Chapter Three

Chapter Three

The rainstorms had lasted for the better part of a week, thunder and lightning crashing together with few moments of silence between the wars of sounds and light. The rain had shifted from a light drizzle to a raging downpour often in a span of a few seconds, allowing little time to run between houses, market stalls, and shelter before the clouds opened up and torrents came down. From the Ca'eil ruins in the west to the far reaches of the homesteads to the west and from the Cyan shore in the south to the Si'lara desert in the north, there was nothing that had been left untouched by this raging storm and swirling clouds. Even the Si'lara desert got more rain in this week alone then it had in the last ten years.

There had been several whispers of fires in the badlands and Laneah forest, due in part of the lightning crashing from above. How much damage the storm had caused by lightning along wasn't known since few dared to travel into the forest after the storm and the badlands were far less traveled even in the daytime. The fires had been taken care of by a lady in blue, or so the rumors of the villagers claimed of the Water Keeper. Aleema had attempted to keep herself hidden from the bandits that often called the borders of the badlands and forest home but it was unavoidable when she used water to ease the flames of fire, water that came out of nowhere. Any wandering eyes had been hit with a jet of water and chased out of the forest and into the Homesteads themselves.

There had been just as many reports of flooding as there had been with fires, with water killing crops and drowning livestock. Most of these water-based rumors came from the Quakerson Islands where the few villages had gotten the lesser evil of the storm. Still with small, barely populated farming and fishing towns dotting the small islands, a small flood was always a problem. A seasons worth of crops could very easily be destroyed in a single flood, two years worth of payment and bartering gone in a matter of days. However the damage caused by the rain was not as severe as it had been claimed and life would go on as it should.

With the storms fading into the ocean and other places unknown, the common folk were beginning to come out of their homes and go on with the outside chores they had neglected to do during the rains. With the sun starting to move into the mid-day sky, the town of Konirta once again bustled with life. Children played in the puddles left by the rainstorm, merchants setting up their stalls with their wares in the middle of the township, soldiers moving their training outdoors where they had more room, and the first hints of the first festivals of the season were beginning to bloom. There was laughter coming from the marketplace, laughter that had been longed for in so many days; it was a joy to be outside once again. Pent up energy now could be used to play and roam the streets of Konirta for the time being. At least until it was time to go inside for the night or the last lessons of the day were taught.

The only one that did not seem to be enjoying the bright day was Lucien and he had very little reason to enjoy it. He stood by the large window of his study that overlooked the last leg of the soldiers training grounds, his hands clasped firmly behind his back. The white drapes were pulled away from the window to allow him to stare out into the open and to allow sunlight to pour into a normally unlit room. It illuminated the bare floorboards around and a foot behind him, to where a light brown rug started to cover the floor. The warmth of the sun did little to help brighten the mood he was in nor did it help the small throbbing ache that had settled into his head earlier in the morning.

He did his best to wish the woman standing by his oak desk away despite him having been the one to call her into this very room, especially as she fingered a black wooden box sitting at the edge of his desk. Her eyes were averted to the banners that hung behind the plush chair beside the desk, her eyes going along the embroidery of each banner. It was embroidered with the Konirta Royal Family crest, a dove perched on a tiger, in the middle of flaming red material. A shield of bronze sat on one side and a gauntlet of silver on the other, showing that the Order would be of some defense for the Royal Family, after the safety of the Sage. The woman had to suppress a smile on that single thought, in light of the knowledge that the Keepers were more of a defense then the Order could ever achieve to be.

He didn't exactly hate the woman for what she was, a person that could easily put an end to his life quicker then he could blink; he didn't even hate her to begin with. It was more of a dislike for not having the choice to appoint her to the role of Keepers, that was the more of the problem then he was willing to admit. All four Keepers knew little of the World surrounding them, especially the Fire Keeper - he couldn't remember her name but he did remember that she had been born into a high-ranking noble family in the Quakerson island chain, or so he heard. How she got away from the island and into the role of a Keeper, he didn't know but would eventually find out.

