Having already met the Captain and First Mate of the pirate ship, Serenity's Bane, you continue to explore. You find a staircase almost hidden behind a few large crates. Curious, you descend it. After only a few feet, the staircase is enveloped in darkness. Still you descend, albeit a little more slowly and carefully.
You can smell the stench of bilge water and hear the distinct chatter of rats. Just as you are about to decide to turn back, a pale light comes into view. You continue on and light gets brighter. As you near the bottom of the steps, you can see the source of the light is a large lantern. You can barely make out a shape under the lantern, a zafara maybe, who seems to be practicing with a sword. As you approach her, you misstep into a puddle of bilge water, making a loud splash and startling the zafara.
She spots you and leaps to her feet.
What are you doing here? Have the pirates seen you yet? We have to get you out of here before you're spotted!" she gasps, literally pushing you back up the stairway. You stumble, but manage to keep your footing as you try to explain on the way up.
Shhh! I can't even believe you made it this far without getting caught. Tourists, honestly," she sighs as you both emerge from the dank hold.
I-it's okay!" you say, finally finding your voice, "I've already met them." The zafara stops in her tracks.
You met them willingly? And they didn't rob you?" she asks incredulously. You nod happily. "...Some pirates," she mutters.
You see the zafara in the light for the first time. She's certainly not dressed like a pirate. She wears a long purple and blue dress, a heavy one it would seem, with all the ruffles and frills and such. Her pretty face is framed by her long golden hair. She looks like a princess.
Ah.. well then, welcome aboard, I suppose..." she says, turning to a stack of crates, "I wonder if the captain picked up enough supplies," she says to herself, peering in each of the crates. She soon grabs hold of a smaller crate marked "Perishables" and heads through a door.
I'm going to go cook dinner... you're welcome to come help if you'd like," she calls back. You decide to follow her through the door.
Unlike the rest of the rooms on the ship, the galley is quite large and it has two long, wooden tables lining the walls, with what seems to be enough room to hold an entire crew. The zafara sets the crate down on one of the tables, grabbing a nearby crowbar and prying it open.
I forgot, I haven't given you my name yet. I'm Kalia. I'm not a pirate... they're just letting me stay until I can find a decent place to stay," she says, finally getting the crate open and unloading a carton of eggs.
I'm guest...but if you're not a pirate, why are you here?"
Good question, guest. Actually I'm.. well, I'm a princess," she says solemnly, "Came from a kingdom on the outskirts of Meridell..."
‡ Meridell Royalty ‡
My kingdom was far from both Brightvale and Meridell. It was nearer to the Haunted Woods. Anyway, I was born into royalty, my parents being the King and Queen. I had a fairly happy childhood, could have whatever I wanted to eat or to play with, and it was given to me when I wanted it. However, my parents forbade me to have any friends, or to even talk to, anyone outside the palace walls. Unfortunately, there was no one in the palace that was even close to my age, and my parents were too busy planning out my future to pay attention to me. I should have paid more attention to their plans...
My father made a point to make the townspeople like me. And they did. Even though they'd never heard my voice, never even met me in person, they adored me because I was the first child born in the kingdom, and would become their next ruler. People from all over Meridell came to see me, even King Skarl himself. They all hoped that I would help unite all the kingdoms of Meridell. I was constantly sent very expensive gifts and always checked up on to see I was healthy. But still, I was alone.
I did sort of have one friend, though maybe 'friend' isn't the right word... The head servant, an aisha. She was actually more or less paid to be my baby-sitter, but she was still very kind to me. She would tell me many stories of the different parts of Neopia. Of the Faerie Queen in her hidden tower, of the enormous Mumbo Pango and his insatiable appetite and of Maraqua and its ruins. I loved hearing about those places. But there was one place I wasn't so keen on hearing about was Krawk Island and its loathsome inhabitants, the pirates. It was instilled in me very early that pirates were not to be trusted. And even though the stories scared me, I felt a little relief at the fact that I would probably never meet one, as I'd never even seen the sea.
Soon, I was old enough to where there was no need for a babysitter, and the head servant stopped telling me stories. So I was alone again. Mother and father had seemed to distance themselves from me more than ever, but they were in almost constant contact with the King of another faraway kingdom. I wasn't allowed into their conversations, so all I knew was that this King was not very rich, and that he had a son.
About the time I was coming of age, the first Meridellian War versus Darigan took place. Even though my kingdom was far enough away that we weren't affected, King Skarl sent a request for reinforcements and lots of supplies. My father agreed, sending everything he could afford to lose to help Meridell win. As you know, the first battle was won by Darigan. Because of this, King Skarl refused to reimburse my father, and since we had sent the best of everything, the kingdom spiraled down into poverty.
