring her vision, but she was getting so close...
...And then she saw him.
He was sword fighting at the moment, his cutlass flashing in the morning light as he made feints and jabs at the yellow Blumaroo in front of him, but Roselia instantly recognized him. He had grown taller in the five years they had been apart and was dressed in a fitted crimson jacket with black cuffs and a belt, but he still had the same green striped fur and honey-colored eyes.
“Mithy,” Roselia whispered, and then she was running, shoving past pirates as she made a beeline towards her brother.
“MITHY!” This time her cry was a shout, her voice cutting through the din of the many pirates dueling with one another. But her brother didn’t even turn towards her. Instead, his eyes were narrowed in a somewhat cruel expression, his full attention on his fight at hand.
Roselia recognized his opponent: Seamus, the Thunder Savage who was also Tresor’s cabin mate. Unfortunately for the Blumaroo, he was sadly outmatched. With a smirk, Mithy flicked his wrist and Seamus’ cutlass flew out of his hand and clattered onto the deck. A swift kick then sent the cutlass sliding overboard, the piece of metal disappearing into the depths of the sea.
Weaponless, Seamus’ eyes widened, and then he fled, running as fast as his stubby Blumaroo legs could carry him. Mithy just shook his head. “Coward,” he spat. He turned around, ready to search for a new opponent, but found himself face-to-face with a grubby red Usul instead.
Quicker than she could have ever imagined, Roselia found the tip of his cutlass pressed against her throat. The green Ogrin peered down at her, his honey eyes critical.
“This is what they send to fight me next? A little wench?”
“Mithy,” Roselia whispered, but the cutlass only pressed deeper.
“I’m sorry. I think you have the wrong person,” the pirate growled. “Now why don’t you drop that cutlass in your hand and go play with your dolls or something, little Usul? Leave the fighting to the pirates.”
Roselia normally would have felt angry and fired back a sharp retort, but right now all she could feel was her stomach sinking lower and lower, the burn of the necklace on her chest, and the sharpened tip of the blade at her neck.
He doesn’t remember me... He doesn’t know who I am...
She took a breath and looked him full in the face. “You’re... you’re Timothy, right?”
Mithy glared at her suspiciously. “Yes, how did you kn—?”
“And your mother’s a white Cybunny,” Roselia interrupted quickly, her heart fluttering, “and your sister’s a—”
“I have no family,” Mithy said matter-of-factly, his words having a definite edge to them. “The Crimson Storms are the only family members I’ve ever had.”
“That’s not true! You’re my brother!”
He snorted. “Please. You expect me to believe that we’re related?”
“Oh come on, Mithy!” she pleaded. “You must remember me!”
“Mithy,” he said, tasting the foreign word on his tongue with a grimace. “Who is this ‘Mithy’?”
“You are!” she cried exasperatedly, her eyes finally spilling over. “You’re Mithy, and I’m Roselia! I’m your sister!”
The tears seem to startle Timothy, his cutlass falling away from her neck as sobs racked the Usul’s body; she hadn’t cried like this since the day they first had been separated, and the memory opened more wounds.
The Ogrin wondered what to say to the poor girl; to him, tears were just about as foreign as Shenkuuan royalty visiting the pirate taverns on Krawk Island.
“Maybe you should just leave,” he muttered, his voice gruff as he switched his cutlass hand-to-hand. But Roselia was inconsolable. She had dropped her cutlass, her paws clenching at her hair and tears running rivers down her face. She just couldn’t believe that she had come all this way and waited five long years only to find that her brother had completely changed.
Mithy squinted his eyes; the girl was getting tiresome and he had more important things to worry about. He turned away from her, but at the sound of his retreating footsteps, she suddenly looked up. “W-Wait,” she stammered, her paw outstretched. “Don’t g-go—”
Roselia wheeled around. The enormous Cybunny from earlier was lunging towards her, his cutlass held in front of him, arcing right towards her heart. She yelped, reaching for her own cutlass that she had foolishly dropped on the deck, but her eyes were obscured with tears and she had a sinking feeling that by time she reached it she would be too late...
And then there was a flash of brown fur in front of her.
Out of nowhere, Tresor had appeared, blocking Roselia from the pirate’s assault. But unlike his previous save, this time there was no clang of metal on metal. The Cybunny’s blade hit home, the sharp point gouging into Tresor’s shoulder. Roselia gasped and the Lupe froze, his russet eyes locking onto Roselia’s water blue gaze. “Rosy...” he whispered, his voice pained, and then he fell to the deck, his body collapsing with a thud.
“Tresor!” Roselia cried, falling on top of her injured friend. He was still breathing, but a pool of crimson was spilling from his shoulder.
“Rosy...?” Mithy repeated, his eyes widening as the nickname struck a chord from his past. Suddenly, he turned to the Cybunny who had done the damage and glared at him. “Get out of here, Xave.”
The Cybunny scowled. “Who are you to tell me what to do?”
Mithy’s teeth were clenched as he whipped out his cutlass and held it out at him. “Xave, just go. Now.”
Xave eyed the sword warily, raised an eyebrow, and turned away.
Mithy went to his knees. Roselia was sobbing, her paws clenched onto the Lupe’s fur as if the boy’s ragged coat was the only real thing in the world. “W-We gotta help him. He s-saved me. I need to save h-him!”
“Rosy,” Mithy started, but stopped. Using the name stirred up even more old memories, the visions rapidly flickering through his mind’s eye: a ship, a young Usul, a small cupboard, pirates...
