Um, this is awkward.
Anyway, after, what? Three years? Of not updating this fanfiction, I am currently editied and finishing it. So. Yay.
I do not own, etc. Please review, etc...
It was a cold night, and Proteus, the young king of Syracuse, was scanning the crowd for his long-time friend Sinbad, when the mist of the ocean moved in over the shipping docks, obscuring everything into twisted shadows and shapes. When the pirate's familiar form finally appeared from the fog surrounding the dock, he was followed by the bulk of his crew, all shouldering bags and boxes of goods, and Marina, who only held a single small bundle in her arms.
"Sinbad! Glad to see you could make it," Proteus greeted his friend loudly, only to be shushed by Sinbad, who gently took the bundle from Marina, leaning it towards Proteus so that he could look inside. From her nest of blankets, a small girl's face peeked out. She had a head of dark brown hair and a wide set of blue eyes. Sinbad smiled at his old friend's expression.
"Her name is Kaelani. And you're godfather," he said, with just a hint of pride. Proteus didn't know what to say, so he only smiled at his goddaughter and his best friend.
"Proteus," A voice called from the shadows. A woman with a long neck and blonde hair in a lofty pile of cornrows walked up, leading a young boy by the hand. With his mother's blond hair, the boy was swept up into the arms of Proteus.
"This is Nikko. And you're godfather," Proteus chuckled to his friend. They both laughed, and the boy leaned over to look at the sleeping Kaelani. She looked at him, and stuck out her tongue. Nikko giggled and did the same.
The party of reunited travelers was lead into the quiet and darkened royal palace, and everyone was shown to their rooms with a stern warning from Sinbad-
"Don't steal anything now, or they could catch us."
The next day dawned bright, and a wide-awake Kaelani was seen running through the marble halls of the palace with Nikko, both laughing and joking with each other in jumbled children's speech. Nikko was wearing a small dark blue jacket edged in gold, and a thin gold circlet was on his head. Kaelani was also decked out in the best of royal fashion, wearing a pale yellow dress with lavender stitching. Her brown hair was curly and fell just to her shoulders. They giggled and ran in circles while their parents looked on, so sure of the years of peace to come…
And in a shadow-realm, a tall, thin figure with an angelic face growled at the image on his mirror. While his mother had been humiliated by the adults, like him, their children would pay…
The storm knocked the boat from side to side, knocking the crew about. One teenage girl with a thick braid of dark brown hair was clinging to a twisting rope for dear life, lest she plummet to the hard wooden deck of the Chimera.
"Lani! Get down here!" her mother called up to her. A crack of thunder and a flash of lightening blinded and deafened her for a moment.
"If I could, I would!" Kaelani shouted down to her mother. She slipped down a few feet as her rope was flung out over the water and swung back into place. She began gradually sliding down, and finally jumped into empty space, and landed on her bare feet on the soaked deck. In that moment, the boat was lifted into the air by a giant wave and landed with a huge splash on one side. It slowly tilted up to the normal angle, and the storm died down to a heavy rain. Kaelani blinked the strange mixture of salt and rain water out of her eyes, and swept her wet bangs out of her face.
"Well… that was fun," her father panted, leaning his torso into the helm of the ship. His first mate Kale rolled his eyes, bracing himself against the railing.
"Where are we?" Lani's mother asked, standing tall and looking like a queen, hair swept back with water and salt. Sinbad tapped a compass a few times, and consulted a map.
"Near Syracuse. We can stop there to make repairs." he turned the wheel and headed off into the unknown seas.
"Syracuse?" Kaelani asked her father. "Isn't that where you're from, dad?"
"Yep. Born and raised. Your godfather is king there," he said.
"Can you tell me the story of how you two met again?" she asked, coiling up some rope. The crew moaned. Rat dropped his head from the rigging.
"Principessa, if we must listen to one of the captain's stories, at least pick one we haven't heard a million times before," he pleaded. She pushed his face aside with a hand and climbed up to the helm.
"Ani, you have heard the story before," he told her gently. She pouted and rested her chin in her hand. Then she sprang into action.
She twisted a dangling rope around her wrist the way that Rat had shown her to do so many times before, and swung over to the entrance to the hold, where she gathered a large book and a handful of paints and brushes. Grabbing a rope, she kicked aside a pin and practically flew to the crows nest, where she began drawing furiously. The sky after a storm was perfect addition to her sketchbook. Was it still water in her eyes, or did that particularly dark cloud look like a human face? Stretching on her toes to see more, Kaelani gripped her book under one arm, and was the first to see the tall, graceful spires of Syracuse break through the dark cloud bank.
