Rhyse Falmarin

The Great Ocean Escape

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@Calder Muireadach, @Will Tennesen

After the escape from Ireland.....HERE

 

 

She had managed to keep up with the stranger. Making his ship before too many stirred in the town center. By some miracle the drunk Will managed to follow them as well. And thus she found herself at sea.

 

They were three days out now. Three terrifying days. Will had been her excuse to stay hidden below deck, the man had been sick at first. But truth was Will was sleeping most of the time now so she spent the time curled in a dark corner instead, careful that no one could find her on accident, hiding out and barely having eaten.

 

She didn’t dare go on deck. The simple sway of the ship on rough waters was enough to draw out absolute terror.  This much movement meant that the spray up on deck would be enough to lure her demonic nature out.  

 

They would kill her, toss her overboard, lock her up to be tortured later….. the imagination ran rampant, fueled by the horrors she had been subjected to in Ireland. No matter what Will thought, she didn’t believe the ship was "safe" for her kind despite the fact that several on board seemed to be clearly outworlders.

 

She sat under the metal stairs, arms wrapped over the bare legs, the shorts she had stolen off a clothes line in Ireland tugged down to her knees to keep warm. The oversized shirt was pulled over the same knees to try and cover the shins, hem of the neck gaping dangerously wide as she rested her forehead on the drawn up limbs, strawberry and peach waves covering her shoulders and sides like a blanket. Contacts had been lost in all the commotion leaving crimson orbs staring in the dark at the glass of water sitting beside her. For all the terror the undulations of the foreign ocean waters instilled, they also beckoned at her, taunting her psyche. The water churned in the glass sitting on the floor, spinning first to the left before slowing and then spinning to the right. The simple push against the liquid done without thought as she huddled beneath the stairs waiting for the end of this horrible journey.

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He hated cleaning his boat.  Granted, the ferrying often put people on his ship that were definitely not used to long weeks at sea, but it still was irritating to bring the drunk on board. It added a whole other mix of problems he really didn’t want to deal with.  Things seemed to have quieted for now.

 

They were making great time, the captain sitting in his perch with feet up on the bench next to him, eyes on the endless horizon.  He was leaning in the seat, one elbow on the windowsill, contemplating things that probably didn’t need to be worried about… watching the waters.  It was horrible timing to be making crossings.  Ice flow.  Seas were rough, but not so much so that he needed to slow down.  Course was adjusted slightly, then locked into place, passing it off to his first mate.

 

“Keep this course, keep the watches on the bow...” he said quietly, ducking under the door and trotting down the stairs to go below deck.  Time to check again on his charges.  They’d been awful quiet, and it was getting colder.  Neither of them were particularly well dressed when they’d gotten on the boat.  There were rooms they could stay in.  They were small, but it was better than the cargo hold.

 

Breath was visible a moment before making the turn to go below, his footsteps almost silent despite his size.

 

“Rise and shine,” voice was loud enough to be heard, but not particularly directed at anyone.  “It’s going to keep getting colder for another day or so, there are warmer clothes in the two rooms aft.  Sweaters, coats, scarves, hats… whatever you need.  Food’ll be ready soon in the galley.”

 

He closed the door to the deck and keep on his path down the stairs and straight through another door to disappear toward the galley.

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Swirl was becoming violent. First clockwise…then counter, water sloshing faintly over the side despite the fact that crimson orbs had departed from the glass of water. The push against liquid was innate, despite having spent several years avoiding it.

 

Lashes flicked upward as the ship shifted course and the slap of water against the hull elicited a flinch through her spine. Arms tightened their grip around her knees, more for comfort than any protection against the cold.

 

This was a mistake….so was staying in Ireland….what alternative did that leave?

 

"Rise and shine…"

 

She nearly jumped out of her skin having missed him coming down the stairs over her head. Glass upturned, water flooding outward into the walkway.

 

Sorry….

 

Apology was incredibly timid, barely audible over her breath.

