Year 3607, the Fifth Age, the thirty-third day of Summer
Morality and ethics are such nice words. They are the kind of words people use to describe how the world should be, the kind of words they use to say what people should be like. In many ways they are the terms used as a tenet of life for everyone, a mold they should live their life by, and if someone deviates from that mold they are called immoral and unethical.
But where would we be without those individuals who were deemed unethical or immoral in their approach to life? Some of our greatest gathering of knowledge of the human mind and body came from procedures that most would call immoral, even barbaric.
Gildon the Deceiver wrote extensively on the human anatomy whilst he tortured hundreds of thousands of people. What he did was wrong and Gildon was a great evil that the Elder Races and Men sacrificed an enormous amount to destroy. But if it had not been for what he did our knowledge of the human anatomy would be considered by today’s standards as minute.
If it were not for the demented experiments Magi Mengele did on the homeless we would never have learnt so much about the working of the human brain and psychology.
My work is nowhere near as barbaric or insane as either Gildon or Mengele. It is not even as cruel as what the monks and priests do to the woman who birth Helwyr.
I went to the Artāre Monastery, with my brilliant magicks I infiltrated their ranks without their knowledge all in an attempt to learn what they did and how Helwyr were created. What I discovered was far darker than I could possibly imagine. The mothers were considered merely as a womb, not even human. The pain those women went through as the monks subjected them to condensed Fog streams and poison venom must have been incredible. The monks force fed them specific foods, sometimes even poisonous foods, along with strange concoctions of potions and elixirs. It is no wonder the mothers always die as the child is born.
I learnt a great deal during my short time infiltrating that Monastery and applied much of their techniques to my own work. But no one can say that what I have done is as barbaric as those monks, or Gildon, or Mengele.
What I have done is unravel much of the mystery of creation, of genetic alteration. I have created life like no one could ever imagine it could be. And with this development I have learnt that there are no Gods, for if there were I would be one and that is complete nonsense. There is only life and the creation of life, and ultimately death. And now that I have mastered life I shall now conquer death.
- My Blessed Life by Magi Siggr Stinfry
Year 3630, the Sixth Age, the twenty-first day of Winter
Legin quietly leaned on the railing of the ferry, absently playing with his lucky seed as he watched the still waters of the Gorl Sea drift by him. Underneath the glassy surface ripples of Fog could be seen snaking through the turquoise water like individual rivers amid the strong undercurrents.
It was early morning now and the mist over the water was beginning to dissipate into the coming dawn. It had not taken long for Vhindr to persuade Captain Van Beird of the guards to take them across to Chilldeep Prison on the morning ferry. Vhindr only had to tell the Captain of his investigations and how they were progressing, of which Legin had noted that his companion had made up most of the report.
Causally Legin flipped the egg sized seed he was holding up into the air with his thumb. Just as he was about to catch it again the boat suddenly jolted as it bumped a submerged rock, causing Legin to stumble and miss the catch of his seed.
Crying out in alarm Legin reached for the brown seed, but he was not quick enough. Bouncing off the thick railing of the ferry the egg sized kernel tumbled across the wooden deck. Moving quickly Legin scrambled after it, but he need not have bothered for his lucky charm came to rest at beside a rich leather shoe worn by Vhindr.
“What is this?” Vhindr remarked as he picked up the seed and examined it.
“It’s mine.” Legin said desperately and held out his hand.
“I am not going to steal it,” Vhindr replied calmly and handed it over.
Legin took back his seed quickly and slipped into a pouch on his belt.
“I have never seen anything quite like it,” Vhindr remarked, eyeing Legin curiously, “Where did you get it?”
“I found it,” Legin replied more calmly, “On Pentra’s beach as a kid. But I think it’s some kind of fruit seed. Whatever it is it has always been my lucky charm.”
“I do not know what kind of tree it would be from,” Vhindr shook his head as he and Legin walked over to the railing, “But then again, trees and plants are not really my area of interest.”
“Neither Pip or Vythe knew where it was from either,” Legin nodded as he lent on the railing again.
“Maybe it washed up from the Southern Kingdoms,” Vhindr mused as he looked across the water.
“The Southern Kingdoms?” Legin’s brow furrowed.
