.: Entry Fifty-One :.
My name is Elliot Parker. But right now, it’s not.
The morning damp and chill in the tunnels had set through the crew. Getting everyone walking was hard enough, but now the tunnel floor wasn’t so easy to walk on. The sea had left the rocks beneath our feet slippery and uneasy. The crew gave of air of more than discomfort. The Captain pushed us on walking at full speed, as fast as possible on the slippery rocks under foot. He had taken to standing just behind me, it seems I had become the one leading the way on the surest footings. The further we walked I could feel the free fresh breeze tainted with sea water. I followed the breeze out into where the chamber opened, following the slowly receding water.
“Captain do you trust me?” I turn as his crew begin to spill out into the chamber muttering amongst themselves. The chamber opened into more tunnels, more openings.
“Just answer my question.”
“Do you trust your crew, completely?”
“Why are you asking?”
“Because I will need your protection from them, if we want to stand a chance to get out of these tunnels and not die.”
“Do what you need to do.” I examine his expression, beyond the mask, I can see tension filling his face preparing himself for a fight.
I crouch down onto the rocks in the very middle of the chamber. I push my fingertips into the silt on the centre stone, I feel the chamber begin to hum with energy. I’m not the only one. The Captain is trying to keep his crew, trying to keep nerve. I am using every of shred of my nerve to reach what I need to read, I follow our trail back, a few streams of blue and cream strands are beginning to walk the tunnels, other streams above in the cave, a few beginning to double back. I begin examining the chamber tunnels, one by one, some rise and fall like a trap. A few tunnels have lurking eyes like saucers filled with danger and death. And only one tunnel that leads to open air.
I begin the lead and in less than three hours we are out of the tunnels and caves and chambers. The ground beneath our feet, crunching, a stone beach sprawling. The place where stone and sea kiss. Boulders, pebbles and driftwood for all the eye can see. We are at the base of a cliff, a temporary beach, beaten to existence by the moons influence on the sea, and soon to be beaten again. We are a turning away from the ships. I walk at full speed, still I haven’t spoken a word. The Captain and the crew trying to keep pace with me, the cold made them stiffer, less swift. And right now, I feel agile I as I navigate my way over boulders and begin to walk in land towards the sprouting grass. Breaching the top of the hill I get the first view of something other than pebbled beach.
I feel a hand clamp around my wrist. I whip around to see the Captain’s firm hand holding me, his crew trailing behind. “You want the ship? You need me.”
“I know. But what are you planning?”
“For whom? Them or us?”
I smile, “now, Captain, you look nervous.”
“You would too, the crew know you got us out of that place with magic.”
“Then they should be grateful”
“They are scared.” His crew had caught up and kept a cautious distance, not too distant though, they still wanted to know what was being said.
“They are scared, or you are scared, Captain?” Appearances must be kept. I exaggerated my flinching reaction when his hand collided with the side of my face. It hurt, I won’t lie. His crew were watching, and as power plays go, this worked quite well. The Captain, below his mask of being furious wore an expression of remorse. I let the mask twist between surprise, hurt, anger, fear and resentment. But the expression I wore, was a smirking smile. Well played.
It was now that I caught that brief snapshot of a stolen glance at the crew. It was now that I took in whose expression was smug, smirking, happy, eager. I took in the few expressions that wore disagreement, pity, sympathy, something softer than they would want to be seen. In those few seconds I saw just who I could work with, and who I would have to keep an eye on, the test confirmed my suspicions, the test confirmed what the sight wanted me to see, what it wanted to warn me over.
Now I am caught between walking away and the Captain’s grip still tight on my wrist.
I pull my wrist free, an angry mask, and walk ahead in the direction of the ships.
“Where do you think you are going?”
“To go get me a ship.”
“You mean, to go get us a ship” I hear fat Shane question.
“Same difference” I shout over my shoulder still walking. I hear the patter of their feet on the grass making to keep up with me.
We stop in a small sheltered pelt of land, hidden from see and land, you would only know where to find our shelter if magic flowed stronger through their veins than in my own. I like being ambushed as much as the next person, not very. The Captain had kept me on a visibly shorter leash than before. Unlike before, there was no degree of privacy. The Captain wouldn’t let me leave his side for even a minute. The Captain must keep up appearances is what he told me. A good night’s sleep would be hard, for the Captain or myself. The stakes tomorrow were undoubtedly high, but the risk of a mutiny was a growing concern amongst certain crew members. In the depth of the night I pulled the Captain away and aside, pretending to need a little girl’s privacy.
“Captain, tomorrow there will be an opportunity to cut the wood of mutiny, I advise you take it.”
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