It was sooo long ago that I last even opened the SS+S document. Like...an entire month. And I can't remember a thing. It's all been buried in the dark recesses of my brain somewhere. Thursday morning was like this:
Section title: How even did I title these???
First sentence: Where were they again?????
Second sentence: ...What even is happening...
*turns on music playlist* ooohmyword I love these songs. So many writing memories. Oh yeah. And that time I hid in the chimney. Aw yep, it's all comin' back. I liked Jack, he was a fun charrie. I wanna bring Jack in again. NO JANE. This is the wrap up, no bringing in charries for the wrap up that haven't been in the entire rest of the book. Aww but...but I wanna. BUT NO. But it'd be like -two pages from the end- "Oh and HERE'S JACK RANDOMLY CRASHING THE PARTY" And then all the readers be like "Umm...so what's he doing here?" "WELL AHEM...PLOT TWISTTT!!!"
...JUST NO, OKAY JANE? NO. but-- NO. NO MORE. JUST 'THE END' IT.
So it took a while before I actually started writing. To be honest, most of the delay was procrastinating, buuuut anyway. And then when I did start writing it was a while before I got into the feel of the story. Hopefully it was pretty much right, but I can't guarantee anything after a month of writing something completely different. At least there were no explosions or smashing windows, and that's something that happens a lot in Agent Kit.
And it'd probably be a good idea if you hopped over this link and re-checked over the last chapter just to get it fresh again. A Big Creepy Dark. And if you're behind with any of the other installments just step over to the SS+S page 'cause I've got them all there.
Now to the story. If you're all caught up and know what's going on...well, you're one step ahead of me. :P Here goes.
The Rift rolled under my feet, the warm glow of sunlight skidding on the horizon. Dawn light tinged the water pale blue, the sea stretching away behind to the edge of the world. Cool air played with the hair over my shoulder, blowing it back from my face.
My heart hummed with peace.
It was over. I was finally free.
Marius stood beside me, his eyes battling with himself. A throb in my chest pounded harder every time I looked at him. How could he have let himself be captured so deeply? How could he have given in so fully? I pushed down he accusing thoughts, reaching for the peace again.
It would all be alright in the end. I just had to trust.
He hadn’t said anything since a few moments after it had all ended. He’d looked at me and whispered, “You came.”
Yes. I had come. And Marius was starting to come back as well.
The night was over and morning had come, the Rift was on her way back to land. And then…I still wasn’t sure what came after that. A sound from behind made me turn, and Leonora flashed a smile in my direction.
“What chances you think Altin was healed in that…explosion of Light or whatever?” she asked, jerking her head back in the general direction of the island.
I felt a flash of hope. “Do you think so?”
“I’d bet something on it,” she said. “Maybe not my life,” she added after a moment. “But something.”
Something in me told me that Leonora was right.
“It feels wonderful to be homeward bound,” she murmured, eyes sparking.
I nodded, taking another deep breath of the cool morning air. Home. But where was home for me? With Leonora and Eumin? Back in Feâ Sirih with my father? Maree and Jack? I’d been gone for so long it was almost like I didn’t belong anywhere any more.
“And what about you?” she asked, head tilting to one side.
I lifted my shoulders in a limp shrug. “I don’t know,” the words came out more hoarse than I meant them to.
She draped one arm across my shoulders. “You do know you’d be welcome to stay,” she said.
I looked up. “But I don’t want to be in the way.”
“Pish, none of that. We could find you a job in the castle quick as niffy and pack a letter off home saying that you’ve decided to stay,” Leonora waved one hand in the general direction of my home country.
The idea niggled in my mind but I couldn’t just never go home. No matter what I thought about it I couldn’t never say good bye. It was home, and home needed me. “I think maybe I’ll go home,” I said softly.
Leonora glanced down at me and then nodded after a moment. “Home is a good place. Don’t worry about anything, we can get you back there safe and sound without a problem. I mean, we should. We were the ones who dragged you over here in the first place.”
Yes. Home was a good place. There was Marius to help return, Maree and Jack to visit.
And who knows, maybe there’d be more adventures after all.
The hum of peace in my heart made me smile lightly. And maybe I had something to tell everyone.
Eumin’s deep rumble pulled me to the present again as he cleared his throat. He tapped Leonora’s shoulder. “Just warning you, Wielder’s on his way over here.”
I shot a glance past Eumin and saw Warin coming across the deck, hand resting on the hilt of his sword. “Oh great,” Leonora muttered through her teeth, turning stiffly.
