"You sound as if you disapprove our little venture, lass." Jenica turned from her perch at the prow of the ship to see Durilligan standing in his flamboyantly worn way, offering her a hand down.
"Oh no, not at all." She smiled sweetly. If Rill sensed the danger, he didn't show it. She stepped down without his help. "I just disapprove of that moron! showing up in general!!" Deep within the ship, in the lavatory, Shrike sneezed.
Rill moved smoothly to the side, keeping his eyes on her. "Yes. Well... Yes. One can see that, I suppose. You two have a history then?"
Jenica scowled. "Like the Kabertan Empire has a history. Screwed over and shot at..."
"Ah, I see. Was it a romantic history?" The smile on Rill's face would have made honey seem sour.
"Gah!!" For a seasoned fighter, Rill was completely caught off-guard by Jenica's right hook. He slammed into a guardrail and his hat came loose.
"Oh no you don't!" He leapt over the side and grabbed his hat just as a gust of backdraft from the airship started to send it flying away. He deftly wrapped his legs around the railing, and swung back onto the deck easily. He carefully set the wide-brimmed hat back onto his head, making a show of arranging it properly. "Ahem. Can I assume that was a 'no?'"
Jenica punctuated each word with a fiery step towards the rogue. "Yes. You. Can." She grabbed him by the tunic and shook him violently. "Don't ever say things that stupid again, got it?"
"I believe so, yes. Now, can you let go of me? These clothes have seen better days, yes, but I am fond of them..." She released him, and he straightened his clothes again. "Where is our young man I'm supposed to be leading to the council?" With this he looked back at the city, far away though they hadn't been able to leave its airspace yet, and considered the irony behind that.
Jenica glanced around. "That's right. Where is Brian?" She stepped to the side to peer around the control room and saw him sitting, head hanging, in the stern. "He's-" She started to walk over, but Rill grabbed her shoulder. "Maybe he should just be left alone, lass. From what I've been told, this will be the first time he leaves the city."
Jenica frowned. "Oh. Oh... Well, we still shouldn't leave him alone."
"It's probably for the best. Let's go check on your romantic interest, shall we?" Chuckling, he ran lightly below decks with Jenica pounding after him.
So this is it, right? Looks like I've got to leave now. Crap. Crap crap crap! I mean, I've graduated, yeah. And a lot of graduates leave the city. But I wasn't really there to learn swordfighting, was I? I was there cause my parents made me go. But I haven't seen them since before I went. Guh. This is bad. I wonder if the old man's okay...
Brian finally looked up as he heard music from one side of the deck. A thin boy held a lute in his hands and sat cross-legged on the boards, singing for whoever would listen. He finished one and began another, starting with a slow, mourning chord progression and moving through a minor pattern. Several listeners already drew within themselves. Then he sang.
A childhood lament shrinking and shrieking
as the eye catches rays of gold.
An island mist-shrouded rising at east
and cutting through sea waves cold.
The king of the dragons sits brooding and stiff
as the ages turn by and by.
The agate stone rising and growing
forms the lord's tor high.
Crown of crusted topaz cold
sits on his bending brow.
Hollowed eyes and blackened mind
a warning ever now.
A wizard once, in olden times,
A guard for nether-climes.
The black water crashes, never once stilled,
his soul caught in agate tines.
When the boy was through, he seemed to come out of a stupor and realize no one was left listening. They had all fled the coldness of the song. He shook himself, stood up, and noticed Brian. He sat down cheerfully in front of the sorrowed half-fey. He didn't look older than fifteen. "My name's Elegain."