“The lands on the other side of the Gornl Sea,” Vhindr explained, “Essinendeür used to be one great continent but the whirlwind of Fog that carved the Gornl Sea, and subsequently destroying Gornl, also severed connection to the Southern Kingdom. Only way there is by boat now, but few seldom make the voyage. Perhaps you should head there one day, you might find someone who recognises that seed.”
“I don’t know about that,” Legin replied with a sigh, “Pip hates sea travel. As soon as he set foot on this ferry he was straight below deck trying to subdue his nausea, and this ride is as calm as sliding across ice.”
“I see,” Vhindr nodded and looked back to the ocean.
By now the mist had lessened and almost completely broken apart to reveal distant cliffs rising hundreds of feet out of the water with dense jungle growing on top.
“How much longer is this ferry going to take?” Legin groaned, dropping his chin to his hands as his elbows rested on the railing.
“At this pace, with no wind, I would say another hour,” Vhindr replied with a shrug, causing Legin to groan again.
“Hey, I know,” Legin’s face suddenly brightened and his tail straightened up, “You can tell me of Gornl’s destruction.”
Vhindr turned a curious eye towards him, “You do not know?”
“Only what I hear people saying now and then,” Legin replied with a smile, “Surely you would know.”
Vhindr nodded slowly.
“We have a really long trip ahead, can you tell me?”
Vhindr continued to regard Legin curiously before he shrugged slightly.
“Alright,” Vhindr said hesitantly and Legin smiled wider.
As Vhindr considered the best way to begin Legin hopped up in the thick wooden railing and sat facing Vhindr intently.
“I guess the only way to truly understand Gornl’s destruction is to first understand some history leading up to it,” Vhindr began slowly, “It all started back in the First Age around the year twelve. But the years are calculated by the temple of The Five, so it is completely arbitrary and I can assure you that at this time the world was centuries older than twelve years. But I digress, at this time the faith of The Five, that is the people who believe that the Five Gods, Artāre, Agnör, Anduěr, Antōre and Azarě, were the only true Gods. So it is understandable that they became upset with the growth in popularity of the belief that because the Temple of The Five’s holiest book states that The Five Gods were born of the Fog, that it is in fact the Fog which is the one and only God.”
“That is the Crythnin belief right?” Legin cut in and Vhindr nodded.
“Yes,” said Vhindr seriously, “And the animosity between the Temple of The Five and the Crythnins grew to breaking point. Many minor battles and riots erupted throughout Essinendeür’s towns and villages and this continued for many years. It was not until about year twenty that something happened which changed the paradigm. In the south of Gornl an extinct volcano began to inexplicably billow Fog and cloud from out of its crater. The Crythnin’s saw this to be a sign and began to make pilgrimages to this volcano. In turn the Temple of The Five believed that it was a massing of an army, so they gathered their followers and marched upon Gornl. As the army of The Five came to the southern reaches of the Morrow Plains a massive whirlwind of Fog raced up from the south, ripping apart the very stone of the earth. For many days this hurricane of Fog raged and when it had finally ended all that was left of Gornl was shredded plateaus surrounded by still waters.”
“Incredible,” Legin exclaimed softly.
“Naturally the followers of The Five believed the Gods had destroyed the Crythnins for their sacrilege and continued on believing that their faith was the one true faith,” Vhindr concluded simply, “So there you have it, the destruction of Gornl and the rise in dominance of the Temple of The Five all in one story.”
“That was great,” Legin congratulated, “You should be a traveling Bard.”
“Something to consider for my retirement I guess,” Vhindr replied sarcastically and Legin laughed.
By now Inüer had climbed higher into the morning sky and the mist had completely vanished, opening up to a clear and warm day. A breeze from the west had picked up, blowing hot and dry air filling the ferry’s sails and moving it swiftly across the still water. Moving up to the prow of the boat Legin and Vhindr watched the approach of the high grey cliff face that marked the island where Chilldeep Prison was built.
Drawing closer to the island Legin’s eyes lingered on the high walls that ran about the edge of the cliff and the small towers the guards kept an eye on the compound from. Taking a deep breath Legin suppressed the tightness he began to feel in his gut and muscles. The years he had spent in the Gaia Mountains Penitentiary came flooding back to him and more pointedly the numerous times he had been subjected to the guard’s cruelty and torture.
