“There is a time and place for everything, Cap’in Black, everything you desire…” Barley, The First Mate’s voice trailed off at Black’s
frown “We’re honest merchant’s…” he began again. The frown deepened. Barley looked down at his pointed boots.
“Peace, Barley? What has it brought us?” The Captain’s tenor voice was filled with sorrow. “The human Kings are gathering against us, they
feel our Honored Queen, long may she live, has become too powerful in the world. They have taken our kindness and thrown it back in our faces, they
have kidnapped our people and imprisoned them without cause, working them in their dark underground mines until the earth weeps from their cries.
They have stolen cargo, our gems and finery, our goodwill returned with greed and scorn. They have committed a thousand acts of war. The Queen
stirs. She hears the anguish of her beloved subjects. She will rise and rescue her own.”
Barley nodded sadly. “Aye, Cap’in, that she will. The human’s do not deserve our trade, and most have treated us with less respect than they
give to dogs, Sir, it’s true, but…” He thought on the petite human girl with the flow of skirts that skimmed her small shod feet, and how she
twirled with delight in his arms, how every port-day she arrived with a twinkle in her eye and mischief in her grin to lead him astray into the
Captain Black, (whose name was not really Black - that was the human name he chose) looked at his friend, his First, with sympathy. “Ah, Barley, I
can feel your heart breaking from here,” he said kindly. “I will give you a chance to see if she’ll join us before we close the Gate - though
she must know what that will mean, you must be clear. Bring her a gift, if you wish, as a promise of your good will and care. Here,” he removed a
small gold ring set with pearls from his own finger, “This would make a fine ornament, and I’ve been meaning to give you a bonus for your hard
Captain Black reached into his large purse and pulled out a heavy bag of human doubloons, enough to make the girl’s poor family grateful to see her
and her troublesome ways disappear; her feelings for Barley had caused them grief, along with her wild nature. The girl had been beaten for her
spiritedness on more than one occasion, apparently. Barley was worth having his happiness, he was, and the gold meant nothing to bonds among such
long-time friends as they; three centuries and more.
Barley’s large blue-green eyes grew moist and his throat squeezed around a multitude of emotions. He bowed deeply, brushing at his cheeks with his
kerchief, taking the ring and the gold. “I will be back with or without her, Sir, you are too good, Sir, too good.”
“Go.” Barley needed no more encouragement and took off into the night with his light feet barely touching the ground, his blond braid flying
behind him and white shirt billowing; he was a handsome lad by both elven and human standards, and as beautiful a soul as could be met.
A green glass orb on his desk began to lighten and fill the room with a pulsing lime green glow. “Ah!,” he exclaimed, the Queen was calling.
He leapt up and kneeled in the light. “My Queen, I am here,” he said aloud. The green light swirled into a spiral, then into a vortex that
opened a small portal between the worlds. He bowed his head, not looking at her magnificence until she gave permission.
“Captain Alfwin Adelric of the Noble Family of Ebonshire, how fares your mission?”
Alfwin’s long ears twitched. “My Queen, we are preparing to serve Your Will. Soon, the ships from Bethons and Dormin will arrive at this same
port, and we will establish the Portal. Your ships will pour forth at your command, Your Highness.”
“Very good.” There was a hint of a question in the air, and more than a touch of sorrow. “Tell me, Captain, the humans…” He looked up
then to gaze on her features, the formality lessened between them by her simple speech. Tatiana, her golden crown shining green in the emerald light,
her radiant features and the stormy potential that lay just under the surface of surpassing beauty, knit her pale brow. “Are there none worth
He looked down at his small pointed feet in their laced black boots, shining in the green light. “My Queen,” he began, searching for words, “We
have found great evil and greed here, but it is not all wickedness. The regular people are afraid, and they react badly.” He glanced back at her
and saw her bow her head.
“What fools these mortals be, my Captain.” she paused after quoting her favorite human author. “Your compassion, then, would be moved to spare
He thought bitterly of the treatment of his kind at the hands of imbeciles who had no idea what power they were attempting to chain, he thought of the
prisoners working in the mines, of the diplomacy that failed, the arrogance and spite of callous men and the wicked lies of high-born women, of
torture and abuse and death. His anger grew. He would, he thought, advise no compassion, except…there was Barley and the lithe young human woman
that held his heart.
He thought on his handsome blonde friend, a lower caste Elf who was proud to be First Mate on his ship, and his heart could not be bound to the hatred
he wished he could feel. He remembered the ancient history of his own kind, discovered so long ago by the Eternal Queen Tatiana and how they had
been, slowly, over three thousand years, brought into the knowledge of civilization, and civility. “Yes, my Queen,” he said, his wrath defeated.
“They are not much more savage than my own kind, those millennia ago.”
He felt the smile blossom on her face before he saw it. Glancing up in surprise he saw her glory and his eyes filled for joy. “Captain Alfwin
Adelric of Ebonshire, you have passed the test. You are now, in my eyes, Lord Alfwin Adelric of all Ebonshire and the Five Districts, Merchant of the
Queen and Captain of the Queen’s Ship, The Celestial Wanderer.”
He gasped and bowed deeply, his forehead touching the polished wooden floor of his beloved ship. “My Queen, I am unworthy!”
“Nay, Lord Alfwin, you are most worthy in my sight, and my eyes are the ones that matter.”
“Thank you, my Queen, I shall not fail you.”
“You shall not,” she said in a tone that implied complete faith. “Continue with our plan, and the greater glory to leaving this species
unharmed. I will communicate such to the Generals and the other ships in our command.”
He bowed again, and the light receded. She was gone.
A fair headed man and a will-o-the-wisp girl fled through the streets as a massive light circled and grew in the sky of the Harbor. She nearly fell
in awe of it, and was frightened, but held his hand like a vice as they ran. He told her there was nothing to fear, and she hoped he was not
At the harbor, The Celestial Wanderer began to glow and shift, preparing itself to shed the mask of the human world, morphing into its true shape.
“Hurry,” Barley cried and they nearly flew up the dock, fighting against the tide of retreating people who thought surely the world was ending.
edit on 2-4-2015 by AboveBoard because: (no reason given)
edit on 2-4-2015 by AboveBoard because: (no reason
edit on 2-4-2015 by AboveBoard because: (no reason given)