Another Hero's Journey: Decisions - Part Five
“Well, that was fast. I can’t believe we’re already here. And look at our ship!”
Andrea stared up at the magnificent ship docked at the pier. The immaculate sails, though still folded, rippled ever so slightly with the sea breeze. The polished mahogany hull was dotted with several round windows, all in a line that led to the anchor chain that dangled into the gently rolling sea. But what truly caught her attention was the figurehead, which wasn’t exactly a figurehead at all, but the carved crest of a rising wave.
“Reuben, isn’t it beautiful?”
The white Blumaroo nodded in reply, passing their bags to sailors who were in charge of cargo.
“The path before you is no walk in the park, but I am sure you two will rise to the occasion,” said Olivia to Andrea, her paws held up high as though she was expecting something to fall out of the sky. When she brought them down, she turned to the red Kyrii. “I suppose this is it.”
Reuben was quite surprised to see the purple Lupe open her arms to give her niece a big goodbye hug and a kiss on both cheeks. It seemed strange for a nature seer to be capable of public displays of affection.
“I’ll miss you, Aunt Olivia.” Andrea waved over to Melissa, who was talking to an island Yurble who looked like one of the officers. “And you too, Miss Melissa. We can’t thank you enough for paying for our fee.”
“What she said,” the Blumaroo echoed to his mother, and gripped her paw tightly. “I promise I’ll come back as soon as I can.”
“Tell Rohane that I miss him dearly, and so does Trestin, and probably the entire kingdom of Meridell,” said Melissa, and embraced her older son. A couple of passing Krawks snickered at this scene.
But the older white Blumaroo broke off sooner than he expected with a smile and an amused twinkle in her eye. Before anything else, a bell sounded, its clear sound cutting through the cool morning air. Somewhere on the ship, a sailor bellowed, “All hands, paws, hooves, and feet on deck!”
“Farewell, Reuben. Farewell, Andrea,” said Olivia, watching as the two hurried up the ramp, joining the passengers and the sailors who carried their things. Melissa took out a pale pink handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes before waving it to the Kyrii and Blumaroo, who were already onboard and leaning over the railings, waving vigorously back over shouts of “Hoist the anchor!”, “Unfurl the sails!” and “Didn’t I say all hands on deck?”
As the anchor was hoisted, the sails were unfurled, and all hands were on deck, Reuben and Andrea’s voyage to the Lost Desert officially began.
* * *
“You two’re Andrea Kalih and Reuben Deivrann, aren’t you?”
“Yes, we are,” said Andrea before her companion could answer. “It’s a pleasure to meet you... Captain.”
A pirate Lutari tipped his hat and gave them a crooked grin. He had a weak Krawk Island accent, but it was definitely still there. He snapped his fingers, and a green Bori appeared beside him, clutching a scroll tied with navy blue ribbon.
“Kalih and Deivrann... Terraflare... they mean the same family, don’ they? Oh, so they do... anyway, do give them their keys. Rooms one-oh-one and one-oh-two, respectively, below deck.”
The Lutari unrolled the scroll and scanned through pretty quickly before handing it back to the Bori, who unclipped a large key ring from his belt and quickly chose two skinny brass keys. He handed one to the red Kyrii, and the other to the white Blumaroo.
“Pleasure’s all mine, I’m Captain Aurel of the Tide Princess. She and I have been through a lot, aye. You’re the only ones we’re droppin’ off in the Lost Desert, huh? Figures... after all, you’re Reuben Deivrann – or Terraflare, the one who saved the village of Trestin. Adventure runs in your blood...”
“Not too loud,” Reuben whispered. The last thing he needed was a crowd surrounding him and whispering behind his back; as much as he liked the attention, he wanted things to be a little quiet this time. “But yeah, that’s me.”
Aurel thought for a moment and toned his voice down. “Ah! You’re what’s-his-name’s brother... the lad who’s tryin’ to find a way to stop the crazy sandstorms, with two lasses taggin’ with him... you goin’ to tag along too?”
