Sinbad tried to stay annoyed by Bryn’s apparent amusement at his former predicament, but he couldn’t quite seem to mange it. The play of firelight across her dark hair and smoothly tanned skin, along with the hint of lavender coming from her was enough to make him forgive her. It was also enough to make him question his sanity. For the hundredth time today he reminded himself that this was Bryn, trying in vain to reign in his wayward thoughts. As they walked Sinbad noticed the leering looks Bryn was receiving from most of the male population of Tangier. The young Captain gave the more aggressive ones hands off looks and kept his hand firmly at the small of her back in a possessive gesture. What still amazed Sinbad was Bryn’s utter and total ignorance of her affect on most of the male species. She was oblivious as she walked through the crowd and headed toward the table containing Doubar, Rongar, and Firouz.
The red head that had been vying for the young Captain’s attention was seething with undisguised anger and jealous. She had the captain right were she wanted him before that little wench had come and taken him away. The red headed young woman couldn’t help but think that she recognized that little tart. She was starring after the captain and his female crewmember when it suddenly hit her. The woman smiled cruelly and went to get her father all the while thinking that the little witch had a lot of nerve to show up here again.
When Sinbad and Bryn arrived at the table both had to contain their laughter at the glazed looks Doubar and Rongar were wearing. Firouz had apparently developed another theory and was bouncing the idea off of his two crewmembers
“My theory is that an object would stay in perpetual motion if I could find a way…” Firouz was saying until Doubar caught sight of Sinbad and Bryn.
“Ah lass you look lovely tonight,” Doubar said sending her a beseeching look, “How about a dance with an old crusty sea dog, make me fell young again,” Doubar pleaded the look in his eyes begging her to save him.
Bryn had to laugh, it seemed to be her night to save everyone, “Sure Doubar,” she agreed. The young witch held out her hand to the big man who took it gladly. The old sea dog and the young sorceress then found their way to the dance floor, Doubar taking the lead in an upbeat jig that a barmaid in Baghdad had showed him. Bryn laughed with the sailor as she tried to keep up with the spinning and whirling pace that he had set. She had been having so much fun that she hadn’t noticed the small group of rough looking men that where headed her and Doubar’s way.
Sinbad had been entranced by the vision of Bryn laughing and happy as she danced with his brother, that he failed to notice the group of villagers that were headed their way. Rongar however had seen them and the mute tapped his captain on the shoulder to bring it to his attention. Sinbad tore his attention reluctantly away from Bryn and turned to his Moorish friend to see what he wanted only to see Rongar gesturing frantically back toward Bryn. Confused he turned his gaze back to the young witch only to see a large man with shock red hair push her viscously to the ground. The young captain’s handsome face contorted in rage as he flew out of his chair. The chair hit the ground with a loud crash as the young captain reached for the hilt of his sword, his hand closing over air. Sinbad cursed low in his throat, he had forgotten the no weapons policy the magistrate had imposed for the festival. He had to take several deep breaths to get himself under control, starting a fight would only get innocent people hurt and wouldn’t help Bryn. Feeling marginally more in control of his emotions he stalked over to the dance floor Rongar right beside him.
Bryn felt her body connect with the hard ground, her hip bouncing against a buried piece of rock. The young witch yelped in pain as she wonder where this unbidden attack had come from. She had only a moment to process this thought when she felt strong gentle hands around her waist helping her to her feet. She turned to look over her shoulder and locked her brown eyed gaze on Rongar’s black one. The Moorish prince smiled briefly and steadied her, then he turned his attention back to the man who had pushed Bryn. His smile faded instantly and his face became a hard mask of undisguised anger. Bryn looked up and realized that in the split second it had taken for the man to push her to the ground, Sinbad, Doubar, Firouz and Rongar had arrived at her side. The four men angrily to stare down the group of men that seemed to want her blood, placing themselves between her and the mob.
