Chapter 33 – Tempest
Chapter 33 – Tempest
Alexandria bolted out of her bed as the emergency bell in Town Central City rang out furiously.
Her mind was in a panic, was it the Kettu?
Was everybody safe?
The ship was a full seven days late, what had possibly happened to them?
She glanced out of her window, and although it was faint, she could still make out a dark cloud of smoke coming from the direction of the Kingston Harbor.
Her heart skipped. She turned to call for her ladies in waiting only to notice that Jela and Bess were already waiting.
“Would you like to get ready Highness?” Jela asked politely, her voice seemingly unaffected by the torment the call of the emergency bell had raged within Alexandria.
Alexandria didn’t have time to care about the woman’s insistence with calling her Highness. She just nodded and they proceeded to help her dress. She was thankful when Bess refrained from using pins that morning, and simply brushed her hair to a pretty sheen.
Her dress was simple and allowed for easy movement. They did, however; insist that she grab her coat to stay warm against the early November air.
She thanked her ladies in waiting and rushed towards the stables. Alexandria was surprised to find her parents waiting on the palace steps.
Her father sent her a soft smile and gestured towards the carriage that was parked in front of him, “Would you like to come with us?”
She beamed up at her father, and allowed the footman to help her into the carriage.
“Isn’t Prince Philip coming?” She found herself asking after a few minutes. It took just over two hours in a carriage to get to Kingston Harbor; perhaps they should have waited for Phillip before leaving.
“He’s already there dear.” Her mother answered calmly, her words pulling Alexandria out of her thoughts.
She looked at her mother in confusion.
“Darling,” She said with a slight chuckle, “he’s been staying there for several days now. Don’t you remember? He left to help with the repairs.”
The Princess mentally slapped herself. She didn’t remember.
Eventually they arrived in Kingston Harbor. The moment Alexandria’s feet touched the cobbled road she caught the culprit of the black smoke.
The ship had arrived.
The Kettu loomed above every other ship in the harbor. It appeared to be in complete disrepair, and its main mast had collapsed, but it wasn’t on fire.
The smoke came from the broken and unsalvageable planks that were being burned near by. The heat helped those rebuilding the main dock fight against the cold.
Alexandria left her parent’s side and went to find answers.
“What happened?” She asked the first person she saw wearing a Terrafein uniform.
The grey haired guard turned towards her and she couldn’t help but notice several angry scratches marring his cheek. “Even our mighty ship was at the mercy of the tempest.” He smiled back at the Kettu. “The storm slammed us against the cliffs, but she stayed afloat. Her hull survived, but it’ll take us a while to repair the rest of the damage, if we’re lucky she’ll be able to sail by the New Year.”
“How did her crew fare?” Alexandria asked as she tried to keep her voice steady.
“We lost some good men.” He said solemnly. “All able survivors are to help with repairs. The wounded have been moved to the inn, since it has already been repared.”
Alexandria nodded politely to the man before rushing off towards the town inn he had mentioned. She didn’t care if she didn’t have an escort, or a guard by her side. Only one thought crossed her mind as she ran across the street. ‘Please, please, please. Let him be safe.’
She rushed into the inn and was dismayed at what she saw. The inn was called The Lookout, and she had only ever been there once before. The first floor was once a small restaurant, but now dozens of beds and make shift cots, had been crammed into the building that was now acting as a hospital.
A cry of pain sounded, but otherwise an eerie quiet had settled throughout the inn. These weren’t Alminian sailors, they had no loved ones to welcome them home, and see to their comfort.
“Looking for someone?” Alexandria turned to see that it was Prince Philip who had startled her. He looked exhausted, but his green eyes shown in satisfaction.
“How’s your father?” Alexandria asked, forcing herself to at least appear civil.
“He broke a leg when the ship’s main mast fell, but the town doctor said it had been a clean break that had been set properly. He’ll heal.”
As if on cue, she caught sight of King Freddrick in the distance. He held himself up with a pair of make shift crutches, as he spoke with one of his guards. His left leg was splinted firmly between two pieces of driftwood, and his adjacent shoulder had been firmly bandaged.
“The mast shattered, and a piece was imbedded in his shoulder, but it’s nothing to worry about.” Phillip insisted.
She looked back at him and noticed his eyes were also watching his father. “I’m glad that nothing serious happened to him.” Alexandria said truthfully.
Phillip looked back at her kindly, but his eyes told her that he knew. He knew that she really wanted to ask about someone who wasn’t King Freddrick.
