Part 1: Lying
After several days of torrid heat, where there hadn't been any opportunity for the Nomad to dock at any town Sinbad began to fear that the drinking water on board would run short. But one evening the dry air of the last hours finally turned into wetness and the wind they had all been waiting for began to blow. Finally some dark clouds covered the sky which had been so clear before. Sinbad was standing at the tiller of his ship, watching this change of atmosphere - glad about the rain that was to come at last.
"There's a storm coming" - the words came from Bryn who had followed the glance of his blue eyes.
"Don't worry, Bryn. The storm's not going to reach us - we'll be docking at the next port. Aren't you glad about a little freshness?", Sinbad said with a cheering smile.
"Sure.", Bryn answered, not totally convinced. She could sense there was something approaching - something unexpected.
A few hours later it turned out that for once the Captain had been too optimistic and the Nomad found itself rocking on high waves. The little fall of rain had indeed turned into a dangerous storm and Sinbad tried hard on holding the course of the ship. All crewmembers were working at their limits, including of course Doubar, Firouz, Rongar and Bryn. Sinbad got Doubar to help him with the tiller, when suddenly he listened attentively to the sound of the sea.
"Did you hear that?", Sinbad screamed at his big brother in order to drown the crashing of the waves.
"I just thought someone was crying for help."
"I didn't hear anything", Doubar answered. "Maybe it was a siren who wanted to enchant you with her voice, little brother - I know you couldn't resist a beautiful creature like that", he laughed. But when his eyes met Bryn's worried ones he knew it was not the right time for joking.
"What's up, Bryn?", Doubar asked as the Nomad was hit by a huge wave. The two brothers turned their attention to the steering of the ship again until the storm and the noisiness finally had softened a little and they were actually able to talk to each other without having to scream. But the danger wasn't over yet - the wind still blew hard and the ship was tossed from one side to the other. It was then when they all heard it: there was a distant female voice calling from somewhere out on the sea. Sinbad had been right. They all tried to locate the cries, and it was finally Firouz who noticed a little figure through his binocular, swimming about two hundred metres away.
"I found her!" he shouted to the others.
The waves were now harmless and there was only a soft breeze blowing as the last raindrops were falling from the sky.
Now they were all able to see the person. Sinbad ordered his crew to get the ship near her in order to help her to reach the safety of the Nomad. The Captain looked if everybody was doing his job when his eyes rested on Bryn who was standing near the ship's rail. He watched her for a few seconds, watched her thoughtful face and her dark hair that was running down her back. Never noticed how good she looks when she's wet he thought with a grin. But soon he turned his attention to Dermott. Just a few minutes ago the bird had been sitting calmly next to Bryn, but now he shrieked loudly. Bryn tried to calm him down, but it didn't help. It seemed that the closer they got to the woman in the water the more excited the bird became, until finally he was crying hysterically.
The Nomad had now reached the stranger and Sinbad gave orders to fetch her with the longboat. Amin, a young seaman who had joined the crew just a few weeks ago and who was glad to finally be able to show his abilities, decided to take over this job at once. While he hurried to rescue the woman the whole crew watched excited - except for Bryn. She was secretly watching her captain. After this kiss he kept running through her mind - she still wasn't sure what that kiss meant to her and most of all what it meant to him. Since then he had treated her as if nothing had happened, yet she knew there was something more. Something he didn't want to admit to himself. She didn't dare to think that he felt more than friendship for her, but if it had not been Sinbad, but an other man she would have been sure that there was something in his eyes when he looked at her - something that surely meant more than just sympathy. Bryn sighed. If she was honest to herself, she knew exactly what she was feeling for S-…
She couldn't bring the thought to an end, for the strange woman had just entered the ship and ran right into Sinbad's arms.
"Meave!" the young man cried.
Bryn could feel her blood freezing…
Meave had returned! Meave, Sinbad's best friend, his soul mate, the woman he had been talking about ever since Bryn had joined the crew. She really felt like running away, but that would be too childish and unfair to Sinbad. She turned to Dermott to have someone to look at, for she couldn't bear seeing Sinbad and Meave in that close embrace. But the bird too had joined the rest of the friends in their happy reunion.
"My God! I can't believe it's you!" Sinbad said as he let go. Now it was Doubar's, Firouz' and Rongar's part to welcome their long-lost friend. When they finally came to an end Sinbad turned to Bryn to introduce her to Meave.
"And that's Bryn", he said. She and Meave shook hands and Bryn forced a smile.
