I used to be terrified of storms. The flash of the bright lightning illuminating the small cavern I lived in as a young child, and the large crack that sounded after it. Shaking the ground beneath me, sending me into my mothers loving arms. She would hold me, rocking me back and forth while humming along to a sweet lullaby I vaguely remember now. My brother, and father would be either out hunting or trading. It was a tradition for the family, it was how they got along. Survived all those years, and never lost one of us to hunger, or sickness. My mother called it a miracle, I called it a curse.
What Scavenger would want to survive?
My little sister usually slept through storms. That child was immune to everything around her, as air headed as my father. Who found a bright side to everything, and always laughed at the most frightening, or awkward moments. I think that's why my mother fell in love with him, because he made everything seem better then it actually was. That's why I miss him so much, I miss how he would tell me the thunder couldn't hurt me, and the lightning wouldn't strike a poor Scavenger, because they hold the element itself in their very hands. At least, that was legend. People found it ridiculous, especially the imperials. 'The greater ones' Those scum made my blood boil, they really did.
Yes, storms used to scare me to my wits. But now, as the storm raged and the waves crashed up against the boats side, I'm fearless. My brown hair whipped around my face in a flurry, and my hands where starting to turn red as I held onto the rope tightly, to keep the sail from turning the boat away from the destination it was heading. I could feel the searing sensation of a rope burn begging to form on my hands. But ignoring the pain, I yelled orders from where I stood firmly on deck, the rain pouring down from the sky in sheets, blinding me. The crew flew back and forth, trying to restrain the thrashing boat. I gritted my teeth, this boat wasn't going down.
"Hold down the sails!" I screamed, pulling the rope tighter "Steer the boat west!" That was my destination, the one and only. I took this short job as a way to sail west, to get to the town of imperials. Although this job isn't really meant for a Scavenger; Or under the radar, the captain used to be good friends with my father. So it was easy to obtain the spot I hold as co-captain. I could hear the yelling of the crew, as they tried to keep the boat under control. The storm was starting to settle, but the waves still shoved the boat back and forth, threatening to tip it over. I peered around the deck, counting the crew, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.. Seven?
"Damn!" I whispered under my breath slightly, I looked over to Marty. One of the crew men I have already counted. "Marty, take this sail and hold it down! The storm's settling down, so it shouldn't be too hard-" I wasn't going to spare the man his feelings, he was the smallest and weakest crew member on the ship. And that's saying a lot, seeming I'm a fifteen year old female Scavenger. He nodded, grabbing the rope from my hands and putting most of his effort into holding it down. I clicked my tongue in annoyance, hoping he will be able to keep a hold of that rope until I discovered why I only counted seven of the crew.
Putting my index finger, and pinky into my mouth I whistled over top of the roaring wind, as I tapped my foot impatiently. The rain was still pouring, and the men where still yelling. But the waves weren't pushing the boat as much. A few seconds later, a large dog came barrelling out of the lower deck doors. It skidded across the deck, his long claws clapping against the wood. The rain splashing around his grey and brown coat. He came to a skidding stop in front of me, as his tail thumped against the deck, his tongue lolling out of his mouth.
The boat was pretty stable at the moment. Not rocking as much, so I figured it would be easy to sniff out the coward among the chaos. Whoever wasn't helping with the lock down, is going to get a real punishment, and Scout would help me find him. Scout was a very large Irish Wolf hound my father found on a trade when I was five years old. He was just a pup as was I then, and we grew up together. He comes up to my stomach standing on his four paws, on his hind legs he's at least a foot or two taller then me. We named him Scout for his amazing ability to sniff things out, and he came in handy all the time. He was a stupid mutt, but he was like my best friend. Being a Scavenger was a lonely life style, so don't judge me for having a dog as a best friend.
I leaned down, coming nose to nose with him. He peered into my gold speckled eyes, and I looked back into his own hazel orbs.
"Scout, find 'em" With that, He stood up from his sitting position, stuffing his overly large black button nose towards the deck. As he followed a particular scent like a map. Scout knew he was looking for a hide; In other words the coward who refused to help with the lock down of the ship. I smirked slightly, wondering what Captain would do to him. Dock his pay? No. Beat him? No. Lecture him? Probably not. Throw him over board? Definite possibility.
Captain was a ruthless man, with high standards for crew members. If you didn't meet those standards, and you some how ended up working for him he wouldn't give you a second chance. I'm used to not getting second chances. It's your first chance, or a life and death situation. Being a Scavenger had it's rules, and you had to learn them quick. Or survival wasn't a possibility.
I turned back around, seeing Brass -One of the eight crew members- push Marty away from the rope. The lanky man scowled at Brass, crossing his arms like a child. I shook my head as I lay a hand on my hip. Brass grabbed the rope, stopped the sails from twisting too much, as he shoved Marty away from him. That man was so sheltered, so spoiled it's not even funny. What with his parents being servers to the imperials. He decided he wanted to run off, join a crew and pretend to live the life of a Scavenger. Live the legends the Imperials named after us, and feel the rush of freedom.
To be brutally honest, it's not freedom. If anything, it's being caged up and chained down. Being born into it was bad, running into it was worse. And Marty had no chance of surviving. He was lucky Captain takes a liking to him, lucky he ain't dead yet. My thoughts where interrupted by barking. A loud, constant annoying alarm that told me Scout had found the hide away.
Turning around, I stomped across the deck over to a pile of barrels that Scout was standing on, barking and snarling. Reaching up I grabbed his brown leather collar, pulling him off and glaring down at the shaking, soaked man behind the barrels. I gave him the most threatening glare I could muster, and called one of the crew men over, my mouth set in an angry line. The crew man lifted the coward from his hiding spot, as he cringed from the harshness of the movements.
"Have anything to say for yourself?" I spat, rather harsh. He lowered his gaze, I could see he regretted his choice. They all eventually do "Good, because anything you said I wouldn't have believed anyway. Take him to Captain" I ordered, turning to the other man. The crew man registered my immediate order, and dragged the coward off towards Captain's bunk. I lay a rope burnt hand on Scouts head, watching as the sun shone through the dark clouds that once held a raging storm captive, as they began to part.
I could feel the hot sun prick at my skin, and the last bits of rain fall from the sky. I heard the sloshing of the residing waves, and the rocking of the beat up boat. I could hear the crew men retreat, beginning to clean up the mess the storm left behind. But what I heard, or felt didn't register in my mind as I looked ahead. Towards west, seeing the land come closer and closer. It made my heart beat faster, and my eyes widen in utter excitement. As Scout wagged his tail, seeing I was excited myself. I looked up at the sky laying a hand softly over my chest where my heart resided. Scout whined, as he lay on the deck putting his large head between his two paws. I could feel tears prick my eyes, as I remembered them. I remembered them all.
My mothers sweet voice telling me I'm beautiful, telling me I'll succeed.
My brother's smile, reassuring me. Pushing me forward.
My sisters pep talks, that always kept me going.
My father's spirit, and the way he would always tell me "Someday, Allora. We'll make it to the Imperials together. We'll show those bastards what we can do, that we're no longer a myth, and we're back to stop them" I can hear his hoarse voice as he died, slowly in my arms. "You're the last one, don't give up. Make it to the Imperials whatever it takes, Allora. Finish this war"
"I did this for you dad, and I'll never give up. Never"