Chapter II: Bloody Reigns of Fire (Part 6)

Aden sighed heavily into his hand. The last few days had been pretty hectic as they tried to piece together the girls story and chase after the pirates trail. Nothing ever seemed to work in his interest as one errand led to another and another. This was supposed to be a simple trip, dropping off goods to The Estate and meeting the Acting Fleet Admiral. Now everything was for naught.

“Is your head still bothering you?” Damien drummed his fingers on his thigh in a light fashion. Unfortunately he did not know what to do for his younger sibling.

The raven haired captain pinched the bridge of his nose. He hoped it would relieve the headache he had for the past two hours. “Yeah, I’m just tired. It’ll clear when I close my eyes.”

Damien narrowed his eyes in concern, “I can always have Lionsheart stay in the barracks with Anna. You haven’t slept in your own quarters since she came.”

“I thought of that but when I went to check on the occupancy, Anna said we have no more cots available.” Aden shook his head, “She’d have to sleep on the floor and that wouldn’t be good for her injuries.”

Damien frowned, while the Division was a great transport ship it did have its problems. Theirs was a lack of space.

A knock aroused their attention to the door. Aden moved his hands from his face so he didn’t look as tired.”Come in.”

The oak frame pulled out to reveal his older brother, Xavier. He was holding in his hand the finished reports that he had been assigned. “Here’s the last minute updates you wanted.” Xavier walked over to the desk and handed the packet over to him. Aden glanced down at the new edits while Xavier reached to play with one of the paper weights on the desk.

“Oh yeah!” Xavier fiddled with the paperweight that looked like pebbles floating in frozen molasses. It seemed like a light bulb had gone on in his head. “Leo said that they’ve spotted Na Luna. It’s your call whether or not to land, but I know we’ll be welcomed if I send a telegram now.”

Damien smiled at this new information. “That means we can get some more supplies, and you can finally get rest.”

“Hm.” Aden looked up to his brothers, “Head to Na Luna Province.”

Xavier smirked, and jumped into his next line of conversation. “I also put Tyler Marklin in the kitchen to help Anna. I didn’t know where else to put him. He looks to be the scholarly type than a worker.”

Damien grabbed his chin as he considered the new addition working with Anna. In the mornings, he recalled seeing Tyler working in the Caboose. “As long as he isn’t in the way, he should be fine down there.”

Aden shook his head as he reached for the quill. He signed his initials on the report and placed in into the completed report pile. They had accumulated quite a few documents over the past year travelling.

“I think Damien fits that role in the Caboose the best, don’t you think?” Xavier went around the desk to nudge his youngest sibling, and Aden waved the quill back and forth to deflect his brother’s advances. The older Drummond male easily dodged the quill as if they were playing around. Since his quill didn’t stop him, the youngest sibling decided to glare. “Enough from the peanut gallery.”

“You know you love me little bruva.”

Damien shook his head before turning to the window. It was beginning to darken from the clouds that were slowly starting to billow. They had seen the approaching storm a couple days ago, but they hoped to make it to port before then. “Hey, we should bring the sails up pretty soon. This looks like it might be a bad storm.”

Aden let Xavier go from his stare and stretched his arms in front of his torso. Sitting at his oak desk was something that he didn’t like doing, but he knew the paperwork wouldn’t get done if he was on deck all day. “Xav, consider yourself lucky the storm came in. Help man the galley and deck below, and make sure the remaining amount of our supplies in secured. If we lose any more of our supplies I won’t be stopped from tossing you over board. Damien, follow me up desk. Xavier when you are done, meet me up by the steering wheel.”

Two new singsong voices popped in from the door. These voices belonged to the elusive Leo and Jakob as they cheerfully came to report the drizzle of rain. “Rain, rain comes again, come and wash ‘way Xavier’s silly name!”

It took Xavier a few seconds to realize they were making fun of him. He looked over to the open door where the two guys were leaning over one another. Their smiles were obvious on their faces. “Get back here and take this knuckle sandwich!” Xavier was fast enough to catch Leo in his grasp, but Jakob had sprinted off into the hall.

Aden stretched as he stood up. His head was already beginning to feel like it would burst from the pressure forming near his forehead. Everything he had seen the past week had slowly begun to regurgitate into some monster in his head. Or maybe it was the churning weather–in either event his head hurt from dealing with the aftermath of the Estate.

But he did learn two things from the girl.

“What are you thinking Aden?” Damien followed as instructed, a tiny fraction of concern ebbed on his face. The weather concerned him a bit, but not as much as Aden’s deteriorated health.

“Damien,” Aden said, “this stays between the two of us.”

Damien nodded. “Given the amount of time she’d been with us, I feel Lionsheart is not to be trusted. There is more to her than what she’s telling us, and I feel that once she does reveal herself, it won’t be in our favor.”

