Friday, April 20, 2012

Storm Reaper (Friday Fiction)

Hello again, everyone! It is my turn to host Friday Fiction this week. To join in the fun, just add your story to the linky widget below to read and share more great fiction! Don't forget to leave a comment. ^_^

Author's Ramblings: I think it's too soon after I watched that 3Musketeers movie. Not at all the way I remember it being--too much exaggerated drama--but still an entertaining bit, in its own way. I wholeheartedly admit I was thoroughly fascinated by the entire 'airship' idea, especially after seeing it presented so well on screen and thought I'd include them in my Storm Reaper world. Storm Reapers, are essentially, specific individuals with the gift to manipulate weather. They are rare and their abilities vary by family bloodline, in this case, I am introducing Nadalia, a new reaper child discovered by a distressed airship, the Lady Kelani. Enjoy! 
Found on Google Images. I own nothing. (Three Musketeers movie!)


“Stand tall! Hard to starboard, deeper into the clouds!” The shouts echoed across the airship as the Rebels scurried to obey their haggard captain. Rain continued to beat down in hard, angry rivulets and jagged streaks of lightening cut through the sky illuminating the giant, black clouds.

“I don’t think we’ll manage it, Captain!” The first mate stood at attention, but his face belied the true worry beginning to rattle the small crew. “They were gaining on us as it was, if the storm doesn’t take us, they will. I don’t think we’ll survive this one.”

“I don’t think we have a choice.” The Captain said, grimly. “Would you rather go down by God’s hand in the fury of nature herself, or by his majesty’s swords?”

“Neither, thank you.” The cabin boy, Aurek, grimaced. “Da, if we don’t do something, we’re going to lose everything.”

“Captain.” The man corrected, gruffly. But there was a faintly pleased light in his old weathered face. Aurek hadn’t called him Da for many years now.

“We can’t afford to lose this ship, it’ll set us back.” The strategist of their little rag-tag group, Gerron Nalist joined the odd trio by the wheel. “I told you to hire a Storm Reaper!”

“We couldn’t afford it, so quit your griping, Ger, it doesn’t suit you.” Alycia swung down from the rigging, her short cropped hair, flying every which way in her face. “Da, I’ve done all I can. What of it now?”

“Where’s your mother?” The Captain eyed her with a critical look and gave a jerk of head towards the inner cabins. “Get in there and make sure that-”

“You can’t just hide me away! I can be more useful out here if you just give me a chance to be-”

“There’s no place for a woman on the deck of a forsaken ship bound for death.” The somber finality of the Captain’s tone froze whatever reply his daughter had ready.

She lurched forward to give him a quick, awkward hug and then slipped and slid her way across the short distance to the cabin, to find her mother.

“They still following?” Gerron called out. He cupped his hands and yodeled out a call that should’ve been drowned by the wind.

A moment later, his twin answered in the same, musical ringing shout.

“They’re closing in.’ Gerron looked to the captain. “Will you let us save ourselves, or must we all go down with the ship?”

“You’d no more save yourself than I would.” The Captain grunted. “And it’s not like you ever took orders from me, anyhow. What’s stopping you now?”

“Respect.” The skinny man eyed him shrewdly. “A healthy dose of respect in the form of that iron heart of yours.” He sighed. “Said your final prayers?”

“There are no final prayers.” The Captain almost smiled, his beard twitching. “We are simply here and then we are before Him.”

A streak of lightening leapt out from the air and struck the deck with pinpoint accuracy.

Gerron tackled the Captain to the side as the rest of the crew hit the deck. “A lightening storm?” He shouted, above the noise. “This wasn’t in the weather predictions!”

“Predictions are never accurate, you know that!” The Captain growled. “Get off me! Can’t breathe!” He wheezed.

Gerron huffed, but did roll off to the side, grabbing hold of the railing knobs to steady himself. A flicker of shadow caught his eye as he squinted into the storm.

“Gerron?” The Captain’s voice pitched low to be heard beneath the rage of the storm.

“By heaven’s light…” The strategist murmured.


“It’s a reaper!” He scrambled to his feet, hands grabbing wildly for purchase on the rain-slicked surfaces. “Over there, in that cloud, I swear I saw a-” His face grew deathly pale.

The Captain grabbed him, giving a hard shake. “Saw what? Speak man!”

“A child…” The white face paled even more. “A child…alone!”

