The sea was merciless as it slammed against the ship. This storm had come at the most inopportune time it could have. They had finally caught up to a pirate Alkon was after and had been in the middle of a fight between the ships. The pirate ship they were after had launched two cannon balls. One into the side and another almost right into the bow of the ship. Alkon had no idea where Anthy was and the constant thrashing of the waves made it impossible to get to her. Terrified Ceraon had found his way into the captains room and to Anthy who was clinging to her pet. Loud cracks of wood and gushing water told the crew the ship was ripping to pieces in the storm. Alkon tried his best to stand, he had to get to her. Hybris grabbed his coat “Captain!”
“If she stayed in my room I can find her” He had barely completed the sentence when the whole ship came undone and they all found themselves at complete mercy of the sea. Anthousai felt Ceraon wrap its large arms around her to keep together. Soon she was engulfed in water deep under that blue, once peaceful sea. Ceraon rushed them up to the surface, proving himself to be an amazing swimmer. The sea was still just as wild, if not wilder than the moments ago before the ship came apart. Anthousai didn’t know if her companion could breath underwater but it became quickly apparent his only goal at the moment was making sure she didn’t drown. He would go under, holding her above the water with an outstretched hand every time he could.
After a bit of this struggle he seemed to pull her under on purpose then swam speedily under the water. She began hitting him when she was running out of breath and he went up again, doing what he had done before to help her stay alive. “Ceraon we can’t leave Alkon!” she wailed regardless of the fact he could be being sweapt off anywhere in the vast ocean. If he understood he seemed to pay her no mind with the request he not leave everyone else. He took her back down and swam again, trying to find land before he wore out.
Alkon protected his head from debris as wave after wave came crashing down on him. His lungs burned for air and he had to fight for the surface, gasping as his head broke above the water. “Anthy!” He yelled, but the wind carried his words away. He prayed the rest of the crew were okay as he swam for a large piece of wood drifting by. He grabbed onto it, hauling himself up and panting with the exertion. He pulled off his jacket and tossed it. He hated losing it since it was from Anthousai, but he knew it would get heavy and drag him down if he continued wearing it. His boots were next and then he held tightly to the wood with one hand while he blocked the water with the other.
Anthousai was relieved when Ceraon finally found dry land and hauled them onto the beach. He was exhausted and panting, but carried her away from the waves and further onto the island. He took them to a cluster of trees then collasped, too tired to keep going. “It’s okay boy.” She said, even though she was terrified and freezing. She was worried about Alkon and the others and she hoped they made it out alive.
As she sat there shivering she felt tears trying their best to escape her eyes. Alkon was alone, lost in the sea. She worried she might never see him again and wished Ceraon would have looked for him but the longer she sat there the more she understood her pet. Alkon was who meant the most to her but she was what meant the most to Ceraon. With the storm going like that Ceraon might not have found him and gotten them both safely to land before exhausting and that would have meant them all dyeing. He had chosen to just save her because it was the sure way to go. She would have happily died trying to get to him but the same wasn’t the case for her dear friend.
Eventually she could hold back the tears no more and cried herself to sleep snuggled up to Cearon. She fell into a deep sleep, utterly exhausted by the events and her emotional state. She woke due to being almost unbearably thirsty and realized Ceraon had left her. It sent her heart into overdrive. She stood, jerking around to look but she wouldn’t leave this spot. Ceraon would never leave her, he was coming back. Come back he did about twenty minuts later with fruit for her. She took a piece and he picked her up. She could tell her friend was sad “we’ll find them…and I’m not angry if you’re worried about that. I wish you hadn’t left him but you saved my life. It wouldn’t be fair for me to be angry”
Alkon was exhausted, but still couldn’t bring himself to sleep even though the storm had let up. He scanned the ocean, looking for Anthousai or any of the crew. He wasn’t sure how long he floated, but he finally saw someone waving in the distance. He jumped into the water then grabbed onto the wood and swam in the direction of the waving arm. It was Aaron and the young man was relieved to see him. Alkon helped him onto the piece of wood then climbed on next to him.
“I’ve never been so happy to not be in the water.” Aaron said.
“Have you seen anyone else?”
“No sir, I yelled for them, but no one came. Do you think they’re okay?”
“They’re a tough crew. How about Anthousai, have you seen her?”
“No sir, I’m sorry.”