"I've heard so much about y-", the brown haired sorceress was interrupted by her captain. "Where have you been and why did you return so suddenly?", he asked, still overwhelmed by her return. "Come on, you have to tell us everything!". He led her to the canteen downstairs, followed by Firouz, Rongar and Dermott.
Bryn and Doubar were the last ones to enter. Before they reached the others, Bryn said thoughtfully, "I just wonder how she could survive in that storm…".
"What do you mean?" Doubar asked, noticing that the expression on her face had changed since Meave came on board.
Bryn replied, "It was hard enough for us to get the Nomad safe through the tempest. How can a single swimmer stay through a storm like that without any help?" Doubar looked at her face and noticed something he had never seen in her gentle and friendly eyes before - jealousy. And there was something else which he couldn't quite classify, but for him it seemed to be anything but kind. The tall man was surprised - no wonder! How could he know what was really troubling Bryn, when not even she herself knew exactly what it was?
Doubar pushed those thoughts aside - he knew Bryn. She wasn't an unfriendly person. So he said cheerfully, "Don't worry, little one! Come on, let's listen to Meave's story. You'll like her, I know that." And with that they both joined their friends.
Angra looked up from his crystal ball, an evil smile on his face. Everything worked just fine. He could almost feel Bryn's jealousy, seeing the envy in her eyes. Soon she'd be his - and her powers, too! Angra was very content with himself - and with his creation. "I'm simply a genius!" he thought, laughing. But there was work to do, for he didn't have the sorceress yet where he wanted her. He sat down and let a cloud of red smoke coming from his hands, forming it until a little creature could be seen. Angra smiled again. "Watch out, Captain! There's more in the depths of the sea than just a helpless woman!"
In the meantime the crew was sitting in the canteen. It was now nearly midnight, they all were tired from that hard day's work, yet too cheerful to sleep. Meave told them that Dim-Dim had found it now safe enough for her to return. She had been going to find Sinbad with a ship of friendly and courageous seamen, when they had come into that terrible storm and were wrecked. She seemed to become sad at that thought. "I don't know what happened to them. I just wish I could be sure they're safe…". Sinbad put an arm around her shoulder to comfort her. Bryn watched them, not really having participated in the conversation. She had heard so much about Meave - and about her magic. She had been Dim-Dim's student, therefore she sure was able to control her powers better than Bryn. Then the young woman suddenly had to laugh at herself. Meave had returned, right. But that meant nothing. She was still Bryn, she still was the crew's friend, still had her part on the ship and … in Sinbad's life, she thought with a smile. They had gone through so much together, nobody was going to change that. Not even this beautiful, courageous, smart and strong woman that had returned from the shadows… Bryn could feel her heart failing her again. How could she ever live up to her example?
But she was tired and didn't want to think of such troubling things right now. And she couldn't bear Sinbad's glance at Meave any longer, so she said good night to everybody and went to her cabin.
It was still very early when Bryn woke up through loud screams and shouts. She quickly got dressed and hurried on deck, just in time to see a huge sea monster attacking the Nomad. Everyone was in panic, trying to fight the creature. Doubar was at the tiller and Rongar kept throwing his knives at the monster, but it didn't seem to care. When Sinbad saw Bryn he yelled, "Bryn! We desperately need your magic! Do something!" The beast slammed its enormous tail against the ship and two crewmembers lost balance and fell into the water, where they were devoured at once by the scary creature.
Bryn tried to concentrate, leaving all thoughts behind for a second. She could feel the power running through her body, until yellow fire balls started forming in her hands. Just as she intended to throw them onto the monster, she heard its screams. It flinched and finally was drowned by the waves which closed peacefully over the dead monster's body. Surprised Bryn first looked on her hands, where the fire balls were still ready to be thrown and then heard Sinbad cry, "Meave! Thank Allah!" as he ran towards the other sorceress to embrace her passionately.
"Looks as if I've just arrived in time", the young woman said, with a glance at Bryn. And tapping her shoulder she added, "I think you could use a little practice." Bryn couldn't believe it, watching Meave who was completely calm - as if that monster hadn't been a problem for her at all. Sinbad went over to Bryn and said with a smile, "Don't take her too seriously! That's just her kind of humour. You'll get used to it." Get used to it… Until now, Bryn hadn't realized that Meave wasn't just a guest or passenger on the Nomad who would be gone at the next port. No - she was a crewmember, she was going to stay! She felt awful.