 

"It’s going to keep getting colder for another day or so, there are warmer clothes in the two rooms aft.  Sweaters, coats, scarves, hats… whatever you need.  Food’ll be ready soon in the galley."

 

She had half tripped face first to the floor untangling herself from the shirt she had pulled over her knees.

 

He's sleeping in one of……

 

He was already gone.

 

….them.

 

Quiet word sighed from her lips. She had found one of the rooms and half drug Will into it to sleep off his liquor and then just…. sleep…it seemed. She had checked on him twice to make sure he hadn't died… he hadnt. Sleep seemed to be deep for the man as he cuddled into the small bed. She had not wanted to be presumptuous and take the other room. There were others on the ship and frankly…. sleep was elusive ever since she had been on the run. She couldn’t recall the last time she had slept.

 

A jacket wouldn’t hurt……

 

Lip was chewed as she peeked into the second room, the tight quarters were not so tight for the small frame as she hesitated opening the closet. There was an array of clothing haphazardly hanging in the gap. She wasn’t really cold natured but she was barely dressed in the oversized garments so the navy wool jacket caught her attention. The arms were slid over pale skin only to hang four inches beyond her fingertips. Grumbling under her breath she rolled them up as she stepped back into the hall, the hem nearly brushing the ground.

 

She wasn’t THAT small…. was she?

 

Buttoning the middle button she decided the coat actually belonged to someone extra tall because she was NOT that small.

 

Closing the door quietly again she padded bare feet towards the galley. There had been no talk of payment, at least not yet. Problem was she had nothing to give. She could cook…. that was about all she could offer.

 

Peach and amber waves peeked around the corner into the galley as a faint waft came of something warm. Crimson tried to avoid contact with anything… or rather…. anyone as she sought the source of the scent. Sleep eluded her… but not hunger as the stomach rumbled beneath the oversized navy wool.

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The spilled water was not lost to him, neither was the apology.  It was a boat.  Boats got wet, what he did worry about was the glass itself and whether or not it got cleaned up.  Broken things caused problems, water this close to the upper deck could freeze.

 

Stepping through the doorway, he grabbed a towel and tossed it over his shoulder, returning just in time to watch her roll out of a tangled shirt.

 

"I was referring to you," he said quietly, reaching to pull his ponytail out and pile a topknot on the back of his skull and roll up the sleeves of his blue Henley.  "I know your friend found the rooms, he snores."

 

Kneeling to swipe a towel over the water and pick up the glass, the blue script banding his forearms twinkled with their own light when he touched the water.

 

He didn't seem bothered by it, but the pale gaze glanced at her briefly as she retreated.  There were altered on his boat, he was an Outworlder... so were others of his small crew.  He'd seen odd reactions to each other's abilities before.  There were endless possibilities of what was yanked through the Veil, some oil and water, others like opposite magnet poles.  This one though, brought an odd glance over his shoulder as she retreated to one of the quarters seemingly to put on some damn clothes.

 

Towel was tossed into the sink, glass set in after.

 

One of his crew was finishing something on the stove, filling a tin cup with coffee and heading out to take a break while people came in and out to eat.

 

It was just him when one of his charges peeked in.

 

"I'm Calder."

 

He was stirring something, scooping it into a bowl and adding a spoon to slide onto the small table for her.  There literally had been no time for introductions until now.

 

"Best chili anywhere."

 

He scooped one for himself, taking a spoonful and chewing as he swirled a saucepan, pulling two mugs from the hook.

 

"I picked this up from a trading post in the gulf.  It's a cinnamon hot chocolate."

 

He poured two cups and sat one next to the bowl on the table.  Leaning on the stove, he dug into dinner.

 

"New York isn't Ireland," he said matter-of-factly.  "You hide, people will think you have something TO hide.  Huge magus presence there.  Respected, in positions of power.  You can pass, but not if you hide."

 

He took his bowl and mug, giving her a small nod before turning to leave.

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"I was referring to you.  I know your friend found the rooms, he snores."

