“Don’t jus’ stand there!” The Cook directed Xura towards a wide sink. Inside the tub were fruits that Xura didn’t recognize, They were brown and shaped somewhat like lumpy eggs. 

“Peel them potatoes.” The Cook said, he handed Xura a small blade with a wooden handle. 

Xura perched on a stool next to the sink and held one of the fruits in her hand. With the small knife clenched in her fist she sliced into the thin skin of the potato, dropping a small chunk into the sink. Aura smiled slightly, this was not so difficult. She made a few more cuts, slicing this way and that to reveal the pale interior of the fruit. 

“Ouch!” Xura exclaimed, a thin line of blood stretching down the pad of her thumb the only evidence of her mistake. Xura put her thumb in her mouth, feeling childish.

“What happened?” The cook, Xura had forgotten his name by now, cam and examined Xura’s work. “Has no one e’er taught ye ta peel potatoes, lass?”

Xura removed her thumb from her mouth. “No, sir.” 

The cook made a choking sound, it seemed that he was mocking her. “Ye see here,” He took one of the fruits from the sink and pulled another small knife from a block nearby. “Ye hold it in the palm of yer hand, and cut it away from yerself. Short strokes of the blade, always away from ye.” In seconds he’d peeled the fruit and walked away. Xura picked up another fruit, her thumb had stopped bleeding, and tried to copy the Cook’s technique, it took her a while but she began to get the hang of it, slowly peeling her way through the tub of potatoes. She paused about halfway through to stretch her cold fingers and a bell began to ring over head. She jumped to her feet, spare potato peelings falling off of her lap. 

“What’s happening?” She cried. 

“Bloody Pirates!” Growled the Cook and he charged up the galley steps hauling a large frying pan, it wasn’t long before Xura heard it’s distinct sound as it came into contact with the unfortunate attackers. 

Pulling her long skirt up to her knees and wielding the small peeling knife, Xura followed the Cook onto the deck. He had cleared a path through the chaos to the Pirate’s gangplanks, stuck onto the hull of the ship with strong magnetics. The ship was held fast with the mechanisms. Xura shook her head at the flash of familiarity at the technique and ran to the side of the ship, hoping to do some good. She watched the pirates stream over, unhindered it seemed by the soldiers on the deck to meet them. 

A burly pirate wielding a cutlass and shouting orders rand across the planks. As he stepped on board he made eye contact with Xura for barely a moment, a sly smile crossed his face in the same span of time before he ran across the deck to a hatchway. Xura looked over the side of the ship to look at the attacking vessel. The giant metal vessel with a palace on the underside. Xura gasped as she recognized the architecture, a disguised ship, like the warships of the Stardom, able to be buried on a planet to foster life yet be ready to attack at any moment. 

“Run.” The King’s voice echoed through her head and she reeled back from the railing. She couldn’t get far away enough from the ship, she dove below decks, stumbling past shadows of people, friend or foe, she couldn’t tell, she found the deepest, darkest hold and dove behind some water barrels, her blood rushing in her ears.

The End

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