The Merchant's Mayhem: Part Four
Her parents? Was Marcilli absolutely sure about this? Arwman shook his head in disbelief. "Marcilli, how could you possibly know they're your parents?"
"That Scorchio named Cybin talked about Felicia. She was the daughter of Cybin's captain, Ulf. I met him back there, and he was extremely satisfied with those talismans..." she replied in a daze. "And now I know why."
Arwman nodded firmly. Not many knew about Felicia, but the few that did were captivated by her past.
"Marcilli!" came the voice of her father. "Can't ye help yer ol' 'rents out?"
A cloudy day on Krawk Island was made even more depressing by the sound of her parents coming home after two weeks of plundering the high seas. Marcilli was curled up in her room, reading her newest book about Brightvale. It described the lush land, kind citizens, and the importance of knowledge that captivated her young mind. It was a stark contrast to the "get rich or die trying" mentality of Krawk Island, and she loved the new and beautiful outlook on life that she had rarely witnessed living here. Another shout from her father made the young Draik reluctantly get up from her bed. "I'm coming!" she called out and set down the book.
Marcilli headed downstairs and entered the kitchen to the sight of her father dumping a bag of jewels onto the kitchen table and sifting through them. "Look at 'em! We're set, Marcilli! Set for the rest o' the year! And more's outside!"
Marcilli's attention was not focused on the jewels nor the shadow Draik clad in pirate gear, but instead outside. There was a faint crying coming from beyond the main entrance.
"What's that sound?" she turned to her father who kept examining the heisted jewels.
"Yer new sis is cryin'. Yer mum is try'na calm 'er down," he replied nonchalantly.
Did she hear that right? "My new sister?"
"Yup! Lil' lass is real sweet!"
The door opened and Marcilli's mother stepped inside her home. The pirate Draik was beaming, and holding her hand and wiping her tears was a young blue Tonu by her side.
"This be Felicia! Ain't she so darn cute?" Marcilli's mother beamed.
Marcilli rushed to the Tonu and knelt down next to her. "Are you ok?" the white Draik asked as she brushed the tuff of hair out of the little Tonu's eyes.
"N-no... I want my daddy..." the Tonu began to cry again.
"Let me take her outside," Marcilli stood up to face her mother. Her outer demeanor was calm, but inside she was seething. Her parents had really outdone themselves this time.
"Yer a great sis, hun!" she squealed with delight as she joined her husband to count the jewels. Marcilli gently placed a hand on Felicia's shoulder and guided her outside where she prompted the Tonu to sit on the porch steps.
"Your name is Felicia?"
"Yeah," little Felicia sniffled.
"How old are you?"
"Where is your dad, Felicia?"
Felicia paused. "Dad's on the ocean."
Marcilli closed her eyes and let out a sigh. Taking a little girl from her own father? Now her parents had crossed the line. "Sit on the steps, ok? I'll be right back."
Marcilli gently squeezed Felicia's hands as she nodded. With that, the anti-pirate marched back into the house and closed the door behind her, fixated on her parents. The Draiks were too busy counting to hear their daughter come in, which irked her greatly.
"You took a little girl from her father?!" she shouted.
The agitation in her voice went unnoticed. "Not just any! She's gonna be yer sis! Ain't that right, Parlow?" her father said happily.
"Oh Ahti, I'm so proud o' 'er!" Parlow cooed.
It was sickening how oblivious they were. They had no rational thought, no common sense, no socialization or integration with the normal Neopian population. "This isn't right! You have to return her!" Marcilli protested.
"Look here, Marcilli. When yer mum and I took o'er that merchant ship, the lil' Tonu was cryin' and screamin' and her ol' dad didn't do a thing 'bout it! He ain't a good dad puttin' her in things like that. So we're gonna make it a great life fer lil' Felicia here on Krawk Island!"
"You cannot make the choice of who is and isn't an unfit parent, coming from such incompetent parents as yourselves!"
A loud clang emitted in the kitchen as they tossed the jewels back onto the table. Parlow spoke first. "That hurts, 'cause we worked hard fo' ye to live the rich life ye have."
"And at what price? You two never being home?" Marcilli flailed her arms towards the table, hoping to get some sort of message across. "Doing things like this?"
"Don't it make ye wanna be like us so ye can help out yer own kiddies?" asked her father.
"No! I'm never going to be a pirate!" Marcilli screamed in frustration. "Now bring Felicia back to her father or else I will!"
"She ain't goin' nowhere," Ahti said sternly and went back to tallying up the value of the jewels. "What're ye gonna do, anyways?"
Marcilli's shoulders sank. Her father was right. She really was incapable of doing anything about Felicia. She was much too young, much too inexperienced. The books that she read told of brave souls that went on death-defying adventures. But she was no brave soul.
She had never felt so powerless.