That was over now, Legin told himself and tried to relax, but he could not subdue the twitchiness he felt in his fingers. That anxiety continued to grow as the ferry approached a small dock at the foot of the cliff where a mechanical lift could take them up to the top.
As they pulled into the dock and the guards waiting there secured the ropes half a dozen prisoners were brought from below the deck of the ferry, all chained together and marched onto the lift.
As the inmates were taken up Pip rushed from the cabin and onto the wooden wharf where he breathed a sigh of relief as he hunched over his hand on his knees.
With a slight laugh Legin joined his friend and patted him on the back.
“You’re safe now after that incredibly bumpy ferry ride,” Legin laughed, drawing a scowl from Pip.
“I hate boats,” Pip shook his head and straightened up and looked up to the prison walls high above, “But I hate prisons more.”
Legin nodded and looked to the few guards who mulled about the base of the lift, which was on its way back down.
“Hey, these guards have similar outfits to the ones at the Gaia Prison,” Legin remarked quietly to his friend as Vhindr joined them.
“Except its grey,” Pip nodded, “They look a bit different without the Fog lines throughout the fabric. Probably made from a thicker material these days. But no less attractive on the females guards.”
Pip chuckled and Legin joined in, noticing a female guard come from the cabin beside the lift, her tight fitting uniform accentuating her curves.
But Legin’s eyes widened and he quickly turned away.
“I recognise that guard,” Legin said softly, “She was at Gaia. I stopped a prisoner from killing her once the walls collapsed.”
“What?” Vhindr asked seriously.
“So do I,” Pip nodded nervously, “We have to go. We have to go back before she notices us.”
Legin nodded quickly in agreement.
“Next load for the top,” a guard called from the lift.
“Come on,” Vhindr said and motioned for them to follow.
“I can’t, she will recognise us,” Legin was quick to reply.
“I doubt it,” Vhindr remarked, “And do not worry you are with me. Wealth and power go a long way in this world my friend.”
“Alright, I trust you Vhindr,” Legin decided, and followed Vhindr with Pip close behind him. “Just act normal Pip.”
“This is a bad idea,” Pip replied quietly.
Keeping his eyes on the lift Legin followed Vhindr along the wharf and climbed the stairs before moving into the iron barred cage. He could hear his heart beating in his ears and feel as if it was bursting out of his chest. Looking to his friend Legin could see Pip was just as anxious as he was, which gave him some comfort, and the fact that the female guard had not looked to them was even more comforting.
“All on,” the guard operating the lever called loudly and moved to close the lift door.
“Wait for me,” the female guard called out as she skipped up the stairs and slipped through the doors.
Legin clenched his jaw and his heart rate seemed to triple as he stared straight ahead trying to keep his breathing steady.
“Don’t look at us. Don’t look at us. Don’t look at me,” Legin heard Pip mumbled incessantly, “Don’t look at her. Don’t look at her.”
Legin looked over to the guard just in time to lock eyes with her. For what seemed like minutes Legin looked directly into the female guards blue eyes and watched in horror as a look of recognition came to her features. Quickly Legin snapped his eyes back to the front and tried to distract his thoughts with the marvelous view out across the Gornl Sea and towards the cliffs of Essinendeür.
The view suddenly vanished underneath a grey stone wall and the lift shuddered to a halt.
“’Ere we are,” the operator announced as opened the door behind Legin.
Quickly Legin moved from the lift with Vhindr beside him and Pip close behind. He expected the female guard to call out an alarm or grab him by the shoulder, but nothing happened. Curiously he glanced over his shoulder to seen the black hair of the woman disappear down another corridor.
“She didn’t say anything,” Legin laughed quietly, “She recognised us but didn’t say anything.”
“Perhaps she has just gone to get reinforcements,” Pip said worriedly, destroying Legin’s optimism.
“Do not concern yourself with that guard,” Vhindr said seriously, “Remember we are here to learn why Arell had been interested in this place. Now come on let us seek out the Commander. But to avoid any unnecessary interest, keep your tail coiled about your waist Legin.”
