Assassin’s Chronicles: Chapter 20
© 2011 by Lootah Akecheta
Warning! This story contains physical violence, strong language, and bloodshed. It is not intended for the faint of heart. Read at your own risk
Note: While this story will have lascivious moments in it, it is not intended to be an erotic tail. There will be no more of the graphically explicit sex sense as is found in chapter 4 of this story. I’ve chosen to do this because I wish to try and publish this story with a mainstream publishing company for a general audience when I complete it.
Disclaimer: This is a story of adult nonsexual content. If you are offended by this type of material then please do not read further. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), then read with parental permissions only. It is strictly intended for mature audiences who enjoy reading material of this content. This is a purely fictional story and any resemblance to any persons is strictly coincidental. It is not my intention in the writing of this material to shed an unsavory light on any person by the use of any names in this material. This material is copyrighted by me and may not be used in part or in whole for group entertainment or education, including class rooms, without first obtaining written permission from me. I would appreciate any constructive criticism, complements, or suggestions my readers may have to share with me, however I will flatly ignore flaming out at my material. You may write to me via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Days blurred one into another and I lost count of how many passed as we sailed over the deep water blue. According to Pumar, Killian, and Rakish, we’d only been out here for two days since we left Jamaica and had approximately one more to go before reaching the island Isaac claimed he deposited Jacob on weeks ago. The doldrums settled on us the day we left Jamaica, which was our second stop after we left Cancun – if you want to call it a stop. We got within sight of the island when Isaac steered us southeast on a heading into nowhere. I’ve flown over this sea so many times I pretty much had every heading memorized and there is no island where the elf insisted our destination rested. “It is not a place you can see with the naked eye my dear boy.” He said when I quizzed him about it.
“Then how are we going to find it?” I retorted rather sourly.
“You can only find it if you know where and how to look for it.” His smile lifted the corners of his mouth. “Trust me Galin, we’ll be there in short order and then we can spend as much time as reason will allow.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked still looking dubious.
“I’ve already explained all of this several times but as usual of late you were too self absorbed to hear a word of it. The island defies logic and it defies physics as we know it. Poseidon made it that way on purpose.”
“Poseidon:” I gave him an incredulous look, “as in the Greek God of the Oceans Poseidon, that Poseidon?” I shook my head. “I think you’ve lost your marbles my friend.”
“Think what you like Galin, but you will understand when we get there.” He turned and went below without saying another word. Something weighed heavy on his mind, but to the best of my knowledge he wasn’t confessing anything to any of us. That, or maybe he’s right and I’ve been too distracted to notice. At any rate, I found his somber attitude more worrisome than the battle that greeted my family at Chechen Itza. Finding out Isaac’s real identity bumped him way up on my mind’s clout ladder. No doubt anything bad enough to worry an elf lord is most likely downright frightening to us mere half immortals. “How bad are these ‘merfolk’ to concern him so much?” I wondered aloud.
Sighing deeply I watched my friend disappear into the bowls of the boat and then made my way to the bowsprit where I found a seat and hung my legs over the edge letting salt spray and waves drench me. At some point the wind picked up to a new level of velocity pushing the swells to new heights before it. Just about every wave kissed the souls of my feet and occasionally climbed all the way up over the sidewall threatening to sweep me overboard. I love it though. Sitting on the bow of a boat is exhilarating. The wind blowing across my ears made it near impossible to hear much of anything leaving me alone with my reflections. It makes for the perfect place to sit and think things through, which is something I’ve been doing a lot of since we left Cancun. “Give you a penny for your thoughts.” Shea said sitting down beside me dangling her feet over the edge too.
I looked at her and smiled. It’s been a while since we’ve spent time with each other. The boat may be small, but we’re not all up and awake at the same time. “Nothing much, just thinking that Isaac’s got a screw loose some place.”
“You think he’s exaggerating about this island, or making the whole thing up?”
“It’s not like him, but honestly, yes. I believe in the gods in as much as I believe they made us all, you know. I think they started the whole ball rolling and all of that. But please, Poseidon? No, I think the gods forgot about us eons ago and I’m not sure the classic gods, or any one god, ever existed. It’s more like they exist, they created us, but we put faces on them and gave them personalities.” I said looking back out to see.