He shook his head. “It’s not your fault, I;m sure Ceraon was with her, the beast wouldn’t leave her alone in a storm. Keep and eye out for others and yell if you spot a ship or land.”
“If I may say so sir, Anthousai is probably the strongest of us. She’ll make it, she wouldn’t leave you.”
Alkon patted the boy on the back. “Thank you.”
Ceraon brought Anthousai to water. She excitedly jumped down and began taking handfuls When her throat and body came back from the beginnings of dehydration she hugged Ceraon “Such a smart boy. Thank you. I woke up because I was so thirsty.” He seemed a little happier and offered Anthousai another piece of fruit. She took it and happily ate before asking him to drink some more. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do yet but she wanted them both prepared for whatever would happen. She had no idea where they were and who or what lived on this island. She was still keeping out thoughts of bad men capturing her again and once again becoming someones slave. She was stronger thanks to her boyfriend and now she had Ceraon at her side.
If Ceraon could help it she knew she was safe from harm at his side. When he was done she took one final drink then said to her friend “I guess we should try to figure out where we are. If there are civilized people maybe they can help us somehow find Alkon and the crew.” Ceraon nodded and they walked side by side. She paid careful attention to anything different about the ladnscape so she’d know if they were going in circles.
As far as she could tell they weren’t but yet they still were finding nothing, no humans, no animals, just nothing. She gave a frustrated sigh and Ceraon nuzzled her “I know, it probably hasn’t been over two hours since we started walking but I’m so scared with him out at sea Ceraon. He saved me once and I might need to save him now”
“Sir, it’s some of our cargo.” Aaron said as he pointed. “Should we check for survivors?”
“I want to find Anthy, but she’d never forgive me if I didn’t check.” He slid into the water and stopped Aaron from following him. “Stay there because if I get too tired, you’ll have to take a turn so just stay there and keep an eye out.”
“Are you sure sir?”
“I’m a stronger swimmer, I’ve been on the sea most of my life so just stay put.”
“Alright, but please tell me if you need a break. I don’t know if I can pull you to the surface.”
“I will, don’t worry.”
He pulled the drift wood over to the floating debris and Aaron pushed it aside for him so he wouldn’t get hit in the head or crushed against their makeshift vessel. “There sir, on that crate.” Alkon let go of the wood and swam toward the unconscious form laying across the top of a crate. It was one of the twins, Bia. Her sister must have been swept off elsewhere since they were never apart. He pulled her off the crate and swam with her over the the driftwood where Aaron hauled her up then Alkon pulled himself out.
“How is she?”
“Still breathing and she has a heartbeat.”
“Good, keep a look out.”
Next thing Anthousai knew Ceraon was yowling in pain. She looked at him, his left foot bloodied and caught in an obvious human made trap. Ceraon had gotten used to life pampered on a ship and wasn’t as observant as he was when he was wild. “stop jerking Ceraon” she tried saying it gently at first but he was panicked so Anthousai had to yell to get through to him. He had to stop, he was only making the injury worse. Ceraon stopped and looked away from her, obviously embarrassed but more so than that in obvious pain. She examined how he was caught and precisely how the blades were sticking into his bound foot. He suppressed a whine “I’m sorry, It’s better I have an idea of what I should do than try to help and hurt you worse Ceraon. On the plus side this means there are people here”
She doubted that brought much comfort right this second but it was all she had. She decided what she was going to do then told her friend who nodded while whining again “I know, I’m going to do my best to hurt you as little as possible”She got Ceraon out but he seemed to hurt worse than when he was caught. “sit down Ceraon” she commanded gently and he did. It was bleeding bad and needed to be bound but she knew her clothes had salt all in them from the sea. She sighed, the bleeding absolutely had to be stopped “I’m sorry Ceraon” she said then ripped up her shirt to wrap his foot.
He took it well but she knew the salt was stinging his wound. He started to get up and she urged him to sit “let it heal for a few moments. If it was somewhere else I wouldn’t mind us walking but it’s your foot. All your weight goes on it” His eyes looked so concerned and she knew why. The person who set that might not be nice, could try to capture them both and do god only knows what to them. “we stay, maybe he or she will come check it. If they are bad people you and I will fight them off okay? We have to at least try speaking to someone and you aren’t walking”
He whined and she hugged him “we have to help Alkon and the crew. If someone lives on this island we have to be brave and interact with them” He pointed where the trap was and she said “well maybe thats how they catch their meals”
Alkon’s stomach growled, but he ignored it. He was sure Aaron was hungry too, but the young man never complained. Bia groaned and they both turned their attention to her as she slowly blinked her eyes open and sat up. She looked distressed and Alkon laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay, we’ll find your sister.”
