I am roused from sleep by a insistent screeching. Rolling over I groan as I groggily peel open my eyes. I find the source of the noise is a seagull perched on the open window of my cabin. I close my eyes again ready to fall back asleep only for my eyes to fly open as I sit bolt upright. I look around blinking in confusion as I find that I am actually on my cabin on the Shadow's Mistress. It takes a moment for the memories of the escape to return.
As I am replaying them there is a scratching at the door, and it is nudged open to reveal Shadar. He pauses in the doorway staring at me with one ear forward and the other down. I smile and open my arms.
"C'mere boy." He crosses my cabin in to bounds and leaps onto my bed. I grunt as the breath is knocked out of me, but I wrap my arms around him and hug him tightly, burying my face in his fur. "Oh how I've missed you. I hope you've been good while I've been gone." He whines softly as he pushes his head into my chest. I laugh softly as I pull back and scratch him behind the ears. After a good session of cuddling with Shadar I become aware that my clothes are filthy.
"Ugh. Lets see if I can find some clothes." I mutter giving him a final pat before standing and moving to the chest that used to hold my clothes. I grin when I find it just as I left it. Using the basin in the corner I was up before donning my clothes. I feel so much better dressed in black trousers, and a sleeveless, lace up the side gray shirt. To complete the outfit I don a pair of my leather boots and my daggers. Just as I slide my dagger into its sheathe there is a knock on the partially open door.
The swings open further to reveal Reme. He looks relieved.
"I thought I heard you up and about."
"I was just getting ready to seek you out. I couldn't stand being in those clothes any longer though."
"Understandable. You look like yourself again."
"I feel more like it as well."
"Rogue if you need to talk-"
"Catching up and telling each other what happened can wait." I cut him off. "Right now I want to know our current situation, and the status of our people."
"You have been asleep for roughly two days. This is the dawn of the third day since putting Mythos behind us. During the bombardment of the dock district we took some damage, none that will hinder us thankfully. So far there have been no sightings of any ships following us. The wind is in our favor and the Shadow's Mistress is making good time. If the weather holds and barring any altercations we should arrive home in roughly four weeks. We will need to stop of at a port to resupply and make minor repairs soon though."
"That is promising, but we cannot rule out being followed yet. We need to be prepared and keep a sharp eye out."
"Nostalion is in the crows nest. If there is anything approaching he will see it."
"Good. What of the Blood and the crew? I know for sure Ren and Nilm were injured severely. How do they fare? What of the others?"
"Ren is still unconscious. Though he has woken a few times, long enough for us to get water and some light broth in him. We do not know exactly what is wrong with him, just that it is taking some time for him to recover."
"And Nilm?" I ask feeling a deep concern when Reme's face becomes grim.
"Moragana and Nythasfel along with the ships doctor have done the best they can with what they have. He is still alive but just barely. I am not sure if he is going to make it. He is in agony and is running a high fever. They are keeping the pain dulled by giving him rum but it only does so much."
"Is there no pain medication?"
"No we didn't have a chance to restock in Mythos."
"Were any others injured badly? Any dead?"
"Five of the crew died in the initial bombardment. Another two died of their injuries yesterday. One may not live the night. The others only have minor injuries. As for the Blood, aside from Ren and Nilm, Fenral has a broken leg. Boris a broken arm. Maliki took a nasty sword wound across his back though it is healing well. Other than those there are minor injuries. Nothing life threatening."
I nod in relief, though my concern remains for both Nilm and Ren.
"Take me to Nilm." Reme nods and exits my cabin. I follow closely with Shadar trailing close behind me. They have him in first mates quarters. When I see him I bite back a curse. He is deathly pale and covered in a sheen of sweat as he writhes moaning quietly in pain. I take the seat that Moragana vacates.
"Hey kid." I murmur quietly as I take up his hand. He turn to look at me though his eyes are glazed over.
"R-rogue? Is that you?"
"He lost his sight a few hours back." Nythasfel whispers from behind me and I choke back a sob.
"Yes Nilm its me."
"We finally found you!"
"Yes you did."
"I don't want to die." I close my eyes as they start to burn with tears. I hold his hand tighter and reach forward to brush the damp hair from his face.
"Oh Nilm. You aren't going to die. Not if I can help it. You hang in there you here? Don't give up just yet."