Legin nodded as he glanced over his shoulder again before following Vhindr through the stone hallways. The interior of this prison was all grey stone hallways and wooden floors, very different to the Gaia Mountains Penitentiary. The corridors here were wide with high ceilings like some grand castle. Narrow slits for windows broke up the uniform walls allowing Legin to catch a glimpse of the prison compound beyond. These very brief sights of palm trees and grassy hills did not tell him much, but he was struck with curiosity to see more and compare it to the Gaia Prison.
Moving through a large archway Legin followed Vhindr into a large hall where many guards sat about long wooden tables. Legin’s anxiety increased as many of the guards looked up from their meals curiously. None confronted them of course and after Vhindr asked where the prison Commander might be found they left the hall through another great stone arch.
Taking the first set of stairs they came across Legin followed Vhindr up to the second floor of the prison wall. Similar hallways greeted them and Vhindr continued on confidently as Legin followed and continued to marvel at his surroundings, as was Pip.
As they walked along many other guards passed them by, causing Legin to nod awkwardly as the guards gave them curious looks. Thankfully Legin did not recognise any of them as being formerly at the Gaia Prison.
Through another archway Vhindr headed up a square staircase which led high into a tower. Several minutes later Legin followed Vhindr onto a large square landing covered by a canopy and occupied by some chairs and tables as well as single man looking out across the prison.
“This place is massive,” Legin exclaimed as he rushed over to the railing and gazed across the compound.
Stretched far out below him was a land filled with palm trees, grassy plains, half a dozen large townships, and even a decent sized hill where several streams ran.
“I can barely see the other side,” Legin remarked as his eyes followed the line of the wall and intermittent towers.
“Try this, lad,” the strange man said with a smile and handed Legin a mahogany and brass spyglass. “Be careful with it though, I just bought it and let me tell you it was expensive.”
Legin turned a curious eye towards the middle aged man, thinking he looked quite odd with his fine white suit and wide brimmed hat. On his fingers were many gold rings and Legin spotted a few gold chains under his over starched collar. Between the brim of the man’s hat and his full white beard the man’s dark eyes sparkled as he looked at Legin.
“Thanks,” Legin smiled back and eagerly took the spyglass and began looking around the compound of the prison.
“You are Commander Jaydin Narc?” Legin heard Vhindr ask politely.
“I am indeed, and you folks are?” the Commander asked back curiously.
“I am Vhindr Varrintine,” replied Vhindr seriously, “And I need to ask you a few questions regarding a case I am working on.”
“I see,” Commander Narc nodded, “Come, take a seat then.”
“Don’t bother introducing us, Vhindr,” Legin remarked sarcastically as he turned from looking through the telescope.
“Who cares about them bro,” Pip said and lent on the railing, “See anything interesting across the prison?”
“Not yet, but this place is huge,” Legin replied and looked back across the compound, but he kept an ear tuned to the conversation between Vhindr and the Commander.
“Captain Arell, I am sure you know of her, was abducted,” Vhindr was saying.
“Arell Starak? Of course I know of her,” replied Narc, “This is grim news indeed. But why come here?”
“Because she was intending to,” Vhindr replied simply.
“I cannot imagine why,” Commander Narc remarked thoughtfully.
“Has anything strange happened recently?” asked Vhindr.
Legin glanced over to them to see the Commander shrug and reach for a silver pitcher on the table.
“Nothing comes to mind,” replied Narc, “Would you care for a drink?”
“No," Vhindr declined, “How about anything interesting in the past twenty years or so?”
The Commander choked on a laugh.
“No doubt many odd things have happened,” replied Narc, “Though I cannot recall them. Nor think that they would hold any relevance to Arell’s abduction.”
“I will decide if it is relevant,” Vhindr was quick to reply.
Legin heard the Commander scoff.
“You know I have heard of you mister Varrintine,” the Commander said with a chuckle, “I have even read a couple of your books. And, don’t take this the wrong way, but I think your fame rather inflated. That is not to say that the cases you solved were not well done, I congratulate you on them even, but any person with a proper education could have done the same. You just have the benefit of being the son of a nobleman.”
“A benefit I have never denied,” Vhindr replied with a slight smile. “Nor tried to. The best thing about being from the most powerful house in Sesserrech, is that it opens doors others would find locked.”
