Scav's Redemption 2

Scav's Redemption Part 2

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Scav's Redemption 2

Red Dwarf

It's been three days since I last wrote. Me earthy claws be full of tasks 'round the ship! Ever since we took in the lassie, I’ve had to juggle me regular duties, keepin' her safe, and charting!

First, a nasty wave tossed one of our food crates overboard into the briny depths. Since I be one of the bigger crewmembers, I had to do most of the heavy lifting after we hooked the box. Shortly after, the ship got stuck along the back of a Ridgeback Whale!1 It must've been attracted by our cargo! The mighty beast thrashed and turned, tossin' some of us overboard, along with a share of our plunder! After we got loose from the whale, we had to pick up our fallen mates. Aye, that was tiring, but that night, we celebrated with some great grog! I thought I could get some time to write in me journal then, but Marise started bawling loudly in the hold. The others, without a peep, assigned me to her care. While I was tellin her another tale, I had to cut it short when Ol'Cast, drunker than a Boozerat,2 challenged the crew to a duel.

I saw him swingin' a keg leakin' rum like a pierced sponge. Round him, dozens of me hearties lay concussed. Even without his sword, Ol'Cast is a formidable foe! Cocos and Kani stood with their great stature between him and the rest of our maties. Judging by Cocos' cracked claw and Kani's bent blade, I knew Ol'Cast was hardly holdin back. He was possessed by the scuffle and rum. I swung in with me pick and flashed him with my headlamp. Somehow, in his blinded state, he hurled the jug straight into me face. In that moment, I saw something odd. Two humans runnin' through a sea of grass. But it was gone 'fore I realized. When I came to, Kani and Cocos were sat atop a mumbling Ol'Cast.

These past three days have been full of many escapades! I hardly had any time to myself. Marise is a shy lass, only comfortable round me. She's a good lass, but she's got more questions than a Palmnoid has wings! Why can you talk? Where are we? Where are we going? What is this? What is that red thing in the sky at night? So many asks… but I answer em all to the best of me abilities.

This morning, while I was on deck, Crimbo bellowed something atop the Crowsnest.

“Red jewel! Mighty one! Falling down!”

We had no clue what he was talking about. But then, I spied the pulsating red comet with its tendrils of vibrant light up yonder in the sky. It really did look like a ruby, but there was something about it that terrified me. The crew stared intently as it descended, seemingly aimed right at us. Then, Captain Grump emerged from his slumber onto the deck.

“Blimey! A red dwarf Rift Jelly!3 All hands on deck! Turn this ship around now! Thar be a demon!” yelled Captain Grump, scrambling to a stand while tryin' to point our masses 'round the ship.

I hurried down to Marise and told her to hold tight because the ship would be going against some harsh waves. I didn’t have the heart to tell her the truth. The jellyfish was just above the boat when I returned to the deck. The demon twisted its brilliant cap, revealing hundreds of tentacles writhing with explosive power. In silence, we stood, weapons ready. Like thunder, it slammed one of its tentacles down onto the ship. In that instant, hell broke loose.

We fired upon the beast with all our weapons, but nothing slowed it down. Captain ordered us to focus entirely on escaping the red dwarf’s long scarlet reach. Yet as we veered the ship, an infernal storm brewed out of thin air. We cursed our luck initially, but then we noticed the rift jelly conjured the storm by waving its tendrils like a whirlpool! This damned demon was cunning! The storm it created was unlike any we had seen. The lightning was crimson, and with each strike, it erased whatever it hit. I witnessed it right before me eyes. A portion of the floorboards vanished in a flash of red light, a mere foot away from me.

Ol’Cast, with an intense voice bubbling with pride, yelled, “Ye red bastard were destined to be felled by me blade!” before jumping straight at the Rift Jelly. He slashed at it wildly and with drive, but a tentacle of the beast struck him square, erasing him with an explosive clap. At that moment, the crew fell deathly silent. The great warrior Ol’Cast finally met his end. The same warrior we met all those years ago atop the Stonemaw Serpent’s corpse. The very same legend who fended off five pirates single-handedly with naught but his claws. The same drunkard who we would laugh with around the fire. Our comrade…

We turned our weathered cannons upon the demon and fired… and fired… and fired. We emptied our cannonballs, fueled by a burnin' vengeance. But the storm grew more ferocious. The waves rose high into the heavens as if gravity itself were torn asunder. Chunks of land and debris rained upon the ship and plunged into the depths from the storm clouds. A rusted anchor nearly struck me, but Cocos pushed me aside. I frantically looked ‘round the ship. Dozens of me mates were injured, missin’, or slain. Our weapons were failin’, cannons shattered, cutlasses rusted. This foe was more than a beast. This demon was a ragin world of destruction given form. Its red visage harbored endless bloodshed.

I locked eyes with Captain Grump barking orders and directing with his metal claw. At that moment, I understood him clear as crystal. I scurried across the rough deck, making me way to the cargo hold. There, swaddled in the tarp, sat Marise, her face red with streams of tears flowin' down her cheeks. A breach in the hold exposed her to the horrors we were facing. Thinking fast, I tore a piece of cloth and covered the breach. Then, I hurried to Marise and extended me claw to her. But she recoiled and let out a gasp.

