A Small Ratonga In A Big World
Chapter One – Good Byes
The Ratonga stuffed the last piece of armor in to his back pack careful not to kink any of the blackened iron links. He tossed the pack over his shoulder and took one last look around his cabin to be sure he hadn’t forgotten anything. As unlikely as that would be for Ratonga of course.
As he turned towards the door he stopped short; staring at his reflection in the mirror which hung on the locker door. Unconsciously, he drew one paw over the ornate patch that covered the socket where his eye had once been. He could feel the Dark Elf runes engraved on precious metal that decorated the patch and soundlessly mumbled their meaning, “A Brave Fighter”. Hardly impressive for the typical exaggerations that Dark Elves spoke in. But, it was enough for him. Ratongans didn’t need flowery titles or stations after all. Such labels only drew attention to a person. And, that is something most Ratongas avoided at all cost.
“Spyder”, The sound of his Mentor’s voice startled him and he jumped visibly. Quickly he collected himself and turned to the elder Ratonga who stood in the half opened doorway.
“Hellos Trtsin”, he replied, “Weren’t going to lets me goes withouts saying good byes, huh?”.
Trtsin opened the door for Spyder and gestured him in to the hall, “Comes my friend, we haves peoples who wants to sees you offs as well”.
The young Ratonga’s lips pursed as he thought to himself, “Yas.. manys of thems would likes to sees me offs the ends of a planks, they woulds!”.
They headed down the hall of the Galley and up the steps towards the main deck. Spyder turned around to glance at the closed door of his cabin. The gold plaque on the door read “Swab SpyderBite”. He recalled with fondness how proud he had been when Captain Stovka had assigned him his own quarters. With one last glance at the plaque which had marked his quarters for a good part of 3 years, he followed his Mentor up the steps and in to the bright midday sun.
As soon as his single black eye had adjusted to the bright sun’s reflection off the harbor waters of South Freeport, he spotted several of his mates gathered on the deck. Specifically, he noticed Lieutenant D’Raka staring out to the sea. He smirked at her careless demeanor. She stood surveying the sea as if this were any other day. The uptight attitudes of Dark Elves always humored him. He took sport in poking fun at their inablilty to smile. And, when he would see even the slightest mirth in D’Raka’s lavender eyes his day seemed complete. Much to her chagrin.
Spyder shook his head and turned towards stern of the boat and nearly fell backwards as he walked right in to the tall figure that had been standing behind him silently. “Curseds Kerrans and their quietsness”, he mumbled quietly.
The tall orange tabby Kerran looked down at that Ratonga and sneered at him arms crossed over the is chest of steel chain mail, “I wondered if you would do me a favor, Swab?”
Spyder tugged at his long robes in a matter of fact manor and replied, “Depends on whats it is you wants me to doos, Boatswain, sirs”.
The Kerran chortled, showing a glimpse of his slightly yellowed fangs before responding with his request. The sight of the incisors on Kerrans always made the Ratonga a little nervous. Sharing a city or even a country with their kind was unnatural enough. Stuck on a ship with them for months at sea had caused Spyder to re-check the food supplies frequently.
“My sister, Bahina resides inside these walls. I believe she trades in Nepeta Cataria. I would be appreciative if you would take this to her”.
The Kerran dropped a small leather sack in to Spyder’s paw. By its weight it easily held about 50 pieces of gold. Spyder looked up at the navigator and nodded.
Boatswain Fomas laid a giant taloned paw on the Ratonga’s shoulder, halting him for a moment. He bent to one knee and looked Spyder in to his one good eye.
“One more thing, Swab”, the navigator’s whiskers twitched uncomfortably as he continued, “I have child and I believe that she lives here as well. Her mother named her ‘Ojeda’, which in Kerran means ‘Curse of the Sea'”, The Kerran’s eyes strayed off towards the city walls; his voice lowered to a sad purr, “Not as much as I blame her for naming the child in that manner. She was very resentful when I returned to the sea and left her carrying my kitten”.
“You wishes me to finds her?”, Spyder replied, unsure where the Kerran was going with this.
His eyes returned to the Ratonga, and Spyder thought for a brief moment that he saw a tear forming. Boatswain only nodded and stood. Patting Spyder lightly on the shoulder once more before standing and walking away.
“Swab!!”, Spyder leaped in the air and spun, startled for the second time that morning. Captain Stovka stood before him dressed in her finest uniform and bearing an impressive short sword on her hip. She was not quite as tall as Spyder, but her attitude made him feel much smaller in comparison.
Spyder saluted his Captain sharply, “Yes Captain!”. He dared not look her directly in the eyes out of respect for his superior.
Captain Tovka was a handsome Ratonga. Striped fur the color of redwood with stern eyes to match which commanded ones attention.
