Edit: Bonus Chapter 28 - League Battle Part 2 is up!
Chapter 1-6 all on the first page.
Chapter 7-9 on page 2.
Chapter 10-15 on page 3.
Chapter 16-18 on page 4
Chapter 19-26 on page 5
All the chapters need some work editing and cleaning it up quite a bit, but any feedback offered is appreciated.
Story of a young champions path from his home to the League. Other chapters coming, mechanics of the character here.
Hyram paced in the silent library, passing shelves filled with musty arcane tomes written in languages long forgotten. Few people came by anymore, even fewer since his sister Morgana left, taking some of the more experienced mages with her. Being one of the few mages still interested in the ancient library meant he had relatively free reign of the place. A small upside to his new found isolation. The boy brushed a hand through his unkempt blond hair, so unlike Kayle's immaculately maintained hair. He resisted the urge to sit, his thin frame already tired by the long hours spent pacing, still trying desperately to come up with an idea, a way out of this trap.
Even before his sisters had disappeared from the face of his world, they had abandoned him. Kayle had disowned Morgana for refusing to aid her in combat and Morgana had left to rebel against Kayle for…some reason. Hyram honestly didn't understand it, he had no mind for politics, or the battle between good and evil. Family was all that had mattered to him. Kayle, being the eldest, took the mutiny about as poorly as she did whenever anyone disobeyed her. Worse in fact. She took Morgana’s ‘betrayal’ very personally indeed.
His people were calling out for a leader, and Hyram was all they had left. But he was no leader. He wasn’t even much of a mage. His world needed his sisters, the members of his family with true strength, but they had vanished. Left no trace. The war still raged on despite the disappearance of the warring sides two most powerful generals, but now both sides called for a new leader. Both tried to entice him to their side, urging him to see their point of view for this pointless conflict. Hyram had ignored all of them. He had no real power. His blood and station, a mistake of his high birth, was all that led them to him, not any attribute he possessed. He wasn’t a leader. He couldn’t solve anyone’s problems. He was worthless. To himself. To his people. To his sisters.
Hyram kicked a chair over, a display of frustration rather unlike the normally gentle young man. Short of stature, and thin in frame, his only marked talent was magic and even this was failing him, taunting him with it's impossibility. He felt a deep fury settle in his heart for a moment, his skin starting to radiate a faint golden light. He paused and took deep breaths, halting the slow glow of magic that surrounded him. He couldn’t afford another flare up of his new found powers in this library. The bursts of magical power he had experienced ever since his sisters had vanished frightened the young man and only hammered home just how pathetic he really was. Even the power he did possess, he couldn’t control and were of no use to him in his current quest. All it tended to result in was many of the things around him combusting, and he could ill afford to lose these tomes now. The glow finally faded and the boy resumed his pacing.
Not that it mattered. This was pointless. He’d been at this for months…or was it years at this point? He honestly couldn’t recall and it didn’t matter. He wasn’t any closer. He was a healer by trade really. Portal and tracking magics were far to difficult and advanced for him. If his previous attempts were any indication, he couldn’t conjure up a pencil from down the hall, let alone his sisters from wherever they were now…
Hyram froze mid-step. No, he couldn’t conjure them. But what about going to them? He rushed back to the table, opening the book for tracking magic, designed to find that which was lost. Dust scattered from the pages as he flipped through them, trying to tease a sneeze from the boy, but he was not to be distracted. Not now that he had an idea. His previous forays into this school of magic failed miserably, but just maybe he’d been making the wrong assumptions.
He found the page he was looking for. It was dangerous, a spell that relied more on luck then anything else. It would conjure the caster to the location of the object or person he sought rather then telling him where the object was. It was much more difficult then his previous spells, but it had one advantage. It’s reach was not limited to this world. It reached out, theoretically anyway, to unexplored worlds beyond…
Hyram had long suspected that his failure to contact or conjure his sisters was not actually due to his own incompetence. He certainly believed that his first failures were caused by it, but after spending every day, month after month, practicing and practicing, he had to admit that even he, inept as he is, would have learned enough to get more then the simple fizzle he was getting. At least the spells blowing up in his face spectacularly would be a sign of some progress, but nothing changed. No, what if he wasn’t failing, the spell was?
With a nervous grin, the young mage gathered the materials required for the spell. It was time for his final test. One way or another, this would settle things. This spell would transport him to wherever his sisters were. Without regard for his ability to survive the area. He could appear anywhere. Bottom of the ocean. Middle of the desert. It could even malfunction and drop him into the void or the tavern down the street.
Everything he needed assembled on a table, the boy took a breath and steeled his nerves. He gathered sand from a sacred beach and mixed it with the red clay of an ancient battle field and sprinkled it with a magical compound he honestly could not pronounce. He started the incantation, a faint golden glow coming from his skin. “Gods of the way, guide my sight. Show me which path is right. Then open the door, clear the path. Take me there, gods of the way. Take me there, to what I’ve lost. Take my offering, give it form, so I may step across the worlds.”
As he spoke, the glow grew stronger, until he became the brightest light present in the ancient library. Finally, with a blinding flash, a streak of light shot into the sky, passing effortlessly through the roof and far into the black, night sky…
On a world far from his own, a similar light fell from the sky, causing dozens of children to make a wish upon the shooting star, not knowing the glow held a child of it’s own. As it crashed down to the ground, it scored a deep crater just big enough to hold the young boy curled up inside it, panting, doing his best not to weep from the pain. After several long moments of gasping, the boy finally pulled himself to his feet, glancing around. Only an empty field greeted him, leaving him no idea where he was, but as he steadied himself it took only a single look skyward to see that he was no longer on his world. The celestial bodies, the stars, moon…none where as they should’ve been.
Staggering away from the field, the boy’s mind raced. His spell had done part of it’s job. He was no longer in his world, but where were his sisters? They should be here. Unless he’d once again managed to botch the spell. He shook such thoughts of despair from his head. Not the time to worry about that. What would his sisters do in this situation? He took a breath and tried to slow his pounding heart. Right. They would gather information, find out as much as they could about this new world, then plan accordingly. In the distance, he spotted faint lights from what he assumed was a town. Deciding it was better then nothing, he started walking towards it, finally stumbling upon a small path, with a simple wooden sign.
Hyram moved closer to the sign, whispering a short incantation, creating a small globe of golden light in his hand, letting him see the sign in the darkness of the night. Much to his surprise, he could read the odd symbols, despite never having seen them before. In hushed tones, he read the signs words aloud.
“Welcome to Bilgewater.”
Here's chapter 2. If someone will tell me how, I'll be glad to post links to the individual posts that hold the future chapters in the original post. Just not sure how.
