D's Daily Drama (fablespinner) wrote,
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FOLLOWING TIDES -- PART SIX



You know the drill -- I'm posting unproofread drivel as I write it... Well, only *I* proofread it.... I'm sure I missed a TON of Mistakes


TO READ THE FIRST SERIES FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **



Series Title: Following Tides
Chapter Number: Four
“Battle at Candok”
Author: D. Sanders
=============================


Raskin fumed, he knew when he was being spied on and only those accursed red-sailed wizards and their distorted sense of morals even bothered. It was a waste of talent in his opinion. Power was meant to be used, not doled out in bite sized portions for no other benefit than to protect the stupid masses. What good was power if you didn’t use it for yourself first? Those righteous red-sail wizards called it selfish, Raskin called it looking out for ones self first, pure and simple. So the minute he sensed them looking his way, he shut them out, threw up tighter shields and had the dolt Smirnov change course to the island itself. Once there, Raskin took a long boat into the city and went straight to the woman.

“Where is the Child?” He asked as the woman mending nets outside her dwelling looked up and gasped as recognition dawned on her.

“You can leave you bastard. Drugged me you did and left me with child. I’ll not have her know you, you’re no father.”

“So it’s a girl is it. Where is she?”

“Not here and you’ll not see her.”

“Stupid woman, do you think I care about a fatherly bond here? I’ve use of her now that she’s of age, that’s all. If you value your life, where is my daughter?”

“Safe away from you.”

“Safe is relative woman. I left you alone to raise her until she came of age. Wizards always breed true, and her talents are mine. Tell me where she is!”

“No!”

Raskin held out his hand and the woman began clawing at her throat as it constricted and her air stopped. “Tell me!”

Defiant eyes met Raskin so he reached inside and pulled apart her matter, leaving nothing but a wretched heap of flesh where the woman had sat. Raskin turned to his cowed sailors. “Burn this whole stinking city and find me all the girls between fourteen and sixteen years old. My daughter will either be among them or out on the fleet that will come in when they see the smoke.”

“Aye sir.” They saluted and the wailing and shrieks filled the air as the smoke burned black.

----

“Mercy!” Van gasped as he caught sight of the fires all around the island where the floating city of Candok burned around the stock island. He saw Smirnov’s ship anchored at a safe distance and Van shouted orders. “RAMMING SPEED!” Van was furious, all those innocent lives being spent needlessly. Van threw up shields all around the prow to protect his ship from the impact and he called a massive gust of wind to build up even more momentum as his ship turned to hit straight on the starboard side of Smirnov’s vessel. “ALL HANDS BRACE YOURSELVES!” Van called out as they drew closer, Smirnov’s men abandoning ship like rats. The impact was shattering. Smirnov’s ship cracked and the main mast tumbled, smashing the deck. Van reached and pulled matter from matter, sending bits of the ship flying off in every direction. A bolt of lightening stuck “the Crimson Lady” on her port side, bouncing harmlessly off her shields and Van turned.

“I’ll kill you this time Raskin.” Van muttered remembering a similar scenario twelve years earlier, Raskin was a butcher. “Hard to Port! Bring her around to Candok!” Van shouted just as “the Handmaiden reached the city and dropped anchor almost right on top of it. Alexandre on deck throwing his own lightening back at the point where the lightening had flared to attack “the Crimson Lady.” The crew of “the Handmaiden” were already surging off her decks, swords drawn and shouting as they rushed Smirnov’s men. Some grabbing the civilians and getting them out of harms way. Van dropped anchor and his own men joined the melee while he and his father concentrated on finding and flushing Raskin out.

Ilya tumbled from his alcove when they’d rammed Smirnov. “What the bloody hell?” Ilya swore, the shields in the cabin so tight no sound penetrated. “Just what the hell do you think you’re doing Van!?” Ilya said running to the window seeing men in the water swimming madly away from debris filled waters. “You rammed them? Boy you must be pissed off Love.” Ilya muttered to himself as he raced to the door and up onto the deck.

“What the hell are you doing up here?” Van asked as Ilya reached his side.

“Same question I was about to ask you. Oh my god!” Ilya gasped as he caught sight of the city and he was about to run for a long boat when Van gripped his arm.

