An Adventure Quest Short Story
This short story was written by Kayleigh Hellmann, a student of Story Quest Academy.
“Awwwwdra!” Captain calls. I quickly shove a few bites of my breakfast, burnt toast, into my mouth before running to him, leaving my half-eaten breakfast behind. I choked down my mouthful.
“Cook ‘as a load ‘o stuff fer ya te drag belowadecks,”
“Now?” I ask, thinking about my unfinished breakfast,
“Now,” he repeats sternly.
“Yes, sir,” I say, as I trot over toward Cook, my stomach loudly complaining. He is making more toast, more or less burnt, and forgetting the butter on some. He’s a terrible Cook, half his food turns out burnt, or worse. It’s all I’ve eaten for years, and I’m still not quite used to it. Sometimes, when he’s sick, I cook. I’m not sure which is worse, his food, or mine.
“Awdra, why don’tcha go an’ bring this sack o’ s’plies to our store? There’s a good gal,” I look at the sacks and slump. There’s quite a few, and boy, do they look heavy. I suppose you’re wondering why there’s me, a girl, on a pirate ship? This is not my choice. I was kidnapped years and years ago, around the age of five. I’m now Fifteen, and I haven’t been on land since. It’s hard to remember my life before that, I vaguely remember my parent’s faces. I barely remember that there were more children than myself captured, but I do remember that I was the only one to stay. I suppose it could be worse, these pirates aren’t the most piraty of pirates. Is Piraty even a word? It’s the only way to describe these pirates. They haven’t really done anything bad since the kidnapping of those children, but in my opinion, that matters everything. They are not safe people. And I don’t have a choice about being with them. My name is really Audra, not Awdra, but they all call me Awdra.
I grab the sacks and start to strain, what’s in here? Bricks? Golden Ingots? Probably not, the Pirates haven’t had any luck with maps or ships since I’ve been aboard. I hate it when they attack another ship, they let people get away at least, and then plunder it. So, this is more likely not Golden Ingots. I pull and pull until I can push it down below. It lands with a thud that seems to shake the ship. Definitely not bricks or gold. I continue this process over and over again. I am just finishing the last one when I hear a few thumps in a quick procession. Startled, I turned around. More sacks. Where on EARTH are they getting these things? I continue to drag the sacks. Suddenly, Captain shouts,
“Men! Attention!” Everyone stops his work to look up.
“Whut is it, Cap’n?” A sailor shouts
“Ah’ve d’cided, with much ‘sideration, that we oughter go back to Hanru for our booty!” He declared
“Hi, Cap’n!” Shouts a younger sailor, “Will we be ‘positin’, or collectin’?” All of the sailors stop whispering to listen to the answer.
“Ah think we oughter do a bit o’ collectin’,” The sailors cheer, loudly. Hanru. The fabled island where the treasure from our ship is dropped off. I’ve never been there. All the money they get, they use. But now we’re going there. I probably won’t be allowed on land. I finally finish the job. One of the sailors notices before I return to my uneaten toast.
“Hey, Awdra, Cook wants ya to swab the poop deck,” I reluctantly go. I just need a chance to escape. I’m a ‘member’ of this crew and have been for almost a decade, but I’d leave without batting an eye.
For three days, we sailed straight for the Island of Hanru. I wake up early in the mornings and take over watching in the mainmast. It’s so amazing up there. There are birds and clouds, and you can see over the ocean for what seems like miles. One morning, as I swab the deck, the sailor at the mainmast shouts,
"HANRU ISLAND!” I drop the mop and scramble up the ropes. There it is. It’s even prettier than I imagined. Birds fly over it, and there are great big hills and forests. Suddenly, I see movement on the beach, I strain my eyes, but I can’t tell what it is.
“Do you see something on the beach?” I ask the sailor below me,
“The beach, I think I see something there?” The sailor squints,
“Uhh, Cap’n? Ah think there is someone, or something, on th’ beach?” He says slowly, leaving out the part that I discovered it.
“There shouldn’t be nobody on there,” He growls, suddenly, a pillar of fire explodes from amongst the trees. It disappears within seconds, but it is enough for us to know that something is there and that that something has seen us.
“Cap’n, did you see that?”
“What should we do?” Within seconds, the ship is in turmoil. An exceptionally huge breeze catches our sail and brings us at a rapid speed toward the island.
“Put down the sails!” Captain roars, “There’s too many rocks!” The sailors make a mad scramble but they’re too late. The Ship is very near the shore now, and it’s miraculously dodging the rocks. We see nobody. The ship crashes into a sandbank and everyone is thrown to the ground. I jump to my feet and lean over the rail, we are stuck fast in the sand.
