Chapter 15 - Out to Sea

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How easy is it for we beings of light to lose our perspective of what is truly important, even in the best of times. Can we then be blamed for it when times are hard? Some say the secret of the Light is empathy; that to experience the world from another's point of view makes the healing difference in how we see them. And equally important, in how we see ourselves.

The night air about the wharf hung thick with salt and mist and smoke. Down the main avenue to the docks, the locals had set up barricades and traded shots and insults with the red-sleeves. Jaylina and Michael threaded their way around through alleys and back streets to the docks where several ships still remaining offered their only hope of passage off the mainland.

The first ship they came upon had already quietly launched. No light could be seen from the deck or its portholes. Jaylina could see the glinting eyes of watchful merchant marines hidden on the deck, likely armed and keeping an eye out for threats from land while sailors in the dark behind them prepared the ship for voyage. There'd be no convincing it to return.

The second ship looked more promising. The pair approached cautiously. It was a large craft that had seen many voyages, nodding gently with the current, faded flags denoting its country of origin flapping in the easterly wind. Its cracked wooden figurehead was the image of a mermaid wearing a golden crown, a determined look set on her face and one slender wooden arm held straight out, clutching an iron lantern that dimly lit the docks below. Painted on its hull just behind the figurehead was the ship's name: Sultana Luz

While the crew finished loading cargo, a tall red-sleeve officer with several armed troops in tow approached.

"You there! Stop at once! No one and no cargo leaves this dock! Who is in charge here?"

An old man, apparently the captain of the Sultana Luz, said "I am."

"Shoot him," said the officer, and his men raised their weapons to fire.

Before they could point their weapons, several shots rang out from the deck of the Sultana Luz and the red-sleeves fell dead. From down the pier an alarm sounded and dozens more red-sleeves ran towards the commotion.

The captain motioned for his men to hurry but there was not enough time. The larger contingent of red-sleeves were upon them and along with them came a host of shadows.

The Sultana Luz's crew fought valiantly but bullets were useless against these demons. One by one, the crew members were being cut down.

"They're working together," noted Jaylina with a shudder.

"So it would seem," replied Michael. "Let's even the odds."

Michael left the hiding place from which they crouched and strode boldly forward, his boots stomping across the wet dock. The shadows ceased their harassment of the defending sailors and glided towards their hated enemy like sharks smelling blood. Michael opened his arms palms out as if to embrace them as they came.

"The dark things that connect us," whispered Michael and bolts of blue lightning erupted from his hands and passed through each of the shadows in webbed chain, disintegrating each as the bolts leaped to the next, fanning out until all the shadows were annihilated.

The discharge lit the sky with dazzling flashes of bright energy. Far in the distance came a terrible roar and Jaylina swallowed hard. Michael's talents had revealed their position.

The red-sleeves swung their weapons to target this new threat. As they fired, Michael disappeared.

The captain seized the opportunity and pressed his momentary advantage, shouting for his men to attack. Between shots, Michael appeared next to remaining red-sleeve soldiers, touching each one by one and they crumpled over, their souls taken by Michael the other side.

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