The young mage stepped into the dimly lit port city, the air heavy with humidity and the scent of the sea. The paved streets were filthy and ill-kept, potholes were common and perhaps only a third of the lanterns meant to light the streets were actually lit.
Hyram pulled his robe a bit tighter around himself, suppressing a shiver. He was surprised how few people he saw on the streets. He considered knocking on a door for a moment before he heard the sound of singing faintly in the distance. He started toward the sound, passing by a dark alley, where the boy could swear he saw a flash of red glowing eyes from the shadows. Panic flashed into his mind, causing him to dart forward a few steps into the light of a nearby lantern. Gulping past the lump in his throat, the boy rushed toward the source of the sounds, now cheering instead of singing. It was a tavern, one of the only places that didn't seem locked up tight for the evening.
Stepping into the brightly lit tavern after the dark street was a relief, for a short moment. As he finally took in his surroundings, the boy simply stared on in quiet shock. The bar was packed, almost shoulder to shoulder, with drunk, carousing pirates. Small groups sat together, sloppily drinking grog. A few shadier characters sat quietly alone in the corners, nursing various glasses of spirits. Waitresses flitted from table to table bringing drinks and girls dressed in gaudy or brief clothing sat with some of the cleaner and wealthier pirates.
Taking a moment to force his gaping mouth closed, the boy gathered what courage he could and walked meekly toward the bar, trying to squeeze between two large and inebriated pirates. After several moments of dodging their drunken sways and waving meekly to the bartender, he finally got the mans attention. A barrel-chested lump of a man with what looked like a week of stubble grinned down at the boy in a way Hyram saw as friendly, mocking and dangerous all at once.
“Well now. What do we have here then? A young man who ran away from home to become a pirate I wager? HA! You should rethink that kiddo, boys have tried it before and quickly find they have no taste for life at the bottom of the pirate ladder.”
Hyram shook his head and spoke, first in a squeak that couldn’t be heard, then he gave a cough and spoke normally. “N-no sir. I just wanted to know where I was.”
The bartender gave a loud guffaw at the meek boys question. “You be in Bilgewater laddie. Best town in the world, filled with some of the most fierce and famous pirates in the land and home of the Saltwater Scourge himself, Gangplank. He’s been having himself quite the streak at the League lately.”
Questions blurred through his mind, but the boy took them one at a time. “I…I need a place to stay for tonight. I don’t have any money…”
The bartender gave just the slightest of smirks. “Well, despite what you see here, a good many pirates here are of the female persuasion and many grow weary of the company offered by us rough types. I think a young, soft, handsome boy like yourself could make a pretty penny offering them some company. Interested?”
The boy blinked a few times, unsure what to say. “…you mean women would pay just to have me sit and talk with them?”
Hyram turned beet red at the thundering laughter coming from the bartender, the bar shaking as he pounded it with his fist in mirth. “Ohhohohoho!!! You’re even younger then I thought, or be having some very sheltering parents! Even as salty as I am, I don’t have the heart. Tell you what kid, I’ll let you stay the night if you need it. Just try not to cause any trouble, huh?”
Hyram nodded vigorously. “Yes, sir. Thank you sir.”
The bartender waved him off and turned away. “Come back to me later on, I’ll give you whatever room I got left open.”
Left alone once again, assuming you don’t count the two drunks that Hyram still occasionally had to dodge as they swerved back and forth, the boy was unsure what to do with himself. Stepping away, he was surprised as the bar fell silent. All eyes turned to the door, but as far back as he was, he couldn’t see anything. He heard hushed whispers between the more sober pirates. “It’s the champ.”
“The champs here.”
“Did you see the last match?”
“Yea didn’t that stuffy angel chick fight?”
Hyram’s ears perked up at the last comment, but he couldn’t pick out who had said it in the deluge of voices. He tried to worm his way forward, eager to speak with this ‘Champ’. If he remembered, the bartender had said his name was Gangplank, but the young mage couldn’t see him through the crowd. He squeezed between two burly pirates, accidentally nudging the arm of one, causing his drink to drop out of his hand, which in turn caused the pirate to bellow loudly. “Hey!”
The young mage started to back peddle away. “O-oh…I-I’m sorry, I just…just…wanted to see the champiURK…”
His words were cut off by the burly pirate's hand around his throat, lifting him up off the ground until he was face level with a bearded pirate wearing a red bandana. Towering over even his fellow pirates, by simply lifting the boy eye level with himself, the young mages feet hung limply over a foot off the ground. The pirate's black eyes squinted, taking in the young mage's pale face as Hyram looked at his. The pirate had an angular face and pronounced jaw and forehead, a jagged scar along the right side of the pirates face punctuated his ugliness. He growled and Hyram almost fainted from the pirate's awful breath. With an almost casual flick, he turned and tossed the boy into the crowed, knocking pirates into each other. In seconds, heated words were exchanged and fists started flying. The bar was turned into a chaotic brawl in record time. On the floor, Hyram was fortunatly mostly ignored. Rolling over to dodge a falling pirate, he glanced towards where the champ was. He saw a pair of booted feet walking towards a table in the corner, ignoring the crowd and the growing brawl.
Trying to scramble to his feet and move towards the champ, he heard his attacker bellow through the din of the bar brawl.
“Runt! Where do you think you’re going?”
Hyram whirled around as the towering pirate parted the crowed, making a beeline for the boy.
“Do you know who you be messing with? I be on Gangplanks crew! You don’t get there by takin’ insult from little girls!”
Hyram held up his hands in front of him, pleading. “W-wait mister. I-it was an accident! I’m sorry!”
The pirate paid no heed to his words, backhanding a smaller pirate out of the way as the towering man's steps thundered towards the boy, flexing arms that looked like tree trunks. His mind racing, the boy thought hard. He knew a confrontation was inevitable at this point. The pirate needed to make an example of him. His mind whirled through combat lessons and maneuvers his sisters had taught him as he settled on one Kayle taught him. Sharp punch, Solar Plexus, paralyze the diaphragm. With a roaring cry the mage pulled his fist way back and slammed it forward, just under the pirates chest bone.
The pirate stopped mid-stride with a ‘humph’ sound, the air bursting from his lungs as his shoulders flinched. Very, very slightly. The pirate glared down as the boy withdrew his fist, shaking away the stinging feeling he earned from throwing the well aimed but futile punch into the pirates sturdy chest.
“Did…did that hurt at all?” The boy asked meekly, feeling supremely silly.
The pirate nodded. “Little bit.” Lightning fast, the pirate grabbed the boy by the front of his robe and pulled him off his feet once more till he was staring at the pirates grinning face, his yellow, rotten teeth inches from the young mages face. “But, it be part of the job.”