“The crows nest.” She said as she rubbed her head.
“The ship broke apart in the storm.”
“Hit my head, Deimos tried grabbing me.”
“We’ll find her, I promise. She’s a strong swimmer and we’re not the only ship that comes through here.” His and Aaron’s stomachs growled in unison and Bia looked between them. Aaron looked embarrased.
“Food, I’ll get it.”
“Are you sure, is your head okay?”
“Fine.” She stood and dove into the water. Aaron watched worriedly, but Alkon went back to scanning the horizon. Bia and Deimos had lived on an island all their lives and swam like fish.
She came back with more than enough food for the three of them. She and her sister only needed their hands to capture fish from the deep blue. It was probably one of the most useful skills they had taught themseleves. “These wont be so bad to eat raw.” She said as she looked for her knife. She was glad it had somehow managed to stay in her pocket. She started cleaning fish, handing the first one to her captain then the second to Aaron before cleaning the other for herself. Aaron thought it tasted horrible but it was food and he felt grateful she collected it for them.
A few hours later Bia startled them by jumping off abruptly and swimming away. It took a few moments but then they saw her sister aswell. Alkons heart slowed as he hoped Deimos was okay. As captain he would feel responsible for all lives lost today. It didn’t matter if he couldn’t control the weather or how ill timed it could be. He was captain and responsible for his crew. Alkon could breath easy again when the sister sat up and started swimming back with Bia. Deimos soon had concern on her face after boarding their raft. “Anthy?”
“we don’t know yet” Alkon said, all relief vanishing. Aaron quickly spoke up “we all know she’s fine though. Before we know it we’ll have her with us too”
Anthousai continuously glanced at Ceraon as they walked, worrying about his foot. He was limping, but stubbornly moved forward. She kept her ears and eyes open for any signs of danger or more traps. When they broke through the brush and back onto the beach, Anthousai spotted someone to the right of them. They were bent over examining something laying in the sand. “Hey.” She yelled and the person looked off then sprinted off. She ran towards the person, calling out until she saw that the unmoving lump was a person and she came to a grinding halt. She recognized the hair and clothes and she quickly dropped to her knees and rolled Hybris onto his back.
“Hybris, wake up.” She shook him, but he didn’t move so she rested her ear against his chest. She was relieved to feel the rise and fall of his chest and hear the beating of his heart. At least he was alive. “We need to get him away from the water and dry. Do you think you can carry him Ceraon?” He purred and lifted Hybris over his shoulder on his good side. “Let’s go the same way that person went, maybe if we find them we can ask for help.” Ceraon tilted his head to the side. “If we don’t then we’ll stop and make a fire.”
Anthousai was glad now they hadn’t stuck to what she wanted to do and waited by the trap. While Ceraon had gave in at first he eventually wouldn’t sit which is how they ended up walking again. Because of this they found Hybris when otherwise they might not have, at least not so easily. The two hurried along, Ceraon keeping a firm grip on Hybris so he wouldn’t fall off. They eventually caught up to the man. He went to run again but Ceraon put Hybris down and quickly got in front of him.
Anthousai said “Please, just talk to us. Do you speak English or Elvish?” He looked blankly at her and she didn’t know if that meant he didn’t or if he was just afraid. She sighed “please, if you understand me my boyfriend is lost at sea. I need help, my friend in front of you needs help. Look at his foot” The man looked and she felt relief. That meant he understood her. “Is your friend alive?” He asked. The man had an accent she couldn’t place. Maybe it was one specific to this island. She didn’t know and at this moment she really didn’t care. “Hybris is alive. I hope he wakes soon. Are you going to help us?”
“Yes, follow me, stay close.” Anthousai was relieved and followed him back into the jungle. He seemed to find paths that she and Ceraon had not seen before and he took them easily back to his home, a cottage he had built to blend into the plants around it. “You can put your friend on my bed, I’ll make a place for your pet next to it then I’ll look at his foot.”
“Thank you so much.”
