Created On Thursday, 12 April 2018 01:58By Chris Taylor
Character's Name: Other
Title of Adventure:Sea Change
The sun was setting as the crew returned to Lief’s boat. The sky was a beautiful contrast of brilliant color. A painter’s palette of hues only the imagination could dream up. A smattering of Alabaster speckles began to add to the luster of night. Antonnia standing against the railing watching the last of the traffic on the river, deep in thought. The colorations of night reflected in the black ripples of water had she not been so deep in contemplation.
She had messed up, she knew that. Julian had most likely been truly concerned and she had laughed at him. Even worse she had mocked his concern in front of the rest of the team. She knew better. Antonnia was kicking herself, damnit I was rude as hell to him.
Julian for his part had been more amused than offended by the woman’s action. It was not like he was starting, to like her, not even close. Truth be told he barely tolerated her. But, he did respect her for not backing down.
There was a cool breeze blowing, and he needed some fresh air, so as evening was falling he went for a walk along the deck. He saw her there and almost just turned around and went back the direction he had come, or, just walked past her and hoped she wouldn’t spot him. But, instead, he walked up to her. “A copper for your thoughts,” he said.
“I was childish this evening,” She admitted. “I shouldn’t have laughed at you.” It was hard for her to admit she was in the wrong. “I’m sorry.”
He raised a brow and started to reply with a flippant remark, but stopped himself. “You did find some valuable evidence and did so in a rather clever manner. I came after you rather hard. It’s my fault, not yours. I’m the one who should be apologizing to you.”
She leaned against the railing and kept looking out at the water and the limited boat traffic. “Either way, I was wrong too. You care about most of the crew. I wanted to blame the meade, but no.” She sighed. “I knew what I was saying and it was wrong.”
He nodded and leaned against the railing himself. Close to her, just not too close. “We were both wrong and I accept your apology. Do you think we’ll get to the bottom of this and find out what is really going on?”
Antonia nodded her head eagerly. “Oh, absolutely.” She looked at him. “I just don’t know if we’ll survive it.”
“Well, it will make one hell of a story, one way or the other. Probably sell more if we don’t, the crowds tend to like tragedy and drama. But then they wouldn’t have someone of my immense talents to put pen to paper and it wouldn’t be nearly as good. So maybe we should plan on surviving after all.”
“Your immense talents.” She repeated him. “Speaking of which, have you written my sister?”
“I was being facetious, there are better bards out there. Not many, but there are some.”
She shook her head and laughed slightly. “At least we have ego in common.”
“There is that,” he agreed, “but no, I haven’t written to your sister yer, I’m not sure what to say.”
Antonia nodded her head again, she could only fathom the different ideas that had come to his mind. Be polite, be honest, blame himself, blame others and beg for another chance. There were dozens of options. “Well, no rush, I guess. Maybe a song. Those seem to flow pretty well for you.” Did I just compliment him? I did!
One eyebrow rose as he turned to fully look at her and took a half step towards her.. “Really, you think so?”
Antonia turned her body to face him and nodded again. “Sure, you want to express your feelings about what happened. And I’ve heard you singing to those kids a few times at night.” She wouldn’t have called it spying or even eavesdropping but it was hard to miss him lulling children to sleep. “It’s definitely your gift.”
“I’m rather surprised that you noticed, but thanks. You’re pretty gifted yourself. I like how you had the chutzpah to fool those guards. You probably could have kicked their ass with one hand tied behind your back, but you used your wit instead. We wouldn’t have been able to find out what we did, or at least you wouldn’t have been able to come with us. That’s impressive.”
“That wasn’t challenging, most men underestimate a woman.” She explained. “I just let them think that I’m everything they expected me to be.” And then she shrugged. “I wish I’d have been good enough to get us more. I know that guy was lying. I know he’s involved somehow, an ounce of proof. Something!”
Julian leaned against the railing, “I think he was lying too. If we could get him alone I could get him to talk and tell us the truth. We just have to figure out a way to get him alone. Kidnapping is probably the best option. Do you have any ideas?”
“I don’t know,” She put her back to the railing leaning against it. Taking in the view of the city from the boat. “We’d have to let him go afterward, he’d tell someone further up the chain and any chance of find them would be gone.”
“We don’t have to let him go,” he said, “you know what they say, ‘dead men tell no tales.”
Antonia glanced at him. “Despite my reputation, I’m not a killer.” She admitted. “It’s entirely different in a fight, but to outright kill someone.” She shook her head.
“I can’t say the idea thrills me either, I’m not a cold-blooded killer either, But, I don’t know what other alternative we have. We can’t just let him go. And I can’t exactly erase his memory. What do you suggest?”
“Could Alatar?” She asked. “I know he is a warmage, but maybe he can change his memories?” She looked at him.
“I don’t know enough about him, but we could ask. I’d prefer that over just killing him, even if he’s a bastard.”
