A Legend Begins Again: Part Three
"Garin should have been back by now..." Jacques said as Talak took a large bite from a Tchea fruit. The Wocky looked at the worried Kyrii as he paced back and forth in front of where their longboat sat waiting.
"He's been late to meet us at the dock before, you know," he said.
"Yeah, but this time it's different..." Jacques insisted. "Something is wrong... very wrong!" Jacques stopped pacing, then turned around and walked back up towards the street. "I'm going to go look for him!"
"But--" Talak started to protest, though his mouth was full of another bite of Tchea fruit.
"No buts!" Jacques hollered over his shoulder. Talak blinked, then shrugged and took a third bite of his Tchea fruit.
Jacques's search for Garin took him all over the village, but there was still no sign of the Usul. Jacques growled in frustration as his search took him to the more abandoned part of town, where a large watermill stood alone by the river. Jacques decided to check it out just in case, and as he drew closer, noticed that one window had been broken, recently, and the door was open, as if waiting for him.
Experience had taught him that things like this were usually the signs of a trap... and that chill running up his spine told him the same thing. He put one hand on his sword hilt and walked closer to the door, then carefully peered inside, ready to duck, run, or draw his sword if he had to. Ahead of him, in the darkness, he saw a blue glint of something, shining with the light of the setting sun through the cracks in the ceiling and walls. Jacques tilted his head and walked in, and as he walked closer, made out the shape of Garin's Maractite Dagger, stuck by its point into the top of a barrel. Jacques let out a small gasp and hurried over, but stopped short. This was too easy... too obvious...
And he was too right.
Jacques ducked on an instinct and somersaulted over to one side, just as an angry shout and a cutlass was driven into the spot where had been just moments ago. Jacques sighed in relief, but then gave a slight smirk as he stood and turned around, drawing out both his swords.
"Whoever you are, you picked the wrong fella to--" Jacques stopped short in his words and the figure walked from the dark, and his jaw fell open.
"Have I?" Bloodhook asked, sneering at Jacques. "You certainly look like the same skinny whelp from four years ago."
"Bloodhook..." Jacques said, feeling his heart start to pound a bit at the name, but he kept his hands and knees from shaking, even though he couldn't hide the shock on his face.
"What are...?" That's when Jacques started to put two and two together, and an angry flame ignited in his heart. He glared at the Eyrie pirate and bared his teeth openly.
"What have you done with Garin, you bottom-feeder!?" he demanded. Bloodhook just chuckled.
"I hear they call you 'The Swift' now... too bad your friend wasn't as fast!" he gloated, some spittle spewing out from his beak. Jacques' eyes widened slightly, not wanting to believe it, but that angry flame in his heart suddenly became an inferno.
"This place will be your grave, Bloodhook!!!" he cried in anger, and charged the Eyrie, who raised his cutlass to block the blow, but Jacques was faking. At the last possible second, he pulled away and to the side, slashing at Bloodhook's side, cutting it just slightly.
Bloodhook hissed in pain and swung his arm at Jacques' head. Jacques ducked, then locked blades with Bloodhook as he swung his sword forward. But Jacques had forgotten how strong Bloodhook was, and the Eyrie pushed him back, causing Jacques to trip over a piece of fallen lumber, but he caught himself and timed his fall perfectly, rolling backwards and then standing up again. He dodged Bloodhook again, and then met blades with him.
Meanwhile, beneath the mill, Garin was just beginning to regain consciousness. He sat up out of the water and coughed a bit, then shook his head to get the water out of his ears and shivered from the cold. His ears, once cleared, pricked up at the sound of a battle going on above him.
"You'll pay, you miserable swab!!"
"Jacques?" he asked aloud, recognizing the sound of his friend's voice. Garin stood up and made his way out of the water and back up the bank, outside the mill, then started to climb up to the second floor.
Jacques grabbed at Bloodhook's arm, which was now around his throat, and Bloodhook was behind him. Jacques struggled and kicked, trying to get towards the wall desperately, and luckily, he knocked Bloodhook off his footing just enough to do so.
Jacques ran his feet up the wall, then flipped free and over Bloodhook, landing behind him, then slashing both his swords across Bloodhook's wings, sending several feathers flying. Bloodhook let out an eagle-like screech of pain, then stretched his wings backwards, catching Jacques by surprise and trapping him between them. Bloodhook then swung his body to one side, flinging Jacques into a nearby wall. Jacques shook his head, dizzy like a top, as Bloodhook started to walk over to him...