“Well, I don’t know anything about Gods, not really. I do know that Isaac has done a lot for us since we met him including casting a spell on you so you could dodge Loretta’s mind control. He knows a whole lot more about everything than any of us even if for no other reason than he’s been around longer than anybody I know of.” She paused. “What’s been up with you lately Galin?” She waited for me to look at her. “I mean I’ve not seen you this distracted before.”
“I’m thinking about Iago.” I paused before continuing. “I… Well… I love him, I’m excited about him being in my life, but how do I raise a child? I don’t know…” I studied her eyes and hoped she had an answer. “I mean, I’m a 152 year old weretiger. I’ve never had any experience with children before. In fact I’ve always avoided the little ones like the plague. How do I take care of him? How do I know if I’m doing it right? What if I mess things up completely and he ends up hating me?” I stopped because Shea had a grin on her face that said she was about to burst out laughing.
“I’m not sure anybody has the answers to those questions Galin. It’s all part of being a new parent. You’d have the same questions even if you’d fathered Iago instead of adopted him. Even if you held him as a newborn in your arms you’d have those same questions. The only real difference here is that he’s twelve. You’ve missed the changing diapers, the terrible twos, and the ‘know it all’ eight year old stages. The fact is you’re going to mess up. You’re going to do things wrong on occasion. But you’re also going to do things right, and he will love you for being you. There is no such thing as a perfect parent my friend. Be yourself and follow your instincts. They’ve proven true for you up to now haven’t they?”
I nodded. “Yea, I suppose so.”
She smiled. “I really don’t think you have anything to worry about. He is twelve after all. He may need a parent, a protector, and a councilor, but most of all he’s going to need a friend and someone to give him directions and discipline. He’s getting to the age where he can take care of himself for the most part. I’d advise you to just be there for him. He’s been through a lot: a lot of stuff that will probably leave mental and emotional scars. What he’s going to need most is love and stability in his life.” She looked out over the water before glancing back at the cockpit. “Well, I guess I need to get back. It kind of sucks being one of two who can navigate properly. According to Isaac, if we are off by even one degree left or right, we’ll miss this island he’s taking us to.” She clasped my shoulder in her palm and squeezed it gently. “I wouldn’t worry too much about how you will raise the boy. I’d worry more about surviving this journey so you will be around for him.” She slipped her feet back onto the deck and stood up to go.
“Thanks Shea. I mean it. Thank you.” She nodded, smiled, and
strode off to aft. She had a valid point. I couldn’t help admitting it. Me
taking care of Iago will take care of itself provided I survive long enough to
be a father for him and in a way, that was a whole new thing to worry about,
but it is at least a productive worry – I guess.
* * *
I woke to a wind whipped sea that tossed the Twilight Obsession around like a toy in a giant’s fist. If pinpointing an island isn’t bad enough, now we have to do it in this – fucking great! I glanced towards the bow and saw Isaac standing at the bowsprit gripping the pulpit railing studying the storm raging from the horizon reaching out to us. I had to wipe sleep from my eyes and look again. This was no gale. It was a storm of such proportion and magnitude it covered the entire southern half of the Caribbean for as far as the eye could see. A terrible maelstrom violently churning the elements into mayhem with an unrelenting fury stood in our path. It would surprise me if Katrina looked as bad from this vantage point. Isaac’s hair ripped in a wind that threatened to batter our boat to pieces while Shea ordered her crew to trim the sails and make the Twilight ready for the worst. I staggered my way up to the bowsprit gripping anything that I could find to keep from being tossed overboard and eased in behind the tall man. “Tell me you are not taking us into that?” I growled over the shrieking wind.
“That is exactly where we are going.” He looked at me and smiled. “I thought you like adventure.”
“I do but I don’t like committing suicide. Why do we have to go through this? We’ll be lucky to if any of us survives regardless of how immortal we are.”
“It is not as it looks Galin. Trust me. You will see. Just keep out of my way when we draw near.”
“OK, you got it buddy but I still think you’ve lost your fucking mind.” I quipped before making my way back down the pitching deck to find coffee. When I stepped down into the cockpit next to Shea I studied the panther. A forlorn look etched her face. “You’re the captain of this boat, why are you letting him do this?” I asked.
“Because I trust him, you should too Galin.” She said stoically.
