Private Tales What the Sea Holds

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Inina

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"I've never tasted water like that.." she told him, shifting uncomfortably as it seemed the men were examining the sorry sight of her. Even her ribs and spine were more visible under her bruised skin than they had any right to be, and she'd been branded with a strange symbol on the back of her shoulder. It was the same sigil they bore on their flags.

Violet eyes followed Bastian as he crossed the room, her neck craning with interest as he lifted a bucket of water and brought it to her. She nodded, desperately as he offered to pour it over her and the second she felt it meet her skin and scales she let out a blissful whimper and fought the urge to cry. The colour returned to her scales a little more, shimmering blues, silvers and purples glittering under the droplets of water as her tail writhed with delight, her fin slapping against the puddle of water on the slab.

"Thank you..." she groaned, staring down at the dozen or so bloodied gaps in her scales where the Caretaker had plucked them from her. Her jaw tightened.
 
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Bastian

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The Captain watched the display for a moment, glancing over at the Surgeon and then to Bastian.

"Get a tub, or something. Get the boys to fill it with seawater."​

Bastian nodded, deciding for once that he would not question an order. He turned quickly on his heel and wiped his bloody blade off on his trousers before he moved to head out of the infirmary. A sharp breath filled his lungs before he could step outside.

Fingers tightened on his blade, and slowly he took a step.

"Not just yet, Captain."

That icy voice almost seemed to echo out, forcing Bastian to step back into the room.

Following after him came the Dreadlord. Her red hair draped over her shoulders, icy eyes slowly panning around the room. There was a smile on her face, but the expression didn't touch her soul. Slowly she brought her gaze down on the mermaid.

"A few questions need to be answered first."

She stepped forward towards Nina.

"Who are you?"

The Dreadlord asked softly as she came up besides the mermaid. Her gaze flickered over the wounds on her body, the shine of her scales.

"Your kind is not common in these waters."
 
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Inina

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Nina's eyes found tears again as a tub of sea water was demanded. Her eyes pooled and tears ran onto her cheeks. It was not the ocean, it wasn't home, but even this small kindness had been more than she'd known in weeks. She could start healing, could soothe every ache and pain and wound and remember what the ocean felt like around her.

Then came that woman's cold voice again and she turned to watch her step toward her. Nina swallowed, and decided it best to provide some sort of answer in order to get what she needed. "I.. was captured, we've been sailing for weeks I'm, not sure where we are.." she looked to Bastian and back to the woman.

"My name is Inina." she told her and cleared her throat as she worked up the courage to ask..

"What will happen to me? Will I go free?" she asked, her slender brows furrowing.
 
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Bastian

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Bastian looked at the woman for a brief moment. There was something...wrong with the Dreadlord. He couldn't quite tell what it was, but she didn't seem human herself. It was as if her soul had left her, as if any mercy had simply been taken away.

"No."

The answer was terse. Direct.

The word was like a slam against the door. A window slamming shut before a baby bird could fly free. Bastian felt a tension in his chest, fingers tightening for a moment more on the knife in his hand. He glanced at the Captain, his expression unreadable.

He looked at Bastian, and offered the tiniest shake of his head.

"But I won't keep you in chains."

The woman said with a smile.

"Fetch her the tub, Bastian. We'll see if Inina can't offer some more answers in the meantime."

For a second the Runaway hesitated. His eyes glanced towards the woman, then towards the mermaid. Lips thinned, and then he remembered what he was.

Here he was not a butcher. He was not a monster. He was a very small fish in a large ocean. The Dreadlord could crush him in an instant, but he had made a promise, and he would make sure to keep it.

Slowly he nodded, pulling away to grab one of the other sailors and fetch a tub.
 
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Inina

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No...

The devastation couldn't have been more clear on the mer's face. She looked to Bastian, and to the Captain as though either of them could change the woman's mind. That she wouldn't be chained up again was a small relief, that she would have a little water was another, but what she craved was her freedom. Before she'd been dragged from the ocean she'd never spent even a minute out of it in her entire life.

