The Other Way Around -4-

Now this one is somewhat 'raw' and probably needs polish.
And I will, hopefully soon enough, 'polish it up'?
In time that is. :)

In the mean time, why don't you tell me what you think.


My Lady Emilia was now much to busy for me, when I tried to find her alone there was always someone else, tugging at her, directing her from me. And the door to her Suite was locked! I started to feel alone and forgotten. Coming as I did from a simple background into those highly civilized and complicated surroundings was no easy thing, even with the resilience of youth supporting me there were times when I only wished to be taken back to the woods and be left alone.

I was sitting on my bed feeling sorry for myself one evening when I heard a soft knock on my door. As I opened it there she stood, My Lady, all dressed in a darkly flowing dress. She frowned. ‘Won’t you let me in?’ ‘I’m sorry my Lady, I wasn’t expecting you.’ I said as I moved away. Suddenly all my morbid thoughts were blown away, and in their place there seemed only to be room for joy and laughter. ‘Please my Lady, Emilia, sit down.’

As I showed her to my couch I secretly watched her anew, she smiled at me and suddenly it seemed as time stopped. It was only her I could see, everything else vanished, I don’t know how long we stood like that, maybe it was only an instant but to me it seemed an eternity. She looked tired, her mouth had a lopsided quirk to it I noticed, but with ample room for laughter there, and her turquoise eyes, almond shaped with a luster in them that not even a thousand pearls could imitate, shimmered. In short, I was in love. It hit me like a hammer, I almost fell down to on my knees, me in love with My Lady Emilia? No! I admired her, of course I did, I wanted to protect her, Naturally. But, in love with her? That could never be, she was older than me, and wiser, and sweeter and, and, all that wealth. I had nothing, only my two hands. There were no chance, no chance at all for me.

She studied my face for a moment and then asked. ‘Why so downcast Laurel? I thought you would be happy to see me.’ ‘I am My Lady, I am, It’s my throat troubling me, a sore throat only My Lady.’ I tried to smile reassuringly at her. Distracted for a moment she then spoke. ‘Listen, I want to tell you that Master Twizt are most pleased with you, as am I’ she smiled. ‘You have came along very well, he says. We are going to be home soon, so I feel it only proper that you should get some advice about how to conduct oneself.’

She examined my face again. ‘Oh for gods sake, Laurel. It’s not as if it is the end of the world! It’s my family and I want them to get a good impression of you.’ She bent forward and took my hand in hers, and there it happened again, everything except her dimmed out. I couldn’t hear what she said but I followed every fleeting movement of her face. Her eyes seemed to grow bigger and bigger and in the end I could see no more than those eyes.

When I woke till I found myself almost touching her lips with my own and she had stopped talking and just looked at me, straight into my eyes. ‘I’m sorry Emilia, I can’t help it’ I said, almost as if to myself. ‘I think I've fallen in love, from that first moment I laid eyes on you.’ I carefully drew back, looked down at my hands and said hopelessly ‘ I had hoped to hide it, but it seems to me that I can’t, now I’m at my wits end. I don’t know what to do?’ Her hands felt warm and safe as she touched mine, and then, in a most tender voice she said ‘I know Laurel, that I have known of from the beginning. You tried to save me from those walls’ her voice now seemed to sing to me ‘and I’m deeply touched, love such as yours is not to be taken lightly, but you are still young. There will be other Ladies, and there will be time.’

She let my hands go and straightened up. ‘Now do you want to learn about how to conduct yourself or not. Boy?’ I looked up and she was smiling at me again. I felt at once easier of mind, it was somehow as if a shameful secret had been laid bare but without finding anything in it to be ashamed of. So I listened and I learnt. There seemed to be all sort of rules, how to eat, and to speak and behave and...I shook my head. ‘Emilia, It’s too much, I wont remember it all’ at which time she gave me a friendly pat on my shoulder smiling at me. ’Just try to be civil Laurel, we’ll make it up as we go along, don’t you worry.’ She said, and when she left I thought I heard her mumble ‘what will be will be.’ but as I looked up to ask her what she meant she was already gone.

The Arrow

If there is something I know to be true, then it has to be the resilience of youth. However in love I was with Emilia, there were too much interesting stuff that happened on this ship for me to brood overmuch on it. I had made quick friends with Alfred and Puss, they treated me friendly, much in the way one does towards a fumbling, not too bright lad from the backwoods, which in a way I suppose I still was. We had lots of fun, running around, jesting with the maids and poking our noses everywhere we could get a chance.

It was while doing that I found my secret cave, I’m still not sure if it were planned or if it just were a mishap happening under the ship’s construction. It was big enough for the three of us and the other two found it convenient for whatever trysts of pleasure they could get. One day, looking for Puss I came thither. While being there I couldn’t but help noticing some strange looking holes. I couldn’t remember seeing them before so I leaned over to see where they might led. As I did, I found that I could hear voices. It seemed as the holes acted somewhat as an amplifier. I started to eavesdrop, I know, one shouldn’t, but well, I was young and curious.

