In the wardroom of The Ishtar:
“How is she?” Crystal asked the question that was on all their minds.
The companions had gathered in the wardroom at Salisan's request. Dabuk, Bactra, Jeddar, Mesik, and Dvalin all stood back at a respectful distance. Crystal sat near the female half-triton's side while the reef giant and Thessa cared for the child of the sea. Thessa had been insistent on helping care for their mysterious guest. Salisan had welcomed her input and healing touch.
“She is much better due to Thessa's healing skills,” Salisan replied.
The half-triton had obviously been attacked and Thessa's herbal knowledge and healing spells had done wonders for the ailing creature. Still, she hadn't regained consciousness yet, which continued to trouble the gnome priestess. Salisan had assured her that it was normal for the half-triton due to her unique heritage. He obviously knew who she was but had refused to tell them anything about her.
This fact had annoyed Dabuk greatly. Yes, he had agreed to let Salisan lead the ship and its crew, but the half-elf ranger hated being kept in the dark about anything he considered a risk to the mission. The creature was exotic and quite beautiful in her own way and Bactra was becoming smitten with her unique nature. Jeddar wasn't as distracted by her beauty; however, Dabuk could tell his half-elven friend was interested in her uniqueness, which was so much like his own.
Dabuk looked at Jeddar out of the corner of his eye. The blade-bard was more than just a half-elf. He is half-gray elf, born of a race that is considered to be either extinct or a legend depending on who you asked. The fact that Jeddar existed proved that gray elves weren't just a legendary race that exists only in the stories of myth. Still, Dabuk had never met any other being that could call themselves a child of a legendary race, until now.
He looked back towards the half-triton. A being that should not be able to exist – half of the sea and half of the air – but did. Dabuk had never heard of Islander elves before Salisan had mentioned them, but he wasn't surprised that a unique race of seafaring elves existed. Elves were more adaptable than humans gave them credit.
Dabuk looked at Jeddar once again. His friend had told him and the others several stories the blade-bard knew about Islander elves, which he had learned as part of his studies at the Bard's College of Fruen. The stories told of a race that was like quicksilver – elusive and enigmatic. They were also unpredictable. It was this fact that troubled Dabuk so much. Who was this creature? What was her background? Would she be a danger to the mission?
“I need to know more about her, Salisan.” Dabuk insisted.
“In good time, my friend.” Salisan replied. “I wish you wouldn't worry so much about her. I've told you that she's not a risk to the ship or your goals. If she was then I wouldn't have brought her aboard.”
“Salisan's right, cousin.” Bactra looked at Dabuk with obvious annoyance. “You need to worry less about this and worry more about where we are headed. The Isle of Dread is rumored to be a deadly place filled with horrors that you cannot imagine.”
“You are smitten, cousin.” Dabuk replied bluntly. “I do not trust your judgment in this matter.”
“And you are a mean dog,” Crystal stared down her brother. “You would force the crew to work themselves to death to reach this island of yours and to Hades' Underrealm with anything that gets in the way. Now, be quiet!”
Dabuk gritted his teeth but relented. His sister's will was a strong as his own, and his grandfather had indeed sent her to watch over the ship and the crew and to make sure that he didn't abuse anyone. He wouldn't contradict her in front of Mesik – his superior in the guild. Mesik had told him to heed her words since she was now considered an important link between the Tiger Guild and the Arcane Order. She had gained Carl's trust almost overnight.
“She'll be coming around shortly,” Salisan said. “It would be best if you all remained quiet. I do not want her to become spooked. This will likely be the first time she has met land-dwellers.”
“Maybe we should leave,” Dvalin said.
“No. I want you here. For while she isn't a risk to our mission, it is very important that you all know who she is and what to expect while she's on board.” Salisan reached out to check the half-triton's breathing through the magical mask. “Her body has adapted completely to the air.”
The giant man removed the mask, which peeled away easily. The sea child's featured were as beautiful as the rest of her. Her eyes fluttered but remained closed as she breathed in several deep breaths. Her skin appeared adaptive; it changed color slightly on her face and neck where it became exposed to the wardroom's unfiltered air.
Her eyes opened completely and she mumbled in a language that only Salisan understood.
“You are on board a sailing ship,” Salisan replied in Giant. “This land-dweller and I have been caring for you.”
Salisan motions to Thessa who was busy making sure the sea child was warm enough by covering her with an extra blanket. She smiled at the half-triton.
“While I'm not sure you can understand me, I must say that am pleased to meet you, regardless.”
The sea child made no indication that she understood the gnome priestess's words.
“I should tell you that I am aware of your heritage,” Salisan said. “I know your father. Does he know where you are?”
She looked at Salisan confused.
“Do not play games with me, princess.” Salisan warned her in Common. “We have met before, so I know you can speak my language as well as the Common tongue of the land-dwellers. I have not sent word to your father, yet, but I will if you try treating me like a servant.”
“Princess?” Dabuk hadn't expected that.
“Please, just let me go,” she pleaded in accented Common. “I am not who you think I am.”
“She is the daughter of the King of the Marine City of Athbethicia despite her childish attempts to pretend otherwise. Her name is Nanesa.”
“I order you to let me go!” she yelled.
“She's got a big mouth,” Dabuk said.
“How dare you,” she seethed. “You will be punished for your arrogance!”
“What a brat,” Mesik laughed.
“You obnoxious little–”
“You will be silent, or I will throw in the BRIG!” Salisan warned the half-triton princess.
His words echoed throughout the ship and Nanesa shrunk back from him in fear. She remained deathly quiet as the giant man calmed himself.
“I am Salisan Marg,” he said. “I captain this ship, and I will brook no intolerance from you while you are on board. I will not simply let you go, either. You are to important to your father, so I must take charge of you. Shiken is an old friend, and he would never forgive me if I just let you swim off into a hostile sea. You will remain here and you will behave yourself.”
“I am your prisoner then,” Nanesa replied. “For I do not acknowledge your control over my life just as I do not acknowledge my father's need to control my life.”
“I say throw her in the brig,” Crystal suggeted.
“Aye.” Dvalin said in agreement. “The humility will do her some good.”
“She will remain here for now,” Salisan replied. “However, if she wants to be treated like a prisoner, I will oblige her.”
Salisan stared at her with a gleam in his eyes. Nanesa refused to flinch under his stare but her fear was obvious to everyone in the wardroom.
* * *