Private Tales What the Sea Holds

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Bastian

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"What?" He said the words out loud.

Bastian still wasn't used to having someone in his head, and true to form it sent those odd goosebumps running down his spine. He really didn't like that sensation. It was like a snake slithering across his skin and nibbling at him.

"Stop that." Bastian told her. "You have a tongue."

He frowned. "How are you doing that anyway?"

The Sailor cast a look back towards the closed door of the infirmary, paranoia prickling over him.
 
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Inina

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She could hear his muffled words and pulled herself up, water rushing from her face, her lavender hair like silk cascading down her back and her violet eyes scanned him as she shrugged. "It's no different than talking really.." she answered, having no explanation of how since it really took no special skill in her mind.

Nina looked toward the door too, her tail splashing back into the water and sloshing from side to side as though attempting to swim. The mer let out a deep huff, her chest tightening at the heartbreaking reality that she'd never swim again.
 
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Bastian

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Bastian gave Inina the flattest look that any human could give.

"You talked." He began. "Inside my head."

That alone was really enough for the young Sailor to point out the difference. No one, nothing, had ever spoken inside of his head before except for his own voice. The very idea of someone else being able to trawl his thoughts?

That was utterly terrifying.

What else could she hear? See?

Could she dive into his memories and blurt out all the things he'd done? Bastian hoped not, for it would give her nightmares the same it did him. "How could it be any more, different?"

Bastian demanded.
 
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Inina

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Nina's lips pressed into a thin line at the tone of his voice, her shoulders rising slightly and her arms wrapping around herself.

"I don't know how I do it, I just think words and you hear them. I don't do anything else. Can't your people do it too?.." she asked, her words hurried and timid.

"I'll try not to do it again..." she frowned apologetically.
 
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Bastian

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He frowned. "No, of course we...shit."

Did she really not know?

Bastian considered the idea that perhaps Inina was just as ignorant about humans as he was about mermaids. Fingers tightened for a moment, but he forced himself to relax just a little bit. A breath filled him, and he shook his head.

"Don't...don't do it with anyone else." He didn't quite give her permission to do it with him either, but it was at least a small reprieve. "If they find out they'll press more and..."

Lips thinned.

Bastian couldn't save her, not directly, but he could stop them from cutting open her skull at least.
 
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Inina

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"Alright." she answered meekly, sensing his frustration. She sunk a little lower into the tub again. Still, it seemed that he was at least trying to help her in some way, though she doubted it'd make too much difference.

Her eyes fixed on the door again. It was torture in itself, waiting so helplessly for them to come back. She was yet to let go of the moonstone pendant clutched in her palm, and her fist tightened around it every time she felt her fear and panic rise to the surface. Her eyes closed and she sighed.

"I've never wanted to die before.." she told him quietly.
 
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Bastian

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The words were an echo.

A ripple across a dozen different memories.

Bastian had begged for death a thousand times. Had asked whatever gods still existed to end his life and simply bring a stop to the litany of suffering that he'd endured. His prayers had never been answered, never even once received an iota of attention.

Who was he to deny her the same.

His thumb slowly dragged over the handle of his karambit behind the small of his back, but he took in a breath to steady himself. His eyes dragged away from her for a few seconds, perhaps in shame. "Just endure."

Bastian breathed.

"There's always an out." He had learned that himself. "Always."
 
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Inina

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Nina gave an incredulous laugh under her breath at his words. "Do you truly believe that?.." she asked rhetorically as she looked up at him, the weak smile on her lips not meeting her eyes, the pain in them glistening.

"I have endured weeks on that slave ship. Being starved and beaten and tortured as I moved further and further away from my home. Only to be saved by another lot of you who want to torture me some more." she frowned angrily.

"I was stupid to think my mother was wrong when she told me that you were all terrible."
 
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Bastian

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Bastian couldn't argue with that fact. Most men, most women, most humans he had met were truly terrible.

A few of them had been good. A few of them might have had some semblance of a soul, but they'd never lasted all that long. A breath filled his lungs, and he tried to at least look like he wasn't lying. "You're in a tub instead of chains."

He reminded her.

"That's something." Bastian looked down at his hands.

