Louka whipped a dagger out of a sheath hidden on her thigh and pinned the map to the corkboard on top of her oak desk, flushed against the wall of her private cabin.
She took a deep, steadying breath and wondered for the hundredth time, what on Pandore was she doing?
Sighing wearily, she untied the bandanna around her head and let the dark, ringed curls cascade down her back. Shaking out all the knots within her body she crouched beneath her desk and pulled out a case of burgundy red, sparkling wine. Licking her lips in anticipation, she heaved it out of the dark musty corner and swung it around. Kicking the doors of her cabin open with her legs, she strolled out onto the deck where the crew was sitting cross-legged, chattering amongst themselves.
"'Evening, gents," she called out loudly.
They all saluted sharply, "'Evenin' cap'n!"
She smirked as their eyes fell upon the wooden box she was holding.
"Is that…" Cantarella trailed off uncertainly.
"Sparkling wine to celebrate new crewmates," Louka cheered loudly, throwing the bottles into the throngs of grappling pirates.
Braelyn watched from the sidelines, a little curious and a little anxious at the effect the beverages would have on the already rowdy crew. She drew a little closer to Ryden, who was on the side fiddling with his eye patch.
"Should we be worried?" she whispered to him.
He merely chuckled, "Nothing worse than a bunch of drunken pirates."
Braelyn was a little unnerved when one of the male crewmates staggered over to her, his breath stank of alcohol.
"Well aren't you a pretty one," he slurred, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"Back off," Both of Ryden's eyes stared hard at the deck hand. The drunken man took one look at his demented expression and backed off.
"Easy now, I was just joking."
Ryden took one step forward, shielding Braelyn from view and the man took off into the mass of other crewmates.
"Thanks," she whispered, thankful that it was dark and he couldn't see the blush creeping up her face.
"Don't mention it," he replied easily, not meeting her eyes.
"Hey now," Luke called into the crowd, "shouldn't I be served first?"
"And why would we do that," yelled one of the crewmates tipsily.
Luke shut his mouth, realizing that no one on board, except for Rayne, knew of his lineage. Although, he shot a look at the other girl, Lynnie… or something. She should know too. He swore mentally. I can't believe I'm stuck on this godforsaken boat. Heading off to who knows where. At least Azureine managed to escape these people.
He had sent his dragon away as soon as possible, making it seem like she was in with the goblins, the crew had allowed her to escape.
Rayne marched up to Luke before bypassing him with an air of cold apathy. He rolled his eyes. Leave it to women to make everything so goddamn dramatic. He fiddled with his mask and slid it across his face once more. It was porcelain fragile, with dark black streaks across it's white surface. No one seemed to notice when he melted away into the darkness.
~ ~ ~
"Lynnie!" Rayne called out, marching up to her sister who broke away her gaze from Ryden quickly. Rayne narrowed her eyes suspiciously, what was going on with these two? She threw her sister a pointed glare that translated to, you have some explaining to do, missy, before addressing the group.
"What's the deal," she asked, "Where are we headed to first?"
"This talk, would be better shared in a place more private," a voice cut in smoothly. Criselda and Cantarella appeared, flanking Louka who was drinking lavishly from a bottle of sparkling wine. She gave a mischievous wink before leading the troop downstairs into her cabin.
"I took out the wine to keep them distracted," Louka chuckled.
Rayne nodded in approval, "We don't want unnecessary people knowing about this."
Taking the dagger out of the map in the wall, everyone turned to take a closer look at the old parchment paper. It was heavy and slightly yellowed with age, the edges tattered and worn. Across it were labeled land masses of Pandore, accompanied by the seas, oceans, lakes, important landmasses, and finally… islands.
We were all studying the map when Ryden finally spoke up, "So… Where's the island?"
We all turned to Criselda who continued to stare at the map. Finally, she looked up and gave us a half-smile,
"What?!" the room burst into hysterics.
"How can you not know where it is? You had the map!" Hissed Rayne.
"True," Criselda laughed, "But you don't understand."
"Then explain," Braelyn cut in testily.
"Everyone in Darkora knows this myth. Don't you think it would be stupid that this map would just have it labeled for anyone to read? If that were true, the Hearts would've been found by now!"
The room grew silent.
"So what do we do?" Cantarella asked.
"What do you think?" Criselda questioned, waiting for someone to play her game.
"It's exactly as she said," Ryden said quietly, "It's a treasure map."
"Wait. Wait. Hold up," Rayne put up her hands, "I don't understand."
"See this?" Louka pointed to a group of 5 islands in the middle of the ocean.
"One of these islands is where the Hearts are kept."
"But?" Ryden prompted.
"Each one is heavily guarded. The Hearts were said only be used by the Gods who rule this land, there forethe traps are made only for the Gods to get through."
"We have no chance then," Braelyn piped up uncertainly.
"Of course not! It's just going to be very dangerous, that's all."
The tension in the room was palpable.
"So here is where we decide, my friends," Louka said quietly, "Do you accept the challenge? Are you willing to face the consequences? Willing to sacrifice yourself for the goal of this voyage?"
Are you ready?
Hey now. Are you guys excited for this? Are YOU ready?
Hearts of Pandore (Part 2): The Voyage of the Pirate Gypsy
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Hearts of Pandore (Part 2): The Voyage of the Pirate GypsyFantasy
In the Realm of Pandore: there are two sides, Lytian and Darkora. Both are mortal enemies, locked in an ancient feud of hatred. One day, the two Princesses from Lytian: Rayne and Braelyn are kidnapped and taken to Darkora as the affect of a twisted...