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Limanya » Lair » Alastair
Alastair
#49347816
Info
Level 1
Coatl Male
Hatchday
Feb 13, 2019 (5 months)
Stats Growth
Length
6.92M
Wingspan
8.29M
Weight
985.43KG
Genes
PrimaryCoal Skink
SecondarySanguine Bee
TertiaryMaroon Glimmer
Eye TypeLight Uncommon
Energy: 49 / 50
Apparel & Skins
Lineage
Parents
Offspring
none
Familiar
Information
33gcJ8a.pnglSVYCtK.pngG6sf9sH.png

Storm Upon the Sea

She was as beautiful as the sea itself. The Tethys, that noble lady; her build was sturdy and firm, its origin still unknown. She had no past before she became a pirates' ship, but she was theirs and that was all that mattered. The wind caught in her sails much in the same way it tugged at her captain's hat, who in response took it off, holding it close to his heart. That was where it belonged.

The single red plume still fluttered, ruffled by the wind. Without the protection it offered its wearer, the captain's feathered mane suffered the same fate. But it was no problem: the winds were favorable today.

"A kind breeze, no?" the Coatl called out to a dragon just behind him. "'Twas about time she started showing some mercy. Five days helpless—but look at us now!"

The other dragon approached. He was a Wildclaw, tall and with a warrior's past. Those who saw the way he handled his blade could know, in those few moments before they were cut down. And yet, as he stepped to his captain's side, he looked nothing but soft.

"Aye. But who are we, Alay, to accept mercy without repaying our debts? The men are hungry for battle, and you look as if you've had your fill of port towns."

"Ye'r mad, Freyr. Were there such a thing as too much drink, I'd long been down in ol' Tide's arms. Now battle – battle's a different thing."

"Come now, Alay. Don't pretend drink's all you're there for. What was it last time - the women? The dice?"

Captain Alastair turned his body away and back again, as if he had changed his mind. "Pah! The women?! Then you'd better explain what you're here for. Why would I need women if I have you already?"

Freyr grinned. "And the dice?"

"Got me there. What say you and I play a round, then? To pass the time?"

"What time? Alay, we've no idea where we're heading! You can't just—"

"Right, right. A moment, then!"

Alastair left Freyr's side briefly, on one hand to look out over his crew – this sea of moving faces – and on another, or perhaps still the same, to bark his orders at them. But loud as it was, its sound was comforting to the dragons of the Tethys, like the greeting of an old friend, rough as it was in its excitement.

When he returned, Freyr took a second longer than usual to look up at his beloved captain – no, at his beloved Alay. Rank was no issue; this was only love. And as any good lover, according to Alastair himself, would have to know, even a second of difference from his usual behavior could be cause for concern.

In this case, the Wildclaw was tending to his pet, the small parrot that always sat with him. It had been the captain's own suggestion, and it worked wonders.

"We're headed for the Reefside Cliffs. The scenic route, though. If we're lucky, that buys our boys some time to figure out wherever our other friends might be. Even luckier than that I should be if we find one o' them boats full of sea-fearin' rookies, hah! Always a good time—Freyr, are ye listening to me? Something matter with Lord... His Majesty, Lord Drea–"

"Dread is acting strange. Stranger than I've come to expect, at least."

"Yeah? He's still a bird. If he's done for, then–"

"No," Freyr interrupted again. "It's a grim omen. And now that he's let me know, I can't help but feel it too. Something's not quite right here, Alay."

The clouds grew dark.

It was a storm, stirring where it shouldn't be. An invader — that sly creature which crept on the deck, threatening the crew with every wind, every surge of rain. It was Death, it was Danger, it was everything a sailor never expected or, perhaps, hoped they'd never have to expect.

"We'll get through this," Alastair muttered. "We'll get through this," he repeated, this time in a yell.

"Oh, I believe you," Freyr responded. A grin flashed briefly across his face. It was a rare, but welcome sight, especially in times like these. Especially now.

But the sea was a fickle beast. Ten, twenty, forty men could not tame her, and this was not to mention the advantage of surprise. The morning was clear and bright yet in a flash, or perhaps the inverse, darkness overtook the skies. No storm spread like this. Was someone, something at fault?