 

His return nearly had her jumping out of her very skin. Pallor drained to nearly translucent, blue hued veins playing peek-a-boo on her cheeks as crimson blinked at him… lips murmuring nearly inaudibly…

 

Not really….a friend…

 

Lips pulled through her teeth as she shimmied to the wall on bare tiptoes to be out of his way. She had only met Will the same day she had met this stranger, didn’t really make them friends. Though even drunk he had tried to help her, so not enemies at least either. Eyes caught the "ink" again. It had a light of its own which wasn’t something she had seen on this world, at least not in Ireland. Toes slid along the wall as she crept off to the room… a quiet "sorry" repeated before slipping in to seek something more to wear.

 

Slender fingers fiddled along the sides of the coat, seeking pockets that were a hanging a bit too low on her form as she finally peeked into the mess hall.

 

"I'm Calder."

 

She nearly popped out of her skin again. Damn she needed to settle down! Waves bobbed as she nodded faintly at him, nostrils filling with whatever he was stirring in the bowl. Now closer it was becoming apparent it was chili.

 

Rhyse….

 

Response was soft as the eyes lost interest in him, focusing down instead on his bowl. It smelled like a pretty good chili actually. Definitely more the traditional end of chili which she appreciated. Hers was chocked full of pumpkin which seemed more popular in Ireland.

 

"Best chili anywhere."

 

Brow lifted a bit over the crimson orbs as she slid her lower lips through upper teeth, lowering into the seat and plucking the spoon up to swirl in the bowl.

 

"I picked this up from a trading post in the gulf.  It's a cinnamon hot chocolate."

 

Nostrils flared at the mug, thick lashes half closing as for the first time the lips turned ever so slightly upward enjoying the scent. Murmured words were not really meant for him.

 

…be even better if added some allspice and sweet ancho peppers……

 

The lashes lifted and saw him, almost startled he was there as the tone turned to something almost apologetic, as if she could be mistaken as complaining.

 

… cinnamon is very good too.

 

As if to shut herself up she pushed a large spoonful of chili between her lips and lowered her gaze back to the bowl.

 

"New York isn't Ireland.  You hide, people will think you have something TO hide.  Huge magus presence there.  Respected, in positions of power.  You can pass, but not if you hide."

 

Lashes lifted to him, his words pondered a moment as lips were licked over.

 

Didn’t used to be hiding….

 

Her English had been learned in the welsh continent…. the lilt of Irish tingeing her accent.

 

I um….. wore contacts…. lost those….. but that was it….. I mean…. I had my own shop and people didn’t seem to….….

 

Voice trailed off. It was more than she had spoken in a while and she was suddenly acutely aware of it, lips clamping shut  as she realized he had not really intended to engage in conversation, already turning to leave. To cover up the awkward moment she quickly took another scoop of the chili. It had been a long time since she had been without those damn contacts. The eyes that were so mundanely average on her world, were unheard of and demonic on this one. Truth was it was the first time in ages her eyes didn’t ache and water.

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Not really….a friend…

 

Understandable.  Seemed they might not have even known each other before that night.

 

Rhyse….

 

“Nobody is on your tail here Rhyse,” he responded quietly to the skittish behavior as he finished the food.  He got it, he did.  The first few years on this rock had left him looking over his shoulder and out of sorts.  Aggressive almost, as he figured out who was friend or enemy.  He unfortunately didn’t have anyone to tell him otherwise. “Ain’t no one close enough to catch us, nobody deft enough to find us.  Just you and your not-friend made it on this trip, and my crew are all here to help you.”

 

Voice was soft, but always licked with a personality beneath that was no bullshit and easy to smile.

 

…be even better if added some allspice and sweet ancho peppers……

 

Brow cocked slightly, no idea what the hell she was talking about.  More of the weird things he’d never heard of.  His relationship with food had been a precarious one.  After several virulent experiences with seemingly mundane dishes early in his time on this rock, he’d been extremely careful… developed a bland palate almost. 

 

… cinnamon is very good too.

