This is the first chapter of a story that I have started to write approximately 6 years ago. I never posted it till now because it's yet unfinished (sadly enough). I have 11 chapters so far and though I know the plot for the remaining 5 or 6 already, I have hit something like a writer's block. And because of the same I had planned not to post this story before it was finished (I know from experience how awful it is to follow a multi-chapter fic and never get to read the end). Anyhow. Today I have good reason to give up on this strategy!
It's a very special someone's birthday today, and she so often has asked me whether she could steal a glimpse at 'The Rise' that I decided to fulfill this wish of hers. So, sweetie, know that YOU are my reason for releasing 'Rise of the Phoenix' today. And happy, happy birthday to you! May this chapter add to the little present I already sent you. And may today be a special one for you - all filled with joy and light! :-*
I will post a chapter once every few weeks I guess so that you'll always have something to look forward to and to grant me some time to write on. And that said, with starting to post the story now, I do also hope to get my muse back on track. Reviews make an author's day, and the more I get the more easily will the words hopefully come to me!
Special thanks go to MidnightDew who has accompanied me throughout this journey. Her advice and her thoughts on what I wrote have been invaluable and I hope dearly that she's happy to see the first chapter to be finally online! I might have not dared to put it up here had it not been for your constant support! *hugs*
About this story:
With 'Rise of the Phoenix' we follow the storyline which I started in "Till we meet again" and "Things do change" - you could thus say that the three of them are directly linked together. However, I believe that you will also understand 'The Rise' without having read the other two, so feel encouraged to read on even if this is the first time you try a story of mine. :)
As for the plot: we start off about two years after the show ended. Maeve is still stuck in the lost realm, together with DimDim. Sinbad and the crew are on their way to an island called "Aijakar", with the captain still feeling the aftermath of the events in "Till we meet again" (referred to as 'The Isle of Light').
Well, I think that's all you need to know.
Now go off, folks, and enjoy reading! ;D
Lots of love,
Chapter one: a new journey
DimDim awakened in the middle of his dream. Cool sweat was running down his face. The old sorcerer tried to concentrate on everything around him – tried to persuade himself that everything was still in place and that this world at least for now still followed the paths of good.
He noticed the bright moon shining through his window and the soft night-breeze that was ruffling the old curtains. He looked intensively at every part of his room and when he finally found that nothing had changed, he closed his eyes and sighed heavily. For over a month now he's had those dreams - dreams which revealed a future to him that he knew was soon to come if he wasn't able to prevent the dark forces from changing the world's balance.
DimDim felt that this one moment was close. It would be the first encounter between light and darkness in a war that he so often had hoped was never to come. And it would be up to two special souls to defend one of the purest goods this world had to offer and with that win the first of all battles.
"If only they knew", the wise man whispered into the night, knowing full well that he wasn't allowed to tell any of them about what they held inside…
Sinbad stood at the bow of his ship with his gaze lingering on the bracelet he wore on his left wrist. The bright coloured piece of jewellery had always been a mystery to him – something special that only few on earth were chosen to share. But while all the time that he had worn it till now he had only worshipped it as a sacred and mysterious link to the missing two years of his life, it now meant by far more than just that. Ever since Maeve had visited him that precious day four months ago it had been glistening in a reddish tone whenever sunlight had the chance to hit it. The sailor had already spent so many moments with just watching this beautiful game of light that was constantly reminding him of the one his heart and soul were longing for, but still he could not tear his eyes from it.
"Thinking of Maeve?", the voice of his older brother calmly intruded his thoughts.
"Kind of", the sailor answered absent-mindedly. "It's glistening again, you know."
Doubar was standing next to his captain and he could easily have watched the glimmering himself, but he knew better than to share something that he was sure was only meant to take place for Sinbad.
"One day she'll come back to us", he tried to convince the younger one, while with his right hand he gently squeezed Sinbad's shoulder.
"I know, Doubar. I know. And till then", Sinbad turned around; a warm smile was evident on his lips, "let the winds lead us. Aijakar is waiting!"
The first mate couldn't help but smile as well.
