Well, well, y’all, here it is…Story Tuesday once again, this time on Thursday. My, how that doesn’t make sense.
One short explanation before we begin this week. As some of you may have noticed, I didn’t post my story on Serial Central on Tuesday. Apart from the fact that this week has been pretty crazy, there is another factor contributing to my absence. And that is that I’ve withdrawn my participation from SC. So, Banager’s Lights will continue to run in my Happy Home, but it will no longer be posted on Serial Central. 😦
Chapter 4. Safe from Merivather
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Azen tried to think more about it, trying to cut out of his memory what seemed like hours. But no matter how much he condensed time, there was no denying it.
“Rarawsh, we’ve been traveling for three days now, haven’t we?” he asked the Sherasi serving him tea that morning.
Rarawsh nodded. “We left on Tousdaye. And today is Frodaye.” As if simple math helped the situation look any different.
Azen glanced to the corner, where Mr. Komenk had spent the majority of his time, thinking, glaring at the ceiling, and refusing to eat. Azen had urged him to, but the only response he got was a quick shake of the head. What was the man up to? A hunger strike? And if it was, why hadn’t he voiced what he wanted?
“Are we on the ship?” Azen queried, sipping his tea. It was warm, not hot. It tasted much richer than any tea they could’ve gotten from the Westlands—he guessed it was Andoran, probably from Kapital or Kayles. They were famous for their rich teas there. It didn’t even need sugar. Which made Rarawsh even stranger a character when he started spooning shining lumps of sugar into his cup.
“Yes, we are on Bari’s Kortek,” Rarawsh said, happy to be talking. “On our way to the Port of Nayvek. We are somewhere halfway across the Norden sea right now. Nortres is almost in site…we will bear South of that, which will take us in through Donchek’s Inlet and land us in the Port of Nayvek. I hope you’re happy with your itinerary,” he smiled.
“I’m happy to be informed,” said Azen, segueing. “In fact, I’d be a lot happier a prisoner if I was informed just a little more on where we’re going, why we’re going, and why you’re taking us.”
Rarawsh laughed a hearty, sincere laugh. “And I would be happier if you were informed too.”
“Which means…that you can’t tell me, even if you wanted to.”
“Which means that if you told me, or broke any other rule, they’d whip you again?”
“Who said anything about ‘again?'” He fidgeted uncomfortably with the sugar bowl. “Would you like some more tea?”
– – –
The ship awoke to ruckus.
Something had gone wrong…somewhere down below, in the steam room, somebody had been eating something that had gotten into the machinery. It didn’t belong there, and the ship told them. The problem was that the engineer wasn’t looking at what the ship was telling him.
In life, there are consequences, and some do more than just “Teach us a lesson.”
“Get up, Azen, Mr. Komenk!” yelled Rarawsh, dragging the two bodies toward the ladder with the strength of a mammoth. The prisoners awoke quickly enough to drag themselves up the ladder on their own.
On the top deck, they were confused by what they saw. Nothing was on fire…no whales, no anything of any sort, just blackness all around. The lights of the steamship shone steadily, reflecting off the deck…which was covered in pools of water.
“The ship is sinking!” somebody yelled.
Everyone was heading for the emergency rafts, scrambling, forgetting all manners of love, forgetting all rules of friendship. Each man was for himself. Soon, all the rafts were taken, and plunked off the side of the boat into the cold water.
“There’s no boats left for us,” Azen stated.
“Ah, but the tank is a boat,” said the Andoran man calmly, while Rarawsh quietly whimpered nearby. “It is completely amphibious. We will be totally safe.”
“From everything?” Rarawsh asked.
“Everything except for merivather,” remarked Mr. Komenk. “Sir, give me a harpoon and a dagger, and I will protect us from the nefarious beasts.”
Mr. Andoran laughed. “We are completely safe from merivather, Mr. Komenk. Because they don’t exist. It is a common confusion with the merry water beasts.”
“But I’ve seen them,” Mr. Komenk explained.
“Back below,” said the man. “Now. And we’ll be safe from these dragons of yours, as well as the demise of this lovely vessel.”
– – –
“Rarawsh, you must give me a dagger and a harpoon,” said Mr. Komenk. “Please. The merivather can slip through small spaces…they’ll be in the hull eating us if we don’t arm ourselves.”
Rarawsh studied his eyes. “Okay. I’ll get it for you, because frankly I think there are merivather in these parts, as well. But don’t let Mr. Kay know that I gave them to you.” He pointed to his back and winked at Azen. “Or I’ll find out. Trust me.”