Alastair's gaze turned grim. Only moments ago, the sea was a lioness, tenderly carrying the Tethys in her mouth as if it were her cub. Now, the image became much clearer: the Tethys was not the sea's cub, she was the prey. And she had already been caught.

So the sea tossed around her prize. Lightning strikes as rending claws, and the blood from the lioness's maw into pouring rain. Weeping rain, for the Tethys would soon lost.

Freyr leapt down – one step brought him onto the quarterdeck, another amidst the mass of panicked men. Above and below, commands were roared through the howling wind, through the screams of terror. Loudest of all screamed the Tethys as her body slowly fell apart.

This was it. This was the point where no pulling, no screaming, no frantic waving and pointing of cutlasses could help.

Alastair felt his hope slip away from him. Some were tossed overboard, to be swallowed into the waves. Even those who hailed from these lands stood no chance. Those not given the chance to swim, even though it wouldn't change the outcome, were struck down by the Tethys herself, creaking and breaking.

Slowly, the Tethys fell silent. The screams died off; there were none left to scream. No part of the battered craft that had not broken as far as it could already. The first mate was silent, and then, the captain.

She had lost.

Alastair awoke. Sand laid underneath him, and the waves steadily brought more in and took it away again. He had been brought in, too. How many were taken away?

He looked around him. All he saw, a little further along the shore, was a Wildclaw much in the same condition as him. At least they were breathing.

"Freyr?" Alastair called out, crawling in closer.

"Caspar, sir," came the response.

Alastair turned back to face the seas, holding tightly on to the loose sand beneath. Nothing answered his silent pleas; the seas were quiet, the winds were quick. The same as he had foolishly trusted in once before.

"Oh, Gods..." his voice, turned raspy, muttered. "Gods," he repeated. Alastair believed he'd been spared that fate, of drowning on his own seas — but if that was so, why was it so hard to breathe? To speak? Why, then, was his face suddenly so wet, his eyes burning?

Was this not what dying was like?

"Caspar, ye said?"

"Oh! Y-yes, sir," answered a young voice, now beside Alastair. "Do you need any—"

Alastair cut him off before he was able to finish. "Ye'r the kid we picked up from that blasted bookwyrm's vessel, aye? Beggin' and pleadin' for yer life, willing to do anything, long as we spared you... So then, answer me: was I a good captain?"

"Sir, you were—"

"I should have gone down, at least. The Tethys was my ship. It's not right. It's... it's not."

Caspar sighed. "Sir, you were amazing until the very end. We knew what we were getting into, and it was no fault of yours."

"Ah."

"Now," Caspar stood up, "it looks like we landed near a town, there. Sir, do you think it wise we seek aid there?"

"I don't know."

"What– what do you mean, sir?"

"What I said. I... don't know. Nothing, I know."

Caspar sighed, although it may have been lost to the wind; then, he bent down and reached out a hand to the poor captain. "In that case, we'll go."

An hour later, the captain sat at his drink. Caspar sat across from him, nervously staring into his still-full glass. Neither of them spoke much.

Eventually, Caspar spoke up. "Sir... what now?"

"Well... to be honest, I still don't know. Me ship's gone, me crew's gone! Where's a man to go, from that point?"

"S-sorry."

"Naw, don't be. Ye'r a good kid, ye are."

Alastair paused to think for a moment, swirling around his glass before realizing it was empty. No ship, no crew, and nothing to ease his sorrows. How easy the rest must have had it! At least they were together.

"First, I say we get away from this place."

"Sir..?'

"Eastwards, though. The Gods o' the West, I don't trust 'em much. Wouldn't much surprise me if they," he mentioned with a sideways, and slightly upwards gesture, "were behind all this."

"Sir, we... we are in the east. To go further eastwards would– well, it'd land us in the Highland Scrub. Hardly a good place for sailing, sir."

"So what!" Alastair half-heartedly flung down his fist onto the table, to which Caspar quickly glanced at the captain's emptied glass. "An' quit the 'sir', kid. I'm yer cap'n, or yer Alastair."

"I'm sorry, si– captain."

"Much to learn," Alastair muttered. "Anyway! We sail eastwards, and that's that."

"But we don't have a ship."

"Right. Aye, we might have ourselves an issue with that one. Can't repeat me last tricks, s'pose."