The chains could have been around his wrists too, would have been if he hadn't run. Fingers furled into a fist for a few seconds. He opened his mouth to speak but an echoing crack of thunder rang out before he could speak.

Bastian hesitated a moment, then began again. "Are you hungry?"

What did mermaids even eat?
 

Inina

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She frowned. Yes, the sea water had helped slightly, but she might as well have still been in chains. She couldn't get off of this ship, it was still a floating prison and there were still people here who wanted to hurt her.

"Yes.. I was given, some sort of rancid sponge every three days." her nose wrinkled at the thought of the mouldy bread she'd had no choice but to eat. Her diet consisted of sea kelp and shellfish, and the thought of it made her stomach cramp with hunger. She didn't think herself in any position to be asking for food at all let alone specifying her preferences.
 
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Bastian

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"Alright." Bastian said with a nod. This was at least something he could do. Despite everything that he had done, there was still a conscience in the back of his mind.

One meal wouldn't make up for her torture, but it was at least a small bit of joy that he could offer her. "I'll be right back."

Bastian pushed himself up off the stool and headed out the door before she could object. Luckily, the galley was not too far away from the infirmary, and before long Bastian returned back. Finding that Inina had, obviously, not gone anywhere.

The tray he carried was one chock full of food. There was some salted meat, porridge, and even a few pieces of fruit.

Vel Anir had always treated it's soldiers well. A man who was fed was a man who could fight, and a man fed well thrice a day was a man who would do almost anything for you. At least that was what the cook always insisted. "Here."

Bastian said as he carried the tray over towards Inina.
 
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Inina

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She watched him leave and leaned on the edge of the tub, still watching the door. She realised it was the first time she'd been left alone since she'd been hauled from the ocean, and for a few moments she enjoyed the silence.

Her eyes shot open in panic as the door opened again, and though she didn't know him, though he'd held a blade to her and wouldn't do anything to stop her being harmed, she visibly eased to see that it had been Bastian who'd opened it. She could smell the strange array of food before he'd brought the tray closer, her nose wrinkling slightly at the assault of salt and sweetness. The tray sat across the end of the tub and she shifted to survey the selection, her fingertips drawn to the dried meat.

"What is all of this?.." she asked curiously, sniffing at the meat before chewing cautiously on a small piece. Her indigo eyes brightened and flared at the taste of it, savouring the saltiness of which she was accustomed. She ate a few mouthfuls more before reaching to pluck a grape from its stem..
 

Bastian

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Bastian frowned for a moment as he tried to think of an answer. "Lamb? Maybe."

They fed Anirian Sailors and Guardsmen well, but not that well.

Through the years he had enjoyed both high and lows. Somehow he had eaten at Vel Anir's most acclaimed restaurants, but he'd also quite literally eaten out of the garbage. This meal was somewhere in between, though if pressed he wouldn't really be able to say where.

"Probably beef." He settled on eventually. "That's porridge, and then grapes and apples looks like. Maybe some Lurian Fruit."

A shrug rolled over his shoulders as he squatted down besides the tub.
 
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Inina

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"Beef.." she repeated quietly after she'd swallowed it and licked her lips. She slipped the grape into her mouth and popped it between her teeth, physically jolting at the burst of juice. She had never tasted anything sweet before, there were no sweet things below the ocean's surface, and so her tastebuds screamed and her jaw ached.

Nina grimaced, and quickly swallowed the fruit, blinking at him.. "It tastes..." she frowned, having nothing at all to compare it to having only ever tasted salt. "Happy." she shrugged, and looked back to the tray. She reached for the spoon in the bowl and lifted it, examining it as well as the white gloopy substance.

"Paw-ridge?" she asked, bringing the spoon closer to smell it before tasting a little. Her nose wrinkled and her head shook as she replaced the spoon in the bowl and reached again for some of the meat.. "I don't like paw-ridge."
 
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Bastian

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Her description of fruit as tasting 'happy' made Bastian smile. It was the first genuine smile that he could remember having in...he didn't know how long. Perhaps since Rin had died. Lips thinned for a few moments at the memory of his friend, and then he shook his head.

A chuckle escaped him as she spoke of the porridge.. "I don't think many do."

"It's filling though."
He'd gone hungry more than a few times in his life, more often than not actually. That had been the best part about all of this, three square meals a day. During a time that would have been his ultimate dream.