I heard a male voice menacingly say ‘Wench, from now on I don’t want you out of this room.' ‘Yes Master.’ ‘Good.’ Next I heard a a hard sound followed by quiet squall, as if he had slapped her. 'But you love it Emilia, don’t you!’ I heard the voice growl ‘You want it, don’t you, say thank you Emilia.’ ‘Thank you Master’ I heard a broken voice, then I heard a harsh laugh. ‘Now, on your knees wench. What! You refuse me? By the name of Beliam I command you, down on your knees wench.’

Now I could hear quiet sobbing. ‘Remember this well wench, Whose your master is, you will obey, else.’ ‘Yes Master’ I heard that broken voice answer. This couldn’t be, I had to put a stop to it somehow I thought, but it was as if I was fixed to the spot, listening to that ugly voice. ‘You be quiet and wait wench, perhaps I will let you serve me when I come back.’ Maybe there were other girls named Emilia on this ship I thought, albeit none that I could remember? But whoever she was I couldn’t let her stay there, in the hands of that creature.

Out of the blue came this idea to me, maybe those holes could be made to work both ways. I heard the man close the door and then lock it, I leaned over and said ‘Emilia! Emilia, can you hear me?’ there was no answer. I remembered him saying something about Beliam. ‘Emilia, by the name of Beliam, answer me!’ Now I could hear that low and hopeless voice again. ‘Yes Master.’ what to do now? I wondered, frantically thinking. I didn’t know where she was, and this ship was big. ‘Emilia is there any way you can get out of there?’ ‘No master’ ‘do you know where you are Emilia?’ ‘In a room Master’. Ooh sh.. She didn’t seem too bright, this girl.

‘Listen carefully Emilia, by the name of Beliam I command you to break out of there. You must look around for something heavy that you can use when he comes back. Stand so he can’t see you when he opens the door. Hit him over the head as hard as you please, with a heavy thing and then run to My Lady’s Suite and hide. Do you know where that is Emilia?’ ‘Yes master’ ‘Well, then get going girl.’

I could hear some scraping noises from the room and then there was only silence. Suddenly there was a door opening, then a thud, and the sound as if something heavy was hitting the floor. It was time for me to go and see whom she might be I thought. I ran as fast as I could to My Lady's suite, all the time looking and listening for a running girl. Arriving at her Suite I found it locked with no one being there, so I stayed there for quite a while, waiting. Leaving, desolately worrying what had gone wrong and wondering where My Lady could be I came to my adjoining room to find its door to stand slightly ajar. Deciding to check I went into my chamber finding it quite dark, with the curtains drawn together. I looked around, but there was no girl to be seen. Damn I had to find My Lady, the sooner the better I thought as I looked the room over.

But where was she? I had to find Emilia and tell her what I’d heard, but, where to start? I went to my bed to sit for a moment, collecting my thoughts. Maybe the girl would appear if I just showed a little patience. As I sat down I found a slight obstruction under the cover, getting curious I carefully lifted it up to see, and there she was. It was My Lady Emilia, but at the same time, it wasn’t. This Emilia was younger, so much younger, and scared. ‘How are you girl?’ I asked. She didn’t answer, ‘by the name of Beliam, talk to me girl’ I said. ‘I’m scared Master’ she answered brokenly, sounding down right terrified. As I looked at her I got an idea, I went to the adjoining door, pushed it in with all my might and broke through to the other room. There I clapped my hand as I’d observed Emilia do so many times.

There was a ‘pop’ and that tiny blue guy appeared. As he saw that it was only me he looked me over with a expression of sublime distaste. ‘Ah, the lout again, and what have we been enjoying ourselves with this time then? Breaking and entering I see. Not that it surprise me' Here he gave me a withering look. 'Blood will always tell they say.’ He sneered. Forced to listen I at last got angry ‘Listen, you moron! Get Emilia here on the double, you hear.’ He scoffed scornfully back.‘She’s already on her way to you, thief, having two guards with her too, and all for you...’ Having said his piece he was gone again, just leaving that audible ‘pop’ behind him. So I went back to the girl to ensure that she still was safe. I mean, Wouldn't it look quite funny if the only thing Emilia found coming up was me and that broken door? But the young girl was still there, covering under the blankets, as rigid as a three days corpse. It gave me a ugly feeling watching her hide, knowing that somewhere on this ship there still was this twisted mind running free. One that so horridly had tried to break this girls spirit.

