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Let Me Be Your Anchor, Your Pull Onto The Shore

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Rikki Chadwick, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. Rikki Chadwick

    Rikki Chadwick H2O: Just Add Water

    Posts:
    83
    Gender:
    female
    Occupation:
    Treasure Hunter
    Race:
    mermaid
    Age:
    26
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    Directory:
    link
    @John Silver | July 15th | close to Pandora Town
    [​IMG]
    The wind was raging across the waves, sending lightning into the water and rain onto the planks of any ship that dared to be out still - or that was unfortunate to not have gotten the chance to return into the harbour before the storm hit. No lucky soul was still out there. But, perhaps, the sole ship's sailor wasn't exactly lucky.

    Some feet beneath the surface, the sea was serene, as if Rikki was caught in the eye of the storm, while everything around her fell apart. Or, above her, in this case. The storm didn't affect her there, swimming across the floor of the sea, and the only way she knew at all that there was a storm happening, was a random glance she'd thrown upwards a few minutes ago, seen the waves dancing wildly, and the sky dark with clouds.

    It wasn't as if she could entirely forget the fact that she wasn't home anymore. Diving for artifacts, to create some feeling of familiarity, wasn't making her forget the weirdness of this place. Vampires, aliens, demigods, goddamn spaceships - everything existed here, and somehow didn't just result in the biggest chaos. Rikki didn't have any idea how that was supposed to work, but apparently it did.
    But, when she was diving over the reef - that was the same. It didn't feel entirely out of place and time, like so many other things here did. She could pretend she was diving through the Mariana Trench or the Eastern Sea or somewhere else; even the fish she'd never seen back home didn't feel weird to look at. There were so many things that she hadn't seen on the ground of the ocean yet, and pretending that this was one of them, was easy. Too easy.

    Another glance towards the surface, just in case the storm had moved on.

    Rikki frowned. A shape was darkening the waves, jumping from one wave to the next, but not in the most gracious way.
    Why would someone still be out here in that storm?
    Slowly, she pushed herself off of the ground where she'd been searching for things in the sand, and ascended towards the dangerously dancing ship. Not, because she had a worry for the passengers, sitting in the pit of her stomach, but because this somehow attracted her interest. A single ship, out alone on sea, all the while the weather was that awful.
    Who is stupid enough to sail out during a lightning storm, really?
    The mermaid knew the sea by now. She knew when to stay at shore, and when it was safe to dive. Rikki was certainly better suited for diving during dangerous weathers, but that didn't mean she was invincible. And most definitely not stupid either.
     
    #1 Rikki Chadwick, Jul 6, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  2. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    [​IMG]
    The sea was roaring like a beast unleashed - waves grasping at the hull, trying to pull it under. Tossing the boat from side to side while its lone sailor slithered across the wet deck, from rope to rope. Tugging, adjusting, pulling the sails in.

    John saved himself the curses he wanted to shout to the skies, because he needed the breath.
    His leg was aching, and he was trying his best not to slip and fall overboard.

    The boat was creaking but it was holding strong, and all he could do was hope that she'd make it.
    He's never been an owner of a boat before, but now finally he could understand the look in Flint's eyes whenever the Walrus was wrecked. It was made all the worse for the fact that John had build this boat himself. Partly, anyway. And he loved her dearly.

    It had been his fault, his stupid mistake to assume the storm would move along, around the shores, that he'd have enough time to outrun it.
    But he's never been a captain, and sailing had never quite come easy to him. His knowledge had its holes and stumbles, and all the times he's experienced a storm at sea, it had been as a sailor, a cook, a quartermaster, following commands thrown his way - and, he's never been alone before.

    It was crazy, how much difference a crew made.
    He had a small boat now, and still the absence of any support was noticeable immensely.
    If only he'd have a few helping hands, if only he'd have a few men to rely on.

    With another harsh tug the remaining sail was pulled in and fixed.
    John clung to the mast for just a moment longer, trying to secure his stance before returning to the helm and gripping it tight.
    It was slippery from the water, his knuckles drawing white against it, and the ache in his muscles made the task all the harder.
    John was soaked to the bone, water dripping from his curls which weren't quite long enough yet to be tied back but were certainly getting there. It was hard to see much of anything, and frankly he didn't even know which course he was sailing on any longer.

    His calm demeanor was slowly slipping, panic climbing its way out of its shell, and he wished Flint would be here, to seize control of the situation with his usual determination and commanding tone.
    But Flint wasn't here, and if John didn't want to drown, he needed to find his way out of this storm and onto calmer waters once more.
    For that, however, he would need to know which direction the storm was moving into, and sail against it. And, frankly, he had no clue how to do that.

    The next wave that fell send him sliding across deck, fingers grasping for the railing before he could fall - into the water or onto the wet wood, either way. His hair clung to his skin, making it hard to see beneath the already near-black skies, and John quickly brushed them back with a hand.
    That was when he caught sight of something in the water.
    It could have been a rock, or just a peculiar gleam of water, but he hesitated for just long enough to realize that it was ... tail ?

    It wouldn't be his first time encountering a mermaid - and now was certainly not the right moment to wonder about it, but when the creature emerged from the water, though only briefly in the raging waves, John felt his breath halt in his throat.
    "Rikki?"

    It was only half a shout against the forces of nature, perhaps not enough for her to hear at all - but he couldn't muster much else at the moment.
    In the water and the darkness and the winds he couldn't realize what it was that looked subtly different about her.
    His grip on the railing weakened, memories seeming to grasp at his wrists instead, and once more he felt like he was being thrown back into a grave he thought to have sealed.

    Another wave crashed into the side of the boat and John's leg gave out under him.
    He fell, hitting his shoulder against the anchor windlass painfully.