Whatever she or the other three knew of the World was vastly limited to the lives they had before their current positions and he knew more about how harsh and cruel the untamed wilds were. The names of the ones the Order had picked out for Keepers knew more then all four combined but were not chosen; if he didn't think Trent had anything to do with it, Lucien was sure someone else had been the influence but the Prophet was the only one that had more influence then the Sage herself.

"You've been here for four days and you have nothing else to tell me?" Lucien asked rather loudly for the space that they were in, keeping himself facing the window. He did it to hide the frown he had on his lips and to keep his gaze from looking upon the woman. When she didn't answer for several minutes his frown only got deeper. "Did you hear me?"

"I heard you," Calso said, snapping her head forwards and staring at Lucien's back. "There isn't much to tell you more other then what I've already told youandthe King. The Ca'eil..."

"Yes, I know." He turned his head downward and sighed. "That much you've already told me."

The Order had given the public impression that they had been lucky to have a Keeper within the limits of Konirta's borders, as Calso had few errands to attend to inside the township. Those errands seemed to include the Royal Family and a few soldiers had muttered their general displeasure quite loudly at the sight of any Keeper giving information to the King on the outside World. That was enough for the monks to bring Calso in for Lucien to interrogate about what Konirta's Royal Family wanted where soldiers should have been used to get information on Ca'eil movements, or so the soldiers thought Calso was telling the King.

Not that the Ca'eil were any threat to the rest of the World past the Cliffs, as long as they did not repeat the battles that had overcome the lands to the west of the badlands again - but Lucien didn't see the neednotto be extra cautious and this particular Keeper could hear things where others could not

Calso hadn't been - and still wasn't - happy about being pulled from the street like she was a common bandit and pulled towards the Manson where the Order called home. If there hadn't been town-folk about the street who didn't know she was a Keeper and innocent lives were all about her, the wind would be more fierce then it had been during the storm. Even if it was on the command of the head of the Order, she did not like being taken like that by being surrounded with five monks and marched into the mansion without warning.

The current subject she and Lucien were discussing wasn't evenpresentat the meeting with the Konirta's Royal Family, a fact that the King himself could verify. All the King and Queen wanted to know was how any current weather conditions were going to affect the up-coming festivals, which brought in more coins and goods from the Trade Route then any other time of the year. Of course the Order and soldiers did not need to know this bit of information and she wasn't about to give them it, not when the glare and speculation weren't even being addressed to her.

"What more do you want to know?" Calso asked, running a hand over the long box several more times. "Besides it's not unusual for Ca'eil to come into the wilderness with war on their minds. They aren't just confined to the cliffs ,you know, and often don't stay there, especially if they feelthreatened."

Lucien knew this very well himself indeed, as he turned around to finally come face-to-face with Calso, missing the emphasis on the word 'threatened' or, if he had understood the meaning, ignored it completely. The Keeper looked bored and could very easily wreck everything in the room, uninterested in the conversation and slight exchange of information between the two. What she knew about things he wanted to know only made him fidget inwardly; the wind told her more about current events then what Trent could see in his visions. From what he knew, the Prophet didn't just tellanyonehis secrets and the Wind Keeper was doing a better job then Trent could.

"What do you want, anyways? The Order has little interest in Ca'eil affairs and this request hardly seems worth your time. Besides," she started, looking barely at him or was about to use a bit of her power to get her out of there. The head of the Order grimaced at the dull look in her eyes; if she had given the same look to the Royal Family, she wouldn't last long as a Keeper, "I have other things to do then to worry about a wandering person or two from the cliffs."

"As it should be," he said low enough so the woman in front of him wouldn't hear him. Then he raised his voice and cleared his throat. "As the dangers of the outside world grow so does the concerns for the safety of the citizens of Konirta. There is a need to keep a watchful eye on the areas surrounding the cliffs and the desert. With us being the closest township to the Realm there is a pressuring need to keep all safe."

