I APOLOGIZE FOR BEING SO LATE!
But I have a life outside of this, so don't judge me please ):
Anyways, here it is:
Yet another was already on the way.
Everyone paled at this.
Even bigger than the first, it marched toward them across several hundred meters of the trough, rearing and massing itself high above them, higher than the walls of Castle Redmont.
"How is that even possible? It's a wave!" Horace shouted.
"I agree with you Horace!" Gilan said, he didn't know what to think anymore, Will survived this, but even just reading about it was scary. And it was all his fault, if he didn't make such a stupid decision for leaving them..this wouldn't have happened at all! Will would still have that same twinkle in his brown eyes, he wouldn't look so.. unhappy, there just wasn't another word for it.
He looked over at Will again. He saw Alyss was holding is hand and Gilan was pleased to notice that Will had a slight blush covering his cheeks. Even that little twinkle had returned, though not the same as before.
It seemed help was really the thing he needed.
Will buried his face against the mast, felt Evanlyn doing the same as the ship began that awful, slow rise again.
"I found that one of the worst feelings, you didn't know if you'd make it or not." Will informed everybody.
Evanlyn nodded at that.
"I can imagine." Duncan told him, he hadn't said something for a long time and found that he needed to say something now. It's just that this story seemed to drain his energy, oh how close Evanlyn had been to dead.
Up and up they went, clawing at the face of the wave, the men heaving until their hearts might burst as they tried to drag Wolfwind up the wave against the combined force of wind and sea. This time, before the wave broke, Will felt the ship seem to lose the last moment of the battle. He opened his eyes in horror as she began to surge backward to certain disaster. Then the crest curled over and smashed down upon them, and again he was sent spinning and scrabbling on the deck, fetching up against the rope that secured him, feeling something slam painfully into his mouth and realizing that it was Evanlyn's elbow.
"Sorry about that," Evanlyn told Will," I was panicked and I couldn't control were I went." She said, afraid she had hurt Will.
"No apology needed Evanlyn, it's okay I understand." He answered, a genuine smile spreading over his face, lightening up his whole face.
Pity it didn't last a bit longer Evanlyn thought. He looks really cute smiling.
She blushed and looked away before anyone could catch her staring at Will.
Halt looked over amused, his apprentice just didn't know how popular he was.
Water thundered over him then the bow pitched down once more, and Wolfwind began another sliding, careering dive down the far side, rolling upright, shedding the seawater like a duck. This time, Will was too weak to scream. He moaned softly and crawled back to the mast. He looked at Evanlyn and shook his head. There was no way they could survive this, he thought. He could see the same fear in her eyes.
Everyone looked over at Will, a weird look in their eyes.
"What?" Will asked, truly curious, why was everybody looking at him like he just ate his rangercloak.
"Well, it's just that I didn't expect that coming out of your mouth, you're always so spirited and never give up." Horace said to his friend, it was true after all. Will was never one for giving up.
"Oh.. Well sorry I disappointed you!" Will said, becoming slightly angry, how could they judge him like this? They told him they wouldn't think of him differently. "Sorry that I was scared, that was my first time on a ship you know and it wasn't exactly a nice experience! I'm sorry for thinking I couldn't survive this, you wouldn't either! You weren't there so you .." Will shouted at Horace.
"Will, nobody's judging you." Halt interrupted.
Will's angry face fixed on Halt.
"Well, I'm sorry for thinking that then, you're all looking at me like it's wrong, I didn't mean for Evanlyn to feel more afraid because of me, I didn't.. no I couldn't give her hope when I didn't have any myself."
Will told him.
"Then just say that, instead of becoming mad like that Will," halt answered, a bit mad at his apprentice for treating them like this, especially him! Will should know they weren't judging him!, "everybody has moments like that, it's normal Will. Everybody's just a bit surprised to hear it coming from you, and that's not an insult, that's a compliment. We don't think differently of you just because you were afraid, it's the most normal thing to be afraid in such a situation. So cut your whining, it doesn't suit you." Halt finished sternly, looking at his apprentice and pleased to notice the message sunk in.
"I'm... I'm just a bit stressed out, I'm sorry everyone." Will said.