“Pl-Please!” Roselia sobbed, interrupting his thoughts. “Even if you don’t remember me, you have to h-help him! It-It’s my fault that he’s even h-here!”
“Okay, Rosy,” Mithy said, gently moving her to the side so he could pick up the body of the unconscious Lupe. “C-Calm down.” I’m stuttering, he thought to himself, startled. Since when did I stutter? “Everything will be all right. Captain Alieria’s cabin is stocked with healing salves and bandages. I-I’m sure we can sneak in there and find something to help him—”
“Timothy, what are you doing?”
Roselia raised her head and spotted a green Skeith towering over them. A cutlass was in one hand and the other claw was balled into a fist.
“Mesh,” Mithy said quickly, showing him the boy in his arms, “we need to help him. The Lupe’s wound is pretty serious and—”
Mesh’s eyes were cold. “Have you lost it, Timothy? He’s the enemy! Or have you recently gone blind?”
“Mesh, you’ve got to listen to me. I’ve just got to help him. He’s a friend of this Usul here, and I... I think she’s my sister.”
He raised an eyebrow. “You’re insane. You know we have no families. The captain said—”
“Well, the captain is wrong!” Timothy shouted, startling himself as he came to the realization. He shook his head. “Come on, Mesh. Haven’t you ever wondered why none of us can remember our pasts? Haven’t you ever wondered if maybe there really is someone out there missing us?”
Mesh faltered, but he kept his sword out, trained on the Ogrin in front of him. “Timothy, you do realize this is mutiny. If Alieria hears of this, she’ll have you killed.”
“So what?” Mithy announced angrily, his arms clenching around the Lupe in his arms. “It’s time that we stop worrying about what Alieria will do to us and do instead what is right. I’ve got to save the boy.”
The Skeith seemed unsure. He shifted a bit, but didn’t move, his bulk blocking their way until Roselia spoke up.
“Pl-Please,” she hiccupped from the ground, looking at him desperately, her eyes wide. “Please, Mesh. Tresor... h-he’s your son!”
The Skeith stumbled. “That’s a lie,” he muttered, but Roselia caught a glow of gold shimmer around him; he wasn’t fully convinced. Instead, Mesh looked down at the boy properly for the first time, and for a brief moment he remembered a brown Lupe, young and excited upon hearing that his father had gotten a job as a sailor...
“Oh Fyora,” he gasped, paling, and suddenly he was barking, “Come on, Timothy! We need to get that Lupe some help. Tresor...” He groaned as they darted past pirates still going about their brawls. “How could I have forgotten him?”
“It happened to me too,” Mithy admitted, the three of them running across the deck at a breakneck pace. “There’s something about this ship that just...” He trailed off, shivering. He then glanced over at the Usul running besides him. His sister. “Rosy, I’m so sorry. I’ll make it up to you somehow. I promise.” He winced at the P word, remembering a second too late that he had made a promise five years ago that he had never kept.
“Just save him,” Roselia said quietly, and Mithy immediately knew that he would do everything he could to grant her that request.
“Mesh, get the door for us,” Timothy commanded once they hit the captain’s cabin entrance, the only distinguishing feature being a small porthole and the faint outline of a vertical rectangle. The green Skeith, high on adrenaline, easily flicked the heavy door open, and within moments they were inside.
Roselia couldn’t help but note how different Alieria’s cabin was from Captain Faer’s. Unlike the cluttered space that Faer had called home, this cabin was much simpler and devoid of all the treasures Faer insisted on keeping. There was a sturdy bed made up with plain white sheets, a small sleek desk with neatly stacked papers on top, a wardrobe for clothes, a glass cabinet stocked with what appeared to be different healing potions and other medical supplies, and the entire room was bathed in the soft glow of lantern light.
As Mithy gently laid Tresor onto the bed, Mesh rushed to the cabinet, sorting through it in an attempt to find something to help his son. After a few seconds of rummaging, he cursed. “Blasted tempest!”
“What’s wrong?” Roselia asked. She stood beside the bed, fingering the shining amulet around her neck nervously.
Mesh shook his head. “This cabinet’s no good. There’re some bandages and simple healing potions for quick fixes, but nothing in here is meant for a wound of that caliber.”
Roselia’s stomach dropped; she didn’t like where this was going. “Are you sure?”
Mesh nodded miserably. “Unfortunately, I am. This gash isn’t going to be sealed up with anything that’d be on this ship. We’d need a full-blown water faerie to help us with this wound.”
Roselia’s mind reeled frantically, Mesh’s words replaying in her head and triggering a memory of her own. “If that’s the case,” she said slowly, “then maybe I can get us one.”
Her brother raised an eyebrow at her. “What do you mea--?” But before he could finish, he watched as his sister darted from the cabin. “Ros-ROSY!” he shouted. “Where in Scarblade’s name are you going?!”
The Usul didn’t respond. Instead, she rushed out of the cabin, storming onto the deck. She dodged Hajj and a short green Wocky dueling, loping around them easily, until she stood besides the railing of the Crimson Storm.
The ship lurched under her feet and she grabbed onto the railing desperately, determined not to fall overboard. The wind tugged at her hair and the sun high above warmed her face, but she was nervous, more nervous than she had ever been before in her life.
“Please work,” she prayed desperately, yanking the beautiful crystal amulet off her neck. Then, holding out her paw, she opened her hand and dropped the necklace into the churning sea.
To be continued...