She smiled and surprised Spyder by embracking him tightly, patting him hard on the back. The Captain withdrew holding Spyder at arms length, still smiling, “You have beens a great asset to my crew, Swab”.
Spyder could only nod. In all 3 years of service to Seafury Buccaneers, she had never once complimented her crew, “Thanks you, Captain”, he replied carefully, “I have always trieds to makes you prouds, I dids!”.
Captain Stovka’s smile broadened warmly, “I saddens me to sees you goes, SpyderBite”. She shook him playfully, “Comes, I have somethings for you!”.
She walked over to a large chest which had been brought up from the treasure room below deck that morning. Spyder followed her and watched as she shuffled through the contents, curious. When she turned around, his breath caught in his throat at the sight of what she held in her hands before her.
“Captain..” he managed, barely able to speak, “I can nots accepts that! Its nots my stations, it isn’t!”.
Captain Stovka smiled again, “It is nows, Lieutenant SpyderBite”.
Spyder reached out soundlessly and took the long decorative leather case from his Captain’s paws. He ran a paw over the inscription on the box which read, ‘Lieutenant Spyderbite, First Class, Seafury Buccaneers’.
The Captain laughed, “Well, don’ts be thinkings that I gaves you a leather box silly. Open its!”.
Spyder slowly opened the box and gazed at the contents. Two steel rapiers positioned opposite of each other. He looked up from the swords at Captain Stovka, at a loss for words.
She smiled and said, “Withs just one eye, Lieutenant, you handles two swords better than mosts Buccaneers withs two good eyes!”.
The newly promoted Ratonga could do naught but nod a silent ‘Thank you’.
“Do you haves family here in Freeport, Spyder?”, she said casually. “Someones you can stays withs?”
SpyderBite collected himself, carefully closed the box as to not scratch the precious weapons, “I haves a brother in Neriak, Captain”. Spyder nervously shuffled his feet beneath the golden robes he wore and added, “And I haves a daughter there toos”. He suddenly remembered Boatswain’s request and it seemed much more sincere than it had earlier. “But I haves some things I needs to takes care of here in Freeport first before I make the journey to the Dark Elve’s city”.
Captain Tovka smiled and nodded over Spyder’s shoulder at D’Raka who still stood staring out over the harbor, “Go speaks to hers, Spyder. Their kinds do nots initiates good byes, they don’ts”.
The Ratonga nodded and smiled at his Captain. With one more salute which she returned playfully now that he was no longer in her service; he turned and walked over to the Dark Elf.
“D’Raka”, Spyder said, unsure whether to touch her or not. She had been known to draw a sword on crew mates who approached her too quickly from behind.
The daunting Dark Elf turned slowly and looked down on the Ratonga with emotionless eyes. Many folks unfamiliar with their kind, interpreted them as condescending and pompous. But, Spyder had grown close to D’Raka as they were recruited in to the Buccaneers together and assigned Stovka’s ship as well. The odd pair had fought together and worked together day in and day out. She, however, was promoted early on for her profound ability to lead the crew. Whereas Spyder had always been content with his station though. Something D’Raka never understood about the Ratonga.
“You are leaving now?”, she said simply.
Spyder nodded slowly, suddenly feeling a sort of sadness come over him as he looked up at the woman he felt a kin to like a sister.
“Well then, Rat”, she said matter of fact like, “You’d best be off then”.
The Ratonga stood there staring up at her, not aware of the tear that ran down the jet black fur of his face from his one good eye.
And, then she did something which caught Spyder completely by surprise. She smiled.
Spyder leaped at her, dropping his back pack and sword case to the ground uncaring and wrapped his short arms around her waist and hugged her tightly.
D’Raka leaned over and kissed the Ratonga softly on the top of his head and stroked one of his short pointy ears, “Go now, Fmeaniram”. She looked up to see Trainer Trtsin and the others watching the two pseudo-siblings and scowled at them. They dispersed quickly and pretended to be busy, but looked over their shoulders none the less.
Spyder wiped at his eyes and groomed his paw briefly, “I hopes to sees you soons, I do”.
D’Raka bent over and picked his belongings up off the deck and handed them to the Ratonga, “I have no doubt, Fmeaniram, that we shall see each other again”, her smile disappeared and she turned back to the rail of the deck to look out over the sea.
Spyder looked once more upon the Dark Elf before turning and seeking out the gang plank. He stopped short as he heard her whisper, “Fa aelec”. And, for a second he thought he heard her make a noise which sounded something similar to quiet sob.
The young Buccaneer made his way through the sprawl of East Freeport seeking out an Inn where he could collect his thoughts, but stopped in his tracks when he suddenly recognized the words D’Raka had murmured to him upon his departure.
“Fa aelec”… “Be Evil”.