“Quite,” Commander Narc agreed belatedly, “But am I wrong in saying Cardonian still controls Port Na’brath?”
“Not entirely wrong,” Vhindr replied and Legin turned his attention back to the view through his spyglass.
With this exceptional telescope Legin could make out the prisoners moving about the closest of towns and even see the movement in the larger villages to the north and south of the island. Even though these people were prisoners they seemed well of, the buildings were decent and Legin could see growing crops and farm animals in the field between townships.
“It’s like its own little world,” Legin remarked to Pip, “Similar to Gaia Prison but so much grander.”
“If there are so many prisoners, how do the guards keep control?” Pip asked curiously as he too looked across the compound.
“I am not sure,” Legin shrugged, “Wait, I can see a squad of about a dozen heavily armed guards walking along the road. And there is another one over there. They must have regular patrols through the compound.”
“What of magicks?” asked Pip as he raised an eyebrow.
“Good thought,” Legin nodded and turned to Vhindr and the Commander, “Question.”
Legin’s call caused both Commander Narc and Vhindr to stop talking and regard him curiously.
“How do you stop magicks in this place, Commander?” Legin asked with a smile.
“Please do not interrupt us Legin,” Vhindr sighed irritably.
“It is quite alright,” Narc chuckled and held his ample belly, “It is simple enough lad, we use Runes to create an anti-magicks field over the compound.”
“So like the Gaia Prison?” Legin asked without thinking, and caused Pip to inhale sharply.
“Similar,” Nodded Commander Narc, “But Gaia was created entirely by Fog magicks, so when everyone’s connection to the power of the Fog was severed Gaia collapsed, along with the anti-magicks field. Thankfully, with runes still working, there remains a field over this compound. Not that it serves much purpose anymore.”
“I see,” Legin nodded and turned back towards the prison.
“We have had quite a few guards come down from Gaianaus in fact,” Commander Narc remarked to Vhindr.
Legin did not listen to the rest of their conversation, having already become bored with it. In fact he was beginning to become bored with everything here. There was nothing interesting happening, and although he had been the one to suggest coming here it seemed it was a dead end.
“See, anything interesting, bro?” Pip asked with a sigh.
“Nope,” Legin shook his head and lowered the telescope.
“Hey, wait can you see a brothel, like Gaia Prison had?” Pip asked as thought suddenly came to him.
Curiously Legin raised the spyglass and looked back across the prison, going from township to large village. But he could see nothing that stood out as a brothel, and in fact he saw no females among the prisoners at all.
“That’s odd,” Legin mumbled and turned to Vhindr and the Commander again, “I have another question.”
Vhindr sighed heavily and the Commander laughed aloud.
“Really? It could not wait?” Vhindr said sarcastically, causing Narc to laugh all the harder.
“I can if you want,” Legin narrowed his eyes at Vhindr.
“You might as well ask it now?” Vhindr turned his gaze towards the other side of the rooftop.
“Well, it’s kind of two questions,” Legin grinned, causing Vhindr to rub a hand over his face.
“Ask away, lad,” Commander Narc chuckled and took a drink from his cup.
“Where all the woman prisoners?” asked Legin curiously, “I couldn’t see any. Do they all group together like at Gaia Prison, at a brothel perhaps?”
“What? Why would you ask that?” the Commander was quick to inquire.
Legin shrugged and turned to Pip who shrugged as well.
“It is a legitimate question,” Vhindr was quick to cut in, his tone serious. “You have female prisoners, yes?”
The Commander shifted in his seat uncomfortably.
“Well no, not really,” Narc stammered, “Well not any more. I mean there used to be.”
“What happened to them?” Vhindr pressed.
“I don’t know,” Narc shrugged, “Dead I presume.”
“Why do you presume that?” Vhindr continued to interrogate the man.
“Look,” the Commander said seriously, “This is a prison, of course it is, but there are escapes. But the thing is, we don’t really bother with those who do, because they will die anyway.”
“What?” Legin scratched the back of his head in confusion.
“We have had hundreds of escape attempts over the years,” Narc continued, “Some stupidly jump from the top of the wall to be crushed up the rocks. If they manage to miss the rocks and not break their bones from the impact of the water either drown when they are pulled down by the undercurrents, or are eaten by some beast. The attempts we prevent are the tunneling, and we regularly patrol around the base of the cliffs in case a clever prisoner decided to dig down and build a boat. So what I am saying is that if one hundred prisoners jump from the top of the wall, or manage to climb down, maybe one will make it to the mainland. If they are incredibly lucky.”