With a roar, the pirate turned and threw the young mage full force back toward the bar. Slamming into the heavy wood of the front side of the bar, the boy heard something crack and from the pain thought it was his ribs. He slid down the front of the bar, falling to rest in the shattered splinters of what used to be bar stools, the things he had heard cracking in his unwilling attempt at flight.
Wincing in pain the boy struggled to his feet as the towering pirate again barreled his way through the crowd towards him. “I just be getting started boy!”
Getting fully to his feet just in time, the young mage managed to roll away from a wild kick the pirate delivered, his large foot crashing through the same hardwood that Hyram had just bounced off. Turning, Hyram ran up the stairs to the second level of the tavern, squeezing between fighting groups of pirates. As he did so, he saw his enemy tear his foot free from the bar and thunder after him, tossing the same pirates Hyram had squeezed by over the railing and off the stairs. As Hyram reached the top he saw two normal sized pirates grappling, both trying to throw the other down the stairs. Thinking fast, the boy turned back towards the stairs and rammed his shoulder into the grappling pair, sending them both toppling toward his pursuer. With contemptuous ease, the brute of a pirate caught the two flailing men and tossed them over the railing like the others. That plan also foiled, Hyram ran across the balcony before he realized that it led no where. The other stairs are what led to the rooms, this was just more seating space for guests. Trapped, he turned just as his pursuer caught up with him. “You have a lot of fight in ya kid. I’ll give you that. But you should’ve just taken your licks like a man…it’d have gone faster…”
Reaching out, he lifted the boy off his feet once more and tossed him over the railing of the balcony. The boy fell, flailing out to catch something as his back finally slammed into the hard wooden surface of a table. It groaned under his weight, but didn’t give an inch, much like the bar. Drinks scattered from the table, causing annoyed shouts and gasps. Coughing pitifully, the boy gave his own groan of pain as his eyes fluttered open, the world blurry and spinning. As things slowly came back into focus he realized he was looking up at…something. Looked like a large hill…no, wait, it was covered in leather. Blinking a few times, he heard a woman’s voice coming from above him. “Well, what do we have here?”
Realizing suddenly where he had ended up, Hyram winced. He was laying atop the ’Champs’ table. His goal all along, but he hadn’t hoped to make it here like this. A pale face appeared over what he took for hills, but now realized were a woman’s bosom. A beautiful girl glared down at him, bright red hair framing her face, but a glint in her eye told him that this girl was far more dangerous then the brute assaulting him. “I don’t think we’ve met precious. My name’s Sarah Fortune. Miss Fortune to you, kid. And you...You just spilled my drink….”
Hyram groaned. It was going to be a long night….
“So, are you going to just lay there on my table or start explaining yourself, kid?” The beautiful woman asked simply, still glaring down at Hyram. The boy stammered for a long moment before trying to squirm his way off the table, looking for a way down that didn’t involve him bumping into someone, when hands gripped him by the front of his robes, pulling him off the table. For the third time, he found himself face to face with the scarred pirate.“You didn’t think I was done, did you?”
As the pirate pulled back his fist, Hyram glanced at Miss Fortune and saw her watching intently. By reflex he screamed out, “I wanted to ask you about Kayle and Morgana!” Hyram flinched as he saw the fist start to move forward.
“Stop.” Miss Fortune said quietly, the scarred pirate's fist halting a millimeter from the boys face. Hyram opened an eye and glanced at the redhead. “I-I’m looking for them. T-that’s why I’m here.” He managed to stammer out.
Miss Fortune stared thoughtfully for a long moment at the boy. “…put him down and beat it, Drage.” She finally said, in a quiet but stern voice.
The scarred pirate glared at the female captain. “I don’t take orders from you, girl. I work for Gangplank, remember?”
Drage barely had time to finish the sentence before a pistol appeared in Miss Fortunes hand, a shot ringing out as Hyram heard a bullet whiz between his and Drage's faces. Giving a small squeak, Hyram had the presence of mind to notice Drage too seemed rather pale suddenly. Miss Fortune spoke once more. “Then Gangplank will have a job opening very soon…unless you do as I say and put him down.”
Giving a loud growl, his attacker finally set Hyram down, turning on his heel to skulk away into the aftermath of the fight. The brawl had stopped when Miss Fortune had fired her shot, all the patrons righting tables and going back to their conversations, lest they draw the bounty hunters attention.
Letting out a sigh of relief, the young mage turned towards his rescuer, giving a thankful smile. “T-thank you, miss.”
Miss Fortune waved off his thanks and motioned for him to sit. “So, you know Kayle and Morgana do you? How so?”
Hyram straightened the front of his robe nervously as he sat. “W-well, I’m their young brother. I came here looking for them.”
Hyram peered at the pirate captain for a long moment until finally the captain gave a mirthful chuckle and spoke. “I had a feeling. There is a certain resemblance. Where’s your wings though? Don’t your people have wings?”
The boy nodded vigorously, “Yes, ma’am. But, they take a long time to grow large enough to fly with. Mine are still small, so I usually protect them under my robe.” He turned and let Miss Fortune see his wings moving slightly under his robes before he winced, realizing how bruised they were from his repeated falls. “Oww…”
Miss Fortune gave another grin as she glanced at the boy. “Well, you’re a tough one, I’ll give you that. Not many could take the beating I saw you take in such stride. Nothing broken I take it?“
“N-no, ma’am. I’m not much of fighter, but I used to help my sisters train. I, uh…was kind of their practice dummy to be honest.” He blushed slightly at his admission, glancing away.
Miss Fortune nodded thoughtfully. “Well, if you could take the beating those two dished out, I’m not surprised Drage didn’t do much more beside bruise and rattle you. You must be hungry though. I’m guessing you just got here, am I right?”
Hyram blinked at the woman for a moment, amazed how easily she deduced that. “Y-yes, that’s right. How could you…”
“How could I tell? The clothes for one. And second, no reason to come here looking for your sisters. This is obviously the first place you looked right?” She smiled at him in a friendly, yet predatory way. “I’m a bounty hunter, kid. If I couldn’t figure that much out, I’d never have caught anyone.”
After placing an order for the boy, a few minutes later a waitress brought over a large bowl of what Hyram assumed was stew. Salivating, Hyram started to eat, barely remembering simple table manners as he realized how hungry he was. All the time, the Bounty Hunter kept giving him the same enigmatic grin, but Hyram put it out of mind as he dipped bread into the odd but delicious mixture in front of him. “So, looking for your sisters huh? That’s pretty brave of you kid. I can tell you where they are of course. Any idea how you’re getting there?” The woman asked simply.
Hyram paused for a moment to think over the statement, chewing slowly. “W-well, I hadn’t thought about it. I don’t even know where I’m at really, except the towns called Bilgewater.“ Taking a pause to gulp a drink from the glass beside him, Hyram froze then started coughing vigorously. “W-what was THAT!?” He sputtered, pushing the mug away, his eyes watering.
