Fields and Land | Teen Ink

Fields and Land

April 8, 2013
By plathfanatic GOLD, Elmont, New York
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plathfanatic GOLD, Elmont, New York
10 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If there is a god, I bet he looks down at us and laughs at our foolish ways."

The evening I staggered upon the egg, washed up upon the brilliant white sands, hard and black in contrast, was utterly indifferent. My sisters and I, all dressed in our best yet plainly colored prayers gowns, were on our weekly stroll after we had assembled before our shrines to thank, beg and praise our gods. The waters of the ocean were low that day, and the darkness of the egg laid out so plainly, so abruptly, among its surroundings, that the fact that it caught at first only my own eye, was astonishing. I was chatting among my sisters Camelia, Masha and Georgina as the twins and Farah laughed and gossiped behind, when the shine of the skin glistened. At first I did not pay much attention, but after a handful of steps forward, I stopped. I turned myself back to the glistening lump and watched it intently.

“Do you see that?” I muttered to the others, my eyes still focused on the egg.

“Come along Eli, we mustn’t waste time digging trash out of the sands.” Georgina responded, grabbing hold of my arm.
And I would have listened, if it were anyone but Georgina. But you see, she resembled so, both internally and externally, of my mother, it was difficult to take her on so seriously. So instead of obediently turning once more and making our way back to the estate, I walked through the sand toward the mysterious object.

“What is it?” I heard young Farah cry from behind, as I knelt down.
The glistening dark skin was smooth beneath my fingertips, and the color-divine. Yet I was undecided whether or not it was black as the night, blue as the deepest ocean or purple as the season’s first newly ripped eggplant. I suppose it was all of the above. The ball of an egg was large, and frankly about the size of my own face. It intrigued me immediately, and from the moment I laid my hand on it, I longed to take my fantastic find home.

“What is it?” rung the voices of Masha and Camelia as they stooped besides me.

“I don’t know.” I responded, still petting the egg, “but I want to take it home.”
I did. I wrapped the glistening ball with the cloak I had been wearing to shield myself from the oceans breeze, and held it as a newborn child, as we scurried back to the estate. The twins and Farah were especially delighted at the sight of it, and chatted along the way about what they had thought it looked like. They came to the agreement that I was taking home, a dragon’s egg. I really hadn’t the faintest idea if they were correct, and a part of me wished and hoped they were, for my own excitements sake, yet part of me prayed they weren’t, for the sake of our well-beings.
Although it was quite a lot of ground to cover, we normally enjoyed those weekly walks as a time to let out every thought that we had been concealing within ourselves, throughout that very week. But that day I dreaded how lengthy it really was, because the egg was so terribly heavy. It was only mid-day yet it soon grew dark on us, and by the time we had reached the gates, it was pouring pain. We all ran down the pathway for shelter and I held hold of the mysterious dragon’s egg tightly, yet delicately enough not to break it. We all ran straight up the stairs to the veranda, before bursting into the hallway together.

The tone of my mother’s harsh voice seemed to turn even the most beautiful of names into a hangman’s noose.

“Mother.” She quickly muttered in response, bowing her head slightly.
I held on to the egg tightly, hoping my mother would not see or question the bundle of cloth under my arm.

“Look at you.” My mother’s voice boomed. Her fingertips held the dangling strands of wet hair on my eldest sister’s face. “Now what would Mr. Marcus think of this?” she paused. “No wonder you are nineteen years old and still unwed. Why tell me Georgina, is this anyway a young woman should behave?”
My sister slowly shook her head and answered, “no ma’am” ever so quietly, before we were all commanded to go up to our rooms and change. Company was expected, and seven dreadfully uncivilized daughters were not to attend the common room for socializing. We were used to it of course, changing who we actually were to become ideal women by society’s requirements.

“Tighten my corset for me, Eli?” Camelia called out to me, as I stashed away the egg in my clothing trunk, stuffed with dresses and ribbon.

“Hush Melia, you mustn’t be so loud.” Georgina ordered. “Masha, tighten Camelia’s corset for her, Eli needs time to get dressed herself.”

“And what, I don’t?” cried Masha.

“Frankly Masha, you haven’t come out to society yet. No one really cares what you look like, until then. Eli, Melia and I, on the other hand, have. And therefore we must keep the eye of a gentleman’s in mind.” She replied coldly.
Masha listened. Only, Georgina was wrong. No one was really interested in Camelia or me, as yet. She was the only sister with a real suitor, Marcus. And at that time, all I was really interested in was the object now hidden in our room.

“Marcus, welcome back.” My father reached over to shake hands.
The two men then exchanged something short of a hug before Marcus turned and almost simultaneously the room of women before him bowed.

“What a pleasure to see you again Mr. Marcus.” My mother announced, embracing him. “You remember my daughters, Farah, Claudia, Livy, Masha, Cornelia, Camelia and of course the eldest, Georgina.”

“Yes ma’am, I do.” Marcus responded, removing his hat. “How are you Miss. Georgina?”
My sister obediently smiled back and responded,

“Quite well Sir, and you?”

He then proceeded to introduce his two friends whose presence I hadn’t even acknowledged due to my mind was still wandering wildly, around the egg.

“This here is my good business partner, Nathaniel and his brother, Orlando.”
The two men hardly looked like brothers. Nathaniel looked older, his face round and shoulders broad. Orlando still had a boyish face; his dark hair was tied back neatly and he was smaller in comparison to his brother.
Of course my mother enjoyed this much too much. She re-introduced myself and Camelia to the two men, and ever so quickly was I paired off with the elder, Mr. Nathaniel.

“Can you play?” he later asked as we gathered in the common room.
I looked at the piano in terror, for I played as well as a dog.

“My sister Camelia, Sir, plays much better than I. I am sure you would enjoy her playing rather than mine.” I responded.
It wasn’t long before Melia was filling the room with her music. Mr. Orlando however, hardly looked interested. In fact, through the duration of the night he kept quiet and kept a look of utter boredom plastered upon his face.

“She plays quite well.” Mr. Nathaniel announced at the end of Melia’s playing.
My mother’s face beamed.

“She does, my Camelia. And she’s about as pretty as the flower, don’t you think so?” she paused, turning to the two men. Mr. Nathaniel shook his head, agreeing. “You know” she continued, “You both should certainly come to Masha’s society ball in a week. You seem to be fine gentlemen. Please. Bring your friends and colleagues as well, what better way for Masha to spend her sixteenth birthday, then to be introduced to all the powerful men of Vinetta?”
The men accepted my mother’s invitation and not long after, Marcus insisted that they had to leave before dinner. Although my mother viciously protested, they did.

“Mr. Marcus is a fine young man, do you think not?” Our mother questioned our father at the dinner table.
He cleared his throat.

“Why yes, I do. But I am afraid no man is good enough for my Georgina.” He stopped and looked up from his plate. “Or for any of my seven daughters, actually.” He added, grinning.
My mother snickered.

“Well we cannot provide for them all, forever- so I suppose you’ll have to settle.” She snapped.
But that was lie. Our family was one of the richest in Vinetta, for our father Mr. Gaten, as I am Cornelia Gaten, ran most if not all, of the business in town. My mother’s ridiculous need to marry off all of her daughters was not for financial reasons, but for social.

“Mama, I do not think you should palm me off on Mr. Orlando again.” Melia timidly spoke as she rolled around the meat on her plate.

“And why is that?” Our mother protested.

“He surely did not take any likening to her or to anything as a matter of fact.” I quickly interjected.

“Who are you to say? You could not have even played a song for Mr. Nathaniel.” My mother stabbed over to me, her words like knives.

“A business partner of Marcus’? Why at those very words I should have jumped up as you did, and proceeded to sing, play and dance for the man like a puppet, right mama?” I hated the way she spoke of us, especially when it involved pleasing men. “I am seventeen years old.” I continued. “Pleasing gentlemen should not be a concern of mine.”

“-And what should?” My mother blasted. “Tell me Cornelia, in ten years when you’ve got not a penny to your name and living on the streets, because ask the gods I will kick you out, then what will be a concern of yours? Let me tell you, certainly not pleasing gentlemen, because by then not a man in Vinetta will want you, and you’ll end up alone, poor and worthless for the rest of your life.”

