Stranger from the East
Gutswine and his men didn't know what to make of their find. It was a camp in the middle of a small island. They came ashore to collect some water when they saw a campfire through the trees. As pirates they decided to see what they could liberate from the camps owners. But when they arrived they found it empty. Immediately the men went to rummaging through the camp.
"Looks like there's a lass boss," one of the men said with an evil smile. Gutswine looked over to find the man holding some female clothing and chest wrappings. Gutswine smile along with him. A young lady traveling alone on these waters would make fine company. So his men and he set to waiting for their mystery camper. His crew consisted of twenty hardened pirates and they were notorious for their savagery. This lass had the unfortunate luck of running into them.
"Can I help you all?" suddenly came a voice. The entire crew jumped in surprise to suddenly see a cloaked figure standing among them, just a few feet from the fire. They'd come out of nowhere. But then they settled down when they realized this was the camp's owner. And by the voice they could tell it was indeed a woman. She was holding a bucket now and the fire allowed them to see she was wearing a black hooded cloak and was rather tall. About six feet in height.
"Are you the owner of this camp then lass?" One of Gutswine's men asked.
"Very astute of you," the woman replied curtly. "Now can I help you all?" she asked again.
Gutswine drew his sword and puffed out his chest before approaching her. "Do you know what we are lass?" he asked lowly.
The figure remained silent as their head turned to sweep the crew over. "Judging by your smell and dumb looks, I'd say you were bandits?" she said casually.
The men all bristled at her attitude. "Maybe you should show some respect lass," Gutswine growled out.
"Maybe you should leave before this gets ugly," the woman replied.
The crew was a bit surprised by her boldness. She was severely outnumbered and yet the way she talked to them showed that she saw them as no threat. How could she not be afraid?
"Oh I'm going to enjoy teaching you some respect lass," Gtswine said with a dark smile.
"I was about to say the same thing," the woman said.
As Gutswine and his men were about to take a step forward to grab her the woman suddenly threw the bucket of water onto the campfire, extinguishing it and leaving the camp in utter blackness. The pirates froze before their eyes adjusted to the blackness of the night. But they couldn't make out the woman. She'd simply vanished.
In the next few moments the screams of Gutswine's crew could be heard echoing out into the night as they were picked off one by one. Fear and dread set in as the pirates bumbled around in the darkness and were helpless to fight back.
Until finally only Gutswine remained. He was panicky as he strained his earing to find their attacker. Then he cried out as cold steel pierced his shoulder from behind. He whirled around in an attempt to fight back only to find no one behind him. Then he was struck in the back of his knees. His legs gave out and he sank to the floor. Before he could get back to his feet he felt a knife at his throat. His eyes winded and he dropped his sword as he felt a presence behind him.
"Should have just left," came the voice of the woman.
Gutswine started to break out in cold sweat. "What are you?" he asked.
The woman remained silent for a moment. "I am a whisper. I am a reaper of lives. I am a sower of terror. Your fear is my strength; the darkness is my friend. I am the hunter in the shadows. I am the monster in the night. Mine is the last voice you will ever hear. I. AM. SHINOBI," the woman whispered to him. And then in one motion Gutswine felt her drag the blade across his throat.
And in a few moment his life was gone.
Arvid washed mugs in his tavern as he simply enjoyed he atmosphere of his establishment. It was a good night and business was good as his customers drank and ate to pass the night and forget about the worries of the day.
Then Arvid heard his door open and looked to see a black cloaked figure enter. They walked right up to the bar and took a seat on the stool after dropping a sack that was over their shoulder to the floor.
"Something I can get you?" he asked his new patron.
"A warm meal would be nice. And some hot water please," the patron, now recognizable as a woman, said politely. He nodded before calling to one of his cooks to cook up a small meal and boil some water. With that he turned around and took in this stranger. She wasn't from around here, which was nothing special since his island was a popular stop for travelers. But what was strange was her accent. While she spoke Norse quite clearly her accent was unlike anything he'd heard. And he knew people from all corners of the archipelago.
"Can I ask you a question sir?" the woman said speaking up. Arvid nodded for her to go ahead. "How far away is Berk from here?"
Arvid raised an eyebrow at this. "Well it's about a week's trip on good waters," he informed her. He was curious as to why this woman wanted to go to Berk. It was in the heart of dragon territory and hardly anyone went there. The Hooligans mostly stuck to themselves. "What business takes you to Berk?" he asked curiously.
"Mine," the woman replied shortly.
"Ah, yes sorry for prying lass," he said. With that he walked away to bring her a plate of cooked salmon with some bread and a mug of hot water. He placed it in front of her and she gave a quiet thank you. With that he walked off to check on his patrons and his barrels of mead in the back.
The woman took out a packet from a pocket beneath her cloak and poured it into the water. Swirling it around a bit she set it down before digging into her meal. She was disappointed to hear that Berk was still a week's trip away. It was important she get there as fast as possible. She'd have to ask the tavern owner if he knew any ship captains willing to take her there. As traveling by a crewed ship would be faster, safer, and better than traveling in her small dingy.