Miss Fortune leaned forward, snatching the mug up and taking a drink. “…they gave you grog?” She said in disbelief as she waved the waitress back over. “Can we have something for the boy that’s a little less toxic?” The waitress blushed a bit at the admonition, realizing her mistake as she scurried off. “Uh…don’t mention this to your sisters, will you kid? I don’t need them busting down my door, asking why I tried to get you drunk.”
Hyram nodded as he gave one final cough. “Wow. That stuff was….whew. Does everybody drink that?”
The bounty hunter gave a mischievous grin. “Everyone around here does.” With that, she downed the mug in one long pull and slammed it down onto the table before giving a loud belch, the boy staring on incredulously.
Eventually, the bartender sent the girl back out with a glass of milk and in the new found quiet of the tavern, Hyram could hear him muttering about being reduced to a dairy when he had plenty of fine grogs on tap. Thanking the waitress as he took a sip of the milk, trying to get rid of the burning of the grog, he noticed Miss Fortune staring down at a map. She motioned the boy to move closer so he could see the map too. Looking at a map of the world, the bounty hunter started to explain. “Alright. We’re here.” She point to an island far off the eastern cost of large continent. “Here is Noxus.” She pointed towards the mid-eastern part of the land mass before moving her finger to the mid western side of the continent. “And this is Demacia. In between is the Institute of War. And that’s where we’ll find your sisters. I’m heading back there myself to check in with the summoners. If you like, I’ll be happy to take you with, free of charge.”
Hyram couldn’t stop the sound of glee he made as he threw his arms happily around the red haired captain. Composing himself, the boy released her and coughed embarrassedly. “S-sorry. Just… thank you. I was so lost…”
The woman’s expression was one of mirthful amusement. “It’s fine kid. I’m sure you’ll pay me back one day.” She rolled up the map and stood. “I’ll be heading back to the ship for the evening. I already set everything up for you to stay here for the night. Come down in the morning. I’ll treat you to breakfast and we’ll be on our way, alright? Oh, and don‘t worry about Drage. He won‘t give you anymore trouble…if he tries, remind him that he’ll have to answer to me. Or just tell him who your big sisters are. That‘ll send him running.”
She gave the boy a final smile before standing and patting him on the head on her way out the door. Hyram gave a contented sigh as he continued eating. Finally, things were turning up right for him. He was just glad he’d meet such a good and honest person…
Outside, Miss Fortune didn't head straight back to her ship. Instead she wondered the streets for a bit, finally stepping into a dark alley. Miss Fortune spoke at the darkness. “You’re offering me a lot for this job. You’d better pay up.”
Another voice emerged from deeper in the alley, the speaker concealed in deep shadows. The voice was accompanied by a soft hiss that made it impossible to tell the size, shape or even gender of the speaker. “Of course. See to it the boy is delivered to me and NOT to the Institute of War, safely and uninjured, and you’ll get your reward. Enough to buy a fleet of ships and defeat your rival once and for all.”
Miss Fortune scowled for a long moment. “I don’t like it. Why do you want it done this way?” The voice gave a cruel chuckle. “Concerned for the boy, are you? Don’t worry. He’s more important to me then you can possible imagine. No harm will come to him. As to why it must be done this way, well, I have my reasons. But I pay you to DO, not to ask. Understand?”
The bounty hunter gave another nod before stepping out of the alley, leaving her employer to disappear as they always did...She had a betrayal to plan.
As agreed, the next morning saw Miss Fortune waiting for Hyram down in the tavern. She waved a filled mug at him, motioning him toward her as the boy tried to rub the sleep from his eyes. His night had been fitful at best, though the knowledge he was on his way to his sisters at last granted him some peace of mind, enough to get some sleep at least. He pulled up a chair and smiled at Miss Fortune as a waitress brought out a waiting tray of food for the two.
“Fastest way is through Noxus I think, but we should be careful. While Noxus doesn’t bar travel through their lands, it’s not uncommon for travelers to get harassed. You should stay by me and keep quiet, ok?”
The bounty hunter finally said with little ceremony. The boy nodded as he finished chewing his toast, saying nothing. He knew quite well how to sit down and shut up. Of all his meager talents, that was perhaps his best practiced.
“Finished? Lets head out.” Heading out the door, with the boy rushing to keep up, the bounty hunter strutted her way through the morning streets of Bilgewater, heading toward the dock. In the daylight, the city was a bit less intimidating, though Hyram felt it probably was no less dangerous to the unwary. It would be easy to be caught off guard by what seemed a rather innocent town at the surface until you did a mental count of all the people you passed that you would consider ‘rough customers’ and realized just what type of town this was.
Arriving at the dock, Miss Fortune stopped at a good sized vessel, fitted with an abundance of cannons and large sails, but little in the way of cargo or passenger room. Realizing in an instant that this was a ship built for speed and power, Hyram doubted his decision to go with this woman so quickly, but let his doubts go as she spoke again.
“I arranged a little privacy for you on board, but not much. Ship isn’t big enough for everyone to have their own room. I’d offer you my cabin, but my crew can be a bit…ahem…jealous.” The bounty hunter spoke with a sly smile as she stepped aboard and quickly started shouting orders to her crew, demanding they finish whatever dock work needed so they could be underway.
Hyram did his best to stay out of the way as the boat unfurled it’s many sails and took off across the seas at an impressive pace. Glancing out across the shimmering blue seas, Hyram felt a bit more at ease. He was finally heading towards his goal. He followed the bounty hunter up the stairs to the wheel as she took command. The boy moved to the aft and stared at the churning waters left in the wake of the speedy ship. Hyram felt excitement grow in him. He had been at sea before, for short trips, but never had he been on such a large ship on such a long trip. The boy couldn’t help but feel slightly giddy at the prospect of his journey.
“Lots of big, blue nothing huh?” Miss Fortune finally said, breaking the boy from his daydreaming.
“Y-yea. I kinda like it though. Seems…peaceful.” Hyram said a bit shyly, not sure how to word his statement.
The Bounty Hunter scoffed and glanced back at the young mage. “First time I’ve heard it called that. You really have no idea about anything in this world do you?”
Hyram blushed slightly at the rebuke, and then nodded. “Not really. All I know are my sisters are here, so that means I’m here.”
Miss Fortune flashed the boy a grin. “Courage kid. You have it in spades, I’ll give you that. Try to play nice with the crew though. My crew are a lot nicer then Gangplanks group of psychopaths, but they’re still not to be trifled with.”
Hyram licked his lips, the salt air already drying them as he spoke. “Miss…I noticed everyone on board seems to be armed. Is that…common?”