“Mother.” Georgina mumbled. Our mother stopped, her face frozen still as if she had turned to stone. “You shouldn’t be so hard on her.” She whispered.

“Who are you to play mother?”

“That’s enough.” Our father muttered.
We finished our dinner in silence that night.

“I hope you do not pay mind to what she says.” Melia called out to me, as we all undressed after dinner.

“Of course I don’t.” I muttered, braiding my charcoal black hair down my back. “She’s right though.” I continued. “Not a man in Vinetta will want to marry me.”

“Oh don’t speak so.” Georgina whispered.

“Why not? It is true. And plus, there are more men in this world; Vinetta is not the only town that exists. Who said I want to get married in the first place?” I crouched down to take the egg out of my clothing trunk. Sitting on the floor and petting it in my hands, I continued, “Don’t you ever wish f getting out of here, of living past the borders of this town?”

“Cornelia.” Georgina interrupted, her voice sounding so much like our mothers, but her tone pleasant. “Vinetta is more than a town; it is a safe haven away from the rest of the barbaric lands that surround us. You mustn’t take it for granted.” She looked down at me, petting the smooth egg, “And will you get rid of that rock?”
I shook my head no.
When Melia, Masha, Georgina and I were finished dressing, I placed the egg back into the trunk and took my candle across the hall to the twins and Farah’s bedroom to say goodnight. When I returned, the others were all already in their beds. I placed the candle holder on the table besides the bed I shared with Melia and climbed under the sheets.

“Eli?” Melia whispered after I blew the flame out.


“What did you think of Mr. Nathaniel? Did you like him?” she questioned.

“I’m afraid not.” I mumbled. “I do not think I’d have much to talk about, with that man.”

“Eli?” she repeated.

“Yes Camelia?”

“I thought he was very handsome. That was what I was trying to say at dinner, that mother shouldn’t pair me with Mr. Orlando again, that I took a liking to Nathaniel, and I think he took a liking to me too.”
I laughed.

“I’ll leave you more time with him at the ball.”
I couldn’t see Melia’s face, for it was pitch dark in that room, not even the moon light shun through for the shutters were closed to keep the heat of the house in. But I knew, and in some way I felt, that she was smiling.
It wasn’t long before we fell asleep.

The following week was filled with preparation for Masha’s society ball that was to take place on the night of the full moon. It was absolute chaos and the only fun we had- well actually, we had none. The days were tiresome and lengthy, everyday was something new, the meeting with the cooks, seamstress, florist, orchestra conductor, and so on. As for me, every day I paid close attention to the dragons egg and it seemed that with each passing it was growing and changing. By the night of Masha’s ball, the egg was no longer even round, it stretched out in all different directions and was twice its original size, of which I had found it in the sand. There was no longer room to keep it in the clothing trunk, so Melia and Masha had helped me move it under the bed. Not only this, but the skin began to give out heat, which at nights we surely did not mind, having it under the bed and all. But my, were we all excited, expect for Georgina of course. Because of its vast physical changes she was convinced it was a creature and she often threatened to have it relocated out of Vinetta.

“Things like that do not belong here!” she would preach.

“Alright, it’s your turn now Masha.” said Georgina.
We were all dressed for Masha’s society ball, and soon the estate would be filled with hundreds of guests, dancing, dining and socializing. Every man’s eye would be wandering, both eligible and married, and the hope was that Masha would catch the eye of a proper suitor. Georgina, Melia and I had all gone through the process already, and although we all did not accomplish much during our nights, we hoped Masha would. I had a visionary feeling that she would, for Masha was by far the most striking sister of us all. None of us were hideous; it was just that Masha had bold features such as her dark red hair and lips like our grandmother had. As for Georgina, she had an essence of effortless beauty about her, with pale features and light brown hair like our mothers. Melia and I were alike, we had dark brown hair and our father’s bright green eyes, but Masha, was clearly the most desirable of us all. Not only was she beautiful, I would soon find out this very night, but she was a social as our mother in her prime.

“You stay up here until mama comes to get you, alright?” Melia ordered to Masha.

“I know how this works Camelia, I’ve seen it three times, remember?” she laughed.

“Okay but don’t go around calling me by my full name now, you’re still my little sister.” Melia said as she kissed Masha on the head.

“Happy sixteenth birthday.” I announced, before closing the bedroom door.
As we made our way down the stairs we could hear the sound of arriving guests. Georgina muttered a curse under her breath, for she knew our mother would scold us for being tardy. I was surprised, for I had never heard Georgina curse. And the fact that little Miss. Perfect, wasn’t so perfect, made me laugh.

“Georgina, girls how nice of you to join us.” cried our mother, “Come say hello to Mr. and Mrs. Allan, and look, they brought their son, a solider!”

“Nice to meet you.” Georgina spoke.

“A pleasure.” he responded, his eyes fixed on her.

“Well.” Our mother interrupted. “Georgina here, my eldest has already a suitor, but this here is Camelia and Cornelia. I am sure you will be introduced to Masha but the end of the night, you can’t miss her.”
And that was all. By the time Masha made her entrance, everyone’s hands equipped with glasses to toast, I had met much too many men already, and oh how I wished it was over. My mother made the toast in the ballroom and we all drank, before people began to line up, to greet her.

“Ah, not joining the line to congratulate my sister?” I announced when I found Orlando near the garden entry.

“Why should I?” he coldly responded.

“Excuse me?”
I was surprised, I had never heard such a frank tone from a man, nor had I ever expected his voice to be so.

“You are excused.” Orlando responded.
I laughed.

“I think I may have enjoyed you more when you did not speak.” I muttered, taking a sip from my glass.

“Forgive me.” I nodded, expecting him to further apologize, but he didn’t. “Forgive me for I really wish I weren’t here.”
I almost choked on my drink. Although I too wished I weren’t, I hadn’t expected a person to admit such a thing, especially to me, a member of the host family.

“I am sorry that you feel that way, but if you don’t mind my asking, if you do not wish to be here, why are you?”

“Forced by my brother.” He paused, “Nathaniel said he couldn’t go another day without seeing Cornelia.”

I was flattered.

“No, no. The other one, your sister who played the piano.”

“Oh.” I mumbled, “Camelia.”
Although I was not interested in Nathaniel, and I knew my sister had taken a likening to him, I was still disappointed, for that split second made me happy, that someone had noticed me. Orlando must had sensed this disappointment for he soon spoke again.

“Don’t look so grim, my brother is very old fashioned, he wants a wife only to play the piano and host gatherings.”
I smiled.

“And you sir?”

“My name is Orlando, not Sir. I’m merely twenty, barely a man and the sound of ‘Sir’ irritates me.”

“I’m sorry.” I apologized.

“And Miss. Cornelia, I do not want a wife, at least, not as yet. There are far more interesting things in life to see and do and when I am old and tired, then and only then will I look for one.”

“So what will you need her for, then?” I asked, moving the curls of hair away from my face.

“Company.” He whispered.

“Cornelia!” Georgina called out to me, motioning for me to join her.
I said goodbye to Orlando and went to her. Georgina, Melia and I proceeded to walk around the estate, greeting and chatting with our guests. Any chance she would receive, Melia would run off to have another conversation with Nathaniel. Her face glowed with excitement that night. And the now seemingly relentless solider boy, who I later learned was named Daniel, kept showing up besides Georgina. I watched from afar as they spoke once during the night, not alone, but surrounded by four more, including Marcus, and my- did he watch her face intently, as if she were the only other person in room.

“Dance with me!” Masha yelled out as the orchestra began.
I did, but it didn’t take a single song before she was off dancing with the young men in the room. I danced off to the side with the twins and Farah and watched her. She got on and fitted in so well, with everyone. Even Melia was dancing with Nathaniel, and Georgina with Marcus.

“She’s beautiful.” A voice spoke besides me.
I figured it was concerning Masha, but when I turned and saw Daniel I was confused. He introduced himself properly, for that time I did not know of his name, and explained that while in fact, Masha was beautiful, he was speaking of Georgina. I turned and looked at her, dancing with Marcus yet her face so stiff in comparison to the people around her, and realized, I had never questioned her feelings for him. Mother had set the two up, and Georgina just simply, never objected.

