Child of the Drenched: Part Three
The Revenge was bearing down on them, her cannons firing. Mara gasped in horror as the ship rocked. Mara turned to look for Jacques and found him standing beside Garin, who was steering the ship. She raced up to him.
“Who is Captain Scarblade?” Mara yelled over the din.
“He is the most evil captain to ever sail the five seas. He has a grudge against us!” Jacques shouted back. “Mara, get below, you’ll get killed up here.”
They were coming along the Revenge now. Instead of going below, Mara raced to the rail. She summoned all the magical power she could. The Revenge’s cannons fired again, but Mara raised a wall of water out of the ocean and blocked the cannonballs. The crew of the Black Pawkeet stopped to watch her. She summoned all her strength and gathered more power to the wave and sent it after the Revenge. The crew of the Revenge worked hard to turn the ship so that she would not capsize when the wave struck her.
The wave caught the Revenge and washed them far away from the Black Pawkeet. Garin ordered the crew to get them out of there as fast as possible. Mara dropped to the deck in exhaustion. She had never used that much magic before. She tried to heave herself back up, but that effort cost her the last of her strength and she lost consciousness. She began to become aware again not long later. She felt someone put her hand in water.
“What are you doing that for?” she heard Jacques ask.
“You saw what she just did; she used the water. Anyone who uses water magic needs to recharge their power in water, Isca told me that. However, we can’t just dump her in the ocean in her condition,” Garin explained.
Mara could only moan; she still didn’t have strength to speak.
“Ah, see, she’s recovering already. We’ll let her sleep with a wet towel on her head and she’ll be fine soon, I think,” Garin said.
“Mind sharing your room with me, then? Since the spare cabin is full, I’ll put her in my room to rest,” Jacques replied.
“Yeah, it’s the least we can do for her. It’s a good thing we are headed to Mystery Island since she was apparently headed there too. Do you need any help carrying her there?” Garin replied.
“No thanks. She’s made of Maractite; you know that it weighs next to nothing,” Jacques said.
Mara felt herself being lifted and carried somewhere. Then she was being laid on a soft bed and a wet cloth was laid over her forehead. She heard a door close with a click and that was her last memory until she opened her eyes next.
When Mara opened her eyes, it was dark in the room, which was odd since it had been midmorning last she knew. She got up and walked out of the room. There was a lamp lit on the wall and she found the stairs leading up to the deck. The crew went about their work quietly and no one seemed to notice her. She looked out to the east and saw a strip of lighter blue where the ocean met the sky. She leaned against the rail and watched in wonder as the sun rose. She had never seen the sunrise before.
“Quite a sight, isn’t it? It is most amazing at sea,” Jacques said as he leaned on the rail next to her.
Never taking her eyes off the horizon, she said, “I didn’t know the sun did that. I didn’t know the sky was so many colors before. I didn’t know the ocean was different colors. I didn’t know how little I knew. The world is so different up here.”
“You don’t remember your life before the Drenched took you?” Jacques asked.
This time she turned to look at him, her eyes wide with shock. “What do you mean? The Drenched are my mothers; I’ve always lived with them in the ocean.”
“That can’t be; you’re an Usul and they are something else. They had to have taken you from somewhere,” Jacques said. He seemed surprised that she didn’t realize that.
Mara turned back to look at the sunrise, fighting tears as she tried to banish the idea from her mind. However, his words echoed questions that had plagued her for years. Why had she known a language they never spoke to her, why had she longed for a world above the waves, why wasn’t she like them? Could she have been a part of this world once?
“Isn’t that why you came up here? Aren’t you searching for those answers?” Jacques asked.
“What business is it of yours why I came up here? Why do you care that I may not really be their daughter?” Mara snapped, wishing he would leave her alone.
“Because you saved us yesterday and you helped me years ago and I owe you for that. Also, I was held captive by those witches. I don’t want to think about what would have happened to me if I had been trapped down there for years,” Jacques replied.
“They never hurt me. They love me. I’m their daughter!” Mara insisted.
“No, you’re a sorceress and that is the only reason the Drenched would ever be interested in you. Mara, I’m sorry if what I said upset you, but I’m trying to help you,” Jacques said.
“No, you’re wrong! I don’t need help. They are my mothers and they love me!” Mara cried in frustration.
