The Elphin Gunner
Chapter 4: Storm Brewing
Location: Steamhawke, deck
Timeline: Day 1
The crew was mainly just standing around, looking at the fog or talking quietly. A few deckhands were making some pegs out of wood, another was cleaning his gun. There was mostly silence, as the Captain walked up and down the deck slowly, kicking some woodbits out of the way when they were in her path.
Soon she'd pick the party of crew-mates to join her in exploring the sandbar. But a part of her just wanted to give the order to start the engines and fly off, back out of the fog. She shivered. This just was not natural, at all.
"Are you scared of the fog or just cold, Captain?" someone bellowed behind Daenelia.
She turned around to see the young elphin girl she hired back at Mypos. The elphin girl crossed her arms indignantly and smirked at her. It was uncomfortable seeing a crew member below her authority looking at her like that. The elphin girl had already been here for only a few weeks and she already did not seem to respect for her own captain.
Daenelia shivered and replied. "No, just cold, Niles." She pulled up her scarf a little higher around her neck, to emphasize that she was more cold than scared. "It's just fog, nothing to be scared of, right?"
Daenelia took a few steps and stood next to Niles.
"Don't you have something to do, Sailor Niles?"
That remark wiped the smirk clean off of Nile's face. As fun as it was taunting her superior, she did not want to risk being kicked off of the ship. There was no way she could risk meeting her uncle again. The fact that they were close to the ocean made her feel jittery, too. She was probably much more scared than she thought Captain Daenelia seemed before.
"Sure, I'd do my job, but I don't see any baddies for me to shoot, Captain," she responded trying to hide the chills the ocean gave her by smirking again.
Her captain narrowed her eyes at her and began to reply, "That's not exactly what I meant..."
"Is there any reason we're still here? Shouldn't we be heading off into the sky?" Niles asked, pretending to seem bored, changing the topic, "I thought The Steamhawke was a sky ship, not a sea ship. Are you looking for something?"
"You've been here for weeks and you don't know that we're still searching for a mythical treasure?" Daenelia asked, "What have you actually been doing here since you boarded this ship?"
"I...I have...um..." Niles stammered before regaining her composure and began talking in a deeper voice, "I was so busying gunning and...Um, sailoring that I did not bother to ask."
Her captain's eyes remained narrow as she cocked her head to side, looking suspiciously at her and breathed, "Hmmm."
Of course what Niles said was a huge lie but she kept smiling at the woman. The truth was that she had been showing off her skills to her new crew-mates by using various objects as target practice. She had also spent a lot of her time sleeping and hiding. She had to find a way redeem herself or prove that she wasn't completely useless.
"We are here, Sailor, because of the clues we found on Mypos."
Daenelia gestured to the sandbar in the distance.
"There could be something here..." her voice trailed off, because she knew how hopeless it sounded.
Finding treasure in a fog. She fixed her eyes on Niles again and started explaining.
"There once was famous pirate Blue Barry. He had in his possession a priceless treasure, the Treasure of Quazlatah. However, it was lost after his death. It is said to contain riches beyond imagination."
Daenelia sighed and looked into the fog again.
"If it is here, it may be on the sandbar. Or, we should at least find a clue, somewhere here," she concluded. She looked at Niles and asked her, "You have heard of Quazlatah, haven't you?"
"Quazlatah," repeated Niles racking her brain for anything reminiscent of it, "I've heard the name, somewhere. I think someone I used to know mentioned it once."
Was it her elphin uncle or her friend old human friend, Heath? Somehow, her instinct told her it was her uncle. She felt that if she heard her uncle mention Quazlatah at least once, that it couldn't possibly be on land. He hated humans and he hated their land.
Ironically, he had brought gold, human made, jewelry many times home. Niles tugged at a gold chain on her neck, absentmindedly. She had been adorned with a couple of gold jewelry pieces he gave her as gifts in the past.
"Do you have any insight on whether Quazlatah's really on the surface or not?" she asked Daenelia, glancing at the sand bank.
"Yes." Daenelia said firmly.
Niles looked at the Captain with doubt all over her face.
"No..." Daenelia sighed. "I hope it is though." She felt like biting of her tongue now. "Actually, I am pretty sure that if it is not there, we will find a clue. A ship was stranded here in this fog a few years back. Either it has the treasure or there are some clues left. On the sand or under the sea."
The Captain looked at Niles, as if she only now realised she was Elphin.
"We're going to explore it. Most of us can cover the surface. Only a few of us could look under water." Niles just stared ahead. "I am only taking volunteers along," Daenelia added, trying not to sound too hopeful or desperate. If the young woman did not want to come along, there was always the Elphin deckhand Finn to help her out.
Niles looked at her webbed feet. The captain wanted to go underwater? But that's so risky! What if her uncle found her again? What if...
"I can come with you!" blurted out Niles.
Where the hell did that come from? Didn't her gut tell her to stay away?
"That's wonderful!" exclaimed Daenelia but lowered her voice to hide her relief, "But... are you sure?"
Niles sighed. What choice did she have? Her captain had already questioned her earlier. She might as well try to be useful and prove herself to the main woman herself, at least once, right? Niles already did want to prove herself to not be useless to the team. So that might have been it.
"Yeah, I'm sure," she responded, putting her hands on her hips with a smirk. "I'm an elphin and an expert underwater! A slow human like you would need all the help you can get, right? Even your underwater equipment can't make you guys move fast enough to escape a shark!"
The elphin girl guffawed haughtily and Daenelia began to think Finn might have been a better choice than her.
"Good," Daenelia said, and tried to look the girl in the eye. "I appreciate it. Even as a slow human." The Captain pulled out her pistol and checked it for dirt. "If a shark does come after you, he will be dead before he gets to you." She put her pistol away again and turned away to walk back to the meeting room. She turned again and walked backwards while shouting at Niles: "Be on deck in about an hour! We leave then!"
Niles smiled. Captain Daenelia was cooler than she thought.