Soon they were docked at port, and Kaelani was standing unsteady on the solid ground, so used to the rolling of the waves and the motion of the seas.
"Hey, mom, can I check out the marketplace?" she called over her shoulder, already starting to walk in the direction of all the sound and noise.
"Sure, but Kale, Jin and Lee are going with you!" Marina shouted back. Waving her hand to show that she had heard, Lani picked up the pace. The three followed behind her while she looked at everything. Everything was so different from the Chimera. Ring after ring of colorful tents and stalls that showed her wares that she wouldn't take if they paid her. At the center of it all, a band was playing, and Kaelani moved to the side to see better while moving.
She knocked into someone.
"Hey! Watch were you're going!" a tall boy with a ponytail of blond hair said as they both fell to the ground. A bundle of small paper folders fell from his grip, scattering on the ground, where several unaware fairgoers stepped on them. The boy had a horrified expression on his face.
"Follow your own advice and you'd stay on your feet longer," she snapped back, picking herself out of the dust beside him.
"Stay out of my way, and maybe I will!" he countered.
Lani glared him down.
"Bilge rat," she snorted, and he looked surprised at the acid in her voice, "if you're too clumsy to walk out in the open, perhaps you should stay indoors," she snorted, tossing her braid over one shoulder. Kale and company were eyeing the pair nervously. Lani had a temper like her mother, but, unfortunately, none of the royal training in diplomacy to keep it in check.
"Just what I'd expect an ignorant pirate like you would say," he grunted, and started to gather his packages.
"I'll show you what an 'ignorant pirate' can do, city boy!" Kaelani shouted, and began to lunge for him. With fire in his eyes, the boy matched the motions.
"Whoa, cool it Lani!" the twins intervened, each grabbing the fighting factions and struggling to keep them apart.
"Lani, control yourself!" Kale ordered.
"Stay out of this!" the boy spat, making a rude gesture.
"You little—!" Kale said, and then Jin and Lee were restraining him. With a hefty push, the boy was on his backside in the dust again, surrounded by guards. They pointed swords and spears at Kaelani, a triumphant grin on her face and her arms extended from her shove.
"You're under arrest," one said, the markings of his armor identifying him as the captain, "For attacking the crown prince of Syracuse."
Kaelani, without much enthusiasm, looked around the cell she had been thrown into. The guards had seemed to be a bit surprised at the amounts of insults she knew, and at the fact that she could say them in about three different languages. Thinking that she would soon turn to physical violence when her vernal taunts dried up, they wisely chose to lock the door and leave.
Whistling to herself, Lani paced, and thought. She could jump down from the window and onto the balcony below her, but it was probably just another holding cell. She could pick the lock, but if the guard came she wouldn't be able to explain why it was left that way. So that left getting the keys from the hook on the wall.
"Guards could always be trusted to be a little more than stupid," her father had always said.
Lani rattled the bars on the door's only small window.
"Hey, you!" she called to the only guard on her level, who proceeded to scratch his head and point at himself. "Yeah, you! Get over here!" The guard snorted, and waltzed over, probably thinking that he was indulging a child. "What's your name, soldier?" she asked.
"Well, Garrett, what kind of lock is this?"
"Um… a Thracian lock," he said. "Why?"
Lani let out a fake laugh. "Then why are those keys over there? They don't go to this lock," she said, mentally willing him to take the bait.
"Yes they do," Garrett said, solid—and as stupid as—a rock.
"No, they don't."
"Yes, they do." Less certain now. Good.
Lani crossed her arms, but readied her legs for some serious fleeing. "Show me, then."
"Fine," Garrett sighed, wanting to get the conversation over. He slid the key into the lock and turned, the tumblers loudly echoing. "See? They fit perfectly-!"
Lani kicked as hard as she could at the door, slamming it open and sending Garrett to the floor.
"Why you little…" he grunted, and drew his thin Syracusian sword. Kaelani jumped, flipping elegantly over his weapon, and landed, running at full tilt. "Stop!" she heard her unfortunate guard calling, but she had no intention of stopping—until the time was right. Spotting an open and empty cell, she slid into it, and Garrett foolishly followed.
When he entered, Garrett got a face full of elbow, and a sharp pain in his knee made him fall to the ground. He lost his sword, and his keys were taken from his belt. He managed to look up in time to see the tan, gloating face of the teenage girl.
"Ta," she said, and slammed the door. With a heavy heart, Garrett heard the tumblers engage.
Where was she? Lani hated indoors. It made her feel… trapped. Too small, no air, not enough light or sky… Lani forced herself to stop at a window and stuck her head out, breathing in the smell of the sea, feeling her tightened nerves loosen until she could focus.