The dancing had come to an abrupt halt as the townspeople gathered around Sinbad and his crew to see what would happen. Even back then people were drawn to the kind of sensationalism that has made Jerry Springer so famous. Sinbad stood next to his brother who was radiating fury his fists clenched. Sinbad himself wasn’t feeling very charitable but he knew that he had to keep the situation under control.
“Now that is no way to treat a lady,” the captain managed to say without a hint of a growl, but his eyes were hard. “If you wanted to dance you should have asked politely,” he added taking in the large man before him.
The large red haired man moved his expansive bulk in front of the young captain and exhaled his ale stenched breath right into the sailor’s face. Sinbad had to fight a wave of nausea as he swayed from the stench rising from the oath.
“I wouldn’t dance with that little witch if she was the last woman on earth,” the man replied nastily, and then with a finger pointed at Bryn. “You have a lot of nerve to show you’re murderous hide in these parts again,” the man said his hatred washing over Bryn in waves. Bryn had to gasp at the feeling she was picking up from this man. It was times like these that the young witch wished she could turn off her empathic abilities, the man’s intense hatred flowed through her veins and causing her to sway.
Sinbad and the crew responded to this threat by moving in closer to Bryn, Firouz on her left, Doubar and Sinbad in front of her making a human wall and Ronger slightly behind her on the right. The dark skinned moor made a point of nonchalantly cracking his knuckles one by one as some of the younger members of the posse tried to stare him down. The young men were starting to get uneasy as they watched the moor.
“You won’t get out of here alive again, witch,” he said the word witch like it was dirty and foul, “no matter how many men you have to defend, you little whore,” the man added his venom tangible.
“I don’t kno..” Bryn started to say but Sinbad cut her off.
Bryn was going to try and reason with this moron and the captain knew that the man was beyond civilized speech.
“I suggest you apologize to the lady,” Sinbad said tightly tired of being polite, “before me and my crew make you apologize.” The captain was just daring the man to start a fight.
The big oaf growled low in his throat and his body was suddenly taunt with tension, “You the one that is gonna make me little man,” he spat.
“If you insist,” the Captain replied not intimidated in the least by this big bully’s threats. The man may have been big but for an accomplished fighter like the captain he would be no match. You can’t hit someone if they're not there and Sinbad had already anticipated the oaf’s first move. The big red headed man was cocked his fist back to swing the first punch, but was stopped short by a bellowing authoritative voice that suddenly rose from someone in the crowd.
“What is the meaning of this,” a well-muscled, older, gray haired man yelled pushing his way through the milling crowd. The man was very distinguished looking with strong features and a military bearing to his walk. He wore the blue robes of a magistrate.
“Nolen,” the big man bellowed in anger, “I should have known that you would try and protect the she demon.” The man was glaring at Bryn. Bryn tired of standing by while this man accused her of whatever he was accusing her of decided to speak up. Ignoring Sinbad’s negative gesture the young witch opened her mouth to speak.
“Sir, I’m sure there has been a mistake. I don’t know you,” the young witch stated sincerely. In reality it was true she didn’t know him, she didn’t know anyone.
“You Lie” the big man roared enraged that Bryn even dared to speak to him. He rushed at Bryn but before Sinbad and Doubar could knock the man to the ground the tip of a thick wooden staff felled the giant. Nolen stepped in front of the captain and his brother, placing a restrain foot on the oaf’ chest while his staff went to the man’s throat. The big man tried to rise only to have the magistrate use the foot he had placed on his chest to push him back to the ground…hard.
“Lars you moron you can’t go around attacking strangers at the festival,” Nolen said in a tired voice. Dealing with Lars was old hat to him; the idiot being a habitual troublemaker.
“Don’t give me that stranger crap you self righteous basterd,” Lars spat. “Since when is your granddaughter a stranger,” and he gestured to Bryn.
