Of Kings and Queens

A pitch have yet to be written, as the plot-planning is not 100% finished, but I couldn't stay away from writing the actual story itself.
This story is about war. And with war comes hate and love, blood and tears, passion and fear.

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16. Dande

Dande, Pontus

dies Solis, VIII Iulias, 10:00 AM

 

Loud, yet muffled, voices came from above, and it woke Dande from his long sleep.

He felt so warm and cozy, that he had to fight to even open up his eyes, to a dim lit cargo deck. This was the first time he was the last to awaken; every day he'd wake up before Owain and Katarina.

With a still blurred sight, he hurried to his feet and found himself covered in a large fur jacket. Did he fall asleep with that on? Owain or Katarina had probably given it to him when they woke up earlier.

The shouts above then became clearer to him, and it was an alerting thing they were shouting.

“Pirates!”

On his way up the stairs, the entire ship made a sudden move as if something pushed it hard, and he tripped over the steps.

Once he finally made it upstairs to the top deck, he was met with a surprisingly amazing and elegant sight.

Owain was fighting one of the pirates that was attacking. He gracefully evaded every swing the other took, and his shining and beautiful cutlass easily cut into the back of the other pirate, spreading blood upon his own sweaty body and white shirt. And without any thought, he'd fight another.

Katarina moved with an impressive agility, despite the rather large bosom she had following her. She had no sword or nothing, only her muscles which proved to be enough. She jumped around like it was nothing.

Dande was captivated by their movements, and barely managed to jump aside as some pirate was charging at him. As he ducked the amateur swing, the hood of his cape fell off, showing his face.

“Oh Gods save me...” the pirate spoke just loud enough for Dande to hear.

Now it was out. There was no way he could hide it from anyone now, and here he had hoped to make the journey without anyone knowing. But that was quite foolish of him, he'd admit.

He ripped off his cape, exposing his dark skin and a pair of loose pants as the only thing he wore underneath.

The pirate before him tightened his grip around his sword, and stood with a wide open mouth, large eyes and he even shook a bit, Dande noticed.

“That's not natural!” he almost shouted it and several others turned to look.

Dande twisted and stretched his left arm, clenching and stretching his clawed hand. He felt the burn mark that covered the entire arm, from shoulder to nails, heat up, and walked towards the pirate, as he stumbled backward.

“Please! Please don't—I didn't mean to--” the pirate cried as he crawled backwards, but Dande was quickly standing above him.

Flames began growing from the palm of his scarred hand, and with his right hand he held a hard grip around the pirate's neck.

That's when he noticed the silence; it was as if even the ocean had stopped moving.

Around them, everyone stood with wide opened mouths and dilated pupils. Whispers echoed between them as they stood in a circle around Dande and the frightened pirate, whom had loosened his bladder.

“What is that?” some asked. “Do something!” others demanded.

Dande's heart was racing in his chest, pumping adrenalin into his system and the flame by his hand began spreading up his arm. His breathing was quick and heavy, like an aggravated monster.

“Demon!” someone in the crowd then shouted, and that's when it clicked for him.

“I am not a demon!” it escaped his lips like a growl, followed by the shrieking from the pirate beneath him, as he was set aflame.

It didn't last long before the crying was gone, along with any skin and hair the pirate had. The smell of burnt flesh came with the rising smoke from the scorched corpse of a former pirate.

Then someone made his way through the crowd, pushing everyone aside and stepping into the circle.

He was taller than Dande, black eyes and a dark skin. But what was concerning was the smug grin he bore as he held eye-contact with Dande, whilst he held his head high.

“Impressive. I'm guessing you're a Torch then?” he asked.

“How would you know?” Dande asked, it still came out as a low growl and he stood in a defensive manner, with his legs slightly apart and the flame covering his entire arm.

“Yes, how,” the other stranger laughed. “I know a lot about you; more than you'd think.”

He began walking around Dande, whom followed along.

“I was, as a matter of fact, brought along just for you.” He stopped up when he stood right before Dande, with his hands behind his back.

