Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 134,591,299 Issue: 278 | 9th day of Awakening, Y9
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Long Lost At Sea

by jjquil


The truth revealed about Hannah's family!

"Avast, ye wee lassie, that's me treasure ye're swipin'! Drop it ta th' deck, an' we might let ye off easy-like!"

     Hannah the Usul smirked down at the irate pirates from her perch in the crow’s-nest, treasure chest tucked neatly beneath one blouse-clad arm. Nothing can climb faster than a Usul. And that rule didn't just apply to trees.

     It was child's play for the self-proclaimed "swiftest thief on the high seas" to scamper up ships' riggings. She giggled, watching the disgruntled rogues begin to shimmy up the ropes after her.

     "Come on, lass, give it up! Ye've got nowhere ta run!"

     "Oh, really?" Hannah replied unhurriedly, wrinkling her nose in amusement. She paused a few moments to savor the salty spray from the ocean's waves - this was what she lived for...

     "I s'pose I should be on my way now," she said finally, noting that the approaching crewmembers had all but reached her level.

     Hugging the pilfered goods to her chest, Hannah leapt from the mast, snagging a loose cable as she plummeted. Kicking her legs forward for more momentum, she soared through the open air, long chestnut hair streaming behind her. Her graceful arc carried her past the ship's railing, depositing her overboard.

     The burly Techo captain and his motley corsairs rushed to the edge, peering over to see... Hannah seated comfortably in the ship's rowboat, waving impishly up to them as she paddled away.

     "How'd she do that?" the Mynci coxswain mumbled, avoiding his captain's baleful glare.

     "Yore in charge o' our liddle boats, genius, you tell me!" the Techo snarled in a blind fury. "A pox on ye, pirate thief!!"


     The small boat ground gently against the sands of Krawk Island, and Hannah sprang nimbly onto the damp shores to haul the towrope over one shoulder. Once her stolen rowboat was safely moored and the oars were hidden nearby, Hannah trotted down the shoreline with her treasure chest in her arms.

     She didn't make it a habit to rob ships at sea - after all, it was much more fun (and easier) to raid the coastal caves where the pirates stashed their loot - but that particular captain had gotten under her skin at the Golden Dubloon, and she felt it was her right to even up the score.

     The warm sea breezes teased her faded green skirt, ruffling the long golden fur of her fluffy Usul tail. Whistling cheerfully, she poked her head into the doorway of the Golden Dubloon restaurant.

     "Hallo, ladies!" she called, waving to her friends the Fontaine sisters. Loretta and Rosetta had their Aisha hands full today as they bustled past the door, skirts swishing in unison. The restaurant was even more crowded than normal - Hannah spotted a few familiar faces. Cap'n Threelegs and Yerik the Marauder were in a heated bragging match near the counter, and she saw that shady looking Bruce and Lenny pair skulking about in the corner - she had encountered them from various dealings involving the Smuggler's Cove.

     "There must be several ships docked here," Hannah muttered to herself, looking out at the raucous sea of weatherworn sailors and pillagers. She slipped into the crowd with the ease of a practiced pickpocket, and chose a seat against the wall. The treasure chest was plunked unceremoniously onto the table - it would serve as payment for her meal - and she allowed her dark violet-blue eyes to wander about the establishment, noting easy marks.

     It wasn't long before something caught her attention. Two figures were entering the Golden Dubloon, and a third was harassing them. A stooped, elderly figure in a heavy cloak was clinging to the arm of a young swashbuckling Usul, and his Kyrii mate was trying to pry the Usul's arm free. Clearly the two rogues wanted nothing to do with the old maid, whoever she was. Hannah watched with an amused grin - until they neared close enough for her to catch what they were saying.

     "And to be sure, young master Garret hasn't changed a bit!"

     "My name is Garin, and that's 'Captain' to you! Paws off me! Jacques, help!" the Usul yelped.

     "I am helping! Didn't Isca warn you about a fateful encounter? Couldn't this be it?" the Kyrii mused aloud.

     "Ah, the young master knows the Aisha twins of Maraqua, but does he know he has a twin, too?"

     The annoyed captain - Garin, was it? - stopped struggling for a moment, his bright sky-blue eyes trained on the elder's hooded face.

     "Are you saying I have a brother?" he asked dubiously, shaggy blond hair mussed up from being jostled in the crowd. His Kyrii friend - Jacques - shook his head impatiently, flowing mane of red fur brushing his narrow shoulders.

     "Come on, mate, she's just rattling your chain. The old bat doesn't know what she's talking about."