She watched Bastian leave and looked back to the woman with a shake of her head "I.. I don't know what else I can answer for you.." she blurted, her voice frantic with panic. "Please, I am of no use to you, let me try to find my way home." she begged of the woman, her lips trembling.
 
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Bastian

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"Oh I don't think that's true dear."

The woman moved like a viper.

She coiled around Inina like she was prey, something to be feasted upon. Watching her as though there was some hidden thing tucked away within her mind. Lips thinned for a brief moment as she looked down at the mermaids tail.

"Where are you from?"

The woman asked.

"Are there more of you?"

Every question seemed to cause more discomfort within the Captain's face. It was clear that he didn't like the Dreadlords interrogation, the way she looked at Inina like she was a piece of meat rather than a being of thought.

The Dreadlord reached out, putting a finger on Inina's scales and slowly running it down her tail.
 
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Inina

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A militia of chills marched down the mer's spine as she turned to watch the woman slink around her, her fist clutching hold of the necklace in her palm as though fearing she might try to take it. Miraculously, Inina manage to pale more at the woman's questions, her stomach churning with nausea as she too saw it for the interrogation that it was.

She shifted uncomfortably, stuttering as she tried to think of what lies she could get away with. "I..N-no I lived, in a bay near Eaglehead with my mother, though she died a year ago." she answered, one lie, one truth. "I am sure there are more of my kind, but I have lived alone with my mother since I was young, I've never seen others." her head shook.

Her violet gaze fell upon the finger reaching to stroke a line down her tail and she writhed uneasily, her fin slapping against the table instinctively. She shuddered at the touch, it wasn't a pleasant one, and not one she was accustomed to. It had been defiled enough, and Inina's hand reached to settle protectively over her scales as she shifted away from the touch.
 
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Bastian

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"Is that so?"

The Dreadlord mused out loud.

There was something to her eyes, a piercing sort of gaze that spoke of knowledge beyond what she had uttered already. Lips quirked in a smile, and she opened her mouth to speak, hand drawing back just long enough to give Inina some reprieve.

"I don't think thats all of it."

Her fingers curled.

In an instant Inina would feel a pressure on her chest, a sudden crushing weight that settled upon her as though someone heavy had sat themselves down upon her.

"Liesse!"

The pressure suddenly stopped as the Dreadlord whipped her head towards the Captain.

"That's enough. This woman was a slave, captured like the others. I will not have torture aboard my ship."

For a few seconds the room seemed to fall silent, the Surgeon stepping back and away from the captain as if he expected something to happen.

There was a pause, and then the Dreadlord stepped away.

"Very well, Captain. It is your ship after all."
 
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Inina

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The sensation was something she'd never felt before and one she never wanted to feel again. Her back arched from the table as the invisible weight crushed down on her chest, her tail thrashing violently as she screamed in terror and tried desperately to claw air back into her lungs.

The second it stopped, Nina rolled onto her side, her body shaking as she gasped and coughed, trying to curl herself up as much as she could and wrapping her arms around herself as she cried silently, her shoulders shuddering with every breath.

She didn't dare speak as the Captain addressed the woman, didn't dare move even as she stepped out of the infirmary. Why she had chosen not to believe those who warned her to stay away from the surface.

People were as monstrous as they'd told her they were.
 
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Bastian

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Bastian returned with another man holding a large bathing tub that was usually used for cleaning dishes en masse. The cook had not been too pleased when he'd been forced to part with the thing, but Bastian had a...method.

Both of the men gave the Dreadlord a wide berth as they stepped into the room, putting the tub down on the far side of the infirmary. "Here."

The runaway said as others came with a few buckets of seawater. It was enough to fill the tub, though the whole thing was about as confusing for them as could be. The Captain himself lingered for only a short time before barking an order.