"As the king mentioned," she said dryly. She fought to keep a smile off of her lips, knowing full well that the king himself had said nothing of the sort to her in that last meeting and wouldn't be too bothered if the Head of the Order said otherwise. "I have yet to cross the Si'lara desert myself but if you ask Aleema she could tell you more about the dangers of the desert herself. She has spent a number of months there before becoming Keeper, if I heard Trent correctly." Inwardly she smiled to herself, knowing exactly how the Water Keeper felt towards the man standing before Calso. "The cliffs are of no worry as only a few Ca'eil have ventured out of the ruins at a time and in small numbers. The last Ca'eil battle was a century ago and the fountain in the square of Nanola was a peace offering to amend for some of their deeds, or so Maylessa tells me."

"They are still a threat, Mistress Keeper. Do not assume that time has turned those fiends into pacifists. Several soldiers have died in the last several years because of the Ca'eil." Lucien suppressed a grimace all the while gesturing towards the doorway; if Calso wasn't going to give him something he wanted, he didn't want her to spend any more time in the mansion then she already had. Walking towards the door he expected Calso to remain where she was but was more then relieved when she took his lead. "Where is Aleema at the moment? She and I need to have a small discussion."

"She said she'd be in the Homesteads for a day or so, the last time I saw her," she replied. With the Homesteads, a large area of houses, farms, and mills at the crossroads of both the badlands and the Laneah forest, Calso wouldn't have been surprised that Aleema would just be getting there if she had gone directly through. With a small corner of the Homestead land that touched both forest and swamp, even a Sage would have a hard time navigating through that terrain; the badland swamps alone were enough to have merchant travelers use the long trading route around just to bypass it. The trading route was quicker even by the two days extra it would take to use the winding road that went through the southern tip of the land but it was safer to navigate through then swamp was. "Although she could have gone straight through to the Misty Shores, there's a small village east of the trade route that had some flooding."

Lucien had started to open the door to allow Calso out when he stopped halfway and turned towards her fully. He had grown accustomed to masking his emotions in situations like this and it appeared as though he hadn't heard her correctly. In truth he expected the Keepers to be scattered about the World further then they were by now since they had received their powers and not hovering around the Realm like homesick pups. There had to be good reason why there were two Keepers within at least a few hundred miles of the Realm and not because of the recent storm; there had been far worse storms that hit this region and not one of them had Keepers there to make sure that the common folk could pick up the pieces afterwards. That had been the duty of the leader of villages, not the element holders.

Although surprised that Aleema would be in a town known for it's pirates and bandits, he was even more surprised that none of them were farther away then expected. When he saw the Sage again he would have to remind her to guide the Keepers away from the Temple grounds and into the World itself; a Sage's duty did not include babysitting younglings. For now Lucien would have to play on the surprise that aKeeperwould be in a place that gave the Homesteads more of a headache then storms did.

"Murele?" Lucien wondered after a moment of silence. "The pirate village?"

Calso saw him wince at the mere mention of one of the villages on the eastern coast and she sighed, wondering if it was worth mentioning that she didn't know herself. Murele was hardly worth mentioning to anyone that didn't want to get mixed up with bandits or spurned sailors that only played pirates to get away with responsibility. To someone like Aleema, anyone who wanted to hide away for a few days this village was perfect. The times anyone went to find the ones hiding inside Murele were few and far between and she seriously doubt the monks of the Order wanted to talk to a Keeperthatbadly to go to a place where pirates made their home.

"I suppose but I don't keep the wind chasing after other Keepers, that's not my job." Calso smiled broadly at the head of the Order. "Have one of your monks find her yourselves if you really want to talk to herthatbadly. I'm sure she's still safely within the Homesteads at the time but if you are willing to check that's up to you. I actually have other things to do and..."

