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It was late in the night when Bryn for no reason awakened from her dream. It was no unusual one that had made her snap out of sleep and still … .
With her right hand the young sorceress rubbed her forehead thoughtfully while she tried to remember that last vision of hers. It had been brown eyes. Brown eyes embedded in a pale but friendly face. Bryn sighed as the memory came back to her. It had been a young man’s face that had followed her all through the night. One, whose dark brown eyes had seemed to be directed only at her - like she was the only thing that existed in his world. She was sure she had never met this man before. No one could forget those eyes, and still she felt like knowing them somehow. It was a fact that haunted her for some reason; something that didn’t let her rest anymore.
With a swift move Bryn put her blankets away and sat up straight in her bed. Her tired eyes searched the surroundings for any familiar structures, but failed as there was nothing in this room but her bed and a wooden perch where Dermott had fallen sound asleep on.
“Right”, she muttered to herself while slowly she got out of her resting place, “we’re still on land.”
Her gaze strayed across the tiny room and for a moment she allowed herself to let it linger on the hawk whose perch was set at the opposite wall. The young one smiled at the sight the bird gave her. His head was snuggled up against his neck and his feathers were ruffled up in a way that made him look like a single ball. Bryn tried to hold her breath as she wanted to listen to the quiet crackles the little one always used to make in his sleep and which she loved so much to hear. Maybe he made them because of things he dreamt - she mused while watching him - people he tried to call or maybe he did even simply snore. But whatever they were, she really adored them and felt a smile spread across her face every time she had the chance to witness them.
With such a content smile covering her lips she eventually headed for the door, leaving Dermott behind to have a good night’s rest. The previous day had been hard enough, for all of them, and though she knew that she as well should have taken the opportunity to lie down in a comfortable bed, she somehow felt the urgency to go for a little walk right now.
As careful as she was able to, she opened the old wooden door that led to the corridor, but right when she stepped outside noticed a slight move of Dermott and turned just in time to see him shift on his perch, opening his eyes and focusing her through the darkness.
“Return to sleep, sweety”, Bryn whispered with a low voice while she tilted her head back at him. “Nothing to worry about. I just need some fresh air.”
While still gazing at her, the hawk cocked its lovely head and sent a silent “take care” to its mistress, before he decided to do as she wanted and drifted back into the sweet embrace of his dreams. Bryn couldn’t help but smile tenderly while quietly she closed the door behind her.
Slowly the young sorceress stepped out of the little tavern and breathed the cool night air in. She simply adored the sea’s flavour it held and which mixed up with the warm and earthy scent of a nearby forest. Somehow it reminded her of something – something that she couldn’t quite make out - just like it was a distant memory of a different life that wasn’t her own anymore… . Fiercely the young one shook her head at that thought and let her eyes scan the night’s darkness in an attempt to distract herself from the route her mind was about to take right now, when suddenly she noticed someone standing not even 20 feet away from her. Her eyebrows rose as Bryn figured out just whom the silhouette belonged to. Slowly she walked over to the man who seemed to be deeply lost in thoughts.
“Can’t sleep, too?”, she greeted the sailor who instantly jumped at the sudden presence of her voice.
“Bryn”, he exclaimed startled. “Aren’t you supposed to rest? We’re leaving quite early, you know”, the captain added with a hint of sorrow in his voice.
But the brunette one only shrugged. “Couldn’t sleep anymore”, she explained calmly, “would you mind if I kept you some company?”
Although he frowned at her for a moment, Sinbad eventually nodded at the girl, accepting her presence at least for now. For a few minutes then the two stood in silence, each one gazing at the pale stars and following their own thoughts, before Bryn’s voice cut through the quietness again. Her eyes moved from the sky above to the sailor’s well-known face. She let her gaze linger on his features - once more detecting now that strange look in them that somehow she knew wasn’t his own.
“Who is she”, she asked him with an absent-minded voice. Her question sounded meaningless somehow; unimportant to someone who had not seen the captain’s actions today, but it caught Sinbad off guard.
Suddenly his head snapped into her direction and his eyes lost that distant look in an instant, being now all his again.
“Who?”, he asked with a confused expression that made Bryn frown at him for a second “The one who gave you her magic - Maeve”, she answered somewhat uneasily, “Please tell me about her.” The sorceress’ brown eyes were directed to the tall sailor who stared at the dark horizon intensively while she waited for him to say something.