“I’ll make sure to tell her.” I said before excusing myself.
I needed time away from all the people and my body was growing tired, walking around in a gown that weighed more than myself, so I ran up the stairs and went into the bedroom. I sat for a while; watching the egg on the ground and listening to the people laugh and carry about down stairs, as well as the music. I even opened the shutters to watch the brilliant full moon and take in the fresh air. But soon my mother barged in, thankfully while the egg was out of sight, and commanded me to return down the stairs.

“It surely was a lovely night.” Nathaniel announced as he held Camelia’s hand in his own.
By the time the final guests parted from the estate, it was sunrise. Nathaniel hardly looked like he wanted to go home as he said good bye to Melia and my mother in the door way.

“My mother has invited your brother to return tomorrow.” I said to Orlando, waiting by the carriage outside.

“You mean, today.” He corrected.

“Yes.” I looked up at the orange sky. “Will you accompany him?”
He looked at me strangely, as if I had just asked him to dress a fowl in formal wear. His eye brows burrowed and he shook his head no at first, before he answered,

“I suppose so. But I leave at 6.”

“And where are you off to, Orlando?” I questioned my eyes wide with surprise.

“Out of Vinetta.”


“Well aren’t you a questioning one. Why not Miss. Cornelia? Do you think I rather stay here in town and visit you each and every day with my brother?”
I laughed.

“I hope not.”
And for the first time, Orlando smiled.

“Georgina.” I whispered as we all finally slipped into bed.

“Go to sleep Eli, we all need our rest.”

“I need to tell you something.”

“What is it?” she asked, her voice cracking.

“Daniel, the solider, I spoke to him tonight.” I paused to yawn. “He called you beautiful.”
Georgina did not respond.


“Go to sleep.”

“Do you even like Marcus?” I managed to mutter out.

“Of course.”
Although I wanted to keep talking, and I longed to ask her what she really thought of Daniel, I didn’t. It was late, and Georgina was already tired and worn down with all the stress she had gone through throughout that very night. I figured I’d leave it, for another time.

I was awoken by Masha the following morning.

“Come on, get dressed, they’re here for tea out on the veranda!”
I rolled around lazily, moaning ‘no’ in bed.

“Who?” I finally yelled as she continued to push me.

“Mr. Nathaniel and Mr. Orlando! Marcus had to attend to business, but Nathaniel’s come to see Melia!”
I flew out of bed. The truth is I was immensely intrigued by Mr. Orlando ever since he mentioned his trip out of Vinetta. The thought of leaving rolled around my head about as much as I thought of the egg. Soon, I wouldn’t have to keep dreaming of it.

“Good evening.” Nathaniel spoke as I approached the table on the veranda.

“Good evening.” I responded to him, but my eyes watched Orlando. “I apologize for my tardiness, after Masha’s ball last night I seemed to be more tired than I had expected.”
I took the only available seat, between Melia and Orlando.

“It’s quite alright.” Nathaniel answered.

“Where’s mama?” I asked my sisters, realizing the dramatic change of atmosphere, without the presence of my mother.
It was pleasant.

“She decided to check up on the servants and their cleaning.” Georgina answered.
I nodded my head.

“So tell me Cornelia, if you don’t mind my asking, I was just speaking to your sisters and they all seem to have some sort of talent. Miss. Camelia, from my experience plays exceptionally well, and apparently so does Miss. Masha. And Miss. Georgina, from what I’ve head Marcus go on about, sings like a true song bird. What do you spend your time doing?”
I looked at Nathaniel speechlessly for quite some time, before I rose from my seat and walked over to the banister.

“Walking, I suppose.”
He laughed.

“So your talent, is walking?” he mocked.

“More like dreaming.” Masha blurted.
I looked at her in anger. I had no talent. I could not sing nor could I play the piano or for a matter of fact, any instrument at all. Masha was right, all I did all day was walk around the estate, dreaming about the life I wished I could have live. And even then, staring at that damned egg had taken over my time.

“Tell me, Miss. Cornelia, what is it you dream about?”
I was started by Orlando’s voice, for I had forgotten that he had even been there. All of my sisters seemed surprised by his words, for they hadn’t ever heard him spoke until then. Only I had.

“The world outside of Vinetta, for one.” I answered, knowing those words would intrigue him.

“Really?” he muttered.

“That’s enough Cornelia; you mustn’t waste Mr. Orlando’s time with your silly thinking.” Georgina announced.

“No, no. It isn’t silly thinking at all Miss. Georgina. I’ve dreamt of the same, which is why recently, I’ve been making voyages out of Vinetta.” Orlando replied.

“You have!” I found myself screaming with excitement.

“Why yes, that is where I am off too, today. I document my trips and return to Vinetta often enough to share my stories. There are very interesting creatures and people out there. And I can tell you, they aren’t ‘barbaric’ as we’ve been taught growing up.”

“Great, you’ve started him.” Nathaniel laughed, patting Orlando roughly on his back.
I could have seen in his eyes, that it irritated him. But before I could ask, or Orlando could speak more of it, we heard a scream.

The scream had come from the innermost of my mother’s throat, the eco traveling though the house like a bat in its cave. That very scream would change the outcome of life, and it would change, forever.
When we all reached her, broom in hand at the bottom of the staircase, her eyes were wide and her hands trembled in terror. At the top of the stairs, watching down on us all, growling in a low tone, like a rabid dog, was the creature. The egg had hatched, but it was not the dragon we had expected to emerge. Its skin resembled that of the paintings I had seen of the fire-breathing creatures, a dark, scale-like coat that glistened, and it was the color that the egg had been. Its face and body structure resembled that of a dog, its snout short and fanged teeth exposed, its eyes however, were golden and bright. My sister’s ran out of the room.

“Remarkable” Orlando announced over the sound of my mothers whimpering.

“Get it out!” she demanded.
Nathaniel grabbed for the broom and threw it at the animal. Once struck, it cried and stepped away. I felt the strike of pain across my back.

“Its’ afraid!” I heard Orlando scream, reaching out to his brother.
I felt like I could not breath, and soon the world around me, spun uncontrollably.

“Cornelia!” someone, although I was not sure who, screamed.
My body slammed onto the floor like a dead animal.

“Don’t hurt it!” I faintly heard Orlando command. I figured he was speaking of the creature. “I’ve seen this before!”
I heard another whimper and cry from the animal, they were not listening. I opened my mouth to speak, but a shot of pain pierced through me, once again; only this time, my chest ached, over and over.

“They’re connected, dammed it!” Orlando protested as I cried out in pain. “You kill it, and she dies as well!”
I wanted to talk, to tell them that the creature was my own, to beg them not to kill it, and apologize for bringing it into the estate, in the first place. But it seemed that each and every time I opened my mouth to speak, no words would escape my perched lips. I felt trapped, overly warm and dizzy, and the pain across the front and back of my torso, was too painful to describe in words.
I blacked out.

When I awoken, laid out on the couch in the common room, across from that dreadful piano and wet from the dripping towel that was placed across my head, I was completely distorted. The room was loud, and through the opened windows I could hear the voices of Nathaniel and Orlando booming, as they argued. My mother sat on the upholstered chair near the hallway, fanning herself and ordering my sisters around. Georgina soon came to me with a glass of water and Melia, who was sitting at my side, removed the towel and helped me prop myself up.

“Where is it?” were the first words to exit my mouth.
My mother began to scream.

“Where is it!” she repeated. “Why, you could have killed us all! Such an idiotic girl you must be, to bring such a thing into this house.” She looked at my sisters. “And don’t you think I am finished with the rest of you, you must be twice as stupid to let her keep it in your room! A creature like that doesn’t belong in my house, better yet, Vinetta!”
But she had not answered my question, and my eyes continued to scan the room wildly, hoping someone would stop listening to my mother’s dramatics and actually pay mind to me.

“Mr. Orlando has it caged up, and in this carriage.” Melia finally whispered to me.
I sighed; it was all I really wanted to know. Although I was fine, lying in luxury and drinking water under a fine roof and in exceptional clothing, I still felt miserable. I did not understand why at first, but I later learned that for the rest of my life, I could only be truly happy, if that creature was.

“Mama, we should take a look at her for bruises.” Georgina whispered.
My mother looked at her silently.

“They’re taking it away, you know” Georgina muttered as she rubbed an aliment on my bruised back.

