« on: November 15, 2012, 02:33:40 AM »
The early Monday morning sun was shining down on Arcadian lands as it normally did. The rays broke through the low hanging palms and shined on Aja and Hochi putting up pens together. The pair worked well together, one would hold the rail and the other would weld it into place.
Aja was banging out some of the pipe ends and saw Hochi spacing out at the bay. She kept working a little bit longer before speaking.
?As pretty as da scenery is, Hoch.. Da blue doesn?t always hold da answers.? she banged on the pipe a little more and saw him turn to look at her curious. She would let him think about that for a little while and continued working.
His mom was a bit amazing to him. How she would know what his thoughts were, or when to leave him alone with them, he didn?t know. But there were a lot of times he was glad she was that way.
Aja didn?t say another word for a while, she kept working waiting for Hochi to be ready to talk on his own. It occurred to her as she worked that Tanner had always allowed her to work through things in her head, he?d remain close by though.
She was no different than him in the way she dealt with Hochi. She knew, pushing would do very little to help, in fact it could get him to shut down which would prevent her being able to help him in any decent way. It would?ve been like that for her had Tanner been any different. She hated when people got all pushy to know what she was thinking. She?d tell them when she wanted, not a second before. If ever sometimes. Some of those thoughts in her head were dark memories best never spoken aloud to those that would never understand for they had never stood in her shoes. They knew little about suffering at the hands of others. That was something that her and Hochi understood all too well.
Hochi came over slowly and picked up the hammer, Aja stepped back and grabbed a bottle of water, letting Hochi bang on the pipe, flattening out the end while getting his irritation out. After a drink, her water bottle went to the side, she replaced it with the sander and got to work on the end he just finished as he started on the other side. She glanced over at him, at the expression of his face, she suspected it wouldn?t be too much longer before he had something to say.
Hochi sighed as he let the hammer rest against his leg he knew this conversation was going to happen. He glanced back toward the water then to Aja, ?It feels really nice to be back, I know I keep saying that, but it really does? he smiled quickly before he set the hammer on the bench.
?I don?t mind hearin it, and a good days work with family can never be praised enough.? Aja said in between hammer strikes.
?It helps clear the mind I think, too much adventuring can...sometimes...cloud it.? Hochi said pausing ?I missed the docks, I?ve seen hundreds of others,, but this one is my favorite.? Smiling as he looked around his childhood playground.
?Aye. I?ve seen mah fair share a da realm. Nothin quite compares ta home.? She gave Hochi a smile. ?And da people dat make it such.?
?Yeah? There are quite a few people that know the name of Bird..?
?Dat be so?? Aja seemed amused, with an undercurrent of slight concern. ?Friendly ports?? asked idly.
He nodded, ?A few of them were not the friendliest of places? Hochi grabbed the hammer and another pipe beforing hammering flat the end of the pipe. ?A few of the people were of the unsavory types, but now they just know there are two dangerous Birds out there.?
?Birds of prey as it were.? she smirked a little. ?Aye. Dey be right about dat. I keep JiJi busy in Ballentine with Ajay. Not dat I don?t believe those two couldn?t hold dere own in a battle, but it be best not ta find out. Aye?? Aja sighed. Of the family, Ajay was best suited as a King and JiJi? Well, she had too much a tendency to panic first for Aja?s comfort level to allow the twin anywhere near a battle scene on purpose.
?I would rather not find out if they could or couldn?t handle a battle. It is always best to not get involved in one if you can.? Hochi had learned the hard way that there are people out there that just can?t handle the intensity of a battle.
?Secret?s safe wiff me, Kid.? She smiled at her son getting the impression that he worried about the other family members finding that out.. ?Don?t rat me out either, eh?? Aja had that same thought herself.
?I won?t rat you out, its our secret? he smiled brightly
?Good.? Aja grinned and turned the pipe. ?Much as I love yer Uncle and Aunt. Dey have skills best used right where they are.? no sense lying to her son. ?JiJi fancies herself a brawler, but I do not believe dat is enough fer what she would encounter out dere.? Aja waved a hand toward the open ocean. ?She?d be dead ?fore she even knew what hit her.? The expression was one of deep contemplation now. ?You and me. We?re special, Kiddo.? Aja went on sanding the pipe smooth for the welds to come.
He nodded knowing all too well that dangers of the ocean, and those that traversed it. He smiled happily hearing her, ?Damn straight we are special, we have gone out there and come back, more or less the same.? He whacked the pipe a few times flattening it ?Did you like my new ship, pretty big isn?t it?? He beams proudly as he slams the hammer down onto the pipe.
?Aye, it is at dat.? she was remaining silent for the more about going out and coming back the same comment he made. There was more to that statement than he was telling her right now. ?She requires some modifications ta fit da new motor in, one powerful enough ta propel it. But it?s a damn fine ship, Hochi.? she paused in her sanding to answer his question giving him a smile and then taking up her work again. ?If it?s alright with ya, I?ll be addin some special modifications ta her. Ones I believe yer gonna find most useful fer when yer ready ta go back out again.? her own ship had undergone such modifications and she had been grateful for them.
