It had taken many months but another ship was finally built for Alkon and his crew. Alkon wasn’t accustom to being on land this long so it had been hard waiting on his ship to be ready for sail again. It had turned out amazing and he was glad he hadn’t shut out their new friend Kallen’s suggestions. At first Alkon wanted to recreate the first ship but Kallen suggested improvements that eventually Anthousai softened Alkon into accepting. Even his crew thought the changes were a good idea to make this ship both bigger and stronger. The finished product was stunning and he felt pride in his position as captain of it.
He had met his wife on that ship so it would forever be missed but he could make new memories on this one with her. “are you ready to chase down those pirates that sunk our last beauty captain?” One of his men asked. Their first job back at sea was capturing the same pirates that they were fighting when the storm tore apart their ship “they didn’t do it, that storm did” Alkon said it with a hint of irritation so the man saud “aye captain, sorry”
“don’t be, I’m just a little nervous”
“Stop making that face.” Hybris said as he walked up and slapped him on the back. “It’ll get stuck that way.”
“Doubt it, I’ve been making it for awhile.”
Hybris chuckled. “Maybe try talking to Anthy instead of looking so grim.” Hybrid looked at the ship. “She’ll hold, trust the ship and your crew.”
Alkon took Hybris’s advice and went to see Anthousai. She was already in the ship getting her ever loyal Caeron acquainted with where he would stay when they were sailing. Alkon smiled at how happy the two looked and admired how fearless Anthousai was to sail again. He had known she was a strong woman before but going through what they had and seeing her stand so tall and unafraid after made him see her strength all the more. The only thing she was nervous about at all was so much new crew. They lost nearly everyone to the wreck so she had a lot of new men to get used to. Even if they had all their old crew there would be new men since this ship was bigger.
Alkon surprised Anthousai with a hug “Does he like it in here?”
“Yes, I’m glad he actually has an area that is his in this ship”
“Have you seen our room yet?”
“No, I wanted to go in it the first time with you”
“Then lets go see. I want to do a full walkthrough before we head out’
Anthousai was amazed by how beautiful their cabin was. It was much bigger than the last one and had three rooms, a bathroom, their bedroom and then a living area where they could eat together. A large window looked out over the sea, but the glass was reinforced so it wouldn’t break in a collision.
“Wow, this is great.” She said, giving Alkon her brightest smile.
“I’m glad, I actually had a big say in this room.” He picked her up and took her over to the bed. “Want to see something cool?” She nodded and he sat at the top of the bed with her. “There is a button here just for you.” He showed her where it was hidden on the headboard. “If at anytime you find yourself cornered, push it and it will lock down this room. No one will be able to get in here until you push it again.”
“Thank you” she smiled and continued “I’m so happy with our new cabin”
“The old one was far too small and this way if or when we have kids you have a nice area to lock yourself in with them if it’s necessary for some reason. You all won’t be cramped in what I used to call a cabin” She blushed and he chuckled then rested his head on hers “I added if Anthousai. I want children with you but I’m happy to wait as long as I need or if you don’t want to have kids we just won’t and I’ll be happy with that too” She hugged him, heating up even further but he held back his laugh this time.
They only went up when Hybris came and got them. He looked excited about the prospect of getting back to work. Alkon could tell his crew had missed the sea. “Come and help me steer.” Alkon said and Anthousai took her place in front of him at the wheel. She could feel those new to the ship looking at her and Alkon shot them all looks that said get back to work. He hoped they realized that she was just as much the captain as he was and that he wouldn’t stand for her being made to feel uncomfortable. He could feel the ship begin to move and he felt a thrill run through him. No matter how anxious he had been, every cell in his body remembered the sensations of sailing and reveled in them.
“She sails so smooth.” Anthousai said.
“She’s perfect.” He agreed. Aaron waved at them as he ran by and Anthousai called happily out to him. Alkon was proud of how close she and the young man had become. He had grown just as protective of her as the rest and he knew he could count on him if anything went wrong.