 

“Abuelita… it’s called I think. Traded for it in the Gulf of Mexico a while back.  No clue what it is, but it tastes good.”

 

Didn’t used to be hiding….  I um….. wore contacts…. lost those….. but that was it….. I mean…. I had my own shop and people didn’t seem to….….

 

“Hiding is hiding,” he stopped and instead turned back into the galley.  It wasn’t condemning her, just being truthful as he leaned on the counter and sipped from his mug a moment, hand was on the edge of the counter next to his hip.  He could feel the waves hit the hull; it was vibrating the entire boat.  Something didn't  feel right.  Eyes narrowed slightly, setting down the mug in the sink and picking up his food and the push to talk that was mounted on the wall near the door.

 

“Talk to me Aki,” he said quietly, taking another spoonful as the black spiral cord bobbed with the sway of the small cargo boat.  He waited another moment, turning off the stove and setting the pot and his bowl into the sink.

 

*npc* We need you up here.

 

“Roger that,” push-to-talk was snapped back on its cradle.  “Sit tight, I’ll be back.”

 

Long legs took the stairs a few at a time, door opened and onto the deck.  Sun was finally peering out; the sea itself was starting to become relatively calm, chilly, but calm in the growing evening.  Tonight would be a saturating dark with no moon.  A change from the roughness of the last few days, but just as necessary to stay on point.  Aki and another were leaning over the port railing.  He knew what it was even before he had to ask.  It had something to do with the patch.

 

*npc* Bilge is running hard.  We’re taking on more water than we should.

 

Maybe not the patch, another hole somewhere? He’d gone over the whole thing.

 

“We’ll dock in St. John’s. Full stop, I’m going in.”

 

He went below deck again, the upper half of his clothes already off as he passed the galley to his quarters. Boots, everything except for his khakis came off, leather harness on his waist, a toolkit clipped to it, knife strapped on his bicep, padding barefoot back out and braiding his hair as he went.  Hiding had never been his thing.

 

“Keep my hot chocolate warm,” he said quietly as he passed the galley and took the stairs again several at a time.  The small cargo ship could be felt slowing, and he wasted no time snapping on his safety line, stepping up onto the railing in one motion and disappearing over the side.

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“Nobody is on your tail here Rhyse,….Ain’t no one close enough to catch us, nobody deft enough to find us.  Just you and your friend made it on this trip, and my crew are all here to help you.”

 

Lower lip was gnawed gently as the unusual eyes were clearly sinking into thoughtful contemplation.

 

The people in her village had once been there to "help" her too. Finding out she was a monster had changed all that. Nostrils drank in the warm scent of the mug, relishing the aroma before noticing his cocked brow at her comment on allspice and anchos. Throat cleared ever so slightly as she drank from the mug to cover up the discomfort.

 

“Hiding is hiding,”

 

Crimson orbs stared into the steaming mug. There was truth in the statement, then again she had been viciously attacked and hunted for more than six months. That was a truth as well.

 

His posture changed and with it she cocked her own head, seeking what had caught his attention. She regretted the search as all too quickly the dangerous flow of water told her it was bleeding into the ship before he even told her to "sit tight". She stood even as he leapt up the stairs, a mist of panic in her dark pupils. They were taking on water. Her secrets would soon no longer be her own.

 

Lips parted as he came down the stairs and passed the galley. They clamped shut, a rose hue climbing up her cheeks as he slid off his shirt vanishing within his cabin.

 

“Keep my hot chocolate warm..”

 

Her tongue didn’t find itself as he passed her by once more, peeking out the door at the bare feet disappearing above. She had gotten a good look at those markings. They were not like the tattoos she had seen in Ireland. Pupils flicked to his mug, keep it warm? She was often mistaken for a fire elemental. It was the heat colored orbs and Irish saturated waves that seemed to make them think so. Truth was she could make it colder…. but not keep it hot. The haunting eyes glanced around the galley, finding a small plate to set over top the mug to hold in the steam before she crept into the narrow hall outside the galley to look up the stairs.