“Wha--?” Dande didn't even get to finish his sentence, before the pirate's arms was unexpectedly lit on fire and he jumped at Dande.

Swiftly, Dande moved aside, but the stranger's fingers had turned to claws that left deep cuts on his right arm, and blood started running instantly.

“Why is every just standing around like this and staring!” Owain shouted from somewhere on board, then continuing his fight with another pirate, followed by the rest of them engaging in their brawl, yet they kept the circle around the two fighting with fire.

Dande didn't quite understand it. Why had they brought him along specifically for him? If they had intended on killing him painfully, they should have brought one of the acolytes for Irroro. What was their plan? Who were they? Pirates didn't bring along religious kins. It made absolutely no sense to him.

The fire wielding pirate, if he even was one, managed to block or parry every single attack Dande threw at him, which only aggravated him even more.

He threw a larger pellet of fire after him, but the “pirate” would mimic his movement. When the two spheres of fires collided, it caused a smaller explosion that made Dande stumble backward and smoke consumed the entire boat.

Disoriented, Dande kept his guard up. He kept turning around, seeing nothing but grey smoke. Then everything happened all at once, that he didn't manage to think before he was lying down, pinned by the other fire wielder.

“You and I are alike, Dande,” he whispered. He had Dande pinned down by the wrists and sat on top of his waist.

Being compared to this Godless boor maddened him. His mouth turned to a teeth-showing scowl and he tried to wrestle free.

“We are nothing alike!” Dande growled and tried to headbutt the offender, but he easily avoided it and held a grand smirk.

The buccaneer opened his mouth to speak his poisonous words, when a certain someone with a shining cutlass “accidentally” pushed him away.

“Coming through!” Owain said, stumbling in between Dande and the assailant, before vanishing back into the grey smoke.

Swiftly, Dande got back up on his legs and send evil glares at the other, whilst holding a defensive stand.

“We both knows how this is going to end, Torch,” he laughed and looked him in the eyes.

“Yes,” Dande panted. “I'm going to throw you and all of your brutes overboard, set your ship on fire and sail on my way.”

The other laughed loudly and removed some black locks falling into his face.

“Oh Dande,” he said. “You have too much faith in your own skills.”

As the smoke had begun to vanish, the fire on the raider's arms grew weaker, which Dande noticed, and subconsciously lowered his guard.

Within mere seconds, someone unknown kicked Dande in the back and caused him to stumble into the arms of the fire wielder.

Dande froze and stared up at his face with dilated pupils and a slightly opened mouth, as the taller one kept his smirk and a certain glow in his eyes.

“This is way easier than I thought,” he said and took a hard grip on Dande's pants with one hand, and placed the other on his shoulder; leaving marks where his claws dug in. With ease, he lifted Dande up above himself, using his flames to boost his strength as he looked up at him and his grin went from one ear to the other.

Dande didn't do anything to prevent it. No matter how much he tried, he couldn't get his limbs to move. The fire covering his arm died. He had even stopped breathing.

Without further ado, Dande was thrown overboard.

The cold, dark, salty sea embraced him. It was so silent as he sunk underneath the violent waves. He didn't bother to struggle, fear had paralyzed him and he couldn't swim, so it would have been no use.

When his eyes began slowly closing, something—someone dived into the waters of Pontus. As Dande floated in between what felt like death and the after life, a large and strong hand took solid grip around his wrist.

The Gods had blessed him, he thought when he got pulled above waters and the air felt rough as he began coughing up the salty water.

His head slumped backward onto the shoulder of whomever was saving his life. He noticed that the water had begun to vanish, and he looked up to see them being hauled aboard some ship. Hopefully it was their own and the pirates had been slain.

He opened his eyes again when he was dropped hard onto the wooden planks of a ship, and turned around to throw up water. So cold and salty, and disgusting.

With a blurred sight, he looked around but didn't recognize any of the people from his travels. A clenched hand, or so he thought it looked like, was then raised, and it left him no time to react before it struck him and everything went black.

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