Chapter 7 - Hey, I Remember You...

A while later, Adameus approached Viselys on the main deck seeking a private word. Privacy was not easy to come by in the cramped confines of the Sea Wyvern, however.

“Viselys, I have to tell you what I found. I’m not sure what to do about it,” Adameus told the younger man as they went below deck.

“Is this about Horst’s gold?” Viselys inquired.

“I continued looking for it. How could I not? Well, I looked everywhere I could except one place and, well, I figured I had a right. It is our ship, after all. And we did say no private quarters.”

“You found the gold in Avner’s cabin?!” Viselys said, perhaps a bit louder than he had intended.

“Yeah, and when I was on my way out, I ran into Lirith. She asked what I was doing in there and I told her what I found. I figured maybe she knew something. She didn’t and she went into the room and checked for herself. She claimed that the gold wasn’t there – where I had just seen it moments before – and she wanted me to come into the room and show her where I had seen it. I got a creepy vibe from her, and I really didn’t want to be in such a … private … circumstance with her, so I just came and got you.” By this time they were standing in front of Avner’s cabin.

Viselys told Adameus to call Ornrik, Saris, and Diamondback so that they could all be witnesses – thus covering his backside. When all were present, he let himself in and looked under the bed. There, right where Adameus had said, was the bag of gold. “You said Lirith claimed it wasn’t here?”

“That’s what she said,” Adameus replied. “I kind of figured she was planning to steal it herself. Frankly, now I’m surprised it is still there.”

Viselys stood, walked out of the cabin and closed the door behind himself. “Wait right here,” he told his companions. He returned shortly with Avner in tow and flanked by Avner’s two personal servants.

“Lord Meravanchi, would you be so kind as to open the door to your quarters?” Viselys requested.

“Why? What is the meaning of this?” Avner blustered.

“Six hundred gold has gone missing and every other inch of the ship has been searched. We need to check your quarters.”

“Very well, I have nothing to hide,” he conceded and threw open the door.

Viselys, knowing exactly what he would find, pulled up the blanket hanging from the bunk and pulled out the gold.

“What’s that?” Avner asked.

“This is the gold that went missing. Care to explain how it got into your quarters?” Viselys replied.

“I have no idea. Clearly somebody put it there to frame me. The Meravanchi's do not steal. We've earned everything we've obtained fair and square, not like some nobles” Avner retorted, arrogantly, while giving a sideways glance at Saris. "It isn't mine, go ahead and take it away."

Viselys had very little evidence, besides the circumstantial, to refute Avner’s claim, so he confiscated the bag of coins and the crowd dispersed.

That evening, after so much excitement, Viselys, Diamondback and Saris were eager to turn in. Adameus, on the other hand, wanted to start up a card game and Ornrik was interested in joining. They invited Bryson Talbot, Druce Calligan, Aiden Tulough, Jacob Weatherby and Skald. The group played for hours with Ornrik and Adameus coming away roughly even. Skald was on a losing streak, however, as was Jacob.

"Looks like you took a bit of a hit in that game, Jacob," Ornrik remarked.

"Aye, S'Thar didn't seem to be smiling down upon me this day," Jacob retorted. "Perhaps she'll look out for me next time."

Ornrik, digging out a gold piece, "Here, Jacob, I hate to see you take a loss. You've been a great help on deck and we really appreciate your help in recovering this ship in the first place. Why don't you take this? Perhaps S'Thar is already taking a new shine to you…have a good night."

Turning to talk to Adameus, Ornrik inquired, “Adameus, tell me, so many people, myself included, have pointed out your resemblance with Viselys. Plus that note in the Lotus Dragon’s hideout… well, what’s up with all that? Are you and Viselys brothers?”

Adameus looked out at the night sea and took a deep breath. “Ornrik, how can I answer that? What if we are? How can I justify talking to you about it when Viselys and I haven’t even discussed it? I understand your curiosity, but you will just have to trust that the truth will come out eventually. I will say this, however: I stand to gain nothing from Viselys believing that I am his brother if I am not. On the other hand, if I am his brother, I gain nothing by trying to force the issue with him. Either way, he needs to come to the truth on his own.”

Ornrik furrowed his brow thoughtfully, “I see your point. I will not mention it again – to either of you. If you’re not brothers, though, then the universe messed up somewhere, because you really should be.”

