I am

"She was made out of pure spirit and life. A star on earth. Yet a hurricane in space. Cassiopeia Turow was different."
I am a girl who dared to dream. I am someone who sought adventure. I am a person who will learn and thrive and satisfy curiosity. These are all qualities most people share. But most people can't say that they overthrew a monarchy or helped burn down the world.


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17. "Plans are always more complex than what they seem to be, aren't they?"

 

FOURTEEN

“Plans are always more complex than they what seem to be, aren’t they?”

“Only to the minds that aren’t skilled in the art of making plans.”

 

Somewhere in the sea

Four months ago

 

Tommen had learned his lesson and it only took him the experience of floating in a sinking boat to realise that. The fog around him didn’t tell him anything, not even which way was the sky and which way was the sea. Well he could feel which way was up and down but he couldn’t see it. Nor could he tell if another ship was nearby or far away. He was in a pickle and the one man rowing boat was going down fast. He didn’t want to swim, he wouldn’t be able to swim that long in place. Panic crawled up his throat and he forced it back down. What had Avery taught him? Never run in blind, think your way out. Well he had ran in blind quite foolishly and now his brain refused to think.

I am Tommen, he thought as the ropes dug into his skin. Rope burn hurt to say the least. I am one of a damned kind, I can do this. What would Cassiopeia say if she saw him like this? She would laugh at him he would have thought and then helped him out. The help would only arrive once her stomach had ached and the water had come right up to his nose, leaving only his eyes free from water. Feeling empowered, he shuffled his arms around again and tried to feel for any leverage in his bindings. This was what he got for opening his mouth. Tommen would never do that again, he was rest assured.

Tommen didn't know how he had gotten himself into such a situation. All he agreed to was to pushing Avery along, and if he knew that it would have been this he would not have bothered. The water was seeping into his clothes at this point and his movements were revitalized with a newfound sense of desperation. His hands chafed as he moved them in an attempt to get his bindings free. But he knew what he would have to do if that didn't work. As he prepared himself he thought back on what had led to him waking up there:

 

The plan that the Captain and Tommen had originally planned was a few sentences on a scrap piece of paper. They hadn’t stuck to it for very long and the first step to their plan was never officially completed even though it technically was. The second part of their plan started in the small enclosure of Avery’s room and along with the side to side motion of the sea they sat facing each other over a table. “What are we doing here again?” Tommen asked as he peaked through one eye. They had at first been meditating, their legs folded and their eyes shut. But Tommen had grew bored of that.

“We’re meditating.” Avery replied not even opening his eyes.

“Yeah but what’s the point of that?” Tommen asked again this time unfolding himself from his position.

“You’re getting into the right mind frame and feeling the sea.”

Now Tommen didn’t really get that and he didn’t want to either. Feeling the sea just sounded inappropriate.

“If you want the plan to go ahead, you’re going to feel the sea and deal with it.” Avery nearly snapped and opened one eye briefly. The grit in his captain’s voice forced him to adopt a similar pose. Together, they sat there with crossed legs and in silence. Tommen tried to ‘feel the sea’ he really did, and he did feel the pull and push of the tide on the ship, but besides that, nothing. “This clearly isn’t working,” Avery sighed and moved. Finally the captain was getting it and when asked about how he realised this, he simply just cocked an eyebrow. Tommen made it very clear how it wasn’t working; he was jittery and couldn’t for the life of him sit still. Standing up once more, Avery ushered him over to the desk at the back of the room. The Captain pulled out a hefty book from a draw and lifted it onto the dark wood.

“What’s that?” questioned Tommen and the captain signaled for him to open it. Inside were pages of information on every crew mate that had worked for the ship. The last two pages were about himself and Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia’s only held her name, some brief history and some hints at personality. It was not as detailed as the rest of the crews, or even his own page. “Is this for blackmail or something?” He asked again and he remembered that there was once an old world president that kept information on the guys in parliament in order to have five consecutive terms in office.

“No, I keep information from the crew in order to a; get to know them better through the years, b; to never forget them when they eventually leave and c; to see if they are trustworthy.”

