Chapter 5: A Fisherman, You've got to be kidding.

Chapter 5: A Fisherman, You've got to be kidding.

A Chapter by Cole Spire
"

Xavier has made it back to Port King, but at what cost. Something is different, the place looks less like he remembered it and on top of that there is a wanted poster... WITH HIS FACE ON IT!

"
Chapter 5: Fishermen? You’ve got to be kidding.

It was Port King.

At least Xavier was pretty sure it was Port King. Everything looked different, older maybe, but there was definitely something off about this place. For one; the diversity of his last trip was gone. He saw nothing but Umani vendors. The Lunatician’s were gone, as were the Saurials, Elves, Dwarves, and the strange Gnomes. He could see a few Elves meandering in the marketplace near the dock but all others seemed to have vanished.
Less than two steps into the marketplace a commotion broke out and two people ended up in a vicious brawl. A crowd quickly gathered but no one seemed too eager to actually break the fight up. Cheers of enthusiasm and  calls for bloodshed surfaced as the louder voices. Xavier glimpsed it quickly and shook his head. This was definitely the wrong port. Leviathan had sent him to the wrong place, he was sure of it.

He walked away from the fight to look at some of the wares a vendor was showcasing when the Vendor gave an audible gasp. The squat man paled as he gazed at Xavier and the not-so-young wolf looked at him oddly. The vendor vanished into the back of his shop in a flurry of oversized robes and didn’t return. As Xavier continued to browse the shops, and getting the same reaction from more than a few of the merchants, was getting annoyed. He moved into a weapons Merchants display and the proprietor shrieked out an “Eep” as Xavier laid eyes on him.

Before the Merchant could run Xavier had snatched the front of his robes and pulled him close to his snarling muzzle. “Tell me why a man such as myself gets shunned so? Is my Gold not as valuable as the next or maybe it is because the Umani see us Lunatician’s as mere lap dogs!”

“N-no th-that’s not it at all Xavier!” the Merchant squeaked.  “I j-just…” seemingly unable to come up with a good answer on the spot the merchant went limp. “Please don’t kill me!”

Xavier’s brows creased in confusion as he looked at the timid human. He didn’t think he had expressed enough anger to make him think his doom was upon him, but it was more the fact that the merchant knew his name. A man he had never seen before in his life knew his name and apparently an un-warranted reputation.

“What makes you think I would waste my life for yours?” Xavier snapped.

The merchant paled even more, if it was possible, and forced himself to look up at the young werewolf. “You didn’t spare your crew sir, why would you spare a man you know not?”

“What!?” the werewolf choked out. He knew he hadn’t harmed his crew, why would an accusation like that be thrown his way now?

In answer to his unasked question the merchant motioned to a scroll that was posted on the wall opposite his stall. It was a very worn piece of parchment that bore Xavier’s likeness. His hybrid features of his wolven and human forms sketched in fine detail under the very bold words: WANTED; dead or alive. Beneath his image was a number that he didn’t even know. He could read and write, mathematics; simple addition and subtraction had been learned when he was a pup, but a number with seven zero’s behind it seemed impossible.

He dropped the merchant and focused on the wanted poster. Xavier pulled it off the wall and studied it from top to bottom. It said that he was wanted for questioning in the disappearance of the Morning Sun and her crew. That he was last seen boarding the ship of the Bloody Wench and headed north.

Xavier swallowed slowly. He turned slowly towards the rest of the marketplace, his eyes focused on the wanted posters that were plastered on almost ever wall. How had he missed them? An even more important question seemed to be; how was he linked to the disappearance of the Morning Sun? Hadn’t Captain Dust and Spirit left the island? He was alone on that God forsaken hunk of rock, he had explored everything and never found bodies let alone the bones of his crew mates. Where had they gone? What had happened?

Behind the wolf the fight had finally been broken up by the Royal Patrol and the crowd had dispersed leaving him quite exposed. The spectators moved back to the shops and displays that had drawn their attentions before and went about their business as if nothing had happened. Xavier knew he would stick out like a sore thumb so he dove into a crowd of wandering market goers. He would hide in plain sight until he could get out of the marketplace.

