Friday, 9 September 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: Zeeb's Zephyrus

Is it just me, or is anyone else feeling like the year is going past so fast? 

There was Camp NaNo in April and then again in July, and then there's actual NaNo in November which is coming up WAY TOO FAST. (And I still have no clue what in the world I'm even doing)

And we've done twenty chapters of this story already. Which is very exciting.

It wasn't hard to tell which option one for Lost from the Light. I mean, when there's 9 votes for option three...it's really not hard to see where it's going.

And I had lots of fun writing it. Hopefully I don't get into more trouble for being a mean author. ;P

Enjoy!



I threw myself to the side, tearing loose for long enough to scream. “Warin!”

Hands grabbed at me, pulling backward, smothering my mouth before I could shout again. Kicking and struggling against them, I bit down on the hand over my mouth.

With a yell it withdrew and I launched forward, slipping away from the grasping hands. “Warin! Gripper! Help!”

A tall figure was beside me in a moment, sword catching the faint starlight. Warin pulled me back from the charging shadows of men.

“Get behind the others,” he ordered, stepping forward to meet the attack.

I scrambled backward, hearing the clash of blades as Warin drove the men back easily.

The rest of the crew was running forward, weapons in hand.

The attackers wouldn’t last long.

Ducking behind the crewmen, a muffled shout made me spin.

A large figure was silhouetted above the cliff, swinging a fist at a lanky shadow.

“Gypsy Boy,” I gasped, running forward.

Altin was struggling against the man but he couldn’t escape. I threw myself onto the figure’s back, sending him staggering to the ground.

He rolled, crushing my arm beneath him, and I screamed for help again.

A knife blade flashed above.

I brought my knee up, jamming it into the man’s stomach with as much force as I could, hearing the gasp.

Jerking to the side, I struggled free, scrambling out of reach as he started to rise.

Gypsy Boy grabbed up a discarded sword, bringing the flat of the blade down hard on the back of the man’s head.

With a grunt he collapsed flat again.

I stood panting for a moment.

Altin’s dark blue eyes met mine. “Louise, you sa—”

“Don’t address her as if you were her equal,” Warin interrupted, stepping in between us. “‘My lady’ will do for you.”

The dark jaw clenched. “Sorry, my lady,” he muttered, turning away.

I felt a twinge of regret.

“Did they hurt you?” Warin asked, sheathing his sword with a quick movement.

I shook my head. “Not really,” I managed, licking my strangely dry lips.

“It was close. If you hadn’t been so watchful they might have easily killed some of the men.” Warin’s hands were clenching and unclenching at his sides.

“Who were they?” I asked, glancing over my shoulder to the dark sea past the cliff edge.

“Pirates. I don’t know whose crew.” Warin narrowed his eyes. “I don’t think they knew who we were either.”

“Are you all right, lass?” Gripper came up behind me, resting a hand on my shoulder.

I cracked a small smile. “Fine thanks.”

He nodded, patting my back reassuringly and turning aside.

“Did they all run?” I glanced up at Warin.

He was scanning the tree line. “I don’t know. I don’t like it, honestly. Something doesn’t feel right about this whole thing.” Moving toward the scene of the short fight, he bent, picking up a torn strip of fabric, sliced by a sword from someone’s cloak. “There’s only one reason they’d come after only you or Gypsy Boy.”

I looked over my shoulder again, the hairs on the back of my neck prickling.

“Why?” I breathed, not sure I wanted to hear the answer.

“Slaves.” Warin’s voice held a bitter edge, his eyes fixed, unfocused, on the ground.

A shadow moved behind him, just under the trees, and I stiffened.

“Warin,” I said slowly.

He drew in a sighing breath and glanced up.

“I think there’s—”

Following my gaze, he turned. Right into a sword blade.

It pierced into his upper arm, where moments ago it would have gone right into his back

I screamed, stumbling back as figures rushed for me.

Slaves.

No.

Dropping to the ground, I tried to scramble into the underbrush, but my burnt hands tore agony across my vision, my arms collapsing beneath me and sending me sprawling.

Rough arms dragged me up, running instantly, slapping through bushes and ferns. I struggled and yelled, trying to break free.

“Shut her up, will ye?” a voice snarled from my right.

“Yessir,” One of the men holding me replied, wrapping a hand over my mouth.

I couldn’t breathe.

What were they going to do to me?

“That’s better.” The pirate’s voice seemed distant and echoing. “Soon as we get ‘er back to the Zephyrus, we can teach her a lesson on keeping her mouth shut, eh?”

“Cap’in Zeeb always does,” another voice chuckled.

The sound bounced inside my skull, the spinning and blurring around me.

I couldn’t breathe.

Maybe I would just die now and save them the trouble.