“Wait! Not yet.”

“Like hell not yet! People are dying down there. Civilians!”

“And a lot of good you’ll do them killed. Raskin is still loose! Stay here! That’s an ORDER!”

Ilya gave Van a look that well nigh defied description. Van was of course right, but Ilya had a temper of his own, and Van had just set it off. “Love, please.”

“That’s better.” Ilya scowled and just moved off to the side out of Van’s way, coiled like a spring and ready to leap into action the minute he got the all clear.

“Van call a rain or something, we have to put the fires out! People are burning and choking to death!” Ilya shouted and Van nodded holding his hands up and the clouds began to darken and gather and a downpour fell on the city.

Once the men were subdued Van took Ilya by the elbow. “Now we can go, I’ll look for Raskin by your side. Father will do the same with Mother.” Van said and Ilya was in the long boat before Van could finish his sentence, his medicinal backpack already slung on his shoulders. Van noted thankfully Ilya was wearing if not boots, sandals that would protect the soles of his feet from broken glass and debris. He still couldn’t get Ilya in boots. Sandals were better than nothing.

They pulled up to a pier at the same moment as Alexandre and Sonja, along with a terrified, but in control young teenager. “This is Oksana, she’ll guide us. Stay strong love.” Sonja held the girls hand as they climbed out of the boats.

“Never you fear pet, we’ll do all we can.” Ilya said laying a hand to her hair before turning to face inward, everyone soaked to the skin as the rain fell. “I think you can turn off the water now love, the fires are out.” Ilya turned to Van who nodded and clapped his hands, the rain stopped and the clouds began to part.

“Look sharp, point guard around us!” Van ordered and men, swords drawn surrounded the group as they rushed to help the wounded. Alexandre and Van scanning all people with their senses to find a trace of power. Van picked up a trail and pointed. “This way, I sense magic here.”

“Me mam lives that way!” Oksana cried and both Sonja and Ilya grabbed her hands and Alexandre and Van we’re hard pressed to keep up.

“What good is a guard if they go about doing things their own way anyway?” Van grumbled and Alexandre just held up his hands as they ran behind their spouses.

“Healers, give a toss about their own safety, get used to it son. They are a law unto themselves.”

Ilya pulled up short and turned and crushed Oksana against his chest blocking her view. His eyes met Van’s in anguish. “What? Mam? MAM!” Oksana struggled against Ilya, her face mashed between small breasts.

“Wait love. Van hurry!” Ilya pleaded and Van raced past and swallowed his own cry. He held up his hands and scattered the remains into dust. He came back over and laid a hand against the girls hair where Ilya still held her protectively. “I’m sorry love. I didn’t want you to see that.” Ilya said stepping back with a look of extreme pity and sympathy on his beautiful face.

“What?” She asked as Ilya let her see again.

“Evil, purest evil love.” Ilya sighed as they came across the first wounded.

“Oksana! Get ye away love! He killed yer mam and he’s lookin’ fer ya!” One elderly lady cried who’d seen the carnage and conversation first hand.

“Who?!”

“Said he were yer Father! Heard yer Mam tell him to bugger off she did! He tried to force her ta talk! Said something about breeding true and come ta take his daughter back. Yer mam just spat in his eye she did! Poor love.”

“Enough!” Ilya said forcibly. “We can figure out the rest.” He did not want the old biddy to keep taking. No child should know how gruesome a parent’s death was. Death was a harsh enough pill to swallow.

“Aye. Enough.” Sonja said wrapping the girl in her arms. “Yer mam was a brave lady to face a wizard to protect you dearest.” Sonja said wiping her eyes and then kneeling where her body had been and folding her hands in her lap. “I promise to take care of her for you, mother to mother. Your daughter I’ll keep as my own, I vow to your spirit. Rest in peace ma’am.” Sonja spoke softly to the departed spirit of Oksana’s mother.

Oksana sobbed and it was Alexandre who picked her up like she weighed nothing at all and just sat down with her in his lap to let her cry herself out against his chest. He stroked her hair in comfort. Val remembered many times as a boy he’d used that same chest for comfort. Oksana would be alright in time, his parents would indeed raise her as their own child from here on out.