    He had to bring the boat ahull, lean it beam on to the wind, now that she was finally under bare poles.
    That was how one rode out a storm, he believed to remember.
    For that he'd first need to lash the helm, pointing the vessel leewards; that was what he'd been trying to do before the next wave had crashed and send him against the railing, but his fingers were slipping off the wood, and every tug the wind enforced was so exhausting to counter. It ached, in his leg especially.
    And John wasn't certain for how much longer he'd be able to keep this up at such a pace.

     
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  3. Rikki Chadwick

    Rikki Chadwick H2O: Just Add Water

    Posts:
    83
    Gender:
    female
    Occupation:
    Treasure Hunter
    Race:
    mermaid
    Age:
    26
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    Directory:
    link
    [​IMG]
    She hadn't meant to come so near, but the waves made the ship dance like a puppet, strings in hand and their grip so tight it nearly broke the wooden cross to which the strings were attached, and they made it dance into her direction. For a moment only, she emerged from the water, immediately moving her fin against the motion, but she heard the sailor's yell, before the waves swallowed every sound again.

    Rikki.
    Her name.
    How in the world would a random sailor in this hard-to-understand dimension know her very name?!
    No, that was ridiculous. It had probably been something entirely different, twisted by the overall soundscape, the waves, the storm.

    Whatever it was though, that he had yelled, it had sounded a bit hopeful. Maybe that too was just imagination, but it tore at her regardless. Secret keeping aside, there were good chances this man would drown if nobody helped him navigate through the storm, back to the coast, into the harbour. And maybe Rikki wasn't the most social butterfly to swim under the sun, but she didn't want that blood on her hands, she didn't want to toss and turn at night, wondering whether or not he'd made it back home safely in the end. She was not cruel, just not a people pleaser.

    Pushing the confused frown out of her face, the mermaid came back up to the surface - only faster this time, her tail making heavy motions through the waves and a trail of white bubbles indicating how she picked up speed.
    Rikki broke through the surface, the cold wind catching her, but being unable to manipulate her course - she was too fast for that.
    The wooden planks gave a loud tumbling sound, when her body crashed onto the ship, rolling a few more feet, before her back hit the railing, momentarily knocking the air out of her lungs.

    "Ugh, fucking--" The idea to propel herself onto the ship, to then grab a rope and jump back into the sea, hadn't included crashing hard against wood, but she should've thought of that before starting a rescue mission, probably.

    Rikki's eyes scanned her surroundings, landing on the sailor himself, and how he was desperately holding onto however that part of the ship was called, face pulled into a deep, exhausted frown and fingers white from the tension of holding onto the slippery wood. Better, she hurried to drag him out of here. For her, on the ground of the ocean, it wouldn't be hard to find back to shore, but up here, she could perfectly understand why he had problems getting any sense of direction.

    "Can you throw me a rope?" she yelled over the storm while stemming her hands onto the planks. "I'll drag you back to the coast!" God, she hoped he wouldn't faint after seeing a mermaid for the first time. Dragging herself across the wooden floor to get that rope herself, and then back to the railing, would exhaust her more than it would do any good.
     
    #3 Rikki Chadwick, Jul 20, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  4. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    Giving in was not an option, because the storm would always win, and John knew that. He's survived a tempest, and he knew the hardship which came with it. He also knew the cruelty and force of nature - he's seen men drown and go over deck like they were no heavier than a feather.

    Pushing himself to his feet again, John ignored the ache in his shoulder.
    He wanted to step to the railing once more, just to cast another glance into the waves, see whether the tailed woman had truly been whom he thought to have seen, or whether it had merely been a play of light - but this was not the time for it.
    Instead, he fought his way back to the helm. It was thrown about wildly by the stir of the water underneath, and the winds pushing the boat from side to side. He needed a rope to lash it - only then could he attempt steering the vessel leewards.

    The maneuvering across wet floorboards was a task that needed to be learned with time and experience. John had become better at it than he's once been, but he slipped a few times regardless, pushing himself away from the helm to use the motion and the wetness of the deck, he slithered as if on ice to the opposite railing.
    His hand had hardly grasped the rope, about to untie it from the spot it was currently securing but not further needed at any longer, when something hit the boat.

    At first he thought it's been but another wave, but something about it hadn't felt right. The impact hadn't come from the side, but from above, and the water hadn't scattered, drowning his boots.
    No, it hadn't been a wave.
    It had been a body.

    For a blank moment John just stared, as if struck by lightning, at the mermaid who was sprawled out on his deck.
    And, for a brief moment, his mind wondered what would have happened, had this went down on the Walrus, how many men would have jumped at the opportunity to make a wish or get some magical blood or hell knew what.
    But that was, of course, of no relevance in that moment whatsoever.

    At least now, there was no doubt any longer - it was Rikki. And John wasn't certain whether this clarification should reassure him, because it really didn't feel like it was.
    Can you throw me a rope?
    The sailor needed a moment to recollect any meaning of words at all. But this was life or death, he was stuck out here, and at least his mind was used enough to dangerous situations to push him into action.

    He grasped the rope he's been meaning to reach for anyway, quickly untying it from its prior spot and tugging it along with him towards the bow. Throwing one end towards Rikki, and pulling the other with him, he paused only for a moment to look over his shoulder towards the woman.
    The shock and the pain and the memories that attempted to flood him, he kept at bay only because of the urging situation at hand.
    "Are you sure you will manage?"

    He shouted across the storm, but already leaning over the railing starboard, where he believed he'd be able to secure the rope better to the boat's bowsprit, seeing as the vessel was currently leaning dangerously port-side, something John attempted to do his best at not panicking over.