“Oh I trust him well enough, but I trust my eyes more. There’s no way we can make it through that alive.” I pointed at the maelstrom with an outstretched arm. “When it’s all said and done, he’s the only one who’s going to still be standing and that’s only because he can’t die.”
She gave me a wan smile. “Trust him. He knows what he’s doing. He’s not failed us yet.” True but he’s not led us into the heart of hell before either. My thoughts added sarcastically as I shook my head giving our captain a worthy scowl.
What are you babbling about now dad? My son asked over the link.
Oh nothing at all Pumar, just how this crazy elf is about to kill us all.
Yea, it looks kind of ominous doesn’t it? I heard a chuckle in his mental voice.
You think this is funny? I fumed.
No, but I do trust Isaac. If he says we can get through this, then we can. What’s gotten into you anyway? I haven’t seen the pansy side of you before.
Pansy? I’ll show you pansy smartass, but I don’t know… I said, but I did know. At any rate Pumar had a point. I’ve never been this cautious or easily upset before. My thoughts drifted back to Iago. It’s Iago… I thought.
What? Killian’s and Pumar’s mental voices chimed in together.
I’ve never had to
worry about being around for anyone before. I’ve never been responsible for anyone
but myself and now in the matter of just a few days all of that has changed
because of Iago.
Yes, being responsible for someone as delicate as the boy changes everything. Rakish added. It’s tough being a parent, but I know you will make a dandy father.
Thanks Rak, I appreciate that, but how would you know it’s tough being a father – a real father that is?
Believe it or not Galin, I was not always a weretiger. My father had many children and some of them I took too as though they were mine. I raised them for the most part until a weretiger took all of that away from me.
You were turned at what, sixteen? You were just a kid yourself.
Sixteen is seen as young these days, but back in my mortal days, sixteen was old enough to wed and start a family. Rōk had five children before the uprising – three sons and two daughters. All of them lost their lives when the peasants rose up against our family. Six hundred years give or take a few and my brother still misses them. They were the world to him.
Damn, all this time and I never knew. Sorry Rak. I really am. Looking out over our looming doom I breathed a prayer: “Gods protect us,” and ducked into the galley below. Coffee proved easy to find. Even in the current circumstances someone managed to make a couple of thermoses of the black liquid. I grabbed a ‘Sippy-mug’, my name for the type of coffee mug that is designed to keep its contents even when driving, or horseback riding, or sailing into a tempest hell, and poured the coffee with some difficulty. The lid may keep the mug’s contents from sloshing out, but you had to get it on the cup first. After sealing it I made my way back on deck. Isaac squared his shoulders and began chanting over the wind. His voice rang clear carrying the ancient dialect of the elven language so all could hear. Whatever spell he crafted was far more complicated than any I’d seen him perform before. “This is complete insanity.” I muttered and made my way toward the cabin deck upon which sat Pumar, Rakish, and Killian, in that order with a space left between Killian and Rakish for me.
I’d barely covered half the distance when a particularly nasty wave crashed into the side of the bow causing the deck to lurch sending me into the starboard railing. My mug went flying out of my hand and into the brink – lost forever. I glared at the mostly submerged mug bobbing in the tremulous water before the sea swamped it pulling it down into the depths. “This is fucking insane.” I shouted redirecting my focus on the elf holding onto the bowsprit pulpit with fist of steel. “I’m stopping this now before we all die.” I readied myself to rush forward and grab Isaac with the intent of dragging him back to the cockpit and forcing him to turn us around. I never made it. About the time I staggered even with my family two very wet tigers and one equally wet wolf tackled me, dragging me to the decks. Pumar held my legs while Killian and Rakish pinned my arms underneath their combined weight. I couldn’t move. “Let me up.” I yelled, spittle flecking out of my mouth making me look crazier than normal.
“You cannot disturb him son.” Rakish yelled over the torrents of wind driven rain battering us.
“I said let me up.” I growled and felt my claws extend giving the first tail-tail sign of the change.
