Hi Everyone, just letting you know the frequency with which I have been updating The Tale of a Mage will be decreasing as I’m currently rather busy with life related things. There will definitely still be chapters being written and posted but that will be happening at a slower pace.
From the moment the sea serpent skewered the boat Drucilla knew a further clash with the beast would prove fruitless. The vessel was in pieces like delicate china which had been misguidedly entrusted to a spirited infant. Specifically, it was in two pieces but keeping that detail vague would make for a better story, Drucilla decided. The priority now was to reach land. The fate of the serpent was unimportant. Any experienced sailor knew engaging a sea serpent was foolish. Drucilla enjoyed reaping glory from a skilfully spun tale. She did not have a death wish. Livia, however, appeared committed to revenge. That suited Drucilla just fine. The more Livia stabbed at the angry reptile, the more enraged it would become, and the more it would hone its attention on her. A distracted serpent meant an easier escape for Drucilla. When she shared this story with naïve land dwellers she would, of course, put herself in Livia’s role but right now it was time to bail. With one last sigh in lament of the loss of her boat Drucilla dove gracefully into the water.
As she had expected the serpent paid her little attention as it roared and snapped at Livia. Drucilla smirked slightly, Livia was certainly predictable. She took a deep breath to calm the remainder of her nerves and began to swim in the direction of land. She should probably feel bad for abandoning the others, she mused to herself. She didn’t. Many years as a pirate had taught her too much investment in the interests and wellbeing of others only led to trouble. Drucilla had two priorities in life, keeping herself alive and acquiring personal wealth. Well, maybe three priorities. Drucilla had an extremely strong fondness for rum… and mead… and wine. Involving herself in pointless combat to temporarily preserve the lives of her travel companions did not fit into her life plan. Particularly not when the aforementioned companions would likely drown promptly even if by some miracle her heroic efforts didn’t result in her joining them as sea serpent food.
Drucilla directed all her attention and energy to the one task, making it to the shore. Having spent the majority of her adult life, and a fair portion of her childhood, at sea Drucilla was a strong swimmer. The distance between herself and her destination, however, was excessive even for her. That did not deter her from taking on the challenge. When it came to her own survival Drucilla was a paragon of determination. She paced herself and pushed all other thoughts from her mind. It was just her and the water, the kick of her feet, one arm ploughing through the water and then the other. Her focus remained in the moment. When her energy began to wane she told herself just once more, when the movement was completed once more again. Her head pounded and her body ached but she pushed on. She continued like this until she felt her fingers scrape sand. With a chuckle of relief, she relaxed and allowed the waves to carry her the rest of the way to the beach.
Drucilla lay on the sand and allowed the water to lap against her body. She might be stuck on an uncharted island but she was alive. Life had taught her there was a solution to every predicament. She just had to find it. Later, she would find it later. For the moment, a nap was in order. The sensation of the sand beneath her and the water caressing her skin faded as she drifted into a dreamless sleep.
Drucilla awoke spluttering as a wave washed over her. It would appear the tide had crept in while she slept. She shot up to a sitting position coughing up water. Once she could breathe comfortably again she pulled herself to her feet with a groan. Her muscles were stiff and her throat was raw. Her stomach growled loudly. She reached into her pocket before remembering she left her rum on the boat. She let out a dramatic sigh. Her stay on this island was going to be far more disagreeable than she had initially anticipated. She needed to find a way to get back to sea and more importantly back to where she could acquire more rum. Unfortunately, food and water needed to be her first priority.
She wandered the beach and was pleased to quickly come upon a cluster of coconut trees. With great effort, she pulled her aching body up the trunk of the nearest tree, plucked a coconut, then slid back down to the ground. Picking up a sharp rock she cracked the coconut open with relative ease, it wasn’t the first time she had done this. She would still need to locate fresh water and a larger variety of food sources if she ended up stuck here for a lengthy period of time, but for the moment the coconut was sufficient. She sated her hunger and thirst before setting off to explore the island.
Silence stretched out and Nyx held her breath in anticipation of a wrathful outburst. Livia, however, looked more tired and defeated than angry.
“Fine” she sighed “I guess it doesn’t really matter now that she’s most likely dead.”