"Bastian, stay with her."

"Me?" He asked incredulously. "Wh-"

He bit his tongue, knowing he wasn't supposed to question orders. "Yes sir."

After a few moments he sighed, glancing towards the Surgeon who motioned towards Inina and then towards the tub. His head lulled, and then he took a breath, stepping towards the merwoman and slowly moving to pick her up again.
 

Inina

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Inina didn't move, focusing on the scent of salt water, the sound if it being poured into the tub, on any sort of comfort she could take from her current situation and anything to forget about her pain. Her entire body jolted as she felt hands on her again and she cowered, her body trembling against the touch.

She looked up at Bastian, her cheeks glistening with tears as she stared at him in fear.

'Bastian..' her voice whispered, the word echoing, but her lips had not moved, and he'd be the only one who heard her. 'Please... Please help me.' her brow furrowed as he carried her. All it would take was for him to get her onto the deck and throw her overboard. She didn't have any other option but to try and find a mind that might take pity.
 
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Bastian

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Bastian froze for a moment, stopping in the middle of the room.

He felt an odd shudder run up his spine. Fingers tightened on her, lips thinning. His head spun, as if an echo of her words reverberated within his own thoughts. After a moment his head shook, a gulp carrying through his throat. "I-I ccan't."

It was too risky.

Bastian was on the run. He was a criminal. A murderer. They could have executed him a dozen times over back home if they caught him. Out here on the sea? With that crazed bitch? They would likely drag him beneath the keel just for the fun of it.

He couldn't risk it.

"What do you mean you can't? She can't be that heavy."

The Surgeon snapped him out of the odd daze, his head pulling up to the look at the man. "Yeah, right."

He said as he walked over towards the tub, gently putting Inina down into the water.
 
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Inina

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Violet eyes watched him closely. She didn't know what sort of man he was, she had every reason to fear him as much as anyone else on this ship or the last, but she couldn't not try. There was thought behind his eyes, consideration perhaps. She bit down on her lip as the surgeon spoke, sighing sharply as her plea was once again denied.

For now, she would make do with the meagre pool of sea water. The instant it touched her she drew in a gasp which tumbled back out of her mouth in a shuddered groan. Every wound stung, delightfully so, every ache and pain instantly felt reprieve. It was the first time she had smiled in weeks and she laughed under her breath as she drew cupfuls of the water up over her torso and her tail sloshed lazily, her scales and fins suddenly more vibrant and shimmering than she ever remembered, other than those few dark patches where some were missing.

The tub wasn't large enough for her to stretch out in, and so she let her tail flop over the edge as she drew the rest of her body under the surface of it, her eyes blinking up at Bastian. 'Thank you'.. Her voice softly echoed once more, the blues and purples of her hair regaining it's own vibrancy now reacquainted with the water and salt.

She shifted to sit up again, choosing to bathe her wounded tail and settling her back against the edge of the tub, the beads of salt water shimmering like diamonds on her skin, her beauty returning to it's natural state all at once. Her eyes were brighter now as she looked timidly up at Bastian and the surgeon, slowly cupping the water into her palm to drink.
 
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Bastian

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That same odd shudder ran up his spine as he heard her voice echo inside of his head.

It was the first time he realized that she hadn't actually spoke to him earlier. Her lips had moved, but her voice had echoed in his mind. A shiver ran through him, goosebumps running over his still blood stained skin as he looked down at the woman.

What the fuck are you. He wondered quietly, not entirely sure if she could hear him or the voice only went one way.

Lips thinned, and the Surgeon cleared his throat.

"It seems seawater heals her wounds, absolutely fascinating."​

Bastian looked over towards the man, crooking an eyebrow slightly. A shrug rolled over the doctors shoulders as he wandered to the desk and pulled out a notebook. Bastian was left standing for a moment, frowning, and then grabbing a stool from the corner of the room.