    Helm - the steering wheel of a boat
    Lash the helm - secure the helm with a rope and prevent it from moving
    Leeward - upwind; against the wind
    Lying ahull - a controversion method of weathering a storm
    Beam - vessel's width at the widest point
    Under bare poles - with no sails set; all sails pulled up
    Bow - the front of the vessel
    Starboard - the right-hand side of the vessel, when facing the bow
    Port - the left-hand side of the vessel, when facing the bow
    Bowsprit - image reference
     
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  5. Rikki Chadwick

    Rikki Chadwick H2O: Just Add Water

    Posts:
    83
    Gender:
    female
    Occupation:
    Treasure Hunter
    Race:
    mermaid
    Age:
    26
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    Directory:
    link
    [​IMG]
    Truth be told, for a second there, she thought he'd really faint, staring at her, frozen mid-motion. Luckily, that wasn't the case - if either because he wasn't entirely shocked about her being, or because he was good at swallowing it in the face of danger, didn't really matter and she, for the moment, didn't really care either. Any conversation the two of them were having, revolved solely around the storm and how to get the ship out of it safely; small talk had to be scheduled for later, and Rikki was glad he realized that quickly.

    She caught the rope barely, but she caught it, thin fingers wrapping tightly around its wet material. Rikki rolled onto her back and sat up as best as she managed. The railing behind her helped immensely in that regard. She tied the rope around her waist, using one of three naval knots she knew, and then moved the knot itself onto her back.

    The question made her look up from the rope in her hands; she didn't think he asked because he doubted her, but because he was worried for some reason. Which, made sense in some way, she guessed, seeing as the storm was heavy and the ship was too; yet it caught her by surprise. "I am!" she shouted back, before grabbing the railing and starting to pull herself up and then over it.

    At least, that was the plan. It took quite the effort and strength, and the slippery wood didn't help at all. The mermaid cursed under her breath, slipping off the railing and back onto the deck, losing hard-won inches, before she could stop the motion.

    Maybe, throwing herself onto the ship had been a good idea, but perhaps she should've thought about how to get off of it again, too. Rikki didn't wanna ask the sailor for help, seeing as the last time she had glanced in his direction, he'd barely managed to stay afoot himself, and she could imagine very well, how difficult it was for him to even walk on the wet planks, much less lift something over the railing.

    No, Rikki had to manage this on her own, and she'd be damned if she didn't. So, again, she grabbed onto the railing, took a deep breath, and pulled herself upwards. The wood cut into her palms, so tightly did she grip into it, and when her chest finally lay on the upper side of the railing, the next problem arose: the rope was tied around her waist and inconveniently prevented her from dragging herself any further.

    The wind cut through her hair, sending the cold rain into her face like needles pinching her skin. Rikki tried to use her tail for support, repeatedly hitting it against the deck to tip her balance to the other side of the railing, but it wasn't made for that kind of motion, and in that very moment, the mermaid realized how a fish on land must've felt, desperately trying to get back into the water. The muscles underneath her skin ached from how tense she held them to not slip backwards, while, at the same time, not getting any inch forward.
     
    #5 Rikki Chadwick, Jul 22, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  6. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
    No one, from nowhere, belonging to nothing.

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    Fumbling with a rope while half hanging over the railing in the midst of a tempest was... quite a task.
    They've had men for that on the Walrus, a handful of men from the crew who were stronger, more physically in control of their bodies than the rest of them. Those men had climbed the masts during storms and secured the sails with their bare hands, pulling the heavy linen up and securing it with the rigging, because often it was near impossible to raise the sails from the deck when the winds were this strong.
    John had gotten lucky to have taken in the sails before the worst of the storm had hit him.

    His fingers kept on slipping off the rope he was trying to tie into a secure knot - one of the many he's learned aboard the ship.
    It was one of the simpler ones, though a steady knot regardless. Yet, while John was trying to balance himself on deck and at the same time secure the rope, no knot would really seem simple.
    The storm pulled and tugged and fought with him over the ship, trying to tear the rope from his hands, force him to make a mistake.
    But this wasn't the first tempest he was facing - though it was the first he was facing alone - and he didn't give up no matter how often the rope slipped from his grasp.

    Lightning danced across the sky for the fourth time when he managed to tug the knot tight and secure, pulling once, twice, to be sure it wouldn't get loose. But it didn't give, and there was nothing else he could do.

    When he faced the weather deck once more, Rikki was still there. Though, as it seemed, not voluntarily so.
    Her tail hit the wooden floarboards repeatedly, the motion hard and looking like it had to hurt, but it didn't get her forward, and John had his doubts that it ever would.
    Thunder shook the skies, stirring up the waves once more. The former Quartermaster ducked in time when a tall wave crashed into the boat from the front, sending a wall of water over him and the deck, and for a moment he was ankle-deep in sea water before it escaped through the floorboards and cracks, and back over the railing towards the aft of the vessel.

    But he didn't cower from the water for long.
    As soon as the wave had hit deck, he was back in motion, half walking and half sliding towards the opposite railing where Rikki was stuck between the sea and its current toy.
    "Hold on!"

    The shout was carried along the wind, torn from him the moment it left his mouth.
    Another wave rocked the boat, and John caught himself against the railing before he could slip and fall, catching his breath only for a heartbeat before his hands found Rikki's hips, grasping firmly but trying not to cause harm as he secured his stance as good as he possibly could at the moment, and then pushed.

    John wasn't an unusually strong man.
    Yes, he worked out, and yes, he's been a sailor on open sea - and sailing was straining work, it demanded not only a fierce character able to resist the ocean's many tragedies, but also a strong body, capable of wielding a ship of immense sizes.
    John was strong, he had a sailor's build and a veteran's endurance, but he was also handicapped and not exactly tall. Stood in the midst of a storm upon slippery deck after having tried to wield his boat by himself for quite some time already.
    So trying to raise Rikki up high enough to get the rope around her waist over the railing was exhausting work for him. It made his arms tremble from tension and it settled in a tugging ache in his leg.
    But the more it didn't work, the more he was determined to make it work.

    When a wave hit the hull once more, it came from just the right side in just the right time, adding force to John's own attempt, and in the next moment, the tied rope was across the railing and a mermaid's tail slipping past his hands into the sea.
    John stumbled a step back, grasping the railing and casting a glance into the near-black waters that arched up towards him like a beast's claws eager to tear up his throat.