Ilya turned to one of the young crewmen, hardly older than Oksana, seventeen at the oldest. He took him by the elbow and spoke softly. “Gather her things for her, she’s in no state of mind to be able to do it herself now. Take everything that looks even remotely sentimental. She’ll want them later.” Ilya said and the guard nodded.

“Aye, she will. Poor lass.” He gulped and went inside quietly.

“Take her back to the ship, have her drink this in tea, it will help her sleep.” Ilya said to another guard pressing a small packet of herbs into his hand and Alexandre himself carried her back. He’d return as soon as the girl was settled. Van turned to his mother and Ilya after the girl was out of earshot.

“Raskin’s daughter. S’truth! Poor girl. No wonder he was after her, blood to blood is a powerful tool.” Van said and Sonja nodded.

“Aye, I should have never brought her here. She’s just so damn sharp-minded and she wanted to help. Ilya love that was wonderful fast thinking. Let her memories of her mother be of her smiling face and not a mangled corpse.” Sonja sniffed and Ilya nodded.

“I know. But let’s not dwell on what we cannot change. Van any inkling on the bastard?”

“None. He’s shielding himself well or else he’s dead. One or the other. Either way, he’s stranded here, Smirnov’s ship is destroyed. Petr and Nikolai will have the prisoner’s rounded up by now.” Van stated turning to one of the men. “Go grab every able bodied man and woman, start getting the wounded gathered together.”

“Aye Captain!” The man said dashing off and getting to work.

“You, comb the dwellings, get everyone out and gathered on the island. Have the locals give a headcount. Find out who’s missing, what happened, how it started and if anyone has seen Raskin alive or dead.”

“Aye Sir!”

“When my Father gets back, we’ll sweep the area and see if we can’t dig up his hiding place. Until then, contain the non-injured prisoners I don’t care how you do it, keep them in the water for all I care at this point. Bloody bastards.”

“Aye Captain!”

“Mam, Ilya you WILL stay at my side at ALL times. I don’t want you wandering even ten paces away. Until I get confirmation I don’t trust a bloody stray dog at this point.”

Both Ilya and Sonja nodded as they followed Van back to where the wounded were being gathered. Both of them pushed any other troubles out of their minds as they set to work. Both humming with power of a different nature as they set wrong to right.

Had Van known how close to the mark he had been, he’d have chased down the lad Ilya had set to work gathering Oksana’s things. The lad packed everything, and when a black cat rubbed up against his legs the boy smiled. “Heya puss. I bet yer miss Oksana’s. You’d better come along too. Bet you can cheer her up better than the rest of us.” The youth said tucking the unresisting cat under his arm as he carried Oksana’s belongings back to “the Handmaiden”.

Raskin purred, he’d have her soon enough. He wasn’t foolish enough to attempt anything while onboard a red-sail. That would be courting disaster. But he would be near enough to begin using her and building his stores. Carefully though, Alexandre was powerful and his son even more so, if they got so much as a whiff of magic they’d fall on him and kill him before he could blink. No, he’d just spy for a while, learn all he could about his enemies and then first opportunity slip away, taking his daughter with him.

Andrik gently knocked on the door of the guestroom next to the Captain’s cabin, Oksana’s new room onboard “the Handmaiden” and the ship’s cook Olya opened the door. “I brought the lassy’s things.” He said quietly and Olya, a plump, pleasant faced old woman nodded and let him in.

Oksana was half asleep, the tea working. She began to sit up in bed and Andrik just smiled and laid a hand to her shoulder. “No need to get up fer the likes of me Miss. I just brought your things.” He said setting the cat down beside her.

“What? Who are you kitty?”

“He not yours?”

“Nay.”

“Well, looks like he is now then.” Andrik smiled petting the cat’s head. “Sneaky puss, making me think I had better pack you.”

Oksana chuckled. “That’s a cat for you. We’ll just have to call you ‘sneak’ then won’t we?” Oksana said scratching the cats ears and chin as he curled up beside her.

“Well, I’ll leave Sneak here to watch over you then shall I?” Andrik said standing. “Get some rest Miss, it’ll be a’right you’ll see.”

Oksana smiled weakly and Andrik returned the smile before excusing himself to go to work.