"Calso, listen." Lucien reached out and grabbed the Keeper tightly by the wrist. "Do not shrug off small threats like you are doing right now. Don't be aloof when there's the World to look out for along with your Elements."

"I know what my duties are, thank you for reminding me. Looking after the World is theSage'sjob, not aKeepers." Calso pulled her wrist free from Lucien's grasp, her face darkening. Normally she would allow someone telling her how to do her job to not affect her but a persistent person would anger her rather quickly than someone who didn't tempt their hands at fate. She strode carefully through the door but paused halfway through; what would happen to a Keeper if they used an Element against a mortal being intentionally? "Next time the Order wishes to recommend Keepers, don't. You'll only hate the choices later."

Calso moved entirely out of the doorway and into one of the many corridors that made up the interior of the manor. Lucien watched her stride away, his blood boiling and teeth clenching together rather tightly; this anger had to be directed at something and he would find that something to take it out on. Calso had already left and the monks - most likely either already knowing what would happen between a Keeper and Lucien or sensed anger in the manor - stayed clear of Lucien's study for the time being. Hewouldvent his frustrations on something later.

"You four weren't the first choices even by the Sage," Lucien muttered to the now empty corridor before he shut the door and leaned against it with a long, drawn out sigh. "Keepers."

It was one of those days where he wished he could have just stayed in his own room.


Calso stalked from the closed door of Lucien's study, no where as close to angry she had lead the Head of the Order to believe she was. Instead she felt calm and ready to go about her day as though she had never entered the Temple; she would go about her plans as before. She was already late on getting an early start back to the to the Realm where the Sage would give advice and hopefully train her a bit more on the Element side before she made her way to the south in two days time. That prospect of training made her smile on the outside but cringe inside, even training with the prior Keepers hadn't been fun.

From what Trent and the Wind Keeper before her had told her, it wasn't rare that new Keepers came into their Elemental powers the same time a new Sage did but it was still very uncommon. Most Sages kept the same Keepers as the Sage before them did and quite often any given Keeper could protect and use their respected Element for as long as their services were needed. That or they chose to step down when they no longer wished to carry the burden of the Elements, like the last four Keepers had. Calso couldn't remember exactly how long the four before them had remained Keepers but the new generation of Keepers hadn't been chosen for quite a while. They had seen at least five or six Sages come and go, maybe more then that; just thinking how long they had lived made her head spin.

She turned a corner and continued to walk down the corridor with medium haste; she had an idea as to how she would get out of the Manor - or Temple, if the monks wanted to be correct despite the Order's complex to be more a Manor then a Temple - but she vaguely remembered how to get out. Several monks walked by her without even glancing at her as though they didn't see her walk past them; that was fine by her. She wanted to concentrate on getting out of the Temple-Manor before she would be whisked away to Lucien's study again and that was something that neither her nor he wanted to have happen at the moment.

Calso had the feeling that she had left the man's feathers rather ruffled and wouldn't be too warm towards the Keepers next time he crossed paths with them again. If Lucien ever found himself fact to face with the Sage again, or even Trent, there would be several words exchanged between them on the attitudes of the Keepers.Barely a Keeper for a month and already getting into trouble,she thought with a grimace. To a passing monk or servant it appeared that the meeting between Keeper and Head of the Order had not gone well and she wasn't about to tell them otherwise.

"What did Lucien want?" A voice behind her demanded. Calso took three more steps before stopping and turning around to the one who assumed was addressing her. A young monk stood two feet away from her with his eyes watching her rather closely and tried to appear expressionless as possible. The wild look in his brown eyes, along with the edges of his mouth twitching, told her that he was either nervous to be speaking to a Keeper or was trying to hold back an unknown emotion.