The whole crew was now standing around Meave, thanking and congratulating her. Bryn watched out for Dermott, but the bird hadn't left Meave since she came on board the day before. Yet she noticed a change in his behaviour. He seemed so…"not-awake" in some kind. As if a spell had been set upon him. Strange… Bryn looked into Meave's face and knew that either she would have to accept her presence or wouldn't be happy here again. She sighed. The others hadn't even noticed that something was troubling Bryn. Before Meave came, Sinbad could see the sorrow in her eyes at once, but now everyone was so occupied with Meave's return - they seemed to have totally forgotten about her. It's going to get better as soon as they'll get used to Meave's presence again, Bryn told herself over and over again, but she couldn't quite believe it.
"Good! Very good! I didn't think it would be that easy." Angra already felt like the final winner. He had thought that at least Sinbad would be a problem, but if everything went on the way it did now, she would soon be ready to give up to the dark side - to HIS side. "Foolish little witch", he laughed. "Don't you know that you can't win against your feelings?" He knew that he would only have the opportunity to gain Bryn's powers if she came to him on her own behalf. Soon it would be time for him to get in contact with her - soon she'd be ready to turn against goodness - but not yet.
It didn't get better. One week had passed now. Sinbad was eager to dock at the next port - his ship desperately needed to be repaired. But every time they got closer to the shore something happened so they had to sail away again to try their luck at the next town - two more times they were attacked by sea monsters. They lost three crewmembers and Firouz got lightly injured trying to fight them. It was strange being attacked that often! The sea seemed calm and they were now sailing a little more northward - usually the water was too cold here for such creatures.
"It must be witchcraft or something", Bryn said to Sinbad, only half-joking.
"Yes", he replied. "Somehow they seem to scent where we are." With that he turned around to help Meave with her work. He doesn't even see me any more. It had been Meave who had defeated those three monsters, not giving Bryn a chance to show her powers. Bryn was glad that Meave saved the Nomad and knew that it wasn't the right occasion to compete when it came to fight for your life - yet she slowly but surely felt being substituted by Meave. Now Meave was the one who was asked for help when magic was needed. Meave was the one to communicate with Dermott. Meave was the one Sinbad talked to when there was something wrong… How could they forget her that easily?
Just as the ship nearly fell apart, they were finally able to reach the coast. They docked at the next city. The ship was battered from all it had gone through during the last days - considering the storm and the sea monsters' attacks it actually was a miracle that they had made it to the port. Being on shore they all had the chance to relax a little after the recent turmoil. Everyone was glad to be able to take a little break - only Meave seemed to be looking forward to other adventures of that kind. Sinbad and Doubar had to laugh when she told them that she couldn't wait until the Nomad would be on its way again. "Seems you've missed us!", Sinbad said with a happy smile - only his eyes showing that he was eager to hear her admitting it. He was just so happy that she had returned! He now knew that he had missed her more than he had actually thought, but he felt that they hadn't come back to their former closeness yet. All he wanted to do was to embrace her again and again, telling her how glad he was to see her face, yet she seemed to be a little distant. It'll come, he thought, she's been away for such a long time… But there was this little voice whispering inside him, telling him that she might be angry at him - and disappointed - because he hadn't been able to protect her against Rumina, because he hadn't been able to rescue her that day, because he had let her go… but he would prove that he had grown and that he would never leave her again. He lost her once - he'd do anything against losing her a second time. I won't let anything come between our friendship again, he silently vowed.
Night had fallen. Sinbad went on deck and noticed a lonely Bryn staring into the darkness.
"Hey", he said, as he went to stand next to her. "Finally reached a haven, haven't we?"
"Sure." Was her short reply.
"What's up, Bryn?", Sinbad asked puzzled.
"It's nothing", she answered, not being able to hide the truth very well.
"Hey, come on, you can tell me, you know that!"
"Do I?" Bryn asked back, finding it hard to repress the tears she finally felt making their way from her heart.
Sinbad noticed her sadness and said with a soft voice, "Sure you do", putting his arm around her shoulder. That was too much for her. Feeling his hand caressing her shoulder she started to cry heavily. Sinbad wanted to take her in his arms, but she wouldn't let him. Although that was everything she wanted she knew that there was just too much going wrong.
"Why don't you just go back to Meave again? I'm sure she's feeling lonely in her bed!" That was mean. She knew that. But she couldn't help it - she had been so frustrated during the last weeks and now she needed to give vent to her emotions. Sinbad drew back, a little shocked hearing such words from Bryn.
"I'm sorry." She finally managed to say. "It's just that - since Meave came you've kept making such a fuss about her. Don't get me wrong - I know she's your friend and I know that you're happy she finally returned, but … you and Doubar and Rongar and Firouz … you're the only family I know as far as I can remember - which isn't very far, I know", she said with a nervous laugh. "And now there's Meave coming back. Now she's the one woman on board again. I guess I'm a little jealous of her - my God, I'm being so childish! It's just now that she's back I feel so … useless! And I don't want to be left behind."