"Lani!" a voice called to her right, and she opened her eyes to see Jin halfway through wiggling out of the barred window. Kaelani shook her head in wonder, and ran down to their room. As she picked through which key would fit their cell, Kale watched her through the window.
"Lani, where did you get those?" he asked, and Kaelani unlocked the door, waving for them to follow her to a dark alcove.
"I liberated them from Garrett, my guard," she explained, and Lee smirked at his twin.
"She got us out. Pay up." As gold passed hands, two guards tromped down the hallway, and Lani winked at Kale. When they passed, Lani jumped out and began screaming like a madwoman in Cantonese. The guards ran after her, and when they passed the alcove, they found themselves picked off of the ground by a strong hand and thrown against the wall.
"Nice," Lani complimented the strong man as he packed the guards into their own cells, which were promptly locked. "Now, can we get out of this place? Prisons give me the creeps." They all followed her down several spiral staircases, from which Lani was able to pocket a silver candlestick, a large coil of rope, and a blown glass rose, which she tucked behind her ear.
"Uh… Lani?" Jin asked some time later. "I think we're lost." Kaelani knew for a fact that she had no idea where they were, but she wasn't about to admit it.
"I know exactly where we are. I just… need to get my bearings." Kaelani swung her rope over a thick marble buttress, and leapt into space, holding onto the slack to make sure that it didn't jolt her arm out of the socket.
Lani knew that something had happened when the slack didn't tighten. Instead of hovering gracefully a few yards from the ceiling, she ended up one yard from the floor, gripping the rope for dear life.
The rose fell from behind her ear and shattered on the ground, alerting everyone to her presence. Everyone being a whole room full of elegantly dressed nobles, all staring at her with huge button-eyes.
"You!" the boy with the blonde ponytail called, and Lani could see the hate in his eyes, even upside-down.
"Me," she said weakly, and flipped onto the ground. Instantly a handful of guards were pointing weapons at her. Not really impressive, considering that she had grown up with Jed. "Hiya," she said, and wiggled the fingers of her right hand, which was held up defensively.
"Kaelani!" a hard voice echoed down the hall, and Sinbad swept in. All of the guards paled, and Kaelani waved cheerily.
"You let my daughter go. Now," Sinbad ordered forcefully, and all of the guards stepped back. The Prince looked like he had been slapped. Which Kaelani really wanted to do, but knew that to do so would be suicide.
"No, guards, arrest her!" he ordered, but pressed his lips tightly together when another man strode in—sporting the now familiar ponytail, but in brown.
King Proteus smiled sadly at his son. "Now now, Nikko, she is our guest," he said calmly, and Kaelani's mother entered, with the rest of the crew.
"What?" the two teens asked at the same time and Kaelani gave him her best scowl.
"That's right," Marina said, and gave her daughter a look. "And by time we leave, I expect everyone to still be alive, right Lani?"
The teen in question hung her head.
This was going to be a long day.
"Oh, what a fools these mortals be." A sharp, hauntingly beautiful face said to a silver mirror. "What fools…" Carrion, son of Eris repeated, and thousands of masks floating eerily around his chair echoed his words in various languages and tones.
Was fur narren…
He set his mirror down on a table made of nothing, and drew an impossibly long tongue over his shark-sharp teeth, thinking. "I am in need of council," he said flatly, and five apparitions appeared out of the dark fog. "How am I to go about the ruination of my mother's enemies?" he asked, and sat back, waiting for an answer.
"You should act swiftly, without mercy!" one thundered.
"No, no, so many innocents would be lost…" another sobbed.
"Innocents? No one is innocent, they are all killers!" this one was shaking like a dog, face hidden in its smoky hands.
"Why should we act at all? Our lives are fine." one commented, smiling, flashing razors for teeth. Carrion sat and thought, head in hand. Then he turned to the last of the ghosts.
"And what say you?" he asked, and it peered up at him with sharp, intelligent eyes. Slowly, it began to morph, from a slim woman with cascades of hair, to a young girl with a sneer on her otherwise delicate features. The first one to speak was gone in a flash, and Carrion was roaring, shaking the heavens and growling like an animal. When this fit of rage was over, the ghost was gone, and Carrion was on his knees, shaking, clutching at his empty chest.
"No, never again… I must stop this from happening. I must."
And inside, he knew how he would, without ripping apart what was left of his immortal heart.
So! That was fun. Review, please? I'll be uploading the rest of the re-written chapters after I get a few reviews, don't worry!