Unknown - Chapter 19

     Chapter 19

     “There, that’s done. Time to go find the rest of the Guardians” the old man stood up and brushed his clothes. Alen sat looking at the wooden planks, his eyes watched and traced the wood lines on the wood as his mind raced to understand what he had just heard. “I’m going to die?” he questioned himself. He felt a weird sense of enjoyment and exhilaration despite knowing that he will soon die. “Why am I feeling like this? Shouldn’t I be sad and depressed?” his voice told him. “Yet I am happy, exhilarated in fact... why is this happening to me?”

     Shamah turned towards the bow and looked towards the horizon. “Where is this ship heading?” he turned to Edabu who joined him at his side. “Kliph”

     Shamah ignored the word. “Steer it towards Lhamira, from there we need to take the old route upriver towards the smith city of Kaleema. Grear is there” he points to the southwestern horizon.

     Edabu looked at the old man. “Master Grear is in a smith city?”

     The old man sighed. “Yes, she is. What better place to hide oneself than amongst one’s enemy. Her enemy is the Emperium of Kavil just like you are the enemy of the Chancellory”

     “Yet I did not hide amongst my enemy” Edabu replied.

     “Because you are stupid” the old man snapped back.

     Shamah leaned forward, hands on the bow’s rail. He inhaled and tasted the salt air in his nostrils and his mouth. “The world is different now” he said under his breath. Edabu looked to the horizon in silence. His heart flew back in time when the empires were smaller and hope and determination reigned over corruption and greed. It prides him to sit in the chambers of the Five Pointed Stars as one of the head councillor to the High Chancellor of Bing. “Things have changed” sadness filled his voice.

     Enil and Alen lied sprawled watching the stars above them. Edabu and Shamah had gone into the hold as with Eliza and Kalvel. Alen sighed first, followed by Enil. “Weird, huh?” said Alen smiling.

     “What is?” Enil turned his head to his friend.

     “A few nights ago we were still thieves running around the city picking pockets and selling stolen items and now, we are both destined for great things” Alen joked.

     “Relax, your uncle, sorry, Carvas said both you and I are meant for something, and I don’t think he has dying in mind” Enil looked back to the stars.

     “Well, he actually did say the same thing, only I found it hard to believe the first time I heard it”

     Enil frowned. “He told you you’re going to die?”

     Alen nods.

     “Wow... that’s... shocking” Enil frowned. A lone star shot across the sky. His eyes trailed the star as his mouth mumbled silently. “So what’s next?”

     Alen sighed. “I don’t know... the whole thing feels kind of pointless once you know your own ending, well, except you that is”

     “Still, even after he said that, something in my heart doubted it” Enil said with confidence. “Maybe he wanted to see if you have the determination for something someone forced you to do? Who knows” he shrugged.

     “Yeah, who knows” Alen repeated.

     Enil leaned to his side to face his friend. “Let’s think of it this way, your, sorry, Carvas told us to seek this sage Orof. Until you hear what that sage got to say about you, let’s pretend that old man didn’t say anything, cool?” Enil puts out a fist towards Alen.

     Alen looked at his friend and his fist. His mind wondered about such simple reality but also thought of the truth in that simple reality. He smiled. “Cool” and they both lied with their back on the deck watching the stars above.


     The hammer slammed onto the red steel, throwing away fire sparks into the air. The air suffocates with the smell of burned coal and melted steel. A slender arm, blackened by grease and hard work rose into the air with the hammer held tight in its hand slammed the red metal twice in succession. A pair of muscular arms emerged from the side holding a pincer. It grabbed hold of the red steel and twists it around. The slender arm flew and slammed into the steel again, twice.

     The muscular arms with the pincer drowned the red steel into a bucket of gray water. The metal hissed when touched by the water surface sending frail smokes into the air.

     “Gosh this work never ends” the owner of the slender arm groaned. Its voice was deep and authoritative yet maintains a tinge of womanly flair. She bends her arm to reach behind her head and pulled out the rubber band holding her hair together and shook her head. She was blonde, long straight hair, sharp brows and stern eyes. Her nose small and neatly placed between her eyes. Her lips thick and pink. Her face was oval, sharp at the chin. No lines cracked her forehead nor her cheek and neck. Her white skin coated with smudges of black grease. Her gray leather apron sat in front of her green tank top and her blue hard pants.