Antonia chuckled. “We need to stop.” She told him. “We’re starting to agree with each other. Soon we’ll be getting along.”
“Gods forbid, who knows where that might lead if we did.”
She rolled her eyes. No, she told herself, no it wasn’t going to lead to anything. Getting along would allow them to work together better. Which was better for the team. “Out of curiosity how reputable is your reputation?” In other words, she wanted to know if he really was as big an ass as his reputation made him out to be. At least from his own lips.
“Up until a few years ago, it was true, or mostly true anyway. But since Gabriella, it hasn’t been. I… I’ve been trying to grow up a little.”
She nodded her head. “Just so I know I wasn’t in the wrong when I decked that guy in the pub.”
“Why did you deck him?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “He made some off-color comment about having a tramp on board our ship.” She told him. “I didn’t let him finish.”
That caused Julian to chuckle, “were you defending my honor, such as it is, or was he foolish enough to be talking about you?”
“Maybe both.” She offered. “I know he wasn’t talking about me, but it wasn’t just your honor at stake.”
“Then what was it?”
Antonia looked at him again. “Well, it was mine and yours.” She told him. “ Our reputations and honor. I’m the only eligible female on this team and I’m… well. I’m not eligible.”
“Don’t run me through for saying this, or get the wrong idea, but you are a good looking woman. Why aren’t you eligible?”
Antonia gave him a sly mischievous smile. “Cause I don’t trust people enough to be eligible.”
“I’m sure that would change if the right man came along.”
The smile slowly slid from her face. “I’m glad one of us is optimistic.” She nodded her head at a few crew members who walked past them as she leaned against the rail. “I’m in no rush. Most people are out for themselves, take a look at everyone we’ve encountered on this little adventure.”
“That is certainly true of many of those we’ve encountered, though not all, and I don’t think, that, is true at of those in our group.”
“This is a business venture for us. I mean,” She stopped herself and thought before she spoke. “It’s not all about the money. I know that family over there plays a factor. And the deeper we seem to get into this the more personal it feels like it gets but, it isn’t supposed to get personal.”
He didn’t want to get into an argument, especially they had least started to tolerate each other, but still, he had to speak his mind. It was just part of his nature. “That may have been true at first. I mean that’s all I saw it as. But it’s more than that now. At least for me, It is personal. I don't like evil, I don’t like losing, or bullies. If we’re in this we have to be in it to win it. No half measures otherwise we’re going lose. Oh yes, and we’ll more than likely die.”
She smirked at him again. “You fight with your heart, don’t you.” She rolled her eyes looking back out at the city now encased in the darkness of night. “Of course you do. I don’t. I try not to get personally involved. The risks are greater if I get wrapped up in something emotionally. I learned that a long time ago.”
He turned back towards her regaining the step he’d retreated from before, “You mean the whole situation with your brother, or something else?”
“My brother, my father. My mentor.” She sighed. “It’s really not worth getting into. I don’t want to bore you with it.”
“Go ahead bore me, I’m listening.”
She sighed. “Ok, but eventually you’re going to have to tell me about your family.”
“What would you like to know about my family?” he asked, “they are probably not much different than yours.”
She sighed. “Septimus was my father’s best friend, the household master-at-arms if you will. He taught me how to use a sword, against my father's wishes and when my father and Justus were away bandits attacked the house. We fought them off, but the truth was out. My father disowned his best friend because I wasn’t “girlie” enough for suitors anymore.” She told him. “One thing I was proud of, my father couldn’t see and he punished Septimus and me for it. And Justus only egged it on with the whole pirate thing.” She offered her short story. “Is your family that bad?”
“My mother is my father’s second wife, his first died. He was still so enamored with her that he named me after her. His older children, my half-brothers, and sisters resented me and my full brother and sister. We were, we are interlopers. Growing up we were never good enough. Not just in their eyes, but in my father’s as well. If it were not for my grandmother, I’d probably be disowned, or me or my father would be dead. And then, the icing on top of the crap cake, is what he made… No, what I allowed him to make me do to your sister. I don’t know if that’s as bad or not but I don’t think that either family will have family of the year portrait painted anytime soon.”
“I think we’re pretty even. If anything though, getting away from our families seems to have been in our favor.” She pointed out. “We make our own money, live by our own rules and do some pretty damn heroic things.”
He smiled at her and reached out a hand laying it on her shoulder, “Yes we do. We make some damn fine heroes, don’t we?”
When his hand came to rest on her shoulder she wanted to pull away, to sweep his hand away, but she didn’t. Instead, she patted his hand and nodded in agreement. “We do.”
His eyes locked on hers then and his gaze held hers. Then ever so slowly he withdrew his hand away from her, till it rested at his side.
She nodded. “Well, um. I’m sure you’ve got children waiting for a song.” She admitted. “I probably should go help with the riggings. I’ve got a night watch again, tonight.”
With uncertain feelings within him, he turned and walked away.
Last Updated On Tuesday, 08 January 2019 21:13By David Tannen