My father apparently had a plan. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but it centered very much around me. The King from the faraway land returned for another meeting with my father, to figure out a way to end poverty in both kingdoms. They seemed to talk long into the night about their plan. If only I had known then what that plan was...
After the King had left early the next morning, I snuck downstairs to see if could catch any snippets of conversation. In the throne room, it seemed my father was talking to one of closest advisors. I still couldn't make out what they were saying, so I inched as close as I possibly could without being noticed. It was then that I heard their plan.. My father planned on marrying me to the other King's son as soon as possible. According to this plan, a few months after we were wed, I would fall victim to a "tragic and unfortunate accident". The townspeople would be overcome with grief, and to help my father get over his "terrible loss", they would send money to help the two kingdoms. And King Skarl, out of his own guilt, would repay everything sent to him for the war.
I could not believe what I was hearing. I backed slowly away from the throne room, but in my horror I forgot to notice I was about to collide into a table behind me. I gasped loudly as I hit the table, sending the vase on top of it crashing to the floor and catching the attention of my father. Not knowing what else to do, I fled. I ran to the stables, looking for a uni that could take me far away as fast as possible. I also nabbed a cloak and pulled it tightly around myself so that no one would recognize me and point me out. Mounted on a rather small white steed, I sped away from my kingdom. This uni would not last very long, and they were sure to catch up with me soon. And no doubt every person in all of Meridell would be looking for me once they knew I was missing... No, I had to get off of this continent.
Tears streaming down my face, I urged the uni to go faster as I headed for the Meridell Wharf.
‡ Leaving Home ‡
I ran to the wharf, the hood of my cloak pulled tightly over my head. The Meridell docks did not usually have many travelers, especially during this time of day. Fortunately, there were a few merchant ships moored there, but I spied no crew members aboard any of them. I made my way past the silent ships until I came upon an enormous galleon. The purple behemoth swayed slightly in the calm waters, and despite the gloomy, sunless afternoon sky, the sails seemed to give off a golden shine. The name was written on the side of the ship that wasn't facing me, but it seemed to read 'Serenity'. It was a nice name for a boat, and it sounded welcoming.
It was not the most inconspicous ship, but it was the only one at the entire wharf that seemed to be occupied. A wocky was standing nearby, a group of crated goods at her side. One by one she carried them on board. She bore no insignia to indicate her rank, not even a hat. I assumed she was a simple deckhand. I stood by the crates still sitting on the dock and waiting for her to return. Glancing back the way I'd come, it seemed I hadn't been followed. Not yet. I needed to get away from Meridell soon, though.
The wocky walked nonchalantly down the wooden ramp toward the crates. Cautiously, I came out from behind them and began speaking, "Excuse me, m--"
Stay back!" the wocky cried in surprise, quickly unsheathing a cutlass from her belt and brandishing it at me. I raised my arms in alarm, my cloak dropping to my feet. Before I knew it, I was pleading for the wocky to spare me, that I was no danger to her.
Calm down, lass," she said. She must have believed me, for she put away the cutlass, "What is yer name, and what business do yeh have here?"
My name is..." I started, wondering if I should give this wocky my name, especially if she wouldn't help me. I quickly decided it wouldn't matter. If this wocky would not aid me, they would catch up with me anyway, "Kalia," I said finally, "My name is Kalia. And I need a ship to take me away from Meridell as soon as possible. May I speak with your captain?"
Yeh be lookin' at 'er, my dear," the wocky grinned toothily, "Howe'er, I do not commonly take on passengers such as yourself," she said, grabbing a crate and heading up the ramp.
This wasn't good. But I couldn't give up so easily. The wocky returned shortly, but this time ignored me completely.
Look, I'm a princess," I said desperately, "I can pay you whatever amount you wish, I just need to get away from here."
The wocky looked at me incredulously, "Yeh expect me to take yeh up on yer offer because yer a princess? Fine day that would be, as if I didn't have enough to get me in trouble. But imagine getting caught with a princess on board. They'd be sending me to the gallows for sure. No thank you, princess, no amount of money is worth dancing with Jack Ketch, if yeh know what I mean. Yer going to need to find some other insane captain."
Why would she be so worried about the gallows? Merchant sailors aren't sent there for punishment... I thought to myself. The situation began to look hopeless.
I'm being chased. All I need is to get to another continent, and I'll be out of your hair forever," I pleaded.