The bounty hunter gave a mysterious chuckle. “Well, lots of pirates in these waters. Some of them don’t take to kindly to me, being a bounty hunter and all. Just pays to be prepared, right?”
Hyram gave a short nod and silenced himself, letting her continue on her duties.
It continued like that for days. The crew paid the boy little mind mostly, though a few did teach him a bit on how to sail and nautical terms. Hyram liked learning and enjoyed it while it lasted, but most of the crew had little interest in him and some treated him as if he was invisible. His ‘room’ on the boat was a hammock in the corner where the rest of the crew slept, but with a sheet hung up to give it a bit of privacy. The food likewise left much to be desired and there wasn’t much to drink besides watered down Grog.
Hyram decided against complaining though, as he realized things could be far worse. Miss Fortune did make a few gestures to make him more comfortable, making sure his drinks were mostly water with just a little grog to ensure it was safe to drink and letting him ask her questions while he was bored and she wasn’t busy. He’d also taken to exploring the ship on his own quietly, and had already stumbled upon a rather impressive armory on the ship, with more cannons, stacks of cannonballs and barrels of gunpowder, along with enough guns, swords and various other weapons to arm twice the number of men on board.
On the 5th day, Hyram was exploring the ship as he usually did, when he came across two of Miss Fortunes crew speaking in whispers. Hyram went unnoticed as he started to creep past, but came to a halt when he heard one of them say ‘the boy’ in a muffled voice. Creeping a bit closer, the young mage listened closely to the two pirates arguing, one in a red bandana, the other wearing a blue.
Red: “Just saying, I don’t like this. This ain’t like our normal bounties.”
Blue: “Well the Captain’s doing it and it’s the Captain’s decision ain’t it? Besides, I’m sure the Captain wouldn’t just hand him over to whoever. You see the way she looks at him, ain’t ya? She’s soft on him. Surprised she don‘t tuck him in at night”
Red: “Maybe she just feels bad for selling him out to the highest bidder.”
Blue: “That’s right, the HIGHEST bidder. We do this, the captain can expand her fleet and we can kick that scurvy Gangplank to the curb once and for all, get me?”
Red: “Yea I know. Still. He’s just a kid…”
Backing away from the two, Hyram felt like an iceberg had settled in his stomach. He trembled in fear, realizing just how much trouble he was in. He was a prisoner, on board a ship filled with armed pirates and no way out. As the reality of this sunk in, the boys backpedaling finally caused him to bump into a lantern, causing it to fall and shatter in the floor. “What? Who’s there!?” He heard blue shout. Panicking, the boy ran upstairs toward the sun lit deck. He heard the two pirates chase after him, their steps thundering up the steps after him. Making it out on deck, the boy very quickly realized how stupid he was. There was no place to hide up there and the two pirates quickly emerged, shouting. ‘Grab him!”
Hyram ran past the pirates as they turned and each made a vain grab at him until eventually he was at the bow of the ship with nowhere to go. The pirates closed in on him as Hyram picked up a mop and held it up, ready to swing it at whoever came close. Suddenly a shot rang out and everyone froze. The crowd parted to let Miss Fortune pass as she casually strolled up to the bow, looking at Hyram with an appraising eye.
“And just what’s going on here, then?”
Red and Blue shifted uncomfortably in place for a moment before Red finally spoke up. “He heard us talking, Captain. About…you know. The plan.”
Miss Fortune paled slightly as she spun to face her two crew member. She holstered her pistol with a sigh. “Idiot. I told you all to keep your traps shut! Ten lashings to you both and be glad it’s not more!”
She turned back to face the boy and gave him a comforting smile. “Now, I know you must be scared, but you don’t need to be. I was just…uh…telling my crew that. You know. Save face.”
Hyram grit his teeth and growled. “No you didn’t. You sold me. To whoever would buy me, didn’t you?”
The bounty hunter gave Hyram what he’d thought was a sad look, staying silent for a long moment before finally speaking in a quiet voice. “….shackle him.”
Hyram gave a mighty struggle, but it was pointless. There was no way for the boy to beat a bunch of hardened pirates and no where to escape too if he ran. In seconds, the young mage was shackled at the wrists and left standing besides his betrayer, tears welling in his eyes. “…I trusted you.” He said simply in a soft voice that cracked with despair. The bounty hunter turned away, looking out at the sea.
“Quiet. My employer doesn’t want you injured and has no intention of harming you. I'd know that much at least by how much they’re asking for you, but I also know becaue I’d not have agreed to the bounty otherwise. You’ll not be harmed in anyway, I promise you. So stop looking at me like that.”
Hyram gave a sound that was half chuckle, half sob. “So then, not harmed. What is it then? Slavery? Am I to be someone’s pet? Or am going to be used as leverage against my sisters? How could you Sarah…”
The bounty hunter refused to turn and let the boy see her face but when she spoke, her voice was choked with emotion. “Just…just shut up, Hyram. Shut. Up.”
They didn’t get the chance to continue their conversation as hollers from the crows nest interrupted. “Captain, ship approaching! It’s a big one!” The bounty hunter reached into her coat and pulled out a spyglass. “Hell. Noxus Patrol?” She mused out loud as she scanned the horizon for the ship. She spotted it and froze, holding perfectly still. “Oh no. No, no, no. What’s he doing out here? Why’s he coming after me? I don’t have anyth…” Miss Fortune stopped her rant and whirled around, finally facing her captive. Without a word she started bellowing orders. “All hands to battle stations! Prepare to defend yourselves! He’s after the boy!”
Hyram finally broke his silence, fear at this new threat overriding his feeling of betrayal. “Who? Who’s coming for me?” The bounty hunter ignored him as she continued to organize her crew for the coming fight, ordering cannons to be loaded and weapon brought up from the hold. Finally, Hyram could take it no more and screamed out. “SARAH! Who’s coming for me dammit!?”
The crew fell silent at the boys yell and all turned to face him, staring as the boys skin glowed with a golden light for a moment before fading away again. Miss Fortune walked careful up to him and looked him up and down, as if she was seeing him for the first time. Finally, she turned and faced the rapidly approaching ship and spoke a single word. “Gangplank.”
The deck was alive with activity. Hyram was left on his own. They had no reason to guard him after all, he had no where to go. Being shackled as he was, even jumping overboard was suicidal. He saw crew members load up cannons and aiming them as others were bringing up armfuls of weapons from the armory. Miss Fortune seemed surprisingly calm, a stern expression on her face as one finger danced across the handle of her holstered pistol.
Hyram was broken from his train of thought by the sound of cannon fire coming from the bow of the larger ship closing in on them. It was a monster of a vessel with rows of huge cannons, obviously not built for speed like the bounty hunters ship, but for range and raw power. He could already see pirates lining up along the railing of both ships, ready to engage each other as soon as they got close enough. Miss Fortune bellowed her orders, “Stand fast! Hold Fire until my command!”
