We could not have left port too long ago when I opened my eyes. For a second I wondered why I lay awake on this board, slowly being rocked by the waves of the sea this blasted ship was floating on. I should not be awake, it was not my shift yet. Or was it? Regardless, there was a lot of noise right now as everyone seemed to clamber to their feet and rush out onto deck.
“Huh?” I replied hazily, “what?”
Garron stood next to my board. “Get up, there was a loud scream just now!”
He grabbed my wrist and pulled me out of my bed and right onto the floor. The impact drove away my drowsiness, but I was not particularity thankful for it.
“Well, get up on your own next time,” Garron said with a grin as he hurried to the stairs heading up.
Despite his grin, I could see that he was nervous. Still not sure what was going on, I got up and walked up deck.
It was still dark, with the starry sky slowly turning red, but anyone could have seen all the crew members huddled around the main mast, murmuring. Someone held a lantern aloft, making it difficult to see what was going on. Standing at the back, I stretched out too see over the crowd.
Really, I wish I had not.
Pinned straight through the heart to the mast with a long, sleek dagger, hang one of the human crew members; its face twisted in horror. From this distance my best guess was that it might be the same human that helped me with the large cargo when I first joined the crew.
“You…” I heard a man mutter with anger.
I turned to see the first mate, his dark eyes fixed on me. It was he who held the lantern and it was he who had spoken. Unsurprisingly, many heads turned my way.
“Typical charr. This is why we should never have taken any charr on board in the first place!”
“Wait, do you think I did this?” I replied, confused.
“Of course! Who else but a charr! You where the first to volunteer to keep watch, without a doubt to scout out the ship! Tell me, what did this human do to you, apart from existing?”
I felt a surge of anger welling up inside of me, one like I have rarely felt before. So much so, that I felt that I was losing control.
“Burn my tail!” I roared, causing the crew members nearby to jump back a few feet. “I did not kill that mouse! If I had, I would have done so with my claws and not some puny dagger, and I would have taken pride in it, too!”
“Aha!” the first mate screamed. “The true beast reveals himself!”
He drew his sword and I dropped into a fighting stance, but before he could swing the blade a lound ‘bang’ and a flash, followed by a sharp metallic ring caught everybody off guard. Flashing in the light of the lantern, the first mate’s blade spun lazily through the air until it embedded itself in the deck, several feet away.
Everyone turned to see captain Tot waddle up to the mast, inspecting the suspended corpse, a smoking flintlock pistol in hand.
Without turning to his officer, he said, “first mate, I had expected more self control from you! Also, you charr, your behavior was un-ac-ceptable.”
“What should I have done, then,” I mumbled in annoyance, “lay down and die?”
Captain Tot fixed me with a glare so fierce that it would have made the imperator proud.
“Even so,” Tot continued, scratching his large ears, “the charr could be right. The dagger ‘pears to be far too flimsy a tool for a charr to use. Also, consid’ring the force applied to this mast via the blade, it would have taken him, or any a charr, a lot of composure to do so little damage. And composure ain’t a thing charr are known for when in a fight.”
I relaxed a bit, quite happy to have an asura for a captain and not some mouse or twig. The first mate, however, had a very nasty look on his face, as if he just swallowed a hylek. I could see his anger flaring in his eyes. Then again, it might have been hatred. What shocked me most, though, was that his look changed little when he glared from me to the captain.
Needless to say, the past few days have been grim indeed. I was swabbing the deck with Garron, who sighed deeply next to me.
“These past few days have been no fun at all.”
“Well, there has been a murder on the ship,” I said a bit too sharply.
“Ah, are you still annoyed about that you were accused?”
“Yes! Of course I am!” I said, biting back my anger.
“Yes, yes, but you see, staying like that only makes it worse. Nobody on this ship trusts each other anymore. Someone of the current crew murdered somebody and got away with it, while still being on this boat.”
I stopped swabbing and glared at him.
“Are you trying to make me feel better, or worse?”
“Neither!” Garron replied with a broad grin. “But staying so angry only increases the amount of distrust towards you. After all, you and that little girl were the last ones to join the crew.”
I rolled my eyes, unsure how to react.
“What does everybody expect me to do, solve the murder?”
Garron burst out in a mirthful laughter. “Yes, yes, wouldn’t that be something!”
My swab had ceased movement on the deck, water gently seeping out of it. It would be something.
“Wait,” Garron said drawn out in a playful tone, “you are actually considering it, aren’t you?”
“Why not?” I said.
He opened his mouth, pondered, closed his mouth and pondered some more.
“They might not trust your findings,” he said after a few seconds.
“Yea, that’s true. But still, I have to try.”
“In that case!” a voice came from above. Only a second later Kaya had clambered down to a hight where she could conveniently talk to us.
“So, Kumara, you are going to catch a bad guy?” she said in a conspiratorial tone.
“Well, I’m considering it.”
“In that case, you need brains! Good, proper, asuran brains!”
Once again, Garron burst out into laughter.
“Yes, yes, I see. Making a whole investigative team now, are we?” he said once he managed to catch enough breath to do so.
“Well…” I said, with the intention to deny it, however, before I could do some memories came to mind. My time in the Siverpeaks and the Tarnished Coast had taught me that I was better off with at least some help.
“Yea,” I sighed after a second. “I suppose that would be for the best.”
“Great!” Garron said, clapping his claws together. “I’ll help!”
“Will you?” Kaya asked with an amused smile. “I am smarter than the two of you combined, and Kumara is an expert tracker. What would you bring to the team?”
“Trust me,” Garron said with a sudden seriousness that was quite unlike him, “I have my uses, although I hope we won’t be needing them.”
“Oh! A mysterious group looking to solve mysteries!” Kaya said beaming.
I exchanged a look with Garron. It seemed that keeping a great mind cooped up on rigging leads to some form of madness.
“You wanna do what now?” Tok said, his eyebrow arched so high it could be considered to be on top of his head.
“We want to investigate the murder,” I said as resolute as I could.
“Well, sir, I for one would be glad if these three would take over,” boatswain Bronk said thoughtfully.
“I won’t deny that, bosun,” Tot said slowly, “but believing that you aren’t guilty, and trusting you enough to do the investigation are worlds apart.”
“I’m here too, you know,” Kaya said somewhat taken aback.
“But everyone knows you came on board with Kumara,” Tot replied.
Tot sighed deeply as he leaned back into his chair. He seemed really tired, as if he hardly slept the past few days.
“Captain?” Bronk said.
“We could ask her to join, just about everybody trusts her.”
The captain seemed to ponder for a moment before fixing his eyes on me.
“Well, would you agree to that?” he asked.
“Who?” Kaya piped.
I exchanged a look with Garron, who gave a shrug of surrender.
“I suppose so, sir,” I said with a sigh. “She would have strong-tailed her way into the group regardless.”
“Who?” Kaya said, more coolly.
“Aye, that be true,” Tot said with a grin.
“Who are we talking about?” Kaya said, now with anger in her voice.
“Well, who else but Amethyst?” Garron said with a smile.
List Of Recurring Entities:
The following is a list of characters—apart from Kumara and Thornfang—who have made an appearance before this part, sorted by order of appearance. With all the different stories on CoT, I understand it is hard to keep track of all the characters.
Garron: a pitch black charr deckhand.
Tot: Captain of the cargo ship Serendipity.
Kaya: An asura that Kumara got to know in a krewe they both worked in. Now, she sets out with Kumara to see the world.
Bronk: The boatswain of the Serendipity.
Amethyst: A charr clothes merchant from Lion’s Arch that loves to travel from time to time.