The previous installment of 13-year-old Chloe Bradshaw’s dark take can be found here.
“I seek information,” Luke told the vampire before him.“I wish to know the whereabouts of a pirate.”
“And what pirate is that?”
“Jace has seen him.”
Morwena’s face turned to me. “What does he look like?” She asked.
I closed my eyes and re-lived the scene of my father’s murder, something which I had done many a time. I described him as well as I could. I grimaced when I remembered the sword plunging into my father’s belly.
I opened my eyes and, surprisingly, saw sympathy in the face of the vampire. I was confused, I had no idea that vampires were capable of feeling this way.
“I am sorry.” She whispered. I nodded, uncomfortable because her dark eyes were gazing solemnly at me.
“Did he have a gem in the hilt of his sword?” She asked.
“Alright then.” She paused and her eyes travelled the room, as though searching for something. “Did he have a large necklace?” She finally said.
I was about to say ‘no’ again when I remembered a large gold necklace and a great ruby talisman on it.
“I thought as much.” Morwena uttered when I described it.
“How do you mean?”
“To start with, the pirate you are looking for is ruthless.”
“You know him then?” I asked.
“Yes, at this time, he is in a tavern not long off this coast. It will take only about one hour – two if the wind is not on your side. The tavern is called The Minerva, it is near the Quay in Plymouth.”
“I’ve heard of that place.” Luke chipped in.
“Great, let’s go then.” I said.
“Wait. You will need weapons. I have swords and daggers that you can use.” She told us and motioned over to a rack or blades, glinting in the candle light.
“You can have these, I am sure they will become of much use.”
They were of the most intricate designs, absolutely stunning, encrusted with silver dragons, skulls, and thin chains. They seemed almost magical.
“None of them will break or chip.” Morwena commented.
“How?” I asked.
“All of them have had a drop of vampiric blood on the blade, causing them to live on.”
I picked a short sword up and swung it round expertly, just as my father had taught me once. It fitted perfectly in my hand. The blade was engraved with two dragons, their bodies and tails entwining. The hilt of the sword had two dragons’ heads, facing each other with mouths wide open, baring their long teeth. It was instantly my favourite.
Luke picked up another short sword; his was decorated with intricate swirls, and the hilt was light brown wood with a gold trim. He sliced the air with it, then held it up to his face, so the smooth bit of the blade was facing towards his head.
Morwena exited the room, then came back with a large brown cloth bag. We stored other swords and daggers in it, taking as many as we could. Morwena handed Luke and I two leather sheaths.
“We need another one.” Luke told her.
“Why? There are only two of you.”
“My brother is with us.” I explained.
“Why isn’t he here?”
“I thought it was a good idea to leave him in the ship considering he is mortal.” Luke told her.
“I see,” she said, her black eyes cast down. She was obviously hurt by the comment. “I will go and get another one then.” And she did.
“Would you like to come with us?” Luke asked.
“I don’t like the water.”
“Alright then, I’ll see you soon then.”
“Probably in another fifty years.” She shook my hand, and I felt how bony and emaciated she was.
“Tell me how it went.” She called after us as we left.
“Will do.” Luke shouted. We both waved at the lonely vampire, and she waved back.
We got on board the ship to find Jay sitting down on the deck, cross legged.
“Where were you?” He asked, and pointed at the bag. “What’s that?”
“Weapons.” I answered “Sorry we didn’t take you but you were fast asleep.” I decided not to tell him about the vampire.
“Great, how many?”
“Enough. We also know the whereabouts of the pirate; we set sail now to get there in one hour.”
“Lift the anchor.” Luke shouted at us, interrupting. My brother and I lifted the anchor and so we were on our way.
Luckily enough the wind was on our side and we were travelling at a good speed. I had high hopes, smugly confident about the whole thing. The vampiric weapons had to be good. I wanted to tell Jay their secret.
“Do you believe in vampires?” I asked him sheepishly. “Because you should.”
“Because I’ve met one,”
“Right, I suppose you’re going to tell me that you were not at a shop buying weapons but at a vampire’s lair. Maybe she even turned you and Luke into vampires.”
“Luke and I are not vampires, but we did visit a vampire, who lives in a house, and she gave us the weapons and told us where the pirate is.”
“Are you joking?”
“No, I am being serious. It is also the reason why we didn’t take you with us, just in case she decided to drink your blood.”
“Well thanks for thinking of me.” I could tell he didn’t mean it. He seemed angry to have missed out on an adventure.
“Don’t be sarcastic it doesn’t become you.”
Jay snorted and walked off sulking.
“What’s wrong with him?” Luke asked.
“I told him about Morwena.” I said.
“Does he not believe you?
“I’m not overly sure. More importantly, how long do you think it will take to get to Plymouth?” I asked.
“Not long now.”
“I’m sorry.” I told Jay the next time we had the chance to speak.”
“Well, I thought that maybe you were replacing me with Luke.”
“I wouldn’t ever do that, you’re my brother he’s just a friend. I’d never replace you. Now we are going to be coming into port soon so we have to get ready. Do you want to practice with me, make sure you’re ready?”
“I would love that, thanks,” he beamed, his confidence in me restored.
Time flew by whilst we were practising. It was a good thing that our father had taught us how to wield a sword, I thought. Perhaps he saw it all coming.
When we sailed into the harbour, Jay and I let the anchor go. All of us sorted out our weapons and put them in the sheath. I breathed in deeply, knowing that whatever happened Luke and I will still live on but there was a chance that Jay wouldn’t. He wasn’t about to back out, though.
We stepped onto the wharf; the wooden boards creaked under our shoes. Luke was in the lead, Jay and I followed on behind him. We walked through the cobbled streets. Trees were swaying in the wind and the sound of their leaves rustling stayed with us. I heard Jay inhale deeply, obviously savouring a smell that neither I nor Luke could smell.
“What can you smell?” I asked.
“Coal fires,” Jay answered, still breathing deeply.
I wished I could smell the coal fires; I envied him of the abilities that I lost. The burden of immortality weighed heavily on me. Meanwhile, we came to a very steep winding road, and saw the sign of the tavern at the top.
I felt sorry for Jay as we walked up, because he seemed out of breath and he kept complaining that his legs were aching. This comforted me, as I thought about the benefits of immortality.
The walk was not long, however it seemed infinite. The sign for the tavern, which was jutting out of the side of the building, was blowing in the wind. I had my hand on the hilt of the sword, unconsciously willing the sword to be good in battle. All three of us were glum whilst walking up the hill, not wanting to get there, but knowing that we couldn’t turn back. We reached the outside of the tavern. I looked up at the black and white sign which said Minerva. It was creaking eerily in the wind.
“This is it isn’t it?” I sighed.
“I suppose it is.” Jay whispered, sideling up to me. Luke stepped up behind and we pushed open the wooden doors. Large wooden tables were scattered around the room, each of them decorated with lit candles which lapped up all the darkness.
There were many people standing around all with glasses of rum or whisky in their hands. It was hard to see everyone’s faces for the mass of them. Many people were shouting and bumping into each other. I was used to these sorts of scenes, however none were ever this unruly.
We walked towards the centre of the floor and scanned the heaving mass, for the face of our father’s killer. I could not match any faces to the vision which still haunted my waking dreams. For a while I thought that he must have gone, until he suddenly peered around the corner. I froze in the spot, staring at his menacing figure. Jay nudged me. “What’s wrong?” He asked.
“I see him,” I answered, my voice shaky. I didn’t know what to do; all I could do was stand still, staring at the pirate who had changed my life.