Yous - Pupils
The scene changed, he was in a verdant meadow under an impossibly
blue sky with the crystal, minus casing, sticking out of the ground in
front of him. He was naked.
He became aware of someone else and turned to find that he was at the head of a queue of some twenty people, also naked. The woman next in line touched him on the upper arm and said, "You are new here" She leaned forward and briefly embraced him, standing back she looked at him and said "You are from the sea - I can smell it"
She turned to the others, "He is from the sea, the traveler is from the sea" They all gathered round him, touching him on the upper arm and sniffing his salty odor. The woman who had talked to him first started singing.
The sun light glinting off the crystal caught his eye and he was blinded
as everything went white. He could hear distant voices "Where has the traveler
gone", "Where is the one from the sea", "Perhaps he has returned to the sea"
When Sanguine awoke he felt better and more magically confident that he ever had before and he KNEW the crystal had had something to do with the dream.
On waking the others, all talk on the way to breakfast and at breakfast was of strange dreams that it seamed all had had.
Balintine had been but he had been sowing and reaping crops
Sister Luana had been deep in the sea and when she surfaced the ship was long gone and a strange goddess whom she did not know had flown over
Some of the crew gathered round joining in and telling of their own dreams.
The one who surprised Sanguine most was clay who said
'I do not dream as such, or sleep, but I had some very strange thoughts as if I was doing something that I was not. Most strange.
As the discussion continued it became clear that everyone was sure that the dreams had had something to do with crystal and everyone was uneasy.
A steward approached the group.
'Ahem. The Captain requests that the representatives of the Thane meet with him in his cabin. At their earliest convenience.
Sanguine turned to Reich and looked puzzled
'To any of us that would mean NOW. But as your guests it means now-ish.
The group finished the last of their coffee, wiped their faces and followed the impatient steward. Outside the captains cabin way they bumped into ? coming out.
'May I ask how the captain is this morning
'He's feeling very well, I think his black mood is lifting at last
Sanguine felt a little bit uneasy as everyone else had been made uneasy
by the dreams.
'May I ask, did you dream vividly last night as it would appear that everyone else on the ship did.
'I always dream vividly, I don't remember anything strange though I will think about it. Very strange.
'Have you spoken to the Pirate
Asked Sister Luana
'I spoke to him briefly yesterday and I'm on the way there now.
Not much progress I'm afraid.
'Well you better not keep the Captain waiting and I have duties to attend to.
They knocked and trooped into the Captains cabin
'Ah. Good of you to make the time, I'm sure your quite busy and I'll try not to take up to much of your time. Do have a seat.
Without thinking Sanguine had a chair zip across the floor to halt behind him as he sat down.
The others seated themselves.
'Do have a drink, Port, Brandy, anyone
With their breakfasts barely settled they politely declined
'Well you wont mind if I do.
Without checking for any consent or refusal he poured himself a large brandy and drank heavily
'How are you feeling this morning Captain
Asked Sister Luana
'Very well indeed, thank you for asking
'No strange dreams
'Ah, well, now you mention it I did dream last night - why do you ask
'nothing really it's just that it appears that not only ourselves but most of the crew had rather vivid dreams and we were talking about them over breakfast.
'Well yes I did dream. Quite wonderful really and I feel so much
better for it, brought me back to myself. It's been so difficult recently.
The last trip was not the best I have had. I blame myself for it really,
and I shouldn't, well that's what Arabbella tells me and she really should
know shouldn't she...
Luana took advantage of his next draft of brandy to interrupt
'What. Oh yes, yes. Drink anybody ? No well anyway to get to the
'The reason I asked to see you, and I apologize for not seeing you before but I have not been at my best, Is to ask your advice or at least canvas you opinion on our course from here.
'Deagh instructions are to head for ?, which I intend to do. The course of course however is up to me. We have a choice of heading straight for ? or heading for the coast and following it to ?. Not knowing what this strange cargo we carry is and not wishing to incite a political row I thought I should ask yourselves, as the Thaines representatives, as to your wishes. I have then to balance the wishes of Deagh, yourselves and the safety of the crew of the Amoroso.
Captain Plummer held up his hands as the voices rose around him.
'Please, please, one at a time.