Something hard nudged my stomach.

“D’ya think it’s alive?”

“Aye, she’s a breathing. Ye don’t breath when yer dead.”

“I still think ye squeezed her a bit too ‘ard.”

The hard thing nudged me again and I swam up from the sea of unconsciousness.

Where was I?

Hard boards rubbed against my cheek, rocking with the familiar motion of waves.

Waves.

My eyes jolted open, and I gasped for air. Standing over me, a group of roughly dressed pirates broke into a chorus of ‘I told ye so’s and slapped each other on the back.

“She’s alive,” one proclaimed. “I’ll tell the Cap’in.”

A tall man reached out his arm, blocking the way. “On the contrary. I’ll tell the Captain. Who do ye think is the first mate here?” The voice was a deadly calm.

The pirate stepped back. “Sorry sir,” he muttered. “Jest got excited, like.”

“All very well,” the first mate growled, his voice low.

Slaves.

They thought I was going to be their slave.

I couldn’t.

Wouldn’t.

Warin wouldn’t let them.

I pushed myself into a sitting position, glaring up at the pirates. “You will regret this,” I said. “You have no idea what you’ve done.”

A hand grabbed my collar, hauling me to my feet. I was spun around by a rough hand to face a brawny crewman. “Don’t worry, girl, we’re not scared of you.”

“You’re cowards. All of you.” I couldn’t control the anger that was welling furiously.

“If you think a skinny lass in boy’s clothes is going to make us tremble in fear, think again.” The man let loose a bellow of laughter.

“Here’s Cap’in,” one of the others warned, stepping away to the side.

A man dressed in an embroidered waistcoat and tricorn hat pushed forward, hand resting on the ornate hilt of his sword.

“So this is our girl, eh?” the man glanced toward the first mate.

He nodded. “Aye, Captain Zeeb. All yours.”

The Captain looked me up and down. “A fair catch,” he murmured, stroking his chin thoughtfully. “She’ll make a fine addition to our coffers. Should be able to find a rich lady wanting another serving maid.”

“Stop it,” I said, the words slipping between my lips before I could stop them.

He paused, eyebrows raising. “Stop what?”

“All of you. You keep calling me a catch, but I’m not. And I’m not yours either.” The anger bubbled higher inside me.

“Ah but you are. Finders keepers.” He shrugged carelessly.

“I am not,” I shouted, stepping toward him. “I am not yours, or anyone’s and if you don’t take me back right now, you will have more trouble than you bargained for.”

“Bah,” Captain Zeeb snorted contemptuously. “We are pirates miss. Your words do not worry us.”

“Captain Wielder will come after you,” I said, the words burning with fury. “And he will catch you, and rescue me. Do you know why? It’s not because I am his. But because I am his friend.”

A murmur rippled around the crewmen at the mention of Warin. The Captain stepped forward, crossing his arms firmly.

“You are trying to fool us. You do not know Wielder. He makes no friends of commoners.” He dismissed my words with a wave of his hand.

“That’s just where you’re wrong,” I hissed. “He does actually, and I am his friend. He will make you more than sorry for what you’ve done.”

Captain Zeeb glanced sidelong at his murmuring crew, a film of uncertainty over his eyes.

I took my chance. “See.” I turned to the crewmen. “You know the stories of Captain Wielder. Would you be willing risk that I’m lying? What if I wasn’t? Because I’m not. He’s coming for me as we speak.”

I knew the words were true.

He would come.

Captain Zeeb hesitated another long moment. “Very well,” he said at last.

My shoulders relaxed. It was going to work.

“Someone take her down to the hold. We need to get her to the mainland and sell her as fast as we can.” Captain Zeeb turned toward the tiller.

“No!” I shouted. “You can’t—”

A gag was whipped over my mouth, ropes yanking my hands behind my back. I struggled against the hands but couldn’t escape as they dragged me down into the black hold of the ship.

“Have fun,” a pirate chuckled as he slapped the hatch down again.


҉

1. A scratch of noise came from the blackness, moving closer with shuffling steps.

2. I twisted my arms, working at the knots around my wrists. If they thought I was going to sit here waiting, they had the wrong idea altogether.

3. “Louise? Great whales, they caught you too?” Gripper’s voice came muffled in the still air.

҉

To be honest, I don't think I even have a favourite this week, so I'm really looking forward to seeing what you all choose. Hope you liked this week's chapter! (Oh and did you notice how I handily came up with a random dude called Zeeb just so I could title this beginning with 'Z'?)