"And you are...?" She asked lightly, tilting her head to the side slightly. She had seen him before but not enough to remember his name correctly; he normally had been in the presence of Leiko when she was not giving Lucien advice. From what little she knew of this monk, or rather what little she remembered, he had a worse temper then Aleema did and had no patience for the little things.

"Tal Mai," he responded, barely able to suppress the frown it seemed he wanted to share with her. "I'll repeat myself, what did Lucien want?"

"I heard you the first time," Calso muttered, craning her neck around to see if any older monks had stopped to listen in on the conversation. The only other being in the hallway was a servant who was attempt to fix a torch on the other side of the wall when it didn't need to be fixed. When she caught both Calso and Tal Mai watching her, she scowled and walked away, muttering rather nasty words. Calso just shrugged and folded her arms lightly over her chest when she turned back to the monk. "He just wanted to know how I was doing and what the king wanted with the Keepers."

"And?" Tal Mai watched Calso like she had something else to tell him; if he was waiting for any tidbits of information, he would be waiting for a long time.

"I like you, you get right to the point." The Keeper laughed with a wide smile. Ignoring the twitching in his eyes he took several steps forwards and patted him on the check lightly.

"This isn't a laughing matter." Pushing Calso's hand away, he took a step back and glared at her with his piercing brown eyes. "Therehadto be a reason why Lucien had a Keeper pulled from the street and taken to his study."

Calso's smile faded and a serious expression replaced it rather quickly. Withdrawing her hand she studied the monk's face, taking in every crease in his angered face. She couldn't tell what angered him more, her answer or her light hearted manners to the current conversation.Why does he care what Lucien and I talked about?She wondered.It's not like we were talking of anything important. Still, it would be fun to play with him a moment longer.

"Ask Lucien yourself, boy," she told him with a playful smile, turning around. As she started to walk away she waved a hand over her shoulder to him and laughed quietly to herself. Usually that meant whatever conversations she had with someone were over and she was leaving without another word. However she had a feeling that this Tal Mai still had something to say to her though the aura of anger that emitted from his body that she felt from where she was.

"Do you know where you're going?" Tal Mai called after her. Calso stopped and turned around halfway, clasping her hands in front of her. She expected him to ask her more questions but instead her patiently waited for her to respond despite the anger in his voice. Calso understood the expression and the tone of voice, she had heard and seen it in Aleema many times during their training to become Keepers and if it was festering now, it would only get worse.

"Why do you want to know?" The question was asked more in annoyance then anything else; she just wanted to get out of there. To her surprise the monk laughed; she had expected him to give her a lecture about trying to find her own way out since she was, after all, a Keeper and should know the inner workings of the Temple-Manor by now.

"Becausethat'sdirection of the kitchens," he said with a smile. "Come, I'll lead you out."

With that Tal Mai turned on his heels and walked in the other direction. Calso hesitated, turning her head towards the other end of the hallway. She could barely make out a servant moving out of the shadows and towards where the Keeper stood; in her hands she carried an empty tray. Frowning she turned to face Tal Mai but when she did the monk was gone. Grumbling she walked down the corridor to where she had turned only to nearly bump into Tal Mai. Taking a step back, he frowned deeply and motioned to follow him instead of just standing there.

Walking backwards five paces, he turned around and continued to walk forwards. Calso looked down the corridor she had been in, expecting the servant to be right behind the Keeper; instead there was n o one there. The hallway was totally empty of anyone, there was no indication that another being had been in there. Did the servant simply turn around and go the way she came, like she had forgotten something? Or had there been no one there to begin with?

"Are you coming?" Tal Mai called rather irritably to her. Calso blinked her eyes, sighing at the empty corridor once again before turning forwards and moving down the corridor she had once turned off of and in which Tal Mai was waiting impatiently. Now she would be getting out of there and not soon enough.