Legin stood there for many seconds as he sorted out what the man was saying and absently scratched the base of his tail, which was customarily curled around his hips like belt.
“And you are saying that all of the female prisoner did this, and died?” Vhindr inquired with a sly smile.
The Commander stumbled over a few words before he let out a sigh.
“No, I am not saying that,” Narc ran a hand over his face and lent forward over the table, “Twenty or so years ago, when I first became Commander, we had a fair amount of female inmates,” Commander Narc begun seriously, “There was no brothel like Gaia Prison, the woman here simply banded together and roamed around like any other of the gangs. But one day they began to disappear one by one. We thought that maybe they were being killed off by rivals so we looked into it, but it was not the case. Our second thought was that they had found a way to escape, so we put all our efforts in to discovering this. Again that was not the case. Try as we might we could discover nothing, and all too soon there were none left.”
Vhindr nodded slowly and rubbed his chin pensively.
“The story does not end there unfortunately,” Commander Narc continued ominously, “Next thing we knew the female guards began to disappear also, until there were only males left here.”
“I saw several female guards on my way here,” Vhindr cocked his head to the side curiously.
“They are recent transfers from Gaia Mountains Penitentiary,” the Commander rested back in his chair.
“Curious,” Vhindr remarked before looking to Legin, “Pass me that telescope please.”
Legin obliged and handed over the mahogany and brass spyglass as Vhidnr stood up. But instead of looking across the prison as Legin would have expected Vhindr walked straight across to the other side of the tower and looked to the islands to the east.
“You know you can still see the ruins of Braydoss from here,” Commander Narc remarked offhandedly, “A lot of it is covered in the jungle now, but you can still make out the white stone rooftops and the Azarě Monastery even.”
Vhindr was clearly not paying attention to what the Commander had to say as he looked to the east. Curiously Legin came alongside his companion and squinted into the distance, even without the telescope he could see the white buildings glowing in Inüer’s light like pale grave stones amid a sea of green.
“What’s he thinking?” Pip asked Legin curiously as he too looked towards the ruins of Gornl’s once capitol.
“Don’t know,” Legin shrugged, “What are you thinking Vhindr?”
“I am not sure yet,” Vhindr replied as he lowered the spyglass and turned back to the Commander who was now standing. “Tell me Commander, how wealthy are you?”
Commander Narc was taken aback by the sudden turn in questioning and stammered over a few words before he straightened his white silk jacket.
“Wealthy enough, I guess,” the man smiled slightly, “I come from a rich family.”
Vhindr smirked, “No you do not. Here, catch.”
Casually Vhindr tossed the expensive telescope to the Commander who jumped to catch it. So surprised the man had been that he fumbled and nearly dropped it.
“Careful man,” the Commander cursed loudly, “I told you it is expensive.”
Curiously to Legin, Vhindr sneered at the man openly, his eyes fierce.
“I will deal with you later,” Vhindr stated seriously before he turned to Legin and Pip, “Come let us be rid of this place.”
Vhindr was quick to make for the descending stairs and caused Legin and Pip to jump to catch up with him.
“What’s going on, Vhindr?” Legin exclaimed as they moved quickly down the stairs and back through the prison.
“It seems that you might have been right, Legin,” Vhindr replied over his shoulder without slowing.
Legin smiled to himself and straightened his shoulders.
“Hear that Pip,” laughed Legin, “I was right.”
“Right about what?” Pip asked, and Legin’s brow furrowed.
“Don’t know,” Legin laughed back, “We’ll find out soon though.”
Pip laughed and shook his head as they tried to keep up with Vhindr’s swift pace.
Back through the mess hall they sped and back along the corridors to the lift where the conductor took them back down to the docks. Once out from the lift Vhindr’s pace slowed down and the man glanced about curiously before motioning Legin to follow him along the wharf to the west.