 

She took a hesitant step towards the first stair, but feet froze as the flow of water caught her attention once more. The push against it was powerful and unconscious, reversing the flow into the ship until it was suddenly gurgling outward, contrary to the laws of nature.  She couldn’t let the water in….. she couldn’t let the truth come out.

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His world was cold and vast, drifting a bit away from the boat as the propellers came to a stop and the boat started to move with the sway of the ocean.  Swimming back to his charge, hands first went to the in-water patch he’d delivered less than a week ago.  Fingers wandered over the work.  It was solid.  He hovered a moment, braid tickling across his shoulders as it floated in his own version of weightlessness.

 

It felt like a battery at first, a shiver of water that slithered across his skin.  Taunting, a sensation he hadn’t felt in over a decade.  Except it wasn’t him.  It wasn’t any of his crew.

 

Rush of water was like a jet, eyes narrowing as they followed the bubbles.  It was a sliver, a miniscule gap between plates that would push shut against the waves and gap when there was no pressure… the constant shiver was what was vibrating the hull and caught his attention.  It was emergent enough to not be a concern, but sneaky enough to be have gone undetected and be deadly if they’d not been closer to St. John’s.  He could patch it, but that wasn’t what had caught his attention.

 

Breath could be seen as he broke the surface, lithe muscles pulling him up his safety line and back onto the deck.  Expression was extremely displeased, not that he’d missed the separation in the hull- it would have been a needle in a haystack until out at sea anyway, it was the in-his-face reminder of his shortcomings.  Skin steamed, the sun hitting the cool of the water still over his form.  Squeezing out his braid, he tossed it over his shoulder.

 

“It’s fine,” he said as he unclipped his “leash” and wound it to hang on a cleat.  “More damage from the snag.  Nothing major.  We’ll get to St. John’s and dock for a day. Might have to dry dock it in New York, but it will get us there.”

 

Strides were quick to the tool kit on the deck storage.  Eyes rested darkly on the hatch to below deck as he prepped his kit to go back under.  It was a hot jealousy, a constant reminder he was weak, one he would have to watch until he dropped off this duo.

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Her senses were unconsciously reaching into the alien waters, each surge of water that worked to seep through the small crevice pushed against with more intensity. By the time he climbed on the boat and unharnessed himself, the push held a bit too much strength, the surge of water away from the ship causing it to rock without warning violently to the other side before rolling back into a more sedate position. The movement caused her to snap a hand to the doorframe of the galley, awareness of the unconscious engagement seeping in and instantly the ability was halted.

 

Hu'tegh

 

The language she hadn't let pass her lips in nearly two years blurted out the nasty swear as the nose wrinkled up in disgust at her own lack of control. Bare feet pivoted on her heel and her mug was snatched from the small table to head over and search for water. She didn’t want to be greedy and take another mug of what was clearly an indulgence for the captain that had saved them.

 

Stomach still raw she glanced at the pot of chili and finally decided she would have a bowl. The thick gruel was ladled into her bowl as a string of alien swears continued to mutter under her breath.

 

In trying to avoid the water, she had nearly capsized the damn boat. Her fear was chasing her with a self fulfilling prophecy.  The unladylike grunt escaped her lips as she dropped back into the chair, the oversized coat swallowing her as she leaned over the table to attack the chili, the soft mutter of complaints still whispering under each mouthful.

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Brow flinched slightly in concentration as he continued his search for supplies in his toolkit to return to the water.  He never looked angry, but inside he was seething.  He could ask one of his charges to keep the boat from taking on water until they reached St. John's, but it was an unfair request of someone newly out of danger... and his pride couldn't take it.

 

Gaze turned to rest on the waves a moment, the pull of the vast nearly black water catching his attention.  Expression became blank, then curious as it seemed it'd started speaking to him.   Whispering its native tongue to tickle his ears.... hands pausing their busy flurry as it taunted.

 

Lips parted, it had never said a word to him until now.  Over a decade.  So silent, so foreboding.  Heavy, hateful, aggressive.  To him it was a living thing, but in this world it felt sick, spiteful.