Caspar frowned. It was hard enough sitting here and trying to follow along after what had happened, but the captain was barely in any state to speak well. Whatever he was getting at, it sounded closer to a miracle.

Unprompted, Alastair continued. "I had me crew an' ship handed to me, I did. Tethys, that poor lady – I won her playing dice at the tavern. The old ship was bound to die, anyways. We, our new crew, we needed something better. Not a shoddy merchant's ship— ha!"

"A merchant ship, captain? Th-then how did you..."

"Aye, 'twas not our intention. We were young sailors, hopin' to find a decent job. Turns out, traders will gladly treat ye as servants, soon as they remember who's got most coin on that deck. Coin or not, ye won't float for it!"

Again, Alastair laughed. Caspar only shuffled around nervously.

"An' then! Then it turns out, yer life be a merrier one if it's yer own ship. Wouldn't let it go for the life of us, oh no. Rogues we became, but rogues with a home. Never would've left her! Never..."

The captain's cheer slowly vanished, and Caspar was still fidgeting around. Eventually, the courage to speak – oh, how desparately he needed it – came to him, albeit still only in slight amounts.

"I... Ca-Captain..?"

"I'll be fine, fine... Don't need yer worry, kid."

"No, no, that's not what I meant...! Captain, if we go east, I may have an idea that could work. We can't just sail over the desert, so I thought... what if we used a different kind of ship?"

"So ye'r trying to get a flyin' ship?"

"No, no, not exactly! S-See, when we met, I was part of this group headed eastwards from the Isles, right? We were heading for a station in the great Expanse, as part of some research we were doing. There were sand-sailing ships awaiting us there. And, well... at least one ship, ours, couldn't get there. So hopefully, there might still... be some left."

"Research, research... Ne'er been much good at it, bein' smart and all. 'S what I had Freyr for. But ye know how that story ended."

Alastair brought his empty glass to his lips, but set it down the moment he noticed the weight, or lack thereof. At the same time, he stared out the tavern's window – still the same, empty sea. No Tethys at rest. No first mate to tell him off, to tell him to get out of the tavern. Ha! Always going on about not gambling their fortunes away, about not getting into brawls there, nor getting into bouts of love.

But they had gambled their fortune the day they took to the seas. They'd won and won, and now they lost. Brawls weren't bad – they kept him sharp. And shallow waters brought shallow loves, as he'd always recite in that same dutiful tone. He'd only ever had one true love, and it was the one berating him at that very moment.

Was Freyr alone, too, now?

No... never mind. He couldn't say he was alone just yet, even if it had constantly felt like it.

"So, sand-sailing, ye say. What are ye plannin'? To steal one?"

"E-Erm... Yes, captain."

"Ha! Ye'r well on yer way to becomin' a proper pirate, kid. So, where would we find this ship?"

"We can get there on foot, I think, or by wing. I need to orient myself, but I think I know the way."

"Aye, that sounds a solid plan to me. Little use in waiting, then."

Oh, how the anticipation had carried them through that journey! Hidden along the side of the Carrion Canyon was a solid metal wall, a door that opened only to a few, storing the ships. If only these researchers were as smart as the pirates were, they'd have thought to guard it. Then again, it was only thanks to Caspar it could even be located, much less entered.

"Ha! Ye did well, kid. It's beautiful, it is."

Inside was one ship, something quite unlike anything either of them had ever seen before. It greeted them with the small amount of light that slipped inside reflecting off of its hull, adorned with far more metal than the Tethys ever saw in her lifetime.

Caspar stepped forward and spoke. "It'll need some work." It was true; beautiful though the ship was, it was not a pirate's ship. "Cannons, for one. I can see if we can get a figurehead on there somewhere, too. And... it'll need a name."

"Cannons be no problem to me! I've connections, kid. But ye seem to know better than I how this thing's built," Alastair said as he walked around the ship.

"Oh... Y-Yes, I was taken along not just as a researcher. They wanted me for the ships."

"So tell me, kid. Are ye feeling at home yet?"

"Ah– I, um..."

"Naw, can't be. Not until we've named this beast. To tame it, ye name it. That's how the sea works. And the deserts, too, I hope." The captain looked up, his gaze not fixated on one part, but the ship as a whole. It was majestic. It was fearsome.

