“So you’re telling me that a prince was sailing on a merchant vessel without a personal guard to try and find a pirate captain to help out with some sort of magic problem?” The captain’s tied up hair was sticking out from under the almost comically large hat she was wearing and her piercing eyes seemed to look right through Cobal.
“When you put it that way, it does sound a little bit silly.” He replied.
She scoffed. “A little bit silly? I could have sunken your ship and the kingdom would never see or hear from you again.” As disheveled as Captain Tidescreecher appeared when they first came face to face with her, she looked a lot more organized right now. The bottle of alcohol and the sword were both gone and instead there were books and papers strewn across a table behind her. Cobal had guessed that this was some sort of base for the pirates. He could hear laughter and talking from another part of the cove. They were sitting under a thatched roof that was held up by four poles. Cobal wondered how necessary it was to have a roof above your head inside of a cove covered by rock and moss, but he wasn’t about to bring that up with their hosts.
“Well, I for one am glad that didn’t happen,” Mirgia said.
Captain Tidescreecher turned her attention to him. “You’re very far from your forest, boy?”
“Never seen an elf before?” Mirgia asked.
She laughed. “Don’t patronize me, child. I can see from a mile away that you’re not comfortable around these parts and I could smell the fear from much further.”
“Yet you had no idea we would crash into your ship.”
She put her face right in front of Mirgia’s. “You’ve got me there, I did not account for stupidity, that’s on me.” She pulled back and returned to Cobal, looking at him a few seconds before stepping off to the side and looking at Mana.
Mana had made herself as small as possible. Cobal could see in her eyes that she was scared of what was going to happen. He would be lying if he himself wasn’t worried. On the other hand, this woman was a friend of Dionil, so he hoped that fact would be their saving grace. It’s not like Cobal and Dionil didn’t recover from their rough introduction.
“Lady Mana, hero summoned from another world. Poor lass ripped from her home and used to protect some scared old man in a big house. How would you like to join my crew instead?” She gestured to the general direction the laughter and conversation came from. “We have a good time here in Feaseral Cove.”
Mana smiled nervously. “Well, we didn’t quite come here to join your crew I’m afraid, but we did come here to speak with you specifically. We were actually sent your way by an old friend of yours, Dionil the woodland sage.”
The captain took a step back. “Is that what he calls himself these days? A sage? He’s a thug that knows a little bit of magic.”
“Well, our impression of him has been quite positive,” Mana said.
Cobal saw that Mirgia was getting irritated quickly. The elf was relatively stoic on a good day, but after spending several days on a ship it seems like he’d been thrown off quite a bit and the exhaustion seemed to be getting to him.
“Of course, a thug must know how to leave a good impression, else they won’t make a profit.”
She interlocked her fingers and then turned her back to them for a moment. She stepped away and seemed to talk to Fareh and another person that were both looking at the exchange from a few steps away. After a few moments she turned back around and looked at Cobal. “Let’s not waste each others’ time, what do you want from me?”
“Within the past few months we’ve seen a strange magic in several places. We were attacked by a fiery monster that seemed to appear from a magic circle. We then saw several of these magic circles again near Milinia, accompanied by what seemed to be the culprit who vanished before we could get answers. To top things off, a similar mark was left in the room of the crown prince at the same time as he went missing. Dionil sent us a letter saying that you once talked about a similar magic to him and since we have no other leads, we decided to try and talk to you first.” Silence filled the area after Cobal finished his sentence.
The captain seemed to stare off in the distance for what seemed like minutes before she made a decision. She looked at Fareh. “Put them back, I need to think about this for a little bit.”
The old woman nodded and promptly called over two of the pirates to accompany them. Cobal, Mana and Mirgia were escorted back to where they were being held before.
“That went about as well as I expected,” Mirgia complained.
“Well, we’ve shown our cards, like you wanted to, and now we’ll find out how much pull Dionil’s name has around here.” Mana said. “Here’s to hoping that was a lot of bravado without anything to back it up. If we’re lucky she’s just your world’s version of a theater kid.”
“A theater kid?” Cobal asked.
“That’s what we call someone who likes being overly dramatic. Someone who pretends they’re really cool while in reality it’s just an act they’re putting on. Theater is like a play, so they’re people who treat life like a play, so to speak.”
“So they just pretend to be someone they’re not?” Cobal asked.
“Now you’re going to have to explain what bingo is,” Mirgia said. He sighed. “It never ends with you two, does it?”
“It’s not like we have anything better to do,” Cobal shrugged.
Not having anything to retort, Mirgia rolled onto his side. “Now that we’re no longer on that damned ship, maybe I can get some sleep. Goodnight.”
