Chapter I - Restless Seas, Stormy Hearts - Page 5 - Myth-Weavers


Chapter I - Restless Seas, Stormy Hearts

   
For a moment it looked like Jane wanted to press the conversation further, but she wavered, then ultimately nodded before gathering up the drinks she and Quentin had been sharing.

“All’s the same, then. I’ll put you lot up, free of charge. As long as you’re in Dunlock, you’re guests of mine.”

She gave a mock look of disdain to some of the more ragged members of the crew.

“Kindly try to keep the place tidy though, eh?”

Quentin cocked an eyebrow at Elijah, seemingly intrigued by the loquacious young man. Stroking his chin thoughtfully, he nodded as Elijah gave his exposition, a sly smile on his lips.

“Whatever sort of gods might be present here, I’m thankful they decided to guide such an erudite fellow as yourself to this ramshackle berg. It’s been terribly dull since I’ve arrived here. Perhaps my luck is looking up.”

He winked at Elijah, then rose to his feet, stretching comically before tipping his hat.

“I believe it is time for me to retire. Should you truly wish to see the world’s wonders and mysteries, perhaps I can be of some help. Meet me for breakfast here tomorrow, if you’re so inclined.”

The bulk of the crew began trudging upstairs to their rooms, too exhausted to partake in any comforts other than sleep. The man who had harassed Connel and Bernie returned to his place by the fire, melding back into the featureless mass he’d risen from.

Though sleep came swiftly, it was not without its detriments. Dreams—or perhaps nightmares—pierced the slumbering minds of many a crewman, including the captain and her stalwart companions…









To be continued…

Obadiah McBay
In the haze of his dreams, Obadiah loses sight of Dunlock. The warehouse becomes his world, surrounded by infinite void. The flames lick at his skin, and the heat makes him sweat. He's hacking away at the supports of the warehouse with about as much success as he had in real life. The only difference between then and now is that he's utterly alone. There's no one to compensate for his failure.

Eventually, exhaustion overtakes him. He falls to his knees, resting his hands on the knob of the axe handle as he struggles to catch his breath. He stares back into the warehouse, and he swears he can see movement. In fact, he's sure of it—he sees arms reaching for impossible safety. He hears the sobs of those trapped in their inevitable graves. He hears the people of Dunlock, those who he's loved and those who he's never had the chance to love.

In a moment, his energy comes flooding back. He stands up straight, and drops his axe. He knows what he has to do.

He goes inside.


Elijah Locke
Elijah's mind refused to stop thinking about Quentin. The possibility of adventure tomorrow sounded like exactly what he'd wanted to find in Dunlock. Even the slimmest chance to discover "the world's wonders and mysteries" was an intoxicating promise to Elijah's ears, some faint guarantee of the mystery his heart longed for. Oh, Elijah knew he was a hopeless romantic, but look at what the fates were offering him right here!

Elijah laid awake too long in his bed, his mind rushing with all the potentialities. And when sleep finally claimed him, Quentin's adventures found him still. Elijah, one wet with a rain recently past. There was laughter, Elijah was sure of it, though he wasn't sure where it came from. Maybe it was his. But then the laughter was replaced by the sound of a fiddle, it's rapid, charming notes calling to him. Somehow he could follow the song through the echoing halls of the forest, and found himself at a swift-moving creek. The water bounced along over the rocks, coming down the hillside. Elijah went up, looking for its source. He knew the fiddler was to be found there.

Up and up and up he trekked, skipping over rocks and branches and roots. His legs never got tired. Then, out of nowhere, there it was: the waterfall. Water rushed it a torrent over the side of a cliff thirty feet up, pouring down into a crystal pool. And there the fiddler sat, alone on a rock in front of the waterfall. His music was louder than the torrents. (Shouldn't the water be louder? No. No, the music was right.) The figure was clad in only trousers and a familiar-looking hat. He knew someone with that hat.