“Well, you certainly had a different experience than most people who encounter them. I can say that the time I was their prisoner was not pleasant,” Jacques sighed.
“I’m sorry about whatever they did to you, Jacques, and I’m sorry for not finding you sooner,” Mara apologized.
“Well, let’s forget about that. Would you like to help me feed the cargo?” Jacques asked, deciding it was time to change the subject.
“What is the cargo?” Mara asked.
“Come along and see,” Jacques replied with a grin.
Mara followed him to the storeroom where he handed her a stack of bowls and picked up a bag of petpet food.
“We had to put them in the spare cabin and make some of the crew give up their rooms for a few days, because they would be impossible to control in the cargo hold,” Jacques explained as he led her back towards the cabins.
He opened up one of the doors a crack and peered in, then motioned for her to go in first. The room was filled with strange creatures in many colors. He followed her in and laughed at the stunned look on her face.
She grabbed his arm, almost knocking the bag out of his hands, gasping, “What are they, what are they?”
“They are Kadoaties. They’re petpets from Neopia Central and we’re smuggling them to Mystery Island. Go on and pet them; they’re troublesome and demanding, but they haven’t bitten or scratched anyone yet.” Jacques laughed.
“Pet them? What does that mean?” Mara asked.
He just shook his head in amusement and bent down and ran his hand along one Kadoatie’s head and back. Mara watched at him in wonder, then knelt down and tried it. The Kadoatie mewed in pleasure and rubbed its cheek against her hand. She laughed and picked it up and hugged it gently.
“They’re so soft!” Mara laughed.
“They are. They are also hungry and we have two other rooms full of them. Put down five bowls please,” Jacques replied.
Mara put down the Kadoatie and took five bowls from the stack and Jacques filled them. While the Kadoaties ate, they went and fed the others. Jacques left her in the last room to play with the petpets. He came back at noon to find Mara playing with the Kadoaties with a piece of rope she had found. She was having the time of her life.
“It’s lunchtime, Mara. Our chef doesn’t have much in the way of manners, so if you want to eat you’ll have to come now,” Jacques told.
Mara got up reluctantly; she didn’t want to leave, but she hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast the day before on the Revenge. She followed Jacques to the galley and they got their lunches. Garin was sitting at a table nearby and they sat down at his table.
“Having fun with the Kads?” Garin asked.
Mara was going to nod yes, but she choked on her drink instead. She pushed the cup away from herself in horror.
“What is that? It’s so nasty!” Mara shouted in disgust.
Garin and Jacques were laughing too hard to answer her. She just pouted and ate her lunch, though it wasn’t much better than the drink. After lunch Mara went above deck to watch the waves.
Jacques walked by an hour later and asked, “What to see something amazing?”
He led her over to the rigging on the side of the ship and climbed up. Mara hesitated a second before following him up. When they were as high as they could go, he told her to turn carefully and look. Clinging to the ropes, she turned her head and gasped in amazement.
“You can see so much from up here! Look at how the ocean sparkles in the sunlight. I never realized the world above was so amazing. I knew it would be different, but I never even dreamt it was like this!” she cried in wonder.
After a minute they climbed down. She bounced on her toes in excitement and cried out, “I want to live up here forever!”
“Well, why not? What is stopping you?” Jacques asked.
“Well, I don’t think my mothers would approve,” Mara said, her face falling.
“They’re not your mothers; they probably stole you from parents who loved you and are still wondering where you are. Mara, you belong up here! This is your world, not down there,” Jacques cried in frustration.
Mara shook her head. “They raised me as their own; why would they do that if I wasn’t their daughter? They have to love me.”
Jacques sighed; he didn’t like the hold the Drenched exercised over this girl. She walked off and Garin came up to him.
“Why do you care whether or not she goes back?” Garin asked.
“Because I was held hostage by those witches and I’ve seen what they are. There was no kindness, no mercy. They are evil, Garin. Mara isn’t like that. She’s not like them and I don’t want to see her become like them,” Jacques said through a clenched jaw. “Besides, she told me she left without permission. Who knows what they will do to her when she goes back.”
Garin nodded. “I hadn’t thought of that. She could be in a lot of trouble. Well, after she sees Mystery Island, maybe she won’t want to go back.”
To be continued...