Fair Winds!

|| Jane Maree ||

26 comments:

  1. JANE MAREE *feels very sorry for Louise*. (and I just have to mention that I love how you had Louise actually call for backup and step to the back rows when Warin told her to - kind of refreshing after all the heroines who think they can do anything :D)

    Three! Three! I vote for option three! (sorry, Gripper. But Louise needs some company *nods*)

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    1. *hides* xD YES! That sometimes annoys me, so I do my best to make sure that Louise is reasonably good in the respect. Good to know it's working! :)

      Three's a good one. :) I like it. So many places it could lead to!

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  2. Replies
    1. Hmm, yes...That's an interesting one too. :)

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  3. It is a hard choice this week, but I think I'll go for 2

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    1. Sorry if I made it too difficult. xD

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  4. I'm a newcomer to your blog and I lurve it! Your writing is some of the best I've read in a long time - which publishing house are you signed to? Cos I bet you're gonna be published someday ;)
    And hmmmm, tough choice. I think I'll go with 3. Yep, three sounds good.
    Marissa x

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    1. Hey Marissa! Thanks heaps for your comment.

      I'm not with any publishing house, but publishing is a future dream and I really hope to find a house soon. ;)

      Thanks SO MUCH, for the encouraging comment! *hugs* It means heaps to me. :)

      (And I checked out your blog, it looks like it should be interesting!)

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  5. Woah! Poor, poor Louise! (And poor Altin and Warin, for that matter) I reckon Louise will need a looooong holiday when this is all over xD

    I shall vote for number three!

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    1. *gives you pizza so you forgive me for being a mean author* Yeah...um...I'll remember to book that decade-long holiday because this is not close to over yet. ;P

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  6. I'm going to start calling you "Jane the Cruel" for Louise' sake. Kidnapped, burnt, turned into a slave, trouble by nightmares, etc. You are not kind to your main character.
    I vote for #1.

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    1. Oh dear. This is not looking cheerful for me. xD Good thing I've got something nice planned for hopefully-soon.

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    2. And by the way, Jane the Cruel, I agree with Paul Farrelly--(your father? just guessing based on the last name! ;) )Warin is very harsh to poor Altin. Warin had been one of my favorite characters but my opinion of him is rapidly declining with his continued prejudice towards Gypsy Boy. You had better fix that relationship before you end this story or I will come up with another adjective for your new nickname. (And while we are discussing things you must get in before the "happily ever after" don't forget the sword fight between Captain Wielder and his lady-love!!I've been waiting on pins and needless for that scene since close to the beginning of this story!)

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    3. Hmmm...okay. I'll have to deal with that problem. I was wondering if I was going too far. (And yes, he is my dad) Don't want to be nicknamed Jane the Cruelest of the Cruel or anything. xD

      And yes, don't worry. I'm not going to forget that one. ;P It's gonna be fun.

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    4. *has ideas about titling Jane the Cruelest Of The Cruel* XD

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    5. *starts getting very worried* *starts brainstorming all the random happy scenes to escape this fate* xD

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    6. I suppose this is the down-side to you letting us read your stories and interact with you personally Jane the Cruel. For once us readers get a chance to fight back! :D

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    7. Aww dang, I always knew there'd be a down-side. xD

      (Just wanted to say, I love your new profile pic. It's so pretty!)

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    8. Thanks! I used to not want to put my face on internet profiles but since I'm not doing much with blogger (except commenting on your stories :) ) these days I figured it was okay. That is one of my senior pictures from when I graduated two years ago.

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    9. Well I'm glad you did, because it looks so pretty. :)

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  7. I can't believe she is really going to be a slave, this is just a side track right?

    I'm not sure what to go for. As I read 1 I thought it should be Altin coming toward her. 2 sounds plausible for Louise. 3 sounds like it might be difficult for Warin to rescue her. Not as plausible as the slavers getting the two young ones.

    (And why is Warin so harsh with Altin?)

    The boys both vote for 3. I say...1 (as long as it is good) you do not have permission for the shuffling to be someone bad.

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    1. Hahah...ha. ha. Okay, now I'm really scared.

      To answer your questions: you'll see, you'll see, and...Warin's like that because he doesn't really understand/like Gypsy Boy yet, and he was worried, and completely exhausted. So yeah. That's basically why. (He doesn't know any of that private/backstory either, so you can't really blame him)

      *hides* Yeah, okay, okay. Something good. I was already planning something good, so you don't need to worry about that. *hopes the plan is good enough*

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  8. I feel sorry for Louise am and not quite sure which option to go for. I think I will go with option 2.

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    1. I think I'd really better start working on that happy plan, or else this story might be the death of me. xD Thanks for voting!

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  9. Great again Jane!
    I vote, uh, hmm... *scratches head* I guess... Uh... Maybe... 2? Something useful... Yeah, 2!

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    1. YAY THANKS.

      Finally someone who isn't threatening to nickname me Jane the Cruel or anything worse. xD

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