Reuben opened his mouth to answer, but Andrea beat him to it. “Not really, we’ll just see them for a bit. Maybe give them some moral support. If they can beat the sandstorms, so can we,” she added, before the captain could ask.
“Aye, but nobody knows where they’re now,” the pirate Lutari couldn’t help observing. “They were last seen in a rather obscure place called Waset Village. But they only stayed for a really short while. At least, that’s what the rumors say.”
Yeah, too short to write me a letter, the Blumaroo couldn’t help thinking. Of course, he couldn’t blame Rohane if they couldn’t stay for too long. The fate of the Lost Desert rested on his shoulders, and the shoulders of his comrades, after all.
The Bori returned to Aurel and whispered something in his ear. The captain nodded, took his hat off again, and said, “I do hope you enjoy your trip, Miss Andrea and Mr. Reuben. Remember, if there’s anything you need, just ask...” Then he let the young lad drag him off.
Once they were alone by the railings again, Andrea turned to Reuben, the wind toying with her mane.
“You know, I’d like to see our rooms.”
* * *
Their quarters were across the corridor from each other. Reuben entered his to see that his bag had been placed there, on top of the desk, which was bolted onto the floor along with the chair. His bed, on the other hand, was securely fastened to the north side. A painting depicting a ship and an island on a calm, sunny sea hung on the west wall.
Hanging up his cloak on a hook, the white Blumaroo sat down on what would be his bed for a few days, or maybe a week, depending on the weather; it was quite comfortable, though nothing like his bed back home. Then again, it looked like the seas would be pretty tame, with just enough wind to take them through. Before he could choose between taking a short nap and exploring the ship, he saw his door open.
“Well, our rooms look alike, except for the painting in mine. I’ve got Brightvale Castle,” Andrea remarked, sticking her head inside. “Too bad there aren’t any windows, but at least there’s a desk for me to write on. So... what do you want to do? We’ve got some time before lunch.”
It was then that he made his decision. “We could go around the ship a bit, see what else is there. What do you think?”
The red Kyrii nodded, and waited for Reuben to come out and lock his room. The two of them walked up the stairs that led back onto the deck, which was bathed in sunlight. Other passengers breezed past them, and nearby, a Chomby was mopping the floors. Captain Aurel had taken his place at the wheel, and was talking to the island Yurble Andrea and Reuben had seen while they were still docked at Meridell.
“I’ve never been on a ship before,” said the Blumaroo, staring at just about everything he passed by. “My parents have, but hearing about it and actually doing it are two different things, as you can imagine. In fact, I’ve never been outside Meridell in my life. In a way, Rohane’s pretty lucky; he’s seeing a lot more of Neopia than I am.”
Andrea pulled out a small notepad that had Tide Princess written on the top in bronze, with a foamy wave breaking over the T. She produced a white quill next – “It can write for a while without being dipped into an inkwell again,” she explained – and started to write. “I’ll have so many things to tell everyone back in Trestin when we get home. It was nice of them to provide notepads in our rooms; I might run out of paper during our trip.”
“I never noticed. I’ll check later. It might come in handy when I’m writing letters – oh yeah. We can’t send mail out here, especially when we don’t know where exactly my brother is.” The corners of Reuben’s mouth turned down briefly. “Maybe we could send a message in a bottle, if the sea wasn’t so unpredictable.”
“There’s an interesting idea. We could probably write something and toss it overboard, see how long it’ll take for anyone to find our message, unless of course, someone stops us and accuses us of littering. If anyone ever does...”
She froze in her tracks, the tip of her quill less than an inch away from her notepad and her eyes, blue as the sea, staring out into the distance.
“I almost forgot.” Before Reuben could ask what it was she forgot, the red Kyrii continued. “Before we left, Aunt Olivia told me something... something she thinks you might need to know. I should tell you before I forget.”
“Did she make a prophecy?”
“No, but I think it has something to do with you. She said that it was important that you don’t forget,” said Andrea, and recited the words in an enigmatic lilt that reminded the Blumaroo very much of the Lupe nature seer.
“Some build so that others may destroy. Some destroy so that others may build.”
To be continued...