“Where?” I questioned, already feeling a wave of sadness.
But with all that had happened, I couldn’t have objected.

“Out of Vinetta, hopefully. But Mr. Orlando says you shouldn’t be separated, that the creature has some sort of unworldly attachment to you.”

“What does he think will happen to it, when it’s gone?”

“Mr. Orlando said he knows it will die. Melia’s out there with them, she’s been reporting back to me like a little spy.” She grinned.

“What will happen to me, if it dies Georgina?”

“Don’t worry yourself Cornelia.”

“Georgina, what will happen to me? I heard Orlando say I’d die if you killed it! If it is separated from me and it dies because of it...” The rim of my eyes filled with tears. “Georgina, I die too, don’t I?”
She didn’t respond, but the feeling of her fingertips rubbing against my back stopped.

“I deserve it. I caused this. I should have listened to you when you told me to keep walking on the sands. Or at the very least, I should have listened and gotten rid of the egg, when you told me too.”

“Stop.” Georgina cried. “This is not your fault; this is not anyone’s fault. And you will not die Eli, you cannot, I refuse to let it happen. You mustn’t fall into this, blaming yourself for this mishap, your giving into mama, and that’s not you. Don’t let her win.”
Georgina had never spoken to me like that before.

“So what happens to me? It cannot stay here; mama would never let it happen!” I muttered.

“She won’t.” She turned me around to face her. “But Melia and I have been thinking, and Masha has gone to fetch Papa. Melia overheard Mr. Orlando say that he knows a gypsy that lives out of Vinetta, past the borders, and that she may know a way to separate you two, the creature and yourself.” She whispered.

“What does Papa have to do with this?” I question.

“Well you’ll need permission to leave with Mr. Orlando and the creature, out of Vinetta.”
I actually smiled.

“Why are you helping me Georgina? Why would you let me leave, you said it yourself, the lands out of Vinetta are barbaric!”

“I thought you’d be more excited, due to the fact that this is all you’ve ever dreamed of.” She paused. “It’s the adventure out of Vinetta, the one you always speak about.”

“But I hardly know Mr. Orlando, to travel with him?”

“You’ll be fine; he seems to speak very little, unless it’s to or with you. They’ll be others too, Nathaniel told Melia, that his brother never travels alone, he has a crew. Now stop making excuses Eli, would you rather stay here and die?” Her words were back to its familiar, demanding tone.

I did not even have time to grow excited, for I was leaving Vinetta before I knew it.

Vinetta was my home. Although rarely, I had laughed there, I had cried there, I had crawled, walked and ran there, I had dreamed of the dream I was about to live there, I had prayed there and most importantly I had loved, the kind of sisterly love, there. To say it was a bitter-sweet moment would be a complete understatement. It felt like two totally different emotions, unnatural to be paired with one another, were flooding through my system. I wanted to cry, for I was scared and uncertain of my future, and I wanted to bawl for I had already begun to miss my six sisters, yet I wanted to laugh and sing, certainly terribly, with joy for I was embarking on a journey of a lifetime. I was prancing in the large field between terrified and sheer happiness, and the fact that my life was at stake, somehow did not eat away at me, as it should have. My father had been quiet at first, mouthing no words and simply nodding as each person spoke, and in the end, he placed my life in the hands of Mr. Orlando, and hoped for the best; Mr. Orlando, whom I believe cared more for the creature’s life, than of my own. He kept it in a cage, and there it lied next to him in the carriage, as we made our way through the gates of the estate. I wasn’t yet out of Vinetta, but I already felt different.

“How far out of Vinetta, is the gypsy?” I questioned.

“Why? Are thou scared?” Orlando smiled and spoke as if we were long best friends.

“No.” I assured.

“How are you feeling?”

“I am fine.” I grinned, “Since when do you, Mr. Orlando, care about how I feel?”

“I don’t.” he answered abruptly, in the familiar frank tone he spoke with at Masha’s ball. “But if you are feeling fine, that means so does the animal.”

“Does it have a name?”
I wanted to refer to it as something other than the ‘creature’ or ‘animal’.

“I don’t know the species name. I’ve only seen such a creature once, when I first began to leave Vinetta. Since then, I’ve done research, but very little.”

“Is it a male or female?”

“Gods, you speak as if you are writing a book.” Orlando mocked.

“No, that is your job isn’t it?”

“I suppose, and it’s a male.”
I thought for a moment. At first I wanted to simply give the animal a pretty name, but learning that it wasn’t a girl, I stopped to think about it. I then considered naming it after Orlando, because after all, I would have been dead if it weren’t for him. But I figured he wouldn’t appreciate it, or would misread what I was trying to do. So, I went for a simple approach.

“Land.” I finally said.

“What?” he peeped out the window.

“No.” I looked at the caged animal, “I named him, Land.”
Orlando shook his head, and called me a ‘silly young girl’ but Land watched my intently as I spoke. He knew from then, we were one.

“Where is your crew?” I questioned Orlando.

“We meet at the docks.”

“Docks?” I repeated.

“Aye, Miss Cornelia, the gypsy lives on an island outside of Vinetta. Our ship is docked and will depart from the bay in town.”
I wanted to ask him how he had met such a woman in the first place, but I was afraid it may have been too personal of a question.

“Careful with Miss Cornelia Gaten’s trunk, Myers!” Orlando mockingly ordered the man unloading the carriage. “She has packed valuable gowns for our expedition!”
One moment Orlando was quite and serene, even speechless, the other he was pleasant, laughing and joking, but then there were times he would be so serious, and frank with words and a tone that hurt, I just could not understand him.

“Aye aye, Captain.” The man responded.
I was confused by the man’s words.

“Captain?” I repeated, “Why, is this ship yours, Orlando?”

“Yes, it is my ship you wish to sink with your trunk so full of necessities.” The last word lingered, sternly.
The irony of it all was like a sick joke. There he had sat, on the couch, in the common room of our estate. There he sat speechless and uninterested, quiet and unacknowledged, like a mere no one. There my mother palmed the man off of my sister, expecting me to care for his brother, when there sat an explorer, a writer and the captain of the most beautiful ship I had ever laid eyes on. If only my mother had known, if only my mother had paid attention to the antisocial, seemingly arrogant man in the room, she would have tried to marry Melia to him. I am sure of it.
People swarmed around me like insects. Once on the boat, Orlando lectured me on how to behave, he warned me of the hundred men on board, and showed me where I was to sleep. When I asked him where he would, as I was staying in his quarters, he reassured me not to worry about it. It seemed like he never enjoyed answering my simple questions. Before he left he opened the cage and let Land out. Land was calm, and simplify plopped himself on the ground like a common dog. Orlando left, going on about how I was to learn to control my feelings, for I was feeling for two now. He argued that if I were to ever grow angry, Land would grow angry, and if that were to happen... well the outcome of that would be unpredictable.
Land didn’t do much as I sat at Orlando’s desk, breathing in deeply and thinking of all that was ahead of me.

“Exciting, isn’t it?” I said to him.
I was surprised when his peculiar face looked up, as if he were listening to me. It only took two days, before he never left my side.

As it only took two days for Land and I to become best friends, it only took two to grow accustom to the people around me. Orlando was the captain, and he often steered the ship, but he also had two men, Capes and Freud who stood at the wheel whenever he was elsewhere. Although he seemed quite familiar with the map, Orlando also had a man by the name of Paris, whom he consoled with for directions. Along with these three men, was Franklin Ol’Heart, which was a dear friend of the Captain, and served as his right-hand man. Orlando often called him ‘FrankO’. The rest of the men on the ‘Emerald’, which was the name of the ship, were different. They spoke different, they dressed differently, and their jobs as part of the crew where quite different. They unhitched the sales, washed the deck, slept with the goods and weapons, and cooked in turns, yet they seemed just as happy. I asked one as I was walking by him on deck one morning, why he enjoyed sailing so? He replied, “Why Miss. Gaten, do you enjoy it?” When I answered yes, he asked me why. “It’s freeing.” I responded. He just smiled and nodded his head. Cattle, as he was referred to because of a branding mark on his neck used to mark farmers cattle, was just like everyone else on board. Although Orlando had told me not to socialize with them, I was nice to everyone on the Emerald. They were gross, unwashed men without much hygiene nor education, most of them, but they were much nicer than any of the men I had meet in Vinetta. Orlando did not seem to mind that I was clearly disobeying his orders, and at dinner, when we all gathered for food and rum, which I had never tasted before in my life until then, he seemed to enjoy the different view point I brought to the table. Every morning Land and I woke up, ate bread, walked onto the deck to say hello to everyone, and watched the oceans waters from the front bow of the deck, stretch before our eyes. We’d then go play little games, like fetch and I’d feed her a piece of meat. In the evenings I’d clear up an area for dinner, check up on and help the cooks, map our progress with Orlando in his quarters, at his deck, and join the crew for dinner. We’d enjoy watching the sails in the wind throughout the day, and listening to various crew members’ stories of adventure. We were happy, Land and I. But still, some nights Land would whimper as I cried in bed, for I surely missed my sisters, and had not adjusted to that drastic change, as yet.