The crew of the Nomad sent stunned eyes to the big oaf’s face and then looked to Bryn. The young witch had gasped in shock when she heard him refer to her as the other man’s family, the magistrate’s granddaughter no less. At that moment Nolen raised his head and looked at Bryn, his green eyes met her’s and the young woman could swear that he recognized her, but as quickly as it flashed there it was gone. Hope flashed in her eyes and she was about to question him about her identity, but he spoke before she could.
“Lars, Elly is dead,” the magistrate said sadly looking him in the eyes. “I did my duty five years ago when your brother was killed, she is dead…dead, “ he repeated his tone booking no arguments.
Lars still looked suspicious and threw another look toward Bryn, but this time his gaze was less sure. “My daughter said…” he started to say but Nolen cut him off.
“Everyone here saw what a fool she was making of herself over Captain Sinbad here,” Nolen replied with a gesture to the young blue eyed man. “She was just trying to get back at the young lass here for taking him away,” he explained his tone was harsh.
“But look at her…she…she looks just like her,” Lars said his eyes questioning and unsure.
“Aye she does bare a remarkable resemblance to my Elly, but can’t be her, it isn’t possible,” Nolen said his eyes sad. “She is dead Lars, you saw the body, how can you believe otherwise,” he added his loathing of the man and the pain his family had caused him coming through in his tone.
“I never believed that you really rid us of the she demon old man,” Lars said angrily, “but I never could prove otherwise,” he added, mistrust swirling in his eyes. “Can I get up now?” he questioned still belligerent but not in the mood to cause trouble anymore.
Nolen nodded and slowly removed his foot from the red headed man’s chest. He still eyed Lars warily though, as the man got to his feet and brushed himself off. Satisfied that he wasn’t going to try anything the magistrate lowered his staff slightly.
“Now apologize to the young lady and then you and your friends can leave for the night,” Nolen said mater of factly. The rest of the men that had supported Lars groaned loud and long as they cursed the big man for his stupidity. Sinbad and the rest of the male members of his crew still surrounded Bryn not willing to trust that the man wouldn’t try something. Lars turned to Bryn and gave her a grudging apology, and with one last glare at Nolen he turned to go, but not before two of the magistrate’s well armed men joined him and his friends to make sure that they didn’t get lost on their way out the door. Bryn was still slightly stunned about the whole affair, and although the man wanted to cause her physical agony, was disappointed that his identifying her was a mistake.
“Captain Sinbad,” Nolen said with a smile, “I so sorry for the trouble, you’ll have to forgive Lars, he was dropped on his head to many times as a child,” Nolen added his intense dislike of the man lacing his words.
Sinbad gave the magistrate his first real smile of the last few minutes as he laughed. “I must thank you magistrate for your help, I didn’t want to start any trouble in your fair city if I could avoid doing so,” he said ever the diplomat.
“The only trouble I have had is due to Lars,” the magistrate replied, his tone of a man whose patience has been stretched to the breaking point. “There just never was any reasoning with that man,” he added with a slight frown.
“Aye sir,” Doubar replied throwing in his two cents, “His kind only understands brute force,” the big man spat out in disgust.
“I’m afraid your right friend,” Nolen replied with a knowing grin.
“Again I thank you for your help sir,” Sinbad said with respect, “and I wonder if you would allow me to by you a drink.”
“I’m sorry Captain but it will have to be another time, on duty and all,” the distinguished magistrate replied regretfully. “And please call me Nolen, I hear sir and I start looking around for my father.”
Sinbad grinned again. “Nolen it is then, and allow me to introduce my crew. This is Doubar my big brother and first mate,” Sinbad said introducing the older man to his right with an emphasis on the word big. His brother caught the joke at his expense and shot his brother a mock glare. The magistrate also caught the twinkle in the captain’s eye and repressed his chuckle.
“It is a pleasure,” Nolen said, grasping the big man’s arm in a warrior handshake.
