|Playing with Fire
Author: Lillian Dooley PM
NaNo piece. A young boy is gifted with the unique ability to hold fire without getting burned. Water, however, is a different story.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 11 - Words: 13,558 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 2 - Published: 12-20-11 - id: 2981114
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It was only a day before the Mistress lined up with the Asbestos and requested communication.
That day, Griehm was anxiously watching the beautiful ship with his firefly eyes, his curiosity almost getting the better of his love of the Mistress.
The giant ship dwarfed the Asbestos, making it seem like a rotten piece of drift wood next to the glowing radiance of the lady ship.
Griehm dipped his hands into the bucket of water and washed the deck, knowing that his work would never even compare to the beauty of the deck of the Mistress. Griehm was looking up at the ship when a sharp, familiar pain to his side hit him. Griehm sat back up again like nothing happened and stared back up at the ship. Another bout of pain.
Griehm looked up, expecting to see one of the familiar crew members, but it was Armel. The captain. Then, Griehm realized that Armel was not kicking him but nudging him to get up. He should have known that the captain's boots were hard-toed.
Griehm pushed down on the wet deck, wincing as his sides and hands burned when he tried to get up.
He was dwarfed in the presence of the captain much like the Asbestos was dwarfed by the Mistress.
"Yes, sir?" Griehm asked, his expression emotionless.
"Griehm, your services are required in the captain's cabin. Immediately," Armel said cryptically.
Griehm followed behind the captain's quick, clomping boots behind the relatively ornate doors of the captain's cabin.
It looked no different from the last time save that there was a humongous map draped over the desk, looking much like Armel sitting in his famous armchair.
The boy with the firefly eyes was drawn to the map like he was drawn to everything new and interesting. His curiosity made him step closer and attempt to sneak a look.
Armel spoke, "Griehm."
The captain's sharp voice made the boy snap his head toward the captain. Armel was lounging, looking into the empty, unlit fireplace.
"Feel free to have a look. I know you want to," the captain said, adopting his real tone.
Griehm breathed, wondering why he thought Armel would not notice him trying to look at something on the table. Armel noticed things most people did not.
Griehm stepped toward the table and studied the yellowed map. It was of the ocean, and it looked much like one Griehm had rescued from a library back on the mainland. It had island labled in places where there were none, and there was more land than sea.
"You are looking at it the wrong way, Griehm," Armel said. "Try again."
Griehm tilted his head and realized something. How could he have thought that there was more land than sea? It was just as blank as it was before.
The boy with the firefly eyes stepped back from the table and faced the captain.
"I could not help but notice that you keep admiring the Jaded Mistress."
"Y-yes, sir," Griehm stuttered, for once wondering if people actually noticed him.
"How would you like the chance to become a crew member on that ship?"
Even before the words were out of Armel's mouth, Griehm broke out into a very wide smile. He looked ridiculous, like a child who had nothing and was suddenly given something he wanted for his entire life.
"Good. You are going to be our ambassador, then," Armel said.
"Ambassador, sir?" Griehm asked, his grin still painted on his face.
"Our communications man, of course!"
"Yes, sir!" Griehm said enthusiastically. He was going to be on the Mistress! He was going to see her up close!
Armel still looked concerned, but only just; he still had his casual mask on.
The captain was clearly debating whether or not to tell Griehm something.
"You may go," Armel said after a moment.
Griehm turned and bumped straight into the wood in his enthusiasm.
"Wait," Armel said to a dizzy Griehm.
Griehm turned back to the captain, his head spinning from his collision.
"Get over your incident and I'll tell you something very important," Armel said, his eyebrows knitting together.
Griehm barely heart, but he acknowledged the captain's request.
Griehm set his hand down on the table straight on the map with no consideration for the poor piece of parchment. As soon as his head was cleared and steadied enough, he nodded. Not a good choice.
"I am about to make you privy to something very, very important. If you were to reveal this to anyone on the Mistress, I will kill you. I will kill you. Do you hear?"
"Yes," Griehm mumbled faintly.
After a pause, Armel spoke, "We are going to take the Mistress."
Griehm's grin broke through again, and a spark came to his eyes.
"As our ambassador," the captain said, "you are going to tell me everything there is to know about that ship. How it works, who is in charge, who has what shifts, what the captain's like, and most importantly what they actually want from us."
Griehm realized that the term took on a new meaning.
"I will, sir!" Griehm said, setting his jaw.
"Very good, Griehm. I am happy you are so enthused, but please, don't make it obvious."
"Yes, sir," Griehm said, a little more softly, not sure exactly how he was to go about that.
"I just want you to look completely in awe of the ship. That should not be too hard to do now, should it?"
Griehm detected a bit of mockery in the captain's voice.
"Yes, sir," Griehm said, his confidence coming back.
"Very good. You are dismissed," Armel said abruptly, his eyebrows closer-knit still.
Griehm left, careful not to bump into the doorway again.
Griehm stepped out into the sunlight, blinking and dizzy, but beyond excited all the same.
A new bounce was in the boy's walk, and the spark that was in his firefly eyes before remained as a flame.
He was going to be on the Mistress! If he played his part well, it would be permanent! Imagine! Marauding the seas on a stolen ship as glorious as the Jaded Mistress! He would scrub those floors clean every day, as hard as he could, no matter how much it hurt his poor hands. He would be on the Mistress! The Mistress!