Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 10 - "Reflection"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

victory celebration

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Sci-fi - Published: 2009-11-24 - Updated: 2009-11-24 - 1013 words - Complete

One thing Shades, not to mention his friends, quickly fell in love with about the Maximum was her kick-ass sound system. Where Shades’ broad selection of music currently played on high volume. Shades had hooked up his Cam-Jam to the system’s input jack, turning it into a random jukebox of thousands of songs.

Fun for hours.

At first, their discussion kept revolving around their narrow escape. The prevailing conclusion being that the island belonged to some bizarre secret society or religious cult. There was some debate about the details, but all were agreed that they were trying to attain immortality by conducting strange rituals with that coin. And that, more than likely, something went horribly wrong, as they doubted the current state of affairs there was quite what these cultists originally had in mind. Apparently unable to leave, whatever was trapped on the island made a habit of killing anyone unfortunate enough to set foot on shore.

“Still,” Justin said, “we don’t really know much about that thing.” More than any of them, had made a point of watching until the island completely vanished beyond the horizon before he dared to let his guard down. “How do we know it didn’t follow us?”

“Think about it,” Shades pressed, having done so a good deal himself. He could never know for sure that it wouldn’t have tried to kill them all anyway, but he couldn’t help thinking it might not have been so vicious about it if Justin hadn’t taken the amulet. “If it could hide the damn coin, don’t you think it would have? I mean, it let you carry it deeper into the compound, and attacked you only after you headed back to the ship, right? I bet it would have attacked us both right then and there if we’d tried to just go back right then.”

“I guess that makes sense,” Justin conceded.

Shades didn’t dare mention it, doubting he could convince Max and fearing Justin might do something rash at the mere thought of it, but the idea had occurred to him a couple times to just go back and put up some kind of sign. A warning of some sort for future travelers. But the more he thought about it, he found he couldn’t think of anything the entity couldn’t think of some way to destroy anyway. Then again, at least if anyone approached the side they just left, all that wreckage would be certain to grab their attention.

That would have to do.

“So, how much do you think that coin is worth?” Max asked. After taking a brief look at the sinister artifact Justin had risked his life for, he thought it looked ugly, yet, in its own way, intriguing.

“Don’t know, but it’s gotta be a lot,” Justin replied. One thing that struck him as odd was realizing that he wasn’t the least bit suspicious of Max, and he was starting to get the impression that Shades really didn’t want anything to do with his treasure. “I feels heavy enough to be solid gold!”

“Yeah,” Shades asked point-blank, “but who are you going to sell it to?”

“Don’t know yet,” Justin said, wondering why Obscura Antiques immediately came to mind. Then again, he honestly could picture that decrepit old shopkeep buying it from him. Likely with just a shrug of his bony shoulders for the thing’s history, given some of the other items that graced his shelves. “Whoever’s the highest bidder.”

Figures, Shades commented to himself.

“I wonder where we’ll end up next?” Max interjected.

“Wherever it is, I’m hoping for a break from haunted places,” was all Shades had to say about it. And to think, if we first arrived on the other side of that island, we probably could’ve guessed from all those abandoned ships that something wasn’t right. That Abu-Sharrah’s pretty observant… he heeded all the clues we ignored… Note to self: next time we get no welcome, we circle around and check things out first. “Guess we won’t know until we get there…”

After that, the conversation became more lighthearted, turning to plans and reflections on how much fun it was going to be having their own ship. As the sun went down, the volume went up, the laughter became more frequent, and the atmosphere onboard became livelier. Max had heard it all before, but this was Justin’s first time, and he was quickly taking a liking to Shades’ taste in music. Not all of it, as it seemed to make allusions to places and things foreign to him, but there was a great deal of some songs that he could relate to, plus the music itself just had this energy that made it hard to sit still.

That, and he never got to listen to any music in the Triangle State.

And so their victory celebration went on most of the night.

After everyone else was asleep, Max stole out onto the deck of the Maximum. Under the moonlight, he unwrapped Chad’s skull, which he had packed out of the Harken Building.

Remembering what he could from Grampa Reno’s funeral many years ago, and improvising the rest as reverently as he could, Max spoke quietly, “Chad Owen, I have removed your remains from the place that defiled them. In place of my mother and father, who couldn’t, I now lay you to rest…”

Though an Outlander, to give him a proper Layoshan funeral, or as close to it as he could manage under the circumstances.

“I will take up your sword, and do you honor with its use. I now return you to Mother Ocean, that your spirit may find rest upon the winds of time.”

Slowly lowered the skull into the water and gently let go of it.

After standing and watching until it sank out of sight, he finally went back inside to join his friends and get some sleep.
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