    Aft - the back/end of the vessel
    Rigging - system of ropes upon the ship ("Tauwerk")
    Hull - outer body of the vessel
     
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  7. Rikki Chadwick

    Rikki Chadwick H2O: Just Add Water

    Posts:
    83
    Gender:
    female
    Occupation:
    Treasure Hunter
    Race:
    mermaid
    Age:
    26
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    Directory:
    link
    [​IMG]
    Fuck fuck fuck, this wasn't working. No matter how much she pulled, how much the wood bruised her skin, the mermaid's mid was stuck between railing and deck and no amount of trying to lift her waist even a few inches seemed to work. The way the waves shook the boat, throwing it around like a plastic toy in a bathtub, made her slip again and again; by the time the fourth or so lightning struck the raging sea, Rikki was sure the wood was starting to cut open her palms, which stung awfully.

    Maybe she had to untie the knot, take the rope into her hands and jump into the waves to tie it around her body there? Giving up on the hard-won inches felt awful, but what else was she supposed to do?
    It didn't come to that, luckily, suddenly hands wrapping around her hips and pushing, where she couldn't, due to the lack of muscles and body structure that would've allowed that. To be fair, she didn't feel great, realizing she needed the human sailor to heave her off his ship, and his hands felt rough on her skin when he started supporting her efforts to lift herself over the railing. The only reason she wasn't telling him to take his hands off of her again, was, that she immediately understood, he merely wanted to help her. And he succeeded in doing so too.

    Suddenly, the resistance vanished, and Rikki slipped out of the sailor's grip, and seconds later entered the raging sea, hands first. Water rushed by her. She swam a small arch back to the surface, if only to signal the man she was fine, before diving down to the front of the hull. Here was to hoping the boat wasn't as heavy as it looked. The mermaid pushed forward, causing the rope to tense up, and then she sped up slowly. The fact that the boat was made for cutting through water, helped immensely. So did her general mermaid powers with which she held the ship upright - it wasn't easy, focusing her telekinetic abilities on the ship while also keeping course to the shore, and former slipped from her mind a few times, waves crashing against the hull and pulling uncomfortably on the rope that was tied around her waist. An object of that size had never been subject of her powers before and she noticed how straining that was, very quickly. But now she had promised to help him and she would keep that promise.

    Navigating was easy down there, though. She could easily spot the shore, and even before that, she knew where she was and how she'd get back to Pandora Town. Alone, on top speed, Rikki might've needed a few minutes top to reach the coast, but the ship was obviously slowing her down. It was hard to say just how long it took them in the end, but it certainly felt longer than half an hour. Perhaps even an hour, with how far the storm had pushed his boat away from shore. Too late did she realize just what an act of strength she had agreed to because it made sense in her head and because she couldn't have left the sailor out on sea to die. On the way to the harbour, Rikki didn't notice it yet, but latest, when she could finally slow down and let the ship glide into the port itself, the mermaid felt pain radiating from her stomach. And not just the pain she'd expected from a hard workout or something.

    She'd chosen the pier furthest away from the center of the harbour, so she could exit the water without getting spotted immediately, and after untying the knot around her waist and pulling herself onto the beach, Rikki unceremoniously collapsed onto her back and closed her eyes in exhaustion. Gods, everything ached. Especially her stomach region, which was probably black and blue by now, if she'd seen that correctly while glancing down for a few seconds. Usually, speeding up and swimming didn't even remotely exhaust her that much, but pulling a ship out of a storm and half a mile into the harbour, while, at the same time, keeping it afloat with her telekinetic powers? Yeah, no, the mermaid was exhausted, feeling a headache creeping up at the back of her head to generously join in on the fun.
     
    #7 Rikki Chadwick, Aug 17, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
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  8. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
    No one, from nowhere, belonging to nothing.

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    Whatever he's expected to come from this - it had not been the actual possibility of Rikki being capable of pulling the entire sailboat through the stormy waters by herself.
    But the unexpected always seemed to find a way to catch him by the ankles, and all John was left to do was let it happen. Take it in and accept the circumstances.

    When the boat set itself into motion, its lone sailor did whatever was in his abilities to help the creature that was saving him from possible death, so unlike the tales of her kind tended to be telling.
    It was not an easy journey, nor a fast one, but it was the best option he could have hoped for, and by the time the skies cleared above him and the waters quieted, John was near-trembling from exhaustion, soaked to the bone and leaning over the helm of his little boat.
    It was a feeling too familiar, but it also filled him with relief and pride to know that once again he had been able to escape the sea's rage, even though he realized that most of it had not been his doing.

    The port was a promised safe haven, and John only had to do very little steering to wield the ship into the harbor, and align it neatly with the jetty before anchoring the vessel securely and eventually mooring it on dry grounds.
    By the time John was climbing off deck, he felt exactly like any sailor tended to feel after a long day of work on a ship - wrecked.
    Everything ached, and remaining upright on his feet was a demanding task all of itself suddenly. All he wanted was to sink into a hot bath and afterwards curl up in a warm, cozy bed, because he was freezing from the water, and not eager to sail out again today.

    But no matter how much he wanted to get home, there were other important matters that needed taking care of first - Rikki.
    He still couldn't believe it, and he doubted he'd be able to in the next days, even though it wasn't such an unusual occurrence around here for people to come back once more.
    Perhaps it was good that it wasn't a rare occurrence, because this way, at least, John knew that she wouldn't remember him. She wouldn't remember Flint, and the bookstore, and their argument.
    She'd know nothing.
    It was a bittersweet feeling, but John was an opportunist, and he'd make the most of it. After all, wasn't that what he's wanted - a fresh start?