“How did you get here?”
“The storm ripped our ship apart. My boyfriend is out on the ocean somewhere, I need to find him.”
“Are you sure he’s alive?” He pointed Ceraon to the bedroom then went to get water and clean cloth to clean the animal’s foot.
“He has to be and he’s strong, he won’t leave me. I can feel he’s still out there, even though we’re not married, I know. He won’t leave me.”
He gave a small nod. “You can call me Kallen, once you have rested, I’ll take you out on my boat.” He glanced at her. “I can see you don’t trust me, I understand, but I won’t hurt you.”
“You’re helping me. I’ll gladly take it. I can’t thank you enough. When we find him we can work something out. I know he’ll want to thank you too” He smiled at her confidence. She wasn’t saying if they found him she was saying when. The ocean stretched farther than the eye could see and went deeper than a man could ever go down. In the grip of a storm violent enough to rip apart a ship and separate them the odds were stacked against the two reuniting. When he got around to Ceraon’s foot he cleaned it quickly, stitched up the deeper wounds then wrapped it tight.
“There we go, now you sit somewhere mam. You look exhausted. You won’t be doing him any favors pushing yourself too hard. Have faith in his determination and skill.” Anthousai nodded and gave in to his request. She sat down in a chair she had seen and he spoke again “I’ll get my boat ready for a long trip. I’ll let you search as far as my boat can go. If we get to it’s limit I’ll take you out again the next day with an extra tank of oil for it. I’d do that today but dark is coming and it will be a waste using up my oil trying to find him when we can hardly see. The sun is a better tool than any lamp or light I have”
“Thank you” He walked out and all she could do was think about Alkon and their friends. “Please everyone, be alive” About an hour later Ceraon whined and she heard Hybris talk groggily to him. Anthousai quickly got up and ran into the room, hugging him tightly to her “Hybris, what do you need?”
“water please, where is the captain?”
Kallen had a cup for her before she could even leave his side and she thanked him as she held it to Hybris’s lips. “He’s still out there.”
Hybris tried getting out of bed and Anthousai put a bit of pressure on his chest to stop him. “We can’t leave them.”
“Hybris you need to relax, I’m scared too, but we’ll find them. Please rest for me and I’ll bring them back.”
“You have to stay safe.”
“Shh, it’s going to be alright, just stay in bed for now.”
He caught her wrist as she turned away and she turned back to him, giving him a gentle smile. “You make sure to slap him for me.”
She patted his hand and leaned down, kissing his forehead. “Rest now.”
Alkon could tell his crew was getting thirsty even though they weren’t complaining. They all wanted to find Anthousai, Ceraon and Hybris. Even when the sun fell, they continued to watch and listen until Alkon ordered them to rest while he took first watch. He sat in the middle of the makeshift raft, listening for any sigs of danger. The last thing they needed was a whale or shark tipping them into the ocean. He was glad there was a full moon so he could still search for land and he wondered how Anthousai was fairing, if Ceraon had taken her to safety and if Hybris had made it. He hoped to have his famliy back together again.
Late in the night Alkons eyes widened as he saw a large group of Nomura Jellyfish swimming under their craft. He sat perfectly still, not wanting their attention. There were definitely bigger things in the sea considering these guys were only the size of a grown man but a group like this of them on such a fragile craft could cause them a lot of trouble. His tense body eased when they paid them no mind and swam on. Maybe the bad luck he had had recently was finally subsiding. He just needed to have Anthousai back by his side before anything else went wrong.
At sunrise Kallen took Anthousai out on his boat. They left Ceraon and Hybris at his home to heal despite their protests. Hybris hadn’t had Cearon to do the swimming for him. It had taken a major tole on his body to get him to this island. She had to explain that to him repeatedly when he was trying to come along. Ceraon was always stubborn but on top of that he feared for Anthousais safety alone with this man. Hybris had the same feelings and knew she had to be mighty worried about Alkon to go off with a man she didn’t know alone. Even after being safe and away from her slaver this long Anthousai was still an extremely cautious woman when it came to men.
He hoped they both were right to trust Kallen because if they were wrong and he hurt her they might not want to find Alkon. Hybris was sure Alkon wouldn’t be very understanding if he found out Hybris let Anthousai out of his site with a strange man on an island they couldn’t even identify. This could be a misogynistic society for all they knew.
