Crashing Joy: Entry 6 (Roughest Draft)
You understand how that complicates matters, I sing as we start circling the ported ship.
Significantly, I expect, the cocky child responds and it’s the gentle upturn of his lips that stop my retort.
Yes. I don’t know why they have you, but have you they do and they’ve taken care not to alienate your true soul-self, so they have a purpose for you. I have met none, (not true, you’ve met one, whispers through my mind)…have not yet met a Vampire I could trust, though I have heard tales that such a rare creature does exist. But not for long, absolute power and all that.
If you weren’t Solved I would never allow this, he murmurs and the lack of a name is driving me nuts.
And I would never ask it of you, I reply, murmuring a Mer lullaby under my breath as I push the button to call my plank down to the water’s edge. I am going to call you Ko, because I have to call you something.
That’s not my name, he grumbles as the plank lowers into the water and I seat myself at its edge, beckoning him to do the same.
Until you can remember your name, it will have to do, I say, moments from bubble-strapping him to the platform as he takes his time settling down. I need you to shift to a full Terran form, or the Beast inside you will know more about us than absolutely necessary. Ko’s brow furrows as he concentrates, and as he flash’es back to a legged form I hit the recall button and heave us out of the sea. Not halfway up the side of the ship I watch as Ko is submerged and the Beast inside him takes back over.
I here?” he demands, “Where are my clothes?”
“Why did you follow me into the sea?” tart rejoinder for impolite demands, If you are not treated with respect show others none. That is part of being an Envoy; you shy away from no confrontations, you tell only truth. Elondiata’s words prove true once more and this time when his brow furrows it’s more predatory than considering. A dangerous beast, indeed.
“That’s not what I remember,”
“Well tell me, Tor’scion, what DO you remember?”
“I wanted to know what you are,”
“And I showed you,”
“I only remember plunging into the ocean…then nothing.”
“TOR’SCION!” roars from above and suddenly we are surrounded by hovering vampires, each clothed in close-fitting coveralls that are more form than function, if the cleanliness of each is any indicator. “ENVOY!!!” this time I recognize Captain Niran’s voice and know I will not escape his wrath easily.
“Ship Meister,” I say as the clearly furious—completely enraged—Captain descends with measured menace toward us. We are both naked, but Tor’scion is in nothing but his skin where as I am cloaked by both hair and scales. Niran drops to the platform and I twist to keep him in my line of sight, as well as shift my weight more fully off the platform than on it.
“You gave me your word you would inform me before disembarking,” he growls, gritting his teeth, eyes swirling wildly.
“I had to go,” my mild reply is quiet, but not dismissive. “Your boy here fell over the side of the ship and thrashed a good long while before I went in after him.”
“Is that true?” Niran growls and Tor’scion replies,
“I can’t remember.” So. Even vampires don’t trust each other. Or maybe being a Scion isn’t a good thing. This could be a deeper game, I shake the thought off before I fall down the rabbit hole of second guesses and imperfect information. The plank reaches the flight deck and I only have to look for a moment before I see Caleb spot me and hurry to my closet and fetch my plushy robe. I inwardly groan as I remember the dress that is now floating about the Pacific, but with any luck the tides will push it to shore soon and some lucky beach comber will be able to make a few bucks.
Tor’scion is quickly escorted from the deck by the six vampires in fashion-coveralls and I am left to flash back to Terran form and robe before Niran nods for me to follow and I though I technically have a choice, to choose to disobey him would be foolish in the extreme.
“I almost wish your predecessor was here,” Niran sighs as the hatch closes behind him and I am alone in his private sleeping chambers.
“I DO wish he was here; pompous blowhard that he was, I’m sure he’d give you fewer headaches.” I smile, a slight, questioning thing, and am pleased to see a smile of genuine mirth returned.
“He never gave me any problems, except for overeating our delicacies I barely knew he was here. Only when we forced him to did he do his duty and I am still glad I don’t have to stare at his flabby backside any more. However,” Niran sits down on the precisely made be and leaves the one straight-backed chair to me, “while I believe you will do your best as far as your duty to your people is concerned I need to know how far you’ll go to protect mine.”
I have no reply, mouth agape I am like a goldfish unceremoniously plucked from the bowl and left to drown in air. When I finally do manage to close my mouth and form thought, my only question is,
“The Queen Averna is in jeopardy, Lady Envoy. I can disembark the humans easily enough, but I cannot allow my crew to go and there is a deeper purpose here that I am only aware of tangentially. Tor’scion is only one of many, and I have been unequivocally ordered to deliver them to specific coordinates at a certain time. I fear for what will happen if I do; I am more concerned about what would happen if I don’t.”
“You are being impossibly forthright, Captain,” I say, twisting open a bottle of mineral water and taking a long pull to disguise my discomfort. Is he trying to recruit me to his cause? What could that be? Instead of speculate, I stare at him and his gaze is unflinching.
“I feel the clock ticking, Lady, and know that if my account is called I will still be found lacking. I recently met with an old friend of mine, and she showed me that it is still possible to change.”
“What clock?” I ask. Solved I may be, omniscient I am not and the histories of the Terran races always bored me.
“Have you heard of the Night Mother?”
“Kali?” I ask, surprised that he would bother with human deities.
“That is one of her names, and she is as much a Goddess to us Vampires as she is to her human family. However she has favorites, and the humans hold the highest place in her heart.” He takes a breath, pauses, but I know better than to break the silence. “Her time is nigh. She will come again and wipe this world clean, dragging all who have not done more good than wrong back into Darkness.”
“Are you speaking of the Redeemer?” The Redeemer may or may not be active, she’s not been heard from for a few years, but even she can’t effect the kind of change that Captain Niran is speaking of.
“No,” he growls, “she is just a human and eventually her time will end. She is a reminder, a fragment of that which dwells in the deep, and a constant reminder that we have choices that will be judged. No,” he licks his lips, hesitating to give voice to the words, “I speak of the Reclaimers. She whose light will burn the world clean. It’s happened before, but no one speaks of it outside Vampire circles.”
“Yet you are speaking of it to me,” I say and his eyes swirl with his agitation.
“I love this ship,” he says, as if that answers all sins, and maybe—for him—it does. “I love my crew. I will stand before the all-mother and answer for all the choices I have made in my long life gladly. But what I won’t do is interfere with the natural order.”
“You’ve lost me,” I say and he sighs.
“I am lost as well, and I do not like it. I need to know, Envoy, that if push comes to shove, you’ll do whatever it takes to protect this ship.”
I am torn. Niran’s impassioned plea is at direct odds with my underlying orders. My orders do not only encompass passage for the ship, but I have been tasked with decommissioning her. Permanently. Accidentally. However, my investigations into how to do so have uncovered another plot to scuttle the Queen Averna, and I don’t know who is behind it.
But Ko is counting on me, and I can tell Niran’s distress is genuine by the flows though his body, so I throw caution to the wind.
“There are already saboteurs aboard the ship,” I say and he shoots to his feet. “I know, because I’m one of them.”