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It was the fifteenth day of their travels and every day since she had confessed to Mira, Dazaara had woken up in cold sweat from her recurring nightmare.
Dark waves crashed into her, cold rain pummelled her skin, strong winds whipped her body. She remembered the chaos of that storm, a merciless fury that had befallen their fates with such rage and power, she still was unsure how they had not all perished into his drowning mouth.
Dazaara's throat was screeching with futile words at Muhad, despair and horror and fear gutting her over and over and over—a state of terror that had pushed her to scream, weep as she cut through those ropes. The truth was that she recalled mere images of that event, moments that had stayed with her, created by the sheer agony devouring her core.
It was the abyss of roiling emotion that still haunted her. The clawing distress hammering the quivering walls of her heart, the cold dread shredding her lungs. The chilling realization that she would be taking a life, that his blood would stain her hands—the guilt of choice she made and the shattering of her conscience.
And for the first time, her resentment toward unforgiving waters, and what they had forced her to do. Dazaara recalled every moment of that unexplainable betrayal, of the waves' harsh coldness against her skin—and later, when she had been underneath that massive wave, of its reassuring embrace.
She had not understood it then, and she still did not today.
Dazaara did not know how she had survived the force that had crashed onto their sailing boat, when she had barely been able to hold onto a rope. Yet, the waters had whispered to her—held her while they fractured Muhad's body against the mat and other objects.
Her tears had been washed away, and her innocence with it.
Now, awoken before sunrise, Dazaara wondered why she had told her second-in-command of this event. Yes, it had been to get information regarding Avriel, which she had obtained, but she asked herself if it had been more than that. Today, she would escalate the Pyruve alone in the hopes of finding the Boy, with the purpose of learning more about the stone.
And of striking a deal to protect her father from harm.
She had not told Mira about it because she knew that her friend would have tried to convince her otherwise. It was dangerous to even settle at the base of the mountains, but walking directly into the mouth of the Obscure and who, Dazaara was certain, was their original creator—
She was not convinced that she would walk out alive, or whole.
Perhaps she had wanted to perpetuate Muhad and Wellan's memory. Two young men who had died by her hand.
Wellan, who had stolen her heart with his contagious smile and warm eyes, with his understanding and respect for her. They had grown up together, two children running through Pekazj's massive marina. Watching the executioner sever his head had carved a gaping hole into her chest, where her heart had hollowed into a husk of sorrow and agony.
Dazaara wiped a tear from her cheek as she rose to her feet, glancing at the orange horizon through the thick trees. The crepuscule was fading, and she readied her weapons for her upcoming departure. As she drank a few sips of water from their jug, Mira sat upward, groggy. "It's early."
It did not take much thought to figure that out, but Dazaara supposed Mira was still full with sleep. She nodded and set the bottle down. "Stay in a bit longer. I should be back three days."
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The Shade of These Dark WatersFantasy
WATTY'S 2018 SHORTLIST. Pirate captain Dazaara Aviraz holds an intricate relationship with water. Exiled from her homeland, she longs to return home, to a father who taught her everything she knows. So, when an influential buyer offers to lift her...