     The stooped figure pulled back her hood, unveiling herself as an old grey-furred Wocky, worn face lined with age.

     "Ah... but the young master doesn't recall his old nursemaid. 'Tis sad, to be sure, how the seasons have treated me. And your twin - such little troublemakers you both were, as alike as peas in a pod! - but not a brother, dear me, no, though she often wished for it. You have a sister, young master Garin."

     "S-sister?!" the Usul spluttered, beginning to laugh. "Lady, you've lost your marbles! I don't care who you think you are, but Captain Garin never had a nursemaid or a twin sister. I was born on the high seas, and I've been a pirate since that stormy night!"

     Jacques shook his head again, this time in exasperation at his buddy's arrogant overconfidence. But Hannah was intrigued. Something was stirring, some long-forgotten memory trying to resurface. There was something about those bright sky-blue eyes, that wild golden hair... Garin seemed so familiar, but she just couldn't place it.

     Abandoning her table, she walked slowly over to the trio, eyeing the old Wocky. "... Jan," she breathed to herself.

     "Excuse me; is your name... Jan?"

     The Wocky met her dark violet gaze, and a slow whiskery smile lit up her wrinkled face.

     "And to be sure, if it isn't the little missy herself. I always knew little Hannie could look after herself; she was tough like her daddy, always the survivor. And what a coincidence, to bring my little waifs back together again after so many years! Ye must be blest by the stars themselves, children!"

     Jan reached out and clapped a grizzled paw onto both the Usuls' shoulders, spinning them to face each other.

     Dark violet-blue stared boldly into bright azure. Jacques whistled nearby; those two were exactly the same height. Their long hair had the same wavy bounce to it, that made it impossible to control - much like their stubborn and wayward personalities. And they both wore the same curious, suspicious look, noses wrinkled, lips parted in silent awe.

     Hannah found her voice first. Nervously, she stated, "So, you're... a pirate captain then?" She gestured toward the two brass hoops that dangled from Garin's nicked left ear.

     "Yeah," he answered quickly, a defensive tone creeping into his voice. "But you... don't I know you from somewhere? I mean, I know I've seen you before, erm, recently..."

     Jacques rolled his eyes. "She's Hannah the pirate thief," he sighed. "You saw her face on the 'Wanted' posters - she's worth a lot more than you and me combined."

     "A pirate captain and a pirate thief... Yes, two little peas in a pod," Jan whispered happily to herself. "You two little rogues are alive and well... It's a miracle."

     Hannah and Garin could not stop staring at each other. The resemblance was eerie. It was so incredible to believe that after all this time, believing that neither of them had any family...

     "It's true, isn't it," Garin mumbled unhappily. "We're really... twins?"

     "What's so bad about that?" Hannah asked swiftly, violet eyes narrowed.

     "Well... It's just..."

     Jacques cut in with a smile. "It ruins his story, you see. Now that he knows he was raised by an old nurse with his girly twin sister, he can't exactly go on about being 'born in the dead of a storm' and 'cutting his eyeteeth on a cutlass', yadda yadda..." The roguish Kyrii winked at Hannah. "He's a braggart and he's too arrogant for his own good, but he has a true heart - for a pirate."

     Garin kicked Jacques, face flushed with annoyance. "Th-that's not true!" he sputtered. "I'm the fiercest rogue on the high seas! I loot any merchant that dares cross the Black Pawkeet - that makes me a better thief than some pretty little smuggler girl!"

     Hannah's tail stiffened in anger. "Why you - you - puffed-up windbag! You're only saying those things because Jacques is right, and I'm worth more than your entire crew on the 'Wanted' posters!" She grabbed the Kyrii's arm and dragged him next to her - without much resistance. Jacques grinned and offered an apologetic shrug.

     Garin's eyes widened, and he yelped, "Traitor! Turncoat! You'll never make a name for yourself with her, you mutineer! I'm the one who's gonna be famous, and rich, and... and... better!!"

     Grey-furred old Jan settled wearily onto the stool, cupping her furry chin in her paws. It was such a weight off her chest to see that the little twins she'd helped raise were alive, healthy, and as spirited as ever. She could remember it all clearly now - strolling down the beach, clasping their tiny paws as they waved 'goodbye' to the sailors on the coastline. Garin with his bright blue eyes and tousled blond hair, boldly announcing that one day, he'd be the greatest pirate there ever was! And adorable little Hannah, wrinkling her nose childishly at him, and correcting him - she was the best, so she would be rich and famous, and one day everyone in the whole wide world would know who Hannah the Thief was.

The End

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