    The former pirate's steps were heavy, a limp making his stride irregular in rhythm, as he crossed the distance towards the mermaid who's dragged herself on shore. She was alive. She hadn't drowned - though he didn't know if mermaids could drown - nor had her strength given out and the storm tossed her all across the sea like a hollow ragdoll.
    And that alone was enough to ease John a little.
    He lowered himself into the sand next to her a little unsteadily, casting a concerned glance towards her bruised skin where the rope must have cut into it - he's made enough experiences with rope-work to know how that felt like.
    "Hey.... are you alright?"

    Perhaps 'alright' was a little too much to be asking, but the genuine care and concern in his voice evened it out.
    Alright meant as well as could be under current circumstances, and he hoped she wouldn't assume him to be mocking her.





    Jetty - 'Anlegesteg'
    Mooring - attaching/securing a vessel (usually with a rope) to a permanent structure

     
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  9. Rikki Chadwick

    Rikki Chadwick H2O: Just Add Water

    Posts:
    83
    Gender:
    female
    Occupation:
    Treasure Hunter
    Race:
    mermaid
    Age:
    26
    Alignment:
    Chaotic Good
    Directory:
    link
    [​IMG]
    Rikki dragged out a long sigh, blinking against the light when she opened up her eyes again to look at her company. He seemed genuinely concerned about her and she guessed it made a lot sense, since he was in her debt now. She hadn't needed to pull him ashore, but that was exactly what she'd done and he was probably hella grateful that she had. Rikki had never been forced to witness, nor survive a storm out on sea, while being basically stuck on a ship - she wouldn't know what that was like, but she couldn't imagine it to be pretty if any of the movies she's ever watched were anything to go by.

    "Well, I guess I can forget wearing crop-tops for the next weeks," she mumbled half-jokingly, before shaking her head and firmly stating: "No, I'm just exhausted. It's nothing." Really, Rikki didn't want this guy to worry more than was necessary, mostly because she had a problem with anyone being overly mothering to her, and even though she'd just saved him and wanted him to be thankful for it, didn't mean she'd accept his care so easily. Which, ironically enough, wasn't so different for her company, but she obviously didn't know that.

    The headache really was getting to her now, with the exhaustion catching up, both mentally and physically. The mermaid pressed a hand against her forehead, too late realizing that it was covered in sand, and when she did realize, she groaned, staring disappointedly at her palm before rubbing her hands against each other to make the sand go away. "Why were you even out there?" Rikki asked with a confused tone to her voice, while brushing the sand off her face now too. She might've wanted to support herself on her elbows, but there was no way in hell, that she'd move another muscle unless absolutely necessary.
     
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  10. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    Perhaps sitting down had not been the best option in this moment - suddenly John wasn't so certain anymore whether he'd be able to pus himself up to his feet again. At least not in the next few hours to come.
    It was all the more tempting to just follow Rikki's example and let himself fall back-flat onto the sand, but then - first of all, he'd end up covered in sand - he'd be unable to stir again for certain, unless somebody came after him with a torch or something.

    I'm just exhausted, it's nothing
    The hint of a bittersweet smile tugged at his lips, as John stared out towards the waves. Oh how familiar he was with that phrase - and how often he's spoken it himself. Over and over again, towards every concerned glance from Howell and every silent but near-judging look Billy cast him.
    It reminded him why, perhaps, he and Rikki had gotten along as well as they had that first time around. She was older now, he could see that, and it was a strange concept, but he'd yet come around to it - as he had to most of Pandora's strangeness so far.

    "Just wanted to enjoy the day. When I spotted the storm, I thought I could outrun it - my boat is smaller and faster than anything I've been used to so far, and this clearly had me miscalculating the situation."

    A faint shrug of shoulders followed, but no bitterness or anger at his own mistake. In the end, experience was the best teacher, as John knew well, and his excuse had not been one at all - it was the truth.
    He was still getting used to 0910 Aloha and her maneuvering. He's never steered his own ship (boat) before, and the ones he's been one had been ten times her size.
    But practice made masters of all, and John thought he was on the bets way there, at the very least.

    There was no urge to tell Rikki of all that had been but all she didn't know - in fact, John was comfortable as it was now, with that girl who was a girl no longer, who didn't know him anymore.
    With a chance to create something new, something that he didn't need to make the same mistakes in as before.
    At some point, surely, he would tell her - bits and pieces, at the very least. Latest when she'd get to see the scale he wore around his neck by incident, she'd have questions for certain, and John would be willing to answer them.
    But there was no need to recollect the details of a story that was dead.

     
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  11. Rikki Chadwick

    Rikki Chadwick H2O: Just Add Water

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    Her gaze still sat on him, even when he watched the waves shake his small boat softly. For the fact that he might've died out there, he seemed utterly calm and not even very upset, which had Rikki wondering if he was an experienced sailor, or if that was just overly stupid optimism. Whatever it was though, a part of her was very glad she'd been around; no matter how much she wasn't a socializing soul, there were these moments, more so in recent years, where Rikki found herself lending a hand far more easily than in her teenage years. Maybe because she'd learnt to play the part after rising to local fame, maybe she had softened and simply changed her ways.

    "God, I could kill for a coffee right about now." She sighed. "And a bubble bath or something." Where the recent love for baths came from, Rikki wasn't sure either. In the trailer she and her dad had lived in, she had somehow managed to shower even after having been turned into a mermaid, and for a long while, that had been enough for her. Now that she could afford things like an apartment with bathtub and shower cabinet, Rikki felt it'd be a waste to not enjoy a relaxing bath once in a while.
    And especially now, she felt that she'd deserve that.

    Yet, she didn't stir; mainly, because she still had a tail in place of her legs and using her nifty powers to dry herself seemed impossible with the headache terrorizing her, but also because even with legs, Rikki felt as if she could've tried and still would've stayed unable to get up.

    "I'm Rikki, by the way." A pause, before she continued in an almost sarcastic tone: "You know, so you don't have to call me mermaid saviour or something." Rikki scrunched her nose in distaste at the image alone.
     