“The boat be leakin’! Every man to the pumps!” A sailor shouts. Captain takes charge,
“Dick, Rube, Allen, Jerry, run over to th’ pump. And Terry, you gather up men to work on the repairs. Joseph, you and I are going to take a rowboat with three men to shore to see what we can see.”
“Cap’n! Th’ rowboat ain’t gonna be ready for a bit, Terry needs it for ‘is r’pairs! There be exterior damage.”
“Don’t we ‘ave two rowboats?”
“No, sir, we lost one in that awful storm,” I shudder, that storm was something. It was a wonder the ship hadn’t been wrecked in it.
“Tell Terry to hurry on th’ r’pairs, that’s orders,”
“Yessir,” The sailor rushed off. Captain looked off at the island, with a thoughtful look in his eyes.
“What was that fire?” I asked
“Ya don’t want ta know,” He grunted,
“I do!” I insisted. He looked long and hard at me before saying,
I could not sleep that night. I tossed and turned and tossed again. I could not stop thinking about the dragon. What kind was it? Was there more than one? Were they friendly? And was it even a dragon? Were there people on the island? It made the most sense that it was a dragon, how else could there have been a straight pillar of fire like that? I haven’t seen a dragon before, at least not to my knowledge. I do know that they are real. I thought I saw a sea dragon once. It was long and blue, with orange fins, I blinked and it was gone. Are dragons invisible? I could hear the rusty pumps creaking, and the men talking in hushed tones. I rolled over. After a few more hours, I gave up. I walked onto the main deck and stared at the island. You could barely see it because it was so dark. I squinted, wait, was that a . . .yes! It was!
“Captain, Captain, a light!” I shout, and he comes running. There’s a light, that means humans. I have a place to go! I can escape! Captain’s face darkens,
“That must mean there’s humans. But we have to go to land, or else we may not have enough supplies to last our journey,” He looks up, “Go to sleep right now. And don’t let me catch you out of your quarters again before dawn!” he snaps. I shrink back, startled by his tone of voice.
“Y-yes sir,” I stammer as I scurry back to my bed. I didn’t dare stir out of my room for the rest of the night, although I could hear things happening on board. The second daylight spilled into the room, and I leaped out of bed. It was nice having my own room, even though it was tiny. One of my few privileges. I ran out onto the deck, not having bothered to undress the night before. The crew was all over the place, some were looking out at the island, some were eating some disgusting-looking porridge, and a few were vomiting said porridge over the rail of the ship. A normal morning. Some were repairing the leak or at the pumps. It’d be great if we fixed the leak, but how were we planning to get out of the sandbank?
“Awwwdra, Cook wants ya,” Said a sailor, jerking me from my thoughts. I went to the kitchen,
“Awdra, there ya are, Ah ran out o’ porridge, make some, will ya?”
“Yessir,” I didn’t know how to make porridge, so I resolved to put in some random stuff. I probably could be a good cook if I tried, or had training. In this case, I didn’t have either. I threw a bunch of stuff together and tasted it. Ugh, it was terribly bitter. I located the sugar and dumped a bunch in. I hesitantly tasted it. It was hard to get down, it was so sugary but edible. I resolved to skip breakfast. Cook came in,
“Well, yer finished. I’ll be servin’ it to the pirates,” He hardly sampled my food anymore, and I didn’t blame him. I gave him a large bowl, put heaps of the porridge in it, and put in a huge serving of syrup. “Give this to Dick,” I said. Dick made my life miserable when he could, I relished the thought of his face when he tasted it.
“We’re done with the repairs,” Terry reported.
“Excellent, I’ll be taking Awdra with me,” said the Captain. I froze. Excuse me?
“Sir?” asked Terry, equally surprised.
“They won’t attack if there’s a girl on board. Ah knew she’d come in use just for this purpose. Today, me efforts pay orf,” Come on. It’s not like I’m a doll or something.
“Awdra, ya heard what Ah said. Yer coming too, so ya better back yerself something’ useful. Don’t know if we’ll be taken captive,” Just great. First time leaving this stupid ship in almost a decade, and it’s a favor for the Captain. I went off to pack. The second I closed the door, I kicked open my small closet angrily. I pulled out a dusty, rotting chest that I’d never put a thing in if I had a choice. The door opened. I sighed,
“Can’t you knock?” I said, annoyed.
“I got a chest fer ya from Captain,” said Cook.