Once out on the water again Anthousai made quick use of the binoculars Kallen lent her. He hadn’t spoken much to her but he really wasn’t used to having people to talk to so it didn’t even occur to him to do very much talking. Anthousai began to get frustrated and panicky again. “I hate this so much” she said. Anthousaid felt defeated but she balked the idea of never seeing him again. If she had to search the rest of her life she’d find Alkon. Giving up would never be an option.
When the twins woke they dove into the water and caught some fish. They were all thirsty, but managed to get a little from the eyes. They all took turns cooling off in the water then went back to looking for dry land and more survivors. Alkon knew as long as they had the twins, they would have enough food and water to survive. “It’s disconcerting we haven’t found anywhere to land yet. This has to be the first time I’ve hated the ocean.” Aaron said.
“Trust me, we all have our moments.” Alkon reassured.
“Really, you seem so at home here, even now.”
“Before becoming a privateer, I was captured by these soldiers and they thought it would be funny to tie me up and drag me behind their ship. It was the first time I hated sea water. The crew saved me and I had to resist the urge to repay those men.”
“You’ve been through so much during your years at sea. I shouldn’t have spoken my frustration out loud. I just fear we could be drifting farther from Anthousai. With no idea where to go we’re just floating along and the sea cares not if we see her again. I know she’s alive, I don’t doubt her strength. I’m just afraid and frustrated such horrible luck fell upon us.”
“I was only telling you your frustration is understandable. Have no doubt, I will reunite with her. There’s no questin of if, just when.” Alkons voice held not even the faintest hint that he wasn’t sure of his words. His boat was small and the sea was gentle so Kallen could let go of the wheel. He turned to her and it made Anthousai look at him. Her eyes weren’t wet and she had been silent but her want to cry could be felt by him. It was trying to come out so strongly the aura of it held strong in the boat. He wasn’t sure what to do so he set a hand on her shoulder. He still didn’t speak but she soon guessed he was trying to comfort her “Please just keep going. I’m okay. I won’t cry” He nodded, accepting this and continuing on.
He kept going until he had to turn back out of fear of loseing his fuel “I have to return home now. We can’t go further”
“I understand, thank you so much”
“I didn’t help”
“You tried your best and I am grateful”
“You can stay with me as long as you need”
“Do you know of any civilization?”
“I have only ever known that island. I only have fuel and various other things do to situations similar to yours. From time to time people end up there and sometimes they give me things. I have no wish to leave, I know why I grew up there and my family deserved it. You can stay on the condition you don’t ask me what my parents did. I dont talk about it and I will stay there. Do you understand?”
She looked at her hands. “I had a bad life you know, really bad. I was a slave and I was scared all the time, but Alkon saved me and he got me to talk about things. I won’t ask about anything, but if you need to talk, you can talk to me.”
“You’re a good person Anthousai, let’s just get back okay?”
Alkon jerked awake, a bit disoriented since he didn’t remember falling asleep. One minute he had been staring at the ocean and the next he was out. “Sir, are you okay?” Aaron asked.
“Just a little too warm I think.”
“Want to go cool off?”
He shook his head. “Anything?”
“Not yet, do you think we should try picking a direction and go that way? We can take turns pushing and pulling the raft.”
Alkon looked around. He wished he had his maps. He closed his eyes, trying to remember if there were islands out here. He knew small ones had been recorded here and there by passing ships. “Let’s go West.”
Upon arriving back Ceraon was waiting by the front door “why are you out here? You should have been resting” He showed her his foot “It looks so much better” she hugged her friend then said “we didn’t find Alkon but Kallen says we can stay here as long as we need” Ceraon frowned and she stroked him “Don’t worry now” Hybris was now laying on Kallens couch as they entered. She told him the same thing and Hybris said “can’t he just take us to the nearest place?”
“He grew up here and theres nobody else. He’s only known this island” Hybris wanted to groan but he held it in “thank you for letting us stay then” Hybris had no intention of just living on this island forever but he didn’t know quite what to do just yet. When he felt better he would explore and try to figure something out. Kallen went into his kitchen and came back with a fruit for each of them “Thank you” Anthousai said with a huge smile. Ceraon almost swallowed his whole while Hybris took it wordlessly. She could tell he was in deep thought but she wished he wasn’t being so rude to Kallen.