With that she turned the wheel hard, jostling most everyone on board as she brought the ship in for a broadside attack against the larger vessel. Crewmen on the large ship scattered as Miss Fortune’s ship passed within yards of them. “FIRE!” Came the cry from both captains.
Cannons and guns fired from both ships as the railing and decks of the two vessels were tore apart by flying lead. The cry of pirates rang out as some were injured by the flying splinters of wood. Hyram dove for cover beside the mast, curling up tightly into a ball.
The cannon fire stopped and as Hyram peeked up over a barrel, he could see why. Pirates from Gangplanks ship started to swing over, engaging the Fortune's crew in hand to hand combat as the occasional rifle fire was exchanged between ships. Before long, the ship was embroiled in a brawl between two hardened groups of sailors. Hyram realized what was happening. The Dread Pirate wanted the ship intact, the first salvo was just to break the defenders up a bit for his assault. It was classic tactic, as Kayle had taught him. He thought back to what Sarah had said and realized why he wanted the boat intact. Gangplank was coming for him…
Amid the chaos of fighting pirates, a large barrel-chested pirate swung aboard with a bushy black beard and eyes that flashed red. He wore a bright red overcoat trimmed with yellow and tall black hat with an odd symbol on the front. He held a large cutlass in one hand and a pistol in the other, using the cutlass to cut down one of Sarah’s crew that charged him the second he landed. Instinctively, Hyram knew that was Gangplank. He laughed cruelly. “Yar, har, har. Sarah, mi’lass. I be thinking you havin’ something that belongs to me?”
The pirates voice was harsh and raspy, his boots clomped on the deck as he strolled toward the bounty hunter up by the wheel, stopping at the bottom of the stairs leading up to her. One of Gangplanks crew landed beside her and without ever taking her eyes off Gangplank, Miss Fortune drew a pistol, shot him dead and returned her pistol to it’s holster. “You can’t have him.”
“Oh, I can’t? I be thinking, dearest Sarah, that I can and be doing so shortly. Now where be he….” Gangplank turned and scanned the ship for a moment until his sharp eyes finally fell onto Hyram in his hiding spot. “Thar he blows. ‘cuse me my dear, I be havin’ a runt who be worth twice his weight in gold to collect.”
The Dread Pirate turned and stepped forward as Hyram turned to try and crawl away, but to no avail. A strong hand grabbed him by the back of his robes and pulled him up to his feet.
“This be the runt then? Brother to Kayle and Morgana…you be fetching a high price for me, my boy. I wonder how much the good sister, Kayle, be offering for you? Probably quite a bit more once I cut off a pinky and send it to her…” Gangplank gave a bellowing laugh as Hyram paled and gave a shiver.
“What’s the matter boy? Not a fighter like your sisters eh? Well then…” Gangplank lifted his sword and brought it down fast towards the boys face. Hyram whimpered and flinched until he heard the clang of metal on metal and the shackles fell from his wrists.
“Lets make this a bit interesting boy. You no longer be shackled. All you got to do to be free is beat me.” Gangplank reached down and picked up a discarded sword and held it handle first to the young mage. “Here ya go boy. Now, you tell me when you be ready.”
Hyram took the sword and held it in an unsteady hand. He knew how to fight with a sword of course, Kayle had seen to that, but being proficient and being good were two different things. He gulped and wiped the sting of tears from his eyes, looking up to meet the pirates piercing glare. Gangplank gave a roaring laugh.
“Aye, I be liking this one Sarah. He be terrified, but no begging. No bargaining. He knows it be of no use.” Gangplank gave a chuckle when suddenly another shot rang out, louder then the others and a bullet whizzed through Gangplanks black beard, taking a chunk out of it. He spun to face the bounty hunter, snarling.
“What you think you be doing girl? You want me to torch the ship as well as take the boy, do ya?”
Pointing the pistol unwavering at Gangplank, Miss Fortunes expression was hard and unfeeling. “You are not taking the boy, Gangplank.”
Gangplank grinned motioned Miss Fortune forward. “So, you be volunteering to fight in his place then? That be fine by me. You win, you can keep the boy. I win, I get the boy AND you sign over your ship, free and legal. Deal?”
The conversation struck Hyram as absurd as pirates were still in an all out brawl all over the deck, but again, he knew nothing of the politics and odd laws this world was governed by. He did notice that none of either ships crewmen tried to attack either captain again, either out of fear or manners, he had no idea. He heard Miss Fortune speak once more. “Deal.”
The bounty hunter pulled out both pistols and fired a fusillade of shots toward Gangplank. The pirate managed to roll out of the way, catching a graze from a shot as he jumped to his feet and fired his own pistol, catching Miss Fortune in her hip as she tried to spin away. He rushed at her, swinging his sword only to have her jump back and fire again, catching Gangplank in the shoulder. As the Dread Pirate staggered back, the bounty hunter retreated up the stairs, back toward the wheel, reloading her pistols. Her reprieve was short lived as Gangplank again approached, his own pistol likewise reloaded.
Hyram looked on the fight that was to decide his fate helplessly. He was mostly ignored by both crews. He looked up toward the bow of the ship and saw some of Miss Fortunes men getting pulled away from her largest cannon. This one was a bit different then the others, it was angled downward a bit. Hyram glanced at the opposite ship and saw the same thing on the larger ships bow. Large cannon, loaded but unfired, pointed at a downward angle. In a flash of comprehension, Hyram realized what it was for…but would it change anything?
The two Captains continued their struggle, neither able to gain the advantage, as they were able to wound each other, but not decisively. They fought their way around the wheel when Miss Fortune caught sight of the boy moving towards the cannon on her bow. She grinned as she fired another shot at the Dread Pirate, knowing this fight was soon to change dramatically, thinking the boy was taking her side.
Gangplank snarled, “What you be finding so funny girl? Is it me good looks or well rehearsed manners?” He ignored the sting of his wounds and slashed Miss Fortune across the shoulder, causing her to cry out.
Hyram dodged, and weaved and rolled past fighting pirates, just as he had in the bar less then a week ago. He stepped up to the cannon and realized it needed to be pushed forward into position. With all his might he heaved against it, only to have it stubbornly refuse to move. He pushed, grunted, rocked and even kicked at the cannon, but to no avail. It wouldn’t move. Finally, he stepped back and stared at the hunk of metal that mocked him. He panted in exhaustion before his eyes spotted a single rope tied to the base of the cannon and leading upward into the rigging. Hyram sighed, held out a finger and spoke a spell. A flash of golden light flew from his finger and severed the rope. The cannon slammed into position on it’s own. The young mage sighted along the edge of the cannon, confirming his theory. This cannon was aimed toward the other ship, but pointed just below the water line.
