Crossed Paths and Blades: Part Eleven
“Garin, over here!” Hannah’s cry came through the fire.
“Hang in there, I’m coming!” Garin shouted back, then hacked through more burning debris in his way, and it wasn’t long before he spotted Hannah in a corner of a small room that was not yet completely on fire, but was filled with smoke. She was trying to get a small hatch in the ceiling open. Garin ran over to her as flames began to trail into the room, holding his breath as much as he could.
“This should lead to the deck above!” Hannah said loudly as Garin stood up on a crate to help her.
“Should?!” he asked. Hannah wanted to roll her eyes, but she ignored the urge and helped Garin to push up, but there must’ve been something sitting on top of it, or the latch was rusted shut. She looked at Garin to suggest he used his dagger, but he was already thinking of doing so. He drove his dagger up into the hatch and went around sides of it, then stood aside to let it fall away, and sure enough, above them he saw cave ceiling. Garin grinned and jumped out of the hole, pulling himself up, finding that they were near the helm, then reached back down to give her a hand up.
“Whew, that was close!” Garin sighed.
“We’re not quite out of danger yet!” Hannah warned as she stood up and brushed ash out of her hair.
Suddenly, Scarblade appeared out of the hole and grabbed Garin around the throat. Hannah let out a startled cry of fright and stumbled back as Scarblade threw Garin against the side of the ship, the grabbed him by the throat again. Garin choked and grabbed at Scarblade’s hand, at the same time trying to reach for his dagger, but it was no longer near him, but at the hole he and Hannah had come out of.
Hannah glanced down at Garin’s dagger, then at the wheel of the ship, and got an idea. She picked up the dagger, ran to the wheel and cut it off the tiller, then turned it so that it was facing Scarblade.
“Hey, Scarblade! Care to take the wheel?!” she shouted, then rolled it towards him. Scarblade barely even looked up before it hit him aside hard and away from Garin. Garin stood up and ran to Hannah, grabbing her by the arm and running with her to the side.
“Smart move, Hannah!” he complimented as the two of them quickly headed across the rope bridge to join their friends at the other side. Jacques offered them both a hand as they came onto dry land, and Hannah stopped for a moment to catch her breath, handing Garin back his dagger.
“Don’t rest yet, Hannah, we’re not quite safe!” Garin panted. “We’ve gotta get out of here before Scarblade’s crew reaches us!”
“Aye, let's be gone!” Jacques said.
“Gone... Gone, that’s it!!” Hannah suddenly exclaimed, straightening up.
“Uh... What’s it?” Armin asked.
“The answer to the riddle! Everyone, get in the water!!” she said, running for the lake.
“Wait a minute, wait a minute!” Garin said, grabbing her arm. “What are you talking about?!”
“Talak, you said there was a current!” Hannah said.
“Aye...” Talak said, scratching his head, and Hannah looked at Garin.
“It’s the answer to the riddle, Garin!” she said. “It means that Frigget put his ship here for a reason! The water is salty, and there’s a current! Which means it runs out of the lake somewhere, and the ship is there to hide it! If we follow that current-”
“Then we find the way out!” Garin exclaimed. “Hannah, you’re brilliant!”
“Then what are we waiting for, let's go!” Jacques said, pulling out his potion.
After drinking their rations of the potions, and giving Hannah and Armin some, they all dove into the water and followed the current, which they found led into a small cavern... and then straight down!
Something like a whirlpool dragged them down into blackness and down a long rushing tunnel. Garin could hardly see which way was right-side-up while being tossed about in this long tube of jetting water, but it wasn’t long before suddenly he felt himself being launched out a long drop and landing in a large mass of much calmer water. He brought himself back up to the surface and looked around, finding that he had been launched down a waterfall, just like his comrades, who now floated in the water around him, looking just as confused as he was. Garin followed his shipmates over to the side of the pool and pulled himself up onto dry land, seeing Jacques helping a somewhat panicking Armin out of the water. Garin sighed and lay on his back, gasping for breath and trying to regain himself as best he could before looking around for Hannah, who, to his surprise, was still in the water. He sat up.