    #11 Rikki Chadwick, Aug 24, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
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  12. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    I could kill for a coffee right about now
    The smile slipped into a soft laugh as John reminisced on times past - on the hot chocolate they've shared and the talks they've had. It was like reading a book, recalling the story.
    John's always been good at distancing himself from the past, and one might argue that in this place it was easier to do so than any other, and they wouldn't be wrong.
    But it inevitably left him wondering just how long he'd be able to continue in such a matter, and where it would stop.
    If Aaron were to vanish and reappear -.... John violently drowned the thought in the very waves he was watching, letting the salt consume the mere possibility of it.
    He would not dwell on matters that were not, and not on those that could maybe perhaps yet come to be.
    He was here and he was now and that was all that would ever be of any worth or relevance.

    "Replace that coffee with a hot chocolate and I'm right there with you."

    It was merely fair, in some way, wasn't it?
    To take this as a new start and not refer to what's been.
    Rikki was not who she's been last time any longer. She was no more a girl quite unsure of herself, putting up with a world too cruel to swallow; she was a woman, in control of herself and her environment if John was any good at people reading. She's changed, she wasn't the same person now, so why should he attempt to push her into a skin that was no longer her fit?

    Imagining Rikki in a bubble bath (in no wrong ways, really) was fairly amusing.
    John couldn't quite puzzle together how she'd be able to get comfortable in a tub with that tail, but he was genuinely glad she's gotten he chance to discover this for herself. Better late than never.

    When she introduced herself, the former pirate finally turned towards her, a smile tugging at his lips. A part of him wanted to say I know, but it was alright to let this be an unspoken thought and nothing more.
    He offered his hand like the gentleman he'd never be, not much caring that his skin was still wet from the sea water - she wasn't doing much better, after all.
    "John Silver. And promised, I won't call you mermaid saviour - but I'll gladly get you that desired coffee for saving me and my boat."

    To another story. A new chapter in a book that's been scribbled out.
    Onto discovering once more, who John Silver would be to Rikki and to himself in this new timeline, on these shores.

     
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  13. Rikki Chadwick

    Rikki Chadwick H2O: Just Add Water

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    "Why not both?" Rikki mumbled, eyes closed and with controlled breathing to get the headache under control. "Coffee with chocolate syrup or something?" In that moment, she really couldn't have cared less about what it would be, as long as it'd be something to soothe her aching nerves. While she'd never been a tea person, she had definitely taken a liking to coffee lately, mostly because that was often readily available, wherever she went for a dive; hot chocolate on the other hand, everybody seemed to make differently, and unlike coffee, Rikki only enjoyed one specific way of taste when it came to hot chocolate. But that was utterly irrelevant at the moment too.

    She shook the hand for a moment, but withdrew quickly, her arm aching from the movement alone. Despite her usual business demeanor whenever meeting someone older than herself, Rikki simply couldn't be bothered at the moment to add her last name when she heard his; maybe, because the situation they'd just been in, was far different to how she usually met people, maybe because he didn't seem to be the guy to be big on formalities to begin with. Maybe, because it really didn't matter. She didn't want him to call her Miss Chadwick anyway.

    As if on cue, a sudden awareness spread through her body, signaling how dry her tail had become during the last minutes, and before she could say something further, like Sorry, we have to wait for my tail to dry first., Rikki turned into bubbles. A blue mass of bubbles, vaguely human shaped and shortening itself within a second or two; the tail shifting into legs, and the scaly bikini top vanishing in favour of a white blouse and some black hotpants. Her black heels dug into the sand when Rikki moved her legs to stretched them a bit, before she attempted to sit up. Not very successfully so.
    The moment the mermaid put pressure on her stomach muscles and moved upwards, she was painfully reminded of how much of a not-possible that was right now. She cursed under her breath, took another one and bit her teeth together, ignoring the pain for long enough to get herself up onto her feet again. Because hell was she gonna let anyone help her with that.

    Rikki had to blink a few times to steady herself. Her head was swimming dangerously. Another deep breath which she held for a handful of seconds. "Okay. Okay, let's- go. I'm alright." And in that second it wasn't quite possible to say for certain if she told that to her company or herself.
     
  14. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    The dreams of hot coffee on a beach was just one of the many things that were only possible in Pandora, and John smiled at the image of chocolate-syrup-coffee, and the absolute luxury it still presented to him, on some level.
    He wasn't one of those people who believed one should never forget where they came from (speaking social status here), but he certainly knew that there was nothing he'd take for granted, no matter which world and no matter how much time would pass.
    It wasn't easy to forget what it was like to have nothing, and John had no desire to, either - he knew most in life was fleeting, and appreciating what he had was one of the simplest ways to make life truly worthwhile.

    The sudden change from mermaid to bubbles was what tore him out of his coffee dreaming; it wasn't the first time he was seeing Rikki transform, but it was fascinating each time anew.
    It made him think, how, for a brief moment, she was neither mermaid nor human. She was just.... water, in some form. And something about this thought was oddly interesting to linger on for a moment longer.
    Then there was the not-serious jealousy there, of course. Rikki's been wearing less than him, and thus she's dried quicker than him. At this point it was fair to say they had both been practically immersed in water, with the amounts of waves and rain that had crashed down upon him, John might as well have been diving in the sea alongside her. But most of his clothes were still dripping wet, and his hair wasn't exactly doing much better. To be entirely honest he was miserable and freezing, and perhaps he's cast Rikki a somewhat jealous glance. Briefly.

    It didn't come to him to offer a hand right away when she struggled getting to her feet - out of the all the known reasons.
    John himself wasn't certain how to go about this whole getting-to-his-feet maneuver quite yet. He couldn't feel the entirety of his left leg anymore, aside from the sharp sparks of pain that shot up his nerves with each oh so small motion. And the sand was unsteady and slippery, once more reminding him of just how much he truly hated sand.