Just as he was about to leave the crowd he felt a slight almost non-existent tug on his hip and then the unmistakable feeling of a weight being lifted off his body. His coin purse had just been lifted. He scanned the crowd quickly seeing a small head bobbing quickly through the crowd with an odd golden yellow feather sticking out from his hair. Next to him a man shouted out to the boy “Todd! Get back here! Or so help me I’ll make you work the stables for a week before you get one moments rest!”

Glancing to his left the wolf appraised the stranger. He was short, thin and looked as if the weight of his pack would crush him any second. The short cut dusty brown hair was almost untamed and the rugged clothes he wore smelled heavily of dirt. On closer inspection Xavier could see the streamlined muscle that his under his clothes and unassuming appearance. There was something very whimsical about the Umani. He had a boyish face and even when yelling after the thief he could see a hint of a smile and hear the music in his voice.

“Todd!” the farmer called again and then took off after the boy carrying the feather.
Xavier watched for a second looking from the farmer to the direction of the thief and then back. It then dawned on him that he had just been pick pocketed by that thief and was off like a shot. His larger frame cause him to bump and knock over more than a few Umani that were in the midst of their shopping. Yet the farmer, or farm hand; Xavier wasn’t quite sure yet, flowed past each patron like a leaf on the summer breeze. Xavier found himself more than a little jealous and pushed himself faster.

A  large man in robes of bright pink and red was hauling a vase over his head saw the wolf coming and tried to shift his bulk away only to be thrown off balance. The vase hit the ground with a hearty thump and the man’s eyes widened at the stability of the well made clay object. Until, that is, Xavier tripped and barreled head long through it.

“Todd! Get back here this instant! If your mother was still alive she’d tan my hide…" The farmer’s voice trailed off as the young wolf looked up at the more than irritated face of the owner of the former vase.

“Heh… oops.” Xavier shrugged and pushed himself up and shot off again, pieces of vase clinging to his collar and even tangling in his fur. Dust left an almost comical trail behind him as he chased the two past the gates of the city.

He could smell them both, and it seemed to be leading him farther and farther into the deep forest that had grown around the walls of the city. On top of that the sun was quickly setting below the crest of the islands casting long shadows against the forest floor.

After what seemed like hours Xavier came upon a forked trail barely visible to the naked eye. His ears twitched listening for anything that would allow him to hear the direction he needed to go but heard something all that much worse.

Nothing.

The forest was dead silent, it was never a good sign. Knowing full well that he needed to find the pair; if not to get his lifted property, than to get them out of this forest and into a warm Inn. His lungs inhaled deeply allowing the strange yet alluring bouquet of scents of the forest spill through him. He closed his eyes and inhaled again more quickly this time, letting his hunters instincts take over. He smelled moss, tree roots filled with moisture, a squirrel to his right…. There it was. Fresh earth! It was coming from his left and so that is where he went.

He followed that smell of earth to a small clearing. He found the farmer there standing in front of a giant hollowed out tree that stood alone. It looked old, no it looked ancient. Not a single leaf hung on any of the mangled branches and the rotted crevices that riddled the oversized trunk made it look as if it were some beast crying out in a silent roar long since gone.

The eyes seemed to follow Xavier as he moved towards the young man. As he stepped closer he could feel wind blowing his fur gently. It was coming from the gaping maw of the tree.

“You going in there?”

“Hmm?” the man turned toward Xavier finally acknowledging him. “Oh yes, I guess I’ll have to. Todd is in there. Lord knows how though, every time I get close that blasted tree blows me back. My name is Mark by the way. Mark Thorne.”

“Xavier.”

“Sorry to have to meet you under these circumstances.” Mark shook his head. “He gets it from his mother’s side I swear. I don’t ever remember stealing anything when I was young. Well maybe some sweets here or there but what boy hasn’t.”

“You ramble.” Xavier said moving closer to the mouth of the hideous tree.