“How is...” She began to ask, but her voice caught in her throat.
Alexandria forced herself to take a deep breath, and steady her nerves. “Is he alright?”
A frown formed on Philip’s brow and he looked away from her. Alexandria instantly feared the worse.
Was he dead?
Had he been lost at sea?
Had he drowned?
Was he slammed against the cliffs during the storm, or crushed by the mast when it fell?
A chuckle caused her to look back at Prince Philip in confusion. “Why are you laughing?” She asked.
“It seems he disappeared.”
Alexandria stared at him perplexed, “What do you mean he disappeared? How is his disappearance funny?”
Prince Phillip pointed towards an empty cot several feet away. “I told him to rest, but he didn’t listen to me.”
His words caught her off guard. “He’s alive?” She asked looking away from the cot.
“He’s pretty banged up,” Phillip informed, “but he should be just fine.”
“What happened?” Alexandria asked desperately, trying to calm herself long enough to grasp that Noah was fine.
A smile found its way to Phillip’s face as he chuckled and looked past her. “Why don’t you ask him yourself?”
~~~ Same Scene, Change Character Focus
The emergency bells ringing in Town Central City roused Noah from the small amount of fitful sleep that he had managed to obtain since they had landed.
Although it was now November, and a cold breeze was blowing in from the north, Noah could feel sweat dripping down his neck. He knew that it would be futile to try to sleep again.
Noah pushed himself into a sitting position and looked about the Inn. He saw a guard walk past him and handed his father a decent pair of crutches. He saw several town doctors, assisting the many injured men that had survived the storm.
He remembered how baffled one of them had been when King Freddrick had insisted on Terrafein guard named Noah immediate treatment. For once Noah didn’t refuse.
Several minutes passed by as Noah sat and watched others being treated nearby.
He glanced towards the door and saw his father speaking with Phillip. King Freddrick motioned in his direction and his brother glanced towards him. Phillip nodded, let their father return to whatever he happened to be doing at the time, and strolled easily towards the direction where Noah sat.
“You look terrible.” He said easily, surprising Noah with the amount of humor that he heard in his brother’s voice.
“I’ve had better days.” Noah shot back as he swung his legs over the edge of the make shift cot that he had been given, which was actually just a table with a rough cotton blanket covering it, and made room for Phillip to sit besides him.
“At least you’re alive.” Phillip reminded, as he took a seat next to him. “Did anything else interesting happen on your journey?”
Noah rubbed his eyes from lack of sleep, but he answered the question. “Two assassins were hiding onboard, they made themselves known by the second night, and spent the rest of the journey in the brig. They’ll stay there until they can be tried in Terrafeuw.”
Phillip nodded, “One of the merchants caught a spy aboard our vessel as well, but he was just gathering information.”
“It’s possible we had one of those as well.” Noah informed. “His logs were found after the storm, but he wasn’t. We think that he was swept into the sea, but nothing can be certain.”
“Is it safe to assume that the assassins were after the King?” Phillip asked flatly.
“It is.” Noah agreed. “If they hadn’t been spotted sneaking into his cabin in the middle of the night, they might have been successful.”
“Who stopped them?”
Noah smiled up at his Phillip, “King Freddrick and myself.”
Phillip raised an eyebrow. “You?” He looked around to make sure that they weren’t being watched but still lowered his voice when he asked, “How?”
He thought back to the incident and then chuckled when he answered, “Not as skillfully as the King that’s for certain. Within seconds the first assailant was unconscious with a broken wrist and a fractured jaw, while mine had me pinned against the wall.”
“You were still able to bring him down.” Phillip said confidently.
Noah looked up at him in confusion, “How can you be so certain that I brought him down?”
“It was your fight.” Phillip answered easily, “King Freddrick wouldn’t have allowed anyone to interfere.
He shrugged at the information and lifted the edge of his shirt to show the barely healed slash that would someday blend in with the rest of his scars. “I got this in the process. I’m just glad that it closed before the storm.”
Phillip eyed the mark with a mixture of concern and pride, and then looked back at him.
“You should rest.” He said as he stood up from the table. “I’m sure news about the Kettu’s return has already reached the palace. Gather some strength for her arrival.”
Noah didn’t need to ask whom it was that Phillip was talking about.
And he also knew that Phillip was right. He should rest, but he didn’t.
He tried to for several minutes after Phillip left, but he couldn’t quiet his mind.
A short time later Noah walked past the burn pile as the sun hovered above the horizon.
