The breeze wasn't the only thing that rustled the sails of the Airship Asterius that night as the crew awaited the return of their beloved Captain and First Mate.
A small figure ran daintily along a beam before sliding quietly down the mast to land with a small thump on the decking. Silently she cursed herself for being so noisy compared to her usual stealth. She was on edge tonight, there was a thick fog rolling in and unless Rayna and Simon returned in the next hour they would not be able to navigate out of it. A loud screech made the hair on the back of her neck stand up straight and she looked out across the forest as the noise seemed to echo through the valley. She didn't care much for the abominations that lurked in fog.
Creeping past two members of crew who were playing cards she slipped into the shadows and made her way to the kitchen. She just wasn't in the mood for people tonight, especially not him. He seemed nice enough, but there was something about him that got her back up. She didn't trust him, not yet, maybe not ever. Cortana had learned a long time ago that those you trust without question were often those who would cut your throat as you slept.
She plucked an apple from the barrel in the kitchen before slipping back out onto the main deck. The wind had picked up now and it curled into the sails, making them crackle as they strained against the ropes. With a quick glance around she made her way back to the main mast, past the card playing duo and in one swift movement she leaped up onto a crate and crouched down, her eyes on the men playing cards while a knife appeared in her small hands and she made quick work of the apple, placing each piece into her mouth straight off the knife without taking her eyes off the game.
Suddenly and without warning she flung the knife to the left before turning her head slowly as she unfurled herself and dropped down to the deck, walking towards the man who was now pinned to the mast by the cloth of his shirt and frozen in place, petrified to even try to move.
"A word to the wise...." her voice was soft and melodic, an Irish lilt decorating her words, making them so pretty that it was even more chilling to hear them fall from her lips. "Don't try to sneak up on me. Ever."
She was centimeters from his face now, he eyes piercing his as she stood on tiptoe to be level with his face. "I forgive you cos you're new. But this form of crew initiation is going to have to stop." she tilted her head to each side, cracking her neck, before slowly beginning to climb the mast. As she reached a certain point above his head, she flipped upside down, grabbed the knife between her teeth, and extracted it from the wood, all the while, never removing her cold grey gaze from his frightened eyes. Then suddenly he blinked and she was gone. He looked up to see her figure scampering up the mast to crouch in some lonely place above them all where she could watch, and wait.
"She has some stare doesn't she?" one of the men playing cards leaned lazily back on his crate and waved his pipe in Cortana's direction.
"She doesn't blink." he stammered and the other card player laughed.
"Naw, she doesn't. Did you know eye contact for 6 seconds or longer without blinking or looking away reveals a desire for sex or murder?" he grinned at the young man who was now standing bewildered at the mast, not sure what to do.
"It does?" he shivered.
"If that's the case, then you'd all better watch your back." Cortana appeared from behind him, casting a look at the two card players.
They all jumped and she smiled inwardly as she walked over to the crate she had originally perched on.
"Forgot my apple." she picked up the remaining piece of the fruit and turned to walk back to the mast, but then something caught her eye and she moved quicker then lightning to the other end of the ship where the Captain and First mate had just boarded. The Iron Viking dropped her mask on a table nearby and mumbled something to Simon, so low that Cortana didn't catch it.
"Coty." he turned to look at her and she nodded towards the fog that was inching its way towards the Asterius. He inclined his head in silent agreement and she turned to Rayna and pointed at a spot on the chart that lay on the table before vanishing once more into the shadows, leaving both to discuss the mission.
Coty breathed a sigh of relief as she looked up at the stars.
Tonight at least, the fog would not catch them.