"No need for apologies Will, besides you were so courageous the hole time, without you.. I couldn't have survived, I want you to know that." Evanlyn told him sincerely.
"Well, some good, addicted friend I was.." Will whispered quietly so nobody could hear him.
Finally, he shot a grateful look at Evanlyn and motioned for king Duncan to continue reading.
In the stern, Erak and Svengal braced themselves as Wolfwind slammed into the trough, sending sheets of water high either side of the bow, the whole fabric of the ship vibrating to the impact. She rolled, shook, righted herself again.
"She's taking it well," Svengal shouted. Erak nodded grimly. Terrifying as it might seem to Will and Evanlyn, the wolfship was designed to cope with massive seas like this.
"We didn't know that then, it would have helped to know." Evanlyn said while grimacing.
But even a wolfship had its limitations. And if they reached them, Erak knew, they would all be dead.
"Oh well, that we did know." Will joked at Evanlyn.
Evanlyn and Will laughed, though it was a bit quiet and forced, it was a laugh.
Alyss and halt were glad to notice him joking again, and especially Alyss, because she loved his smile.
"That last one nearly had us," he replied. It was only a last-minute surge by the rowers that had dragged the ship through the crest as she had been about to slide backward into the trough.
"We're going to have to turn her and run before the storm," he concluded, and Svengal nodded agreement, staring ahead through eyes slitted against the wind and the salt spray. "After this one," he said. The next wave was a little smaller than the one that had nearly finished them. But smaller was a relative term. The two Skandians tightened their grip on the sweep oar.
Gilan whistled, "Wow, two skandians, and it's still hard to hold it."
"Heave, damn you! Heave!" Erak roared at the rowers as the mountain of water reared high above them and Wolfwind began another slow, precarious climb.
"Oh no. Please, please, let it end," Will moaned as he felt the bow cant upward once more. The terror was physically exhausting.
"You can't imagine the feeling!" Evanlyn said.
Halt could imagine just fine, he hated ships. And that was without such a storm.
He just wanted it to stop. If necessary, he thought, let the ship go under. Let it all go. Make an end of it. Just make this mind-numbing terror stop.
"I'm glad I wasn't the only one feeling like that" Evanlyn told Will.
"Oh, I thought you noticed on my face I was so scared!" Will said surprised.
"Umm, you looked pretty cool to me, for the situation at last," Evanlyn said, she didn't really have a clue he was feeling all of this, it was just the same thing she had been feeling, "You were a great comfort Will, always ready for anything."
Will blushed, but wasn't really convinced.
He could hear Evanlyn beside him, sobbing with fear. He placed an arm around her
Evanlyn shot a pointed look at Will.
but he couldn't bring himself to do anything more to comfort her.
Will shot a look back.
"Oh Will, shut it, what more could you have done?!" Alyss said, annoyed at Wills low convidence.
Will wisely shut his mouth, two of his female friends against him. He couldn't win that match.
Still, he was very happy they held him in such high esteem.
Up, up and up they went, then there was the familiar roar of the collapsing crest and the thunder of water crashing down upon them. Then the bow came through the crest, slamming against the back of the wave and plummeting down. Will tried to scream but his throat was raw and his energy exhausted. He managed only a low sob.
Wolfwind sliced into the sea at the base of the wave again. Erak bellowed instructions to the rowers. They would have a short time in the wind shadow of the next approaching wave, and that was the time to make their turn.
"To the steerboard side!" he bellowed, pointing his hand in the direction of the turn just in case his voice didn't carry to some of the forward rowers—although there was little fear of that.
The rowers set their feet against the wooden bracing boards. Those on the steerboard, or right-hand, side of the ship drew their oar handles back toward them. The left-hand-side rowers pushed theirs forward. As the ship leveled, Erak roared out his order.
The oar blades dipped into the sea, and as one side pushed and the other pulled, Erak and Svengal threw their weight on the sweep. The long, narrow ship pivoted neatly, almost in one spot, bringing the stern around to the wind and sea.
"Now pull together!" Erak roared, and the oarsmen went to it with a will. He had to keep the ship moving a little faster than the following sea or it would overwhelm them.
"He's a great captain, he knows the sea like the back of his hand that man!" Duncan said, clearly satisfied Erak had been captain on that boat.