“She’s out there”, he suddenly whispered before sighing deeply. “Somewhere.”
Bryn’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean ‘she’s out there’”, she queried hesitantly. But Sinbad did not like the idea of explaining anything to her as he simply shrugged and muffled: “Haven’t the guys told you yet?” Although he had not intended to sound gruffly at all, in the end he had. Quickly he glanced at the brunette one to make sure she did not feel offended by this but only found her smiling at him. “Oh you know them”, she answered lightly, “They told me it was all up to you.” Then more serious she added: “I know she’s important to you.” Sinbad’s eyes widened. “Sorry?”, he asked with a most surprised voice , pretending that he did not know at all what she was talking about.
“Oh, come on, Sinbad”, the young one continued with a slight laughter, “I’m neither blind nor deaf. In those two years I’ve been sailing with you now, every now and then I have heard her name as a silent whisper on the Nomad – but usually when you weren’t around. You have that empty cabin there, those magic books you never allow anyone to read and that unused sword you polish every week. I have seen your despair today, Sinbad. And I’ve seen what she gave you. Today’s morning I thought we’d all lose you. None of us was able to break through to you. And then you go off for walk and return with a magical aura and that fire in your eyes? You really cannot tell me that this is not all about her.” Then in a softer tone she pleaded: “Please Sinbad, tell me about her.”
Sinbad felt a lump form in his throat as those words of her reached his ears. Talking with Bryn about the one he missed so dearly was definitely something he did not want to do right now. But maybe she was right, he reasoned. Maybe, after all the time, she had the right to know.
He had to draw in a deep breath before he found the strength to begin.
“Maeve”, he sighed, “She came onboard the Nomad about a year before you did. She was the apprentice of an old friend of mine – DimDim.” A slight hint of satisfaction mixed with his gaze as he saw the recognition in the woman’s eyes.
“Aye”, he smiled sadly, “the one you know. Maeve was his apprentice back then. We came to his island to seek help in a quest we had to fulfil. An evil sorcerer - Turok - and his daughter had kidnapped the Calif’s daughter-in- law. On our journey one of Turok’s shadows imprisoned DimDim on a far away island. We went for the sorcerer without him, freed the princess and killed Turok. We hoped it would be enough to break the spell, but unfortunately it wasn’t. DimDim still was lost. We started to search for him but never found any trace.”
“That’s sad”, Bryn cut in his ramblings empathetically. Her eyes went to search the sailor’s as she found a familiar sadness shine in them. “And what about Maeve?”, she then carefully asked without taking her gaze off him.
“She stayed with us. And she brought Dermott along. The two were impossible to be separated. He was her everything and in turn she was all he cared about”, the captain objected absent-mindedly. “She agreed to company us on our search for DimDim and made herself at home at the ship. Although at the beginning we would have fought over every little thing she soon became a full and trusted member of the crew. She made herself all useful and did not want to get any special treatment, which impressed everyone. She really knew how to teach my men some respect for the female gender.” Right when he had said this, a soft chuckle left his throat as he remembered how fast the redhead had made even Doubar reason.
“So it’s thanks to her that women are accepted on the Nomad”, Bryn immediately took the hint and allowed herself to smile warmly at the captain. Sinbad weighed his head in amusement. “Aye”, he affirmed her and then went on explaining. “She trained her magic and sailed with us for a little more than a year. We had quite a few adventures in that time. The dark forces weren’t as strong as they are today and life was easier. Sometimes we would even simply let the winds guide the Nomad and wait where they would lead it to. But that all changed one day…” The captain’s voice broke off as the one memory that was all so painful for him entered his mind. His words vanished to a silent whisper while slowly he carried on: “We lost her in a heavy storm.” Abruptly then he turned away from the starry sky. His eyes met the young one’s gaze as he forced himself to tell Bryn what had happened that night.
“I had told her to tighten the ropes when a huge wave took her. I tried to save her, but failed. I should have rescued her, but all I managed to do was to get washed ashore on some unknown island, having to deal with its insane inhabitants while I should have been searching for her. If it hadn’t been for DimDim she would have died that day and it would have been my fault.”