The young captain of the Nomad then introduced the others respectively. “This is Firouz, he is our ships Physician and resident scientist,” the Captain said with a fond smile at his friend.
“Ah a man of science, it is always good to meet a fellow tinker,” the magistrate replied with a smile.
“You have studied the scientific arts,” Firouz exclaimed excitedly, he was always happy to find someone who could understand his work.
“Yes I have dabbled for a long time,” Nolen said with a smile and then with a conspiratal wink added, "Perhaps we can share notes.”
Firouz ‘s eyes lit up at the chance to discuss his work and he answered, “I would like that sir,” at Nolen admonishing look he amended, “I mean Nolen.” The distinguished older gentleman nodded his approval and then turned to the next crewmember.
Sinbad grinned again and then introduced Rongar, “This is Rongar, please excuse him if he does not answer, he can not speak,” Sinbad added his eyes hard warning the magistrate that any negative comments about this would not sit well with the sailor.
Nolen being the wise man he is gave the moor a courtly bow. The distinguished magistrate had met enough royalty to know when he was in the presence of them. Rongar smiled a slight bemused grin and returned the bow. Sinbad was pleased that Nolen had recognized Rongar's distinct way of carrying himself as the formal training an aristocrat receives and smiled his approval. The young captain then turned to introduce the magistrate to Bryn.
“And this…is Bryn,” Sinbad said like he was introducing the older gentleman to the sultan’s daughter. Nolen noticed that the young captain’s face seemed to become a bit softer as he gazed at his female crewmember. The old man recognized that look, it was the look he had got ever time he had looked upon his darling Lysia, Allah rest her soul. He chuckled slightly to himself as he realized that the captain was quite smitten, and then his look of mirth changed to one of pain. She looked so much like Elly that it hurt to look upon her; still he forced himself to smile.
“It is a pleasure lass,” he said his slight Irish accent slipping out on the last word.
Bryn had felt the older man’s pain and being as sensitive as she is to other people knew the reason for it. “I’m sorry about you loss sir,” the young empath said her voice filled with sincerity and compassion.
Nolen looked up startled “How did you…” he started to say but then trailed off.
Sinbad broke in and explained before Bryn had a chance to. This earned the captain one of her patented annoyed looks. “Bryn has some special abilities when it comes to discerning emotions,” the young captain said. Sometimes, he amended to himself thinking about his own shaky emotions that were a direct result of the young sorceress’ presence on this earth.
Sinbad’s answer seemed of particular interest to the magistrate as he looked at Bryn with renewed interest. “What kind of abilities,” he asked sounding almost afraid to know the answer. This time Bryn answered for herself.
“I have magic…sometimes,” she added with a rueful grin, “and I can sense things, feeling and such,” the young witch explained.
Nolen eyes widen slightly and the young witch noted in confusion his sudden conflicting emotions, almost like the distinguished gentleman had become a different man right before her eyes. As soon as she felt them however they were gone and she was again looking into the green eyes of the town magistrate. The empath almost wondered if she imagined the whole thing.
“Well young magic holder I would be honored if you, the young captain, the Moorish prince, the scientist, and the honorable first mate would join me for dinner tomorrow,” he added his grin charming despite his age. He was every bit as proper as etiquette required with none of the personal conflicting emotions she thought she had sensed a minute ago. Bryn shook her head to clear it; she was definitely imagining things she thought ruefully. The young witch cast a look to Sinbad to see if accepting would be all right. The captain assented with a nod of his head and the young witch happily told the magistrate yes. Sinbad couldn’t help but think that this promised to be an interesting stay in Tangier.