As she ate the door to the tavern was kicked open rudely by a man known as Ukrit the Handsome. As his name implied he was considered quite handsome on this island. Both by his own tribe and travelers. A fact that he took no small amount of pride in and let go to his head. And being the nephew of the islands chief made the boy arrogant, rude, and thinking he was entitled to anything he wanted. A fact not hampered by his cronies always loyally following him around.
As he made his way through the bar and strutted his way forward as if he was Thor himself the other patrons rolled their eyes. He ignored them and came straight up to the bar as he waited for the tavern keeper. He glanced over to his left to see a cloaked person having a meal and sipping some tea.
"Evening stranger," he said casually.
"Evening," they said back. And the voice suddenly very much piqued Ukrit's interest. Because he could tell it was a woman. Ukrit made a game out of charming his way into the bed of every woman who visited the island.
"Haven't seen you here before," he said.
"I'm a traveler who's passing through," was her reply.
"Oh how interesting. My name is Ukrit if you were wondering."
"I wasn't," she said before taking a sip of her drink.
Ukrit narrowed his eyes at her and glared at his boys sniggering behind him. So she was playing hard to get. No matter. He liked a challenge. "Can I buy you some mead then?" he offered.
"I don't drink," she said in rejection.
"So what's that you got there," he pointing to her mug.
"Oh, well I bet it's quite delicious," he said as he started reaching for it. As he statred the woman reached under her cloak and pulled out a knife before stabbing it in the path of his hand. Ukrit yelped and pulled his hand back.
"It is. Now shoo fly, don't bother me," she said rudely.
Ukrit narrowed his eyes at her. "Why so unfriendly then lass? I'm just trying to get to know you," he said shrugging.
"Well I'm not interested in getting to know you," the woman replied. "And I hate men who won't take a hint."
"Oh come on lass. How about you stay with me at my house. You're going to need lodging sine you're a traveler and all. I have plenty of food a warm fire. It will be much better than staying at the dusty old inn," he offered as he placed a hand on her shoulder. Almost as soon as his hand touched her shoulder the woman moved. In a flash she grabbed his wrist and gave it a painful twist. Ukrit cried out in pain just as the woman slammed his head into the bar.
Ukrit reeled back as he felt blood gushing from his nose. With a growl he drew a dagger at his belt and his boys did the same. The woman grabbed her dagger from the bar and held it at the ready.
"UKRIT! WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT MAKING TROUBLE IN MY TAVERN!" Arvid said coming up to them. Ukrit was about to argue with the man before Arvid shouted to silence him. "I saw what you were doing lad. Now get out of here and learn some respect for ladies before I tell your uncle about this," he warned. Ukrit glared at him before stomping off. But he pause to glare at the woman.
"This isn't over," he whispered in warning. When him and his boys let Arvid turned to apologize to the woman.
"Sorry lass. A little shit he is. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine. Thank you sir. I was wondering if I could ask you a question though?" she said changing subjects. Arvid nodded. "Do you know any captains I can hire to take me to Berk?" she asked hopefully.
Arvid rubbed his chin in thought. "Well none come to mind, but I have friends at the docks I can ask," he suggested. The woman nodded before reaching underneath her cloak and paying for her meal and giving him an extra coin if he could tell her when he found a ship she could hire. Then she asked for directions to their inn which he gave before she left.
"Here you are lass. Nice and cozy," said Gail. The old woman in her fifties smiled warmly as she showed their guest to her room. She was a pleasant old woman who loved treating the visitors to her inn well.
"Thank you ma'am. This is just what I need," the younger woman said politely. Then she walked into her room before dropping her bag down on the floor.
"So where are you from if you don't mind me asking lass?" She was curious about her accent. She hadn't hear it before.
"East," was the younger woman's reply.
"Ah I see," Gail said. The woman obviously wasn't too keen on taking about herself. She decided not to push it. "Well I'll let you get settled and you can call me if you need anything," Gail said before shuffling away.
The woman smiled after her. Then she started unpacking and settling in for the night. She was quite tired. Suddenly she felt a presence behind her. She turned to see a little girl peeking around the doorway at her. The woman smiled underneath her cloak. She was a cute girl. Chubby face, pigtails, with freckles, and big brown eyes full of curiosity.
"Dacia," suddenly came another voice from the hall. Then an older girl near her twenties came over and grabbed the little girl's hand. "What have I told you about staring at people?" she said to chastise the girl. The little girl pouted and puffed out her bottom lip.
"Sorry about that. Little sisters," the older girl said with a sheepish smile.
"Tell me about it," the cloaked woman said knowingly. With that the older girl led her sister out of the room. The woman closed her door before undressing and flopping down on the bed.
She sighed heavily. Almost eight months and she was nearly at her destination. But would one week be all that was needed to make her too late? She prayed not. The person she care about the most was in danger. And it was her duty to protect them.
"Please be ok Hicca. Just be ok for one more week," she said aloud. She then gave a silent prayer in hopes that she would be ok.
And that she would make it in time.
First chapter of the Sequel to Kunoichi's Way. I won;t be updating regularly. But i will be getting started on it.