Hyram stood and grabbed one of the many ropes used by Gangplanks crew to swing aboard. He pointed a finger at the breach of the cannon, another flash of light flew forward and ignited the gunpowder. With a deafening explosion it fired, blasting a hole in the hull of Gangplanks ship. As the crew aboard the larger ship scattered in panic, Hyram grabbed hold of the rope with both hands and, with a fearful cry to the heavens, swung across the water. He spotted a towering pirate standing by the cannon he was swinging towards that seemed somewhat familiar and lifted both feet out in front of him. As he reached the bow of the other ship, both feet slammed into the large pirates face full force, catching him quite off guard and causing him to tumble backwards. “Hello again, Drage.” The boy spoke as he pointed a finger at the breach of this cannon and with another flash of light, fired this one as well, ripping a similar hole in the hull of the Bounty Hunters ship.
Without another word, he swung back, giving another cry but remembering to aim his swing for the uncovered wheel deck of Miss Fortunes ship. All fighting had stopped, even the two captains had halted their duel when they heard the explosions of cannon fire. With a unsure whimper, the boy let go of the rope and landed on his hands and knees about 5 yards from the two captains. He pulled himself to his feet, panting as he brushed himself off.
The two captains stood in silence for a long moment. Finally, they both turned and looked at the hole in Miss Fortunes ship, seeing air bubble out as the ship was sinking at a fairly alarming rate. They both turned in unison to a similar hole in Gangplanks ship, causing it to sink as well. Both captains then turned to each other, staring at each other in silence for a long moment, before finally, in unison, both turned to face the young mage, their expression anything but friendly. “…it strikes me that I didn’t really think this through.” Hyram said quietly as both Captain’s stared at him for another heartbeat before they both lunged at him. Dodging backwards, Hyram gave a mournful cry. “Here we go again.”
Positioning himself between Gangplank and the wheel, Gangplank raised his sword high and with a cry of great anger, swung down at the boys head full force. Hyram ducked and Gangplanks sword sunk into the rim of the wheel. Grabbing one of the spokes, Hyram gave it a turn, the fulcrum giving the boy leverage enough to tear the sword from Gangplanks hand. Picking the sword up lightning quick, he slammed it, point first, into Gangplanks foot. The Dread Pirate gave a howl of pain as Miss Fortune leveled her pistols at the boy. Hyram slammed his shoulder into the distracted Gangplanks ribs, causing him to topple over onto the Bounty Hunter. Running toward the railing, Hyram jumped down to the deck as bullets whizzed by above him. He crumbled as he landed and skidded to a stop.
In seconds, both Captains jumped down on either side of him, Gangplank held a pistol to Hyram’s face, his sword pressed lightly against Miss Fortunes throat. Miss Fortune likewise had a pistol pressed in Hyram’s face, another pressed against Gangplanks. The bounty hunter spoke first. “Gangplank. The contract I’m on is enough to salvage and repair BOTH our ships…”
Gangplanks paused for a moment. “You be suggesting that we split the reward then, are you? Why?”
“Because, it’s simpler then killing each other for it. Besides, my employer wants him unharmed. If we keep going at it like this, he’s going to become rather harmed and then neither of us get paid.” Miss Fortune lowered the pistol she had pointed at Hyram, but kept the other pointed at Gangplank. “70/30?” She asked the pirate rather bluntly.
Gangplank lowered his pistol from Hyram’s face. “Seeing as how I was winning our little fight, 60/40, in MY favor.”
“In your dreams you were winning. 60/40 in MY favor.” The bounty hunter retorted.
They continued on like this for several long seconds. Hyram felt a fury building up in him. Here they were, deciding his fate without a second thought on anything he wanted. He was just cargo to them. A prize to be negotiated for and sold. And worse, he’d failed. He’d never get to his sisters…not without first being used against them. Hyram’s hands curled into fists as tears rolled down his cheeks. He was tired of this. Tired of being shoved and cast aside. He drew panting breaths through clenched teeth as an incantation he had never learned flew effortless from his mouth. “An Arrow, to pierce the heart. A sword, to divide the waters. Wings, to rend the sky. A Will, to uproot the mountains. Holy light, give me these things, for all I possess is this…” Hyram eyes, snapped open, a bright golden light shining forth. “A Soul, to ignite the fires of change.”
“50/50, and I’ll be getting the dock workers to give you the same discount on your salvage as they give me on mine.” Gangplank finally offered. Thinking it over for a moment, Miss Fortune nodded. “Agreed.”
They both turned back to the boy, who by now had become a beacon of golden light, unnoticed by the two during their negotiations.
“Come on boy, time to…go…” Miss Fortune trailed off as she saw the boys robes combust into bright golden flames. As the boy stood, the ashes that were his robes fell away, leaving him bare-chested, and his wings free to open wide. His wings were no more the vestigial things he had before, but mighty golden pinions, easily 10 feet across. The boy was different too now, he looked older, taller and more muscular. He drew in a deep breath as he stretched and flexed his newfound muscles.
“H-hyram?” The bounty hunter said quietly, unsure of herself. The young angel standing in Hyram’s place smiled, the golden nimbus that surrounded him scorching the wood beneath his bare feet.
“Hyram isn’t here right now. My name is Hyramis. Lets take this moment to get acquainted before he gets back, shall we?” The angel held out a hand and a blade made of golden flame appeared in his hand.
As the angel advanced on the two captains, Gangplank was the first to attack. With a roar, he swung his cutlass at the boy, only to have it deftly parried by Hyramis. He turned the blade aside and with a flick of his wrist cut a searing gash across the Dread Pirates chest. The Bounty Hunter took this opportunity and opened up on Hyramis, but in a flash the angel drew his wings around his body to protect himself, blocking the flying metal's passage. He unfurled his wings once more, just in time to block another wild swing by Gangplank before pushing the Pirate back.
Gangplank gave a roaring laugh. “And here I be thinking this would be boring. I recognize the stance lad. Kayle be teaching ya more then ye be letting on.”
Gangplank drew his pistol and fired, striking the angel in the chest, but the golden glow that surrounded him seemed to protect him from being seriously injured. Still the Angel flinched and took a step back before taking a deep breath. The glow grew brighter until a thin sheet of flames surrounded the angel, causing the wood to blacken beneath his tread as he stepped toward the pirate.
The Bounty Hunters mind raced through options as she reloaded. Whatever the kid had become, it was strong, but not unbeatable. Indeed, if she weren’t so worn out from her fight with Gangplank, she was confident she could beat him, but worn out as the two were, even together she wasn’t sure they could beat whatever it was Hyram had become. She turned back to see Gangplank and Hyramis engaged in a vicious sword duel.
