We're all mad here
Chapter 4: Storm Brewing
Location: Crew deck
Timeline: Day 1
The crew deck was a mess, as it was most of the time. Belongings were scattered all over, chairs were pushed over, chests with heavy locks that no one but the owner could open, and a slightly unpleasant damp smell due to the fog made the Captain frown. She would have a word with the quarter master about cleanliness and tidiness, again. She stepped over some clothes and socks on the floor and noticed a few crew members snoring away in their hammocks. She felt the urge to pull the hammock up, so the sleeping crewmate would fall out. Not a captainly thing to do, really. Behind a row of hammocks, a pile of blankets shifted slightly, as if of its own volition.
Lleryn, who was yet to grow accustomed to hammocks, was having some trouble sleeping and so heard his captain approach. He peered over the edge of his bed and promptly lost balance. His hand grabbed for the other side of the hammock to pull him back but all it achieved was to bring it over and around him, wrapping him up in the lengths of cloth and leaving him clinging tightly to the insides and staring at the floor. He turned his head to face his superior. "Cap'n." he said as though not a thing was amiss.
“Good morning!” Ashrieda announced excitedly, sitting up in her hammock and flashing the captain a toothy grin. “Today’s going to be a beautiful day, don’t you think so? Are we going exploring? Are we going to rob someone today? I hope we do, I haven’t robbed anyone in the longest time. Y’know, the last time I rob--”
She pointed at Lleryn and his hammock. “Hey, something odd’s going on there."
Daenelia doubled over with laughter, with tears streaming down her face. Seeing Lleryn's straight face as he was caught up in the hammock, followed by Ashrieda's excited babble, so caught up in her eagerness to do something that she did not see Lleryn's predicament immediately just tickled her funny bone. She tried to speak but she kept gasping for air in between bursts of laughter. She sank to her knees, holding her sides, hoping that she'd calm down. A tiny voice in the back of her head was scolding her, and telling her she was acting strange.
The fog seemed to thicken even in this room. Wisps where flicking here and there, like little fingers or hands.
Ashrieda stared at Lleryn, still stuck in his hammock, then back at the captain, a vague look of concern crossing her face. It passed quickly, though, and she started laughing along with the captain. She wasn't sure what was so funny, but it seemed the appropriate thing to do.
Even the engines below seemed to sense that something wasn't quite right. No one seemed to notice that they were getting louder by the second. Most of the crew was used to the noise of the engines, but usually the engines chugged and hummed, not anything like the clanking and grinding sounds it was making at present. If the others hadn't been awake before, they certainly were now.
Suddenly, with an unnatural thunk, the engines went completely silent. It took a second for the laughter to die down, but Ashrieda noticed it first. She looked at the captain with wide eyes and an excited grin on her face. "What was that?" she asked. The captain was taking deep breaths as if she had run a marathon. "I don't know," she wheezed. She held her breath for a few seconds, listening intently for the engines to start up again. But she did hear some colourful cursing all the way from the engine room. Must be Brem, she mused.
"I'm sure Brem will figure it out," Daenelia said brightly, nodding to Lleryn who was trying to get out of the hammock. She walked over and helped him, while giggling. The word 'help' being used a little loosely in this context as, while yes she did technically help him out of his bed, the manor in which she did this was not one that Lleryn would have described as helpful. A tugging on one particular part of the hammock left the faun unsupported on one side which, in turn, led to the swift descend on his-self and that resulting in a resounding thud and yet more cursing.
Grey crawled out from under a pile of blankets and looked at the ruckus that was going on around them. All this noise was ruining her nap, and she loved naps. Naps were the only good thing about this damp, horrible, awful fog. With her fur plastered down to her skin but still trying to go every which way, she looked like a mother-kitling had just licked her for an hour without pause, and she'd dried this way. Except she wasn't dry. When Lleryn hit the deck, she jumped and hissed at him, glaring at anyone and everyone constantly. "I don't know what's so funny." she said, annoyedly, "But if you're going to keep this up, I am going to go nap in the nest. Not like I can see anything in this fog anyway. Ugh. Worst idea ever." She seemed, in fact, to be so disgruntled that she didn't realize the manner in which she was talking to the captain.
Ashrieda beamed at Grey, seeming not to notice the kitling’s ill mood. “Nap?!” she exclaimed, horrified at the idea. “But there’s so much to do! Look at this weather! You look terrible,” she added needlessly.
In a brief flash of logical thought, she nodded in agreement with Grey’s sentiment about their trip into the fog. But there were much more important matters at hand. Like the engine, and how they were going to get back out. She wasn’t willing to drop the subject that quickly. “Hey--” she ventured, “What about the engine? Yeah, Brem’ll get it back up soon enough, but the fog’s not going away anytime soon. If we’re attacked and we don’t have the means of getting away, what are we going to do then?”
But as quickly as that logic came, it disappeared again “Ambush! That could be fun! We won’t even be able to see where we’re being stabbed! Adds mystery, don’t you think? What are we going to do first?”
The silence on the ship was a little eerie. And combined with Ashrieda's excitement it was even creepier. Daenelia started to feel as if her head was going to stop working, like the engines. As if she was trying to wade through sticky mud, or quicksand. Somewhere in the back of her head she thought she needed to get a grip, before Ashrieda would start jumping on people, assuming they were enemies, just for the fun of it.
"I am still the captain!" she suddenly roared, her good humour vanished. "I say what we're going to do first!" She breathed hard and deliberate. Then she took one deep breath and said in a more quiet tone: "We should all stay calm."She frowned as she looked at Ashrieda, then at Grey and Lleryn. "Don't you feel as if something strange is happening to us? I .. I can't explain it." She turned to where the engine room was. "And that. The engine breaking, all of a sudden. Maybe we need to get out of here sooner rather than later."
She looked at the floor and whispered: "If we can." Then she straightened up and tried to sound confident. "We should disembark and see if we can find that treasure soon. It had better be worth it."
Grey looked at the captain, and shook out her fur again. "Treasure would be good. I don't like being cranky. Being cranky makes me cranky." She stopped as if to consider that for a moment, but seemed to lose the thought midway through, and perked up. "Treasure usually means mischief. I like mischief. Can I go with? Can I please?" Grey looked at the captain, trying to look at once innocent and tough and pirateish. It just made her look silly. As for Lleryn, there was little for him to do. If people were going out looking for treasure he'd play them music. If they got into a fight, he'd play music. If they were just moping around he'd play them music. Still, it did mean that his course of action was never going to require much thought. He picked up his banjo, hopped into his hammock and began to stum and pick some eerie chords to go with this mysterious fog. Daenelia gently swayed to the music.
"Ooo, an outing! I'm com--" Ashrieda started, then seemed to think better of it and turned and stared intensely at Lleryn. Something about the music -- it gave her something else to focus on besides fog. At the very least, that buzzing non-engine-backgrounded silence was no longer there. Turning back to the captain, she said, "I mean...I'd like to come too, Captain, with your permission, that is. There's got to be a load of stuff here that's been missed..."
The kitling looked adorable, Daenelia decided. She almost made the mistake of going over to her and scratching Grey behind the ears, but the last time she'd done something like that to a kitling, she nearly lost an eye. Far better to concentrate on Ashrieda, who'd be a good choice for helping explore the sandbar. In all truth, Daenelia was not expecting anything exciting there. But then again, danger usually popped up when you least expected it.
"Right," the captain said in her toughest voice. "If you all must come, then be ready in an hour. Be on deck, and be prepared... for anything." She scowled as she said it, while still swaying to the music the Lleryn was playing on his banjo. It was an odd look. But then she turned and went up to the deck again, leaving the music behind.