That's the Sinbad I know, he thought while watching his younger brother leave to take his turn at the tiller. It really was plain to see for everyone that their captain had changed since the Isle of Light where they had almost lost him to his own shadows. But while only few of the crew knew that it had been the red haired sorceress who had saved them all that day, everyone was aware that whatever had happened back then had clearly changed the sailor's spots. He no longer was running around like the almost-pirate he had become, shouting orders instead of giving them; killing without regret whoever it was that was fighting him and turning to every female creature that passed his way only to stop the pain that wouldn't subside in his wounded heart... . Now, the man leading the proud Nomad was a real sailor again. He had become calmer and more content those past few months, just like finally he had found the peace that he had been searching for more than two years. And although his looks hadn't changed, his whole attitude once again remembered Doubar of the Sinbad that had left Baghdad together with him more than three years ago.
Yes, things definitely had changed and sometimes the first mate watched with real amazement how the beautiful redhead was able to influence his little brother even if she wasn't with him anymore.
"Those two", he muttered to himself and let his gaze wander out to the calm ocean that lay ahead of them when suddenly the voice of Sinbad startled him: "Doubar".
"What is it?", his own booming words answered the other man. But instead of replying the sea-captain merely nodded towards the petite brunette sorceress that was now standing next to him, an old brown book lying in her arms.
The first mate knew all too well what this was meaning. Soon after the incident on the Isle of Light Sinbad had given Maeve's old books to Bryn, hoping that she could learn some more about her own magic. And since that day the girl had constantly been reading them, letting no chance of telling her friends what she had just found out be bygone.
"What is it this time?", Doubar snorted playfully while reaching the tiller, "Dragons, Demons or the devil himself?"
Bryn's eyes narrowed and an annoyed look was forming on her face.
"The phoenix", she simply stated while concentrating on the letters again.
"The phoenix", Doubar echoed, "And I really hoped it was new recipe for grilled birdies. … No offence to you, mate", he quickly added when he noticed Dermott getting restless on the mast he was perched on.
"You really should know better than to say things like that in front of him, you know. He's going to be mad at you for at least the whole day now. And by the way", Bryn added slightly amused, "the phoenix indeed is a bird. And, believe it or not, it is connected to fire."
"But let me have a guess: we won't have it for dinner today, now will we?", the first mate shot back, obviously enjoying the little game they were playing.
Bryn in turn almost couldn't hide the laugh that was forming in her throat. She simply loved Doubar's way of complaining about things and had no intention to let him win that easily.
"Well. You can try if you want to be burnt to ashes", she smiled sweetly at him before closing the book in her arms. "After all the phoenix is…"
"It is a legend. No one has ever seen it and if you ask me, no one ever will", Firouz suddenly intervened. Bryn's eyes darted towards the inventor.
"But the Aijakars believe they have."
"Well" Firouz admitted "I do acknowledge that maybe they have seen a new species that is unknown to the rest of the world but a bird that burns itself to ashes? That's ridiculous!"
"I didn't know you've heard the stories", the young sorceress noticed with surprise in her voice.
"Well, as you all know I've studied fire and explosions for quite a while now and one day a merchant told me about it. To say the truth he asserted that he had been sold one of the phoenix' feathers and claimed them to be even more effective than my exploding sticks are. I mean, can you even imagine that?", the inventor snorted. His indignation about that was easy to be heard.
"It is truly burning itself?", Sinbad frowned, totally ignoring what Firouz had said about the merchant.
Bryn simply nodded.
"As far as those old books tell, the phoenix once was born out of the fires. It is one of four eternal beings - all made of only one of the elements: fire, water, earth and wind. All four represent the different aspects of good and their only purpose is to ensure that the world will keep the balance between light and darkness. If I got that right", she slowly continued, trying to remember everything she had read about them, "none of them ever appears in their physical form. Instead they release their power every once in a while and save it in some sort of a vessel. The book did not exactly tell what it was though."
"Ha, there it is." Firouz suddenly exclaimed. "If they, as you said, do not appear in their real form, then how can anyone ever have seen it?"