He thought that he would admit he wasn’t feeling well, but that was not something Aden would do. It was Aden-like to talk about the girl though. “So keep someone posted on her? What about Marklin? She took a liking to him quick enough?” Aden shook his head. They were already climbing the companionway stairs to the deck. The latch on the door in front of him popped open as the wind carried the door and slammed it on the wall next to them. It was blustery already with leaves and rain splattering down. Aden stood under the protection of the doorway with his brother looking at the disastrous weather.

“To be honest I don’t want one of the Gizmo Queen’s pawns watching over our precious cargo.” Damien gave him an alarmed look. He obviously had not known what he had.

“You mean he’s Lady Olivia Cheric’s servant?! What did she send him to the Estate for? You don’t think she’d find out he’s with us do you?”

Aden remained poignant. He had told Xavier to make their report as blatantly as possible, without the information leak about their two new additions. Thus the reason why he needed to make the quick adjustments. “I don’t know, but I specifically told Xavier to not allow them to talk for long periods. I don’t want to learn that Lionsheart is somehow also connected to Cheric. If that’s the case then I’d be forced to deliver them back to her. She does have the State tied around her goggles.”

Damien laughed. “Lady Cheric is a scary individual to deal with, especially from that one time in the Academy.”

Aden grunted. “It’s one thing to gain favor from her, it’s completely another to make an enemy of her. The best course of action is to appear ignorant of those on our ships. Especially concerning Marklin. As for Lionsheart I want more information on her. I think she’s a spy for Zaine. He pulled the same thing a year ago while using Claire within the State.”

Damien gave him a confused look. “But Zaine flung her off the Cliffside. Why would you assume she’s working for him?”

Aden smirked at his first mate, but kept an eye on his crew that buzzed around in the rainy conditions. “Didn’t you find it odd that she claimed to be just some girl in that Estate? And something strikes me odd about this uncle of hers. If she was just some girl, why would Claire and Zaine toy with her the way they did? Why would the Fleet Admiral call upon her out of all of the servants? Also, we can’t forget about there being a third mysterious person. Who was that person retreating?” Aden grimaced, not enjoying the small chunks of puzzle pieces that were scattered in his mind to assemble.  “That isn’t their style. They toy with those who could offer them entertainment.”

“You’re telling me she’s someone important in the scheme of it all?” Damien asked.

“More than that. I think she’s probably a key to the treasured Relic Stones.” He paused before he looked back to his blonde brother.

Relic Stones? I thought we all agreed when we first sailed from Liliec that it was a fable.”

Aden narrowed his eyes. He didn’t know if the state really did have a hand in the Relic Stones, but he knew that those powers existed. The Captain just never confirmed or denied the presence of the stones to his crew mates. “The State seems doubly interested in finding these stones before they can be used for evil, and Lionsheart is somehow related to the Fleet Admiral who was rumored to be in possession of some. What is even more intriguing is that he is highly implemented within The State as the reigning Fleet Admiral. She could be a personified being of the stones?”

Damien thought briefly on what Aden had spoken of. Although it seemed kind of far-fetched.

“Perhaps,” Damien started with some reluctance. He hated to doubt but what else could he do? Lottie Lionsheart was nothing but a girl, probably even younger than they were. How could she be related to the Fleet Admiral? How could she be related the the fabled stones? Of course that didn’t stop Damien from agreeing that Aden was correct. After all, it just proved that this incident needed to be investigated. “Perhaps we should give time to the Lionsheart girl. She might tell us of her identity in time.”

Aden turned his head up to the rain that poured heavier onto their ship. The rocking of the waves forced the ship to shift to the port and starboard sides. “Unfortunately we don’t have any allowances for her to give her time. We need to hurry to the wheel Damien.” He moved so Damien could move on ahead while Aden causally walked down the portside stair unit to the alcove entrance into the main cabin. Damien was already heading up to the wheel as he parted with his brother.

“Where are you going Aden?”

The emerald eyed male looked up from the bottom of the staircase. “This doesn’t seem like the type of weather I should wear a white shirt in. I would hate to see half the crew drop from being too glorious.”

Damien laughed at his brother’s expense. “While you’re getting that shirt, don’t agitate the girl Aden.”

“I can’t make any guarantees.” He waved his hand up over his head before finally disappearing from view. The rain had already soaked through his clothing as it stuck to his skin.

The blonde knew his hair would be matted to his head, and his clothing just as wet and sticking to his skin as his brothers. While all of his shipmates ran around securing the supplies on deck, he had wished Xavier would put a maintenance order for an awning to cover the wheelhouse. The rain had already began a thick sleet, with miniature pebbles of hail hitting down on the floor. A continuous melody of the hail smashed itself against the wood that did not ease their minds.  “I just hope this storm passes smoothly.”

Chapter III: Tempests, Thunder, and Trickery (Part 1)

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