The shoreline beneath the cliffs of the Misty Shore was like an ant to the cliffs above, looking up at the towering figure that ran across the eastern border of the land. What few rocks could be seen from the ocean looked more battered then they had in the years before and waves were still pounding the slabs of rocks that jutted out from the water not even a quarter of a mile away from the shore. The rocks would eventually fade away into the darkness of the ocean and more rock would take their place along the shores; a long cycle of rebirth.

The ocean was still angry with the downpour of rain and clashes of thunder and lightning that had fought with the lands only days before. Strong gusts of wind spraying more then just water onto the shores, the wind moved constantly and effortlessly against the shore and cliffs. Someone was trying to listen in on what was being said at this side of the land, questions would have to be asked about the importance of not eavesdropping on conversations halfway around the land.

The ocean did not like to be bothered by such storms and would rage for several days more until it calmed itself or someoneforcedthe calmness upon it. Few dared to venture even onto the small shores after a storm, afraid that they might be pulled into the foaming waters below. Not even the fishermen of the small villages dared to cross paths with the Elements just yet; they knew how the water worked along this shore.

Or at least theythoughtthey did. With the ever changing tides and currents, it was hard to know where the waves would crash next and where the water would end up. Keeping control of the water was easy enough to do and contain it off the shores; or at least it appeared so. Mutterings of ancient control verses and a gentle hand to guide the waves four times a year to keep the water in a somewhat consistent control was what was needed to keep the world from destroying itself. It took a full day to do so, four times a year wasn't so bad as opposed to the full week it once took. The more times the Elemental control verses were said, the less time was needed to do it in, and less time it took to recover from such a thing.

But over flooding of rain was a thing that shecouldn'tcontrol, nor was she able to keep the water from raging all the time. Aleema stood at the very edge of the pirate town - Murele it was called, if she remembered correctly - her back facing the same cliffs that overlooked the ocean. She could feel the tenseness of the ocean from where she stood, her eyes staring at nothing in particular. One could say she appeared to be daydreaming, her mind elsewhere besides trying to calm the last of the raging waters after a storm. If it were any other day she would agree but today was different. Today she was tired of listening to baseless complaints and was ready to use to her Sage-given powers to quell the spoken words.

The flooding that happened within this town wasn't as bad as the letters from the ship captains had claimed; roughly one-thirds of the homes had water damage that could be easily repaired. The rest of the town barely hadanydamage at all and there was no proof that it had been done by a force of nature, Elemental or otherwise. If Aleema had her way, the pirates would have their entire town washed away in the next coming storm.

Three of the pirate ship captains - none of which she remembered their names and all three were a part of some sort of governing body of the town as far as she knew or cared - were conversing far enough away so she wouldn't overhear them. While their voices were low, something Aleema hadn't thought a pirate could do, their gesturing was wild enough to understand that they weren't agreeing onsomething. Most of the gesturing was towards her or the ocean itself, not all of it nice; the glares told her they weren't even remotely happy with the results she had given them.

She couldn't help that she wouldn't do anything but inspect the town, as repairing homes and shops that had more then water on the floors was not her job. It was bad enough that by turning a blind eye to the stolen loot in the meat merchant's shop, she was helping the already small pirate population stay alive. She was not a carpenter nor a shipwright nor a lumberjack, she could not repair the damage done by winds and water nor did she have the ability to make someone of those professions appear out of thin air. Her job had been toassesswhat the damage was done, notrepairit.

Aleema sighed, tilting her head up towards the sky and frowned. The day would be cheerful and bright despite the cool breeze flowing from the ocean and it appeared the weather would continue to remain nice. She had found the storms to be more soothing then the bright day before her; at least then she could tap into the flowering water from above, no matter how little control she had on the storm itself. Now she felt vulnerable, like she had been left out in the middle of a caravan road with nothing to clothe her and no food in her stomach. Her frown only deepened when a voice snapped her back into reality.