Sinbad now understood why she had been so quiet during the last days and he felt guilty of not having given her enough attention.
He softly touched her cheek and wiped the tears away.
"And you wouldn't deserve that. Don't you know how special you are to me - to all of us?"
"As special as Meave?", she asked as she looked right into his eyes. Then she looked down - afraid what the answer might be.
"Bryn…", Sinbad replied hesitating. "I have to admit that I'm confused since Meave returned… Still I know that you mean very much to me - maybe even more than I want you to." Stop it! That doesn't sound very kind. My God, why can't I just tell her what I'm feeling - for the first time since we met I can't be honest to her. But what if she doesn't feel the same way, too? What if I'm giving my heart once again to the wrong person? Yet, this time it feels so different - so right… but that makes it even harder. I just couldn't bear seeing her turning away from me… the handsome sailor thought.
"Well, you don't have to force yourself into feeling something you don't want to feel", Bryn said, being really hurt this time and turning to return to her cabin.
"No, Bryn! You got me totally wrong!", Sinbad tried to stop her.
"It's okay. Listen, I'm tired. I'm going to sleep now." With that she made her way downstairs.
Damn it! I'm just way too stupid for this!, the captain cursed. He could kick himself for bringing the conversation to such an end. Going to sleep - ha! He surely wouldn't be able to sleep tonight.
Bryn ran downstairs, feeling her tears bursting out once again. She only wanted to lock herself up in her cabin, but when she passed Meave's room she noticed a strange red light shining through the door which wasn't completely closed. That wouldn't have been too distracting - normally she would get curious, but in her present condition she would have probably ignored it, if it hadn't been for that painful evil feeling she sensed from the other sorceress' room. It took her by surprise and Bryn found it hard to breathe, sensing such demonic emotions inside the safety of her home. So she decided to take a closer look at what was going on inside the cabin. She pulled the door a little more open and couldn't believe her eyes.
She saw Meave, covered with masses of red smoke. She was kneeling on a kind of carpet, obviously concentrating on getting in touch with something - or someone. Bryn was so stunned that she let out a little gasp. Meave turned to see Bryn spying on the door and with a look that was filled with hatred she lifted up her hand and whispered a few words in a strange language. Suddenly Bryn felt as if a veil had been drawn over her head. She was tired - awfully tired, and tried hard on keeping her eyes from closing with sleep. She couldn't remember what she just planned to do. It was something important, she thought, but she wasn't quite sure. The only thing she knew was that she wanted to rest. So she trotted to her cabin as if she was in a trance and immediately fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.
In the meantime, Meave concentrated again and after a few seconds a devilish face appeared in front of her. It was horrible to look at. The face looked basically human except for its greenish colour, and the mouth was disfigured by a nasty smile and red of the blood that was running down the face's chin. The eyes were as red as blood too, but the most horrifying thing was the glance they had. Out of them spoke true and total hate.
"There you are, my little one!" the grimace welcomed its servant.
"Angra, my master. Why did you wish to talk to me?"
"Because I'm very content of what you're doing - and of the effects your actions have."
"I'm grateful of serving you well, master!"
"Of course you serve me well - you're my creation, my masterpiece. Nobody realizes that you aren't who they think you are. But listen, you have to be careful. In order to reach my aim this little witch has to come to me on her own behalf - yet that Sinbad indeed grew to be a problem."
"Tell me what to do and I'll do it."
"Oh, I'm sure it's nothing you couldn't handle. His feelings for the witch are strong - and his belief in her. You should be a little friendlier to him. Give him what he cannot get from her. That'll do, I think. I have been watching him. A beautiful woman like you should be able to distract him - at least enough for me to get what I want." "What about the rest of the crew? Won't they interfere?"
"The rest is just a creeping bunch of idiots. Don't worry about them."
With that, Angra's face disappeared again and left "Meave" alone with a cruel grin on her pretty face.
As Bryn awoke in the morning she felt as if a heavy weight had been placed on her head. Something had happened … she tried to remember and suddenly the memory of last night hit her. Meave… and this enormous evil feeling Bryn had sensed. There was something absolutely wrong with Meave. She had to tell the others!
She quickly went to the canteen where she saw her friends being already assembled and deepened into a discussion.
"I just can't believe that she did such a thing. I mean -" Firouz stopped talking at once when he saw Bryn entering.
Bryn was confused, then she saw Meave who had a nasty smile on her face and the sorceress realized that she had probably told them the story from her own "point of view".