At first the young one didn’t really understand what the sailor was getting at, but then she knew. “He pulled her into that spell to save her…”, she mumbled while she followed his train of thoughts. Then her eyes widened. “It was the day when you found me”, she breathed as realisation finally came to her. In her head memories were forming as she recalled that very day. Now, after all this time, they all made sense to her. The looks the crew had given her when Sinbad had taken her aboard the ship. All those glances she had received when Dermott had chosen her to be his mistress. She hadn’t really paid any attention to it back then, but now she suddenly remembered just how the captain had introduced the bird to her: This is Dermott, Maeve’s hawk, he had said. It had been the only time when she had ever heard that name spoken out freely, but after all what had happened to her, all the new people she had seen, she had not thought it to be important at all. Not until now.
“Why has no one ever told me about that”, she asked with a small voice that betrayed her sudden uneasiness. For a long time now the sorceress had known that this Maeve once had been part of the Nomad crew, someone who had been there before her, someone who still was missed by so many; but never had she had any idea of how deep it all went – of the way how they had lost her.
For a moment Sinbad’s eyes closed and his shoulders tensed. His jaw tightened as he half-grumbled: “Because of me. I didn’t want them to.” – “But why would that be?”, Bryn asked before she even thought about it. Her gaze was still transfixed on the sea-captain who now stared at her blankly. In the bright moonlight she was able to see his every feature. A haunted look hushed across his face before he abruptly turned away from her. As if having an inner dialogue with himself the tall sailor shook his head and crossed his arms in front of his chest defiantly. For only a moment Bryn thought about asking him again, but suddenly, as she stood there, watching him close up on her, fighting with an answer he did not want to give, she understood.
“Oh”, was all what her mind was able to come up with when finally she felt all the parts of the puzzle being set into the right place. Suddenly all those things she had noticed here and there started to make sense and it occurred to her that now, for the very first time, she really got to know what was going on in the sailor’s heart.
“She was more than only a friend, wasn’t she?”, Bryn whispered in sympathy while she eyed the sailor with concern. She could clearly sense her friend’s distress as she waited for him to answer and it made her feel sorry for him.
“Bryn … I … don’t make me say this”, he half-pleaded while he moved to meet her gaze. He did not say anything more, but it was all what she needed to hear. Her eyes closed for a moment as she felt a thousand thoughts rush through her head. She really should have known, she chided herself inwardly. She had heard the stories Doubar had told her – of what Sinbad had been like once; how he had treated women back then and the way he had fought and that all this had changed one fateful day. To her these memories had sounded like something that had happened in a far away past, when he had been a teenager maybe. She had thought that Sinbad simply had changed with becoming a captain and taking over the responsibility for a whole crew; that Doubar was being a little overprotective with being concerned about the younger man’s attitude; but now she knew better.
“I’m sorry, Bryn. I never meant to hurt you.” It was a low whisper that left his mouth and made the girl snap out of her thoughts again. She felt his blue eyes search her face for some reaction but for now she simply stayed silent. She knew what the sailor was referring to when he now apologized to her. And she knew that there had been a time when she had been so close to give in to all his little gestures – so close to believe in that one and only kiss …
Whether it was her not saying anything at all or simply the start he had already made with telling her, she did not know, but suddenly something inside of Sinbad seemed to unfold itself and break free as he confessed in defeat: “I tried to forget it all the time. I tried to lock it somewhere deep down inside of me. I wanted to simply go on and wait for the day when she would come back. I wanted to stay the same for her, to search the seas for that lost island where she and DimDim are hiding. But I did not succeed”, he snorted bitterly. “I felt myself change everyday, turn into someone I had never wanted to be. I felt myself being drawn to the dark side, but did not find the strength to stop what was going on.... You know what’s even worse than not knowing your past?”, he suddenly confronted the young sorceress who only was able to shake her head reluctantly. “Knowing it and feeling the best part of it slip away from you every day.” The tall sailor let his shoulders sink before he went on with a soft voice. “I did not mean to hurt anyone, Bryn. Especially not you.”
At those words Bryn opened her eyes to look at him and the guilt she found in those blue depths of his made her heart go out to him.
