View Full Version : Nocturna League - The Mist Hour - Ch.9, (Mild Language, Mild Philosophy)

August 29th, 2015, 06:56 PM
IX: Jon is Almost Let Out of The Brig “or” Colette and Grancis Have a Fine Reunion “or” The Captain and Jobber Collete Enjoy a Grandiose Exchange of Philosophy and Tactics

Colette and Itrim are hoisted up by some of the crew members onto the deck of The Dark Lady Nocturna, and at once everyone spots The Captain’s hat upon her head.
“Ey, Kipper,” Dunklestein addresses.
Colette turns Itrim over into Dunk’s arms. “This man’s wounded. He wants to join the crew,” she says with a no-nonsense expression.
“Why you got Cap’s cap on? You stole it?”
Colette winces, and recalls that the others don’t know. “The Captain’s dead, Dunklestein. He put me in charge. Now you will respect my authority as the new captain, or this port is where we’ll leave you.”
Dunklestein looks confused. “Wh-what? The Captain’s dead? But I ju-”
“Colette!” a purely feminine, entirely gentle voice calls from the cracked kitchen door.
“Gran!” Colette rushes over and embraces her good friend, the two meeting each other half way. A grumbling Dunklestein takes the wounded man to the infirmary as Colette speaks up with her friend in her arms. “I thought you… I thought I’d lose you! When you got kidnapped I just…” Colette wipes her eyes with her coat-sleeve.
“I’m okay- The Captain came into where I was held and he rescued me. Then he sent me back on the ship with Boris. He turned around because he said he had to help you take care of something,” Grancis says with a smile.
Colette squints an eye in suspicion. “Wait, so he said he wanted to help me with something?” She asks as a pair of long, red crustacean whiskers poke out from the kitchen door.
“Mhmm! Then he went on up a trail into the wo-”
“I SEE THAT THE COLETTE MEAT IS OF THE RETURNING!” Boris proclaims as he bursts out from the door. In a second’s time, Boris breaks the five meter distance and embraces Colette richly, crushingly, and compassionately.
“I- guh! Uh. Nice to see you too… Boris,” Colette says, feeling her spine threatened by the massive strength of twenty hardened men.
“S-senior chef Boris! Please don’t break her! I need her unbroken!” Grancis weakly proclaims, pushing against Boris’ executional embrace.
“I AM OF THE SORRY. I AM SIMPLY OF THE EMOTIONAL SEEING YOU BACK NOT OF THE DEAD.” Boris releases Colette, and she takes in a deep breath to make up for oxygen lost.
“Thanks, Boris. Now get back to work. I’m hungry… and sleepy- and, well, this day’s been pretty rough for me in general.”
Boris nods his head to the side a bit, receiving an order from Colette, but he loves to make people happy. He promptly salutes with a massive claw. “IF YOU ARE OF THE ASKING, I AM OF THE DOING!” With that he turns around and slams into the kitchen like a living truck.
Colette shakes her head, and Grancis puts her hands together acquiescently. “So, where is The Captain? Wasn’t he going to come back with you on the ship?”
The wind rises, and Grancis’ dear friend sighs. “Well, Gran. I actually sh-”
“Shipped off without me?”
Colette swings around. The Captain, bandages, glasses officer attire and all- just missing a hat. “C-captain!?”
The mummified commander nods. “Tis’ I.”
As Grancis salutes with a flare of admiration in her eyes, Colette just stares on in disbelief.
“C-captain,” she says, taking deep breaths.
The Captain turns to her after patting Grancis away on her shoulder. “Yes?”
“Can I… talk to you? Like, just us?”
“Why, of course,” The Captain says as they step a bit to the side. Grancis returns to the kitchen after a quick wave, and Dunklestein smirks as he enters the infirmary with Itrim. The two enter The Captain’s quarters, a place unseen until now by Colette, and The Captain sits an absolutely bewildered Colette down. He pours a couple of drinks, Dugal’s scotch actually, and he takes his own place, kicking one leg over the other nonchalantly. “Now then,” he sneaks a quick sip, “What is it I can help you with?”
