77 – Speaking Freely

“No.  I’m not letting you go alone.”  You put Mei Mei down and climb out of the boat and wade though the water towards Sasha.   “We have to keep the Desert Fox from killing Rory.   If Rory dies, then the Blue Lady will be free to attack the Shogunate Navy.”

“Who’s Rory?”  Wanhanton asks.

“He was the Fair Folk on the dock.  His life is tied to an Oath the Blue Lady made with someone named Baleor.  The Blue Lady cannot attack the Shogunate Fleet as long as Rory is alive.”

“You do not mean Our Lady of Wonder-Devouring Delight?”   one of the Water Aspect Marines.  “We are under strict order not to engage her.   The Admiral wants the Valiant Hummingbird to play no part in her sick games.”

“Go back with the children.”  Sasha tells the Marine.

“With all due respect, Captain Shen…”

“I don’t care what Shen told you.   He’s…”  Sasha pauses and corrects what she was going to say.  “Captain Shen is over stepping his authority.  Do you understand?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good.  And take my little brother with you.”

“What?!”  You feel a strong hand pull you back towards the ship.

“Svante, you are crazy if you think I am going to let you anywhere near a Lunar. “   Sasha takes a deep breath.  “I’ll make sure that the Desert Fox does not kill Rory.”

Wanahton, who has been quiet during this whole discussion, splashes down into the water and boards the float.  Sasha looks annoyed, but says nothing as she continues walking towards the Lunar’s Anima.  Wanahton follows.

“Wait!” you yell as you are dragged though the water back to the ship by the marine.   This isn’t fair, you think as the boat leaves the float.   They are leaving without me because I’m a kid.  You consider breaking away from the Marine and swimming back, but the Earth Aspect Marine is expecting trouble.  He looks at you and says, “Don’t try me, kid.  I have no qualms about knocking you out to keep you from doing something stupid.”

You and Mei Mei are helped back on the Valiant Hummingbird by the Marines.  Captain Shen is there waiting for you.  “Where is Sasha?”

“She went back to confront the Anathema.”  The Marine Commander reports.

“I see.”  Captain Shen crosses his arms, displeased by this news.

“Sir, we need to go back.” You say.  “There is a Fair Folk on the barge that must live or else the Blue Lady will be free to wreak havoc on the Shogunate Fleet.  “

“Captain, this vessel belongs to Our Lady of Wondering-Devouring Delight.”  One of the Marines says.

The Wood Aspected First Mate winces when he hears the news.  “Captain, I have been ordered to remind you of the Admiral’s…”

“I am fully aware of the Admiral’s orders regarding Our Lady of Wonder-Devouring Delight.”  Captain Shen looks out towards the float, tightly gripping the rail of the ship.   “Wyld take you, Sasha.  Why couldn’t you just leave the Lunar and come back?”

You stand next to the Captain and say “Sir, there is something else you should know.  The Blue Lady, she has the corpse of your Great-Grandfather in her bed.”

The First Mate curses, but Captain Shen turns to you and says “Tell me everything you know.”   You tell him about the Blue Lady, the Desert Fox and her son, Rory and Baelor’s Oath.   When you are finished, Captain Shen calls for his armor.

The First Mate grabs you painfully by the arm.  “All four of Shen’s older brothers were killed by that Wyld Creature.   Are you going to be the one that tells Admiral Mayim that he lost yet another son to that…thing?”

It’s Masaru you dread facing if Captain Shen dies, not Admiral Mayim.   “I won’t let anything happen to him.”  You promise the First Mate…. and Masaru.   The Wood Aspect looks like he is going to say more, but thinks better of it and lets you go.

Captain Shen, now dressed for battle, waits for you by the ladder.  “Down you go, Svante.”  You tuck Mei Mei into your bag and start down the ladder.

Stepping up to the Captain, the First Mate says, “Sir, if I may speak freely.”

“Why ask permission when you are going to anyways, Nesha?”  Shen tells his First Mate as he helps you down the ladder.

“Shen, this is the stupidest thing you have ever done.  You won’t even remember this girl after she leaves.”

“You’ll be surprised what I remember.”  Shen grabs his bag and throws it to you on the boat.

“This is stupider than the time you mutinied against the Wyld Hunt and ran off with that Anathema.”

Shen steps onto the ladders and looks up at his first officer.  “You probably don’t remember this, but that Anathema was actually a Sidereal, Nesha.”

“Take the Marines, at least.  You have to bring more than a twelve year old boy with you.”

“Hey!” you protest from the boat.  “I’m thirteen now!”

The Wood Aspect looks at Shen as if your words are his strongest argument against going back.  When Shen continues down the ladder, he rubs the bridge of his nose.  “Shen, your father won’t be able to protect you from this one.”

“That’s the entire point, Nesha.”  Shen boards the boat and throws the rope at Nesha.

Nesha is quiet after Shen says this.  “Don’t get yourself killed trying to prove something.”

“I’m not planning on dying today.”  Shen yells from the boat.   The Air Aspect adjusts the sails and takes the rudder.

It is a short ride from the Valiant Hummingbird to the Float.   The Float, once a dark forest filled with Wyld beasts is down a battle ground.   Fair Folk fighting Fair Folk.   Shen lands the boat on the beach and jumps out.   “Where do we go now?”  Shen asks you.

“Um…”   Nothing looks the same as it was when you left just a few minutes ago.  There is no Lunar anima in the sky.

Mei Mei starts barking.  “There is someone coming!”  Shen’s hand glows with a frosty blue light.

“Wait!”  You signal Shen to stop casting his bolt.  “I know this one.  It’s Rory.”

“Envoy!  You made it!”   Rory rides up to you on Watcher, covered in multi-colored gore.    “Are the children safe?”

“Yes!”  You bow deeply at the Fair Folk noble.  “I thank you for your service, Rory.”

Rory grin deepens at this news.  “Then we can conclude our agreement.”   Rory holds out his hand for the flask.

What do you do?

  • Give Rory the Flask as you agreed
  • Don’t give Rory the Flask.
  • Other

((I did a little bit of “Not let Sasha go alone” with a forced “Go back to the boat”.  I couldn’t fit in “the Desert Fox is not our enemy.  That may be next post. ))