Eumin’s lips twisted upward at the corners. “Looks like we’re about stuck with this one.”
“Maybe it’s not as bad as you think it’ll be,” I suggested.
He glanced down at me, the smile widening slightly. “Maybe you’re right.”
Warin stopped a few paces away, eyes darting from me and Eumin and then back to Leonora. “Ma’am, I have something I’d like to say,” he began.
Leonora lifted one eyebrow. “And?” she prompted him on.
I skipped my eyes from Warin’s hand resting on the hilt of his sword and to his face. He shrugged awkwardly. “I wanted to say that I’m willing to forget this all and put everything behind us.” He shoved forward his hand, eyes meeting Leonora’s openly.
She paused, a frown flashing across her expression. “You’d do that?” Her voice was surprised.
“Captain Warin Wielder, at your service,” Warin said, offering his hand closer to her.
She considered him for a long moment and then took his hand in her own, clasping it. “Leonora Quest,” she replied.
A smile broke out across Warin’s face and he ducked his head slightly, bowing smoothly. “Pleasure.”
Leonora stepped back, her sword sliding easily from the scabbard at her side, the blade silver in the new light. “How about that duel? I’ve been putting it off for a few years too many, don’t you think?”
Warin blinked. “You…” he stopped, flicking his own sword free, the smile slipping wider. “Ladies first,” he invited, gesturing at himself.
Eumin sighed in mock despair. “It was going to happen anyway,” he said under his breath, just loud enough for me to hear.
Leonora spun her sword in a hissing pattern and then stepped forward, bringing it down toward Warin. He blocked smoothly, the movement almost casual. They circled, the screech of metal on metal attracting the attention of the crewmen. Within a few minutes, everyone was lining the bulwarks watching.
“Looks like we have an audience,” Leonora said. “Shall we skip to the interesting part?”
Warin glanced toward his crew and one side of his mouth turned upward. “Sure, why not.”
They met again, sword turning into blurs of movement as they clashed again and again, each moving too fast to quite catch clearly. The two circled, spinning and twisting, footsteps light on the deck boards.
“What happens if they get hurt?” I leant toward Eumin curiously.
“Games with swords are not to be taken lightly, no,” he replied, eyes fixed on the fight. “But they both know the danger. And neither of them are aiming to hit the other with any more than the flat of their blades.”
I looked back toward the fight. “And how long will they keep going?”
“At this rate, miss, they could be going for an hour or more,” a crewman nearby remarked, leaning against a stiff rigging rope.
“Hours indeed,” Leonora’s voice came slightly breathlessly. “There was that time I hid in the supply barrels for hours so that your Captain wouldn’t be able to find me.”
Warin faltered at the words, his attention breaking for the merest second. Leonora flicked her sword forward with a darting wrist. His sword clattered across the deck, skidding toward the edge. Eumin stepped forward, jamming it between his foot and the boards just before it slid overboard.
Leonora’s sword vibrated slightly in her hands and Warin dropped to one knee before her, head bowed. The crew stood silent, breathing heavily from the sidelines. All eyes fixed on the two fencers.
“Have anything to say?” she asked, the tip of her sword moving to rest lightly on his collarbone. The whole ship watched silently, tense and waiting for the next move.
Warin raised his head and looked her in the eye, hands clasped on one knee. “Will you marry me?” he asked.
I gaped, hardly sure that I had heard correctly. I’d half been expecting a chivalrous acceptance, perhaps a word of praise. But this? The crew members stood staring, jaws dropped loose on most faces, everyone choking on silence.
Leonora looked at him steadily for a long moment of silence. “Well,” she huffed a long breath. “It took you long enough to ask.”
And then the ship exploded with cheers. I smiled, warmth tingling in my fingertips.
Everything was finally going right.
Aaaand you know what? I'm pretty sure that's the end. Like...the end end. I've quite possibly forgotten something important, so if you know of anything I missed, do tell.
But in all, it's over. Swords, Sails + Scoundrels is done.
And I only just sorta got back to it. If only NaNo had waited one more week it would have worked even better but, it worked! I wrote it in the end.
So here it is. Returned for one week before it signs off completely. Thus ends my third and (if I may say so) best-yet serial blog story. (Dusty Red only barely scraping past the border line of 'story' and 'rubbish.' At least I can see that I'm getting better.)
Thanks so much to all of your who've stuck with me through this all, particularly those of you who were there riiight at the beginning, and never dropped out on me. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be where I am today. Thank you all so much. Even if you're brand new, thank you! I honestly am SO blessed to have all you guys.
Now, Jane Maree over and out