It was his.

A dark omen had ended the Tethys. A dark omen had, then, begun whoever this would be.

"Dread," he muttered. "Dreadram."

"Si– captain?"

"The Dreadram. That's what she will be! Caspar, ye shall be with me. We've much work to do."

"Of course, Captain."

Much work it was, but the Dreadram lived every bit up to her name once she was ready to venture out. Her sails were itching to catch the desert wind, to raze over the sands as if they were water – how noble she would have looked! But this was no noble vessel; it was with Alastair now. Alastair, and his crew. The pirates and their home.

She was not noble, she was fearsome. And it was precisely as it was meant to be; when the captain stared up, at the ram's head above him with its four great horns, he felt proud. Proud that he soon would stand up there, to wear his captain's hat once more.

If only Freyr could've seen it.

If only Freyr could've seen him climb up, beaming as he looked out over an empty hall, anticipating the desert hills that were awaiting him outside. If only Freyr could've seen him call Caspar, the young mechanic, the first to join the new Dreadram's crew, to join him up there. If only Freyr could've seen— no, heard Alastair, his Alay, command the doors to open before him, to let him out, to let the Dreadram free.

If only he could have stood at the captain's side.

So many if-only thoughts crossed Alastair's mind, even as the sands welcomed the Dreadram with open arms as she gently sailed, just a thumb's-width above them. It was a new land, a new beginning. Everything was born anew here, but thoughts of the past clung on like a sailor's scars. And that wretched thought returned: it should've been him.

And that wretched thought stayed, for many nights. Caspar blamed the desert air, the different skies, but what could he know? No – that wasn't fair. He had sailed on the Tethys too, survived only by sheer luck. He was well aware of that. But it was still different.

Alastair had already lost track of how many days they had been sailing. Repetitive nightmares offered little grip on time, as did these unfamiliar lands. They'd have to get a better map soon, or better yet, a trained navigator. Now, the greatest asset they had was an exhausted captain lost in the desert.

But they had food and drink! They could roam and roam, more and more. So then, Alastair asked himself, what was it that stood there, looking out over the sands?

Not Caspar. The kid had been holed up all day, working out what to buy on their next stop. None of the few sailors they'd picked up along the way; at this hour, they would be hard at work, not slacking off like that.

It was a strange figure, almost appearing to fade in and out as Alastair approached. It was strange, but almost... familiar. Familiar, he thought.

Freyr?

He was seeing things! It couldn't be any other way. Caspar was right; these skies were different, these skies were strange, these skies were bringing mirages to the deck. But before Alastair could let out a heavy sigh, the apparition turned.

"Hello, Alay."

"H..Hello. I mean– Freyr? Freyr, is that..."

The captain felt his jaw turn to lead, his tongue to stone. No more words came out; not until Alastair stood banging on a door, begging Caspar to follow him. Would he curse the boy, for what happened next? He answered only to what his captain asked. That, yes, there was someone standing there – captain, do you need me to go look? "No, no, that's enough," he would say. But even that final word hardly came out.

Halfway between staying with Caspar and returning to the apparition, Alastair collapsed.

There was no "pray let your captain be in peace." There was Alastair, once a captain, again a captain, weeping as he only remembered doing one other time. And that time was brought back, with all the twisting of the pain embedded deep in his heart. It hurt so.

"Come now, Alay. This is no way to behave yourself, aboard your own ship! Are you not a captain?"

"Frey...r..."

If Alastair could not move towards the apparition, it would come towards him. It would sit beside him, smiling at him so fondly, gentle as Alastair had only known him to be in their closest moments.

"Freyr.... how...?"

"Oh, I wonder, too, Alay. You know as well as I that I should not be in this world." The apparition – no, Freyr – let out a sigh. "But I'm here, anyways. Gods know why."

"So you are..."

"Aye, Alay. 'Fraid you're right. I don't recall much; I'd been knocked out already, and I never saw the rest of our crew again, live or dead. So... it's just you now, and... what was his name again?"

"Caspar... Caspar, that's his name."

"Caspar, yes. But how he's grown! And this ship, she's a beautiful one."