“It’s his birthday soon.” Anthousai stated as they they made their way out to sea.
“We’ll celebrate when we complete this job. We’ll have to make a big deal out of it.”
She smiled. “You just want to embarrass him by putting him on the spot.”
Anthousai kept a bright smile on her face as she entertained her mind with happy thoughts of celebration. They were going to capture their pirates this time and then they would celebrate one of their best friends birthdays. The first day of sailing was as smooth as they could have hoped for and the second barely gave them trouble at all. The third, fourth and fith days out were a bit troublesome due to undesirable weather but it was nothing the captains and their crew couldn’t handle. Finally they were drawing near to their targets, or should be anyway. They had made it to the area they were told to head to. Now they would all have to be extra vigilant.
They were eating lunch together when Anthousai said “it will be pretty funny if capturing these pirates prove to be one of our easiest jobs now that they don’t have a horrible storm to help them”
“it will be nice, especially since we need to plan you know what”
What’s you know what mean?” Aaron asked as he sat down cups of tea for them.
“Nursery.” Alkon answered, the lie making Anthousai blush and sell it.
“Oh, well if you want help planning…”
“I’ll be sure to come get you.” He smiled and Aaron nodded and both Alkon and Anthousai could already see the wheels turning as he walked away.
“Why did you do that, now he might tell the others and then they’ll be watching us and planning.”
Alkon pressed a kiss to her cheek. “It’ll be alright, I promise. Plus it’ll keep him occupied.”
They finished their lunch then went back to the deck into that amazing sea air. Anthousai loved how it felt to be out in the ocean again with her husband and the crew. She loved how happy Alkon seemed aswell as they went over to one of the sides to help watch out for their targets. Currently Hybris was at the wheel and planned on staying at it until dinner. The two scanned the horizon and talked until yet another day had passed. That night as they sailed she could tell Alkon was growing impatient “they probably know we’re coming for them. Maybe we should dock and see if we can get some new information?”
“we’ll get them this time baby”
“Oh I know we will.” he kissed the back of her head. It must have been around midnight when Alkon urged Anthousaid to head to bed, promising to come if he got too tired. They had both taken a short nap so Anthousai knew he might just stay at the wheel all night. She turned in his arms and hugged him before heading to Ceraons room to wish him goodnight. She giggled when she got there and he was drooling into his plush bed. She just shut the door again, not wanting to disturb her friend.
She wore a huge smile as she walked to their room, only waking in the morning when Alkon came to get her “we’re docked baby”
Already?” She sat up and rubbed her eyes and he chuckled at how adorable she looked. “What?”
“Nothing baby, I just really love you.” He gave her a quick kiss. “You can stay here if you like.”
“No, I want to go.”
“You know we might be around some unsavory characters right?”
“I know and I’m not worried, you’ll protect me and we can take Ceraon.”
He nodded “I figured as much so he’s already being brought up” Anthousai rubbed her face again then quickly brushed her hair and changed her clothes. Alkon and Anthousai walked hand in hand out of their room, only letting go when Anthousai greeted Ceraon with a hug “Morning, you looked so comfortable in your new bed” Ceraon nodded then nuzzled his head against her. Anthousai smiled, loving her gentle beast. The three left their ship and walked on to the dock, Ceraon catching most peoples attention as always.
“They really don’t know what to think.” Alkon said as the sea of people parted for them and the beast.
“They’d love him if they knew him.” Anthousai reached up and scratched Ceraon’s chin and he purred. “So where are we going?”
“In my experience there are two places you always want to visit when you need information. Do you know what they are?” She shook her head. “Probably for the best, I wouldn’t want you heading out and getting Ceraon to threaten people should I be captured.”
“Don’t say that.”
He chuckled as he brought her hand to his lips. “You know I could get away, I have my ways.”