“How’s your anxiety?” Cobal asked.
Mana let out a deep sigh. “Not great, but I’m coping. I keep telling myself it will be okay. If I do that enough it might actually be okay, right?”
Cobal nodded. “We’ll be fine, remember what you said about her knowing Dionil? There’s no way he would send us to go find her if he didn’t have faith that she would actually be of help to us.”
Mana nodded. “I think you’re right, but it doesn’t look great right now, you have to admit that too.”
“What was that saying you once used, after rain comes sunshine?”
“Something like that. We have a lot of sayings back home, and some are very different depending on what language you’re speaking.”
“Right, different countries often speak different languages back in your world, that has to be extremely inconvenient for traders, right?”
“Most of them learn a common language that they all speak, and some even learn multiple languages to get a leg up on the competition.”
“That sounds like a lot of effort.”
“It is, but learning the most basic phrases of a language can be easy enough. Especially if it can save you a lot of time and hassle later on.”
“I suppose so.” Cobal thought for a moment. “How many languages did you know in your old world?”
“I knew two quite well, and I knew a little bit of a few others. But not more than a couple of words and phrases.”
“That’s still pretty impressive. I had to learn some languages in the palace, but I was really bad at it so eventually I think my teachers just sort of gave up.”
Mana chuckled. “As a language teacher myself I can relate to their frustration.”
The conversation died down after that. There wasn’t much to talk about anyway, as they’d already talked a lot during their travels and the anxiety was definitely creeping in. Cobal felt like their last conversation went better than expected, but these weren’t predictable people. He really hoped that Dionil didn’t send them to the wrong person.
Cobal must have dozed off at some point because he jolted away to the sound of footsteps. He looked to the side and saw that although Mirgia was still asleep, Mana was staring off into the distance, tapping her fingers on each other awkwardly as if to distract herself. He looked up to see Captain Tidescreecher approach with two of her crew members in tow.
“Friends, we’ve come to a decision on what to do with you.” She grinned. “You’re going to help me, help you. Untie them.”
Cobal didn’t complain when all three of them were untied by the two crew members. It seemed like Mirgia wasn’t asleep after all and soon the three of them were on their feet.
“Follow me,” Captain Tidescreecher said. They followed her to her office, or at least that’s what Cobal had assumed the space to be, and sat down when she pointed to the chairs. Fareh was there as well as an older man.
“This here is Fareh and to her left is Majar, they’re my second in command.”
Majar gave a polite nod, which Cobal returned. He then turned to Captain Tidescreecher. “So what do you want from us? You already know why we’re here, after all.”
“There’s an island. It’s about a two day journey from here by ship. My crew and I found out it’s been taken by some strange cult recently. We’ve been trying to deal with them but it’s been very back and forth. They managed to capture two of ours recently and we worry for their safety. We’ve been planning a raid of their camp on the island for a little while now when your jolly crew crashed into Feaseral Cove. Now I understand that you might be thinking, what the hell do we have to do with all of this, and that’s a valid point. However, after hearing out your reasons for coming here I think you will agree that this can be mutually beneficial. These strange cultists have been using a strange sort of magic.”
Cobal’s eyes grew wide and this didn’t escape the captain.
“That’s right, we likely have a common goal.” She crossed her arms. “So what do you say, are you in? We need as many people as we can and having the hero on our side will definitely boost morale.”
Cobal looked at Mana whose expression was hard to read. She looked at him and nodded.
Cobal then looked at Mirgia who shrugged. “I’m fine either way,” he said.
“You heard him,” Cobal said. “When do we leave?”
A grin formed on Captain Tidescreecher’s lips. “That’s what I like to hear.” She turned and looked at Fareh. “I told you this was a good plan.”
The old woman just sighed. “I suppose you were right,” she replied.
She turned her attention back to our trio. “We’ll round up anyone from Ferla’s crew who can help with this. That guard of yours and your spirit friend, do you think they’ll be on board for this too?”
Cobal nodded. “Dylon’s been instructed by my father to protect me. If I head into danger, he sees it as his job to stand between me and the danger. Regardless of if I think that’s necessary.”
“Being a prince is hard huh?” Captain Tidescreecher said. “Have you considered becoming a pirate?”
“I haven’t until now, but it’ll be in the back of my mind from this day on.”
“Can we get something to eat then, if we’re all on the same team now?” Mirgia asked.
“Of course, of course, let’s have a banquet to get to know each other and deal with any remaining hostility.” She turned around and yelled at the crew members that stood neary. “Get the fires ready boys, we’re gonna eat good tonight.”