Ren stifled a yawn and leaned against the pole around which the Sea Dog was anchored. The sun made him sleepy and he couldn’t do a thing whilst Crooks was out at his meeting, if it could be called that. He closed his eyes and folded his arms enjoying the smells of Theros. He could smell the heady spices indicative of Xin food. He listened to the constant buzz of noise and picked out all the different accents. There was no such thing as a person from Theros, this place was the world and everybody was welcome here, kings or paupers, young or old. He cracked an eye open and saw two young women strolling past looking up at the Sky Dog. One was a particular beauty and she caught his eye. He smiled lazily at her and tipped his head slightly, “A beauty.”
“Aye she is,” replied the girl looking up at the ship once again.
“Wasn’t talking about the ship.”
The girl arched her eyebrow at him, “I was.”
Ren grinned and ran his hands through his hair. She looked at him and burst out laughing, “You wish m’dear.”
With that, she drifted off. Ren watched her go and he settled back into his semi somnolence. How long was Crooks going to be? For a moment he considered going out and exploring but he knew that Alyah would not be happy if Crooks came back and he was gone.
The sun had trailed its way along the sky and still no Crooks. Ren began to grow impatient, waiting wasn’t always good, especially with Crooks. He stood up straighter and stretched languidly, rolling his shoulders. He surveyed the people walking past again and then he walked slowly back and forth.
“You there,” an imperious voice piped up behind him.
He paused, and took a second to compose himself before he turned around on his heel and immediately swept into a graceful bow, loaded with sarcasm. When he was straightened up, he smirked, “Hello.”
The girl glared at him, her green eyes darkening dangerously. It didn’t faze Ren, not when she had spoken to him like that.
“Are you taking on passengers?” she asked looking up at the ship.
“Merchants don’t take on passengers, that’s called slave trafficking,” explained Ren.
The girl looked up at the ship again and she pulled in the strings on her shirt for a minute. Ren waited, wondering if she were going to try seducing him on the port. He relaxed when she dropped her hand, she was pretty. She pulled a wealth of black curls over her shoulders and then dropped her hand.
“You are not a merchant,” she murmured softly, “You don’t have a seal.”
“Of course I do,” countered Ren quickly, surprised that she knew about the seals.
“No, you don’t,” she repeated, speaking slowly as though he were a half-wit.
“What does this pup want Ren?”
Alicia looked up from the man, whom was supposedly called Ren, to see a woman standing at the top of the gang plank. She was fierce, that’s all Alicia could think of. Her eyes were ice blue and they pinned her in place. The sun set her hair on fire and the copper curls contrasted with the rich emerald coat. Her face was covered in markings and Alicia felt the bile rising in her throat, Blessed, this woman was cursed. He looked up and shrugged at her, “Just trying to accuse us of not being honest merchants?”
The woman walked down the gang plank and stood beside Ren, “She’s a child. Send her on her way.”
The contempt in her voice made Alicia bristle, “Kalrinthian whore.”
The woman arched her eyebrow, “Spoken like a child.”
Alicia clenched her jaw, “So we were talking about you taking me on board.”
“Which we weren’t going to do Alyah,” Ren muttered glaring at Alicia. Alyah smirked and looked at Alicia, “You’re Blessed.”
Alicia quickly grabbed her hand as though she had burned it. This caused Alyah to laugh softly, her eyes mocking.
“Don’t be shocked, I can sense the Blessed from the other side of the world, no matter how small the blessing is.”
Alyah rolled up her coat sleeves and undid her shirt sleeves to reveal all the Blessings running down her arms.
“You want on our ship hmm?”
Alicia nodded defiantly. Ren stood up straighter, “Alyah,” he murmured, “Don’t you.”
Alyah rolled her eyes, “This is a blessing Ren. So pup, let’s see your Blessing.”
Alicia looked at Alyah, “Then I can come on your ship.”
“Hello? The Sky Dog is my ship, she’s just the pilot,” snapped Ren.
“Yes,” nodded Alyah.
Alicia glared at the red haired woman. She raised her hand and the swirling insignia on the back of her hand glowed white. Ren rolled his eyes and threw his hands in the air, “Fine!”
The wind pooled around Alicia and the pressure began to build up. A part of Alicia wanted to stop this, she wanted to cut off the offending limb and throw it away but she couldn’t. Suddenly the pressure exploded upwards and a translucent eagle spun up into the sky. It hung there and Alicia concentrated on holding the wind eagle in place. Her freedom needed it. Alyah laughed and her Blessings began to glow white, her arms, neck and face all glowing. Suddenly scared, Alicia could only imagine the pressure building up in her. Instead of the wind pooling around Alyah, the wind engulfed her and even Alicia could feel the wind that was tethered to her Blessing struggling to join Alyah’s blessing. People were stopping to stare. With a roar, the wind took shape and a giant dragon soared into the sky, its shadow falling over the assembled crowd. It roared and dove at Alicia’s eagle ripping it to shreds with a single snap of its jaw. Alicia cried out as she felt the life extinguished from her wind eagle. People yelled, some clapped, others whispered among themselves. The dragon curled its tail around Alyah and watched Alicia keenly. Shaking, Alicia clutched her hand to her chest. Alyah beckoned her dragon and it dipped its head so she could scratch its chin gently. “Don’t think that I am some Kalrinthian whore,” murmured Alyah, looking at Alicia. Ren closed his eyes and sighed, “Really? The dragon!”
“Some Urethi never learn,” sighed Alyah, allowing the dragon to dissipate to the wind. With the dragon’s dissipation, so too did the crowd. Alicia looked up at Alyah, her eyes burning black. Alyah looked down dispassionately and sneered at her before walking up to the ship once again. Ren watched her go before turning back to Alcia, “Well that is Alyah, still want in?”
Part two of this (Yep still nervous about posting). As before don't be shy about liking, commenting or following. I have had this idea bouncing about in my head for a few months now and my lecture pads are covered in concept art for characters and places in this world. Hoping you enjoy.