"We've decided to question your decisionnotto help us repair the town," the captain said as he stopped in front of her and as she lowered her head to regard the man. He was an older man in his late forties with more scars on his face then Aleema had seen on a single person; his pale green eyes told her that he had seen more then he had scars in his lifetime. The pirate was well groomed for someone in his line of work - all three were for that matter - but dressed in simple clothes, he would be able to pass as a decent commoner. Had she not been told he was a pirate, the Keeper would not have known and believed him to be a veteran of the marshes.

"Have you now? And it took you all that time to come up withthat?" Aleema smiled as sweetly as she could at him. The pirate clenched his teeth and bared a false smile that pushed his facial muscles to their limit. "The town can be put together againwithoutmy help. The town is extremely close to the ocean and storms pass by the coast more then they hit land here. There's nothing I can do to help you rebuild."

"Isn't that your duty to help?" He demanded, drawing an inch of his curved sword from it's scabbard at his hip. Aleema sighed as she rubbed a hand over her forehead to help starve off the headache that was starting to form. These pirates weren't understanding the basic concepts of a Keeper's duties and they didn't include repairing damage to towns after a storm.

"I'm doing the you and the entire town a favor bynotmentioning the loot that is stashed in the meat merchant's shop to the next soldier I happen to come across. Not to mention there's half a dozen other places where there's stolen items in plain view," she responded dryly. "Do you not have some of the Quakerson Royal Family's jewels on display inside one of the tavern's basement? Supposedly they have been lost for two years now, and Ihateto be the one to spread the word that you have them. You know, instead of the bottom of the ocean, as this treasure is believed to be at currently."

When she said that, the captain's face paled and his sword fell fully back into it's scabbard. Apparently he was not prepared to have someone who could keenly spot something that had been missing for some time now and knew what they looked like. He had more then a few passing thoughts of the penalty for keeping valuable items from a Royal Family without informing them, he had lost many a crew mate under such laws. How he managed to keep himself out of stocks and dungeons this long, really wasn't her primary concern.

If she assumed the current Quakerson king had the same law's as Konirta's did, then the entire village would be sent into the ocean depths. If Aleema had her way yet again that would happen, but Trent had made sure that the Keepers did not put their feelings into these types of situations too much. It would get them into more trouble then it was worth, or so he said anyways.

"I'll make a deal with you: I'll remain quiet about the stuff that's in your town, you repair your own homes." Aleema flickered her eyes towards the other two captains, who were slowly inching their swords out. "Do we have a deal, or do I need to make the ocean wipe out your entire existence?"

The pirate's face regained some of it's color when Aleema's gaze was elsewhere; when it returned to him, the corner's of his mouth twitched rather nervously. There was reason to be nervous when the one being who controlled the water - the oceans - was standing there with a deal that couldn't be refused. The cockiness of both of them would get them in worse trouble and much ore raw deals then they could imagine.

"The only way I'd agree would be when I'm dead and buried. I refuse." The pirate turned around to head towards the village. "I'll give a grace period of four days before someone will come after you."

Aleema arched an eyebrow at the threat, crossing her arms over her chest as the pirate captain joined the other two. She took notice that they were glancing at each other with nervous looks despite attempting to remain rather emotionless. There was only a small look in her general direction before the three pirates retreated further into the town. She couldn't tell if the look had been directed towards her or to the ocean behind her; either way she didn't care and any threat directed to her meant nothing. There was no time to worry about the words of a pirate who was more atherwhim then she was attheirs. The vastness of the ocean was great and she now controlled every drop, wave, and creature inside of it.

Sighing, she turned towards the southern winds and began to walk to the point where the land ended and ocean began. The Cyan Shore lay to the south of where she was located and one of the few spots where she could climb down and be ignored by fishermen. A woman sitting on the beach at water's edge was no trouble so long as she didn't try to swim out to sea with the jagged rocks just off shore and ran parallel to the entire land south of the Si'lara desert.

Today, however, Aleema had no intentions of swimming in water that was still churning from the storm. She would save that for another day entirely.

The End

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