“With the ship’s capture, this sorry chapter in Scale’s history can be put behind us. Today is the day this rebellion dies, and with its death throes the Age of Scale shines ever brighter on our horizon.”— Waterlogged page recovered from the Glass Bay, circa 213 5E
“Look, fucko, you’ve got the wrong ship!”
Feral strained against the ropes binding him as Tanatine paced slowly in front of him, flanked by two of his soldiers.
“Oh, I assure you I haven’t, captain.”
“We’re just merchants!” protested Feral.
“Merchants? And what is it you sell?”
Feral glanced at Petarix and the others where they were bound in the corner. Petarix met his gaze and shook his head.
“Silk?” asked Tanatine, grinning. He paused and turned to face Feral. “We found no silk in the hold. Not very successful, I take it?”
“We…get by! Times are tough, alright? Especially when the navy just…whatever the fuck you just did to us!”
“Three weeks past, you sailed from Clearmont to Jecalli Harbour, alongside a vessel called The Fogrunner,” said Tanatine, ignoring the captain.
“I don’t recall that.”
“You transported the separatist leaders known as Narinn and Zorgar Markex, alongside their rebel soldiers.”
“Doesn’t sound like something I would do.”
“Your ship was the site of a confrontation between said separatist leaders and law enforcement officials from Clan Keldrath. Hence your smashed rear window.”
“That…was an entirely separate incident, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Tanatine narrowed his eyes and sighed. “I’m beginning to tire of this, captain.”
Feral shrugged as best he could. “Us too. We’ll just be on our way then.”
“I don’t think so.”
“This isn’t even your jurisdiction! This is…” He turned his head towards his crew. “Where are we right now?”
“Elf waters, captain.”
“Yeah! These are elven waters! You’ve got no authority here!”
Tanatine smiled. “I have all the authority I require, by virtue of you and your crew being at my mercy.”
Feral stared at Tanatine through thin eyes for a long moment. “I don’t like you.”
“I don’t like you either.” Tanatine clasped his hands behind his back. “The fact of the matter is that your leaders’ heads are presently mounted on pikes in Karan Taul.”
Feral and the crew’s eyes went wide. Tanatine smiled as he continued. “You will therefore return in our custody to Scale, where you will face justice in the courts for your part in this failed insurrection.”
“Put them in the brig.”
“Do…do you think it’s true, sir? About…about the captain?”
Feral looked up at Waylon from his position slumped against the cell wall. He chewed on his tongue a moment before replying. “I’m not sure.” He looked back down, tracing the grain of the cage’s wooden bottom with one claw. It was an uncomfortably familiar sensation.
“It can’t be,” said Jenna, sat cross-legged in her cage, “that would mean…”
“They lost,” finished Petarix, standing leant against the bars of his. “I don’t buy it.”
“The odds were always stacked against him,” said Trynnicus, his green scales almost black in the dim light of the hold. “Maybe…maybe he finally met his match…”
“When did you last hear from him?” asked Nala. Her voice was tender, knowing what Feral was going through only too well.
“It, uh…it’s been a few days.” Feral’s voice was hoarse.
Nala nodded. “I…I think you would know if it were true.”
Feral tapped his claw slowly. “Maybe.”
“The heart whispers softly, but it speaks only the truth,” said Morzir in a croaky voice.
Feral blinked twice and looked at him. “Thanks, man.”
Morzir smiled gently and gave a loosely formed thumbs-up before returning to his meditation.
“How long till we ought to arrive in Scale?” asked Feral, not addressing anyone in particular.
“Five or six days I should think, sir,” said Rathkran, quiet until now.
Feral nodded, and let out a sigh. “I suppose we’ll find out then.”