“I am tired but I want to show you something before I sleep…” he seemed to be pondering her name so she said “Anthousai, it’s not super common. Don’t worry about forgetting it” she followed him to a chest of drawers that looked like it had been made from the surrounding trees “My mothers clothes are in there. You seem to dress more modestly than her but if you have a desire to change clothes you may use and keep what you like if or when you end up leaving”
“It wont be weird for you?” He shrugged “my mother and I never had a bond. I’m just not wasteful so have kept her clothing in that dresser. I’m practical and wear my dads. I put them in my own chest when he died.” Anthousai had so many questions and that just mounted more. She felt a sad tug at her heart. What kind of parents had he had, what had it been like growing up on an island and the only other people there not caring about you. How painful had it all been and why would he stay like anything they had done was his fault?
“Kallen, can I hug you?” She asked and he looked at her questioningly.
She wrapped her arms around him and told herself not to cry. “Whatever happened, I’m sorry. You’re a good man and your parents didn’t deserve you.” She let go and stepped back, taking in his surprised expression. “Whatever happens after this, you’re my friend.”
He swallowed. “I’ll let you change and refill the boat.”
They spent another quiet night on the island, Anthousai and Hybris worried about the others as they ate and tried to sleep. The next mroning Hybris insisted on exploring the island and Anthousai tried her best to keep him in bed. “I’m fine Anthy, I want to search the beach.”
Anthousai bit her lip. “Well then take Ceraon and go slow.”
“You be careful out on the boat, it’s foggy.” He patted her head.
“I’ll be fine, I promise.”
The fog was an annoyance to Alkon and he wanted very much to vent his frustration, but he kept his cool for his crew. They couldn’t see, so they were just drifting again. He sighed and Aaron asked, “You sing to Anthy sometimes right?”
He looked at the young man. “Yeah, when she’s scared.”
“Maybe if you sing for us, it’ll make you feel better.”
“You like singing to her, so if you sing something she likes, you might feel better.”
It was worth a shot, brooding wouldn’t help him find her. He began singing and everyones tension soon eased. He had a soothing voice, especially when he was singing. Ceraon stayed close to Hyrbis as they walked the beach. They could only see about three arm lengths ahead of them but neither were just going to sit around. All Hybris could think about was that damned storm. Normally they had some warning one was coming but that one came out of nowhere. Anytime there was threat of a storm they were always careful to be clear of it. Mother nature hadn’t been fair but with any luck atall maybe that horrible pirate and his crew had been taken care of by the storm. Maybe the sea herself had been tired of playing host to the mans atrocities and wanted to end him then and there.
They had been out for hours when Anthousai heard it “wait! Stop the boat please!” she yelled louder than she meant to. Kallen stopped and went to her side. He was worried, she had an almost panicked tone. He now heard a male voice singing “ALKON!” she yelled at the top of her lungs, startling Kallen. He stopped singing as his crew looked around. They had heard it too so he knew he had “Anthousai?” it was a soft question at first then he yelled it back “ANTHOUSAI!”
“That’s Alkon! I know that voice and song. Follow that voice! Please Kallen”
“ANTHOUSAI” carried over the water again and Kallen went back to the wheel. Now that they were really listening they could hear the faint sound of a boat. Everyone began pulling their raft towards the noise of the boat while Alkon kept yelling her name. He would yell until he was hoarse, she was close and he couldn’t lose her.
The boat came out of the fog and nearly slammed into the raft. Kallen’s expertise with the boat kept them from hitting each other. Alkon was off the raft and in the boat in the blink of an eye, his arms wrapping tightly around Anthousai who started crying. “Anthy.” Was all he could say, he was so relieved to see her and touch her, to know she was live and breathing.
“I was scared.” She managed and he squeezed her.
“Sorry, so, so sorry.” He pulled back and kissed her. “You’re safe.”
Her hands framed his face. “You have a sunburn and these scratched and bruises.”
“I’m okay, especially now.” He finally noticed Kallen and felt his protectiveness rise.
“It’s okay Alkon, he save us. Ceraon and Hybris are back on his island.”
He let out a sigh of relief. “You have my thanks and I’ll repay you.”
“There’s no need.” Kallen said. He looked at the other survivors. “I can tie the raft to my boat and haul them back home.”
“Anything to get off the water for a bit.” Aaron said, looking exhausted.