Wondering what Vhindr was doing Legin followed quietly as they passed the small building where several guards sat within. At this more secluded jetty two small sail boats were moored and Vhindr spent no time going for the larger of the two. Looking to Pip they both shrugged before Legin followed Vhindr’s lead and began untying the ropes.
“We’re stealing a boat?” Pip asked in disbelief and glanced over his shoulder. “Why are stealing a boat? You guys know I hate boats.”
“Commandeering, my friend,” Legin smiled wide at Pip. “And it’s actually a Yawl, not a boat.”
“Yeah, but why?” Pip asked back.
“We’ll soon find out,” Legin grinned widely.
Pip sighed heavily, “But I hate sailing.”
Quickly Legin unwound the mooring line and tossed it into the hull, eager to be going.
“What do you think you are doing?” someone suddenly demanded from behind him.
Legin froze in place before he slowly turned to face who had spoken. As he eyes met the blue orbs of the female guard he knew from the Gaia Prison a wave of cold dread came over him.
“Nothing, just admiring your boat, ship, Yawl.” Legin replied awkwardly and he glanced over his shoulder to Vhindr who was continuing to prepare the boat to cast off.
“It’s a very nice boat. I mean Yawl.” Pip stammered as Legin looked back to the guard who was regarding him curiously.
“I’m not who you think I am,” Legin blurted, “I have one of those familiar looking faces.”
“Smooth bro,” Pip remarked sarcastically.
“I know exactly who you are Legin,” the black-haired woman stated and put her hands on her hips.
“Legin? Who is this Legin person?” Legin asked curiously and laughed loudly, “I don’t know who you are talking…”
“It’s no use man,” Pip said dryly and Legin stopped laughing.
“Yeah, you’re right,” Legin sighed and he gave the female guard a sheepish look.
The female narrowed her blue eyes at him, “So, what do you think you are doing with our patrol yacht.”
“Taking it,” Vhindr said loudly from the deck and he tossed the guard a bag of coins.
“Do you really think you can just buy one of our vessels?” the guard exclaimed as she caught the pouch.
“Would you be shocked if I said yes?” Vhindr replied simply.
“Look we need it,” Legin cut in honestly, “You know of the women who have disappeared from here in the past, right?”
The female guard nodded her head slightly, her eyes still suspicious.
“And you have heard of Vhindr Varrintine, right?” Legin asked, “The famous crime solver?”
The guard continued to regard him curiously, but did not reply.
“Well we are here to solve this mystery,” Legin explained, “Plus, we’re taking your boat.”
“Give me one good reason why I should not arrest you?” the guard replied seriously.
“We paid for the Yawl,” Vhindr remarked as he continued to prepare the boat.
“Not you, Legin,” the guard clarified, “You’re considered a fugitive and all who escaped from Gaia are being rounded up and brought here.”
“Great,” Pip mumbled darkly.
“Well,” Legin began slowly, “One good reason could be ‘cause I am innocent.”
“No you are not,” the female guard was quick to say.
“Yeah, I guess not,” Legin ran hand through his hair awkwardly. “I suppose I don’t have a good reason.”
“You did save my life,” the guard said as her stern demeanor suddenly softened.
“You are right I did,” smiled Legin, “That’s a good reason. I saved your life. Remember that, that was awesome.”
“Very smooth, bro,” Pip remarked sarcastically.
“Go.” The female guard said unexpectedly, “And consider us even, Legin. I hope I don’t see you again.”
“Why not?” Legin was quick to ask with a smile, “I’ll come back this way once we are done and I’ll buy you a drink over in Pentra. What’s your name?”
“Ryka,” the guard replied slowly as she gave Legin a perplexed expression.
“It’s a date than, Ryka,” Legin smiled.
“Come on, let’s just go,” Pip said exasperatedly as he pulled Legin by the arm.
“So we are meeting up latter, yeah?” Legin called as he was tugged along.
“Legin.” Vhindr called irritably as the Yawl slowly began to pull away from the dock, “Hurry up.”
Shooting a final smile towards the female guard Legin jumped into the boat alongside Pip and began helping Vhindr catch a breeze. Before long they were drifting across the still waters of the Gornl Sea heading towards the east. Legin stood at the prowl of the yacht watching the tall cliffs of the islands draw closer and feeling rather good about himself and how things had ended up between him and that female guard from Gaia Penitentiary.