Colette takes a full shot of her glass, the scotch is oaky, and with an almost saltwater-like aftertaste. She stands up in the dark room, takes the hat from her head, and places it back on his. His guise complete, The Captain is about to say “thank you”, but is embraced quickly by Colette. The Captain can feel the salty sensation of tears absorbing into his bandages. “Did it hurt, Captain?”
The Captain, taken a back but unmoving, answers plainly. “It did.”
She squeezes him tighter. “I’m… I don’t know what to say… How are you here? I killed you?”
The Captain pushes her away, and looks into her eyes. “I’ll tell you that one day, but I have more important things to s-”
“I need to know now, Captain. How the hell did you live through that? I saw you blow away- gone- out- off to wherever. But I heard you speaking through my head, moving through me… Is that because I inhaled part of you? The sand?”
The Captain is quiet a moment, but turns his head down, as if to suggest sternness. “My banana bread, there are some things you cannot yet bear to know.”
“I can handle it, Salt. Tell me,” she says, taking her seat and looking out the single porthole giving the room a scant glow of natural light.
They hear the sea-winds blow, and The Captain takes another sip. “I will answer with a question.” Colette nods, and the Captain finishes the glass of Dugal’s “Do you think a real sailor has his entire life invested on the land when he goes to shore?… Well, that would be misleading. Better yet. Did you notice how peculiar the winds were when I died?” Colette’s features, as she looks down at the hardwood floor, widen in some sort of realization. “Did you too notice how you heard me in your head, and your body was stronger, and everyone was acting against the warlock?” Colette slowly nods. “It would be prudent to say that the sailors of The Nocturna must act as a team to get things done. One day I’ll let you go below deck, and show you how it all works, but for now, you need to be content with the answer that you, and everyone there breathed me in, because the wind was just very, very peculiar, for some entirely unknown reason. Do you understand?”
Colette sighs, and nods. “Okay, Captain… So, why didn’t you just do it all yourself?”
The Captain scratches his chin. “Are you learned in theology?”
She squints an eye. “No.”
“There are some religions that claim there is a God, and that this God would prefer have its creations learn things by experience, by their own choices and mistakes, than for the deity to fix everything for the creature. In this manner, sentient creatures, humans, I suppose, will become better, and thus bring glory to their creator. You see, the creator would prefer the human do it him or herself, as that would mean the creator’s abilities as a creator are validated- they made a being that can have the will to do right or wrong, and continuously learn from their mistakes.”
Colette looks perplexed. “You’d rather have me make those mistakes, rather than you fix stuff for me?”
“Yes, though I did see your need, but even if I didn’t, you still inhaled me so there wasn’t much you could have done about that. Regardless- it developed you through experience, that’s why I held information from you.”
She pushes her fingers against her skull. “Alright… I guess that does make sense… Do you… believe in a creator?”
The Captain pours himself another shot. “I haven’t the slightest clue.”
“I’d like to think there is.”
“That’s lovely, but I didn’t ask for your opinion, Miss Ketiere. It was an analogy, not a sermon.”
“Sir.” The two are quiet for a moment, Colette looking around the cabin subtly, and The Captain taking another sip. Colette speaks up again. “So, why did the guy at the bar think there was only one gauntlet?”
“He was either misinformed, drunk, or both.”
Colette nods. “Fair enough.”
The Captain gulps down his second glass of Dugal’s, and sets it aside. “Now then. I’m going to presume you’ve had enough time to ruminate, so I’d like to ask you a more important question.”
“Sure.” She leans in.
“Did you play the clear game that everyone saw, or did you also play below the table?”
Colette winces- remembering The Captain’s words at the poker game. “I… I played honestly.”
“And as such you were made a pawn for more deceptive, more skilled players. I don’t know if God, be there one or many, makes rules, but I certainly don’t see them being enforced- so how can we know where the line is in cheating? What is right, is to play in the way you know works best- you respond to other people’s playing styles, Miss Ketiere. Play on their level, and you can always be a match for them. When you started listening and believing, be it because of your rebellious fancy, wanting to believe the Kalamests some righteous underdogs, or simply your desire to take pity on others, you were hooked, and belittled into a playing piece, rather than a player. An upstanding captain must know when she is being taken advantage of, Miss Ketiere.”
