Captain Argon stood upon the docks, the water lapping gently at the stone pier, the sun shining high above, reflecting off the ocean. His ship was on the shore, being tended by a master drafter, but his thoughts wer enot on it. He was thinking about Darren and the girl, the lass who had chosen to work instead of be lady-like, the girl who had fallen and now lay in bed with a broken arm. Darren had refused to leave her. Thier whispered argument still remained in his mind.
"I won't leave her," he had said, his fierce eyes glaring at him.
"The lass'll be fine. The healers are with 'er."
"You want me to leave her," he's said angrilly, gesturing to the beautiful gril lying upon the bed. "You want me to leave her to wake to stranger's faces, alone and unsure."
"She..." He'd been cut off.
"She's not just any girl, Argon. She joined the crew, she prevented a mutiny. She ran away from home to escape a man who would have hurt her. She went with me, unsure of who I was. She sailed away into the ocean, was thrown overboard and fell ten from ten feet above the deck, and not once did she complain. Not once. I love her. I will nto leave her to be with strangers once more. Nor will I let anyone hurt her. I promised her that much." And the lad had turned his back on him and went to the lass. It troubled him.
Darren was like his son, the son he'd never had. He had raised him, and yet he did not know as much about the lad as he had thought. For he had not left her side for three days past. he had not eaten or slept, nor spoken to anyone. So Argon stood staring out at the sea, pain in his eyes as a puff of smoke came from the pipe in his mouth.
For in all the things the Captain knew, one thing he had never learned was how to love. And now, he was being shown how by a lad scarcely into manhood, and a beautiful girl who had chosen the life of a sailor instead of that of a duchess. He sighed and turned away from the sea. One of his crew was walking up the dock, his second mate, carrying a scroll in his hand. He handed it to Argon wordlessly. The seal was not yet broken.
He slit it open with a fingernail and read it.
My name is Caldiber Mantoia. I was Captain of the Skybird. Past fortnight, my ship was attacked by the crew of The Eagle past 'Fulcon's Point'. Three of my men died there, and they were looking for a girl named Marina. They took my daughter Malinda, and I was informed when I reached port that you have the real girl upon your own ship. My daughter told me before she was dragged off to warn the real Marina. Do so, and protect her. The sea hides many secrets.
Captain Argon froze as he read the last words, his heart racing fast. Marina? In danger? Was Darren right? Was the lass more than just any girl? Then he shoved the scroll into his coat's pocket and sprinted off the dock, leaving his second mate looking bewildered at the end of the pier.