The wocky stared at me, seeming to ponder my request.
Well, Miss Kalia, yeh'd better be prepared to work," she said with a sly smile, much to my relief, "Yeh can start by loading the rest of these crates. We'll be setting sail and soon as yer finished."
uh...'Aye', captain," I said gratefully, lugging a large crate up the ramp. Within the hour, we were ready to sail.
Aye, Freya, raise the mizzenmast!" the wocky called to the sky, and I noticed for the first time a navy blue uni keeping watch from the crow's nest. She swooped down from her perch and began tugging on various riggings and lines, furiously tying them to other lines and ropes. The wocky pulled up anchor and went to the wheel. The ship slowly edged out of its slip and headed for the open sea. I watched as we sped farther from the rolling freen hills of Meridell, from the shadow of the Citadel looming overhead. I shuddered and turned away. I was safe for the moment, even if I didn't feel that way.
The wocky invited me below deck, to the galley, and I was surprised at how hungry I was. Unfortunately, there wasn't much down there that was edible, save for a few pieces of hard tack and some bottles of rum.
Captain, where is the rest of the crew?" I asked through a mouthful of bread.
Miss Kalia, Freyalise and I be the only members of this crews," she said, fumbling around for something, "Where has me hat gone? Been looking for the blasted thing all day..."
That's another thing, captain, you know my name, but I do not yet know your's, nor the full name of this ship."
A ha!" the wocky cried with glee, pulling a dusty black hat from under a counter and placing it on top of her head. At that moment, I realized I had made a grave mistake. Emblazoned on the hat was the all too familiar skull and crossbones symbol. The symbol of a pirate.
Miss Kalia, I am Captain Veruka FyreFly, and you, me dear, are on board the pirate ship, Serenity's Bane."
P-pirate?" I gasped, "You.. are a pirate?!" I remember, when I was very young, the stories I was told of pirates. Evil beings that pillaged hapless towns, destroying everything in their path...I became hysterical, "I want off of this ship NOW!"
The wocky, Veruka, made a very puzzled face, "Aye... well, that might be a tad hard to do considering we be in open waters. Though yer certainly welcome to jump off if yeh so wish. Howe'er, I do not plan on docking until we have made it to the shores of Krawk Island."
You'll probably steal from me as soon as I have my back turned! And then you'll just throw me overboard, leave me to the jetsams!" I cried.
Trust me, had I any intention of stealing from yeh, I'd have done it before yeh set foot aboard me ship. Though right now the urge to throw yeh overboard is quite tempting..." she sneered, "Seriously though? I intend on keeping me word. We'll be on Krawk Island, and from then on yeh can do whatever yeh wish to do. Yeh can choose to trust me, or not."
I thought about what she said and tried to calm down. Right now, this was the only thing I had. I was safe here, and did not yet have any reason not to trust her.
"I guess I trust you then...thank you," I said quietly, wondering what to do when and if we reached Krawk Island...
‡ Part of the Crew ‡
We landed at Krawk Island a few days later. By this time, I had come to know the two pirates a little better. Freya had lived on Mystery Island and never had the intention of becoming a pirate, though she had been a thief. Veruka inherited this ship from her grandfather, whom she planned on avenging if she could find the pirates that did him in. For pirates, they seemed a little too decent. But I wasn't complaining. In fact, I rather enjoyed their company...
I began to wonder if just stopping at a random continent would be a good idea. Keep moving, that would be the better option. I wondered if the captain would let me stay a little longer...
No," she simply said as soon as I asked, "I already told yeh, yer being a princess is dangerous to me. Yeh'll have to find a merchant ship. No pirate will help yeh."
I figured this time pleading wouldn't help, she was right, I was endangering her, and she had no obligation to help me. But I knew that a merchant ship was the last place I wanted to be. No doubt word had already spread to the residents of Meridell that I was missing, and in turn ships were sent searching for me.. I grabbed the cloak I had taken, as well as a handful of dubloons given to me by Veruka, and left the Serenity hoping I would find someone to help me...
It wasn't until I stepped off of the ship that I realized I had no idea where I was. I hardly ever strayed outside the palace wells, and had never been away from Meridell entirely. The only thing I had to go on was the stories the head servant used to tell me about Krawk Island, and I doubted those were reliable. Though, I did remember something about a restaurant.. the Golden Dubloon? I think that was it.. I set off for the Dubloon; maybe if I had some decent food I'd be able to think more clearly. I found it rather easily and stopped in for a quick bite to eat...