 

Last item was hastily shoved into the kit and he set it down, easily pulling himself onto the railing of the boat to watch the water, keeping his balance with an effortless grace as the vessel undulated.

 

Aki squinted up at him against the wind, pulling the zipper up on his coat.  They all knew the captain was an Outworlder, understood he relished the cold when other's tolerance reached its limits, as evidence by the fact he was barefoot and shirtless in a pair of khakis in near freezing temperatures... but, he was being odd.

 

He could hear Aki begin to speak to him, but the depths were louder, his concentration on the world that was his everything- hoping that for an instant when he opened the hand at his side to the waters it would do what he asked.  Instead, met with a rather fierce rock of the boat and an uncharacteristic loss of balance that sent him straight into the drink with no safety tether.

 

*npc* "Captain overboard!"

 

It took a second for the small crew to register what was happening.  The Captain was always overboard, but he wasn't moving, hitting the water with a painful slap to his back, floating silently in the dark ocean that was threatening to swallow him.

 

The Outworlder could feel the water, but not himself, brain lost in the depths like a dark cloud had descended into his thoughts.  Paralyzing and ovehelming.

 

A fierce sting brought him out of the pit, Aki's near perfect aim landing the lifeline across his chest like a whip.  He jerked almost instantly, the darkness in his head tearing away like something had ripped at his eye sockets.  Fleeing back into the depths, stealing away.  Arm wound the line around his forearm and he bobbed there a moment, making a decision and pulling himself back on the boat.  

 

"If we take on more water, run the pumps, otherwise get us on course for St. John's.  Leave them off."

 

He tossed the line on the deck.

 

*npc*  "Aren't you going to fix the hull?"

 

Aki's surprise was expecting of some kind of explanation.

 

"No, get on it."

 

He secured the kit, squeezed water from his hair and took the towel from Aki, slicking off his limbs.  Feet padded below deck silently as he tossed the towel over his shoulder.  Step into the galley was unexpected, removing his mug from the sink and taking a drink, long look at her in silence before he stole away to change and get back to his chair.

 

"Docking before morning to repair the boat," he said quietly as he left with his mug.

 

He wanted the boat to take on water again... he wanted to provoke the ocean to recognize his presence again.  More than anything.  He wanted to face down that dark monster something had provoked... so he could grab it by the throat and take back his world.

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She was vaguely aware of the cry for overboard but was too wrapped up in her own annoyance to pay it much mind. Chili was attacked with a vigor that her appetite had been missing for some time.  As the heat settled into her gut it began a vehement reminder that she was half starved having been on the run for some time now. Truth was she didn’t remember her last decent meal. Each shoved spoonful was underlain with foreign mutters, swears so vile she would have made sailors blush if any of them could have understood the aggressive language.

 

Eyes flicked up as he entered and headed to the sink but they quickly returned to her bowl and the remaining chili. It barely had time to cool she devoured it so quickly.

 

"Docking before morning to repair the boat,"

 

Crimson orbs flicked back up at him with a decidedly unfeminine grunt of acknowledgement considering her diminutive nature, watching him abandon her to the meal before her once more.

 

He was an odd duck.

 

Bowl was vacated and she found herself filling it a second time. She was not usually a glutton, but her gut was now bottomless, as though it was concerned it might not be filled again. Slowing down she actually enjoyed round two.

 

Bowl was rinsed and put away in the sink before she decided she would finally follow in Will's footsteps and grab some sleep. She slipped back into the small cabin where she had taken the coat from the closet and was about to shut the door when the seam that the captain had ignored gapped further and the seep into the ship became a more threatening rush of water.

 

DOR…

 

The snapped "stop it" was accompanied by a violent rock of the boat onto its side, off-kilter far enough that objects began to drop from their perches before it eased back into an upright position. Scowl was directed low on the wall, where the seam beyond had "challenged" her. Now she dared the water to keep trying to come in, ocean finally obeying and flooding unnaturally out of the hull again.

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