"And it's not bad when you mix the meat in it." Bastian suggested.
 
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Inina

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A smile was something she was not accustomed to with these humans. At least not one that wasn't twisted with malice. His seemed genuine, and her head tilted as he chuckled too. Her lips twitched slightly, but she couldn't bring herself to smile, even if his had done something to ease her slightly.

His suggestion about putting the meat into the porridge had her give him an incredulous look of disgust and her head shook as she shoved a little more of the meat into her mouth and chewed. She plucked another grape, this time the pop was a little less of a shock and she savoured the sweetness.

"Thank you." she said, realising she hadn't said so yet and remembering her manners.

"Appal.." she murmured as she lifted the red fruit and licked at the skin, her head tilting as it didn't taste like anything. She crunched into it hesitantly and her eyes widened at the sweet juice spilling into her mouth.

Oh..
 
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Bastian

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"You're welcome." He hadn't slit her throat, he hadn't let her go, but at least he'd doled out this small kindness.

It felt silly to feel even an ounce of goodness about it.

Bastian had never gotten help from anyone. He'd never known altruism or anything of the sort. People had spat on him, used him, pushed him around and taken whatever they could from him. No one had ever helped, and it would have been a lie to say that he did not hold bitterness in his heart for that.

Yet it felt good to be better than those people. It felt good to toss a few coins to the orphans he passed on the streets. To save a woman being held against the wall. To offer a bit of food to a captured mermaid.

Small sprinkles of decency in a life of dealing death.

"The Lurian is my favorite." He said, finally pulling himself from the crouch and moving back to his stool. "I used to steal them from the markets."
 
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Inina

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Nina didn't bother with manners as she ate hungrily. She hadn't eaten in days, hadn't tasted anything quite like the meat and fruit before, and she didn't know when she'd be allowed to eat again. If she'd be allowed to eat again. She stuffed meat into her mouth along with another bite of her apple.

She lifted the small fuzzy looking fruit that reminded her of an urchin. It tickled at her lips as she took a bite into it's sweet flesh, the juice tingling at her tongue. She sighed as she chewed and swallowed.. "Yes. These are happy too." she nodded, taking another bite of the syrupy fruit.

The only thing she left on the tray was the porridge and the empty grape branch, licking her lips and fingers clean before flopping back into the water. If the saltwater had improved her colouring, now that she'd been nourished with real foods her hair and eyes were even brighter, her scales more colourful, almost sparkling under the rippling water.

It was the best she'd felt in weeks, she'd healed, slept, eaten, drank and she felt her strength gather again slowly but surely. She looked up at Bastian, her arms draping over the edge of the tub as she studied him. She'd already said thank you, and instead of saying it again she gave him a bright smile in gratitude for showing her the only bit of kindness she'd seen amongst his kind. Even if he couldn't save her, it was enough.

The smile didn't last however, and as the door opened again Inina jolted so violently that her tail whipped at the tray and sent the bowl of porridge clattering to the floor.
 
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Bastian

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The First Mate slammed the door shut behind him, immediately moving the wooden dowel in place so that the door 'locked'.

Bastian almost immediately tensed.

He had not really gotten along with the First Mate. The man saw him as an inconvenient whelp that had been thrown on the ship in the last second. Disobedient and foolhardy, the man had called him, and in truth Bastian had found it difficult to disagree.

"We've got a problem, lad."​

There was another crack of lightning. "What?"

"Little bit of a struggle over her."​

The man pointed at the mermaid.

"Surgeon and the Dreadlord want to bleed her dry, Captain don't want that."​

Bastian slowly glanced over towards Inina. His fingers were tense as his side, but he didn't move from his place on the stool. Instead he simply sat there, waiting patiently for the man to continue to speak.

"So we have a problem."​
 

Inina

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She had slunk low into the tub as she watched the man bar the door behind him, her heart still racing hard in her chest as her violet gaze shifted between one man and the other. Nina paled at the man's words, her mouth suddenly dry.. She looked to Bastian with mute plea on her face.

Bleed her dry?..

Why? What could they possibly gain from that?