After I was full, I figured I ought to go back to the dock and see if I could find a vessel willing to take me on as a passenger. As I approached, I saw the Serenity was still moored there. Only Veruka and Freya did not seem to be around. There was, however, a decent sized crowd standing near it, hooting and hollering at something. I edged closer to find that, in the middle of the crowd, four figures seemed to be brawling. Closer still, I could now make out two of the figures. Veruka and Freya. Opposite them was a huge and very mean-looking kougra and a smaller menacing aisha. The kougra seemed almost as tall as Freya, but he was much more muscular. There was a blur of fur and feathers, and Freya was sent flying. She landed only a few feet away from me, obviously injured. She attempted to stand, but I stopped her, not knowing the extent of her injury.
Help... the.. captain.." she said when she looked up and saw me.
I nodded, only semi-aware that I was storming towards a group of vicious pirates unarmed and unexperienced in fighting. Fortunately, I did sort of have the element of surprise working for me. I struck the closest pirate, a chia, from behind with my tail, sending him stumbling off the deck and into the water. The others turned out around to face me, drawing their swords. Another pirate near me was too slow drawing his weapon, and I was able to knock it out his hand and towards me. I hastily picked it up and pointed it at the other pirates.
Leave them be," I snarled. This only elicited a round of thunderous guffaws from the pirates.
An' why should we be listenin' to a tiny lass such as yerself?" the kougra laughed. Admittedly, I didn't quite have an answer at that point, so I just continued staring at them menacingly, realizing I'd probably just sealed my own fate. I then noticed that Veruka was not among the crowd anymore. Suddenly, there was a loud thud and the kougra fell to the floor. Standing behind him was Veruka, a slingshot in her hand and a sly grin on her face.
Captain?" one of the pirates called out to the unconscious kougra. Each of the pirates exchanged nervous looks and then eyed Veruka's slingshot worriedly before grabbing hold of their captain and retreating back to their own ship. As soon as they were gone, I dropped the sword and sighed with relief.
That was quite a thing yeh did," Veruka said, "Probably saved me life, yeh know."
They were attacking you. I did what any normal person would do," I saw, going back to check on Freya who was now standing.
Aye, a normal person... would help another normal person. Ne'er a pirate," Veruka said, smiling, "I believe I am in yer debt."
Veruka and I helped Freya back onto the ship. She wasn't hurt too bad, but she'd probably be a little sore in the morning.
I suppose I should be off then," I said, making my way off the ship, "I'm sure they'll be catching up soon."
Yeh know, Miss Kalia, yeh still haven't told me who this 'they' is, or why yer bein' followed. Perhaps yeh'd like to tell us on the way to Mystery Island," Veruka said with a sly grin, "The ship'll be leaving in an hour or so."
Y-you'll take me with you?!" I asked happily. The captain nodded, "But don't expect me to go soft on yeh. I still expect yeh to work. In fact, yeh could start by swabbing the deck before we set sail."
Aye, aye, Captain," I smiled, going to fetch the mop and bucket. I knew it would be a lot of work, but for now, these two were the only ones I could trust, the only real friends I had known. And again, I felt a little safer. Maybe I'm becoming a pirate...
‡ Family ‡
Captain Veruka FyreFly.
A very interesting character indeed. Aside from her accent and attire, you'd hardly think of her as a pirate. I mean, she could certainly be ruthless if she wanted to be, but she's quite trusting, and generous as far as pirates go. I'm glad that she was the only one on the dock that day. I doubt I would have been able to stay free this long if I had come across someone else."
Freya is a very silent uni. From what she's told me, she's had a fairly rough childhood. Because of her tendency to want to be alone, we don't exactly connect very well. She doesn't trust people as readily as Veruka, in fact, I don't even think she really trusts me. I hope that changes, though. Still, she's a big uni with a big heart. She may not always act like she cares, but I can tell that she does.
‡ Jewelry ‡
Veruka and Freya often go on treasure hunts, and usually bring back treasure that they aren't able to resell. The treasure is usually given to me. I don't really have any use for it, but maybe you'd like some? Just keep in mind that stealing from pirates (or pirates' friends) is never a good idea... so always link back! And no editing either. Otherwise, enjoy.:)
‡ X Marks the Spot ‡
Well, you're probably ready to go now, right? Before you do, though, if you ever want to find your way back, take this piece of map. Veruka gave one piece to all of us. You can check with her and Freya for the other two pieces.:)
...This is where my own piece goes...
Or, you could use a simpler link.
‡ Friendly Ports ‡
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