Coastal Empire: The Moribundity
Katerei last edited by
Part Two: Rumours and Pelicans
Brink and Sideline stood back to back, surrounded by brigands. "I don't know how to get out of this one," Brink muttered.
"Always the pessimist," Sideline said, jabbing his sword at the brigands to drive them back.
Suddenly, one of the brigands shrieked and reeled backward. "I didn't even hit you," Sideline said in surprise. But the brigand looked past him, pointing upward with an expression of slack-jawed terror.
"Hey look!" said Brink. A white bird with black-tipped wings and a long bill soared across the sky toward them. "It's that bird we saw in Cademia!"
Sideline ignored him, more interested in the brigands that were currently fleeing in every direction. "Why is everyone running?" he asked.
"Um." Brink tugged on Sideline's sleeve and pointed. "I think that's why."
Sideline finally turned to look. A pelican swooped low over the trees. It opened its bill wide - wider than should be possible - and plucked a brigand off the ground. The terrified man disappeared into the black void of its bill pouch, his screams abruptly muffled.
"UM," Brink said.
"Don't move!" Sideline instructed.
Brink looked at him incredulously. "Shouldn't we, you know, run?"
"No! Stay as still as possible." Sideline tipped his chin toward the pelican. "I think it responds to movement."
They remained motionless as the pelican picked off a few stray brigands. It landed in the clearing near them and strutted around on stubby legs, making a few chewing motions. It turned to look at Sideline and Brink, squawked a couple times, and lost interest. Finally it flapped its broad wings, took off with a cloud of dust, and disappeared back toward the ocean.
The two men let out their breath simultaneously. "So, you won't question my omens again, right?" Brink said.
Sideline sheathed his sword and held up his hands in defeat. "Remind me why we came here again."
"Trading!" Brink puffed out his chest. "There must be loads of money to be made around… here…" He turned slowly in a circle. "Somewhere…"
Sideline followed his gaze, looking at the decrepit dock back at the ocean, the overgrown road, and the broken signpost. "Right."
"Well, we have a week until Dread returns. Might as well make the most of it," Brink reasoned. Then he scratched his head. "Say, do you think that pelican can eat boats too?"
"Don't be absurd. Pelicans can't digest wood." Sideline narrowed his eyes. "Then again, it would explain the disappearing boats… No, that's crazy. Stop putting ideas in my head."
And so the two men spent a week camping on the beach, with no sign of any brigands or the pelican again. By the last day, they were beginning to question what they had seen at all. They were greatly relieved to see Dread's ship land at the dock, just as unseaworthy as ever.
"Don't you have anything to ship back?" Dread asked, raising a bushy black eyebrow at their conspicuous lack of goods.
"Navigational mistake," Brink said. "I thought there was a city with a thriving salt trade around here. Must have got the wrong port on the map."
"Hmph," Dread said. "As long as I'm still getting paid for the trip."
Brink spent the journey home as nauseous as ever. He stumbled off the ship onto the dock at Cademia and hugged one of the thick wooden support posts. "I think I'm giving up sea trading forever."
"Me too." Sideline stood next to him with a frown. He twirled a black-tipped feather between his fingers.
"Where did you get that?" Brink asked.
"Found it on the… boat…" Sideline looked around the dock. It was empty except for Dread's assistant, tidying up the ship. "Hey, where did Dread go?"
Brink retched and threw up into the ocean again. "Definitely giving up sea trading."
Selax last edited by
So...does that mean they didn't have to pay Dread after all?
453 last edited by
Yay, you joined my challenge! : __D And wowev, you progressed the plot quite a bit! I still want more though - did the giant pelican really eat all those boats? & how was Alaric's nephew involved? Mysterious~