Sanguine, who had been in discussion about wind and travel with Clay,
'How long if we go direct and how long to the coast and then to ? if we go that route
'I don't know how long this favorable wind will hold
Plummer, after giving the mage a dirty look, speculated
'If the wind holds, two weeks to ?. If we head for the coast,
eleven days and a week following it.
If there was anyone other than the captain who did not say at that moment "The coast" then Sanguine missed it.
'If that is your considered opinion - I will have to sell it to Deagh and he may not like it.
'Captain, it's your ship and you run it. If you think that heading for the coast and following it is the best way for your and your crew to accomplish your mission I do not see how Deagh can argue, and I know that this will not upset your crew.
Plummer finished his glass and pored another
'I see your point.
Sanguine added his oar
'Would Deagh notice anyway
'Of course he would, he would notice the course change, notice that we reached the coast at the wrong point and notice that we were following it.
'Would he ? If you did that and told me that this was the best course, I would believe you. What makes you think he would know better.
'I hear what you are saying and I am inclined to agree with your course choice. I will, of course, inform Deagh of my choice.
'Is there anything else I can do for you.
'the treasure. I was wondering if it should be catalogued, and I am skilled in such things.
'Actually Deaghs Apprentices are doing that as we speak
'Would you have any issue with one of us joining them, in the interest of fairness of course, just to make sure that everything is above board.
'Why of course not
'So if I could have your permission
'But of course. Drinks anybody ? or anything else ?
After a few more pleasantries were passed they made their excuses and left.
In the corridor, Sanguine signaled them to the side, away from the captains door.
'Just a thought but, on the pirate ship, everyone who died except the captain was mangled. The captain, unless I'm wrong, committed suicide. Scrylash ?
'The trouble someone would have had to go to fake a suicide when they were so obvious with everyone else. It was a suicide - what's your point.
'I'm not sure I have one but the captain seems to have been affected differently by the dreams that anyone else and I'm wondering if there is some connection. Is the crystal taking over the person in charge and maybe the captain on the pirate ship killed himself because of what he had done. I don't know, I'm just speculating.
His speculation was enough to raise the paranoia level a few notches
'I really don't know but I thought I should mention it.
After gazing into the distance for a second Scrylash said
'Well I'm heading to see what the acolytes are doing - I'll catch you later.
As his back retreated down the corridor everyone else there followed Luana's lead and headed for the brig to see how Arabella was getting on with the pirate.
The brig was a three cell affair aft, bellow decks. As they approached a guard leapt out of the furthest, barely concealing his hand of cards behind him
'Who goes ... oh it's you
Sister Luana smiled
'The captain said
'Oh of course. Not a problem. I'll just go back to my, my guarding.
Approaching the locked middle cell they could see Arabella sitting on
the floor talking to someone. Getting closer they saw the pirate huddled
below the bed, blankets wrapped around him, muttering
'Rum gimme rum and more locks on the door
Spotting the new audience he started shouting at them
'Don't unlock that door don't don't
Arabella, looking up, motioned them away. She stood up saying
'Your quite safe here. No harm will come to you. I will be back soon.
Leaving the cell she approached the gathering and moved them down the corridor.
'Nothing, I'm afraid. He is very badly traumatize. I'm not sure I'm getting
through at all.
'There's something else bothering me
He explained his fears concerning Captain Plummer to Arabella.
'And your worried that the Captain might be affected in the same kind of way. You do realize that he is my Captain and I trust him implicitly, as do all the crew.
'I'm not trying to insult the captain, I'm just concerned for his health and safety.
'I must tell Reich.
Sanguine was unsure if he had done the correct thing in telling Arabella
of his worries but if the captain was in some danger he couldn't stand
idly by and do nothing, and anyway it was a bit late now.
Up on deck Sanguine went to see Clay at the wheel. As there was very little he could do to help with the pirate he started working on a spell he had been thinking about since getting on board. Life on board ship would be a little bit more reliable if he had a portable wind of some kind. He asked Clay about sails and spent the next few hours in discussion.
During the afternoon, Balintine found Sanguine and took him aside
'Scrylash wants a word with everybody, somewhere quiet.
They went in search on the others and found them on the main deck.
'Not here - somewhere we cannot be seen or heard - even by Deagh - can
either of you help ?