The fiddler played on and Elijah was desperate to know who it was. He needed to know. He walked around the pond but it seemed to take forever. As much as he walked, he couldn't see the man's face. It was always turned away from him. "Hello! Sir! Can I ask your name?" he called, to no response.

He took a step out into the water, and found he was neither wet nor in the water. He could walk on it's surface! Of course he could. Elijah took another step and another. Finally, eventually, there he was. At the rock. At the fiddler. "Excuse me? I'm sorry to bother you but . . ." The man stopped playing. Everything was silent. Everything.

He turned to look at Elijah. With that bright spark of recognition, Elijah knew the man. Quentin! Had his features been this fine last night? So carefully sculpted, as if from the hands of a master? His cheeks went red and he stepped back, suddenly recalling that he could not, in fact, walk on water. Quentin grabbed his arm. "Careful! Or you'll fall."

Elijah hung there in the air, suspended by the strength of Quentin's gentle grip some twenty feet over the pond. (How had they gotten so high? It didn't matter.) Slowly, Quentin pulled him in, til the other man's lips were at his ear. "Do you truly wish to see the world's wonders and its mysteries?" Elijah wasn't sure if he could speak or nod or do anything at all. But Quentin got his answer nonetheless. "Then behold! We hold them in our hands."

Elijah looked down, between them, to where the two of them cupped their hands together. A flower of pure light, a violet, bloomed there. "These secrets are so small. They are not grandiose things but something to be had between you and me and the universe."

They sat so close together now, on the rock, that their foreheads almost touched as they marveled at the flower together. (Should his heart be hammering now? Why couldn't he hear it? Oh, wait, yes, the waterfall was too loud.) Elijah said something then that he was sure was grand and eloquent and . . . romantic. Oh! No. Not what he wanted. He couldn't want it. What if his father . . . Elijah laid his head on Quentin's shoulder. His father wasn't here. The universe was. That was enough.

Bernadette Janacek (The Captain)
Moonlight made the beach shine like glass as the waves gently lapped at her feet- her flippers? She could see the cliffs of the island rise up to the south, and somewhere over that ridge she knew there was a town of men and women with fires lit in their stone shells they called houses. Here though, nobody but the puffins made their home. And even they only stayed the summer to breed and then flew off again. Here the coast was entirely unsheltered from the open sea which beat down relentlessly in the winter storms. In this moment, this memory, however, she only felt warm, calm and even a little giddy. She dug her toes, yes toes, into the wet sand and wiggled them about before throwing back her head in melodic laughter. Her laughter seemed to ring around her and up the beach. She didn’t care, she didn’t have any cares in the world just then.

She let her seal skin fall to the sand and stood, bare and blushing in the moonlight, glorying in it’s serenity. Then she heard a voice, a heated exclamation, a man. She turned slowly, smiling as her gaze settled upon a human man. He was tall, and thickly built, her Henry. She felt desire as she looked at him, but also something strange, something foreboding- a sense that she had seen him before, watched him die. The feeling grew inside of her to an overpowering dread, but instead of running away she felt her body open her arms and embrace him.

Her mind battled within that embrace, casting about trying to regain control, but nothing could be done. She was paralyzed in whatever her past had already written. She wanted to turn around see the land that stood behind them, find a marker that would help her remember this place again. But she could only see Henry. Henry and the sea behind him, a ship with white sails gliding over the sea like an eagle. She tried to scream, but only found Henry’s mouth entwined with hers. His powerful masculinity, his earthly human taste. He was a man in his prime that night. The night he stole her.

Why couldn’t she look away? She tried to tear her gaze from his, but his eyes bore into hers with a fierce possession that made her quake with terror. Those eyes consumed her. They turned to twin flames, growing in the darkness out of the rain. Then roaring fire, crackling with some dark power that didn’t come from man or nature at all. She could feel the heat. She could feel the kiss of it on her skin, burning her despite the rain…








 

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