Kallen got them back to land but when they returned to his house Hybris and Ceraon were still gone. Anthousai explained they were searching the beach and the twins decided to go find them while everyone else rested. Alkon clung tightly to Anthousai even as Kallen stared. He felt it weird but he couldn’t care less at the moment. Kallen was just confused by the deep show of affection. His parents had never been intimate with eachother unless they were having sex. It was all screaming and putting eachother down. These two though, they seemed to be eachothers peace rather than eachothers misery.
Aaron felt uncomfortable with the man staring at them so tried talking to him “what made you help Anthy?”
“Um..its her nickname..short for Anthousai”
“Nickname” he said like a small child learning a new thing. Anthousai spoke “the only people he has ever known were his parents. There’s a lot about interactions and conversations that he probably doesn’t know Aaron”
“Oh, sorry, it’s like if someone called Alkon, Al.”
“I’d dangle them off a balcony if they did.” Alkon replied and Anthousai had to hide her smile. He was so serious about it.
“Someone close to you might call you Kal instead of Kallen, it’s just a shorter, faster way of saying someone’s name. Alkon usually uses my full name, but he gave me the nickname Anthy.” Anthousai explained.
“I see.” He continued to watch them. “You’re so different.”
“What do you mean?”
“The way you two are is different than what I’m used to, the way you act.”
“That’s because we love each other.”
Kallen just nodded. “I’m going to get them some water.”
Kallens house was small so she knew he’d hear if she spoke normally so she whispered to Alkon “I want to convince him to come with us. He wont talk about it but I think he’s had a sad life. I don’t want to leave him here but he feels he should because of whatever reason his parents were left here. I know we don’t know any way to leave ourselves but if we do let him come with us”
“He helped us reunite and if you trust him I will” Anthousaid kissed him, intending it to be gentle but he returned it hard. He had obviously been scared. Kallen returned with a glass for each of them then went outside without a word. “where’s he going?” Aaron asked and Anthousai said “I don’t know” Soon Hybris and Ceraon returned with the twins.
“Thank the stars. When the twins said you were alive, I had to see for myself.” Alkon was half standing when Hybris hugged both him and Anthousai. “I thought I’d lost my family.”
“It’s good to see you too, you look like hell, but it’s still good to see you.”
“You’re not so pretty yourself.” Hybris flopped down and Alkon dropped back onto the couch with Anthousai in his lap. It was going to be a long time before he let her out of his sight.
“I think once we’re home, we should all take some time off.” Alkon suggested.
“You’re the captain, but I have to say, a break sounds great right now.”
The door opened and Deimos walked in followed by Bia and Kallen who were carrying a sea turtle. It was large, but neither of them seemed to be struggling. “Holy crap!.” Aaron said, his eyes wide.
“He’s a good swimmer.” Bia said as they took the animal to the small kitchen table. “Faster than I thought he’d be.”
“He nearly outpaced her.” Deimos said as she slipped her knife out and proceeded to remove the shell.
“I’ve never had someone swim faster than me.” Kallen replied.
“They grew up in the wilds like you.” Anthousai said.
“The feral twins.” Hybris said with a laugh.
Over the next weeks Kallen and the twins bonded well since they understood him best. They had never been quite as alone and secluded as he was but they too had once lived on their own, living off the wild. Having gone through the change of being alone to having friends they seemed to know just what to do to make him comfortable. It was about a few months later when a large ship anchored on the beach. They had all been out there laughing and playing around when the man docked. Soon a long ladder flew off the ship and a man started climbing down. He looked to be in his late forties. “When I saw so many people here Kallen I thought I might have the wrong island!”
“Hey Gabriel, has it been five years again?” He nodded “I wont stop coming until I die Kallen. I owe you that much since I wouldn’t be alive today without you. One day I hope you’ll let me take you off this island. Am I to come back in another five years or will you finally leave with me?” Kallen looked back at his friends. Many people had come and gone but these people he had bonded with. He wasn’t quite sure what was different but he knew he would actually be sad to be alone again if they left and he stayed behind but his parents had been exiled here for their crimes, he, as their son needed to stay. He came from their evil and he didn’t feel like he should be able to leave.
Tears started sliding down his face with the inner turmoil and frustration. Anthousai walked away from Alkon and hugged Kallen “Please, come with us. You are a part of our family now Kallen”
“I can’t..I want to but”
“but what? Your parents?”