    Should Rikki have failed several attempts and truly looked like she wouldn't make it up herself, he'd helped her. But as long as that wasn't the case, he didn't offer a hand.
    Not to her, anyway. She was stubborn, had been back then already, and Silver had a hunch she wouldn't accept his help anyway.
    Instead the sailor tried focusing on getting himself to his feet - a task as difficult as it was tiring.
    With a deep breath he pushed himself up a little clumsily, wavering for a moment before finding an imbalanced but steady enough stance. There was a lot of... pain going on in his left leg, and the limp that came with the first step he took alongside Rikki, had been to be expected, but it upset him regardless.
    All this time and he was still limping on his fake on occasion.

    I'm alright
    Giving the mermaid a brief but concerned look-over, John nodded, not questioning her words but keeping an eye on her regardless.
    "Let's get out of all this sand...."

    The mumbled words weren't really directed towards anyone in particular, and for a moment that followed, John was content with the silence.
    But eventually, he figured, he needed to ask.
    "Are you new to this place?"

    It was less obvious than asking How long have you been here?, perhaps because it sounded less personal.
    And John wondered whether he would have somehow, by some means, noticed her arrival if it were to have happened longer ago than he could imagine it having happened.

     
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  15. Rikki Chadwick

    Rikki Chadwick H2O: Just Add Water

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    "Kind of. I've been here for a month, roughly." And an exciting month it had been, between getting used to the weirdness that was Pandora, establishing her business and renting a flat, and now. The weirdest things she'd been sent out to retrieve from the ocean ground, or the canal in Pandora Town, and so many beings she'd met through her work, many of them she had once believed to be a work of fiction only. Then again, she herself was a mermaid, and she most definitely hadn't thought they were actually a thing before she'd grown a tail. "What about you?" Rikki asked, for once genuinely interested in a conversation with a stranger, even with a headache and exhaustion wearing her out.

    Across the shore, over the sand and onto the street that wound its way towards town, they walked slowly, both bruised and exhausted to the bone, one of them still soaked from the storm they'd just escaped - they had to look as if they had fought a gigantic octopus or something, and perhaps, in some ways, that wasn't quite off from the truth. "We'll have to wait for the bus now, I guess." Rikki hadn't gotten herself a vehicle of sorts yet, seeing as the bus routes were quite sufficiently covering the places she needed to go to. The 40 or so minute drive from the harbour into the city was alright for her, usually, listening to music or doing something work-related on her laptop, but right now, she would've wished the city to have been built closer to its port. Regardless - as if she actually had a choice here - the mermaid pointed towards the bus station closeby with the clear intent to walk towards it, unless Mr Silver here - what kind of fancy name was that even - would pull a motorbike out of his pockets the next second or something.
     
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  16. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    A month
    Should he have noticed? Heard? Should he somehow, by some means, have realized that Rikki had returned. Differently, certainly, but returned regardless.
    But who was he other than just human?
    There were no supernatural abilities he could rely on, and he possessed no telekinetic tendencies, either. John didn't think he believed in subconscious connections, in simply knowing when a close person wasn't doing well, or worse.
    And when it came down to it, there's been close to no chance for him to realistically know of her arrival. Especially not with the hell of months that's been going on for him just recently.

    What about you?
    That, on the other hand, made him think.
    The hint of a frowned showed on his forehead as John strolled alongside Rikki towards drier shores. Limped, really.
    Thinking of how much time had passed since his arrival was not an act he was prone to, no matter the location he was at. He left when it felt right to, and he never returned.
    Of course, it was different in Pandora, and John actively had to recount the months since that very first day he's fallen out of the skies in the middle of nowhere into this strange, strange place.
    "It would be a full year next month..."

    And even to himself, he sounded quite surprised.

    It was sunnier here than it had been out at sea, and John appreciated every spot of sunlight that found him and slowly dried his clothes. He stuck to the sunnier parts of the beach, trying to fight the cold with the summer's heat.
    The sun was doing slow work, but it was doing its work, thus John wouldn't complain.
    They spend the rest of the way along the beach in not-uncomfortable silence or casual chatter, too exhausted to delve into meaningful conversation or concern themselves with much else.
    Upon reaching the street, John's leg was mainly just numb.

    But the future had its perks, and one of them was strange looking vehicles that moved faster than any human could.
    John's only used the Pandora bus once or twice so far, and he couldn't say he was all too fond of the experience, thus when Rikki pointed it out then, he was glad that he wouldn't have to put up with it again anytime soon.
    "Actually I've got a motorbike parked just a bit further down the street. If you don't mind, I can give you a ride."

    Of course he had no chance at knowing that Rikki had been thinking about this just now, but deemed it unlikely.
    It seemed fair to ask though, instead of just assuming she'd be fine with getting on some - to her - stranger's bike.

     
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  17. Rikki Chadwick

    Rikki Chadwick H2O: Just Add Water

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    A full year.
    That sounded so absurdly long in this place. Much longer than Rikki could even imagine staying here, to be honest. Not that she would get a say in how long she'd really have to stay, that much was clear to her already, but from what she knew, this place wasn't nearly as big as her home planet, and a part of her feared, she'd get bored pretty quickly when traveling through all of the five towns there were. For now, of course, she'd have to stay in Pandora Town and travel to Cascade Bay on occasions, but what would happen once winter came around? Would the ocean be warm enough for her to dive comfortably still? She'd have to see about it, clearly.

    The rest of the walk went by with harmless chatter, neither of them able to really delve into any topic in a serious manner. Rikki's thoughts were dimmed by the pulsating pain in the back of her head, and that she was talking at all was half a miracle all by itself, but John was good company, even his silence didn't seem uncomfortable to her.

    The mermaid had been halfway about to check for the next bus, when her company mentioned a motorbike and the ride he could give her. In a different situation, there wouldn't have been a lot of thinking on her part, before she'd have politely declined. Basic security measurements, really. With her exhaustion and the simple wish to get back home, drink a coffee and then take a nap or a soothing bath, though, Rikki took a last, thoughtful glance towards the bus station, before she turned to catch up with her company. Heels clicking on the pavement as she followed him down the street. A silver bike came into sight after a few moments, which she assumed to be his, judging from the way alone how he approached it with determined steps.

