Sage got very little sleep that night. Elekiel insisted on putting a ridiculous bandage over her cheek. The cut was still fresh and it stung some, but that wasn't what was bothering her, more so was the thought of the inevitable scar. She knew better than to be vain anymore this was a different life than the one she lead in Galabria. She told herself she made the right choice by leaving Galabria. Yet even with Dina and the others by her side she felt weary of the beasts and potential dangers that they had yet to face. She kept these thoughts of vulnerability tucked safety in the back of her mind when she was in the presence of the crew, especially Captain Leopold. He was the last person she wanted to doubt her. So she struggled to keep her composure even as odd howls and screeches of the night terrors began to feel like a more prominent threat.
Sage paced her room uneasily while Dina slept curled up in her human form on the end of the bed. She briefly wondered if she had powers like Dina's ability to shift into a wolf, or even Drakmor's uncanny strength, would she too be able to rest assured? Probably not, she wasn't just some petty naive girl from a royal background. She was a gaurded refugee who had fled knowing things in Galabira would only get worse. Did that make her smart or a coward?
Before she could muse herself with an answer to those questions an arrow came whizzing past her head through the open window of Sage and Dina's shared cab. It lodged itself in the wall only missing Sage's nose by inches. Attached to the tip of the arrow was a note. Sage also realized the arrow as being one of her own. But how? When did she lose one?
Annoyed and even more on edge now. She unlodged the arrow and read the message scribbled on the piece of parchment paper.
Meet me outside. I have a proposition for you.
It was blunt and too the point. Good, Sage thought, she always hated riddles and drawn out confessions of love from shallow suitors in the past. Immediately she knew who the note was from. The man who had slayed the dragon. She was hesitant to meet him. She stalled for a few more minutes before another arrow was shot at her again. This time she caught it before it could stab into the wall. It read simply,
Don't Keep me waiting Siren.
This man was impatient.
Sage threw her long wool coat over her flimsy nightgown, and quietly made her way to the deck before another arrow could awaken Dina.
The Jackdaw was afloat in the water. Gently swaying to the motion of the sea. Stars lit up the night sky. In all her life in the city of Galabria she had never seen so many stars. But here in the vast expanse of sea, the stars shone with pride.
Awaiting her on the outer deck was the dragon slayer. Although his presence aboard the Jackdaw was suspicious, tonight he looked more approachable. His hair was combed and neatly kept in a low ponytail against his back. Sage's own hair fell free of any constraints, gently framing her face. Her mother always preferred her to have it braided back in the presence of a man. Suddenly Sage felt self conscious.
“What are you doing here?” She demanded as he bowed to her.
“And it's Sage!” She said angrily.
“Ahh Sage.” He whispered.
She hated the way her name rolled off the tip of his tongue. Saaayj, almost foreign sounding. She knew better than to be lured by a handsome man. There was always a catch.
“Stand up.” Sage demanded. “What is your name?”
“It's Baron.” He said with a grin as the gentlemanly facade began to shatter.
“Baron!” She spat. “How did you get my arrows.”
He clicked his tongue. “ Perhaps one day I shall let you in on my secrets, but now is not that time. Any more question's Siren?”
“Just to humor myself.” She muttered. “What is this proposition you speak of?”
Baron stepped forward, causing Sage to take a step back.
“I need to get aboard this ship. ” He said.
“You seem to have done that just fine without my assistance.” Sage said stating the obvious.
“Nay. I need to be on the crew.” He admitted, “ In return I'll be your protector.”
Sage thought about it. The guys was strong and powerful, but was he trustworthy? She respected the captain too much to bring someone so suspicious into his crew and she definitely did not need a protector. That would only make her appear weak in front of her crew mates.
Sage turned her back on Baron.
"Is that a no Siren?” He asked.
Sage nodded her head.
“ I see. You are wise not to trust me, but at some point your going to have to.”
And there were the riddles that she hated so much.
“You better go.” She replied.
It grew quiet. Sage turned to see that Barron had disappeared again. She wasn't sure weather to be relieved or disappointed. He was an odd man, but he was intriguing to say the least. Sage could have busied him with questions all night, but she wouldn't have allowed him the pleasure.