The Tale of a Mage (part 26)

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.

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