“Alright, I’m sorry.” He pressed another kiss to her hand. “Bars and the mayor. Never ask the king, they don’t always know everything and if they do, you might not get to see them. Mayors are closer to the people than most kings so bars and the mayor.”
“I won’t let anyone touch you, I’d break both arms and legs if they did, so don’t worry.”
“I know, plus I’m pretty sure Ceraon would eat sombody or at least rip off a limb if they hurt me”Alkon and Ceraon chuckled at Anthousais words. She was the safest woman in this town and Alkon was glad she knew it. He still held so much gratitude to him for getting Anthousai to safety when his last ship was destroyed. Alkon didn’t want to know what would have become of him if he had lost his love that day. The only thing he knew for sure was he would have blamed himself for eternity.
That day was terrifying but it had assured Alkon Ceraon would do anything to keep Anthousai safe. They hit up the nearest bar to the dock first, planning on asking there where the most popular ones were. Some interesting looking flowers had caught Ceraons eye just before making it so Anthousai waited with Ceraon while Alkon went in.
Alkon could feel eyes on him as he made his way up to the bartender. He was sure some of these men recognized him and that it would be the same with any establishment he went in. As far as he had been told, he was more than a little infamous. He had heard all the stories, most of them dressed up to make him seem like some sort of god. He slid behind the bar and the bartender came to him immediately. “What can I get you?”
“I’m looking for the ship Celestine and her crew. I was told they had been spotted near here. I didn’t see the ship upon docking so I need to know if they’ve been in town recently?”
The bartender leaned closer. “They come in sometimes, but not recently. You do know they carrying a wizard on board right?”
“I did not.”
“I’ve heard stories, even heard about your ship. Wizard work I’m sure.”
Alkon thought on it a moment then said “that would explain how suddenly it stirred up and how quickly it got destructive to the ship” Alkon thought of Anthousai and the fact they had no magicians on their own ship. Chasing these pirates again might mean their brand new ship torn to shreds and their lives in peril yet again. His first instinct was to hire a magician of their own but he didn’t know anyone in this town, let alone somebody he’d bring on board with her.
He sighed, knowing he had to bring these pirates in and knowing he’d have to hire a magician. He was already keeping his eye on the new crew anyway since there were so many new people to trust not to upset Anthousai. “I guess we need one of our own. Where can i find trustworthy ones. I have a wife. I saved her from one of the horrible pirates I sought after. She doesn’t need to go through anything else at the hands of a horrible man or woman so please, when I say trustworthy I mean it. Power does not make up for my wifes safety.
“There is a small college here.” He grabbed a piece of paper out from under the bar and a pen, quickly scribbling down directions. “My niece goes there, but she’s just a novice. Ask for the dean and he’ll find you someone your wife will be comfortable with.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it.”
He left the bar and found Anthousai chasing Ceraon as he chased butterflies. He called out to them and she came running, the beast trailing behind her. “So, anything?” She asked as he draped his arm over her shoulders and pulled her close.
“I was directed to the magic college and then we’ll visit the mayor.”
“The magic college?”
“The bar owner says the crew we are chasing has a mage on board. That mage is probably where the storm came from that wrecked us last time we were chasing them. We need to hire at least one magician to fight back or we wont stand a chance. I want you to be comfortable so please, let me know if you prefer someone or if you’d rather me not pick someone”
“You’re so good to me Alkon” He kissed her head “you deserve it my love” They followed the directions they were given and soon found themselves in front of a large gate surrounding the college “What business do you have at the school?” a man suddenly appeared and asked “I’m looking for the dean. I’m interested in hiring someone for my ship. Do I need to introduce myself?”
“No, I know who you are. Please, come in. I’m sure the Dean will be proud you’re inquiring here” Instantly they found themselves inside. It startled Anthousai and while she kept her composure her husband felt it and pulled her closer. The man apologized “I didn’t think before I did that. I know she has been through a lot in her past”
“I’m okay” she insisted and he nodded “Follow me please” They did and soon found themselves stopped infront of two gorgeous doors. The whole school looked absolutely beautiful on the inside. The outside was far from run down but it had nothing on it’s interior. The man knocked and was soon welcomed in. The dean stood and rounded his desk to greet them “Hello Alkon and Anthousai Birral, welcome. Can we get you hot tea or some sort of light snack? Maybe a dessert of some sort?”