    While he was fumbling with the helmets from the luggage box, the mermaid suddenly noticed the droplets of water still glistening in his hair, and collecting underneath his boots, and realized that this might not be the smartest idea after all. "John?" she said in a rather serious and apologetic tone to catch his attention, "We... I don't think I can ride with you." Rikki's gaze traveled over his clothes another time, concern sparking up in her eyes. This clearly wasn't anything personal, which was why she immediately continued with an explanation. "Your hair, your clothes - I get one drop of water on me and you have a fishperson sitting behind you."
     
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  18. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    There was a moment of thought, but clearly they were both much too exhausted to linger on concerns they might have lingered on in another situation - and John was near-grateful for that.
    He wanted to spend time with Rikki, to get to know her again, this time not in the confines of a burning book store with the weight of loss and grief sitting upon their shoulders.
    He wanted to know her now, as an adult, as somebody who had made some kind of life for herself and found a way to survive, cope, find a place for herself.

    They walked over to the bike together, and it was stood there just like he's left it (luckily); the sight alone lured a relieved sigh from the sailor. It was a chance to sit down and rest his leg, in some way anyway. And that was badly needed.
    Keys in hand and fumbling with the helmets, John was already thinking of a hot bath and his bed, of just getting warm and cozy already, and perhaps bothering to make himself a hot chocolate, too.
    But then Rikki's voice pulled him out of his thoughts, and the very way she said his name was concerning.

    I don't think I can ride with you
    There was a frown, at first, the urge to ask why she had suddenly changed her mind and whether there was anything he could do about it, but then her eyes looked him over and John realized even before she explained, just what exactly the issue at hand was.
    And luckily that one was a little easier resolved.
    With a soft smile, he handed her the spare helmet.
    "While the image of a mermaid on a motorbike is definitely amusing, you don't have to worry."

    The smile slipped into something more amused, a witty gleam in the blue of his eyes, as he reached into the luggage box once more to retreat a sturdy - and more importantly, dry - leather jacket, which he pulled over his wet shirt, zipping it up half-way. Reaching into the pockets of same jacket, he handed Rikki a pair of leather gloves. Just to be extra sure.
    "I'm well prepared for a water-sensitive mermaid fellow passenger."

    While that was not exactly what he's had on mind when first purchasing a leather jacket for his new fancy vehicle, it sure came in handy now.
    Other than that, the leather way not have provided much warmth in itself, but it was dry and protected him from the wind, immediately creating at least some comfort for John to ease into.

     
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  19. Rikki Chadwick

    Rikki Chadwick H2O: Just Add Water

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    Well, amusing hadn't been the first word that's come to mind at the idea of turning into a half-fish halfway during the drive, but he didn't seem to mean it in a mocking way, really, or in a belittling one either. He slipped on a dry leather jacket and handed her gloves which she took alongside the helmet, raising a surprised eyebrow - though positively so - before putting on both. As long as she'd make sure to not let her bare legs touch his jeans, everything should be fine - and by the gods she didn't believe in, it better be, after what kind of stunt she'd just pulled to save this guy. Karma had to mean something, right?

    His comment lured a chuckle out of her. "Oh, really? Do you usually take a lot of mermaids into the city with you, yeah?" Rikki gave back in jest, a hint of a sarcastic flirt colouring her words, even though she was absolutely not serious about it. It seemed appropriate - and fun - to ask though, and that's why she did it, while climbing onto the bike behind him.

    The fact that he knew of her being now, made this whole thing a lot easier to deal with, really. Despite herself and the world she was living in - a world that demanded of her to keep this secret forever and ever - Rikki, just sometimes, wished she wouldn't have to hide it from everybody. Wished, she could've simply brought it up, like others told her of being left-handed, or gay - entirely casual, in the midst of conversation - and she wished, that people would've known what that meant for her then, and respected it. But, well, that was so far away from reality, that she could've told them she'd been born on the moon and it would've gotten the same reaction.
    Not having to pretend now, was comfortable, no matter how much she had wished for nobody to find out on accident; perhaps, because John didn't make a great deal of it. Because he seemed familiar with her kind, in some way, and because he respected her problems. There would've been no way to expect that kind of behaviour from everybody.

    With her heels securely positioned on the foot handles in the back and her hands firmly holding onto his waist, the mermaid waited for him to start the engine.
     
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  20. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    It was near-ironic, really. Her following question only made this all the more evident to John when he positioned himself on the well familiar vehicle.
    Pandora was all about the unexpected, new, surprising, unknown. But for a world so full of weirdness and apart from the rest, it was as ironically repetitive as any other world John's ever known. And he dared say that was more than one, even though they all had their place upon the globe of the earth.

    And while Rikki couldn't possibly know that her question had an answer not all that far from agreement, John decided to take it for the joke it clearly had been, and not be nitpicky about it, as some people tended to be.
    With a soft laugh he adjusted the ties on his left boot, before fastening the helmet over his curls.
    "You got lucky indeed, for I am the official mermaid driver on these shores. People pay good money to be escorted by me, but I'll take you for free. You know, because you saved my boat."

    With a short move of his wrist and a re-positioning of his left leg on the remade pedal, the engine roared to life with a started, low hum.
    "Hold on tight."

    With these words, the motorbike urged from its spot with considerate speed, the sailor steering it (with perhaps surprising skill for someone who's never before even heard of motorcycles) onto the road towards town, leaving the ocean to their backs.
    With the wind picking up with the vehicle's speed, John's jeans dried in a matter of minutes beneath the bright sun far up in the sky.
    While not any less tragic than their first meeting at the bookstore had been, the former pirate felt somewhat more peaceful about this encounter, somewhat more at ease.

    He'd do it better this time.


    The End

     
    #20 John Silver, Sep 9, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
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