A Watery Reunion
It was a stormy night in the Month of Awakening. Even at this time of the year, the last vestiges of winter were displaying their full force across Neopia. Thick blankets of snow covered the lands near the poles, and even along the equator there were strong blizzards and icy winds blowing at freezing temperatures.
Krawk Island was no exception. In fact this whole month nothing but heavy black clouds had filled the skies in that part of Neopia, drenching the whole island in a constant downpour.
“Month of Awakening indeed,” the Usul thought.
This particular character was no ordinary character. He had been hailed as a war hero, he and his crew celebrated for the saving of New Maraqua. There had been a big celebration, lots of feasting and plentiful riches and rewards. Instead, he turned his back on the offer of a life of luxury in Maraqua in favour of a life of adventure, sailing the seas and plundering for even greater treasures. Fame and fortune had been his, even getting an article in the Neopedia and a spot in the Gallery of Heroes. However, instead of lapping up the fame he went off to continue his life as a pirate. He had all but disappeared from public eye ever since then, yet kept an ever-watchful eye on Maraqua.
Garin sat on the bow of the Black Pawkeet, peering down towards the water. Even in the heavy rain, nobody could miss his signature red headband and two gold earrings glinting in his left ear. His ship was currently docked at Warf Wharf. Jacques and the rest of his crew had gone into town to drink themselves merry and celebrate another round of adventures. Garin hadn’t joined them.
He had a more important appointment to keep tonight.
Hopping up off the bow, he entered the hull of the ship, making his way towards his cabin. He had more than enough riches to buy a mansion in every land on Neopia, but he knew he would never live anywhere else but the Black Pawkeet. This ship was his home, his livelihood.
He rummaged in his trunk, and took out a small, simple but sturdily made wooden box. The box held his most valuable possession, given to him by a dear friend. A glittering green seaweed necklace. He slipped the necklace over his head. He had kept it very carefully over the years in excellent condition, for his own use at least once a year on this very day.
Making his way back up to the bow, Garin looked down at the water once again.
“Here goes nothing,” he said to himself, and dove headfirst into the bay.
The initial shock of cold water hit him, freezing his body up like a torpedo. Garin didn’t struggle, instead letting the water carry him into the depths of the sea. With the necklace on, he couldn’t drown anyway.
When he finally regained sensation in his limbs, Garin begin swimming in the direction of Scurvy Island. That was their usual rendezvous point. The freezing water slowed him down a bit, but he had never been one to let such inconveniences get in the way. Having swum these waters so many times over the years, he knew them almost as well as he knew his ship.
Before long, he saw his end point. A stony underwater ledge just off Scurvy Island, leading in the direction of Maraqua. And sitting on it, a beautiful blue Sea-Aisha.
Isca sat with her back towards Garin, not bothering to turn around when he swam up to the ledge.
“You’re late.” She held a long object in her lap, sheathed in a seashell case.
“Sorry, sweetheart.” Garin smirked as he took a seat next to Isca. “Awful weather today. It’s been pouring buckets up there, not that it matters to you sea-folk.”
Isca gave a small grin. “You could always join us sea-folk in Maraqua, you know.”
Garin smiled sadly. “You know I can’t, Isca. We’ve been meeting in this spot at the same time, on the same day, every year for over ten years. You offer me the same thing every time, the same life of luxury. And every time, I can never say yes.”
She sighed softly. “I know you can’t Garin. My duty is to let you know that you are one of New Maraqua’s heroes, and deserve to be treated as such.”
“I know that, and don’t get me wrong, your people are amazing. But I’m a pirate, Isca. You can’t expect me to be sitting in a suite and waited on hand and foot. It’s not for me.”
“Well one day, if you ever decide to retire from your life of looting, New Maraqua always welcomes you.” Isca turned the seashell-covered object around in her hands. She presented it to Garin. “Until then, this is to aid you in your travels.”
Garin unsheathed the weapon and gasped at its beauty. It was a sword. It was nowhere near an ordinary sword though. The hilt was made of obsidian beautifully carved in an intricate design, and the blade appeared to be made of maractite but appeared to shine brighter and glow more than maractite usually did.
“The hilt is made of obsidian from the Moltaran quarries. The blade is a blend of pure maractite and the rarest crystals from the Faerie Caverns. Smelted by the best blacksmith from Tyrannia and cooled in the beaches off Mystery Island. It is perfectly balanced in your hand and will never bend or tarnish.”
Garin tested the blade in his hand, and jumped up, slicing through the water with it. “Isca, this is amazing!”
She smiled. “A worthy present for a valuable friend, I hope.”
Garin grinned. Beautiful indeed, but I just may have outdone you.”
She looked almost offended. “What could possibly be better than my gift?”
He laughed. “Close your eyes and give me your hand.”
Isca did as she was told. “I have no idea what you could possibly give me that could top last year’s gift…”
Garin fished in his jacket pocket for the precious gift. He took the small pendant out and dropped it gently into Isca’s outstretched hand.
The Aisha opened her eyes and gasped. “Great King Kelpbeard! It can’t be!”
“It is.” Garin declared proudly. “Thyora’s Tear.”
“I thought it was just a legend this existed! Do you know how much power this holds?”
Garin resisted the urge to roll his eyes. “I know the value of a jewel when I see one, sweetheart. Trust me, it wasn’t easy retrieving this.”
“How did you even find this?”
He winked. “Let’s just say, the Neopian underworld has a more…unconventional way of doing things. I got a tip from some of my friends at Smugglers’ Cove and went on my own personal quest to track it down.”
“Oh…”Isca’s eyes were almost as round as the pendant as she stared at it, mesmerised. In the dark waters, the pendant gave off a beautiful, iridescent glow. “This will be so useful in underwater spells!”
Garin smirked. “What did I say?”
Isca smiled. “Okay, you win.”
“I thought so.”
Just then, a ray of sunshine burst through the water, causing both the blade and the pendant to glitter beautifully in the sunlight. Then and there, they both knew that nothing else mattered to them at the moment but the love and friendship they had for each other.
“Happy month of Awakening, Isca.” Garin said, his tone softening. “Thank you for your companionship all these years.”