Saturday, March 8, 2014

Short Story - Post 3

Before reading this, please be sure to read Post 1 and Post 2.

“You will have your hands full with that one,” Captain Warwick said, breaking the silence. “She is to be escorted by you alone to Fedoria in the Highlands of Caelda. Nobody is supposed to know who she is and she is to be protected at all costs.”

“Captain, you cannot be serious. That is all the way across the Shifting Sands to the Alteen Province. Going that far south will take weeks.” Erik started to protest but Warwick cut him off.

“Do you forget who you take orders from, boy? I still own you. When I say you will do something, you do it.” The seriousness in his tone assured Erik that he does not have an option.

Erik was not bothered by the fact that it would take him several weeks of travel to Fedoria and back. In fact, it was a nice thought to get off that wretched boat for a while. However, traversing the Shifting Sands while being weighed down with a woman is a burden that would likely get him killed. When he did not respond, Captain Warwick continued. “Gather your belongings and take this map. I have marked the way for you. Horses and supplies are waiting for you in town.” The Captain’s voice changed to one of efficiency instead of anger. “Deliver the girl and meet us in Southport in three weeks. We have a load to deliver there. Do not make me wait on you.”

With the map rolled up in his hand, Erik found himself on the other side of the door as it slammed shut causing him to jump. Damned door. Erik spent the next hour gathering the few items he had in the bunks and trying to get his mind set for the road. The only reason the Captain chose him for the job is because he is the more civilized among the crew, which does not say much. He would try to make the best of this trip but he had a feeling that would be more difficult than he would like.

Erik made his way through the boat to the docks where the woman was waiting. She was standing there with one hand on her hip and the other twirling a lock of dark hair. Erik rolled his eyes as he stepped off the boat, thinking to himself, “This is going to be a long trip.” Jaina made a huffing noise while he stumbled onto the dock. His bag hit the wood in a solid thump. He could feel the tension between them, thicker than the salt in the air.

"Glaring at me with your eyes will not make me move faster, Miss Claymore". He could not remove the ironic tone from his voice when he spoke her name.

"I did not ask for your opinion. We may be forced to travel together, but that does not mean I have to like it,” she snapped back with her own haughty tone.

Shouts of laughter burst forth from the boat. The crew had been listening to every word, enjoying the misery of Erik’s assignment. “Hey, boy!” Smitty shouted. “At least you have another woman to talk with!” The crew laughed louder at the comment. Erik made a rude gesture with his hands before scooping up his pack and walking past Jaina. Regardless of how the crew treated him, he felt a little sadness leaving behind the Anne-Marie, which was properly named after Captain Warwick’s daughter that died many years ago. The ship had been his home for three years, it was only natural that is had become a small part of him.

Jaina outpaced him, her long legs making longer strides. “My father has arranged all of our supplies. We must hurry if we want to travel today.” Jaina’s pace picked up as she walked toward the center of the small town. “The sun has almost reached its peak and we only have 6 to 8 hours of light left.”

“Fine, lead the way.” Erik replied with more than a little sarcasm. Even though it was his job to lead this trip he apparently did not have control over where they were going.

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