Gangplank parried a thrust from the angel while simultaneously bringing the butt of his pistol across the angels face with a loud crack. Growling, Hyram stepped towards Gangplank and let out a roar as the golden flames surrounding him grew more pronounced, scorching his enemy as Hyramis grabbed Gangplank by the front of his coat and pulled him even closer to the flames, roasting the pirate.
Miss Fortune took the opportunity and leveled her pistol, aimed it at the angels head and fired. The fast moving lead projectile hit home, causing Hyramis to release Gangplank and stagger back. Gangplank collapsed to the floor, trying to put out the spots where his clothes and hair had combusted. Hyramis shook his head to clear it from the sharp blow and looked up to see the Bounty Hunter leveling another shot. Hyramis gave a deep breath and focused as the sword in his hand changed into a bow. Holding it forward, he pulled back the string, causing an arrow of golden flame to appear. The two fired at each other at the same time, the golden arrow scorching the deck as it flew toward Miss Fortune, striking her full in the chest and throwing her backwards as she cried out.
Hyramis fared little better as the Bounty Hunters shot caught him again in the head, causing him to fall to a knee and the bow in his hand to vanish. While the golden flames surrounding him protected him from a mortal wound, he was still stunned by the repeated blows. Just as he had shaken off the haze, he heard a grunt from above him. By reflex, he reached up and grabbed Gangplanks cutlass by the blade with his bare hand, stopping it just inches from his face, but having the sword cut deep into the palm despite the protection his golden aura gave him.
“Yar, har, har! You be a fun one, boy. And I can be seeing it in your eyes. You be like me and your sister Kayle. You like a good scrap, don’t ya?” Gangplank laughed as he tried to force the blade forward, causing it to cut deeper into Hyramis’s hand, ignoring the golden flames that scorched the pirates own hand.
Despite himself, Hyramis chuckled. “Yea…you’re right. I do.”
Closing his free hand into a fist and focusing all the magical flame around it he could, he slammed it forward into the Pirates face, causing him to stagger back and fall flat on his back. Hyramis let go of the blade as his opponent fell back so as to not have it wrenched deeper into the skin. He stood as Gangplank scrambled to his feet, the right side of the pirates face blackened slightly, but a grin still firming fixed on his face.
The Dread Pirate reached into his belt, drew a simple orange and bit voraciously into it. “Mmm…prevents scurvy ya know. Care for one, boy?”
Gangplank casually tossed what was left of the orange at Hyramis, who realized almost immediately it was a feint. Batting the orange aside to see where the attack was coming from, he still wasn’t fast enough to block the slash toward his stomach. He dodged enough that only a shallow cut was made, but still the wound gave a constant sting, much like the cut on his hand. Looking up at his opponents triumphant grin, he realized the pirates blade was poisoned with something.
At the same moment, Miss Fortune appeared from behind the mast and with a ferocious cry, unloaded a fusillade of rounds at both Gangplank and Hyramis. Hyramis drew his wings around himself, wincing each time a round slammed into him. Gangplank for his part could do little more but dive flat to the ground, dodging all but a few grazes. When the shots finally fell silent, Hyramis stayed in his defensive position, already to fatigued to remount an offense. Instead he just sat, out of breath.
He heard the soft steps of Miss Fortune strutting up to him as well as Gangplank pulling himself to his feet. A cold certainty filled the angel heart and he waited. He waited until the two were close, then with all his might, he unfurled his wings and gave a cry to the heavens as golden flames burst from him in a wave, scorching his enemies and throwing them back, igniting the rigging, the deck and anything else it touched.
As the two captains crashed onto the deck, Hyram collapsed, no longer the brilliant angel, but once again the young, slight of build mage. The glow was still there, but dimmed and faint. The boy was left kneeling on the deck, panting heavily from his exertion. His wings had not yet shrunk down, but they where once again a simple, feathered white instead of brilliant gold. Wincing and holding back tears, Hyram pulled himself to his feet, cradling his bleeding hand against the gash in his stomach. He saw his two opponents stagger to their feet, scorched and exhausted, but still advancing. Looking around desperately for an idea, nothing came to him. As they came closer, Hyram looked off the port and saw the shore in the distance. So close, yet so far…but wouldn’t it be better to die trying for the shore then to give up now?
With a desperate cry, Hyram ran toward the railing at a sprint and leaped off, spreading his wings wide to catch the wind. Giving a few unsure flaps, he started to gain altitude and speed, and in short order, the boy realized he was flying. For the first time, he was flying, just like his sister. He turned to face the shore and flapped hard, knowing that his wings wouldn’t last him long, but he could hope it got him close enough that he could swim the rest of the way. Ignoring the shouts and shots from the pirates behind, Hyram flew off into the sky.
Gangplank rushed to the railing as the boy took off toward the shore, leveling his pistol. Before he could fire, Miss Fortune pushed his arm aside so the shot went wide.
“What do you think you be doing!?” The Pirate bellowed as Miss Fortune leaned against the railing, out of breath.
“We need him in one piece, idiot. The boy isn’t like that angel thing he turns into. Shoot him, he doesn’t just shrug it off.” The Bounty Hunter winced as she patted the large black mark on her chest where the angels arrow had struck.
“So then. I guess we still be partners then. ‘Cause from what I be seeing, it be taking both of us to take down the boy without killing him, aye?” Gangplank asked, biting into another orange and nursing numerous scorch marks over his body.
“Aye. But first, I need to check in with my employer. You might as well tag along. Maybe she’ll get it through your thick skull that we need him unhurt, not cut and shot to hell.” Miss Fortune turned to her crew. “Abandon Ship! We're going to shore!”
Hyram wings slowly faded away, giving him time to glide a considerable distance before they finally returned to the tiny vestigial wings he normally had. He crashed into the waves a good distance from the shore. Fortunately, his robe was still a pile of ash on board Sarah’s boat, so it was not there to weigh him down. Hyram fought against the waves, slowly making progress toward the shore.
After what felt like hours, he finally pulled himself up to the beach, coughing up what felt like gallons of seawater. Wanting to roll over and just sleep right where he was, Hyram knew that wasn’t an option. It was barely mid-day and he had to find some place to seek shelter for the night. Already, the wind passing by his bare damp skin caused him to shiver slightly. His wounds no longer bled, but still stung faintly from whatever poison the pirate used and the left side of his face was starting to swell painfully. With a soft groan, Hyram pulled himself to his feet and started walking.
Wondering inland for hours, Hyram finally stumbled across a path. Following it for awhile, he came across a sign, marking the distance to the next town. Giving a sigh, Hyram desperately hoped that this town would be more hospitable then the last. In hushed towns, Hyram read the signs words aloud.
“Welcome to Bandle City.”
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