Western Shores p1 (Wednesday Briefs)

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Welcome to my weekly Wednesday Brief flash fiction entry! This is just a free piece of flash fiction (between 500-1,000) words based off of a prompt. I’m part of a wonderful group of flashers 😉 and I’ll have a link to a site where you can read other stories, after my piece.

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Dark gray blotted out the blue dome of the sky, the brilliant blaze of sunshine disappearing behind dense, twisting clouds. The spray of salt on the air burned her nose, her hair tumbling and tangling with the breeze that stirred off the water. Under her feet the wooden ship creaked and groaned, pitching as waves buffered it. There was an electrical undercurrent on the air, the magic dancing on the tip of her tongue, flowing through her veins, mixing with her blood. It was a ruse, to get those unable to fight out of open water.

She welcomed the fight.

“Captain, we await your orders.”

Piper Black, formally Lady Piper of the notable and honorable Black family barely turned to acknowledge the man at her side. “We hold course.”

“The storm?” He stepped closer, appearing on the fringes of her vision. Nyct had a far less honorable upbringing than her own, but it only meant that they could get into the best of trouble. He was tall ands solid, a good helmsman. His skin was dark as night, mottled with shades of green and purple in certain light. The skin at his wrists was pale and fragile, far lighter than the rest of his body. Mottled, raised scars littered his arms and torso, though he was loathe to share them.

“Magic,” She responded. Chewed on her thumbnail, spitting it into the wind. “Nothing that I can’t handle.” She looked up at him, once more quelling the urge to reach up and trace the scar that ran from the corner of his mouth to his ear. It marked him as a slave in a past life. The ruby ring on his thumb marked him as hers.

She ached to feel that skin under her hands, to test the difference between scar and smooth, to hear what response her touch would garner from the quiet man. “Take your post, have the crew hold fast. They’re feeling us out.”

“For what?” He didn’t move, instead crossed his arms over his massive chest, staring out onto the frothing water as the waves tumbled and tossed over each other. “I feel a fighting spirit.”

“It’s mine, and my familiar.” She pointed up, to the sky at the spiraling osprey. “Just letting them know we’re here, and not to be taken lightly.” The massive bird screeched, took it’s descent. Piper held out a gloved hand, the heavy leather covering from fingertip to elbow as the bird perched.

“I thought we were passing as merchants this time.” Nyct’s voice was light, teasing as he turned from her and went back to his post. His voice carried on the wind as he dealt out orders and commands.

“What have you found little one?” She could glean images from the bird’s mind, piecing together the story and the ship that nipped at the edges of the magical storm. She scratched with one finger under the bird’s beak and let it take off once more to hunt.

Overhead the clouds grew thicker, darker, the scent of rain on the winds that picked up. The Osiris was a sturdy ship, battle mage class, making it large and well built. At capacity it houses a crew of seventy with an additional thirty passengers. Piper had bought it dirt cheap and reconstructed it from bare bones, weaving her own magic and life spells into it. Her main mage class being storm–a wild elemental magic though highly unpredictable was one of the most powerful. The magic flowed through her family tree, strong and unavoidable, despite her parents’ smothering ideals and the near snuffing of her own life, just to control her abilities.

“Prepare for conflict.” She said, knowing that her words would carry to her crew of fifteen. She had handpicked the saltiest of sailors and a handful of mages. The only outlier being Nyct, and he had found his own way amongst the rest of the crew.

“Main target?” Nyct answered her. He had taken his position at the helm, hands loosely gripping the wheel.

Piper flung a thread of magic out onto the wind, watching the pale purple light dance and dip on the waves, disappearing under water as it sped toward the intended target. A feeler, intending to source the counter mage. She grinned savagely when she saw the source of the weather.

He was short and squat, sweating under the pressure of maintaining the growing storm. The ability to call the winds and surf was secondary to him, his primary magic source on display by way of a massive clear crystal that swung on the end of a chain around his neck. The clarity and shape was indicative of the frozen magics of the tundra. They were good for shielding and protection, not so great when it came to offensive maneuvers. Those touched by ice often studied higher mage levels to keep themselves safe.

She gave her feeler thread a little ‘push’ urging it onto the ship. It darted across the wooden support beams, wrapping its way to the deck and slithering along the worn planks. Another mental shove and it wound its way up the man’s leg, under cloth against clammy, sweat soaked skin.

The mage lost his concentration, a wide band of lightening arcing across the sky, the winds howling as the storm gave birth to a squalling, howling mass of the elements. “Hold steady, hold course, we’ll sail through.” She cried out as the gales carried rain and sea water over the railings of her ship. “My last order is to be ignored, there won’t be any conflict.” She climbed up the mast, holding tight to the grips to release the rigging holding back the sails.

The cloth unfurled with a sharp snap, catching the gusts, the ship lurching forward, dancing on top of the waves, barreling toward the ship harboring the ice mage who thought that he could tangle with her.

She was Lady Black Captain of the Osiris, Commander of storms called by all: Victorious.

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