Adventure Fantasy Fiction

He found her below deck, near the ethereal crystal that powered the ship to stay afloat. She sat cross-legged with her eyes closed. Her frizzy hair needed brushing and he noted as he got closer, that a bath and some new clothes wouldn’t hurt. He didn’t know if he had any female clothing but would look to get her something clean. 

Despite her abysmal appearance, her serine face was concentrated. Brows creased as whatever powers mingled with her thoughts. 

He knew better than to interrupt a Kristl during their…process. 

It still boggled him that a week ago she was his prisoner. Now, her soul was tied to the ship- his ship, no less. She could never part from it and neither could he. 

He was still uncertain how the Emporer would react. He had specifically ordered a live Kristl be brought back- which he was doing- but there was no way to separate her from the ship without dire consequences. Would the Emporer have him killed off and commandeer his ship? He had been faithful and loyal to the Empire his entire life and this was his reward? Besides, it wasn’t his fault she’d been bound to the ship; it was an accident! If it hadn’t been for those bloody pirates-

“I can hear you thinking from here, Captain Forge,” she said, cutting off his thoughts.

With a quick shake of his head, he emptied his mind. He should know better than to think too much around a Kristl. He wasn’t aware of the full extent of their powers, and while reading thoughts wasn’t confirmed, he wouldn’t cross it off the list of things that they could do. 

He approached her, careful to keep a respectful distance, but not wanting to show that he feared her. “How’s my ship doing?” he asked. 

With her eyes still closed, she said, “She’s doing what she can. The pirates did a number on her.” 

He ground his teeth. “Aye, no need to remind me, we were all there.” 

She blinked her eyes open, revealing faintly glowing irises that matched the ship's core crystal blue hue. “Is there something else on your mind, Captain?” 

He swallowed, hating how weak he would sound. “It appears after the pirate attack the wind shifted us off course and in the confusion we never noticed. We’re in Azar territory now.” 

She blinked, the only reaction of surprise she’d show. 

“I don’t know much about this place, but I do believe that you’re the expert.” 

She let out a soft sigh and got to her feet. “Much like a butcher's shop, if I were a cow, I wouldn’t want to stay very long.” 

She was young, even by Kristl standards, but they all spoke in odd ways. Still, he had seen the power she had wielded against the pirates. There was something formidable and terrible within her. She knew things and was taught things that any sane person would never be able to fully comprehend. The Azar territory was full of those same cryptic and elusive things. 

He chose his next words carefully. “The Azar isn’t a normal place, surely you know that?” 

“What is normal?” 

He ground his teeth and tried again. “There are things out there that I do not understand-” 

“Maybe try again to understand them.” 

“-things that I was never taught. Things that you understand, however, and can guide the ship through.” he finished. 

She tilted her head. “You’re lost, Captain Forge.” 

“Yes, I’m bloody lost!” he exploded. “I need you to get your ass upstairs and guide the helmsman out of here!” 

She giggled at his outburst. “Now was that so hard to ask?” she remarked, stepping past him. 

Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath. If he didn’t need her alive, he might have thrown her overboard a week ago. He turned and followed before she reached the top deck. 

Outside, the cool night air touched his skin, and the familiar wood and crystal core scents were replaced by what he could only describe as the color blue engulfed him. The ship sails bent at awkward angles as if the wind was coming from multiple directions. Something howled in the distance and his hand instinctively went to the handle of his saber.

“It’s alright Captain. The Abyss Whale is far away and hasn’t scented us,” she said. 

He relaxed, but only slightly, and watched as she examined the surrounding sky. 

He had spent years aboard this ship. The Wolf was his home, and he’d learned very quickly from a young age to read the stars. They were a map, always pointing him where to go, and showing him exactly where he was. 

The Azar sky was nothing like the stars he was used to. 

