Shark with Wings

Ilien’s Gift - Shark with wings

 

 

 

 

It was warm and sunny. Ferros had given me the day off and I had decided to spend it at the beach just north of Highport. I’d slipped out before dawn, so I wouldn’t have to take an escort, and prayed I wouldn’t run into any of the Everend guards so far north.

I walked along the rocky outcrop just over the waves and sighed happily. I hardly ever got time to myself and the quiet breeze and smell of the ocean made me feel relaxed.

Since the weather was warm I wore my lightest tunic and shortest breeches so that I could swim in the water. My heavier leather armor would have only been a bother on a day like today, so I left it behind, even if it was safer to wear it.

I didn't regret the decision as I came to stop at a large rock ledge and sighed. The wind about the small cliff I stood on was delightful against my bare legs in the heat of midday and I was glad to have chosen such light clothing. The rocks were delightfully hot against my bare feet and the sun warmed my arms and face just right. It was a perfect place to sunbathe. I settled down on a rock to doze.

After a bit I woke, refreshed and happy. The peace had been something I needed.

Refreshed and happy I decided on a walk to stretch a bit and found some water birds playing in the rock crevices a little way away from my napping spot. Curling up on a small patch of sandy rocks I prepare to do a bit of watching before taking a swim. After all they seemed to be enjoying the nice day too.

My day soon turned sour. I had only begun observing them curiously, as they pecked at some wiggling worms within the cracks, when I saw a shadow fall over one of the boulders.

“You going swimming in your clothes?” The gruff voice of Garrett, the guilds only bowmen and resident asshole, asked just before he scattered the birds with a well-placed rock.

“I had planned on it,” I replied with a snarl. I had hoped to spend the day relaxing and preferably alone. Why couldn’t it have been anyone but Garrett? “Did you follow me up here?”

A cold smirk flashed across Garrett’s face, his brown eyes flickered with amusement. “Sorry to burst your bubble princess, but I was already here before you.”

I looked around at the area where I stood and frowned. There was nowhere he could have been hiding except for the tree line some fifty feet up the embankment behind us. “Creeping around in the trees then? Shouldn't you be back at the Hall? I thought you had a job down in The Hollow to do.”

“Some of us are able to actually get our work done Sweetheart. Besides that, I'm about fed up with that dried shit they try to pass as meat. With your attitude though it looks like I won't be sharing,” Garrett growled at me, his eyes narrowing dangerously. He’d always had a rather poor temper. I liked to think it was because his horns caused too much pressure to his skull.

He was wearing his ragged leather armor and had his bow in hand. So, it seemed he was telling the truth, he had been hunting and decided to bother me instead of killing anything.

“Oh. Well, don’t let me keep you then.” I hop down the slight lip of the outcrop and land in hot sand that feels great against my bare feet, even better than the heated rocks.

“What? And miss the show?” Garrett landed in the sand beside me.

“It can’t be all that fun,” I prodded a scratch in the leather chest guard he wore in the slim hope that he’d lose interest in following me down the beach. “You can’t swim in your leathers.”

My attempt to get him to leave backfired badly when Garrett stripped off his chest guard and leggings. Left only in his tunic and loose cotton pants he gave an infuriating smirk. He knew full well I wanted him to go away.

“I hope you drown,” I say seriously and head off down the beach moodily.

Garrett follows with an annoying kick in his step that sends waves of sand all over my legs and feet. So much for a relaxing day on the beach.

I was grumbling to myself about annoyances when I noticed a sliver of metal poking out of a sandy bar just a fraction in the water. I run up to it, grateful for something to give me a valid excuse to ignore Garrett, and dig out the metal to find it was, in fact, a large trident made from blue glittering steel. A blessing from Ilien perhaps? The lady of the water liked to leave beachgoers presents.

“Bit unwieldy,” Garrett commented as he followed me to the edge of the water. Despite his taunts he didn’t seem too willing to get his boots wet. “That thing is bigger than you are.”

“It’s enchanted,” I mumble as I drag it back to the beach. It was a good two feet longer than I was tall and I had some trouble holding it up. I could feel the pulse of magic under my palm though, the warm blue sea magic that circled it. I didn’t want to leave it on the shore for some untrained fool to find. “I wonder what it does.”

“Probably something stupid,” Garrett said jokingly. He still examined it from a distance. Garrett was rather mistrustful of anything magical and I found it ironic that I was his favorite person to pick at. Especially seeing as how I was the only mage left in our little guild. Well, in hindsight, he was always preventing me from casting spells so maybe he picked on me because I was a mage.

“You’re a mood lifter,” I groused and gave him an irritated glare. “It could be something cool. Like I could command a fish to attack you with this thing.”

“We’re on land,” Garrett replied smugly. “What is it going to do? Spit water at me?” Garrett’s smile faltered a second later and he hopped on one foot, kicking at a crab that had climbed onto his boot and pinched his leg. “What in the hell’s?!”

I stare in shock at the little crab as it flew into the water and scuttled back to stand beside the trident. I smiled. “Well, so it commands crabs. Cute.”

“Cute? That little fucker just pinched me!”

“You were being obnoxious,” I waved off the angry man and looked at the trident again. I smiled. “You think fish can fly?” I asked.

“They better not be able to,” Garrett eyed me and the weapon as he took a step back. No sooner had he done that then a slender grey fish, with sharp fins, erupted from the water and went straight for Garrett’s head. With a yelp he swatted the thing away and it shot into the sand, barely missing his ear.

I gasped in delight and looked towards the water. Maybe Ilien was looking out for me after all. “Shark with wings!” I squealed only to feel the trident be ripped away from my grasp.

“Don’t you fucking dare!” Garrett roared and lifted the trident as high as he could and threw it into the ocean before I could take it back from him. He rounded on me then, his brown eyes flashing and his handsome, stubble shadowed face, bright red in anger. “I told Ferros letting you off alone was a bad idea.” I was scooped up over his shoulder and hauled off back towards the city. Garrett's things forgotten by the rocks on the cliff.

I kicked and wiggled but had no hope of being set free. Garrett had his magic suppressing token in his pocket like always, so I had no way of setting him on fire. I gave up and made myself go limp in the hope I would at least make his arm sore.

Once I’d given up my struggle I looked up to see the little crab that had pinched Garrett’s leg standing where it had been left, watching us walk away. I sighed and blew the little crustacean a kiss. I had not known him long, but he would forever be my hero.

 

Angel Sisson