Escape: Defeating the Sargasso Sea

Their first view as they walk on deck is a sky of total emptiness, lacking clouds, color, or even a sun. Yet the diffuse light still burns eye-searingly bright as Rhercyn moves under her own power amongst some of the ugliest sea plants Margot has ever seen. Like tentacles of some great sea squid, purple with rot, they reach towards the ship's path to entangle them like it has so many others.

Shading eyes against the glare, they all can see the first of the wrecks as a stark outline against the blinding horizon, forever ensnared by the mass of disgusting weeds. Its brass guns pointed forward into the sea as it slowly sinks into its captor's embrace, a sober illustration of the Rhercyn's fate if they could not escape this realm. And forever wasn't just some chance word, for even Time has turned Her back upon this place.

Timelessness is a new sensation for Margot, sensing a single moment endlessly surrounding them with no future and no past. Forever here, forever now, stuck in the moment until… What? One could ask the question, but who would answer? Dara, in her dark world of steel and blood? Or Kendall, in his strict world of closed doors and secrets? And what of the ship itself, a living being?

The biting scent of the sea also held the turgid stink of stagnation and death. Margot brings the borrowed kerchief to her nose as she looks about in hopes of identifying the strange feeling of timelessness. The Lord had some idea at least what they would find outside the ship. Even so, he squints against the glare of light on water, and the fetid stink of rot and death. There was little to see and no matter how long or far one might search, the same view could be found in all directions.

Dara takes hold of a quiver of war javelins before venturing out onto the deck, wary of the risks this place posed to the young woman she protected. She wastes no time searching the horizon, already knowing too well what it held. Kendall leads the princess across the deck to the furthest forward point, where she could look out over the water and see their course as it unfolded before them. She remains quiet, restraining her questions so to remain focused on the task she would need to perform. Alone. For the first time. But those distractions fall away as her eyes alight upon an unexpectedly beautiful sight. She hardly notices when her Lady stops abruptly upon also seeing the vine of white roses, a vine not even the ship’s Master is aware of.

He notices quickly, though, when Margot’s little gasp of delight catches his attention. Kendall's gaze follows hers, and his first impulse is to banish the blooms from the ship. Indeed, a mental order quickly forms to starve out the place where the roses had taken hold, while the vines are cut away with burcha knives to kill the roots and ensure they never come back. To Margot’s other side, Dara curses with so much enmity that the flower she had plucked wilts.

And yet…

Margot smiles as she moved to the roses, fingertips caressing the delicate petals. Oblivious to her companion’s angst, she breathes in their fragrance, which was sweet enough to overpower even the stench of the sea. So the Chaos Lord stays his order, though he chooses not to approach the flowers closely. He hangs back several paces, cloaked in brooding silence as the princess begins her work.

Rejuvenated by the heady aroma, Margot begins to dream of a place beyond stagnation and tepid, turgid pools. Her mission is as vague as it is simple: Not Here.

How does someone conjure a place that is not where they are? Her thoughts drifted to warm waters, a place of two moons and a gentle breeze. She focused on the Rhercyn and the ship's complement, her lover, and her protector both standing near, all sailing with alacrity to their destination. The more she dreams, the more she creates the vision of a place where the sky rained silver and time is told in turning of a sky full of vibrant colors. And the more the vision becomes real in her mind, the more her Power begins to take hold.

For the Chaosians who stood near, this Sea of static stillness — a place of no movement or change or life or growth — was almost more alien to them than even the flat realm of Amber. But the movement and change introduced by the Pattern is hardly an improvement either would have sought. Kendall breathes deep and focuses on keeping his mind in the here and now, instead of giving in to the memories and phantom sensations that threatened to crowd him with anxiety and disquiet. He must remain calm and unperturbed, so as not to bring distress to ship and crew.

The circle of white roses, though not born his of Rhercyn’s will, nonetheless ease Margot’s spirit and buoy her courage. The weeds relax, no longer seeking to press against the hull and ensnare the ship. For Margot, the deck beneath her feet starts to move as does the world about. And like the day long ago, as measured by a child when Margot wasn't much taller than her Uncle's knee, the image in her mind of flipping through a deck of dancing girls upon playing cards to entertain her till Mama got un-busy. Today, using her will and birthright, somewhat the same happens as the seas clear to a gentle blue under a crimson sky that flashes with fire.

A smile appears along with the vibrancy of the long faded memory. His name was as curious as his personality; yet, a wondrous playmate he made. Random. Breathing deeply and finding the earthy, salt-laden scent of the ocean once more, Margot opens her eyes to see where they had arrived. The light breeze told her that they were no longer trapped in the cesspool and were no longer in immediate danger, but had she brought them closer to their destination? Glancing around, she seeks a sign from Dara or Kendall to tell her that they were on the correct path toward their goal.

That they had moved was obvious, and as they shake loose from the grip of the deadly Sargasso Sea, somehow… the call of Chaos can still be heard. Reaching through the ship, using her senses to enhance his own, Kendall can feel the Black Road — the link to his home — still lying within reach. He nods to Margot as she looks at them inquiringly, and manages to produce his faint smile though he felt unsettled and uncomfortable. "I would say the experiment was a success," he compliments her. "How do you feel?"

"Was it?!" she blurts, nervous energy all but vibrating the lithe form. Her wondering gaze turns toward the fiery sky before sweeping the landscape to see the deep blue of the waters flowing against the Rhercyn's sides. Yet her eyes betray the toll such an expense of energy had on one so young and so new to the ways of the Pattern.

"It's beautiful. And I feel… surprised,” she says, finally answering his question with a befuddled grin.

"Indeed," he agrees, and then gives her a formal nod. "Congratulations, Margot. You have fully realized the power of Amber. Shall we continue, or do you require rest?"

"Thank you." Biting her lip in uncertainty, she glances around as she contemplates what to do. "With your help, I think I can continue. I need something more than not here, however. I do not wish to undo the efforts of the ship and her crew."

She reaches out an inviting hand. "Here. Stand beside me and whisper to me the wonders of your waters. And as I did before with painting images from my mind on the canopy of your bed, I will draw upon your words for strength and guidance."

He pauses for the space of four heartbeats, taking a breath as he ponders the idea of standing right beside her as she worked the Pattern. But then he nods in agreement to the plan. "As you will, Margot," he assents. Arms uncross and he moves up to join her at the rail, though he keeps her body between himself and the noisome white roses.

He extends his center to ground himself in the bulk of Rhercyn, ship of Chaos, in defense against the coming assault of the Pattern. Just within the scope of his awareness, he can feel the pull of the Black Road calling him home. And as Margot begins to bend the stuff of Reality, he begins to describe to her a Shadow of light and color, where showers of silver rain made landscape glitter in the light of twin moons that stole the light from the sun before it could reach the land, leaving a disc of black that hovered motionless in the sky. A tumultuous sea that lay quiet only when both moons fell below the horizon, and floating islands circling a volcano of breathtaking size.

All these things and smaller details, he murmurs in a quiet, soothing voice as they pass through Shadow as though through the pages of a book.

Back to list of Kendall's game threads
To Chaos: Journey & Arrival

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