Alkon looked at his wife who said “Hot tea sounds really nice” The man who had guided them here walked out and the dean gestured to some chairs for them to sit and talk.
“What brings you here?”
“We need to hire on one of your mages. We’re on the trail of some pirates and they have a mage on their ship. I nearly lost Anthousai last time we came into contact with them.”
“I was okay baby.” She said and he kissed her cheek.
“It was too close, I refuse to go through it again.” Ceraon made a huffing sound of agreement from where he lay.
“We may have one, he’s a student more or less.”
“More or less?” Alkon asked. Their tea was brought in and then they were left with the Dean once more.
“He doesn’t need to be here, I think he applied because he was bored honestly, he’s incredibly talented.”
“Is that alright with you Anthy, should we meet him?”
“It’s to protect the ship and crew, I’ll be fine.”
“Tell me if that changes.”
She smiled and stroked his hand “I’ll be fine Alkon. I’m nowhere near the same frightened woman you first saved. It’s been many years of happiness” Alkon smiled and kissed her cheek then looked back at the dean “Please introduce us”
“I’ll take him out of class” The same man came back in and was sent off once more. He returned with a man who looked incredibly young in the face but both Alkon and Anthousai recognized him as an older immortal being. Neither could pinpoint precisely what but he wasn’t human. The man stood at 5’9 and had emerald green eyes. HIs clothes looked like typical ones you’d see on a healer in a video game in the face every piece of fabric he wore was white as snow.
His bangs were red while the rest of his hair was jet black, whichever the natural one was they both looked good on him. “Yes sir?” he asked and the dean responded “Captain Alkon would like to hire you for his ship. It seems his current m,ark employs a mage and he needs your assistance”
“I’ve heard of you, my name is Eger.” He held out his hand and Alkon stood, shaking it. The man seemed to be sizing him up. Alkon was used to being scrutinized. Eger gave a small huff then turned his attention to Anthousai. “I know of you too, where his name is spoken, yours soon follows.” His eyes moved to the scars at her wrists. Anthousai had not realized she had forgotten her bracelets.
Alkon could feel Anthousai had become a bit uncomfortable and he moved to hide her from view. “I would ask you don’t linger to long on her. With her permission, I will explain later.”
“I must apologize, staring was rude. So what kind of magic will I be against?”
“I’m guessing nature. They conjured a storm, it destroyed my last ship.”
“Very well.” Eger turned to the Dean. “I’ll be leaving with them then, thank you for indulging me for so long.”
If you ever grow tired of the sea you are more than welcome to return”
“Thank you” Egar said with a nod and was a moment later outside with Alkon, Anthousai and Ceraon. As they walked Anthousai saw that Ceraon didn’t phase Egar in the slightest. She may aswell have a hamster or dog for all his reaction was to her friend. They hit up a few more bars and had a pretty good sense of where to go from here. Upon boarding Alkon showed Egar the rooms he could choose for his own and he quickly decided “you sure?”
“then let me finish showing you around my ship and I’ll give you a proper introduction to everyone at breakfast tomorrow”
“May I ask where you got the makara?” Eger asked after the tour and before he headed off to settle into his room.
“The creature who follows Anthousai around.”
“On an island, he became instantly attached to Anthy. She’s the only one he completely listens to.”
“I have found an account of them in many books. They are seen as a sign of fertility, but I think that is due to the fact that they breed like rabbits. A lot of tribes built statues of them as a form of worship. They are generally very docile unless provoked, I find it fascinating that one just followed her home.”
“She has a way with animals. She’s so gentle and loving.”
“Would you explain her scars. If I know the cause, I think it will help me know how I should approach her.”
