Setting Sail (Caterpillar)
Jarret's body hung limp and swayed like a pendulum. His world was a black, throbbing painful mist and when it cleared he would only find more darkness. A white thin line of line slipped through a crack in front of him and lit up the floor. Wood. The entire building was wood. Pain shot through his wrists where he was held up and shackled. It was unclear how much time had passed.
Chaffer the fox sat next to Ratel's bedside, waiting with bated breath for him to awaken. His mood when he did wake up would be predictable and she did not relish in the idea. Motion from his bed caused her to jump in her seat and quickly she brought a pitcher of water to Ratel's lips. He drank greedily, slopping it down his chest and onto his sheets. Once his thirst was sated, he looked at his own surroundings. His bed, the furs, skins, claws, teeth and horns of beasts long dead, and Chaffer. He was in his chambers, but his mind was still heavy with the drug, and he could hardly recall how he got there. "What happened?" He moaned. "Our mission was a success My Lord. We found a village full of plunder and galley slaves!" She twittered at him happily, hoping to sweeten the deal by giving him only the good news. "But how did I get here!?" His voice was beginning to rise dangerously. "My Lord! The Wrath took you, we had to subdue you before you slayed the whole crew!" He pondered the information and nodded to himself, memories of the event flooding back to him. "That rat…." "He is chained in the dungeon sir, he awaits your judgement." "Good work, have the crew set sail immediately."
Suddenly a strong shaft of light burst into the room as the door swung open, and a large imposing figure filled in the frame, casting an ominous shadow over the captive.
"You...." It scowled.
He was hanging from the ceiling, arms stretched above his head as chain and shackles pulled them painfully towards the roof. His toes only touched the floor, just so-so, and so he really couldn't use his feet to support his own weight. It all rested upon his arms, straining them and making them numb. Jarret tried to stay perfectly still as even small movement could make him swung back and forth and that would only pain his arms, shoulders and wrists even more. Needles to say it was impossible to get rest as the uncomfortable position forbid it. Only when he was getting really tired, he managed to slip into hazy slumber, but only to woke up soon after he thought he'd heard something.
Once again Jarret looked around in this dark room but nothing had changed when he had first woken up. To be honest haöf-mouse didn't have even one clear memory how he had ended in here. All he could recall were just fragments from the events, blurred by pain and weariness. He could remember the exhaustion from the endless walking, how it just went on and on like the vermin were planning march them to the edge of the world. And he remembered the stings from whip when he had stumbled and couldn't keep up with others…
....Aaand that was pretty much all of it. When he had come back to his senses, he had already been brought in here. No-one else, just him. And no-one hand come from that door in this whole time, how long it may ever been. His mouth was starting to be dry as sand and he was hungry to the point where his stomach had stopped growling and it just simply ached its hunger all over. Were they planning starve him death? Was he going to die now? Those were the questions which had haunted half-mouse's mind without rest every since he had woke up in his dark "cell".
The fact stood he had been separated from the other, so it could mean the pirates had special fate stored for him as the thanking gift from all the trouble he had caused. And Jarret dreaded the moment when he would find out what was it. Would they chop him into a pieces? Toss him to the sharks? Or was he going to be hanged from the ship's mast? Jarret had heard too many stories in where pirates were portrayed as the villains, that he could feign in belief the vermin would just forget about him
Jarret let out weak sight. He really had done it now, hadn't he?
"Oh mother, if you only could see me now...", he whispered in hoarse voice. "I landed myself in deep trouble this time..."
And he could almost hear Flitz's opinion about all of this. If the jumber was here, she would let him get a whole ear-full...
'Jarret, you big stupid idiot!', that was exactly what she would say. 'Who told you could act so recklessly? Would it kill you to use your head once or twice now and then!?'
Small smile crept on half-mouse's mouth as he thought about his friend. And remembering Flitz always seemed infuse determination back in him.
'I'm not dead yet', Jarret thought and somehow it lifted his spirit. _'And as long as I'm still alive, there is a change I can stay alive…C'mon, I can't give up just because odds aren't in my favor....' _
A door was suddenly pulled open and bright light entered the room, burning half-breed's eyes. Blinded Jarret was forced to turned his head away, in attempt to shield them from the direct light. Someone had come and squinting his eyes Jarret tried to look at the door to see, who it was…
Ratel glowered at the figure weak and dangling from the wall in disgust. Such a small, delirious, weak thing, nearly defeating him with a couple of cheap tricks, he couldn't stand it. He was so helpless now, he wanted to take his chance to feel the little rats ribs collapsing on themselves, just for the satisfaction of it, but he had to restore face with his crew. He had to think.
Perfect. He'd make them all believe this was all part of his plan. The loss of the battle was staged. He was just testing the rat, and he passed with flying colours. As for the blood wrath, hopefully the crew would forget about that.