Alastair slowly fell silent again. What was he doing? Talking to a mirage? Talking to a ghost? This was madness, all of it! But it was madness of his own making. He couldn't bear to look Freyr in the eyes now, not after what he'd done.

"...So, Alay... Can't say you look that happy to see me. You've never been good at hiding your feelings, but those feelings were always good ones, no?"

"I'm happy, I'm happy," Alastair said, nearly forcing the words out while clenching his fist as tightly as he could. "But not... not like this."

Freyr sighed. "Alay, will you do me a favor, then?"

"What... what?"

"There's someplace I think you should go. Northward, there's... oh, never mind. Just... I'll tell you where to go. If there's anything you can do, anything at all, it's to go there."

"I..."

"Goodbye... no. See you there, Alay."

As he had appeared, he vanished; leaving no trace but Alastair, pathetic, weak. A captain, sobbing all over the planks. Who truly looked more miserable here: Freyr, wounded and weary, or Alastair?

But even in death, Freyr refused to change a bit.

Was he teasing him? Challenging him? Even in that, there was no way to tell unless Alastair would do as he was asked to. How funny; a captain who obeyed that man's every whims, even after death. Yet that, again, spoke volumes: that he always placed his trust in the one man he knew was truly capable, who, in a sea of betrayal and sinners enjoying every ounce of pleasure they could gain from those lawless waters, was trustworthy.

Freyr knew. He knew that his captain was in need of something, someone to take control of this situation. He knew that Alastair still loved him.

The cliffs were golden in the sunlight. This was the land of Alastair's own birth, and the land where Freyr spent the vast majority of his young years. Here, overlooking the seas that Alastair had abandoned, was where Freyr wanted him to come.

"You're fast," Freyr said, smiling. He knew very well smiles were the last thing Alastair would want or would think of, right now. But perhaps it brought him some small comfort.

"For you," Alastair responded, as he approached him near the edge of the cliffs. The sun was just on its way to setting, and cast a beautiful light over the waters below.

"Alay, look. Do you see?"

"See what..?"

"The seas, Alay. This cliff – this very cliff was where I first saw them. Was that what drew me towards them, towards you? Aye, it very well could have been. And it was fun, Alay."

"But I... I took that from ye. From everyone."

"Is that it, Alay? Is that what's been bothering you?"

"Of course! Why wouldn't it? The captain should go down! Not his entire crew!" And again, the tears returned, welling up, crashing down. The waves below moved as they always did. "It should've been me! And, and... now you are here, or somewhere down there, and whose fault was it?!"

"Whose fault, indeed... Alay, look at yourself, you fool! Is that a man worthy to lead a crew?"

"Of course not!"

"Aye, of course it's not. Were you half as pathetic there, we'd have long tossed you overboard. Alay, listen. Blame the gods. Blame the lightning, the thunder, the water, the waves, the winds, the storms—blame everything. But don't put blame on those who don't deserve it."

"The storms, the storms! The storms I sailed us right into?"

"Ha! Bold of you to say that. Did you not name that ship after ol' Dread, here? Did you forget what happened already? You did not see it coming, just as I did not. None of us could. Call it what you will, I call it a foul whim of the gods. But before I see you bend the winds, I've little reason to believe you had any part in that."

"The ship, then, the ship!"

"Alay, stop. You're only making a fool of yourself! Did I not tell you, minutes ago? That these cliffs, these seas, that that is what brought me on the ship? You spent so much time in those blasted taverns that any of us could've made a run for it, had we wanted it. Don't think for a second that any of us weren't there because we wanted to be! We knew what we were doing. We knew. And until the very end, I never regretted it."

"Fre...yr... Oh, oh gods, I... no..."

The screams had become too much. It had all become too much. He wept and wept; no, he lay sobbing on the grass. What was he doing? Was Freyr right? He had to be; he always was. Always.

"Get up, Alay. Get back to your ship. You've much work do to, and so do I. And until I'm done, I'm not leaving."

"Freyr..."

"Did you hear me, Alay? Is there not a desert waiting for you, to sail across it? A ship, a crew? They would not want to see you like this. I would not, either. I will not leave, I will not go – so Alay, will you get up, or not?"

"...Aye, I will."

"Good. Then let's get going."

 
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