“whatever they did Kallen it’s not your fault. It will never be your fault. Don’t punish yourself for them”
“I’ve never even told you about them, who I come from. How proudly they told me about their lives. I may not be from civilization but it doesn’t take that to know how horrible they were”
“That’s them, not you”
“I told you that so many times. Please, don’t make me leave here without you again my friend” Gabriel interjected. Kallen fell silent and Alkon asked “will you stay and give him a few days to think?”
“I always do” he walked over to Alkon offering his hand for a shake “you are Alkon are you not?” While he was no celebrity he was known well among sea goers so Alkon wasn’t surprised “I am”
“There has already been stir of nobody seeing you since you went after Mura. I’d love to be the first to hear how you ended up with Kallen”
“why don’t you two go back to Kallens home. The twins and I will stay here and talk to Kallen” Anthousai suggested.
He hesitated for a moment, not wanting her away from him, but he quickly reprimanded himself and kissed her before walking away. He wanted to give her freedom, she deserved it. He also knew her warm, understanding would help Kallen. “I’m sorry for burdening you.” Kallen said once they were out of sight.
“What a weird thing to say.” Anthousai replied with a smile. “We wouldn’t be asking you to come with us if we thought you were a burden.”
“I just…it’s not as easy as you make it seem.”
“You mean leaving?”
“That and relying on others. You’re so kind, so different from my parents. They hurt people, innocent people, good people just like you and the others. I might be like that. They made me, they showed me such coldness. I am their son, their blood.”
“That doesn’t mean you’ll be like them. Alkon was a pirate just like the men who kidnapped and enslaved me, the men who abused me and treated me like property, but he’s not like them. He’s sweet and gentle and patient. Just because your parents were monsters, doesn’t mean you have to be a monster.”
“Anthy is right.” Bia said. “Your parents chose to walk the wrong path and you have been punishing yourself for their sins.”
“There is no reason for it.” Deimos added. “Seeing how you are with Anthy proves how good you are. Let you parents sins die with them.”
He swallowed tears, feeling almost overwhelming by emotion. Alkon talked to Gabriel as they walked to keep his mind busy “so from what Kallen said, you come back every five years?”
“Yep, I came down with sickness and my father left me on an island so I wouldn’t get his crew sick. He had four other children and valued his crew more than me. It so happened to be here. Kallon nursed me to health and took care of me until my mother found me. See, I lived with her but decided to go on an adventure with my dad. When he didn’t bring me back she got him to tell her where and she came for me. My mother wanted badly to help him get a life in her town to repay him but Kallen refused to go. When we both accepted he wouldn’t change his mind I promised him I’d return every five years to give him another chance and I have. I’ll never break that promise. Regardless, I will take you all to where-ever you are from when I go.”
“Thank you, I will pay you for the help” Gabriel nodded and they walked on. When Kallen and the others returned to Kallens home they didn’t speak of leaving but the next morning after breakfast Gabriel asked again “Let me take you away from here Kallen. You deserve a life, we will all help you gain one” Anthousai took his hand “You can be a part of our crew and sail the seas with us Kallon. I’d love for you to be a part of our family if you want it”
“What if I do something wrong, what if I’m like them?”
“You won’t be.” She tried.
“Listen,” Alkon said, “there are not many men Anthy would get close to and there are not many men I would trust to take care of her. Hybris and Aaron are the only two, she needs another brother, especially if we have another accident. I think you’d enjoy sailing with us and spending time with the twins learning the ins and outs of a ship.”
“Please?” Anthousai added.
I…I will, I’ll leave. I want to start over, I want a family.”
She hugged him excitedly and his friend Gabriel said excitedly “Then lets start gathering what you want to take from this home”
“I will take my clothes but the rest I will leave. If anybody else ends up stranded here they will need what this home has to offer”
“do you have a proper bag?” Kallen showed Gabriel the bag he had made and Gabriel said “you did well but I have one that you will be able to trust a lot more to carry your things” Gabriel hurried off and back so his friend could gather his clothing. They all loaded onto Gabriel’s ship and set off on their way to land. Kallen looked back at his little island getting smaller and smaller. He hoped he had made the right decision. This choice was scary but it was thrilling aswell. He had a family and a life ahead of him, a greater life than he could have ever had staying there.
~ The End