Scarblade's Pearl: Memories in Maraqua - Part Two
She spun around to face the speaker and found Isca and Caylis hovering there. Caylis had been the one to speak.
“Y-yes?” she stuttered, still a little shaken by the suddenness of Caylis' voice.
“His majesty has requested an audience with you upon your return,” she said, face expressionless.
His Majesty?! Have I done something wrong?
“Me?” she asked in surprise.
“Yes, you.” Caylis turned to head down the hall, back the way she'd come. “Follow us.”
Isca glanced at Nira before following her sister. Nira followed quietly.
Caylis lead them to the throne room where a Maraquan Grarrl was appointed as a guard. The two exchanged a nod and he opened the throne room doors. Caylis glided in, followed by her sister. Nira wished she could swim so gracefully as she fell in behind Isca. King Kelpbeard sat in his throne at the other end of the room, having looked up when the three pets had come in. Caylis continued forward confidently. Isca and Nira had no choice but the watch her confident pace. At the foot of the throne, each of them paused to curtsey.
“Your Majesty,” they chorused in greeting.
“Isca, Caylis... Nira,” said the king with a nod. Nira didn't like the slight hesitation before he spoke her name.
Isca and Caylis went forward to hover on either side of Kelpbeard's throne, leaving Nira alone in front of him. She gulped nervously.
“His Majesty wished to speak with me?” she asked hesitantly.
“Yes. We have a few questions we'd like you to answer,” he said.
Nira lowered her eyes.
“I have answered many questions for you already,” she replied quietly.
“We have more questions,” said Kelpbeard, eyes narrowing. “About today.”
Nira's head came up sharply in surprise, which she realized in a moment had been a bad move. Now both Caylis and King Kelpbeard were looking at her with suspicion. Only Isca's face remained unchanged. Nira couldn't help wondering, again, if she'd done something wrong.
Next came the questions. Nira ended up explaining her entire day in extreme detail, although she left out the voices she'd heard when meeting Alia. She didn't feel she needed to share that with them. Once she had finished, the king simply looked thoughtful for a moment, shared a glance with Isca and Caylis, then sent her off to her bed chamber.
Nira left uncertainly, feeling there was something much deeper going on that she didn't know about.
“What do you think?” King Kelpbeard asked, turning to Isca and Caylis as soon as the doors closed behind Nira.
“I believe she has genuine memory loss,” said Isca. She looked at Caylis. “What do you think, Sister?”
Caylis looked thoughtful before nodding her head.
“Yes, I believe you're right. She either has no memory, or is an extremely talented liar,” she replied.
“Shall we let her go, then?” Isca asked hopefully.
It was King Kelpbeard who shook his head.
“No. In fact, I am wondering if we should ever allow her to leave the city again. What if she were to regain her memory and go after another town? Or worse, our capital city?” he reasoned.
“But-” Isca was cut off by her sister.
“I understand and agree, Your Majesty. We cannot allow for such a risk,” she said, looking pointedly at Isca.
“But we can't!” Isca burst out, loud enough that no one could have spoken over her. “She is a person like you or I. To keep her in Maraqua for the rest of her days would be no better than placing her in a cage!”
“So be it!” said the king, slamming a fist into the armrest of his throne. “Person or not, I will not allow that Shoyru to endanger the whole of Maraqua!”
“But Sire-” Isca tried to protest.
“SILENCE!” the king roared. “ONE MORE WORD AND YOU WILL BE CONFINED TO YOUR CHAMBERS!”
Isca flinched away from Kelpbeard, eyes becoming misty. Unable to contain her emotion, Isca covered her face with her hands and swam away as quickly as possible. The throne room doors slammed shut behind her. Kelpbeard, having moved past his sudden burst of rage, suddenly looked worried.
“Isca....” he said quietly.
Caylis scowled, looking sharply at the king.
“Do not worry over her, Majesty. This is what's best for the kingdom,” she said quietly.
Though he agreed it was the best choice of action, that didn't make him doubt his choice any less.