Her tail sloshed in the water as she shifted to the edge of the tub again.. She didn't know what the Captain wanted to do with her, but whatever it was it had to be better than the other option. Nina didn't speak, she only stared between the men, anxiously chewing on her lower lip, the wood splintering slightly under her trembling grip.
 
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Bastian

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"Right..." Bastian said as the First Mate stepped forward.

There was a tell in his movement. The tension in his wrist, the firmness of his boot striking the through. Bastian could read it. He had seen it in so many alleyways, so many dark streets. He knew what the man wanted, and dread filled his stomach.

"So I'm gonna take care of the problem."

The First Mate stepped forward and drew a knife.

"So my Captain don't have to."

It was a twisted logic. The Captain clearly did not want any harm to come to Inina, likely saw her as innocent as any other slaves. The Surgeon and the Dreadlord wanted something more for her, and eventually the three would come over blows because of that fact.

With Inina dead, there would be no problem. There would just be one easy little Greenhorn to frame for letting that problem die.

The First mate suddenly lurched forward, jumping towards Inina like a viper. His blade twisted in his hand, stabbing down towards the mermaid. Before he knew what he wad doing Bastian flickered forward, his karambit in his hand.

His knife snapped forward, and with one quick sweep it rent into the First Mate's side.
 
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Inina

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Unlike Bastian, Nina had not realised the first mate's intentions, not until he was lunging toward her. The mer gasped and let out a scream as she threw herself back so hard she tumbled over the opposite edge of the tub which tipped and emptied half of the water before slamming back down. Her tail thudded heavily on the floor and she cowered down behind the tub, her breaths short and sharp.

She heard the grunt of pain and frowned, peeking over the wooden rim of her barrier, her eyes wide at the sight of the first mate's knees buckling underneath him, of the blood blooming quickly and saturating his white shirt in crimson.

Her face was the picture of shock and terror as she watched the man go down...

"Bastian.." she breathed out and looked up at him. "Give.. give me the blade, I'll say I did it." she told him. She could feel the pain growing in her spine and hadn't noticed the slash on her forearm where the sailor had narrowly missed stabbing her when she'd moved.
 
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Bastian

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Killing was always a rush. A jolt of pure satisfaction that ran through him as the blade bit into the First Mate's flesh. He took a breath, his eyes closing, and then the blade suddenly jerked to the side as he tore through the man's heart and let him fall to the ground.

His head turned towards Inina as she spoke, an odd haze withdrawing from his mind. Eyes wandered towards the First Mate, then towards the Knife in his hand. "No."

It was the only piece of himself he had left.

Bastian took a single breath, then squatted down over the first mate to wipe the blood clean from his blade. Slowly it slipped back into the sheath on the small of his back, a pool of blood quickly beginning to form upon the wooden deck. It wouldn't be long before it seeped into the hold below.

He stood up, quickly heading towards one of the Surgeons stations and grabbing some bandages. The ship began to rock violently, the storm above growing more fierce.

"Give me your arm" He told her, surprisingly calm, even confident in the moment.

It was as though he were finally in his element. As if taking a life had breathed more into him.
 

Inina

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Until today, when the Caretaker had started butchering slaves before her eyes, she had never seen anyone killed before. She'd never seen so much blood before, never experienced such mindless killing. And now Bastian had ended this human's life to save hers and she couldn't have been more confused.

She dragged her eyes from the pooling blood and looked up at him as he asked for her arm, her brow furrowing as she offered it to him and finally noticed the wound. She hadn't felt it until she'd seen it, and she hadn't realised how close she'd been. She trembled as she reached her other hand into what was left of the saltwater, cupping some of it into her palm. The water shimmered and glowed faintly and she poured it over the wound on her arm, cleaning it and stemming the bleeding.

"Wh-why did you do that?.." she asked hesitantly.
 
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Bastian

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Bastian slowly began to bind the wound, unsure if the salt water would heal her wound completely or if it was bad enough that such a thing wouldn't work. "I don't know."

He answered honestly.

"An impulse." One born of the monster inside, one born from the real him. His fingers trembled slightly as he continued to wrap the bandage around her arm, voice shaky as he continued to speak. "He...I'm..."

Lips thinned. "I'm not a good man."

Bastian flickered his gaze towards the First Mate.

"But even I get it right sometimes." The man had deserved his end, at least by Bastian's reckoning.