Alkon sighed. He didn’t like telling other people, but once they noticed, he worried they might bombard her with questions. “When I found her, she was being used as a slave by a pirate. He had her chained to his bed, wrists and ankles. I saved her and she has been with me since. She’s grown a lot since then, she’s gained a lot of confidence, so I won’t have her made to feel uncomfortable. The rest of the crew, those left from the old ship, they know and are very protective, as am I. If you do anything to upset her, you’ll be off without warning.”
“Then I will allow her to approach me at her pace.”
“Thank you, please make yourself at home.”
“Thank you for hiring me. I needed some adventure in my life”
“Well you’ll have it here. Sleep well and I’ll see you in the morning” Alkon found his wife laying in their bed with a book. He cleared his throat and she lowered it “Oh hey” she said and set it down on their nightstand. “are you ready to sleep?”
“I feel so awake for some reason. I was hoping the book would make me tired”
“Let me massage your muscles. I’m sure that’ll help” She smiled “thank you” Anthousai turn to lay on her stomach and Alkon took off his boots before crawling on the bed. He worked out her muscles until he felt her relax then cuddled up next to her. In the morning Alkon had Eger stand up as he told the men about him and why he was a new part of their crew. They all cheered him and had a toast in his honor.
“That was quite the welcome.” Eger said after breakfast.
“You’ll like it here, we’re all pretty close.” Anthousai replied, smiling.
“Alkon said as much. I was talking to him about your pet. If you would like to know about his species, I could tell you about him.”
“I would love that.” Her eyes moved to Alkon. “Does that sound okay?”
“You never have to ask baby. You know I’ll be close by.” He answered as they stepped into the sun. “Eger, I would like you at the bow so you can see ahead of us. Feel free to join him Anthy, but the moment the ship is spotted, please stay below with Ceraon.”
“I will, I’ll take him to our room and lock us in.”
“I’ll knock in our code so don’t open it unless it’s my knock.” With that Anthousai walked to the bow with Eger “So Ceraon, what do you have to tell me about him?”
“He’s a composite aquatic dragon of hindu myth, the Makara is part-animal, part-reptile, and part-fish. it symbolizes the astrological sign of capricorn, which is called ‘makara’ in the hindu calendar. It is also associated with Kamadeva, the god of lust and water, the source of life and fertility”
“It’s wild to me he just followed you home”
“He’s a sweetheart. He saved my life when we lost our last ship”
“Why didn’t he save anybody else?”
“I think he was just consumed with my safety. He didn’t want to use his energy looking. He just wanted to get me to safety. I screamed the whole way that he needed to find Alkon but he wouldn’t listen”
“were you mad at him?”
“I was upset at the situation but he had just saved my life so no. I knew if Alkon survived the crash he would get to me somehow”
“you have so much faith in him?”
“Yes, as long as one of us is alive we’ll always get to eachother”
“This time will go better. I can counteract his or her spells. I’ll make sure this ship doesn’t sink”
“I’ve never seen magic close up before, maybe you could use some at the party.”
Anthousai looked around then said in a whisper. “Aaron’s birthday is soon, we’re going to put together a surprise party.”
“If you would like my assistance in planning, I wouldn’t mind giving it.”
“Thank you and thank you for telling me about Ceraon.”
“Of course, please feel free to talk to me any time.”
Anthousai smiled and went to join Alkon at the wheel. He kissed her cheek as she took her place in front of him, glad she was already making friends with Eger.”
The next day before lunch even came they spotted the ship they were after. Alkons first command was of his wife, to rush below and keep her and Ceraon safe in their cabin. The two rushed inside and she pushed the button that sealed her tightly within. She could tell her companion was worried their new ship would be destroyed yet again so she comforted him with a hug and saying “We have a powerful magician this time Ceraon. Plus our ship is stronger than it was last time. We’re going to be okay” He made a purring like noise and snuggled into her.
