Archeaology: THE BEARER

When I was sixteen, I wrote my second complete novel.

It was an old idea, reinvented with a sense of humor, a forbidden romance, and a long lost heir. I completed it: thirty-eight glorious chapters of ocean warfare, magic, and magic rabbits. The story stuck with me as I grew, matured into something rawer and dearer. But this is still the only incarnation with a complete draft.

And I reread this from time to time, confuse myself a little with old names and plot points, and laugh.

Because the bright and sarcastic L’ira from this story becomes the quieter, self-deprecating Jaera in later fiction.

Because forgetful, forever-young Glaeseerin becomes the old-before-she’s-twenty-five, leader-of-the-rebellion Cerena.

Because innocent, inventor Garret gets split after a few years, and contributes personality traits and plot functions to prankster Brance and protector Aithan.

Because Mad Hatter Pirate Jenny… well, she basically stays the same.

A piece of chapter 36 is reproduced here for five reasons:

  • the magical girl with an apostrophe in her name
  • the alliterative name of a magical, plaid rabbit
  • pirate speech
  • teenage thoughts on how rebellions work
  • the heart-warming chance to say, “Look how far I’ve come!”

Chapter 36 – somewhere in the middle

Fier glanced at L’ira coldly. “What do you want?” he snapped.

L’ira paused, breathing evenly as she looked back at him. “You’re title is stolen,” she stated slowly. “I’ve—”

“Stop,” he ordered. “Don’t you dare say another word.”

“You don’t have the power to tell me that,” L’ira told him.

Fier laughed, stepping back to gesture around him at the ship. “I don’t have the power? Young lady, we are on my ship. I have an entire crew at my disposal. What makes you think you have the strength to defy me?”

“The two mages watching her back, that’s what!” Glaeseerin called from above, standing in the rigging with Bloody Bonny Black perched on her shoulder.

Garret smacked his forehead beside her. “Glae!”

The crew looked up, repeating the name in recognition.

L’ira didn’t turn around, looking down at her feet as just a hint of a smile showed on her face. She quickly looked back up at Fier, her eyes seeming alive for the first time since she’d come aboard the Wave Crest. Fier swallowed as he looked at her.

“You’re title is stolen, Fier,” she repeated more confidently, deliberately refusing to call him “lord”. “You stole it from my parents sixteen years ago and it’s time I took it back.”

There was a sudden roar from the surrounding ships as they heard her. Glaeseerin grinned, looking around at the fleet.

Garret looked more apprehensive as both he and L’ira watched the faces of the Wave Crest’s crew. Half of them looked excitedly at L’ira, seeming more surprised than anything else, while the other half of them clearly displayed expressions of shock and anger.

-*-*-

The man on the other side of Leref growled. “Deceitful scum!” He pulled his knife from his belt and raised his arm to slam it into the mirror.

One of the other crewmen grabbed his arm to stop him, glaring at him menacingly as the knife clattered onto the deck. “Who are you calling deceitful?”

“Lee’in’s daughter is dead, Ramhurst!” the first man snapped, shaking away.

Ramhurst shook his head angrily. “Aren’t you watching this, Bulrin? Seas! She looks exactly like Lee’in! I can’t believe that we didn’t see it while she was onboard.” Some of the others nodded and stated their agreement.

“You’re talkin’ treason,” Bulrin growled.

“I’m talking about putting the right person back on the throne,” Ramhurst countered.

Bulrin snarled and drew his sword, swinging down sharply towards Ramhurst. Leref dodged in between them drawing his own sword just in time to deflect the blow. All around them crewmen began drawing their own weapons and joining in the fray.

-*-*-

The other ships in the fleet were soon deeply involved as well, with battles of their own surging over their decks. Steel rang on steel and men’s cries were heard all over the water.

L’ira glanced around her as the men on the Wave Crest began to join in as well. The crew quickly chose sides. Those loyal to Fier came to stand around him while those taking L’ira’s side swiftly made their way over to her.

“Kadelyn! Torwen!” Fier shouted as the fight began in full force. “Get below! Now!”

Kadelyn turned and ran down the stairs. Tori stayed only long enough to shoot her father and L’ira a glance and then fled as well.

Within just a few minutes, some of the ships had succeeded in either killing or throwing overboard all those of the opposing side and the battles between ships began. Cannons fired. Mage bolts shot across the water. All around things seemed to be chaos. Both sides struggled to get organized as they fought.

L’ira dodged out of the way, taking coverage behind the mast as a mage bolt streaked across the Wave Crest’s deck, crashing into the mast head.

Somewhere over the water someone said, “Arg, me mateys! Where the battle be?”

Glaeseerin smiled and looked at Bloody Bonny Black. “Looks like it’s time to have some of Jenny’s ‘fun’.” The rabbit squeaked and ran around to her other shoulder, hiding under her hair. Glaeseerin shrugged it off happily and grabbed Garret’s hand instead. “Let’s go!”

“What?” Garret cried, eyes wide.

Glaeseerin didn’t pay any attention to his tone and simply dove off the rigging, flying through the air to land in the middle of the fighting. Garret ducked as someone swung a sword toward him, slipping away and hiding behind the mast.

“Hello,” L’ira said tensely beside him. “How’s it going?”

“Oh, just great!” Garret told her. “I’ve always wanted end up fighting for my life.”

L’ira smiled. “Oh good.” She peeked out from behind the mast just long enough to fire off a few mage bolts and then quickly tucked herself back behind the pillar as the return shots came hurtling her way.

“How about you?” Garret asked. “You enjoying yourself?”

“Oh, immensely,” L’ira replied sarcastically. “I just had the grandest time telling Fier he was a dog and waiting to see if anyone would take my side. It was loads of fun.”

“Good to hear.” Garret turned and fired a few mage bolts of his own before looking back to her. “How long do you think this is going to last?”

L’ira blinked. “Do I look like I’ve started a revolution before?”

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