Bryn groaned and rolled her eyes slightly. "I know that after all what you have experienced you still do not wish to admit that there are things in this world that science will never be able to explain, but please note that the people on Aijakar do believe in the phoenix as the incarnation of fire. And that we will be just in time to witness their feast which matter-of-factly is dedicated to it", she added, somehow wanting to end this conversation before it could turn into one of those discussions about magic and science in general.
Firouz raised his hands in a calming gesture. "Sorry Bryn", he quickly said, "I really did not mean to offend you."
"It's okay", Bryn sighed, easing down a bit, "I know that this is just what you're thinking. I'm not angry with you." Slowly she turned to the scientist and smiled to him. "I guess it's just that I have learned so many new things recently that sometimes I can't hold back from telling everyone."
"We already figured that one out", Sinbad responded with a smile on his own lips.
"Am I that bad?" Suddenly the young sorceress seemed rather embarrassed and Sinbad almost regretted having said that.
"What? No", he quickly continued, his voice becoming rather serious "it's … well, it's quite nice to see that those books help you so much. It's been a long time since they have been used for good, you know."
Slowly the captain's voice trailed off and a thoughtful smile found the way onto his face. Doubar who was standing opposite to his little brother knew exactly just what was going through the sailor's mind right now and he really felt sorry for him.
"Now, what is this whole party thing about?", he carefully tried to lighten up the mood while his eyes never left his brother's features.
"Oh, it's about the rebirth of the phoenix", Bryn explained calmly. She too had noticed the change in her friend's thoughts but as sad as it was, she couldn't help but feel amazed by how deeply the sailor was being connected to the missing sorceress so that after all this time he still was missing her so much.
"The book only said that once in a while the bird … or whatever it is", she cast a sideway-grin to Firouz, "will be newborn out of his own ashes. And that's what they are celebrating, I guess."
"A birthday-party! That sounds good enough to me. So, when will we reach Aijakar?", the first mate's voice suddenly filled the air, stirring a chuckle not only in his friends, but also in his brother.
"When the sea and the winds continue to guide us this well, we will reach the port tomorrow morning", Sinbad declared. Only for a moment he let his gaze wander out to the ocean, admiring just how beautiful the world could be. "We will sell our goods right after arriving and then", his eyes returned to his friends, "we can as well have a little fun ourselves. We were quite busy lately and a celebration might just be the right thing for everyone up here."
"Way to go, little brother. I always knew you were a wise and capable captain", Doubar joked. He really appreciated to see the younger one back in a better mood and a festival seemed to be just the right thing for him.
"As if ordering having fun would be everything what makes a good captain", Sinbad grumbled, vainly trying to hide the grin that was forming on his face.
"Okay you three", he then stated, "As your wise and capable captain I should now order you to go back to your duties or else we will never arrive in time. And we do not want this to happen, now do we?" Sinbad raised a challenging eyebrow. He really found it most funny how his friends could keep him entertained but still their work had to be done and since he was the captain of this ship, it was his job to make sure that they did not forget about it.
Firouz quickly nodded: "Okay, okay. I'm already gone." Doubar just laughed out loud, knowing fully well that Sindbad was right. He slightly patted the sailor's shoulder and then followed Firouz who was now heading below deck to finish the work on his latest invention.
"I wonder what he has built this time", Sinbad muttered; bemusement was clear in his voice. His head turned towards the brunette sorceress who was still standing at the tiller with him.
"I think we will get to know soon enough", she replied. A small laugh was mixing with her words as she finally set herself into motion to get back to her own studies.
That is one crew, Sindbad thought while watching her go. He really enjoyed having these people around and he was quite sure that they would have just a wonderful time when reaching the little island which right now was preparing for the biggest feast they were celebrating.
"Aijakar is waiting", the sailor quietly whispered as his eyes were already focusing on where in a few hours they would see the island appear on the horizon.
Yes, this was definitely going to be a great day and Sinbad had no intention to let anyone disturb what he and his crew were so looking forward to...
A/N: That's the end of Ch1. I hope you enjoyed reading. And don't forget: reviews make my day (and anonymous reviewing is enabled)! :D