Marcilli understood the problem with her parents just as much then as she did now. They were never socialized with anyone other than pirates. Being raised by pirates themselves, they had no concept of right from wrong that was not found in the pirate law. Even though this was the case with their daughter as well, Marcilli gained that valuable knowledge of other worlds and customs through books. She could do a lot more now that she knew of the outside world.
"I now know who Felicia's father is. After all these years..." she sighed. It was her dream to reunite Felicia with her real parents. Now was the chance, except she had not been in contact with Felicia in years. When Marcilli was old enough to get the job as a merchant trader, she had Felicia stay with a wealthy relative in Qasala. That was the last that she heard from Felicia.
"We'll both go!" insisted Arwman.
"You have to stay here," Marcilli lowered her voice as the crew looked on in confusion.
"I'm not leaving you alone out there," Arwman murmured.
"Don't question your captain, Arwman. That's the last I'll say about the matter."
Arwman knew Marcilli would not relent. "If you aren't back by midnight, I'm going to come looking for you."
"That would not happen."
"Man the Kazeriu. I'm leaving."
The Flotsam was gone from the dock, and with no other workers in sight, Marcilli made her way down the rickety ramp. Her crew watched on in confusion until Arwman ordered them to prepare the ship to be docked overnight. He watched sadly as Marcilli grew smaller and smaller until she was completely out of sight.
"Where is Marcilli going?" Hank asked.
"She's meeting someone. Nothing to worry about."
Somewhat satisfied with the response, the crew dispersed, but Sicrax stuck around. "There's more to it, isn't there?" he asked gruffly.
Arwman frowned. "So much more than you could ever imagine."
"If she doesn't return in a timely manner, I'll go with you to find her."
A rugged soul with a heart of gold. "Thank you, Sicrax."
Meanwhile, a thousand thoughts were running through Marcilli's mind. Did Clauret know that the talismans were cursed? Even if he did, why did he not tell her that her parents were cursed to them?
She had no more time to think about Clauret or the talismans. A rustling of branches made her stop in her tracks, but she sighed with relief when she saw Cybin emerge from behind a tree.
"Marcilli?" Cybin gasped. "It's late! What are you doing out here all by yourself?"
"I could ask you the same thing." Marcilli crossed her arms.
He was taken aback by her bluntness. "Well, I'm heading home. I don't know what you think you're doing."
"Listen, could you tell me where Ulf lives? I need to talk to him."
She was expecting an elaborate back story and beating around the bush as to why she could not visit Ulf, but she was not prepared for the simplistic answer that she was about to hear. "You could just ask him yourself."
That was when someone grabbed her from behind. A pair of burly arms wrapped around Marcilli's body and hoisted her off the ground. She recognized quickly that it was Ulf.
"Scream your head off. No one will hear you," Ulf challenged. He gave Cybin a boastful look. "THIS is why we stick around."
Keep calm, Marcilli desperately thought to herself. "I need to speak with you, Ulf. Might we go somewhere secluded?"
He admired the fact that she was incredible calm for such a tense situation. "This is about secluded as it gets."
"If you let me go, we can discuss things in a civil manner."
Ulf shoved her backwards. "So be it. Now what is your business in finding me?"
"I know your daughter Felicia."
His face softened. "You do?"
"My parents are the ones that raided your merchant ship. I was raised accepting the fact that Felicia was my sister."
Ulf did not know what to think. He looked at Cybin, knowing he was the one that told her the story. While Cybin sheepishly glanced away, Ulf became completely focused on Marcilli. "Start talking."
She knew very well that she had only one chance to not mess this up. "It's a very complicated story, but please hear me out. My parents brought Felicia home when I was just a young girl. They told me that she was my new sister, but you have to believe me when I say that I didn't just accept that fact that Felicia was a new addition to the family. I was never a pirate like my parents. I was never a pirate and I never wanted to be one. They insisted that I just treat Felicia like an adopted sister, but I tried to do research and find out who her parents were. When my efforts grew weary, I myself raised Felicia her entire life. It wasn't until I got the job as a merchant that I sent Felicia to live with my cousin in Qasala."
The silence that endured made Marcilli believe that she had in fact messed it up. Ulf did not know what to do.
"So she's still with the cousin?" Ulf whispered, his eyes glimmering with hope.
"Maybe. I haven't seen her in years, ever since I became a merchant trader and moved to Krawk Island. I miss Felicia every day... I raised her on my own and really considered her to be my sister."
"But she wasn't your sister!" Ulf roared.
Take it down a notch. Sympathize with him. Being blunt is not going to work. Marcilli raised her hands to try and signal for Ulf to calm down. "I know the circumstances are still hard to grasp. But if you give me those talismans back, I can help you find Felicia."
"The payment for these talismans is already complete. These savages that took Felicia from me are staying in my possession," Ulf ordered.
"I'll return the money in an instant for the talismans."
"Money is no issue! These talismans are priceless," he snarled. "Just like my daughter."
To be continued...