As I watched her shaking with each explosion, I pondered what I could do to comfort her. It was not like I could hug her with my strong claws and wet shell. If only I were human. Then I could cradle her and, with my warmth, protect her. But in the dark storeroom, I was a monster before her. I had to comfort her somehow, even if I couldn’t physically.

“Marise? Did I ever tell you the story of the stormy cursed island of… Castol?”

She remained motionless. The screams of me brethren rang out.

“The folk of Castol were joyous souls, forever singing their songs. They danced and feasted day and night, with even the creatures of the isle joining the revelry. Their merrymaking could be spied from miles away! All was grand until a fearsome storm descended upon em. It rained and rained for hours, days, and weeks unceasing. The mirth faded.”

She started crying even more.

"But then! A hero emerged, wielding a magical red sword that could cleave through the storm! With that mighty blade, the hero slashed the clouds and brought sunlight back to the party isle of Castol! The hero joined the revelers in celebration afore setting forth on an adventure, vanquishing wicked storms that cast darkness upon the world of light!"4

She continued to weep.

“Tewwa. Wheres mommy?” she whimpered.

Those poor words broke my stalwart heart. She was just a little lass. She shouldn’t have had to endure all this. She shouldn’t have lost her mother to the titan bird. She shouldn’t have been put in this cold, dark, and wet place full of monsters. She shouldn’t have to be pelted by the accursed red rain. She shouldn’t be deafened by the thunder of a demon. This must be so hard on her. She looks like she is no older than six! No child should be subjected to such a plight.

Mayhaps it would have been better if she had perished alongside her mother. Then she wouldn't have to endure all this suffering. Then she could be by her side. But this world be a cruel place.

Something inside me sparked aflame in the darkness of me soul. I don’t know how to explain it. At that moment, watching Marise, something turned inside me, like a key opening the lock of a chest. I grabbed her with me strength and wrapped me claws around her. I put me entire body against her. She stopped crying but was still clearly shaken. Inspired by the flame inside, I started singing.

“Oh, child of the sea, Marise. What storm scares ye so? I will protect ye, that is my guarantee. Ye be a flame in the dark, don’t ye know? Ye be a brave lass who conquers the night! With me by your side, what can stand against ye? Nothing and no one out in this blue! So stand up and fight!”

With me short song’s end, the storm passed. For a fleeting moment, the sunlight creaked into the hold in silence, illuminating Marise and her glistening tears. Then, the cheers of me comrades resounded outside. As me grasp on Marise eased, she got up and wobbled to the stairs before stumbling face-first into them. I rushed over to help and take her back, but she refused with a cute shake of her little head and crawled up the creaky wooden stairs. I helped her up and opened the door to the world of light.

Out in the light, our ship's deck lay shattered and splattered across the sea. Several glistening red tendrils lay limp across it. Hundreds of me crewmates scrambled to help each other and fix up the ship. It had only been a few minutes, but we had already started fixing the ship. It is what we do best, after all. There was already a pile formed of me fallen buckos… at least, the ones that still had corpses.

I followed Marise as she carefully navigated across the deck—careful not to trample anyone. We got a few dumbfounded looks, but no one stopped us. Crimbo scuttled alongside me, wearing a peculiar expression for a few minutes before he spoke.

“Say Terra, I didn’t know your old creaky shell could sing like that anymore? Have ye been practicing or something?” He spoke in a grating voice.

I delivered a swift whack to his head, and he scurried off. He probably went around telling the others what I did down in the hold. I’m slightly embarrassed, but while holding Marise, I felt alive… like a consuming fire.

Lodged in the bowsprit was a cutlass with a blade shining like a ruby in the sunlight. Neither Kani nor Cocos were able to pull out the sword. However, Marise climbed to the sword and yanked the blade out with one great pull. Holding the sword above her head, she looked like a hero straight from a fable! We all cheered for her. Her smile was like a crescent moon. Her raven hair danced upon the sea breeze like ink swirling cross parchment. As I watched her, I had only one thought on my mind. I must protect her.

She is sleeping beside me as I write. Even though it's dark, I am only using the moonlight to write here so I don’t wake her. I am going to ask Captain if we can stop by a human island to get her some better clothes and accommodations. This ship is in no condition to raise a lass like her.

We lost 58 of our comrades today. Each loss stung deeply in the crew, but none hurt like Ol'Cast. He was our hero… our big brother. We only recovered 36 bodies from the battle. As in tradition, we picked clean what meat was left in a somber feast leaving only their shells. Captain is preparing the Palefall5 for them as I write. It has been a long time since we've done this. The last time was the battle for our freedom all those years ago. Tomorrow, we will let the Palefall loose into the sea and let Fantasma6 guide them to the Shimmershores.7 Our brethren will be drinking on coasts of gold beneath the stars of rainbows together! Oh, how I long to reunite with them all! But my voyage has yet to be finished. Perhaps Marise is my journey…

Mother, what must I do?

Previous chapter and further reading

Part 1Part 2Part 3

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