I look around the cottage Azrael constructed for us. Here we are safe and warm. Protected by magic, and our weapons. I put a lot of trust in my wit and inventions, but nothing besides my friends kept me alive during the battle against Jashin’s follower.
The Moment I Died
It’s difficult to believe everything that people say. One thing I do believe is the common flashbacks people experience. People say that your life will flash before your eyes before you die.
It certainly does.
I remembered growing up in Bayfalls. There I crewed various types of ships and learned how to live free from Dorwine’s grasp. It was nice. I could smell Bayfalls again. Once I obtained the Blind, it was nicer. I must admit, I did many evil things under the Salt Blood name. To be honest, I enjoyed them. I suppose that makes me as bad as Jashin. My flashbacks turned to be about my crew members.
I remembered that I picked Cresten over Jack because I knew Cresten could fight and bring some more tough sailors aboard as the Dorwinian Navy began to start hunting us. I thought it would be a good decision as more hands to fight was always a good thing. Cresten taught me that malicious intent hides in good actions.
I remember one night, we laid anchor nearby an unmarked sandbar. We decided it had been a while since sand touched our toes, and so the crew and I disembarked. Cresten stayed behind along with his loyal men.
However, I paid no attention to these warning signs of his mutiny because I laughed, drank, and caroused with my crew until the sunrise. Atticus, the poor lad, still trying to impress me. I let him hold my pepperbox for the night.
Tirin and Bambi were in some sort of strength contest to see who could skip a crab across the water the most. Bambi seemed like she was holding back, but still had fun — so did Tirin. Jack led the other crew in a shanty for our luck and fortune. Congrin and others danced around the fire to his voice.
It was on this night that Alistair warned me of his distrust over Cresten. I paid him no attention, as much as I saw him as my equal. Alistair’s words were weightless and unheard.
I should have listened. I could be back there with them, still laughing and having fun. Cresten’s body at the seafloor..
Except, then, my eyes shut and I fell. I shot at Jashin and for some reason I took the hit, along with every punch, stab, arrow and slash my allies made.
I kept falling, and falling until suddenly I woke up.
This time I remembered the mutiny.
It was a dreary day. Almost a week since we visited that sandbar. I hadn’t seen even Atticus smile when he gave me my pepperbox that morning. The only focus that day was on the merchant vessel that Lysav Morket sailed on.
I was disgusted with myself. My crew was in low spirits and we were close to the heart of the great Dorwine Empire. My crew didn’t deserve to go for so long without a good raid. The Elven merchant ship would be scuttled and all its goods stowed away on the Blind. I even planned to give the booty to the crew and none to myself.
When I gave the order to attack the Elven ship at the bow, the sky turned black. The sea became blood, and blue lightning cracked down. I turned to see the comfort of familiar faces but saw only Cresten. He looked taller as he stood atop the stern where the wheel was fixed. Fire danced on his twin swords as he yelled unintelligible words at me. The sea became rougher than any storm I’ve sailed in, and the Blind capsized. I saw every face of my crew drown alongside me. They wouldn’t stop expelling their air reserves at me. Each one of them yelling until they drowned at me, while I held my breath and tried to survive.
Except I woke up. I saw the morning sun. The yelling of Lysav’s voice, and spells being cast. I was stuck in webbing, and I remembered where I was. I couldn’t save my crew from a mutinous 1st mate, but I could save this one.
I fired my gun.
I blacked out once more, only to regain consciousness as I witnessed Kid, Caresse, and Raagwulf pledge themselves to Jashin. A demon. I hated Kid. He wouldn’t know what it’s like to live with a past as evil as mine. He may appreciate the powers he has now, but he should never have convinced Caresse and Raagwulf to join him.
We should have all gone down that day, but we lived. We live divided — at our throats for who is good and who is evil. I can’t play a part in this, but I know that Jashin is another name I’m placing on my bullets. I failed my crew, no matter how evil they were, they didn’t deserve that. I will not fail this one.
Once I returned to Latun, I ventured to the Salty Nook. There I found another piece of the map concerning the Pillars. Yet another pillar connected to where the Briarwoods abducted us all those years ago.
More importantly, I found the piece of the map with my old crew. They’ve not changed much. They were stunned about my character as well. I thought they were dead, but no. They spoke of the Blind Captain as if he weren’t a traitor. I quickly gave them jobs on the Prophecy and made Jack the rightful 1st mate. It doesn’t matter that Alstan was the 1st. I won’t make another mistake like I did with Cresten.
I sent off the new, fully crewed Prophecy out to make money for themselves and returned to the other Knights.
Eldor, of the Silver Star, revealed to us that they were led into a trap. Fearing that they can’t trust anyone to deliver information, Eldor, personally, came and requested that we head East to intercept the Wolf of Scars’s werewolf party.
We obliged as honor dictated it and headed East through the cold Dorwinian countryside.
A day’s travel led us to hear a woman’s screaming. We immediately set forth to rescue someone in need. The battle ended with Azrael teetering close to death. Kid and Caresse’s devotion to Jashin was what saved us all however. That, and another soul eater — this time sent from, “D.B.”
Except this soul eater was meant to keep us alive. Caresse and Kid dispatched the Bugbear/Goblin bodies and sent them to Jashin as the woman who’s vocal cords were cut fainted from the sight of us and our methods.
She fainted because she saw monsters, not heroes.
Perhaps Eldor came to us because monsters are the best monster hunters.
Kid works on his new bandana, Raagwulf rests on the bunk as I assume Lysav meditates on another. Zhen and Caresse stand watch outside as Azrael sleeps on her own bunk. Tessera takes care to sleep by a window to keep watch on her wolf as she watches over us as well.
I think I’ll take the top bunk over Lysav, so everyone is in view.
I wonder if I’ll face another mutiny sometime soon.