At long last Emilia showed up with two guards, no less. ‘What have you done!’ She said. I told her to come over alone and then pulled back the blanket. I heard Emilia draw in her breath, ‘What have you done!’ She said again. ‘Guards, come here.’ ‘Wait Emilia, don’t scare the girl’ I said and then proceeded with telling her my story. She listened in silence, interrupting me only to call her physician. She also called for her Pilot to come, as he had great knowledge and cunning. The guards were sent out to rouse the others to help them search the ship for anyone who could have seen the girl running. As she only wore a nightgown, it should have been a memorable occasion for whoever saw her. After listening to my story the pilot and the physician asked us to leave them alone, while they would try to free her from the compelling spell.

As I was leaving she stretched out her hand towards me, I went back to hold it saying ‘Emilia, those are honorable men. They are here to help you.’ She started to cry as I held her. My Lady mercifully said then that I could stay while they questioned her. As the Pilot and the physician took their time it was almost morning before they were satisfied, and I must admit that I had fallen asleep, still with her hand in mine. They woke me, none to gently I must say, ordering me to follow them into lady Emilias suite.

We found her sitting in front of the fireplace. On the mantel there hung a sword, bluish in color and old, very old. One could see where other swords had nagged its edge, but it still seemed terrifyingly proficient to me. ‘My Guards have searched the whole ship’ she said. ‘Nobody seems to remember her and none have noticed anything strange!’ Now she turned to the pilot. ‘Who is this girl? The Pilot looked at his hand for a moment, then at Lady Emilia. ‘She is you, my Lady.’ He answered simply. I stared at him wondering what he meant, maybe he meant that she was a sister? ‘Me?’ Said Lady Emilia, ‘That’s not possible.’ ‘Normally I would agree’ said the pilot. ‘But in this case unknown means have been involved. Building on each others powers he, or they, somehow have reached into forbidden realms, those that might have been My Lady, and somehow they wrenched her soul and body out of there.’

Emilia lost her color as she listened, And I? Well, wondering what I had gotten myself into this time I found myself unable to take my eyes away from the young girl sleeping so peacefully, looking just as normal as any of us. Emila shook her head in disbelief as she gave a deep sigh, mumbling ‘So sad.’ ‘But why?’ I interrupted. ‘Why would any one want to do such a foul thing?’ The Pilot studied me for a moment and then nodded as if to himself. ‘Yes, why?’ said he. ‘That is the right question. It seems that she was planned to take My Lady's Emilias place. How they were going to succeed? I do not know? Perhaps they was planning to place her into bent time later, to force her to age more quickly’.

Now the physician stepped in. ‘I’ve drugged her to sleep My Lady. When she wakes I hope she will remember her captivity much as a bad dream. I often found that to be the best for such traumas. With time she will beget more and more of her memories back, but it will take time for such healing to finish. As for her other life there is nothing I can do, the wound on her soul goes to deep for me. I can only lighten it a bit, and as for you, boy, she is in your care now, your ward. By using that spell you yourself unbeknownst have bound her. With time she will be freed from it, but for the time being...’ I looked at Emilia, she in her turn gazed at the girl. Her countenance seemed to subtly soften as she studied the girl. Suddenly she smiled.

She went to the mantle and took hold of the swords hilt. 'Hear' she said in a clear voice. ’I name her Sister, my own and my family's. By my forefathers I swear woe and vengeance on anyone that bring her hurt. On this I swear, binding by blood, standing in the bones of my ancestors ship.‘ she then drew the sword out of its scabbard and piercing her finger she let her blood fall on the floor. Then she turned to me, a bright tear in her eye. ‘You must take care of her. Won't you Laurel?’ I looked back at her and just for a moment I felt trapped, things were going to fast for me again. Why should I have to take care of her, I was no baby sitter? Why couldn’t she do it? Then I looked at the Pilot who, still as a statue, seemed to gravely weight me with his eyes, and the physician, who nodded and smiled at me as if to say, good choice.

After looking at them for what felt like a eternity I found myself turning back to my Lady Emilia. ‘My Lady, I will try my best, Only one thing I ask for, advice, when in need.’ She turned a most lovely smile on me, a smile telling me that I had pleased her, I felt a deep relief and all of a sudden the whole room seemed filled with talk and joy. The day after Lady Emilia called her closest advisors to council. Theirs were a long meeting, and after it there was a new hunt.

This time helped by all powers they could bring upon the problem they at last found the location of the infestation. It seemed that our ship had been infested by a Parasitic, and that Parasite vessel was also deemed to be wherefrom the girl had made her escape. When the sorcerer controlling it had found himself discovered he had apparently prepared to take our ship with him into oblivion. Only thanks to the readiness and vigilance of My Lady's crew had we been able to cross his evil plans, loosening his parasitic vessel from us and casting it into the abyss between planes, before he succeeded in destroying us. And the holes I had found? Well, for all purposes they were presumed to have been some kind of listening devices, possibly also for ventilation? It had been pure luck on our side though, and it made me start to wonder what more we could expect. But by now our security had been upgraded with teams searching the ship at a daily level, no place out of reach of their scrutiny, so we felt fairly safe, at least I did.

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