“What are you doing now?!” he asked right before she dove back down again. After another moment, she came back up and laughed aloud, throwing something at him, which landed in his lap... and was revealed to be a handful of gold coins and jewels. Garin gaped wide-eyed and took them in his hands, then looked back up at her. She laughed again.
“Of course that same current would have to have drug the treasure down, too!” she said, before he could ask. Garin blinked, and then laughed, lying back down on his back as Hannah swam over.
“So,” she said. “Do I have to do all the work, or are you boys gonna help me get this treasure up?”
After another three or four hours, close to all the treasure had been brought up out of the water. Hannah and Armin took their share, which was only enough to keep them going for several months, and Garin and his crew took a fair share for each of them. So, after all the loading and transporting was finished there was finally time for everyone to rest. Garin’s crew went back aboard their ship to get some rest before having to set sail once more.
Hannah sat watching the water reaching up towards the shore, watching the sun slowly sink towards the water. She took a deep breath of the fresh, crisp, salty breeze that blew into her face, then stood up to back away from a wave that reached a bit too close up to her ankles. She laughed to herself, then looked over as she spied Garin walking in her direction.
“Hey...” he said.
“Hey,” she replied, looking out to the water again. “Quite the day, huh?”
“Aye. Crazy, but still, you might call it standard for people like us!” Garin replied, chuckling, and Hannah laughed.
“True!” she said. “Very true for us adventurers!”
“Adventurers...” Garin repeated. “Not adventurer and pirate?” he asked. Hannah looked at him.
“Well... I suppose so, but...” She paused for a moment, then shook her head with a small smile. “I guess I have to admit you and your crew aren’t like your average pirates. You’re...”
“What?” Garin asked, smirking slightly. “Better?”
“No, not really,” Hannah replied, and Garin blinked. “You’re just... well, different. But I suppose different is better than... well, Scarblade for one!”
Garin laughed. “Aye, you’re right!!”
There was a pause as they both looked out over the water, and Garin’s gaze traveled to his ship, which lay resting on the water nearby. He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck.
“Well... Thank you, I guess. For saving my life,” he said.
“You’re welcome,” Hannah replied. “And, thank you for saving mine. But... Looks like this is farewell.” Garin sighed and nodded, but then looked up at her.
“I guess we can’t help but meet twixt the sea and the stars anyway...” Garin said with his usual, cocky half smirk. Hannah cocked her head to one side.
“What does that mean?” she asked. Garin chuckled and scuffed the ground with his foot.
“Ah, its just this old pirate saying,” he said. “It means that if we ever do meet again... it’ll be on common ground.” He smiled and Hannah smiled back and looked out to the sea.
“I guess you’re right... We do have a lot in common,” she said.
“Yeah... Too bad we’re still different, you and me,” Garin said. “'Cause if you ask me, we make a pretty good team.” Hannah giggled a bit.
“Yeah, you are pretty good... for a pirate,” she said. Garin blinked and looked at her.
“Hey!” he said. Hannah burst out into laughter and Garin crossed his arms at her, but then gave in and started laughing along with her.
“Garin!” Jacques called over. “We’re ready!” Garin looked over to his friend, sighed and waved.
“Alright, I’m on my way!” he called back, then looked at Hannah. He nodded to her, and she nodded back.
“So... I guess this is farewell,” Garin said, giving her a slight salute.
“Yeah...” she said, waving back. Garin cleared his throat and turned away, staring to walk off. Hannah gave a small smile and turned to walk away as well, but then she stopped and turned back.
“Hey!” she called, and Garin turned. She smiled. “See you twixt the sea and the stars!”
Garin smiled and gave her another salute. “You got it.”
With that, the two Usuls turned and walked their separate ways, most likely never to cross paths again, though neither one of them really knew if they would or not. The only thing they really could do to find out for sure was to wait and see.
But either way, they both knew what lay over the horizon for the both of them...
A new day and new adventures.