     “It will never end Grear” an older man with the muscular arms and the pincer pulled out the metal from the water and placed it inside the forge. “Not as long this stupid campaign for the northern territory continues” he chewed the cigarette on his lips and spat it out. His lips cracked with his age. His eyes big and round tough rough on the edges. His white hair sat neat underneath his red bandana. He pulled out the heat mitten from his hands and wiped the sweat on his canyoned forehead.

     “Have you heard anything about the campaign?” Grear looked to the old man.

     “Nope, nothing outside the ones everyone already knew” the old man pulled out another cigarette from his pocket. He placed it between his aging lips and pulled a hot coal from the forge with the pincer. The cigarette ends touched the hot coal and flared. The old man inhaled deep and sends out armies of smokes from his nostrils and mouth.

     Grear waved her hands around her face. She let out a cute coughed and cocked her eyebrows at her assistant. “Gramps, how many times do I have to tell you not to smoke in front of me?” she puts her hands on her hip. The hammer sat tight in her grip.

     Gramps pulled out the cigarette and placed it between his ear. “There, happy?”. Grear smiled. “Come on Gramps, back to work” she stepped onto a long wood and pressed it down with her weight. The fire in the forge roared to life. “Work... I hate work” Gramps pulled the heat mitten back to his hands and with the pincer, pulled out the metal he had placed in there earlier. Grear’s hand flew into the air and slammed onto the heated metal, twice.

     

     “How many days has it been?” Enil looked to the gray sky with his hand above his eyes. Alen leaned forward on the rail at the side of the deck, throwing up.

     “I don’t think I can stand the sea any longer...” Alen whispered to himself. His face was pale and his lips cracked.

     Shamah emerged from the door. “What the hell are you two pricks longing on the deck for?” Alen and Enil looked back towards the old man. He waved for them to get into the hold.

     The door closed behind the two. Alen was still clutching his stomach. His face was still pale. “I need to lie down for a while” he wobbled down the stairs and heads into the sleep quarter. Kalvel was sitting facing Edabu, cards in hand. Shamah sat on the big sit behind the big table with some sort of map spread in front of him. He rubbed his chin as he gaze on the map.

     The hold was a simple room with barrels as seats and planks of several barrels as tables but it was decorated to give anyone who walk in a warm welcome. Enil looked around. “Where’s Eliza?”

     “Kitchen preparing meal” Kalvel said simple. His jovial character was gone and the cutlasses that he had used before disappeared inside the ship. Enil gave a simple nod and joined Edabu and Kalvel.

     “How many days has it been?” Enil shot the same question to the two men playing cards. Edabu looked at him.

     “At least a week has passed since we left Humi” he said simple. Lines emerged from Edabu’s forehead as his gaze tries to read Kalvel’s.

     “It will be another day or two before we reached the port town, then another ten days to travel down the old route and back” Shamah replied. “That is if we didn’t encountered any pirates which if that happens I’ll say you are all such lucky bastards and bandits on the road en route to Kaleema” the old man ran his fingers down on the map, tracing for route.

     “Pirates...” the thought made Enil shudder and the ship rocked violently.

     “What was that?!” Enil looked around. His hands holding on to the barrel. Alen groaned from the sleep quarter and Eliza screamed from the kitchen. Kalvel had already broke into a run towards his daughter and Edabu and Shamah looked upwards.

     “Looks like you’re all unlucky bastards after all” he sneered.

     “Prepare to be boarded!” A voice broke the silence of the black ship. Edabu and Shamah emerged from the hold with Enil and Kalvel towing behind them.

     “Oh, so it’s not an empty vessel after all!” a bearded man in his fifties stood proud at the side of his ship. Behind and beside him stood his crews, some bald, some long haired and some wearing bandanas. The man held his hand tight on his richly decorated sword swinging on his hip. Edabu’s eyes scanned the ship nearing them. He winced.

     “There is a magistus amongst them” He whispered to Shamah but the old man just smiled.

     “It’s that bastard Sazara” he replied.