Scrylash asked Sanguine and Sister Luana.
'Not anything supernatural and it would be very obvious to anyone
'I don't think I can help either I'm afraid.
'OK then, follow me
Scrylash lead them to a small balcony just behind the figurehead and
only visible from directly above on the prow.
'I'll keep this brief. With the treasure from the pirate ship
I found a box with a design on top that resembles the crystal and I also
found a key that looks as though it fits the box.
'I'm going to open it tonight. Does anyone object, I thought I'd better check.
After a few seconds silence everyone shuck their heads.
'I'd like to be there
Scrylash ignored him.
'Good, then I suggest we break this up. The less attraction we cause the better.
Once back on deck, Sanguine went to find Arabella.
'The concern that I expressed about the captain. Well if it is in some way connected with the crystal then keeping the Captain and the crystal apart might be a good idea and there is something else. The treasure from the pirate ship, well, you see, there might be things in there that are associated with the crystal also and I thought that it might be a good idea to keep the captain separate from that room as well.
'What are you trying to way
Asked Arabella, fixing him with a piercing gaze.
Sanguine squirmed under her scrutiny and wondered how he could get out of this when the thought came to him "Shit, she knows when I'm lying"
'Well, Scrylash joined the acolytes doing the cataloguing of the trove and he noticed a box with a design on it that resembled the crystal.
Sanguine felt as though he had betrayed Scrylash.
Arabella glowered at Sanguine
'Plummer is my captain, I trust him with my life
'I'm not ...
Sanguine stopped, thinking that at this point, silence was the best option
'If you will excuse me, I have a report to make.
Arabella left, leaving Sanguine feeling smaller than something so small it hasn't been discovered yet.
Returning to the upper deck Sanguine muttered repeatedly under his breath,
"I've blown it".
He went to the bow and stared out to sea muttering his new mantra.
During the afternoon, Roggen and Balintine found him sitting dejectedly, muttering.
'Are you all right
'I've blown it
Sanguine just shook his head.
'Is it about
'Do you think he's got them
'One probably, one very unlikely.
Sanguine said with conviction. "And two of those convictions should be for stupidity" thought Sanguine "I might be smart but I must learn to think"
At the evening meal he tried to avoid Scrylashes eye
Word came round the table "Meeting after the meal"
"Great" Thought Sanguine, "Just what I need"
As the meal was winding down and some of the officers were leaving the
mess Reich announced.
'Right. I'm up for a small game of poker with our guests.
'Sounds good, count me in !
Cane a shout from across the room.
'Sorry, no gaps at the table I'm afraid.
Shouted Reich in a light hearted manner.
Having ushered everyone except the five envoys and Arabella out of the
room. Reich sat and watched the guests as Arabella lit some leaves and
went round the room waving the smoking mass over the walls, chanting.
She turned to Reich and nodded.
'Very well. Arabella assures me that although Deagh's spirit has been
roaming the ship he cannot get in here.
'I think it's about time we cleared some things up here.
He looked round the gathering
'I believe Scrylash has something to tell us.
Sanguine looked round at everyone and opening his bag removed a book
'When I was in the pirate captains cabin I, errr, found the ships log.
There was a stunned silence from the gathering.
'It says how they found the other ship and boarded it, killing all the crew, taking the crystal and other treasure and sank it. It continues on to say that everyone on board the ship had very vivid dreams and started to feel uneasy about the crystal. They decided to throw it overboard as they had all the other treasure. As they were wincing it out of the hold, four sailors exploded, so they decided to put it back.
'That's a surprise
'The atmosphere of the pirate ship got worse and people started
disappearing. Factions started forming and arming themselves. The Captain
got some supplies and locked himself in the room with his imp.
'And that's about it.
'I don't think he left the cabin after that, ever.
'Any sign of suicidal tendencies
'He included good bye letters to his mother, father, wife, brother and lover so, yes, suicidal.
'Well I hope the crew don't start sealing them serves away in groups
'Just like we are doing here and now
Added Sister Luana.
'May I remind you that this is a navy ship, not a pirate ship. I think you will find that there is a great deal of difference.
Sanguine held up his hands
'No offense intended Reich, Just thinking aloud