The Peasant Trials: Part 2 by Ella Thomson

Ebony kept on walking in the same direction, not stopping for anything. She ended up at the docks. She sat down on the fence, not knowing what to do. She had officially messed things up. She had nowhere to go. Nulbarukth was surrounded by a 30 foot wide river. It was 12 feet deep and Ebony couldn’t swim. The bridge to the surrounding fields outside of Nulbarukth was almost never lowered, the only time she had seen it come down was when the king’s messenger arrived, sporting the news that the pirates had yet again raided the east corner of Ahoy.
        Everyone in the town of Nulbarukth was probably searching for her right now. She didn’t have a boat, and she wasn’t powerful enough to get the bridge lowered.
        She placed her hands on her knees and sighed.
        “Brrrring, Brrrring, Brrrring!”
        Ebony looked up and saw a large black boat bobbing up and down on the sea.
        “Free passage to the mountains, as long as you work!” called a booming voice at the foot of the boat.
        “Over there!” called the guards as they appeared at the gate of the docks.
        Ebony fled to the boat, her heart thumping. She didn’t even know the people who owned this boat!
        She flung herself onto the deck of the ship, as spears whizzed right where she had been two seconds ago.
        “Cut the rope! Cut the rope!” she cried as the whole town leapt towards her, weapons in hand.
        The man who had called out before sliced the rope holding the boat to the docks, and it drifted off to sea, the guards shouting in anger, spears whizzing past in every direction.
        “Thanks,” Ebony said as she pulled herself up. Though when she turned to see the man who saved her, her face contorted in shock. A meaty, hairy pirate stood in front of her, a sword in his hand. He had long ginger hair, and a black eye patch over one eye.
        “What’s a city girl like you doing on a pirate ship?” he asked, pointing his long dirty blade at her accusingly.
        “Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to end up here, it’s just the guards were after me and I had no other choice, I had to get out of there as soon as possible,” she said, timidly raising her hands. She had heard stories about full grown men getting sliced in half by vicious pirates, and she didn’t like her chances.
        “You’re not going to, you know, kill me, right?” she asked weakly. At that the pirate laughed heartily, tears coming out of his eyes.
        “‘Course not,” he said in a heavy accent Ebony didn’t recognise. “Don’t believe everything that you hear from others, us pirates are nothing like what you think. Only some of us are savages, and they live in the east, not the west.”
        “Oh, good,” Ebony said, forcing herself to smile. “Are you the only one on the ship?”
        The pirate chuckled.
        “Heavens no, I couldn’t man a ship this big by myself. Boys, come out!”
        Three large, muscular men came out from below the deck, swords strapped to their waists and muskets in hands.
        “Boys boys, no need for the weapons, she’s a guest,” the first pirate said with a grin on his face.
        “By the way,” he said, turning to Ebony. “I’m Henry. That’s James and Jack, they’re twins.” He pointed to two large, blond headed men, clean shaven and stony faced.
        “Thats Ben.” Henry gestured to a brunette man with a sleeve of tattoos going down his left arm.
        “Hi,” Ebony said feebly. “I’m Ebony.”
        James, Jack and Ben grunted in response.
        “Anyway,” Henry said quickly. “It’s almost dark, and surely you’re tired, should I show you you’re room?”
        Ebony hadn’t felt tired before, but once Henry had said that, she suddenly felt the burden of running from the guards all day.
        “Yes, please.”
        Henry led Ebony to a small, box-like room. A small single bed was sandwiched into the corner, and a small wooden desk was opposite it. A greasy oil lamp was hanging from the roof, creating a gloomy shadow over the room. Ebony wasn’t complaining though, it was better than jail.
        “Anyway, I’ll leave you to it,” Henry muttered, walking out of the room, whistling some old tune that Ebony swore she had heard before. She shrugged it off.
        Ebony stripped off her faded, ripped jeans and her size too small shirt and pulled on some scratchy, patched clothes.
Lying down in the bed, she thought about what had happened to her over the last day. Her life had turned from bad, to a catastrophe. When she was just about to drift into a disturbed sleep, a scratching sound came from her door. She crept cautiously to the door, peeking through the cracks in the wood to try to see who was there. Not seeing anything, she started to walk back to her bed, but the scratching started up again. No one was there again, but Ebony opened the door anyway. A scrawny black cat slinked into her room, purring. Ebony was surprised at first, but then confused. What would a cat be doing on a pirate ship?
        ”Wharrrrt is it humarrrrrn?” came a voice from nowhere in particular.
       “Who said that?” Ebony asked suspiciously.
        “It’s me!” yowled the person, just as the black cat rubbed against her leg.
        “Are you talking to me?” Ebony asked the cat. “No, no way, am I going crazy?” Ebony asked, sitting down on her bed. There was nobody else in the room, who could it be but the cat.
        “You’re not going crazy, you’re just experiencing danwarky,” yowled the cat again as it jumped up on the bed next to Ebony.
        “What the hell does danwarky mean?” asked Ebony, confused and disbelieving.
        “It means the bonding between a humarrrrn and an arrnimal.”
        “And that allows me to talk to animals?” asked Ebony, rocking back and forth on the bed, which was producing a very annoying creaking sound.
        “Not arrnimals, me, and only me.”
        “But why you, I’ve known you for one minute.”
        “Danwarky is only produced between a humarrn and an arrnimal when they’re spirits have known each other in a past life, and have automatically linked to one another. There has to be something special about at least one of them, and from what I can tell, that one is me.”
        “But, what’s so special about you?” Ebony asked, still utterly confused.
        “This,” the cat said, as it lifted up a glossy black paw. At first, Ebony didn’t see anything special about it, but as she peered into the darkness more closely, she found that the cat had six toes on its paw!
        “But, what’s a six toed cat doing on a pirate ship?” she asked, her mind still foggy.
        “The pirates believe I’m a symbol of good luck, though others don’t really believe it. All good pirate ships have six toed cats on them, most of the others got shipwrecked!” the cat squawked, hardly containing his laughter. “Anyway, I better be going,” the cat added, jumping down off the bed.
        “Wait, you never told me your name!” Ebony jumped for an opportunity to confide in someone, even if it was a taking, six toed cat.
       “I’m Damien,” the cat said smoothly as it licked its hair smooth. Damien walked over to the door, and just as he was about to leave, he spoke.
        “Oh, and by the way, welcome to the Drangonridge Mountains.”
        “Wait, what? We’re in Ahoy! Damien, wait!” But Damien strutted out the door with a soft purr, and flicked the door shut with a surprising force.

To be continued…

Read Part 1 here: