The Call of The Storm
(22 Dolefaren 413: The Crossing, Zoluren)
The sails whipped and cracked in the wind. She did not have to know much about ships to know such winds were dangerous. He stood at the bow of the great ship, backlit by storm clouds that almost glowed. A smile came unbidden to her lips as she admired him, but a shout from a crewman quickly broke her reverie.
“Downstairs, Lady! Get down there, now! It’s about to get worse,” he was yelling. At her!
She was ready to snap back with a glib retort when the man at the bow turned and his eyes pierced her. He nodded at her. She motioned to him, concern creasing her brow. He did not even shake his head, he simply turned his gaze forward again. And she was hurried below.
“Getting worse?” she wondered aloud to an empty room. How could this get any worse? The undertaking of this trip had been a success. A day’s delay to write and sign the urgent documents had landed them in the path of what surely must be storm of the century. They had to get home with them quickly. Fates hung by threads so thin even the moon mages would offer no counsel. And so they sailed straight home, taking their chances on the clouds that loomed on the horizon.
But it wasn’t long before the looming clouds caught them.
Her musing was cut short. The ship rolled suddenly and she felt, as well as heard, a thunderous crack. Her first thought was to try to make her way to the stairs from the violently pitching room. Water was pouring in from somewhere, she did not stop to notice where.
Orders were barked, she couldn’t understand them in the roar of the storm. As she got to the steep stairway, more ominous cracks sounded. Her skirts were soggy, heavy, pulling her, but she made her way to the door. There was trouble with the handle. She tried again. Nothing.
Another lurching motion sent her crashing into the door, which gave way. Her footing lost, she flew into the outdoors where chaos reigned. Skeletons were overwhelming the crew. Skeletons of things she could not even recognize what they had once been. Dread began to fill her mind, but instincts immediately flew into place and in one breath, glorious, inspiring notes flew out of her mouth to stir and protect the defenders from their fell opponents.
In the time the second note fell from her lips, her eyes sought out the ship’s bow, where the man who had looked at her before was badly out-numbered. Crewmen around her were also falling to the superior numbers no matter how loudly she sang.
She moved forward, the sounds of the enchante cutting a swath safely through for her. 5 steps. She had no idea why she even counted them. But that was as far as she got. The ship shuddered and gave out an unholy noise as it began to roll.
Slowly, as if every tick of a second took roisaen, she witnessed the grinning skulls cheering as the stormy water reclaimed them. The figure at the bow was still fighting as the roiling sea began to arch over him. He looked for her. Their eyes locked.
He was gone. The music crashed all around her in despair. The longest beat of her life.
And the waters came for her; filling her mouth, stealing her breath, ending her song.
Dreamheart woke with a start, her heart pounding from the ordeal and called out in the darkness.
There was no answer.