Garin walked around the room, following the movements of the two battling below, until he came to a stop, kneeling over to watch through a crack. He watched the battle, trying to assess just when he should burst in to help Jacques, but within moments, he saw Jacques thrown into a wall, and then Bloodhook was right under him. Garin stood up quickly, but then froze when a loud cracking and creaking noise sounded under his feet.
Jacques panted and held his chest as Bloodhook stopped in front of him, sneering at him and looking down on the tired Kyrii.
"Did you actually think you could beat me, runt?!" he asked. "Well now you can join your friend!"
"We're... not done here yet, Bloodhook!" Jacques growled angrily.
"Bravado in the face of death... how droll..." Bloodhook said, then raised his cutlass, but stopped as a loud cracking sounded above his head... and then down came the ceiling. Bloodhook let out a yell of shock, then another of pain as a pile of boards, and Garin, landed right on top of him. Garin yelped in agony as he hit the ground and rubbed his back as Jacques gasped in shock, that was followed by a grin of relief.
"Garin!" he exclaimed, glad to see his friend alive. Garin chuckled.
"Guess that's one way to drop in," he said, then accepted Jacques' outstretched hand and stood up with his friends help.
"Bloodhook said he'd killed you!" Jacques exclaimed. Garin laughed and punched Jacques in the arm.
"You wish!" he said.
A loud growl and the sound of the fallen boards shifting caused both of them to stiffen for a moment, then they fled, Garin grabbing his dagger from the barrel lid as they did. Bloodhook threw off the boards and took off after them, opening his wings as he exited the mill.
He let out a screech of pain and stumbled in his run, looking at his wings. The falling boards had obviously rendered them now useless, and for how long was only a guess. He roared in anger, then kept pursuing Garin and Jacques on foot... not knowing that the two had doubled back around the mill and were now watching him run into the jungle.
"When do you think he'll realize we didn't go that way?" Jacques asked between breaths.
"A few minutes," Garin replied. "Give or take..."
"Then we'd better get moving." Jacques concluded, patting Garin on the shoulder and heading towards the village. Garin sighed and followed him. He knew Bloodhook wouldn't give up that easily...
He stopped and looked at his feet. Jacques and the others were in danger as long as he was with them... Bloodhook wouldn't stop until he was dead and gone... and he'd do anything to see that happen... Including hurt his friends. Garin looked back up after Jacques, who was just getting back into the buildings surrounding the village. He felt a few tears welling in his eyes, so he shut them to banish the tears before they could fall, his fists clenching tight... before loosening them up and sighing.
"I'm sorry, Jacques..." he said... then turned and ran into the trees.
Jacques turned and looked back to make sure Garin was still behind him, but stopped dead when he couldn't find a sight of Garin anywhere. He turned around and ran back towards the mill and looked around.
"Garin!?" he called. "Garin!!"
No answer... Even though his calls were heard...
Isca swam out from the gates of Maraqua and towards the distant surface, clear worry on her face and her fists clenched in a slight anxiety. She swallowed a lump that kept trying to clog up her throat and kept swimming. She knew that Garin was in grave danger, and that she could reach him if she hurried.
"And where do you think you're going?" asked a voice that cause Isca to gasp and stop.
"Caylis!" she exclaimed, turning to face her sister. The darker of the two sisters gave a friendly smile.
"You look like you're in a hurry, sister," she said. Isca nodded.
"Garin and his friends are in danger," she said. "I've seen it!"
"...You too?" Caylis asked, her smile leaving her face.
Isca paled a bit as she stared at her sister, who swam closer to her and stared back, a solemn look on her face.
"You... You've been having a dream... about Garin--"
"In a storm, and falling to a raised cutlass? Yes." Caylis said, then looked down for a moment. "It can't be coincidence we had the same dream, Isca..."
"No... it can't." Isca said, then snatched her sister's hand. "We BOTH have to go! Maybe there's SOMETHING we can do!"
Caylis looked at her sister. "Normally I'm resigned to the fate I see in my dreams and nightmares... but I think it should be noted we've never actually seen Garin's death in our dream."
"Then.... There's still a chance!" Isca said. Caylis gave a half-hearted nod.
"Perhaps," she said, then took her sister's other hand in her own. "Let's go; there isn't much time!"
Then both sisters, armed with some, but little hope, swam off into the distant ocean, praying that they would reach their destination in time...
To be continued...