Cattle, whom I grew to become very fond of, was the one who suggested to the Captain that I outta learn to handle a sword myself. Orlando, who was growing less and less demanding of me with each and every day, and more of a friend, agreed. So in between our games and sea gazing, Land would sit quietly on the deck, the light shinning off of his awkward skin, and watch Cattle and Myers, the man who I had first seen unloading the carriage at the docks, teach me. We were already a week into the journey when I began to learn, using heavy wood instead of the real thing. At first, I admit, I wanted to quit. I begged them to forget, to let me die if we were to ever encounter looters or pirates, but they continued to hit and pry at me. It was hard, not getting angry as they lunged at me, and I often joked, although it was terrible, that Land shouldn’t watch, for it would remind him too much of his birthday. By the time we anchored the Emerald off the black sands of the island, it had been three weeks since the day I climbed into the carriage and said goodbye to my family. I had lived all my life with them, yet three weeks alone with the crew of that ship, and I considered them too, as my family. In three weeks I had laughed with them, cried among them, danced and sang drunkenly with them and they, although I still thought of my sisters often, they had become my family. And Land, who I had felt a connection with since I had placed my fingertips upon his egg, we were more than anything I could have imagined. In the three weeks he had shown me more affection than any pet I had ever had, than my sisters, than my mother or father. Land listened to my thoughts and words, and felt with me, each and every moment. Surely it was an adjustment, having an unknowing creature, lay with me as we slept, his cold scales against the skin of my leg, but I had learned to love him. When I climbed into the row boat with Orlando, FrankO, Paris, Meyers, Cattle and two of their best swords men, whom we called ‘Blade’ and ‘Corpse’, as well as Land at my side, I was much different. I looked at the black sand in awe.

“I’d never even dreamed of such a thing.” I told the others.

“Thou should see the red sands of Murgock!” Meyers screamed back.

“Aye, red as newly seeped blood on the blade of a sword my lady!” Cattle added, grinning.
My loaned boots from Orlando sloshed through the breaking waves of the black beach. Land ran wildly in excitement, through the sand ahead of me.

“Grimma lives not too far away, Eli.” Orlando muttered.
Grimma was the name the gypsy went by.

“Are there many people on this island?” I questioned as the men turned the row boat over, on shore.

“Not many adults, but quite a bit of children. Disease has killed most of their parents off.” FrankO answered.
The swarm of children greeted us as we walked down the narrow path between poverty stricken shacks considered homes. I was appalled, here were all these families, living simple, unsanitary and frankly, terrible lives, through my eyes. And at Vinetta, we drank our tea out on the veranda and gathered for dinner at the table each and every night with ease. We cried for our tattered gowns, for that was our biggest worry.

“How do they live like this? Faced with misery each and every day?” I asked.

“But they are not miserable.” Orlando said.

“They may live in poverty, my lady, and they may not have the things you had to grow up with in Vinetta, but they are happy. They have each other to hold onto, through whatever may come forth in their direction.” Paris assured me.
The children were all gazing at me.

“Why are they only looking at me, so?”
The men laughed.

“Your gown.” Orlando frankly stated.

“Aye Captain, but perhaps at her beauty as well.” Cattle laughed.

“Perhaps.” He mumbled.
I stopped for a while and spoke to some of the children that hovered around. Orlando was right; they stared at my gown as if they had never seen such a thing. I invited them to go ahead and feel it, for it was a thing called ‘silk’ and they all beamed with excitement. I was especially surprised that the children hardly looked afraid of Land. I introduced him to them, and they all gazed silently, though none approached.

“Miss. Cornelia.” Orlando called out for me.
I followed.
When we reached Miss. Grimma’s house, I was intrigued to see that the woman was a very handsome woman. In her twenties, she must have been, with a darker complexion, more that of wicker and she bore dark black eyes.
She hugged the entire crew hello, but when it came to me, she bounced backward as if I was evil and her eyes scanned my figure from head to toe.

“What is she doing here?” he snapped, her eyes fixed on Orlando.

“She is just a friend Grimma, she needs your help.” His voice was low and sweet.

“It’s delightful to meet you Miss. Grimma. Thank you for having me in your home, I really hope you’ll consider helping m-”
But before I could finish my sentence, she had cut me off.

“Get her out of here! You’ve brought a rich Vinettaian into my home!” she cursed in a peculiar accent. “Why would I help her? Her papa must have all the money in the world, why come to me?” I watched her face grow red, and her spit hit my loaned boots. “Do you not have any respect?”
I was turning to leave when I saw Land on the floor calm and submissive.

“My papa” I screamed mockingly, “has not the money to save his own daughters life. And you speak of respect as if you acquire any yourself, yet you spit like a animal and scream out your words with haste. Well, do you not think two can play at your games? Either you help me, or I’ll let the creature rip your body to shreds. I have nothing to lose, you wrench, so ask the gods, I will do it.”
The crew said not a word, the woman grew quiet, and Land began to growl at my feet.

“Since when does a Vinettanian speak with such haste?” she finally responded, in a much calmer tone.
I hushed Land.

“What do you expect from a woman Grimma, when she has spend three weeks on a ship with a crew of men?”
She laughed.

“Sounds like a party to me Miss...” she paused and looked at me.

“Eli, just Eli. The term Miss. has been much over used by now.”
She nodded.

“What can I help you all with?”

“We need something to separate Eli and the animal, do you know of anything?” Orlando questioned.

“Why dear, why must you underestimate me so? Give me some time; I’ll have exactly what you need.”
Before Grimma left the room I asked what she may want in return, she looked at me strangely for a while, but she finally watched me from head to toe, and answered.

“That gown Eli. I could do with some silk.”
And so, in the back room of the woman’s house, I placed on a pair of trousers she threw at me, and tucked my corset and under shirt into the pants. Orlando’s black boots rose to my knees, and I placed the sword the crew had given me, through the loop hold.

“Is she out as yet?” I called out as I walked out to the road where the men where.

“Well look at that!” Cattle screamed.

“A sailor, my lady, you were born to be!” Meyers cried out, after him.

“Wait till thou returns to Vinetta!” added Cattle.

“No boys, for my parents may die of shock. A woman mustn’t think of such things!” I laughed.

“The answer is no.” Orlando coldly stated, hardly looking in my direction.

“Excuse me?”

“She is not yet out, Miss. Cornelia.” He responded.
I looked down at Land in confusion. Why was he calling me Miss. Cornelia and speaking to me in such a tone again?
I bit at my finger nails as we waited.
When Grimma returned, she handed me a necklace. The pendent that hung held a capsule of liquid which she assured me, would separate Land and I. When I looked down at it, hanging from my neck, I did not feel freed as I had expected. I was supposed to be happy, for I had accomplished and received the very thing I had set out for.

“Drink it.” Orlando mumbled as we walked back to the shore.


“Drink the damned thing, isn’t that what you wanted? Isn’t that why I had to bring you out here? Is it not for that potion, did we cross oceans for?”

“You speak as if bringing me out here, was misery. As if I’ve been nothing but a chore.” I answered calmly.
He did not answer.

“Aye, that is exactly what you think of!” I looked at him in anger.

“Either you drink the potion or calm yourself Miss. Cornelia.”

“Miss. Cornelia?” I shook my head in disgust. “Its Eli, damned it, Eli. How would you like it if I referred to you again as Sir? Like complete strangers you act like we are. What in the gods has happened to you? Was it not just today that you addressed me by my nickname? Has the last three weeks not happened?”

