Legends of Cobalt

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Lies and Plans

I swam through the frigid waters of Crescent Moon Bay until my hand scraped across smooth pebbles. I walked out of the surf onto the stone covered beach of Dawnsky Wharf. Salty water dripped from every inch of me, pulling what little heat remained in my body with it. Orange and red flames of the burning lighthouse on the cliff above illuminated the sky. Fayaad walked out of the water behind me and flopped down on an overturned rowboat.

“What happened?” Althaea hauled katsu out of the ocean.

“Percy keeled Sypax. One of hees expereements tried to keel us.” Fayaad wrung the water out of his cloak. “I had to eemprovise.”

Kastu hacked half a litre of water onto the beach. “We didn’t come here to kill Masinissa.”

Althaea helped Katsu to his feet. “We shouldn’t linger here.”

“I killed him?!” I rounded on Fayaad. “I’m fairly certain I remember you jumping on his back and ramming a knife through his spine.”

“Does it matter who killed Sypax?” Nellie appeared above us and floated out of our reach. “Whoever did it saved me some time. I should thank you for it. Sypax’s experiments started raising questions I didn’t like.”

I pointed my sword at Nellie and stepped between her and the others.

“No, silly.” Nellie giggled, “I’m not here to kill you and your new friends, not yet anyway. I’ve got all sorts of fun games planned for us.”

Fayaad hurled a knife at Nellie. She caught the knife and threw it back into the ground in front of Fayaad.

“Didn’t Percy tell you what happened to his last group of friends?” Nellie landed by Fayaad and ran a clawed finger along his throat. “Annoying adults brought their mutt and interrupted our playtime.”

I placed the blade on Nellie’s shoulder. “You killed my friends and tried to kill me, but I remember you running away from that fight.”

Nellie brushed my sword away and drifted back into the air out of reach. “Do what you want. I came here to tell you I know you’re hunting me, and I’m going to enjoy destroying that army on its way here.” Nellie locked eyes with me. “No worthless adults will ruin the Paradise I am building.” Nellie transformed into a bat and darted back towards the castle.

“That was Nellie? The adopted child of Sofka and the vampire child you’re scared of?” Katsu spit onto the beach. “She doesn’t seem that tough.” 

“You’ve never seen her rip out a man’s still-beating heart.”

Alarm bells further down the harbour joined the sound of pounding feet and cries of ‘fire’.

“We need to get back to the others.” Fayaad pushed past me and ran for the row-houses.

***

We pulled ourselves through the window into the secret library.

Phebes grabbed my arm and helped pull me up. “What happened?”

“Why is there a fire?” Wyanet asked.

I took a second to catch my breath. “Fayaad killed Masinissa and started the fire so we could get away.”

“Masinissa wasn’t supposed to die,” Serephina replied.

“Meestakes happen when we let the uneenitiated work with us.” Fayaad dropped his cloak and warmed his hands by the fire. “He keeled Sypax. One of Sypax’s creations tried to keel heem. I covered hees back.”

“Sounds like a botched plan to me,” Bucephalus snorted. “Which should all run now while we still have a chance.”

Fayaad unclipped his belt and dropped his weapons on his cloak. “We’ll be better off weethout you.”

Serephina scowled at Fayaad. “There is still more information you have not told us yet.”

Katsu fastened the window latch and sat down at the table. “Yes, Master.”

“She knows we’re here in the city,” I replied. “And she knows William is coming too.”

Wyanet asked, “How do you know this?”

“This Nellie came to us at the harbour.” Althaea shivered, “Master Seraphina, she appeared out of thin air.” 

“She let you live?” Bucephalus asked.

“She’s playing some sort of game with us,” I replied. “She must know we’re unprepared.”

Phebes asked, “Should we wait for William to get here?”

“Unless he’s got a legion from the Isle, bringing more soldiers here isn’t going to do anything.” Bucephalus sank into an armchair.

“We need a new plan.” Althaea stroked her chin.

“We have one,” Serephina replied.

Fayaad argued, “You can’t be serious, master.” 

Aramil cracked his knuckles. “A full-frontal assault. What we should have done in the first place.”

“I will lead my students in a raid on the Iron Cloister. We will spend the day tomorrow gathering what allies we still have in the city. We will move with the parade of phantasms to where we need to go.” Serephina pointed at Wyanet. “You and your company will break into the castle while we fight in the Cloister. You will kill the vampire and end this for all of us.”

Bucephalus rolled his eyes. “Great, another suicide mission.”

Katsu got up from the table and stripped off his wet gear. “Everyone get some rest. Tomorrow will be a long day, and it might be our last.”

***

The latch on my cell door clicked open in the dark. The old heavy door creaked slowly on its hinges. I slid my hand under my pillow, the cold steel of my dagger caressed my fingers.

“Percy,” Phebes asked. “Are you awake?”

I released my dagger and sat up. “I am now.”

“Sorry.” Phebes closed the door. “I couldn’t sleep. I’m nervous about tomorrow. I don’t know what to expect. Part of me feels like we’ll be fine, but a bigger part feels like we won’t. I don’t want you… or Wyanet or Ceph to die. I don’t want to die, and I don’t want others to die for me.”

I sat in silence and listened.

“Please, say something.”

“What do you want Phebes?” I swung my feet over the side of the bed. The stone floor curled my toes.

“I want to get stronger, so I can protect my…” 

“Not why you’re here. What do you want?”

Phebes fell to her knees. “I don’t know. I want to be happy and to feel safe. I want to feel loved, and like I never need to worry about going hungry.” Tears ran down her face. “I want to feel like I won’t be abandoned again.”

I slid to the floor and grabbed her hand. Phebes brushed my hand away and buried her face in my neck. Her cheek felt warm against me. Her tears tickled as they trailed across my skin.

“I can’t say everything will be alright.”

“That’s not helping.”

“I know, but we’re here now and I’m not leaving yet.”

The story will continue, November 26th,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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