Bryn stood at the lavishly decorated window holding a silent vigil over the sleeping seafaring town of Tangier. The moonlight streaming in her window illuminated her tasteful decorated chamber and her troubled features. The magistrate had been wonderful company this evening, inviting the crew to stay the night after the lavish feast he had served them all. But for some reason sleep eluded the young witch, despite the food and wine that had seemed never ending. It was strange she thought for her to feel so uneasy within these wall. Nolen had been a gracious host, and had done everything etiquette demanded of a man of importance, to make his guests welcome in his home. Still the young witch was restless; the walls here felt alien and yet familiar all at once. Bryn sighed and was about to return to her bed when there was a knock at her door. The young witch wondered whom it could possible be since the men of the crew had all overindulged in Nolen’s excellent wine. She knew that they would be in Morpheus’ realm until the morning. Bryn went to her door and opened it all the while on guard for any type of ambush. Outside with his hand raised to knock again was Nolen; the young witch’s eyes widen in suprise as she asked.
“Nolen,” she exclaimed startled. “Is something wrong with the crew,” Bryn asked thinking that nothing else beside a problem with her friends would bring the magistrate to her door at this hour.
“No no my dear,” the magistrate replied with a smile, “your friends are fine, sleeping like babes,” he added his tone light.
Bryn could tell that the magistrate’s light tone of voice was forced and the young empath could feel…well she was quite sure what it was she felt coming from the elderly man.
“Would you like to come in,” the young witch asked curious as to why he could possible be here.
“Yes…yes,” he said stuttering a little and not meeting her eyes. The magistrate entered her camber, taking his time looking around like he had never seen the rooms of his own home before. Bryn’s face still wore a puzzled look, but she refrained from asking any questions sensing the older man’s state of mind. The young empath waited patiently as the older man collected his thoughts and finally turned toward her.
“I couldn’t figure out why you didn’t seem to recognize me Elly,” he said in slightly pained voice. “That is until I spoke with Captain Sinbad,” he added his green eyes finally meeting her dark ones.
Bryn gasped and then shook her head in denial. She felt fear radiating from him…fear of her and she didn’t want to believe what he was telling her.
“My name is Bryn,” she said matter of factly, “not Elly,” she added. The young empath knew that this was her name, knew that her mind had not betrayed her on at least this one small aspect from her past.
“Aye little one that it is,” Nolen replied his eyes becoming softer. “Bryn yr Ellyllon,” he smiled and then continued, “my daughter Shannon always did love those stories of the fey that her mother filled her head with when she was little,” his eyes taking on a far away look at the memory. The old man shook his head ruefully and added, “She was even convinced that you were faerie blessed.”
Bryn was having a little trouble taking this in; she was stunned to say the least and lashed out at the magistrate thinking that he was just toying with her emotions.
“You said you granddaughter was dead, that man Lars…he saw the body,” Bryn replied harshly. “How could you do something like this to me,” she continued before the old man could speak “Sinbad in his drunken state tells you I can’t remember my past and you decide to have a laugh at my expense? Is this fun for you magistrate,” the witch added all the anger and pain she usually repressed welling up inside of her. The young witch hugged herself like she had a chill and shot grief filled eyes to Nolen.
Nolen’s own eyes were filled with pain and grief as her accusations washed over him in waves. He wondered again if he should have just let her discover her connection to him on her own, but knew that it was already to late to just walk away. It was too late the moment he saw her, here, alive at the festival.
“Your grandmother possessed some mind magic…a young girl about your age died,” he said not really sure where to begin. “The illusion was easy after we had a body to give your identity to,” he finished lamely
Bryn’s eyes widened when she heard Nolen’s answer. She had heard of mind magic in one of the port towns the Nomad had docked in earlier that year. “I think I had better sit down,” the young witch said in shock. She somehow managed to make it to her bed and perched on the edge of her mattress.
“I’m sorry to so this to you little one, I am, but I believed you were dead,” he said his eyes pleading. It was what they were pleading for that really confused Bryn. He wanted her forgiveness she realized as her abilities stretched out before her.
“Why do you want me to forgive you,” the young witch questioned truly puzzled and wary. At his pained look Bryn continued a little nasty in the face of his remorse. “I mean if what you saying to me is that you’re my Grandfather then what happened between us in the past that you need my forgiveness for.”