Colette nods. “Sir… Do you think the people on the island will be okay?”
The Captain shrugs. “We removed a piece of conflict in a civil war. I’d say we improved the living situation. I’d say we will be remembered fondly by most- though their happiness is not what we were there for.”
She nods again, staring at the floor. “Is there a reason for all this? Is there a purpose to being a captain?”
“Being a captain is being a commander of humans- a being of powerful will commanding those of lesser wills. There are good captains, and bad captains, and the decision is up to you as to which one you may become. As a captain, your reason for living is reason enough.”
She sighs. “So, would you consider yourself a good captain?”
“I would consider myself the best captain, Miss Ketiere. I do appreciate your humility after being made a pawn of, but you really should walk this off.”
“But… I mean, sure, but I was just a goddamn idiot.”
“Yes, and I’m a goddamn idiot sometimes too. An upstanding captain understands that she is better than the situation she is in, and this should be reflected by her demeanor and actions. You need to believe that you are the best captain at all times, or else your men could become conscious of your doubt.”
Colette, arms now crossed, waves her head about in thought. “Alright, Captain. Thanks for talking with me,” She says, extending her hand as if to shake it.
“Do not forget your position, Jobber Colette. We are not equals- and though you saved me the trouble of reprieving my hat, you still overstepped your boundaries in wearing my cap and attempting to hand an order to Dunklestein the Daring. For this, you should be punished.”
There is a slight silence, and Colette scoffs. “Wait, what? It was just your damn ha-”
“Swab the deck, Miss Ketiere, or no dinner for you.”
She draws back, her expression indignant with rage. “Of all the shit-” Colette stops instantly once The Captain cracks his knuckles. She takes a deep breath, her eyes closed in stress, and begrudgingly salutes.
“Good girl, now off with you,” he says as he takes a stand, leads her out the door, and watches her take up a mop and violently start swabbing the already-pristine Nocturna decks. The Captain nods, and decides it’s now the right time to let Jim out of the brig. He slips around to the back of the first deck floor, and enters a small room with three cell doors inside. He has a quick chat with Jim, who is currently possessed, and it’s a fairly rude exchange on the aberration’s part, so it will be omitted, because The Captain scarcely allows course language on deck- simply detestable.
The Captain calmly steps out of the brig and goes to the one door leading to the lower decks, the one in the helm. Using the key only Boris, Luisoix, and himself have copies of, he opens the way to the lower decks. He closes the door behind him into an eerily-lit hallway, old, long lasting light-bulbs charged by magic, producing an almost sepia light to the hall below deck. He goes down another flight of stairs, to the engine room. Even though the Nocturna is moving, setting sail for their originally-intended destination, there are no engine sounds to be heard- just breathing. The hallway’s open door leaks a little light down into the engine room. What is barely visible is horrifying beyond description, but The Captain is used to this sort of thing.
“Well, it’s not often you come down to visit me anymore,” an very strange creature says, breath blowing through the room like a gust of strange wind.
“I apologize for that. I suppose it has been a few days- I’ve been busy,” The Captain says, taking a seat on the steps leading down to the engine room.
“I noticed. Colette’s quite the shot now.”
The Captain nods. “She’s improving quickly. I feel rather proud of her. Anyway, thanks.”
“It’s the least I could do. Swimming around being a job is just too easy.”
The Captain scoffs with a smirk. “Yes- but it’s something only you can do. I’m quite grateful. She shot me so much, and the wind was already blowing hard. I would have guessed it’d take at least a week before I could recompose myself, if at all.”
“It was close, but that’s what I’m here for.”
The Captain laughs- a rare sound. “Yes, yes it is. So, anything of interest?”
“Only your conversation with Colette in your quarters. You let her embrace you- quite uncaptainly.”
The Captain adjusts his visor and bends his head aside as if in embarrassment. “Well, she’s getting attached. I expect a lack of a capable father figure, or perhaps a blooming desire for professional acceptance.”
“Regardless. You can’t let her too close. That would ruin everything. Perhaps you should spend your time with that new recruit: Itrim I believe was his name.”
“…Yes, sir?”