“I wouldn’t-”

Xavier held his hand up and moved to within a few feet of the entrance. The wind howled from the tree mouth as strong as any gale he had felt on a ship and flung him clear to the edge of the clearing and right in to the trunk of a tree. Stars flashed behind his eyes as he stood up on wobbly knees.

“Do that if I were you.” Mark finished as he watched Xavier sail through the air.

Xavier shook his head and moved to stand next to Mark once again.

“This is as close as you can get without … well learning to fly.” Mark chuckled.

“Funny.” Xavier said gruffly.

“You don’t get much company where you’re from do you?” Mark frowned as he turned to look at the werewolf. His eyes were closed but he was smiling a warm smile.

“Sorry… I, I guess not. How exactly do we go about getting in there, I mean it can’t be too hard if your son can do it.”

Mark shook his head again and folded his arms, the weight of his small frame shifting as he turned his head slightly looking at the tree. “You’d be surprised. Todd is good at getting into places he is not supposed to be.”

“Maybe if we walk along the side of this thing and then step right in front of the entrance.” Xavier wondered aloud as he gazed from the top of the ancient tree to its oversized roots breaking the surface.

“Worth a shot.” agreed Mark.

When Mark didn’t look as if he was going to offer his body up to the experiment Xavier grumbled and made his way cautiously to the edge of the tree. He placed a palm against the seemingly rough bark and found it to be smooth, smoother than it should have been for being as old as this dead tree appeared to be. The werewolf took his hand away and slowly made his way to the side of the trees entrance.

The wind was silent, just a light breeze.

Gathering as much gumption as he could, Xavier leapt in front of the entrance. Before his feet could even touch ground the hurricane strength gusts carried him away and into the same tree trunk as before. Stars once again sparkled behind his eyelids and his ears rang. He stood up slower this time and his whole body protested.

“Guess that didn’t work.” Mark laughed.

“Ya think!” Xavier snarled.

Over the next hour or so Mark and Xavier tried to come up with ways to try and trick the wind. They had discerned that the gusts were a defense system to protect something within the ancient tree. Magic defenses meant wizards, witches, priests, or even clerics. Yet neither of the two could fathom out which order would protect a burnt out husk of a tree. Each time the pair came up with an idea Xavier was the test dummy. He didn’t know why he had become the one to take the abuse but Mark definitely wasn’t going to offer up assistance.

“We could wait till he comes out you know.” Mark spoke up after Xavier had taken another trip into a tree trunk.

“I’m getting in this damned tree if I have to rip it up by its roots!” the wolf had had enough. His temper was lost long ago and now it was sheer determination that he was running head long at the tree.

With a growl that seemed to erupt from within he leapt at the entrance. He could see the entrance coming toward him and the wind had not picked up. Maybe the spell had worn off or had a limit of use? Xavier got his answer shortly after as he reached toward the gaping hole. His fingers brushed just inside the doorway when a gust, the strongest he had ever felt, lifted him up and held him aloft in the air as if it had a mind of its own. Mark leapt to his feet upon seeing this and stared in amused wonderment.

“Don’t just stand there! Do something!” Xavier snapped.

“Do what exactly? This kind of magic is a little out of my line of work there wolfey.”

“Grab a branch or something and try to reach up so I can grab it and you can pull me down.”

Mark did exactly that, but when he brought the branch up to Xavier he was lifted higher and out of reach. He didn’t stop either he continued to slowly rise up and over the top of the ancient tree. Mark frowned and looked at the werewolf with a helpless shrug.
Xavier though, felt something odd as he was lifted. His pants were being tugged. It was soft but definitely there. Like he was being pulled. He shifted his weight so his upper half was now his lower hand and looked behind him through the V of his legs.

“A fisherman! You’ve got to be kidding me.”


© 2010 Cole Spire


Author's Note

Cole Spire
Finished chapter, please any comments are welcome. Good or bad.

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Added on October 21, 2010
Last Updated on October 21, 2010


Author

Cole Spire
Cole Spire

Holloween Town, NV



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"Being a writer is like having homework for the rest of your life." -Hank Moody Those are words so true that it is scarey! Aloha! My name is Cole Spire. Colstainous Spirion to be exact but mos.. more..

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