“I do not believe much has happened in the past three weeks.” He answered his voice alarmingly cold.
Land began to bark.

“Drink the potion and shut it up.” Orlando commanded.

“Shut it up! Shut it up, is what you wish for me to do? It was not long ago, that I believed you cared for that creature’s life more than of mine! Did you not?”

“I did.”

“So why must I shut it up!?” I protested.
I was screaming at the top of my lungs, and as Orlando went to grab for my arms, swinging through the air as I enunciated each word, Land struck. I immediately commanded him to stop, and he did, but it did not stop that first trickle of blood that dropped onto the black sand. I ripped off the sleeve of my shirt, and wrapped it around his arm, where the bite marks were oozing blood, red as the sands the crew had spoken of, earlier. I felt sorry immediately, and I stayed silent on the row boat, as we made our way back to the Emerald of the shores.

“I’m sorry.” I whispered in a monotone voice. “I just couldn’t stand you, telling me to shut Land up. Land has become a part of me, and although I am very grateful you have helped me, I am not very sure that I want to be separated from him. And I know I need to learn how to control my emotions, and I am very sorry Sir, I promise you I will try. Although you speak as if you don’t at times, I know how much you really care for Land, and I truly promise to take good care of him.”

“No need to call me Sir.” Orlando replied, his tone familiar to the way he had spoken to me on our way to the island.
I couldn’t help but smile.

“Well Captain, three more weeks until we return to Vinetta.” I announced, cleaning out his wounds at the desk in his quarters.

“Aye, is thou excited to return home to your sisters and familiarity?”
I laughed.

“I should be, shouldn’t I?” I questioned. “But you see, familiarity, although it has only been but three weeks, well this has become it.”
I dipped the rag into the streaming hot water, and the reminisce blood spread through the clear bowl like wildfire.

“You don’t say.” He grinned. “What will your mother think of you now? In trousers, handling a sword and your hair knotted enough to be a bird’s nest.” He mocked.

“She’d be appalled, Captain. She’d scream something like, ‘Heavens Cornelia, do you suppose a man will ever take interest in you when you look like that? A man wants a woman, not another man’, not that I’d really care anyway. My mother and I haven’t been on the greatest terms for the past few years.” I responded.

“And why is that?” Orlando questioned.
I cleared my throat.

“I suppose ever since I single handedly admitted to her, that I hadn’t the faintest interest in marriage, she has loathed me. I am sure it did not help, that I made this confession but last year, on the night of my society ball.”

“I find it interesting, that you are they only woman I have ever met that does not wish to get married.”

“And I find it interesting, Orlando that you are the only man I have never met, that does not long for a wife to entertain and serve you.”
Orlando snickered.

“You are all cleaned up Captain; I think you’ll be fine to join the rest of the crew out on the deck now.”

“Thank you.” Orlando said as he nodded his head and lifted himself from the table. “You will be out soon too, I hope?”

“Of course.” I paused. “Now get out there before Capes and Freud steer the ship off in the wrong direction.” I joked.

“Have a drink, love!” Cattle screamed out as I hoisted myself down the stairs of the back bow to the deck.
He handed me a glass bottle the moment my feet touched the wood planks.

“Ah, I can always count on you Cattle.” I announced, taking a drink from the bottle. “You know,” I said to him, “I’ve never asked, but you see the Captain and I were just speaking of marriage, and seeing you brings up the question, does thou has a girl back home?”
Cattle laughed.

“Cattle has many girls in many homes!” he announced.
I could always tell when he was drunk, for he spoke of himself in the third person, only then.

“And marriage!” he continued. “Has my lady and the captain finally coming to their senses! Marriage!” he screamed again. “Oh you shall make him a happy man!”
I hushed him.

“The captain and I are not getting married!” I corrected. “We were just speaking of the topic.”

“So you were speaking of getting married?”


“To each other?”

“No, no. Actually, we were speaking of not getting married! To no one, my dear Cattle.”
Poor drunk Cattle simply looked at me in confusion as I walked away, Land trailing besides me.

“A drink, Meyers?” I asked as I approached him, leaning on the banister of the ship.

“Aye, my lady, thank you very much.”
I handed him the bottle.

“So tell me, do you have any loved ones back home?” I questioned as he tipped the bottle back.
He nodded his head.

“In a grave, yes my lady. I was married but once, but Francis, as she was names, died but only a week after our wedding.”
I was not sure how to respond.

“I am so very sorry.” I muttered.
I lifted the bottle in the air.

“To Francis.” I whispered, before taking another gulp.
The sun was setting, and it had been only about half an hour since we sailed out of the island. The sky was orange, just as it was the morning after Masha’s ball, when I spoke to Orlando at the carriage, out in front of the estate. I took the bottle with me as I made my way to the steer. There he stood, the man who I had spent three weeks with, the man I knew not much of, other than his love of adventure, and hatred of marriage, at the steer of the ship, bringing me back to Vinetta. A part of me wanted to beg him to not take me back, but I figured my dream could not go on forever, and that all good things must come to an end.

“You know so much of me.” I said as I handed him the bottle of rum. “And yet, I know nothing of you.”
He took a drink out the bottle.

“I know you and your brother are nothing alike, and I know you do not wish to marry. I also know you are the Captain of the most magnificent ship I have ever set eyes on, but that is all.” I said.

“That is it? I am not sure what else you wish to know, Eli.”
I bit my lips, thinking.

“Why did you want to leave Vinetta? What places have you seen since, and which was your favorite? Do you even enjoy tea?” I chuckled. “As much as you would tell me, please.”

“My mother encouraged me to live my dreams, to get out of town and see the world as I wished. But she died when I was six, and then my father began to raise me. After a few years, all hope and dreams of leaving were forgotten, and replaced with a common dream to gain riches, until one day. I was out in town, by the docks where the ships came in. I had gone to make a business transaction with the owner of one of the shops on that street, when I saw the Emerald. I was but sixteen, but my family had the money. I felt an overwhelming need to have it and I was rushed with all my prior dreams of adventure out of Vinetta, and so, I bought it, and since then I have paid them back, with some gold that I’ve uncovered, off an island I came across. I haven’t named it yet, and no one knows of it but me, and my crew. But by far, that is my favorite place. I’ve seen a lot in total, mountains over-runned by dragons on the other end of the main land, far from Vinetta, of course. I’ve seen Murgock, the island Meyers and Cattle mentioned, with the red sands, and friendly people as well as hard workers, and pirates. I’ve seen sirens unfortunately, and mystical women that live in the waters, with tails like fish. And yes,” he laughed, “I do enjoy tea Eli.”
I hadn’t expected such an answer. Surely he had been treating me with more familiarity, but Orlando had never opened up to me like he had just had. I took a drink of rum, trying to waste time to think of a proper response to such a confession.

“I wish I could see all the things you have.” I finally admitted.
I ran my fingers around the wood of the steering.

“You can, no one is stopping you.”

“Aye, but that is just it. Soon enough, someone will. Whether or not it is my mother, my sister’s or my future husband, someone will hold me back. There isn’t any use to dreaming any longer. I have dreamt of this, and now I can say that I have lived my dream, but I cannot expect anything more.”

“But do you want more?” Orlando questioned.

“Very much, yes.” I answered.
He didn’t respond.

“Can I ask you something?” I finally asked, breaking the silence as we moved to the banister, Capes had taken over the steering.


“Thou speak to me now, as if we are the best of friends. Yet there times where you speak to me as if you despise me, as if my very voice irritates you so, and I just, I don’t know what to think of it at times. Why?”

“It is hard, my lady, when a man questions his own word, his own wants, and you Eli, why you do make me question them so.”
I did not have the time to respond to Orlando’s words.

“Pirates!” the crew began to scream.
I squinted my eyes, as I looked at the horizon before us. A ship was approaching.

“Pirates?” I repeated, looking at Orlando’s frozen face. “But what would they want from you? Why would they bother with us?”

“The Emerald.” He answered. “I bought it off sailors that had taken it from pirates. They want the Emerald, and if they come on board, why, they’ll find our gold and the rich Mr. Gaten’s daughter, worth more than they’d imagine.” He looked at me, with an emotionless look plastered upon his face, yet his eyes screamed terror.