He placed it down a bit away from the tub, watching Inina wearily as the surgeon began to scribble away.
 

Inina

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'I'm a mermaid..What the 'fuck' are you?' She did not know what that word meant, and her head tilted slightly as she spoke the words into his mind, studying him right back for a moment..

Nina looked down at the cuts to her wrists, the bleeding wounds on her tail. They stopped bleeding, the sting soothed and the wounds had slowly begun to heal themselves, but the marks would remain for a few days at least. Her scales would return in the weeks to come, so long as she was still given access to salt water.

Her gaze drifted toward the surgeon as he started fiddling around with something and her eyes narrowed curiously.. "What is he doing?.." she asked aloud, craning her neck to see.
 
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Bastian

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I'm...me. Human. Wasn't that obvious?

Bastian decided that he did not like having someone speak in his head. Every time he 'heard' her voice a shiver ran up his spine which was quickly accompanied with a thousand goosebumps. Fingers tightened for a moment, but he didn't want to yell at her.

The moment he spoke up about it he knew what would happen. The Surgeon would get curious, the dreadlord would find out, and then Inina would end up dissected on a table.

Bastian might have been a monster, but not that sort. "Taking notes."

"You're the first mermaid we've..."
He trailed off. "Most of us have ever seen."

For some reason he thought the Dreadlord had seen one before, but he did not know for sure.
 

Inina

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Nina frowned. She had assumed they were humans until that woman had almost crushed her chest without even touching her. She didn't know humans were capable of such things, then again she had not been taught much about land walkers despite her fascination. Her people had hid from them for a millennia.

"Oh.." she answered quietly in response to Bastian's explanation. A good thing for the rest of her kind, she thought. She wouldn't have wished the torture she'd endured on any, and she could only pray that her father had not sent any after her, for they simply had no idea what these humans were capable of.

"But, what do you want with me?" she asked, looking between them both. "I am.. just a mer.." she frowned in confusion. Then again, the first time she had seen men walking on two legs some weeks ago, she had almost vomited in shock. She supposed they must have been just as curious as she had been, sadly her own curiosity had come at a very dear price.
 
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Bastian

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Bastian shrugged. "I don't know."

It was a truly honest answer. He had absolutely no idea what they wanted with Inina or why anyone would care. Most Anirians hated being around outsiders. Elves and the like where shunned, driven out, not collected and kept around.

If Inina wanted to be thrown back into the ocean it seemed to him that would be the best solution to getting rid of the problem. It wasn't as thought she wanted to be here.

"I thi-" Bastian found himself interrupted.

"Don't try to think, you're a sailor. It's not in your wheelhouse."​

A spike of rage rushed through Bastian's chest as the Surgeon finally chimed him. The mockery and the...arrogance of his words had his hand slowly reach towards the knife on his belt. Stilling only when he forced it to.

"We have not seen many of your people, dear, and we humans are a very curious bunch."​

Slowly the man spun in his chair.

"I am eager to see just what you can do."​
 
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Inina

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Nina continued to look between them, her fingertips dappling at the surface of the water, her tail fin lifting and falling every now and then. She stilled though as she saw the tension of anger visibly rise in Bastian, saw his fingers reach toward that blade at his hip. Her mouth went dry and she swallowed, her attention drifting back to the surgeon with a frown of confusion.

"What I, can do?.." she asked.. "I.. can swim. I'm afraid, that is all." she answered. Another lie. She wanted to seem as uninteresting as she could possibly be.
 
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Bastian

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Bastian kept himself in check. Most of his sailors were not observant. They thought him a bit of a hot head, a charmer, but by and large he was just another greenhorn. To them it didn't matter much one way or another who he had been on land.

It was different for the Surgeon. For the Captain and the Dreadlord. Hell, perhaps even for Inina.

He needed to remember why he was here. A new life, an opportunity sought. He'd not found it in the expeditionary forces so perhaps he would find it here. Fingers tightened once again, drawing away from his blade this time.