“I call the shots. I’ll befriend who I like.”
“Yes sir, sorry, sir.”
“I’m glad my lack of visitation hasn’t worn down on your understanding of authority,” The Captain says, getting up and brushing off his coat. Kotherrhre is silent as The Captain starts up the stairs back into the lit hallway. “Oh, and nice touch pulling me out of the woods like that. It was enjoyable seeing her surprise at my waiting on the boat with her.”
“Yeah, Captain… Oh, and by the way.”
At the doorway, The Captain peers down into the pitch blackness. “Yes?”
“There’s a presence that’s taken the trail of the ship. It will be on us in about three days if we keep sailing.”
“Of what sort?”
Kotherrhre laughs darkly. “Captain, please. You know what it is and what it’s coming for. This many land-faring mortals on the ship? We’re bait without a hook, Captain.”
The Captain nods, and turns back to leave. “We’ll be ready. Our cargo and our crew is too precious to lose.”
Another laugh from Kotherrhre. “Sometimes I wonder just who the ‘crew’ is, and who’s the ‘cargo’.”
“Have a nice day,” The Captain says, stepping out.
“You too, Captain,” Kotherrhre says, watching The Captain leave and close the door, shrouding it back to the complete darkness it’s used to.
The Captain does a couple of other things below decks, and soon after ascends back to the waking world. He decides to while away the time exchanging jokes with Boris in the kitchen- but The Captain’s sense of humor is too dark and horrifying for Grancis to appreciate- she especially didn’t like it when he relayed a particularly graphic tale about cannibals devouring each other in a fight to get at one another’s hearts- as if it were a comical story. Sure enough, Boris laughed, and Grancis asked for permission to go outside.
Leaving the deep-voiced guffaws of the kitchen as Boris started a story about his old days devouring humans as a beast of the depths, Grancis steps out onto the misty deck, and spots Colette swabbing the deck. Naturally, she approaches her good friend.
“Hi,” she says simply, rebinding a bit of her hair to ensure it doesn’t blow about in the wind.
A miserable-looking Colette only needs to hear her voice before she turns around, still swabbing, but with a smile on her face. “Heya, Gran- Kitchen too hot?”
“Oh, yes, something like that. So, how was the trip to the island?” Grancis grasps the railing as Colette smirks.
“Pretty crazy, Gran,” she says, mopping vigorously as if to polish the deck to a mirror-like quality. “I was… Well, it was pretty hard for me- lots of crazy stuff happened.”
“Yeah. I was played like an dumbass.”
“Please don’t be so hard on yourself. You were very brave, fighting that entire group of bad guys by yourself.”
Colette looks over to Grancis. “Wait… What?”
“The Captain told me before he left to go help you that you were fighting off all the Kalamests by yourself, and defeating some terrible magician- he said he was impressed beyond word, but he knew you needed help, which was why he went on to give you a hand.”
Colette stares at Grancis with bewilderment and confusion, the memory of her shooting The Captain to blowing dust flashing in her mind, but she decides not to ask the specifics- the mysteriousness is beyond both of them. “Well… it was my pleasure, Gran. I’m happy to help.”
Grancis hugs Colette. “I’m so happy you’re okay,” Grancis says, brushing her head against Colette’s shoulder.
Stunned for only a moment, Colette drops the mop and returns the hug. “Yeah, I’m glad you’re okay too.”
“APPRENTICE MEAT! WHERE ARE YOU OF THE BEING? WE HAVE MUCH OF THE COOKING TO DO!” A giant crustacean cries out from the kitchen as a please Captain turns out and goes to his quarters to read a book.
Grancis draws a powerful breath. “I’LL BE RIGHT THERE, MASTER BORIS!” With that, Grancis says goodbye and rushes off to prepare lunch.
Colette is back to mopping, but she as she does, she watches The Captain go up to his quarters. For a moment, he turns around and looks at her. For a few fleeting seconds, they do nothing, and then, they both smile, and nod. The Captain turns to his quarters, and Colette to the deck. She realizes that as much as an incomprehensible asshole The Captain can be, he has her back. She spends the rest of the morning swabbing the deck, whistling an old tune from the town she came from.