That prompted a history lesson into all of their crew mates and the qualities of them that made them trustworthy. The crew needed people who were hard workers but they also needed those who would be trustworthy if the crew got into a fight with anyone else. The crew’s backs had to be protected by each other. Then when Tommen argued and complained that his legs were long dead, Avery took him out on the land that they docked at; Liume. They spent the rest of the day people watching. It was not stalking, only people watching.

As with any place that they had or would visit, there was a vast diversity of people. There was every type of personality and appearances here but also like every place that they would come to visit, they all had their trends. Like Irille had the pale and the fair, Liume had the fair skin but dark hair. There were similarities between the allies for sure. Conversations flowed from where they sat which was at a rather quaint looking café near the river running through the city.

“Carol, did you see when Rachel…?”

“I really thought that we had something – “

“ – I don’t have time for your – “

The snippets of stories left unknown to Tommen were rather fascinating. Just a snapshot of their personality was shown to him and when Avery left to do the things that only Avery could do, he was glad. But then the crowds got busier and the snippets of conversations dissolved into words:

“ – I,”

“You – “

“Really?”

Then the words distorted into random noises and Tommen couldn’t figure them out even if he tried as hard as he could. Feeling suddenly unconfident and lost, he began to make his way back to the docks. The mass of people made that hard for him and he found himself immersed in a sea of people with the only aim of tossing him about and making him more nervous. Tommen pushed on, taking his time and allowing the feeling of being swallowed into a crowd wash over him. The scenery behind the crowd was taken hostage by the sheer amount of people and all he could see was a blur of people and colours. The waves of panic rose and fell the longer he was within the crowd. When he was free, he paused for a second to breath. It was almost as if his breath had previously been stolen when in the crowd. Now, on the other side, he felt that the crowd itself was an untrustworthy being. It was information that he could take back to his Captain and Tommen felt that Avery would be somewhat proud of what Tommen had deduced.

He should have known better than stand there in the same place for a while and not move on to the ship. For it was this instance when someone shook themselves out of the crowd and towards him and things started to take a turn for the worst. Tommen didn’t even suspect it when a hand came up and hit him on the back of the head. He was knocked out cold by someone that he neither knew nor expected. But he figured that it was someone from the ship.

Tommen had woken up on that boat, tied up with ropes around his hands and waist, with the boat floating in the middle of a sea and misty sky.

 

He shouldn't have even opened his mouth, he thought as he brought himself out of his thoughts. Preparations over, he gritted his teeth and dislocated his thumb. Still, despite his efforts, a sharp scream erupted into the mists. With more maneuver, he was able to slip one hand out of the ropes and using this free limb he untied the rest. One problem down, another one to deal with. The little rowing boat was sinking fast and the water was coming further and further up. Tommen certainly didn't want to swim in the mists because the likelihood of not drowning caused from exhaustion was slim to say the least. His hand throbbed and it had almost knocked the air from his lungs but he had to move on. He was not going to die a watery death, not today. Okay for the boat to float it had to match the density of the water, but the gaping hole in the bottom altered that density too much. Under the time constraints that he felt, Tommen’s mind raced forward in an attempt to generate ideas. Shedding off the top layer of his clothes, which was in the form of a long jacket, he swore at the sudden coldness he felt.

God, I’m going to kill you Avery if you came up with this idea.

That was a promise he knew. He had to hurry because the water now lingers over his feet. Securing the jacket over the hole with the help of the rope, he fastened it to the edges of the boat and hoped that it was a temporary fix for the hole. Now he needed to get the water out of the boat and the only way to do that was to get out of it and tip it out.

He knew that it would be colder than the air around him. Strangely, he felt that bracing himself up for this was worse than dislocating his thumb. One. Two. Three. Jump. The water slid its way over his skin like a lovers caress with good intentions and an undercurrent of something more. He didn't have the words to describe the feeling of it in his vocabulary. The contradicting sensation of something so incredibly numbing but stinging at the same time was so confusing to his brain that he couldn't even think, the shock of the immediate temperature drop prevented his body from moving at all and for a second he feared that he would sink. Then his brain switched back on and he moved his limbs so that he tread water, he was only thankful that his head had not been submerged for long otherwise his lips would have probably turned blue. But he didn't and he forced himself to complete his task. He tipped the boat and the water poured over the other end, the splash sounding like music to his ears. Tommen had to force himself to get back in the boat and he didn't think that he would. His muscles seized with the cold water and he froze in mid position with his hands perched on the edge of the boat.