"Bryn, I think we need to talk", Sinbad said. His voice had lost the last night's softness.
"That's absolutely right!" Bryn replied, fully entering the room. "But I'd appreciate it if Meave left the room first", she added with an angry glance at her rival. Sinbad bade Meave with a look to leave, which she reluctantly did.
"I don't know what Meave told you, but - ", Bryn started, but was interrupted by Sinbad.
"She told us that you snooped about in her room last night when she was away and that she caught you when you were just trying to see through her private things. She gently told you to leave her cabin which you did. But later, as she went to her cabin and wanted to have a little privacy she found you spying on her."
"Well, that's not quite how things happened." Bryn said, angry that Meave told such lies about her to the crew. And most of all she was angry, because her friends seemed to believe it - without even asking Bryn if it was true.
"Well, it would be a delight for us to hear what happened in your opinion", the captain of the Nomad said sarcastically.
"After our conversation last night", she started with a glance at Sinbad, "I went down to my cabin. Then I sensed these emotions coming from Meave's room - devilish emotions! Full of hate and evil intentions. That's why I spied on her. Listen, something is absolutely wrong with your friend. There sure is something we don't know about her."
The others looked at her, an unbelieving look in their eyes.
"Why should she hide something from us?" Doubar asked excited.
Sinbad couldn't believe it - he didn't want to believe it. Now that Meave had returned at last she should have changed completely? No, it couldn't be! But that meant, that Bryn was lying. Out of jealousy, he supposed. He was disappointed. He didn't know such a behaviour from her. Could it be that he had been wrong about Bryn all the time?
"I don't believe it", Sinbad finally said.
Bryn was stunned that they would rather believe the story Meave obviously made up than the truth.
"Why should I lie?!"
"Because you're jealous!" Sinbad snapped back at her.
It was like a slap in Bryn's face.
"What?!" she asked.
"I'm sorry that you're jealous of Meave - I already told you! But … I'd have never believed that you could be so nasty - making up a story just to make us think that Meave is evil…"
Bryn wasn't able to say a word - she was so absolutely shocked about what they expected her to be capable of doing.
Firouz nodded sadly and disappointed, "Just to slander Meave…"
"Don't you see the truth?" Bryn had finally found her voice again.
But as she looked into her friends' eyes she knew that they didn't. Not being able to look at them any more she burst out of the room.
When Bryn was gone the others looked at each other with sadness and frustration. For a while nobody said a word.
"What if Bryn's right?" Doubar finally asked his little brother.
"Can you honestly imagine Meave being evil?" Sinbad wanted to know.
"I didn't notice a change in Meave's character or behaviour", Firouz stated, "Nothing that could make us assume that Bryn's telling the truth."
"Me neither", the captain and his brother gave back and Rongar nodded at their reply in agreement.
Sinbad sighed. "Meave has done nothing to her! It's as if I don't know Bryn any more - or as if we'd been wrong about her all the time."
Doubar, Firouz and Rongar went to the town to do the shopping, while Sinbad spent the whole day on his ship - working restless. The day was nearly over when he was finally too exhausted and took a little break on deck, watching the sunset. He heard steps behind him and at first assumed that it was Bryn.
"Hey." It was Meave's voice.
"Hey", Sinbad said too as she leaned next to him on the rail.
"I've heard what happened. I'm sorry", she said.
The young sailor smiled sadly.
"You must be very disappointed. She meant much to you, didn't she?"
"Well, she still does - that's the problem."
"Yeah. I can imagine that it must be hard when the one person you'd be able to give your heart to suddenly shows her real face - and turns into a total stranger. As if everything that happened in the past was just a lie."
"Right", he said, surprised that Meave seemed to know exactly how he was feeling. "I'm sorry - you probably don't want to talk about it -"
"No, no!" he said in disagreement. "It feels really good."
"Well, that's how I feel, too. I mean, by standing here with you again - after all that happened during the last year."
Sinbad looked at her. No, this person couldn't be evil. Then she turned to look into his face, too. Their eyes met and suddenly Sinbad could feel her lips softly touching his. He kissed her back in order to forget all his sorrow for a while and soon he thought of nothing but her and him, embracing, as the last rays of sunlight disappeared somewhere beyond the horizon.
Bryn had been inside her cabin for the whole day - crying and thinking. But she finally had to get out a bit and went upstairs to the deck to get a little fresh air. But as she looked to the rail and saw Sinbad standing there with Meave - kissing! - she turned away again in shock and pain.
"No! No, please!" Bryn whispered. She felt her heart breaking.
Note: PLEASE tell me what you think of my story so far!