It was as if someone had taken a giant paintbrush and smeared water across the night sky. Shades of dark blue mixed with black, and flecks of the remaining stars tilted and swirled among the mixture. It was beautiful, and he had to force himself not to stare at the wonderful, awful, and mesmerizing texture that had ruined his familiar sky. He had already sent most of his crew below deck simply because they were unable to fight the hypnotizing state it put them in. 

The Kristl blinked up at the stars, then shifted her gaze to the stars below the starboard side. She counted silently on her fingers and then looked up again. Just when he thought it was a lost cause she announced, “Hmm, it appears the wind is upside down, Captain.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” 

She looked up to where the helmsman stood. “Flip the sails upside down then sail backwards,” she stated like it was something he should know. “It’ll take us forward and further in.” 

“Wait, wait.” He shook his head. “We don’t want to go further in, we want to get out.” 

“Mhmm. We get out by going in.” 

“That doesn’t make any sense!”

She giggled again and climbed the stairs to get to the helmsman. “When does it ever?” 

He ground his teeth and climbed the stairs after her. If only those bloody pirates had never shown up, he wouldn’t be in this situation right now!

Upon reaching the helmsman- Mr. Redsmith- she ordered, “Flip the ship upside down.”

The older gentleman's weathered and cautious face glanced to the Captain. “I thought you wanted the sails upside down?”

“Turning the ship is easier,” she answered. 

“Do as she says,” grunted Forge. 

Mr. Redsmith swallowed, but swung the wheel of the ship and everything violently tilted. 

The Kristl placed her slender hand on the railing and a second later Forge felt his balance return. While everything spun, gravity remained solid within the ship. The only indication that they were flipping upside down was the violent whirlpool that was the night sky. 

The ship leveled out a moment later.

“Take us in, Mr. Redsmith,” she ordered. 

After another reassuring nod from the Captain, the helmsman obeyed. Almost instantly the sails caught a gust of wind and the ship lurched forward. If it hadn’t been for the Kristl keeping gravity working Forge was sure he would have been knocked off his feet. 

After a few minutes of the wind steadily pushing The Wolf forward, Forge asked, “How long till we’re out?” 

She shrugged her gaze focused on the stars. “It’ll be when we’re out.” With her free hand, she grabbed the wheel only to turn the ship slightly. Another gust of wind took the sails. 

He ground his teeth and prayed he wasn’t putting his hope in a mad person. 

The same thing howled again, this time sounding closer. 

“The smell of fear is powerful. Don’t let it draw the Abyss Whale closer,” she commented. 

Captain Forge had never seen an Abyss Whale and he didn’t want to find out. At least not while they were still in the Azar while The Wolf needed repairs. The crystal gunnery wasn’t damaged, but the Core itself couldn’t sustain the kind of power that the blasters needed. Forge didn’t feel like blowing up his ship, so he calmed his nerves. He closed his eyes for a moment and took a few deep breaths. 

He could have sworn he had his eyes closed for only a few seconds, but when he opened them the ship was the right way up and sailing free of the terrible Azar night sky. When had the ship righted itself?

While relief and gratitude at seeing the real sky flooded him, he glanced at the Kristl with a new weariness in his apprehension of her. 

She smiled boldly at him. “In to get out,” she simply said. 

He realized then that so long as she was on his vessel he’d never escape crazy.

April 08, 2024 02:23

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Kristi Gott
20:34 Apr 14, 2024

Very creative and unique. It made me stop and think. Well done!


Jacqueline R
20:50 Apr 14, 2024

Thank you for your lovely comment!


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Ken Cartisano
13:44 Apr 27, 2024

A fun little story.


Jacqueline R
21:34 Apr 28, 2024



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04:02 Apr 16, 2024

I'm getting Alice in Wonderland in Space vibes from this one. I enjoyed it!


Jacqueline R
01:30 Apr 17, 2024

Thank you! I love the odd yet lovable vibes from Alice in Wonderland and happy you got that impression


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Rabab Zaidi
01:14 Apr 14, 2024

Very interesting and innovative. Well done Jacqueline!


Jacqueline R
20:50 Apr 14, 2024

Thank you! :)


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