“Da!” Alycia threw the cabin door open, her eyes wild as she searched the nearly empty deck. “Da, it’s Mum, come-aaieee!” The rest of her words died in a shriek of terror as a streak of lightening burnt the ground just at her feet, slicing through the air a hair’s breadth from her nose.

A low, rumble of thunder sounded around them.

The sound of cannon fire was heard.

“Da…?” Alycia spoke in an expression of wonderment. “Is that a…child?”

And suddenly, it was.

They could all see it, a small figure, curled up, knees touching chin, arms wrapped around legs. Burning, white, unseeing eyes stared out at the expanse of sky before it and strands of pure white hair floated up in a halo ‘round its head.

The temperature dropped drastically within seconds as the great, wounded airship heaved close by the hovering, unmoving storm child.

The eyes didn’t even blink to acknowledge the presence of the ship, but the closer they drew, the more frantic, the voices became. Soft at first, then harsh, angry whispers that mocked cruelly and taunted the poor child, frozen in a state of shock.

Aurek wriggled his way across the deck and took refuge with his father and Gerron. “Blood.” He wrinkled his nose. “I smell blood…Da?”

Alycia shrieked again, suddenly, this time clutching her ears and shaking her head side to side. “Stop it, stop it, stop it!” She chanted over and over. “I don’t believe you, make it go away. Go away, please go away!” She screamed again and stopped in mid-scream.

A frightening hush fell over the crew of the Lady Kelani.

Even Alycia herself, didn’t dare breathe.

One moment, she had been screaming in agony and the next, small, thin—very cold arms—wrapped securely around her waist.

She cautiously eased her hands from her ears to stare down at the storm child that had been hovering well out of arm’s reach just moments before. She stared into the pale grey eyes, no longer burning with raw energy, but rather, brimming with fresh sorrow.

“Were they yelling at you too?” The little girl asked.

“W-who? The voices?”

“They always yell.” The little girl smiled. “So sometimes you have to make them go away.”

Alycia shivered.

The temperature warmed instantly and the weather eased at once, the winds softening and the rain easing to a hazy drizzle.

“I’m Alycia.” The older girl said, quickly. “You’re on board the Lady Kelani, my father’s airship.” She tipped her head towards the Captain. “What happened? Are you alright?”

“I’m fine.” The angelic smile was bittersweet. “Bad men in a big ship came through here.” She rubbed her nose with one hand. “It smelled funny.”

“A big ship?” Alycia perked up, she looked at Gerron who shrugged in reply. “What kind of a big ship, did it look like ours?”

“No, it was bigger. Fancy.” The little girl wrinkled her nose. “I don’t like them. Are you friends with them?”

“Er, not exactly.” Alycia began, carefully. “It’s a bit more complicated than-”

“Either you are or you aren’t!” The little girl glared at her. The air crackled. “If you’re friends with them, I won’t forgive you.” Thunder rolled and boomed in the background.

“We’re not.” Gerron spoke up. “We’re rebels. We were trying to get away from them, but as you can see, we sustained damage and the storm did not help. You don’t…like them?”

The little girl sniffed. She was smaller and thinner up close, it seemed, than she’d been before and about the size of a petite ten-year-old. “They killed my parents.” She said, matter-of-factly, taking a deep, measured breath. She blew it out a moment later. “They killed Meta and Da’en.” She gave a quick bow and murmured something in the tongue of the storm reapers.

“Just now?” Alycia exclaimed, horrified.

“Mmmhmm. That’s why I was crying.”

“C-crying.” Gerron stared at her. “This entire…this storm-” he gestured to the current calm surrounding them and then at the angry swirling clouds around the Lady Kelani. “You’re doing this? This is your storm?”

“If your parents died, you’d cry too, wouldn’t you?” The reaper child demanded. “I loved Meta and Da’en very much. They didn’t deserve to die.” She sniffled. “They were protecting me!”

“From the people in the big ship?” Alycia clarified.

The little girl nodded. Her pale grey eyes narrowed suddenly and without warning a large bolt of lightning sheared through the air and a muffled explosion was heard. 

Gerron swallowed. He looked from the sound of the explosion to the little girl with a grim look etched on her face. He almost smiled. “Captain, can we keep her?”

© Sara Harricharan



Yvonne Blake said...

I like your last line!
Very interesting characters and setting.

Catrina Bradley said...

Oooh, I love it! So much action and adventure - and emotion! Great story, Sara.