“He warned us about this Galin. We have to let him be. We’ll all die if we disturb him.” Pumar yelled from down towards my feet. I glanced up over my head at the elf hanging from the deck by his feet. All of a sudden the whole situation seemed silly, almost comical. I found it odd for him to be standing there upside down with his hair hanging straight and wet around his shoulders. Then it occurred to me what was wrong: his hair hung still, wet and dripping, but still. The wind had no affect over it at all. As I watched green energy spread from his right hand up his arm and out over the railing upon which he held. It surged over the decking and consumed all of us onboard starting with Isaac before it crackled up the mast and over the sheets and canvas. I quieted down and looked around us in awe. The driven rain no longer pelted us. “What’s going on?” I choked through extended fangs.
“I don’t know Galin, but we have to trust him. It’s too late to turn back now.” Killian said panting from his effort to keep me pinned.
I sighed and relaxed. “Let me up guys. I’m not going to do anything to him.” They hesitated a moment. “Common, I mean it. I won’t touch a hair on his head or even speak to him. Please just let me up.” They reluctantly released me easing back ready to tackle me again if they needed to. I stood slowly. The rain may not be washing over us us any longer but the decks still pitched and rolled with the fury of the waves. Looking around I saw everyone onboard – all fifteen of us. Every inch of the boat and crew glowed green. Tendrils of the energy bridged from one mast to the other and from the rigging to the deck making popping sounds as though arcs of electricity danced around us. However I felt nothing but a calming reassurances resonating from Isaac’s voice. I eased over to the edge and looked down into the waves threatening to swamp the deck at any moment and saw the energy extending down into the water casting an odd hue flashing out into the water.
With a sudden surge the boat lurched forward leaving my stomach to catch up. One moment the boat tossed with the waves and the next it flew right over them. The deck no longer pitched and rolled, the wind no longer deafened my ears. Only a humming from the energy that enveloped us and Isaac’s loud, clear, melodious voice echoed all around, undulating like a six chorus choir repeating the same phrase over and over with each chorus following only seconds behind the former producing a hypnotic affect. We sailed over the water and through the storm as though on a placid lake. I don’t remember much about those moments. Everything had a slightly dizzying affect making me feel a bit drunk. I don’t think it took very long to cross the tempest, but I remember watching the skies clear and soon brilliant sunshine danced upon everything glistening with the fire of diamonds.
I glanced around the deck and saw that everyone was wet, drenched to our skins, but we were all alive. When I looked behind us expecting to see the storm raging, I was astounded to find it nowhere in sight. It had completely vanished as though it never existed. The boat glided through gentle swells pushed along by a calming breeze steering us directly towards a typical volcanic island. It seemed normal enough, just like any island dotting the Caribbean. But there was an exception: No modern trappings. No power lines marred the shoreline. No buildings of any kind stuck their ugly heads out from the palm fronds and other tropical foliage blanketing the island. No ships or smaller craft littered the shallows surrounding the island protruding majestically from the glistening blue sea. Even the air smelled fresher, cleaner than what I was used to. It reminded me of the way air smelled when I was a human child over one and a half centuries ago. People only think air smells good in remote out of the way places such as tropical islands, or a mountain top, but the truth is that all the air on this planet is tainted. If humans lived as long as werefolk, they would know the difference.
“WOW!” Exclaimed Marqita. I sidled over to see what she pointed at. “Do you see?” She asked excitedly. Down in the water surrounding our boat were hundreds of large porpoises – all of them swimming alongside us as though escorting us to land.
“Someone help.” Trent’s voice rang out capturing our attention. I started to move forward to answer but stopped as I saw him pulling a half conscious Isaac back over the railing by one arm. He laid the elf down on his back upon the foredeck and began CPR. Shea and Pumar rushed over to the stricken man and knelt beside him doing whatever they could to make him more comfortable. I didn’t want to crowd in on them but curiosity got the better of me and so I eased up to where I could watch what happened. I know I don’t sound too concerned but Isaac is much tougher than most people think.
After about three or four minutes Isaac’s eyes fluttered open and he gently pushed Trent away. “I’m alright Trent. Honestly I am. Thank you.” I’ve never heard Isaac’s voice this week. “The magic I just wove takes a lot from me in this form.” He breathed. After a while he pulled himself up to his feet using Trent’s large paw of a hand for support. “Don’t stare too intently at the porpoises my dear.” He called to Marqita. “They will entrap you if they can.” The woman glanced at Isaac and then back at our swimming companions before slowly, reluctantly pulling herself back towards the middle of the vessel. “They are the servants of the island’s residents and they’re main purpose is providing food for our host.” As we drew closer to land a brilliant blue shimmered under the surface as something very large submerged beneath us. A moment later the wind stopped setting our boat to drift listing slightly to port. “Say nothing unless directly addressed.” Isaac warned.