“Thanks, now I have to pack, bye,” and I slammed the door. I looked at the small round window. I opened it and stuck my head out. Wouldn’t it be nice just to swim to the island, alone? Too bad the window wasn’t even wide enough for my shoulders to fit through. I looked into the water, and gasped,
‘Greetings’ a voice rang in my head. I goggled at the dragon. A soft, musical laugh rang in my head, as if it were my own thought, ‘do not be afraid, young one. I am the Water dragon, Jewel. I have been following this ship since it first left Hanru,’ my jaw dropped,
“What?!” I exclaimed,
‘Hush, human, do not speak unless needed, I do not plan to be revealed now of all times. I know that you would not tell, I let the Islanders know that the ship returned, many of them were killed long ago. And I know you wish to leave.’ I nodded, even though it wasn't a question. ‘Don’t bother to pack’ she said,
‘You will see,’ she disappeared into the water, so fast I could barely catch her movement. Almost immediately following her departure, there was scrambling on the deck,
“All hands on deck, all hands-on de— wait, those at the pumps, stay at the pumps!” It was Jerry, he shouted orders because his voice was so loud, not because he was in charge.
I got out of my cabin and took a step outside, I looked toward the island and realized the hurry. There was a boat, with fifteen armed Islanders. They were sailing directly for us.
“We mean you no harm!” Shouted the leader when they were closer. It was a lady, she was tall, with wavy blonde hair, she wore a mask of eagle feathers, as did the other Islanders.
“Ah thought ye were long gone,” Growled Captain. He knew this woman?
“We are not as weak as you supposed,” said the leader, evenly.
“We won’t harm any o’ ye, we jest want our treasure, assuming you haven’t stolen it,” he spat. The leader tossed her head, her brilliant blue eyes flashing,
“We wouldn’t touch your filthy treasure. We won’t let you have it. You stole out young, and then sold them into slavery,”
“Ye killed half o’ me crew! Ah needed money,”
“We only retaliated to your attack and attempted kidnapping, you stole my only child and many other children. You killed my husband, the chief, in the fighting, I am now the Chieftess.”
“Lass, all we want is th’ treasure, we don’t plan on another massacre unless ye keep our treasure from our fingers.” I saw him bend his knees slightly.
From all my years on board, I knew he was ready to leap, his two cutlasses were drawn. In an instant, I knew what he meant to do.
Without thinking, I dashed out the doorway, “No, stop, don’t hurt her!” I shouted. Everyone turned to look at me, and I forced myself to stand tall, and defiant, and not shrink back into my cabin.
“Awdra, get into yer quarters,” Snarled Captain. Every inch of me wanted to obey, I knew the consequences if I didn’t. I glanced at the leader, and I knew I couldn’t listen to him.
“No,” I repeated, “You mean to hurt her,” the woman gasped, and murmured to the other members of the ship,
“What is your name?” she addressed me,
“It doesn’t matter!” Captain roared,
“My name is—” Cook slapped his hand over my mouth, and held me tight.
“Don’t disobey orders, understand?” He growled, “Ah’m doin’ this fer yer own good,” I struggled, but he held fast.
“Since when do you have a girl on board?” Asked the leader,
“Since when do you care!” Retorted Captain,
“Archers, ready your arrows,” Said the woman,
“Men, if we ‘ave to fight fer our treasure, so be it!” Captain shouted. Every man drew his weapons. Cook was holding me so tightly I could scarce breathe. I felt dizzy, I was seeing spots. Maybe he wasn’t trying to hurt me, but I could not breathe. I woman drew off her mask, and I tried to gasp,
“I am Chieftess Elowyn, and I wish to have my daughter back,” it was the last thing I remembered, before passing out.
When I woke, I was on a bed, in a small hut. “Wh-what?” I groaned as I sat up,
“So you’re finally awake!” Came a voice. I turned around, and there was my mother.
“Mother!” I exclaimed as I leaped from my bed into her arms.
“I thought I’d never see you again,” She whispered,
“What happened? How am I here? Captain, the crew—”
“They’ve been sentenced to hard labor, which is more than they deserve. We won because of the dragon, they were just about to shoot arrows when she flipped the ship. She saved you. I don’t regret to say that Captain and his First Mate weren’t one of the few who swam to our boat in surrender,”
“This is our home? I’m from Hanru?”
“Yes, your father tried to save you. He died by the Captain’s cutlass. Your Father would love to see you here, home, safe. But you must be dying to see the Dragons, as a true daughter of Hanru should,” I nodded, happy to be home. I knew I had a lot to see and learn. Especially cooking.
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About the author
Kayleigh Hellmann is one of the students at Story Quest Academy.