Chapter 31Mature

Rayna gripped the ship's rail so hard her knuckles turned white. This was it, she thought, once they were out of the cave there would be no turning back. She closed her eyes, and focused solely on the soft humming in the back of her mind until the sound took shape as something more recognizable. Bitter laughter shook her to the core. “Min Kjaere...”

Rayna turned on her heel and looked around wildly. Had she imagined the voice? An icy sensation crept up the back of her neck, causing her to stand rigid.

“I swear ta the Gods, if yer doing all this to avenge my death, I'll come back from the grave and haunt ya into submission myself.”

She inhaled her next breath so quickly, the back of her throat became dry. It had to be the exhaustion overcoming her. Cruel, cruel imagination.

“I didn’t teach ya ta fight so that you'd give up yer life in pursuit of revenge. I merely did it so ya could protect yerself, secure the life ya had, the life ya could still have. Instead yer out here searching fer justice, that comes with a price too high!”

“It is best to search while the trail is new,” Rayna replied subconsciously.

“This innae worth it!” His voice was thick with frustration.

Rayna's eyes shot open. “You're wrong. It is worth it, Uncle.”

Behind her somebody cleared their throat. “Captain, you were saying?”

Rayna turned to face Simon. She blinked. What exactly had she been saying? “Oh yes, the ship! You and Lee grab the prongs on the side of the mast, turn it so the sails are parallel to the broadside of the ship."

Simon stared at her incredulously.

"Don't give me that look, this mast was designed to rotate. We'll correct it once we're airborne. The ship and yard act as needles in the confines of the compass we're centered in. Since we need only point north, the interference of the yard sets the compass off and keeps the opening sealed, unless we move its direction.”

The navigator stepped forward. His face was pinched into a skeptical expression. “Are you sure? How have you drawn this conclusion?”

Rayna suppressed a groan. “You forget I've been down here for months, but enough of that- we can talk semantics later. For now just do what I say without question...before the rest of the guards catch up to us.”

Arcebus nodded, and retreated to the bow. With great effort Simon used his good arm and body weight to help Lee move the mast. It sounded with a high pitched squeak. Slowly, light crept in to the cavern. Rocks and debris began to fall from the ceiling of the cave.

“Take cover!” Rayna ordered, as she made her way back inside the ship. After waiting another minute. The commotion quieted down, and she made her way back on to the deck. “Now Arcebus!” Rayna shouted.

Within moments, they were lifted, making their way towards the gaping hole in the ceiling, encompassing the ship in blinding light. As soon as they were out of the cave, Simon and Lee made quick work of adjusting the sails back to their original state.

Rayna covered her ears, as the engine sputtered with an angry noise. “Is it supposed to sound this loud?” She asked Simon.

“What?” Simon shot back over the noise. “Did you say I should be proud?”

Rayna made her way over towards Simon. Simon wore a smug smile. “Where are we going Captain?”

“Blue Tiger. Think of it as a test run.”

Simon blanched. “But, why there?”

“I need to see it for... personal reasons.”

Simon quirked an eyebrow. “Are you alright?”

“I'm fine!” She snapped.

Simon nodded. “Right then. Should we have any trouble crossing borders?”

Rayna reached in her cloak, and produced a rolled up piece of parchment paper. She handed it to Simon.

Simon smoothed out the piece of paper on an overturned barrel. He studied it for a moment, before breaking out in jubilant laughter. “A letter of marque. I don’t believe it. It looks so real. The seal is even raised!”

Without realizing what she was doing Rayna began to join in on Simon's laughter. Soon she couldn't stop the hysteria. It felt so good to laugh, too manipulate her emotions into something lighter and more care free. It felt as if a burden was temporarily lifted, and her doubts from earlier forgotten.

The End

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