“Arm yourself men!” he screamed. “Fill the cannons! Distribute the guns and sharpen your swords, we cannot afford to lose this ship, nor Miss. Cornelia Gaten.” He turned to me. “Go into my quarters, lock the door behind yourself and Land, and hide. Open the door for no one and if-”

“No!” I screamed. “I’m a member of this crew now and I will stand besides the rest of you all! Don’t you dare command me to cower in your quarters while these men attempt to kill my family!”

“Your family?” Orlando screamed back. “If you are a member of this crew, like everyone else, you will obey to your Captain’s commands!”

“Well there’s the thing, I cannot listen to commands Captain, I apologize, but I am a woman and obeying you, is not in my nature.” I drew my sword. “Aye, isn’t it convenient that Cattle and Meyers has taught me to fight?” I grinned.

We lost quite a bit of men that evening, including dear Myers, Capes and the ever so quite Mr. Paris. We almost lost Orlando as well, although he handled his sword like second nature. But most importantly, I lost a part of me.

“Land!” I had cried out, as my best friend began to breathe fire like a real dragon, against the men around us.
Orlando and I exchanged glances of sheer amazement when we saw that, but it did not last long, for people were dying and killing everywhere.
We had used the cannons on the pirate ship, although they did not do the same because, after all, it was the Emerald they were after. Yet, that did not stop them.
When the men got on board, the world around me broke out into chaos, chaos like had never experienced before. It all went by my eyes so quickly; it was as if I really weren’t there, as if I was sitting back, in Vinetta, watching a performance in the theater, not living it. No man looked at me twice, for I looked nothing of a rich man’s daughter, and so they attacked me with their swords like they did to any other of the men on board. I am not sure how, for I truly cannot believe it, but I fought back. And as I screamed for Land the second time, watching him fall to the ground, his body twitching in pain, I fell too. I gathered whatever energy I had in me to crawl towards him, breathless, and when I got there, hardly able to turn his body to see the blood pouring out of the bullet wound, I was on the verge of death, with him. I lied there, incapable of moving my hand to the potion that hung around my very neck, the clatter of metal and sound of gunshots grew faint, until Orlando’s blurry face appeared. But as he lifted my head to pour the liquid down my throat, a sudden burst of energy ran through me, as I grabbed his gun at his waist, and shot the man who stood behind him, ready to kill him.
After swallowing the potion I coughed up a bit.

“Are you better?” Orlando screamed.
I reached for my chest, but I felt no more pain. I nodded yes before he left my side. Land’s lifeless body lied next to me. I held my hand to my mouth, when I saw the pirate drive his sword into Myers, and I jumped back to my feet, to help protect my family.
The pirates eventually fled, for much of their crew lied burnt and dead from Land’s fire, before he had died, or bloody and dead from our crew’s swordsmanship. Yet although they were gone, I knew they would return, as long as Orlando was the Captain of the Emerald.

“Dump their bodies into the water, I’m afraid the journey is too long for us to take them to get buried in Vinetta. They’d rot. Wrap our men in cloth, but do not waste linen on the pirates, they are worthless to us.” Orlando commanded, as the crew walked around, separating the bodies of pirates from our own deceased crew members.
I was sitting on the banister, helpless and quiet, as I thought of the events that had just taken place. I did not want to separate from Land not too long ago, and it was only weeks ago that I so wished too. There I was now in remorse for I had just lost a part of me, the creature that had become my best friend.

“I’ve cleaned his body up, is there anything special you’d like to wrap him in?”
I didn’t turn around to answer Orlando.

“Aye Captain.” I answered, without much emotion in my voice. “Rip the silk off of one of my gowns and use that.”

The days that followed were quiet. I drank more with and without the crew, and even Cattle grew worried of my new habits. At dinner, I did not protest or speak my mind during conversations, and when I was finished eating I excused myself to bed. I did not practice my swordsmanship with Cattle any longer, and I had no one to play games, or watch the endless ocean with. I did that alone. And when it was time for Orlando to map out our progress, although he was alone for Paris had died, I did not join him.

“Drunk again?” Orlando laughed as he approached me, perched at the bow of the boat.

“What is it, to you?” I bitterly responded.
He sat down and took a drink from the bottle at my side.

“You know, Miss. Cornelia, you are not the only person who watched them die.”

“I know that Captain, but you cannot blame me, for I haven’t ever seen any one die before my eyes before.”

“I understand, but we’ll be docking in Vinetta tomorrow.”
I looked up at night sky.

“And so?” I questioned.

“And so, you’ll be reunited with your family. I do not think they are you expecting you to be so.”

“So what?”

“So much like Cattle.” He laughed.

“How can you be so happy, when you’ve seen all those people die? When Paris, Capes and Myers have died? You’ve lost nearly half your crew and yet you laugh and joke as if life is amazing.”

“Life is amazing.”

“You should have left me to die.” I protested. “I should have died with Land.”

“Ah, so now you are punishing me for saving your life? The noble Miss. Cornelia Gaten wishes she was dead with the creature, does she?”

“I loved that animal.”

“I know you did. But do you really wish you were dead?”
I didn’t respond, for I truly didn’t.

“I suppose I should punish you for saving my life as well. You shouldn’t have jumped out of that trance to shoot the man, ready to kill me.” Orlando added.

“I shouldn’t have, I haven’t the faintest idea why I did it.”
Orlando stared at me for a while, before replying.

“You have changed so much since that first evening I saw you at your home.”
I left, and locked the door to his quarters behind me. I thought for some time, before falling asleep in bed that last night on the Emerald. Orlando thought I had changed since our first encounter, but he did not realize how much he had changed.

“Excited, are you?” Orlando questioned as I climbed into the carriage.
I looked at the Emerald, docked at the pier. I wasn’t, how could I possibly be excited, to be back in Vinetta? My dream was over.

“Not at all.” I mumbled.

“You know, you are always welcomed to visit the crew and the Emerald, whenever we are in town.” He announced.
I did not look at him, for I was still staring intently at the ship, and the men unloading it. It wasn’t until we took off, that I spoke again.

“When are you leaving?” I questioned.

“We’ll be in town for about a week, and then we are off to Murgock. We need the time to find some new crew members, and tend to whatever business we must.”

“The island with the red sands, why?”

“Trade.” He looked at me curiously. “We’ve gotten very questioning again. Is it a thing you get when you ride in carriages?”

“I’ve been gone for six weeks.” I stated, changing the subject. “What do you suppose is different in Vinetta?”

“Well I am sure; nothing is as different as you are.”
I looked at my reflection in the window.
My hair laid messily, down my back, my gown was torn and I wore no jewelry of any kind.

“Oh.” I muttered when I realized I was wearing the boots Orlando had loaned to me. “I’m sure mama will love this.” I said sarcastically.

“Melia!” I screamed at the sight of my sister in the pathway.
I had never given a bigger hug, than the hug I gave that morning.

“Why the estate looks so festive, gods, what is going on?” I cried, as I reached out to embrace my other sisters.

“Goodness, what has happened to you!” my mother screamed.

“Why mama, don’t you love it?” I mocked.

“Where is the creature?” Masha called out to me.

“It died.” Orlando announced from behind.

“Oh, Mr. Orlando!” my mother screamed. “Why we have great news, I think you should join us.”

“I’d love to Mrs. Gaten, but I am afraid I must go pay visit to my brother and father.”
He left.

“Well, aren’t we glad to see that you are okay! Alive and well!” my mother screamed.

“What was it like?” one of the twins screamed out. “Did you see any monsters?” the other added.

“I’m afraid not, no monsters other than man.” I replied.

“Eli.” Georgina called out at the door way. “Oh how was it, are you okay?” she questioned as I embraced her.

“I’m fine.” I looked around. “So what is new in Vinetta? No one has answered my question as yet, why does the estate look so festive?”
It was then that I learned that that very weekend, we were having a wedding. At first, I thought Georgina was finally getting married to Marcus, but my sisters assured me that was not to happen. So then, I figured Melia and Nathaniel were to get married, and that made me happy.

“Wrong again!” Masha cried.

“Than who is it?”

“I’m marrying Daniel.”
I looked up at Georgina’s face, in shock.

“Hurry up; I want to see her with the veil on!”

“Truly, Masha you haven’t any patients at all.” Camelia said, hushing my younger sister.