His mind wondered back to his moments aboard the Kettu. More than two weeks passed between the attack and the storm. For that time, Noah found that he actually enjoyed his time spent on the ship.
The captain, a tall grey haired man named Thomas Devereaux, had told him that he had two choices while he traveled with them. He could play the part of a disrespectful guard and remain confined to his quarters the entire trip, or he could take Phillip’s place and help with the rigging.
The choice had been rather simple for Noah.
He had no desire to spend another voyage locked up.
Although Captain Devereaux had known that the guard known as Addam had actually been Prince Phillip, the rest of the crew didn’t. Addam was a first rate sailor, and he could take charge if need be. Noah was not as well versed in life on sea as his brother had.
Thankfully the Captain explained that Noah was not Addam, no matter how he might appear, but a new recruit hired to replace him as he traveled elsewhere. That didn’t mean that the crew went easy on Noah. If anything, they appeared to push him harder, even with his injury.
Then the storm hit, and chaos ensued.
It was the most terrifyingly beautiful thing that Noah had ever witnessed.
The first crash of thunder had him thinking about the story his Annabell had told him in the cave. His mind focused on her as water drenched his skin and wailing winds howled passed his ears. The spray felt like needles against his skin and his hands quickly numbed as he insured that the rigging didn’t catch anything.
Captain Devereaux shouted orders at the top of his lungs, but they could hardly be heard above the roar of the storm.
Then the storm surged and the Kettu was thrown against the side of the cliff. The mast snapped off effortlessly at its base and ripped the sail of the mast in front of it as it came crashing down. Tackles, pulleys, ropes, wood, people; everything was flying in every direction.
To Noah’s horror several men were tossed violently against the rock face. Their impact barely registered above the din of the storm, but Noah’s eyes told him that those men were now lost to the sea.
He wouldn’t be seeing them again.
The tempest had finally ended, and most of the damage was easily visible.
The Kettu once had three sails, but after the storm only one stood. Captain Devereaux estimated that their journey could be extended by up to ten days.
There had been a debate on whether to head for Port Delia in Ohrim, which they passed three days ago, or to continue on to Kingston Harbor.
King Freddrick decided to continue the journey to Alminia. His choice had been the right one. The storm had actually sent them closer to their destination, and seven days after they were originally suppose to make port, they docked in Kingston Harbor.
A wave of exhaustion caused Noah to turn away from the burn pile and make his way back towards the inn. Philip would be upset that he had left, but he would deal with that later.
His feet proved to be more exhausted than he, causing the walk to take longer than he wanted it to. The ground swayed slightly as he walked in, and he had to use the doorframe to keep himself standing.
Philip’s laugh caught him off guard and he looked up to see his brother grinning slyly at him. “Why don’t you ask him yourself?” He told the person that he had been talking to.
The sight of long raven colored hair pulled at his heart.
“Do you know where he is?” He heard her ask, worry filling her voice.
He quickly sent Phillip an apologetic smile, before asking. “Are you looking for me?”
Noah missed his brother’s reaction because he wasn’t looking at his brother. He was looking at raven-haired woman, who had turned towards him with tears in her eyes.
She rushed to him.
A painful gasp escaped him as she wrapped her arms lightly around his waist. She started to pull away, clearly frightened that she was causing him pain, but Noah didn’t let her.
“I just got you back in my arms.” He said, not caring who overheard him, “Don’t think for a second that I’m letting you go now.”
She sobbed softly into his shoulder, but otherwise remained quiet.
Noah wished that he could do something to bring back the stubborn and confident Alexandria that he had grown to love. He released her from the embrace and placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
She still had tears in her eyes, but she didn’t wipe them away.
Soon her hazel eyes dried and then clouded as she looked at him with concern. She placed small hand against his forehead and frowned.
“Noah,” She chided. “You really should be resting.”
He wanted to tell her that he would be all right, but his vision swayed and he had to grab ahold to the doorframe again to keep from falling over.
She stepped aside as Phillip rushed towards him and helped him keep his balance.
“I’m fine.” He answered, more out of habit than anything else.
“You are anything but fine.” He scolded when Noah felt the strength in his legs give out.
His skin across his shoulders where Phillip supported him felt hot, and although it was November sweat poured down the back of his shirt.
“You need to rest Noah.” He heard Alexandria demand, and he nodded haplessly in agreement. “Don’t worry.” She continued as Phillip partially hauled him back towards the table that had been used as his bed. “I’m not going anywhere.”