Jarret hung like a pendulum, frail and sickly from his chain, muttering inane ramblings to himself about his mother. Perhaps he had overdone it? Should he perish, it was a meal for him anyway.
"Aye, you've landed yourself in deep trouble alright" he chuckled evilly " an' I aint your precious mother neither." A wet rush of cold splashed over Jarret's body as Ratel dumped the contents of his water dish on his head to revive him.
(sorry new job has been keeping me busy, short posts also)
( No worries ^^ )
That voice… It sounded familiar.. Who--? Jarret tried to pry his blinded eyes open, but before he managed to do it, the water poured over his head, soaking his clothes. Jarret gasped and like any thirsty creature would, started licking the small streams which run down his cheeks, trying to catch some drops to water his dry mouth. It didn't help much but at least the cold, blessed water made dizziness go away.
And now his eyes were more adjusted to the light, so he could lift his head and take a good look at his "visitor"...
Every hair on his scruff stood up when he realized who it was. Why - why was this beast here? From all the creatures? Had the other come here to fetch him to his death sentence? Or was the honey badger here for payback? After all, didn't the storied tell how pirates liked to torture their prisoners just for fun...? And even if his memories were bit vague, he still could recall crystal clear the look on honey badger's face when the bigger beast had charged at him. His small stunt had really rubbed the giant badger in a wrong way.
The young half-mouse could feel how a shiver went down in his spine, but he still forced himself to keep looking up at the badger and not to cover before him. Surprisingly it took a lot of concentration as the uninvited memories of open maw and dagger-like teeth surfaced - and with that flashback Jarret could feel how desire to curl into small ball lifted its head.
But his eyes didn't stray from the honey badger. It was visible that they wavered, the hot-tempered green flames from earlier all gone... But there was still something smoldering behind those jade-green eyes As much as Jarret might seem pathetic in his current state, messy and beaten while hanging on the wall helpless, there was still something untamable left in him. Something which the hits and lash-marks hadn't reached to make it break.
"…What do you want?" he managed to spat out. If he was truly going to die then he really didn't wish this particular beast to be the last thing he saw. Just seeing the other made him sick -- what kind of twisted creature ate other beasts? That was beyond horrible!
Make no mistake, Jarret was still afraid… But now, after looking at this honey badger, he felt small amount of anger and disgust boil inside of him. It was a welcomed change for he was much rather angry and disgusted than scared and spineless. So the young half-breed grabbed those hot-tempered feelings and slashed them out, if for no other reason than try to push away how powerless he actually felt.
"Came here for an another kick in your snout? Bend down a bit and I'm happy to oblige..."
Maybe someone had already figured it out, but Jarret didn't have a slightest clue he was in the presence of the whole horde's lord and captain. Maybe it was understandable since Ratel had never revealed his identity as the crew's captain. And although he was the biggest and strongest of all among his troops – and by the vermin standards those were more than enough reasons why the honey badger was the leader -- Jarret wasn't from the world where strong reign over the weak. Even if there had been some hints, young half-mouse been so angry - or knocked so senseless - that he hadn't paid too close attention to details when he had confronted Ratel.
Sure the honey badger looked like someone who evoke fear in others, but weren't all brutes like that?
The honey badger got great pleasure from watching the cold water shock the weary half rat out of his stupor, watching him lick his lips like a messy babe, but the pleasure was short lived. Once the rat's thirst was slaked and he came to, he offered him a sharp, piercing stare, that just lingered and continued, a display of his indomitable will.
What would become of it? He waited to see what would happen, but nothing did. The longer he waited, the more uneasy he became, the more he expected something, anything. Finally, the half rat broke their reverie and spoke, breaking Ratel out of his hypnotic trance.
His words made him chuckle. Now that was a funny idea. Glad to have some levity and more control over the situation he became his old cruel self. "I've come…" His words grumbled out of his throat as he leaned over face to face with Jarret, being sure to give him another view of his teeth, breathing his hot foul breath in his face. "To collect."
Above his head his chains clinked and rattled as Ratel unhooked him from his spot on the wall. With his huge paw engulfing both of Jarret small hands he dragged him out of his prison into the seering sunlight.
He was on a humongous ship, like a floating castle on the water, bobbing up and down in the middle of the ocean, with nothing but waves for miles and miles. A collection of the most wretched villains the earth had to offer scampered and scuttled all over the decks, bringing the ship to life and steering her on course. They all smiled cruelly, at Jarret and his predicament.
Ratel let out a howl and life on the ship froze. Once he had their attention he held Jarret up for all to see.
"A few days ago I led you to a village full of plunder and slaves. I also bring to you..." He threw Jarret on the ground . " A new crew member! The lowest order, for you to shape as you will. He has passed my test, if he disobeys or slacks off, his fate is up to you."
To punctuate his speech, he gave Jarret one swift kick. "Welcome to the crew rat."
(Your reply will be the last post before I move time forward on the ship)
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