"Oh I would not sell yourself so short, my dear."​

The Surgeon said as he stood from his chair.

"We all have many talents, some locked away beneath our skin...or perhaps scales."​

Bastian frowned a moment. The Surgeon reminded him of the butchers back home, those who took in cats, foxes, and anything else that was brought in.

A smile painted on The Surgeons face, but he simply shook his head and stepped away towards the door.

"Stay with her. I must speak with the Captain."​
 
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Inina

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Nina glanced to Bastian as he chose not to speak up about the hidden gift that he knew of.. She'd seen how thin a thread his anger hung on, a mild insult on his intelligence and he had considered violence. He did not seem to be entirely on these people's side for some reason. Perhaps he would help her, with a little more convincing.

The surgeon's words drew her eyes back to him with a look of confusion at his meaning, but the smile that crept over his face had Nina's heart pounding a little harder against her ribs and her knuckles paled as she gripped the edge of the tub, watching the man leave.

As soon as he was gone she looked up at Bastian.. "He's going to torture me, isn't he? Please don't let him, either let me go or kill me. I can't endure any more of.. Humans." she sat back and sunk low into the tub so that her mouth and nose were submerged, a few drops of salted tears added to her miserable tub of ocean.
 
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Bastian

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"I don't know…" Bastian said with a frown.

He really didn't know. The Captain was a decent enough man, but The Surgeon...he couldn't read the man in the least. There was something off about him, and the Dreadlord, well the fucking Dreadlord would rip the mermaid apart in the blank of an eye if it meant getting something out of her.

His lips thinned and his head shook.

"I can't…" Bastian said with a frown. "I can't help you."

Not more than he already had. "I can't risk it. They'd kill me too."

It was him or her, and that was a choice he would make over and over again. Self preservation was the only way he'd gotten by, the only way he'd survived the Slums. He had to put himself first.
 
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Inina

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Nina glanced up at him and let another tear roll into the water as she gave him a slow nod in understanding, and slipped under the surface of the water, her tail fin dripping water onto the floor as it hung limply over the edge of the wooden tub.

Her eyes closed, small bubbles rising to the surface as she breathed, savouring the moment's peace she had beneath the tiny pool as she tried to mentally prepare herself for whatever came next and accept that there was nothing she could do to stop it. Fighting would only be worse for her, all she had was this miserable helping of water. She couldn't conquer an entire crew, nor battle that woman who could apparently crush her without so much as blinking.

She would never go home.
 
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Bastian

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The room stayed silent for what seemed like an eternity. Inina kept herself within the water and Bastian didn't try to coax her out.

He was not one to feel guilty over most things. He'd left widows and orphans in his wake back home without so much as a thought. In truth, even now if it came down between Inina and himself he would slit her throat without a heartbeat. That didn't mean he was completely without empathy though.

He felt bad.

A life consigned to slavery and torture was exactly what he had tried to run away from. It was exactly what he was trying to avoid.

Bastian didn't like being in the same room as the mermaid, didn't like to see the reflection of himself within her. It made him uncomfortable, and more than that, it made him question whether or not it was worth all this running.

By the time dusk fell, neither the Surgeon, Captain, nor Dreadlord had returned.

Bastian's leg began to bounce, his fingers playing over his knees. What is taking them so long.

He wondered.
 

Inina

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Nina silently sobbed herself to sleep beneath the water. She hadn't slept for longer than an hour at a time in the last few weeks. Despite her grim situation, the salt water was soothing enough to drown out the reality and dull her pain enough to let her rest whilst she could.

She had no idea how long she'd been asleep for when his thoughts interrupted her, like now that she'd opened a channel with him some of them slipped through into her own mind. Her brow furrowed as the voice roused her, the surface of the water rippling slightly in response to his fidgeting.

'Stop thinking so loudly..' her voice whispered to him, her tail fin twitching irritably.
 
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