To collect?… Collect what? Jarret was perplexed but he didn't got the time to think over the meaning behind honey badger's words when the bigger beast already yanked his chains free from the hook. A piercing pain went through half-mouse's shoulders and arms when the honey badger seized his wrists, lifting him up. Jarret couldn't help himself: he gasped from the pain while his legs waggles helplessly above the floor as he was dragged along.
Again bright sunlight blinded him and when half-mouse regained his eye-sight and looked around. Half-breed's jaw dropped and for a moment he forgot about his fear.
They were on the sea - the vast sea spread around them like deep-blue plain. The wind was warm and smelled salty, and somehow that scent was relaxing. And this ship -- Jarret looked up, seeing the tall masts reaching the skies above him -- it was enormous! Not even the merchant ships he had seen would come close to this...! But then Jarret's eyes landed on the vermin crawling everywhere on the deck and the reality shattered the enchantment.
This was it - the moment of his execution, Jarret was sure about it. Why else would the honey badger gathered the crew's attention if not making sure that everyone would get entertainment out of his death? Jarret squeezed his eyes shut, not wanting to see those cruelly sniggering faces, which made his bones tremble. A small part of him still prayed that this was all just a nightmare and he would wake up soon... While the rest of him knew perfectly well this wasn't a dream. The dreams were never this real.
Jarret bit his lower lip for not to make a sound. He just couldn't give these vermin pleasure hear him wailing.
Suddenly he was tossed on the deck and although the landing hurt, it didn't hurt as much as the kick which he received soon after. But still Jarret's mind hardly registered the new pain, as he was so horror-struck from what he had just heard. With difficulty he managed to push himself up to his elbows and was now staring up to the bigger beast while the honey badger's last sentence ringed through his ears again and again. Suddenly the words the badger had said before made lot more sense now, but half-mouse didn't rejoice. On the contrary he stared Ratel as if the honey badger had just bestowed the cruelties fate upon him.
'Welcome to crew rat.'
It felt like something had just frozen inside him, making him incapable to move, to speak – to do anything!
"…no...", that one trembling whisper was everything he could utter at the moment, though his mind raced and screamed top of its silent voice. No, no this couldn't be happening! Never! He refused to be part of these - these wrecked creatures! He would rather be dead!…
"Yah heard 'de Captain, boys! Fresh blood in the ship!", one of the vermin shouted, cruel laughter in his voice. "Let's give the sorry scoundrel the warmest welcome we hav' around 'ere!"
If half-mouse ever managed shout out his refusal, his voice was lost in roaring laughter as the crew-beast swarmed around the young half-breed, like seagulls would throng around tasty piece of meal. Jarret felt how many hand grabbed him and hauled up. He tried put up a fight, but his feeble attempts only brought more mocking laughter when the crew-beast burst into singing:
"O-ohay, me mates - this one gots dire straits
Ending up aboard in here
The most despicable crew - the worst you can brew!
That's what we're!"
Jarret was tossed and pushed around like cheap sack of potatoes and he quickly lost which way was up and which was down. Everything whirled around him as vermin kept whacking him, while they continued their horrible and cracked song.
"No what to do, with a landlubber like you?
Quickly tell 'im, me dear mates!
It's tried and true, that when we're through
you'll miss the view of Dark Forest's Gates!"
"Poke out the eye, make 'im cry
when we tear his nails loose
Break the limb, send 'im swim
After hanging 'im from the noose
Shred the ear, strike the fear
Pull him under the keel
Cut the toes, no-one opposes
as we do as we feel…"
Jarret had thought that destruction of his village and slavery of the beast who lived there was the worst nightmare come true. Little did he know that all the nightmares had just begun.
Okay - ready for the time-forward! ^^ ….By the way, what name does Ratel's ship have? O.o