“You look beautiful.” I muttered to Georgina, sitting at the vanity table in her wedding dress.
She looked at me, standing against the door and smiled.

“Thank you.” She whispered.
She did not take her eyes off of me.

“Cornelia.” She continued, “Are you happy?”
I shook my head, grinning at her.

“I have always hated how motherly you act towards me.” I joked, “Here you are on your wedding day, and you waste your breathe to hound me with silly questions like, are you happy?” I laughed, walking toward her. “Yes, I am.” I said looking at her eyes in the mirror.

“You mustn’t lie so.”

“I am not.” I teased, as I helped clip the lace to the top of her head.

“You cannot tell me you are happy, back in Vinetta, in the same estate, with the same people, away from magical creatures, sailors that you seem to like so very much, and adventure.”

“I’ve had my fair share already Georgina, and now it is over. I am willing to settle down and do what is expected of me. It is the right thing to do. You speak as if I have been gone a century, yet it was only but six weeks.” I paused. “It’s time for you to get to the temple. Your future husband is awaiting you, remember?”
She smiled.

“You know it was you, who got me thinking of him. Of Daniel, the night of Masha’s ball, it was you.” She said as I opened the door for her. “It was you, I have to thank, for opening my eyes and making me see, I did not love Marcus, mama did. Do not give up Cornelia. My dear sister, remember what I said to you the day you left here. I can see it in your eyes, you hurt and yet you try to hide the pain, at the mention of your journey, at the mention of the creature, and at the mention of Orlando. Do not cower away as if you are me, or any of your other sisters, for you are not. You are nothing like us, and you most certainly should not live your life out, like ours.” Georgina whispered before we made our way out of the estate.

The ceremony took place in the temple we prayed at all our lives, up on the cliff overlooking the sands of beach; the very beach that I had walked on with my sisters, not too long ago, when I found Land’s egg. When our carriages pulled up, I went inside to take my seat in the front row, amongst the statues and intricate paintings of our gods and goddesses.

“Miss. Camelia, Miss. Cornelia, Miss. Masha.” Nathaniel announced, as he rose from his seat, while we passed by him, in the aisle.
We all bowed.

“How are you Mr. Nathaniel?” Camelia asked.
Orlando smiled at me, from behind.

“I am good, how are you?”

“All is well, it is a wedding after all.” Melia said smiling.

“How are thou, Captain?” I said jokingly to Orlando.

“I am well, my lady, and you?”
Nathaniel and Melia exchanged looks as we mocked them, although I was not really sure if they completely understood what we were doing.

“Delightful.” I said, before leaving to take my seat.

“How can you two speak to each other so informally?” Camelia questioned as we took our seats.

The ceremony was, well beautiful, as every wedding is. When it was over, we once again piled into our carriages and made our way back to the estate. This was tradition in Vinetta, to ask the gods for their support and approval, and then return home to get drunk like sailors. A term, I now properly understood. And this time, I was not to sit back and sip at my wine. I had spent the last two months drinking hard whisky and scotch with dirty men, and it would have been impossible to go back then.

“What will mama think?” Masha cried when she caught sight of my drink in hand.

“Please Masha, shut up. When will you understand, I do not care for mama’s blessings.” I said, before taking a sip.

“Are we back to this again?” she cried.

“Aye.” I replied, grinning.
Sometime between Georgina’s speech, and the carriage ride home, I had realized something. Suddenly, I was back to my old self again, and I feared that it was because I had seen Orlando.
And sometime during the ceremony, I had come to terms with all that I had seen and lost on the Emerald, and I understood it. Life is not about who you married, where you lived, what you wore, drank, or spoke like. Life is simple, and in the end, no matter who you are, you die. Your body is buried amongst maggots, thrown to feed the sharks, or burnt to ash, but what does it matter? When the people you knew look back on you, were you happy? Had you accomplished your dream? Because everyone has that one thing they dream of doing or seeing before they die, no matter whom. My dream was to live an adventurous life, and six weeks could not possibly cut it. Six weeks cannot amount to a life time, and all I had ever really wanted to do, was get out of Vinetta and explore. And along the way, I had built up a new dream, a dream I would have never guessed would reside in my heart.

“You must really love this spot.” I announced when I found Orlando at the garden entry way.

“Yes, Miss Cornelia, I do. I must say, it is the most pleasant feature of your home.”

“Ah, but this is not my home, and you know it.”
He looked at me in confusion.

“Why, what are you trying to say Eli?”
I wanted to say that my real home was the Emerald.

“May I ask you something, Orlando?”
He nodded his head yes.

“Of course, anything at all.”

“The evening the pirates attacked, the evening you told me of your mother and your dream of adventure out of Vinetta, you told me something. Something I did not have the time to quite interpret, for your words confused me so, and it wasn’t long before we were sharpening swords and clenching dead bodies. Orlando, that night I asked you why you spoke to me with haste, and yet with familiarity at times. And right before the sighting of the Pirate ship you answered, ‘It is hard, my lady, when a man questions his own word, his own wants, and you Eli, why you do make me question them so.’ What did you mean of it?” I questioned.

“Eli, I am sure you know the answer to that yourself, for ever since that evening, you have been doing the same to me.” He answered. “I thought I knew what I wanted from life, adventure, and that is all. I thought adventure was enough to keep me happy, and it was, until you. At first I must admit, I saw you the way I saw every other young woman in Vinetta, as materialistic, naïve and ignorant of the outside world. But then you spoke of your dream on the Veranda, the morning Land’s egg hatched, which I am sure, was because of your anger for your sister, Masha teased you because of it. I wrestled with the thought that maybe I was wrong about what I really wanted, that maybe I really did not want to be alone until I was old and needed a wife for company. And sometime between watching you learn to use a sword, mapping out our progress with me, at my desk on my ship, and shooting the man who was ready to kill me, having you for company became my norm. I am sure you understand the pain and hurt I felt, when you began to push me away, and it was then that I had realized what I had been doing to you for all that time. Playing sick mind games, only because I was unsure of what I wanted. May I ask you something?”


“If thou died in this house, amongst these people,” he looked around at all the people, laughing and socializing inside, “would thou die a happy woman?”

“I certainly would not.” I answered.

“And what is it that you must do, in order to die happy Eli?”
My words would change my life forever.

“I must live a life of adventure; see the red sands of Murgock, the dragons in the mountains of the mainland, your favorite place where you have found gold. I must drink with Cattle and argue at the dinner table with the crew members of the Emerald.” I took a deep breath. “And, I must be with you, Orlando.”
He grinned. And there, in the garden of my childhood home, with the music of the Orchestra and people around us, loud and powerful, the man whom I hadn’t thought of twice upon our first encounter, asked for my hand in marriage. Aye, I accepted. In that split of a second, I grew so overwhelmingly happy, that I wished Land was still alive, for it was a feeling, too great and filled with ecstasy, that it must have been sinful to keep to oneself. I wanted to cry and laugh again, like I had felt like doing the day that the carriage pulled off, when I left Vinetta.
We married the very next week, not in the family temple, but on the Emerald, docked in Vinetta’s bay. And when we were finished, my family and his said goodbye, for we left that very night, on our own adventure with our crew. The Emerald felt more like a home to me, than the actual estate I grew up in, and as the pier and little waterfront shops faded in the distance, I looked at the new ring that I wore on my finger. The gold, from Orlando’s island, and the Emerald stone on top, meant so much more to me, than of value or wealth. It was the beginning of my new life, my dream, and I was determined to die a happy woman.


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This book has 2 comments.

on Apr. 25 2013 at 7:35 pm
plathfanatic GOLD, Elmont, New York
10 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If there is a god, I bet he looks down at us and laughs at our foolish ways."

Thank you so much! I never thought anyone would even bother reading this, so your comments much appreciated! :D

Hanban12 ELITE said...
on Apr. 25 2013 at 5:09 pm
Hanban12 ELITE, Lake Worth, Florida
133 articles 7 photos 631 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."
Henry David Thoreau

"I fell in love the way you fall asleep; slowly, and then all at once."
John Green

Brilliant! I absolutlely love fanstasy and sci-fi (as u can see by my works ;D), and you really gave it a nice twist! Your plot is captivating and I love the characters... ur an amazing writer! :)