?Modifications huh? What sort of modifications??
?Aye.? Aja nodded as she kept sanding. ?Added some new defensive modes ta da Breeze.? she knocked the sand block against the pipe to clear the shavings off. ?One, defects most magic attacks from mages on nearby vessels. Another slows cannon shots allowing any on board mage a chance to fling them off inta da sea.?
?I like the sound of those, right now all I have are cannons, and people who are well versed in hand to hand combat.? He paused, ?I?m going to be the scourge of slavers soon.? smirks, but there was a twinge of worry in his voice.
?Who says ya ain?t now?? she gave him a smile before getting serious again. ?We?ll train yer crew up on da new weapons. And if yer amiable ta it, new fightin skills. Oh! And explosives!? she suddenly grinned big remembering that one, then got back to the conversation. ?Some new hand ta hand skills and long range sniper rifles.?
?I would be up for the new fighting skills and training, I can get a few of the men who came to Rhydin to do the training, most jumped ship at previous harbors. I kind of just picked up a rag tag crew along the way when needed.? Smiles, ?you know me too well, I love explosives! The more the merrier? laughs
?We?ll train ?em in Arcadia. RhyDin is alright fer a test run on some of da skills, but I think trainin is best handled round home. No need havin a new crew distracted with RhyDin City antics.? said to Hochi as she knocked off more metal shavings. ?Ya and me will go out ta da demo island later dis week. I?ll show ya some of mah latest ideas.?
?I will have to call the remaining crew back into Arcadia, seems like their fun is now over.? Chuckles, ?What Rhydin antics are you talking about? smiles knowing all too well the antics one can get into in this town. ?Demo Island, uhh yeah of course we are going out there!?
?Good ta let ?em have a break.? Aja said about the first part, then looked up at the question. ?RhyDin City has many distractions. Da latest seems ta involve zombies.? she shrugged slightly, she would tell Hochi of her own encounters with those later, it would be off the subject for now. ?Don?t know how dey came ta be, but I don?t think a rookie crew would be equipped ta handle dem jist yet.? she again knocked the metal shavings off her sanding block and brushed off the pipe. She thought a moment about what else would be needed to update his crew. She had already cornered Hochi?s on board cook and had sent him to train with her own, who was now a successful diner owner in town. ?And what of yer healer on board, is he up to date on the latest advances??
He shook his head, ?We used to have one...? sighs still shaking his head, ?She was lost...? Hochi took a deep breath. ?We haven?t had one in the past three months.?
?Have ta fix dat.? Aja said as she inspected the pipe. ?We?ll talk ta Parker. He?ll find a good one.?
?Yeah...that sounds like a good idea, anyone he recommends is going to be the best there is.? He sat down leaning against one of the posts looking out at the water.
?Hoch?? Aja started slowly, ?Not ta go all pushy ma on ya...? she leaned against the saw horses, she?d go ahead with her question although she likely knew the answer already, given what bits of information he?d already related to her. ?Did ya bite off more dan ya could chew out dere ?fore ya had da good sense ta come home??
He watches the waves coming into the harbor, glancing up at the seagulls. ?Something like that...? he took a deep breath ?I landed at this Island, I knew they weren?t the best of people. I was almost sure that they were slavers but I wasn?t completely sure. So we docked and what not and took a look around, before you know it my entire crew...was captured.? He sighed still staring at the water.
Aja listened as he spoke and tugged her gloves off, they got tossed on the workbench, as she grabbed a couple new water bottles from the coolers quietly as Hochi related his tale. Coming over to him, one water bottle was given to him as she took a seat next to him.
?And I take it ya couldn?t get dem all back?? she guessed not looking at him, but staring off at the water like he was.
He nodded pausing ?Yeah...I lost a lot of people, very good people.? He takes the water bottle unscrewing it taking a drink. ?Almost was caught myself...was on the ship for a few weeks.? He closed his eyes tightly remembering the dark cargo hold. The hundreds of other people chained below deck. The terrible conditions, the waiting, and the silence, the parading about on a dock in front of a buyer. ?I was almost bought...I had to start a big fight so they wouldn?t want me...? sighs looking at the ground between his legs going silent.
Aja?s hand reached over to come to rest on his shoulder as he spoke.
He takes a deep breath, ?I was terrified, I hadn?t been that terrified since I was a little kid when those men took me away from you....? closes his eyes tightly. That hand that had merely rested on his shoulder went around and she pulled him in a little. He was never going to be too old for her to comfort.
?Loss. We know it well.? she said quietly. ?We shall always feel it.. no matter how much time goes by. As we will with da fear.?
?When I finally managed to get a rebellion organised to take the ship. I went back to the Island to see if any of my crew were there...I lost 10...because of me...? he moves in closer to her, ?I brought them there...I had lost crew...but never lost any to a slaver...sent them to a life worse than death...? lowers his head remembering his own time enslaved as a child. Being fed just enough to keep you alive, the whippings, the pain. ?I tried to find them but I couldn?t I had to leave the Island very fast but those slavers are still on that Island.? Takes a very long drink of water.