“No!” Nyx’s voice boomed through the trees. “Do not say that! She’ll be okay. They will all be okay!” Livia looked unconvinced but if Nyx was being honest she was trying to convince herself more so than Livia. They slipped back into an uncomfortable silence
“Never imagined my destiny was to end up stuck on a deserted island with such poor company.” Livia muttered under her breath. Nyx bristled. She was about to respond with a sarcastic retort but thought better of it. Given that Livia seemed to have temporarily lost her bite this was the perfect opportunity to interrogate her about the reasons for her less than amicable behaviour.
“Why do you hate me so much? What have I ever done to deserve this attitude from you?” Nyx glared at Livia, the volume of her voice steadily increasing as her rant continued “I know you’re capable of kindness. You’re always nice to Cassandra. Seriously, what is your problem with me?”
“You tried to kill me!” Livia bellowed in response.
“Don’t use that as an excuse!” Nyx trembled with rage “You hated me long before that. I only tried to kill you because of the way you treated me. I have never done anything to you that wasn’t in direct response to something you did to me! Do you expect me to believe you hate me because I was a bit rude to you when you tried to capture me? Because I tried to escape? We both know you wouldn’t be cooperative if a bounty hunter tried to capture you! So why? I want a proper answer.”
“Well, to be fair, I didn’t try to capture you. I did capture you.” Livia smirked evading the question. Unthinkingly Nyx took a step forward and slapped Livia hard across the face.
A tingle of dread crept down Nyx’s spine as she realised her mistake. Livia’s face was the picture of incredulity as if she couldn’t quite believe Nyx didn’t know better by now. They remained frozen staring at one and other in a shocked silence for several moments. Livia’s eyes began to narrow. Nyx snapped herself out of her horrified stupor and attempted to dart out of reach. Livia, however, was faster and caught her wrist, yanking her forward.
Nyx let out a string of curses as she toppled over Livia’s lap. Livia’s hand descended landing on her bottom with a loud crack. Nyx responded with a piercing shriek thrashing from side to side in an attempt to break free of Livia’s hold. The one smack hadn’t really hurt enough to justify such a dramatic reaction but Nyx was in a combative mood. Livia settled into a brisk rhythm, spanking Nyx hard and fast, leaving no inch of her bottom unsmacked. Nyx continued to struggle and curse but her efforts were in vain. Livia’s uncompromising palm continued to find its target without error. The longer Livia spanked the more genuine Nyx’s squeals became but she was too angry to give in, certainly too angry to cry.
“Solving your problems with violence? How true to character.” Nyx snapped.
“Oh?” Livia smirked spanking Nyx with increased force. “And would you not define slapping someone across the face as violence?”
“You deserved that!” Nyx retorted.
“And you deserve this.” Nyx yelped as a sharp slap landed on her thigh.
“I don’t deserve this!” Nyx shouted “I have never deserved this! You’re an ogre. No wonder Drucilla didn’t want to marry you.” Abruptly, the spanking stopped. Livia dumped Nyx on the ground with a growl and stalked off into the trees. Nyx sat on the ground catching her breath as Livia retreated. Had she just found a way to get herself out of spankings or was Livia simply looking for an implement with which to fully demonstrate her displeasure at Nyx’s comment? Nyx was unsure. She contemplated finding a place to hide in case it was the latter but Livia would probably find her if she wanted to and Nyx was tired. She settled instead for taking another nap.
When Nyx awoke Livia had returned. Nyx sat up eying her with apprehension, preparing herself to flee, however, Livia made no move towards her.
“When we were together I always treated Drucilla well.” Livia’s voice was softer than usual. Nyx rolled her eyes. “You remind me of her…” Livia took a deep breath. “That’s my problem with you. You remind me of her.”
“Are you serious?” Nyx felt herself getting angry again. “That’s so unfair.”
“Well, I was right wasn’t I?” Livia snapped “You find her stories about the end of our relationship so very funny…”
“Only because you’re such an awful person.” Nyx cut her off “If it had been anyone else I would have been sympathetic.” There was a long pause before Livia spoke again.
“You were right.” Livia’s voice was barely above a whisper.
“Um, what?” Nyx was sure she couldn’t have heard that correctly.
“I said you were right” Livia spoke more clearly this time. “You never deserved to be treated the way I treated you.” Nyx remained silent confusion marking her features. Perhaps those coconuts had hallucinogenic properties she pondered to herself. Livia sighed and tried again. “What I’m trying to say is I’m sorry.”