"I-I'll try, but it hurts." He whimpers. I stand leaning forward and pressing a kiss to his forehead.
"Take care of him." I tell Moragana and Nythasfel.
"We will." Nythasfel assures. I exit the room and sigh heavily.
"Set a course for the closest port. We need to get him to a Healing Witch."
"We are still to close to Mythos." I turn to face Reme with a unyielding expression.
"Reme. I just got my family back. I am not willing to lose one of them again when there is a chance he can be saved. I am not asking, set a course to the closest port. Risks be damned." I order
"Yes Commander." He responds inclining his head and disappearing towards the helm. I start to head towards the infirmary only to stop short as I realize he called me Commander. Its been a long time since I've been addressed by that title. I almost forgot. Shaking my head I hurry to the infirmary eager to see Ren.
He looks better than Nilm. In fact if I didn't know any better I would say that he was merely sleeping.
"Commander you are a sight for sore eyes. It is good to have you back." Doc says. I smile slightly.
"It is good to be back." I approach Ren and sit down on the edge of the bed. "How is he Doc?"
"He is improving. I believe his body was put under quite the trauma and its response is to shut down so that it can heal itself. I can say with almost complete confidence that he will make a full recovery."
I sigh in relief as I examine Ren's face. Its different since I last saw him, sharper, harder. I frown slightly.
"I will be up on deck for some air." Doc says quietly excusing himself. I nod without looking up. Reaching out I run my fingers through his hair before tracing his face trying to re memorize it.
"Oh how I have missed you Ren. You need to wake up soon. We need to talk about some things." I murmur softly.
I end up sitting with him for quite some time, hoping he would wake. Sadly he doesn't and a clenching pain in my gut has me leaving his side in search of food. I exit the infirmary, closing the door softly behind me before turning around only to start as I see everyone crowded into the tight space.
"Gods we missed you!" Sphinx exclaims before stepping forward and wrapping me in a hug. I find myself passed from one person to the next, receiving hearty embraces which I return wholeheartedly, keenly feeling how much I had missed them. After the reunion we head to the mess hall where we all sit down to eat. They begin telling me stories of what happened while I was gone.
It isn't until another few hours have passed that I realize someone is missing. I look around searching for the familiar form of Nikolai and when I don't see it my smile begins to fade. Reme who is sitting beside me notices.
"Rogue is something wrong?"
"Where is Nikolai?" Everyone falls silent and looks between themselves or at their food.
"Where. Is. He." I say slowly and clearly my anger rising. I can't believe I was so careless to only just think of him. Dear gods what if they've killed him?
"He's in the brig." Reme answer quietly.
"Why the hell is he locked in the brig?!"
"Because he deserves to be! He kept you in a cage, as a slave! He attacked us! He can't be trusted!" Novthak explodes. I take a deep breath so that I don't lose my temper. Novthak is short tempered as it is, I don't need to lose mine as well.
"I trust him."
"He brainwashed you or something! The Rogue I know wouldn't trust him as far as she could through him, she-"
"The Rogue you know is dead!" I snap cutting him off. "Things have changed Novthak. I am not the same person I once was. After everything I've been through its just not possible for me to be." I continue in a quieter tone. I look around at all of them before I tell them of my time as Azarius' slave. I tell them everything and I tell them what Nikolai has done for me and why I trust him.
"He was a slave same as me. He was doing what he had to. He could have been cruel to me. He could have let me die but he didn't. He could have stopped us from escaping just as easily as he stopped those guards. I trust him. He deserves a chance of freedom. I'll be damned if I treat him like a slave and keep him locked in the brig like a criminal."
"Rogue I think we understand everything better now that you have explained, but its going to be hard for us to trust him like you do all things considered." Reme begins. "Harder for some than others." He says looking towards Novthak. I scowl as I stand up.
"I am the one that was a slave, the one that has more reason to hate him than any of you, but I don't. I am giving him a chance at freedom. At life other than that of slavery and you want to keep him locked up." I shake my head. "I don't care what you think right now. I am going to go let him out and we can finish this discussion later."
I leave the mess hall and hurrying into the lower levels of the ship, walking swiftly towards the brig. I can only hope Nikolai doesn't hate me now.
A/N: I got this chapter out quicker than I have the others thankfully. I hope you enjoyed. Please review. :)