He briefly wondered if mermaids were real and if they were, would he have the chance to see them. They would be another contradiction to the fairytales of old. They would be terrifying with sharp teach and harsh whipping tails. It served as motivation to get back in the boat, and once he swung himself back in he inwardly swore as the boat sunk just a little.

Please don't sink, please work for me, okay?

Then the boat settled and he sighed a hefty breath of relief, it may have been a temporary fix but it would do.

So it was just Tommen and the mists, the somewhat invisible creature that had the burning need to burn out the sun. The grey curtain covered every surface besides the rough circle of his boat and the first meter of the sea around him. There was no sky or anything next to him. He was alone there and how he wanted to be someone that could lift the curtain away and reveal an actual landscape. But he couldn't and so he began to panic, he had to alert others that he was there. Looking straight up, where the dancing haze shifted above him, he started to yell. Saving some of his voice he began to paddle, he didn't need his hands anyway they could be sacrificed to the numbness. After a whole of paddling and screaming himself hoarse had come in contact with something and he searched his memory to figure out what it was. Wet wood, at first it struck him strange but then it all made sense. His clarity was widened as the light of a lantern chased the mist away from him. The face of Avery stared down at him wearing a wide smile.

“You bastard,” Tommen sighed and reached his hand up to the captain. All of that time he had been right next to the ship and he had never actually known. While he had screamed those on board had ignored it in favour of him learning the lesson that this supposedly was. Avery, like the tool he was didn't offer any worthwhile assistance, he just tossed down a rope and left a soaking wet Tommen lift himself up. This was harder than it looked because one, he was soaking wet and two, he was exhausted. He flopped like a fish for a minute before finding his footing and using the leverage to climb his way in.

“Remind me to never goad you ever again,” Tommen sighed as he gasped for breath, he didn't think that it would be so tiring.

Avery just smiled. “You say that now but you will,” The captain remarked and led the soaking wet boy to the safety of a warm shower.

The blast of the warm water was a saint on Tommen’s skin and he stayed there, knowing that when he faced Avery again he would be asked about what he had learned. What made someone trustworthy? Having someone trustworthy on your side meant the relationships that people have in their lives were secure and vital to their personal growth. Becoming trustworthy didn’t happen overnight, it took a period of time on which people would be tested. However, being the leader of a ship meant that you couldn’t take the chance of having one of your guys killed because another guy didn’t feel up to protecting their crew mate due to the argument they had the night before. You could tell a trustworthy people from what they said, if you could detect a degree of honesty in their words. Those who were gossiping weren’t really vital for the crew and you needed someone reliable. Despite this, it could take some time before any guesses of real people were going to be made and everyone made mistakes. Picking someone that was trustworthy wasn’t just about having a good eye for a moment, it was about having a good eye all of the time to spot the traits that people have over time. You couldn’t be distracted and you had to take the time to also become more trustworthy yourself in the meantime.

When he rehearsed this back to Avery, he grinned and the dimples were put into full effect. “You’ve actually done something right for once,” Avery said as he walked back to his study. An even rarer event occurred then when he poured a drum of whisky and instead of having it himself pushed it towards Tommen. Tommen let his surprise show on his face and after a minute drank it all in one.  The burn was satisfying as it was a sharp contrast to the severe cold that he had experienced before.

“I have faith in you for ascending the ranks.” Avery grinned once more.

“Maybe one day I’ll become the next Captain.” Tommen replied with a husky voice off of the whisky. That was the end game for him. After that night, he was wanted it more than before.

“You understand why I did that to you right?” The Captain questioned and suddenly looked unguarded. The eyes that Avery showed Tommen seemed vulnerable.

“I wasn’t going to get it if you didn’t do something drastic.” He was never going to learn if Avery hadn’t resorted to the measures that he had. “But still, you didn’t have to leave me in the middle of the mists when you were right next to me. That was a bit harsh of you like.”

Avery just smirked even wider. That was one sarcastic captain that he had. Tommen would always refer to him as the Great Bastard after that incident.

He would have tell Cassiopeia about it one day. 

 

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