This caused Adameus to chuckle a little, “Thanks, I guess.”

As the two began to part, neither with any haste or immediate destination, Lirith was suddenly at Adameus’ side. “Hi, I was hoping I’d catch you out,” she said.

“Ah, Lirith, hi. Right. Yes, I am,” he didn’t retreat from her, but he did keep an arms distance between them. He caught Ornrik’s eye and the dwarf’s look was clear: “Do you want an ‘out’?” Adameus seriously considered it for a moment, but then, reluctantly (and it showed) indicated that it wasn’t necessary.

“So, what were you doing in Avner’s room?” she asked.

“I told you, I was looking for this missing gold, and it was the last place I had to look. I’m surprised you didn’t see it. It was there when we returned with Avner.”

“It’s a mystery, isn’t it?” she was clearly being coy.

“Look, I know it’s none of my business,” Adameus said, perplexed, “but what do you see in him?”

“Well, a girl's got to be with someone,” she replied.

“Not really. Besides, I just think you’re better than him.” Adameus said, magnanimously.

She appeared suddenly taken aback, “What did you say?” she asked.

“I said I think you’re better than him. You deserve better, I mean,” Adameus replied. He didn’t mean himself, and deserving better than Avner wasn’t saying much, so it was easy to be genuine.

“It’s very interesting that you would say that,” she said in a melodious voice as she began to dance about as if to some music only she could hear.

Adameus had to admit that she danced very well. In fact, he had never seen anybody with such grace, not even Diamondback. He felt like he could watch her dance all night. In fact, he felt like not moving at all…like he ought to just stand perfectly still and watch her dance.

She danced towards the prow where Ornrik was still standing. She took out a dagger and drove it hard into the door to the stairs, jamming it shut. Ornrik knew something was up and he quickly did his thing and turned invisible.

“Oh, really?” Lirith said. “Two can play that game,” and she, too, turned invisible.

While all this was occurring, Adameus was able to shake off the charm that he was under. He knew that his control might not last, so he had to call for reinforcements. “HEEEEELLLLLLP!!!!” he called out like a character from a comedy play. “HEEEEEEELLPP!!” He did not wait, though. He had already crossed the distance, rapier drawn, to where Lirith stood – or, by that time, where she had stood. He swung out for where he thought she was and scored a minor hit, causing her to yelp.

She was on the move now and Adameus had no idea where she might be. Ornrik had a clever idea and summoned five celestial dogs who could sniff her out. They surrounded her and, when she attempted another spell aimed at Adameus, she lost her invisibility.

What happened next was chaos at least – comedy at the other extreme. Lirith tumbled through the dogs to the door astern of the main deck – the door to the Captain’s quarters. The dogs rushed after her, attempting to charge through her, but the first dog was pushed back and fell prone. All four subsequent dogs tripped over the first creating a canine pile in front of the door. Adameus attempted to tumble through the pile, but failed and ended up a part of the mess.

Meanwhile, Viselys awoke and roused Diamondback. They tried to wake Saris, but it was no good – he wasn’t waking up. He may as well have not even been there. So, the dynamic duo left Saris to sleep it off and charged up the stairs – only to slam into the jammed wood. Viselys attempted to force the door open, but it wouldn’t budge. They both tried and still it wouldn’t open.

The summoning spell expired and the dogs disappeared dropping Adameus to the deck. He wasn’t down long, though, as he charged into the Captain’s cabin. A few good swings and several well timed Magic Missiles from Ornrik, and Lirith went down.

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Then the door to the lower decks burst open and Viselys nearly fell. Diamondback, however, used her forward momentum to tumble out gracefully. “What’s going on?” Viselys shouted.

“Nothing – now,” Ornrik puffed.

Adameus squinted down at Lirith’s limp frame. Kicking the rapier away from her hand, he spouted, “Ornrik, come take a look at this…something’s not right.”

Ornrik came over to take a look. Getting in for a closer look, she seemed to have some sort of shimmering illusory effect over her. It seemed to stem from the ribbon in her hair.

"Careful, I'm going to remove this and I'm not sure what might happen," Ornrik warned Adameus.

As he pulled the ribbon from her hair, the shimmering began to fade and Lirith's appearance began to take on that of someone else. Someone who looked familiar. Someone who looked disheveled and angry. Someone who looked a lot like Rowyn Kellani.

Continue to Chapter 8...

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