“You have nothing to be sorry for”, she finally sighed at him. Her voice sounded distant in some ways when she soon after continued: “I know what it’s like to feel like you’re all alone, when you feel like the world’s left you behind. When I awakened on that island, not knowing where I came from or who my family were; with no other memory than what my name was … it felt terrible. You, Dermott and the guys, you all were the first friendly faces I had met. And you granted me a second chance. You made the Nomad become my home and you all become my family. I guess we somehow clung to one another, because we both felt lost, Sinbad. And if today one took me away from all this, leaving nothing but the mere memory of that time … maybe I’d act just like you did.” The brunette one breathed in audibly before lowering her head a little. “You don’t have to apologize, Sinbad, because I am not angry,” she explained, then moved to stand right in front of him. She lifted her gaze so that she could just meet his own. “Telling you I had not felt honoured by those things you did”, she finally continued with a trembling voice, “would be a lie. Just like telling you that there hadn’t been times when I thought that maybe there was a future for both of us. But things do change, Sinbad. I am not angry.” Then suddenly, like she just snapped out of a trance, her head tilted upwards and a tender smile formed on her face. “I now know that I could have never been what she is to you. And you do not need to worry about me for this one. If her aura is already enough to enlighten that courage you showed today then ... then I can’t wait for her to return and bring back the Sinbad Doubar told me about.”
“But, Bryn …”, Sinbad stuttered. His blue eyes lay sadly upon her face, studying it intensively. The young one breathed in deeply and with a swift move took his left hand where that colourful bracelet of his was. She graced its lines with her index while she spoke absent-mindedly: “You are the best friend I could have ever wished for. You share something with me that only so few can understand. I am happy when you are, Sinbad and if she is truly the one who keeps that light in your eyes alive …” For a moment then, without finishing what she had just begun, she stayed silent. Her gaze was still focused on that bright piece of jewellery when finally she mumbled: “I saw her today, you know. She was with you. Everyone saw her light shine in your eyes. And she’s there still.” The sorceress felt Sinbad frown in confusion at her words. His hand tensed and he retracted it a little from the young ones to make her look at him again. He wanted to ask her so many things but only one of all his questions formed in his eyes long before his mind was able to make up any words for it. Bryn understood in an instant. “Sinbad”, she smiled sincerely at him, “on our journeys I’ve met so many people. I have seen so many things. But never before have I felt the aura of a person be so strongly connected to another one. Believe me, captain. She is there with you.”
The sailor’s lips curved in a sad smile at the convenience that lay in the brunette’s words.
“I only wish I could be as sure as you are”, he sighed and allowed himself to doubt the sorceress only for once. “Sinbad”, the young one shook her head in protest, “stop blaming yourself for what has happened and open up for what is there. Look, I had never known the sailor who was there before we both met, but today I have seen him. I did not understand earlier. I did not know, but now that I do... Just allow this man to step back into this world and wait for her as he wanted to.” Bryn’s brown eyes were piercing the sailor’s blue ones as she almost pleaded him to do what somehow she knew was what this Maeve wanted more than anything else. “Don’t let her down this way.” It was a silent whisper that had left her throat and which made Sinbad stare at her bewilderedly.
“You really do feel her, don’t you?”, he asked what he did not need an answer for.
“Just like I told you, sailor. She is there.” Then she took his left hand again and elevated it a little so that he would have to look at it directly. A few silvery strays of moonlight lay upon it when suddenly a red sparkle hushed across its lines, leaving a faint glimmer of crimson everywhere it had been.
“Start believing Sinbad. Don’t be the only one who doesn’t see what is there.” Her voice faded to a silent whisper while she slowly let go of the sailor’s hand. Without making any noise then she stepped back a little to grant him the privacy that somehow she knew he needed right now. Bryn saw the seafarer’s eyes being transfixed on his wrist where those faint strays of red were still to be seen and which were being reflected in his own blue depths. She saw him letting his hand sink and turn to her when suddenly his aura changed into one of a magical kind and in his eyes this silent fire lit up again.
“You’re right”, he whispered barely audible while he drew the cold night’s air in. “She promised she’d be there. You’re right.” Then he allowed himself to smile at the brunette sorceress. It was a hopeful smile that the young one had never seen upon his face before and it caught her off-guard when in the next moment he stepped towards her, catching her gaze with those blue eyes of his.