Nira lay on her back in her bed, staring at the ceiling. In her head, she was going over all the recent odd happenings in her life. Going to Altador, encountering Scarblade, being taken to Maraqua; it all seemed like it happened in another lifetime. She wondered how Lightning was doing. A guard had assured her that a message had already been sent to explain Nira's whereabouts. Still, she wondered how Lightning had taken it, and what she was doing now.
At least I'll be home soon...
Of course, Nira didn't yet know of King Kelpbeard's wish to keep her in Maraqua indefinitely. She still clung to the idea that she would soon be back on Mystery Island with Lightning.
The Shoyru gave a start when a hand was laid on her shoulder and nearly cried out. The hand intercepted her, however, and covered her mouth before she could make a sound.
“Shh...” shushed the hand's owner. A moment later, a soft glow illuminated the room, revealing Isca holding a lantern. Instead of fire, though, the lantern had a glowing lump of what looked like moss.
“Isca!” Nira exclaimed as soon as the sea-Aisha removed her hand.
“Shh!” Isca went again, a bit more fiercely. “Do you want someone to hear you?”
Nira took a moment to breath in deeply and sit up. Feeling a bit more calm and able to speak quietly, she asked.
“Why are you here? In the middle of the night?”
Isca glanced behind her, at the opening of the chamber, seeming nervous, then turned back to Nira.
“The king has changed his mind. He has decided you will remain in Maraqua,” she whispered. Nira stared in shock.
“You mean for longer? How much longer?” she asked, trying very hard to keep her voice down.
“Indefinitely...” she said in ominous quiet.
Nira blinked, processing the word.
“...Why?” she asked finally.
Isca, though she hated concealing things from anyone, knew she couldn't say anything about Nira's lost memory.
“There's no time to explain,” she said instead, which was also true. “You must leave quickly, before everyone in the palace knows!”
“Where am I to go? Back to Mystery Island?” Nira asked in return, looking anxious.
But Isca was shaking her head.
“They'll be expecting that. They'll probably send soldiers to cut you off,” Isca stated gravely. Nira bit her lip.
“Where then?” she demanded, a bit too loudly. Isca shushed her again, glancing back at the entrance to the chamber. After ten tense seconds of nothing, she turned to Nira again.
“Krawk Island. You must go there and find Garin. He can get you back to Mystery Island.”
When Isca said “Krawk Island,” Nira felt a sharp pain at the back of her head. It was similar to the other times she'd gotten pains in her head. She wondered why. Her wondering stopped, though, when she realized what else Isca had said.
“Wait, you don't mean the Garin, do you? Captain of the Black Pawkeet, Garin?” Nira asked wonderingly. Isca half smiled.
“Yes. The Garin. You must find him and tell him I requested he take you back to Mystery Island.”
Without waiting for Nira to respond, Isca bent over and lifted two items from the floor in front of her, placing it on the bed beside Nira. The first she pointed to was a small, durable looking cloth backpack.
“I've packed enough food for five days. That should last you until Krawk Island. I also packed several dubloons, since you will need them once you reach your destination.”
Nira nodded comprehension and Isca moved to the second item, lifting it for Nira to see. It was a sword, sheath, belt and all. Nira slipped out of bed and carefully took the sword from Isca. It made her feel slightly nostalgic, though she didn't know why.
“Can you handle a blade?” Isca asked, breaking Nira out of her temporary trance.
Putting the belt around her waist and adjusting it to fit, she then unsheathed the sword with grace she hadn't known she possessed. The sword was Maractite, beautifully made and perfectly balanced. Nira swung it experimentally, marveling at the way it cut through water effortlessly. It felt right in her hand, almost like she'd trained with it her whole life.
Isca grinned, easily able to see Nira's expertise in the way she held the blade.
“Good. At least you can defend yourself, should things go wrong,” she commented, mostly to herself.
“How will I find Krawk Island?” Nira asked, sheathing the sword and turning back to Isca.
Isca opened her mouth to reply, but suddenly realized she didn't have an answer. She honestly hadn't thought her plan would get this far. Her mouth opened and closed as she tried to think of what to say.
“I believe I can answer that one,” said another voice quietly.
To be continued...