“Andrik is a good boy. “ Olya said sitting back down beside the girl on a chair beside the bed. “He was the only survivor of a horrible hurricane that destroyed his family’s ship. We found him adrift and almost starved to death clinging to what was left of the mast. Round about your age then, not even fifteen yet at that time, all arms and legs he was, that were a couple years ago now. He’s worked hard ever since, even though the Captain tells him often enough not to try so hard.” Olya chatted as Oksana’s eyes grew heavy. She would be fifteen soon, three more moons. Just last week her Grandaa was talking about how she should have been thinking of marriage soon, that life already seemed a world away as she succumbed to the drug in her tea and fell into a deep sleep.

----

Ilya and Sonja shared groans and commiseration as they lay flat on their backs in the cool shade of a dwelling. Van was there, handing them both cool damp towels with one hand and putting cups of juice in their other hands. “What a pair you are.” Van said sitting down on an overturned crate as both healers drained their cups of juice and washed their faces with the towels.

“I so hate that part.” Ilya said tossing his towel aside and flopping back down on the cool tile of the floor.

“Aye son, Aye.” Sonja groaned, her head between her knees.

“You both realize if you didn’t work until you dropped you wouldn’t be trying to vent a colon out your throats later. There’s a concept of pacing and breaks that elude you both.”

“Has to be done love. I’d rather hork up a lung later than know that because I stopped when I could go on, someone suffered.”

“He’s right Van. We live, it’s just unpleasant later.”

“I’d pick another word rather than ‘unpleasant’ mam. Gruesome is closer.” Van said as Alexandre stepped inside.

“Not a dang blasted thing. You?”

“Same as you Daa. Not a trace. I was checking rats just to be safe.” Van sighed.

“I even went and checked their bloody sheep. He’s gone without a trace.”

“He’ll turn up eventually. He always does.” Van said rubbing an aching temple. Ilya reached up and Van just snatched his hand instead. “I’m okay love, nothing your powders won’t cure later. Save yourself the trouble.” Van kissed Ilya’s palm instead. Ilya smiled and laid his head on Van’s knee. Van felt his knee tingle and his headache evaporate. “You little shit.”

“I love you too.” Ilya grinned, exhausted to the bone.


----


Oksana woke up around dinnertime when Sonja came to wake her. “Come dear, we’re having dinner in our cabin tonight.” Sonja said leading the girl next door, Ilya and Van were there seated together on the couch, both looking as tired as Alexandre and Sonja.

This was the first chance Oksana had to take a good long look at Ilya. She or rather He was beautiful. His long blond hair was hanging in a braid over his shoulder and he was dressed in knee length dark blue airy cotton pants, with a sky blue sleeveless tunic. His dark tanned arms and legs were well toned and the simple leather sandals laced around a delicate ankle. Large green eyes were set wide in a stunning face. If he looked this beautiful as a woman, Oksana wondered what he looked like male. He smiled at her as she sat beside him at the small table and he took her hand. “I’m sorry for earlier. I’m sure the last thing you wanted was an up close and personal view of my breasts. It was all I could think of at the time, I sort of forgot they were there.” Ilya said and Oksana smiled at him.

“It’s all right. I know why you did it, and I’m grateful.” Oksana replied and Ilya leaned over and kissed her cheek.

“It’s my calling love. I can’t let people suffer if I can stop it.” He said as Alexandre walked over to lay a hand on Oksana’s hair.

“Enough talk of what is passed. Tonight let us just simply be family. Tomorrow comes soon enough and we part again.” Alexandre said pulling up his chair.

“Part?” Oksana asked.

“Aye, Ilya and I have our own duties we have to attend to. It’s not often you will see two red-sails together, we don’t often cross paths while at sea. This is a big ocean we travel and there are only twenty-one of us all together.” Van said and Alexandre nodded.

“Aye, down to twenty soon when your Grandaa retires. From here lass we sail to our Isle. We’re going to meet up with my father there to help him settle, most likely unwillingly, into retirement. This will give me time to teach you in a very safe environment. You couldn’t have come on board at a better time. Normally we are at sea in twenty moon intervals. We all meet on our Isle every twenty-first moon for four turnings. That is when we all rest, change crew, recharge and visit each other. We will be staying longer this time. I’m meeting Daa there and rather than head out only to turn around and go right back again, we’ll stay.”