The ocean swelled to port as a behemoth, a leviathan from the depths, rose from the waters. I thought it was a whale at first but that was just my mind trying to make sense of what I saw. A creature unlike any I’ve ever seen before rose up lazily in the calm waters brushing the Twilight Obsession’s side as it surfaced sending a trimmer through her planks. Strapped upon its back was a harness for lack of a better word upon which a brightly jeweled chariot like a saddle carried two of the most beautiful beings I’ve ever seen. Both men, or at least I took them for men, and they had human bodies but that is where the resemblance ended. Their skin was the same color as the deep water blue that surrounded us and their hair, long and straight, shown with the silver of stars. Their eyes glinting in the sunshine were the color of the setting sun. Talons adorned the tips of each finger glistening black as obsidian. They both wore a white tunic fastened at the waist by a silver rope and silver sandals adorned their feet. They stood tall in their chariot at least a good head taller than Isaac who was by far the tallest of our group. “Laas Lórien, at last you have returned to us. Welcome.” One addressed the elf. His voice shifted between tones as though it couldn’t decide which one to use. It sounded as though two people spoke instead of one.
“It is my pleasure Azure.” Isaac bowed low from the waist. “I have returned as I promised. Has my charge, whom I left in your care, enjoyed his stay?”
The two men looked at each other and some sort of communication passed between them unspoken for anyone else to hear. Azure focused his attention upon Isaac as he answered. “He has indeed enjoyed his stay, a bit too much if you ask me.”
“Azure that is enough.” The other man chided the first.
“Yes my lord.” Azure bowed in submission.
“Vasilias, my lord, please do not be too harsh with Azure. I understand that Jacob can be taxing at best.” Isaac said in defense of the warrior’s honor.
“Very well Laas Lórien. Azure can be a bit rash at times but he means well. Jacob has been, as you put it, a bit taxing. It is difficult for our citizens to deal with someone so demanding as he. Because he is our guest, we are stripped of the methods by which we normally deal with such matters.”
Isaac’s face paled. “What has he done?” Anger made his voice tremble.
“This is neither the place nor time to discuss it Laas Lórien.” Vasilias responded. “Shall we see to your vessel and its occupants first?” Isaac nodded and as though commanded by a voice none of us could hear the leviathan swam out in front of us creating such a wake in his path that it corkscrewed the Twilight in the churning currents. The vessel righted itself and followed in silence keeping pace with the beast as it swam closer to the beautiful island now looming over us. The waters in the Caribbean are deep even within feet of the shore, and soon our boat was propelled into a shallow harbor formed between two large arms of basalt reaching out into the crystal blue waters. To this day I have no idea how the boat moved. No breeze of any kind moved her sails and we didn’t fire up her diesel either, but she nevertheless glided with graceful ease in the wake of Vasilias’ steed.
“What’s happened?” Shea asked Isaac.
“Jacob, what else? He complicates everything. I specifically warned him not to make demands of Vasilias’ people but he never listens. They are not the most forgiving of beings. In fact they share much of the same temperaments as their father.” That last part I could only guess at since the elf told me who made these beings. Apparently they are not just Poseidon’s creations but his offspring. How very interesting. I couldn’t help but wonder what the impudent man had done. I guessed we’d all find out soon enough.
“Well, at least he’s consistent.” Rakish said. “People who acted like him in my father’s court seldom lived long enough to repeat the offense.”
I sighed. “Well, maybe his was just annoying instead of insulting. If so, he may survive long enough for us to transport him to Isaac’s people. If not, well, I guess this quest would be for naught.”
“I’m not sure which would be better.” Rakish said sourly before striding off to follow the procession deeper into the woods. I followed, curious to find out exactly what the human had done this time.
* * *
This concludes Chapter Twenty. Please feel free to write to me to share what you think about this story so far. I'm not sure how long I'll make it, but I will continue as people express interest in the story. Again constructive criticism, comments, complements, or even courteous complaints are welcome, but if you just want to flame the story, then I respectfully ask you to keep your opinions to yourself. I may be reached at: email@example.com.