Nolen sighed, he knew that he had to tell her the whole story and hope that her heart had remained as pure and good as her remembered.
“It is not a pretty story lass,” he said his face aging years right before the young witch’s eyes, “but you have a right to know.” When Nolen glanced up again his eyes had resigned look in them.
“Tell me,” Bryn said softly but with a determination and strength that belied her small stature. She had been searching for the pieces to her past for over a year, and she wasn’t about to be a coward in the face of the information Nolen was going to impart.
Aye…aye,” the magistrate said on a sigh and paused to gather his thoughts. “It all started when my daughter, your mother, married a man named Donavan without your Grandmother’s or my blessing. Donavan had come at the time to visit Lars whom I knew from my former land, the land of Ira. I had disliked Donavan the moment I met him, but Shannon, she was headstrong and in love…so she defied me. We had a falling out; both of us saying things that we didn’t mean but in our stubborn pride never took back. Donavan took my little girl that very night, spiriting her off to the land of Ira, my daughter and I never had the opportunity of resolving or differences. I can still remember the words, her expression of anger…stubborn pride. I told her that she wasn’t my daughter and that I had never wanted to see her again,” Nolen grimaced remembering the harsh words. He continued his voice choking, “The last emotion to grace her lovely face after I carelessly said those words was, was betrayal. If it weren’t for my wife, Lysia, I would never have even known you were born. But my wife, Allah rest her gentle soul, kept in secret contact with Shannon, one day she getting the message that she had a little girl. Lysia wrote back that she wanted us, me and my daughter, to put aside our differences and allow us to come see the child. Shannon answered her letter telling us that it wasn’t a good time, and that Donavan still had not forgiven me for disowning her. It wasn’t until five years later that we found out that she was lying to us. That was the year that Shannon told us to come visit and the first time I laid eyes on you,” he paused smiling at Bryn. “You were five summers old, a beautiful child, a bundle of mischief and laughter, and we adored you the moment we met you. Still despite our joy at finally seeing you, we were severely troubled be the appearance of our daughter. She was covered in bruises and eerily docile. If my Shannon was anything when she was younger it was a born firecracker, she had a temper sometimes that could shake the foundations of Tangier,” the magistrate said smiling in memory.
“What had happened,” Bryn questioned softly speaking for the first time since her Grandfather had begun.
“Well she said that she had tripped and fallen down a hill, like a fool I believed her,” he spat bitterly. “To this day I can’t get any answers about what really happened to your mother,” he said looking his granddaughter strait in the eye.
“You mean my mother is…” Bryn said trailing off not really ready for this revelation.
Nolen cursed under his breath, he had forgotten that she didn’t remember, “Aye lass I’m sorry, your father too,” he tried to add softly but his words were laced with bitterness.
“How did they…” Bryn asked still not able to complete the thought.
“I don’t know,” Nolen replied only being half-truthful. He mentally kept his emotions in check, as he knew his granddaughter could pick up on them. He had enough painful memories for her right here in Tangier; he didn’t need to add to them right now.
The young witch nodded not really able to go down that road right now, besides she had a feeling that she wasn’t going to like the rest of Nolen’s story.
“So what happened to me after my parents…died,” she asked softly.
“Well little one that is were what I know becomes sketchy. Your Grandmother and I received the message that your parents were deceased two summers after we had visited you and that you had vanished. We were devastated thinking that you were lost to us and withdrew into a substantial period of mourning. For two summers after the news we received no visitors or participate in anything resembling a normal life. Then one day you just appeared on our doorstep, a wiry ten-summers-old in ragged clothes. You had changed though, the laughter had left you, and although you were young you had ancient eyes. We were thrilled however that you were alive and with us, so we didn’t question how you appeared on our doorstep. Besides you couldn’t remember what had happened to you the last two years,” Nolen said lost in the past.