“Aye. Our reunion is in five moons hence. By the time Daa got there and helped Grandaa settle, we’d all be on our way there anyway.” Van grinned as Oksana nibbled at her dinner sitting fixed to her chair in fascination.

“There’s also the shipbuilding. To make a long story, short. Every time one of our boys or girls come of age, fifteen to be precise, we build them a ship of their own. This reunion, my Grandson Andre will turn thirteen, so he will not be sailing off the isle this year. He’ll stay until the next reunion, using those Twenty-months in building his ship, or rather re-outfitting his grandfather’s to make his own. By the end of the reunion he will be of age, and will set sail on his own vessel to carry on our work. It’s tradition. One of the ships will stay behind to help the boy and that will be us rather than his father this time. It will give me time to teach you and you can learn best by helping Andre build. Good hands on learning in safety.”

“That’s an excellent plan Daa. Although Sergei will probably stay a while too, it is his firstborn’s first ship.” Van said with a smile.

“Aye. True. His Daa is right proud of him and he should be. Andre is already doing good supervised Captain’s work. He’ll be ready.” Alexandre said sawing into his chicken and waggling his knife around for emphasis as he talked. “And no doubt you’ll stay when your firstborn sets sail.” He added.

“Yes, and double the work unless they decide to stay together.” Van said smiling and Oksana brightened.

“That’s right! You’re having twins aren’t you?” She asked and Ilya nodded.

“Aye. And Van’s probably right about them staying together. Our son will be Wizard and our Daughter a WizardHealer. That’s a rather good working partnership. Every ship needs a Captain and a Healer that work well together.” Ilya smiled up at Van.

“It’s common to see either siblings or partners in those roles. They can scream and rant at each other without offending too greatly and getting away with it pretty much.” Sonja said grinning at her husband.

“Pretty much.” Ilya winked and Oksana giggled.

“I’d noticed that. Most of the ships that have a healer, the healer is like you said, either a sibling or a lover. Or it’s such a large age gap where it’s almost a parent-child relationship.”

“See I told you she’s a sharp girl. Aye, It’s a match that works.” Sonja said giving her husband a withering look. “Most of the time. He still pisses me off occasionally.”

“Like you don’t give me new gray hair every time you go tear-assing off without a thought devil-may-care then puking up your toes after? Think again woman!”

“Gee, where have I heard that argument before? Hummmm?” Ilya hummed under his breath and Van gave Ilya the same withering look his mother had just done to his father.

“Right, let’s see. The pier was on FIRE, there we’re swords clashing everywhere, a wizard loose, and arrows flying and you ready to jump off the side and swim for it, wearing bloody useless shoes, biting my head off and pregnant no less. Right. I don’t think so Ilya. You’re as bad as me mam there.”

“Hey at least I put on the shoes you’re always harping about and not too subtly I might add, to get me wearing. See? They’re still on too.” Ilya grinned  holding his foot up and wiggling his bare toes in his indeed, useless sun-sandals. The soles hardly thicker than parchment and held on with thin leather crossed lacings. They were nothing more than pleasure shoes for walking across sun heated sand and nothing more abrasive. They looked to fall apart just breathing on them wrong. Sonja cackled.

“I just adore you Ilya.” She chirruped.

“Thanks Mam.” Ilya beamed and Van scowled at the pair of them.

Oksana laughed. “I am sorry, but you’re all so wonderfully, NORMAL. I always thought, you know, you red-sails folks were always so serious all the time.”

“Hardly. Life would be so boring.” Sonja  grinned pouring more juice in Oksana’s cup. “Eat up dear, there’s plenty.” She winked and Ilya chuckled into his peas. He was going to miss Van’s parents tomorrow. Sonja was the best ally he’d ever had.

No one noticed the cat curled up on the chaise listening while pretending to sleep, one eye focused on Van. Raskin seethed. The upstart little child that had beaten him once before. So he had a spouse and a pregnant one. Here was Van’s weakness, Raskin would bide his time, go to the isle he’d never known existed and watch. Sooner or later they would let their guard down and he’d pay Van back for bruising his pride.

He’d take away what Van loved most. His spouse and his unborn children.

----



TO READ THE FIRST SERIES FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **


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