by Wendy

There's a wall of mist before her. She know that mist never behaves like this, smooth and straight, tall as the sky and dipping deep beneath the waves. She's seen many things in her years upon the seas of Theah, but never mist like this. She locks her oars and contemplates the mist, watching it over her shoulder.

When she turns to row once more, she doesn't look back the way she has come.

The Hurricane floundered in the waters off Cabora, holed by that final volley of Scarlet Roger cannon. Thirty one gun salute, for the crew that rid the world of the most feared pirate ever. Or so they'd like to think. The loss of Bonnie had taken a spirit out of the Sea Dogs left, not unscarred by this final of battle. Vengeance may have been taken, but there was no way home.

A giant, silent albatross flew out of the darkness, and startled poor Long Tall Harry hanging from the rigging. An even more ghostly voice, one from beyond the grave wafted towards the slowly drowning ship. "Ahoy, the Hurricane. Need a hand?"

Celedoine was white with fury as she climbed the side of the odd Syrneth Ship, and let fly with her fist. She spoke a sentence to Berek, voice low and out of hearing, and then refused to speak to him anymore the rest of the taut, nerves on edge voyage home. The crew mostly followed her lead, except for a small ragged ear terrier. "At least one Dog is happy to see me." Drew McKenna shrugged at him, as if to say 'I told them you were alive'. Eisen had given the brawny Avalonian a new scar underneath his Gaucher whip wound. A souvenir from Freiburg. Tales in Castille indicated that the Rogers continued on their orgy of destruction and that Reis was apparently still at their head. The world had moved on, whilst the Sea Dogs remained deep in grief.

The Broken Compass Inn was a relief. They understood here. They'd heard Bonnie preach the campaign against Reis, and seen her raise her tankard to Berek. They'd seen Sea Dog crews tell tall tales and duck the unsuspecting in the horse trough.

Berek entered the Inn like a conquering hero. Loud, the few members of his new crew cheered by the sight of a friendly port following close on his heels. They would be returning to Castille and on to la Bucca soon enough, but were glad of a chance to cut loose. The Sea Dogs were home at last. Berek expansively ordered a round for the house, and when the barman asked what had kept him, he replied, "If that isn't an invitation to a tale."

"I was cast overboard, holding tight to a bit of driftwood. I drifted for days, delirious. I reckoned that Reis had killed me and this was some cruel trick of the Afterlife. My beard grew this long-" He indicated it with his hand, wryly grinning at the mutters about how he must have suffered without a proper barber "-and my hair was nearly at my feet. Suddenly, I feel this shadow covering me, and I'm sure it's one of those big sea snakes that did for poor Jack Tars and his bunch, when I hears this good Highland Marches accent calling me an edjit."

Sean McCorley tossed back his beer. "But you sure are one, Cap'n."

"I was rescued, on the say-so of a poor lass called Alesio, who saved my life a second time when I had made shore in Voddace and was beset by Fate Witches. And then I met McKenna in Frieburg looking for Dracheneisen and a beautiful woman of all things. As we sailed onward..." His tale continued in the same vein, as the Inn filled beyond capacity. Word of Berek's return had obviously spread, and all of the town had come to make sure. They all gasped at the appropriate points, and Berek certainly enjoyed playing to his audience. A respectful silence filled the Inn as he the dangers in freeing Allende from Caligari's Island and fleeing in the Syrneth Ship. He did not presume to tell the Sea Dog side of the story, ending his tale with Celedoine's punch.

The traditional cry of "Did ya die?" filled the place as he took a sip of the ale in his hand. He lifted his head and considered it. With a twinkle in his eye he answered "Yes".

The immediate response was a shout of "You liar" and he was dumped in the horse trough regardless.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Plain Style / Fancy Style