He glanced once at the two young Araluen captives,
"Oh look!," Evanlyn said happily , "He's thinking of us!"
Will wasn't so sure, Erak was an amazing man, but this was before they came "friends".
huddled miserably by the mast, then forgot them as he went back to judging the ship's movements,
"Oh, well that's more important indeed, imagine what would have happened if he didn't watch the ship!" Evanlyn said.
keeping her stern to the following sea. Any error on his part and she'd broach sideways, and that would be the end of them. They were riding easier, he knew. But this was no time to be distracted. To Will and Evanlyn, the ship was still plunging and rearing in a terrifying fashion, traveling through a vertical distance of as much as fifteen meters as she went from crest to trough.
"Well, we clearly don't know a thing about sailing!" Will said.
"Or we were just to scared to notice anything else." Evanlyn told him, sure that she truly had been very scared.
But now the movement was more controlled. They were going with the sea, not fighting it. Will sensed a slight easing in the motion.
"Seems you did mention a difference Will." Horace said.
"He should, he's an apprentice after all!" Halt answered for Will. He didn't show it but was very proud of Will.
Spray and solid water still slammed over them at regular intervals, but the terrifying, backsliding motion was a thing of the past. As the ship coped with each successive mountain of water sweeping under and around it, Will began to believe that they might have a slight chance of survival.
"See? You're already back to you're annoying happy self." Halt said.
Will grinned at this.
But it was a slim might. He still felt the same surge of bowel-gripping terror with every wave that overtook them. Each time, he felt that this could well be the last. He put both arms around Evanlyn, felt her arms go around his neck in return, her icy cheek pressed against his own.
That felt really good, Evanlyn thought, I wouldn't know what I should have done without him.
Alyss lips became a thin line. She didn't like hearing this at all. Will was hers!
Sure, she could understand Evanlyn. Will was a handsome guy after all, but that was all the more reason for Alyss to be protective of him.
And so the two young people sought, and found, comfort and courage from each other.
And Alyss immediately felt bad. How could she just have thought that? She should be happy Evanlyn had been there. Will obviously found comfort in her. She had been very egoistic and was glad nobody had noticed her thoughts.
Pauline discreetly covered her mouth. She could practically hear Alyss musings over those last few sentences. Love, it was a great but terrifying feeling.
Evanlyn was whimpering with fear. And so was he, Will realized with some surprise—muttering meaningless words over and over, calling out to Halt,
Halt felt guilt tug at his heart. He had been a lousy mentor. He had not been there when Will had needed him most.
to Tug, to anyone who might listen and help. But as wave followed wave and Wolfwind survived, the blinding terror lessened and nervous exhaustion took its place and, eventually, he slept.
For seven more days, the ship was driven far to the south, out of the Narrow Sea and into the fringes of the Endless Ocean. And Will and Evanlyn huddled by the mast: sodden, exhausted, freezing. The numbing fear of disaster was always present in their minds but, gradually, they began to believe that they might survive.
"I'm so glad you had each other." Halt said.
"People are indeed stronger when with a person they love." Pauline said wisely.
Love, Evanlyn thought, Do I love Will?
Yes you do.
But in that way?
She got no answer.
"True, without Evanlyn, I would've been dead for sure!" Will said, and smiled at Evanlyn. He hoped she knew how courageous and helpful she had been. She was truly one of a kind. Than he looked over at Alyss.
Alyss too ofcourse, she had always been his best friend. And she had turned into such a beautiful person. Will blushed, love, in that way?He looked over at Evanlyn again.
He couldn't decide.
On the eighth day, the sun broke through. It was weak and watery, to be sure, but it was the sun. The violent plunging motion ceased, and once again the ship rode smoothly across the face of the rollers.
Erak, his beard and hair rimed with salt, hauled tiredly on the sweep, bringing the ship around in a smooth curve to face north once more.
"Let's head for Cape Shelter," he told his crew.
And suddenly, all color drained from Will's face. He didn't want to hear about that again. It wasn't necessary, he visited it in his dreams almost every night anyway.
SOOO that was the first chapter, finally complete!
what do you think? Review please :D
And if you're wondering, yeah I have planned something for Will, something he went through on Skorghijl...