Hybris ran over to Eger with Kallen close behind. “Can we do anything to aide you mage?”
“Just keep any pirates that come my way from interrupting my spells” Kallen drew the sword he had been gifted for his first birthday following them all getting to civilization. Hybris spoke to his comrade “I know this will be your first time in real combat Kallen but just have faith in yourself. Confidence in your movements will make all the difference.
Kallen nodded and readied himself in case they were boarded. Alkon’s grip tightened on the wheel as a storm began to brew above them, the clouds going from a soft white to an ominous grey in a matter of seconds. He would not falter, not when they had very nearly taken his precious Anthousai away. He headed straight for the pirate ship, ignoring the sudden sting of rain. He glanced at Eger, could see the mage had his hands planted on the railing of the ship, could hear him chanting even over the howling wind. Alkon could sense the magic as it seeped into each corner of the ship, giving it durability. Eger seemed unconcerned with the actual wind and rain, focusing on helping the ship cut through the waves. Alkon was happy to see they were steadily gaining on the pirates and he spun the wheel to pull along side them as close as he could get. Alkon could see the enemy preparing to board and even caught a glimpse of the pirate’s magician. Eger’s eyes turned to him and Alkon thought he saw the ghost of a grin, a grin that said the other man was nothing.
They seemed to have come to rely on this magicians power and let their own fighting abilities suffer because of it. Alkon and his crew had never fought such an easy battle with their own magician to counteract the one they had. The captain was harder to deal with than the rest but even she seemed to have let herself grow dull and used to the aids she had hired. No matter how many men Alkon had working for him he’d never allow any of his abilities to dampen, too much was precious to him on this ship.
Anthousai and Ceraon could hear the commotion and feel all the magic in the air. With two of them going at it the air was getting increasingly thick with it’s presence. It all didn’t scare Anthousai though. She knew any moment Alkon would have the captain he was after. Eger was having Hybris and Kallen follow him to the mage. He knew the victory was as good as theirs once he wasn’t muttering enchantments to help his captain. Making it look as easy as breathing Eger found the mage and set him into a deep sleep. Almost simultaneously Alkon managed to subdue the captain of the pirate ship and start to bring her aboard.
“Hybris, I want you and Kallen to get on their ship and follows us back and stay close.”
“You’ll need rest, are you sure?”
“I have Aaron. I want the authorities to go through their ship and see what they can find. I’m sure they have plenty of contraband.”
“Eger, what of the mage?”
“He’ll be sleeping until I wake him and he won’t be using magic until I say so. He’s as helpless as a kitten.”
“Good, everyone ready themselves then. We have priorities.”
They all nodded and Alkon got the ship moving again. Once it was on course, he called Aaron over and let him take over. He wanted to check on Anthousai and make sure she was alright. He headed to their cabin then tapped out the little code. The door was unlocked and Anthousai flew into his arms the moment the door was open. “Are you alright?” She asked.
“Not a scratch, but you can check if you like.” He said as he carried her over to the bed and sat down with her cradled in his lap. Anthousai blushed and he chuckled. “I love you Anthy, would you and Ceraon like to come up top with me?” She nodded and he stood, carrying her out with Ceraon trailing behind them.
The voyage to turn her in was peaceful and Alkon made sure to show law inforcement where her ship was so it could be searched and the now powerless mage could be dealt with. When everything was squared away and they could leave Alkon asked “I was hoping you’d come on permanently. Is my crew a good fit for you?”
“Yes, I happily accept the job. This is the most I’ve enjoyed my life in a long time captain” Alkon patted his shoulder and they walked on board. The next thing they planned was Aarons party. It went off amazingly and he seemd to truly be surprised and happy. At one point he looked so touched Anthousai thought he might cry. Their firsy job back had gone perfectly, they now had a new friend aboard and the party went off without a hitch. Anthousai saw nothing but sun in their future and couldn’t wait to catch more unsavory people with her husband and their crew.
~ The End