“Thank you for reminding me, Bryn”, he stated warmly, “I came out here because I doubted. I doubted her and most of all me. I did not know where I was supposed to go from here on; did not believe in the promise I gave. Now I do. Thank you.”
For a moment Bryn felt her shoulders sink at those words of his. Her gaze lowered as their meaning became so clear. She knew what they meant, knew that they heralded a new time. Those words were his way to make a new start - to let the past two years fall behind and find the way back to the one he really was. It was the way back to her.
Bryn swallowed hard at the thought that with those words her world was about to change, that all what would be left, were an invaluable friendship and a deep understanding for one another... something that was rarely to be found in those dark days. Bryn felt her lips curve in a smile when finally she straightened her back and dared to meet the sailor’s gaze again. A soft chuckle escaped her throat as she finally really felt what before she had only told him. She was happy when he was. She loved this man standing opposite to her. But not in a way that would have made them be what he and this fire one were. Bryn loved him like a sister would love her brother; like a girl her best friend - he was her family. That she now knew and that was all what really mattered. It was the one thing that would never change.
With a bright smile shining on her face she finally answered him. “You’re welcome.” It was a simple choice she had made. Friends they now were and friends they had always been. It was a start into a new future – one that was all so well-known at the same time.
“Come on now”, she suddenly nudged him teasingly, while behind the two the first pale strays of sunlight appeared on the horizon, “We should go inside again. Dawn is already coming and you wanted to head off quite early, remember?” For a moment Sinbad frowned at the change of topic and the sudden easiness his friend showed but soon after answered with a radiant smile of his own before he allowed himself to marvel at the beautiful early morning atmosphere. He had come out here to find an answer to where his life was supposed to go from now on and what he had found was by far more than just that. It was the best of all friends ... and the convenience to find the way back to the one he was really meant to be.
Bryn joined him for a moment, enjoying this newfound companionship she now had with the sea-captain, when suddenly his voice captured her attention again. The tall sailor glanced at her from the corner of his eyes while a mischievous look formed on his face. “What did Doubar tell you about me?”, he queried playfully in a way that gave Bryn an idea of how that man had been back in those days the first mate had spoken about so sadly. It had been simple things the captain’s brother had told her, but Bryn did not intend to let him know so easily. “Oh, this and that”, she smiled brightly and then turned her back towards him. “You know, we really should go”, she then half-laughed while she tilted her head back at him.
“Just do not believe in all that he says”, Sinbad grunted at her but let a laughter mix with his words as he joined the young one and made his way back to the tavern with her. Right when the two reached the front door, he swiftly stepped in front of Bryn and opened it for her, sending a warm glance her way. The brunette sorceress smiled at him for such courtesy and stepped past him when suddenly she felt his hand lie loosely on her arm.
“By the way”, he asked with a soft voice, “why was it you couldn’t sleep anymore?” Bryn’s eyes widened as she had not expected him to ask that question and for a single moment she thought about telling him. But then again, she reasoned, it had been only a dream. And she had not felt any dread or danger.
“Oh, nothing important”, she shrugged and turned around to face him completely now. “Only the need of some fresh air and setting someone’s mind straight.” The answer she got to that was a slight chuckle and a soft shake of his head while quietly he closed the door behind him. The two wandered in silence for a few more moments when finally they arrived at the room Bryn and Dermott were sharing. Carefully the brunette opened the old wooden door and went to get inside when Sinbad addressed her one more time.
“Thank you Bryn”, he whispered,” Thank you for everything.” Bryn’s eyes moved to meet his gaze before she stated earnestly: “Just like I already said: You’re welcome.” Winking at him, she then moved to step inside the little room where Dermott was still sleeping peacefully on his perch. After closing the door silently, the young sorceress tiptoed back to her bed on which the pale morning sun was already sending her first light on. As she lay down on the soft covers the quiet crackles of Dermott reached her ear and the soft morning breeze entered through the open window to caress her skin. A content sigh left her mouth as she felt a new time begin. Things would change, she knew. A new future was awaiting them, and most likely it was going to be better one.
When she turned around to let sleep once more claim her soul, warm brown appeared in front of her, watching her like she was the only thing that existed in their world. It was a friendly pale face that was focusing her, watching her in her sleep and following her into her dreams ...
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