The wave, the wash, the pull of the earth as the tides drawback to the sea. A force powerful enough to rip sands from the beach and tear homes away. The terror comes with a hunger, a starving frenzy needing to be fed. Appetite near insatiable.
CHRONICLE IV; Turning Tides
The ship slowly came to an abrupt halt as they docked. A smile had grown across Cora's face, her eyes glistening in the sunlight as she peered out at the new world. For every color of the rainbow and in between, Cabanas stood, tall and relaxed, people laying in the shade dressed for the warm weather. Further in stood kiosks, merchants trading and selling fruits, food, jewelry, anything that came to mind. The shoppers strolled through the market with ease, bags of money in hand, giving their coins to the sellers with smiles as wide as Cora's.
"What is this place?" Amor asked with curiosity gleaming behind his eyes. Both he and Oren stood in awe, overwhelmed as the smell of food lingered in their noses. This was paradise compared to the kingdoms, free and lively.
"Let's get a move on." Theyo walked past the group of young men and women, he picked up the string of rope from the deck, throwing it down to the men on the dock, they tied it the ship to the dock. Theyo wrapped the rope around each of the 6 cleats of the ship before unraveling the rope on the mast and pulling. His arms rippled as he pushed himself to tied the sail back up.
Once down, he went to grab the plank, throwing it over the side and attaching it to the ship's side.
"Shall we?" He gestured down to the dock. With excitement building up in her, Cora raced passed the prince and Amor and off the ship, nearly stumbling into the water once her feet hit the dock. Amor and Oren paced themselves to collect their small packs leaving Aeonia and Theyo on the deck alone.
"She's definitely got the spirit." The goddess said in a gentle whisper as she peered down to the heir who jumped up and down with glee. A small smile crept across her sun-kissed skin.
"Don't hurt her." Theyo forcibly whispered, trying to keep his voice down. Aeonia turned to him, her smile slowly fading.
"I'm not sure I'll be the one doing the hurting." Her eyes drifted back out to sea. Memories of an early Aecor filled her head, it sent spine cracking shiver down her back. She shook it off vigorously, looking back to the captain.
"As someone she's looked to for guidance, even if you were completely lip-sewn," Theyo's hands clenched until his knuckles turned white.
"You have to protect her." Something dark fell behind his dark eyes, a concern, a worry. A dim feeling below his skin crept as he stepped away from the deity and onto the deck. He and Cora embraced, smiling at one another.
"Trust me, she's not the one who needs protecting." Aeonia's tone deepened. Waves splashed so hard against the ship that it rocked.
"Amor, let's get off this death trap." Oren raced across the deck, a brown bag over his shoulder. His light hair had darkened under the unforgiving sun.
"I'm coming, I'm coming." Amor followed behind slowly. "Aeonia, are you coming?" Aeonia's fading attention snapped back at the sound of the prince.
"Of course." She spun around in her white dress, her bare feet gliding down the plank as the boys followed.
"I don't know what to do first," Cora's arm stretched around Aeonia.
"Let's eat something," Oren suggested though it came out as a command.
"Yeah and maybe you'll keep it down this time." Theyo gripped the knight's shoulders and gave him a squeeze. Everyone laughed, a sound that they hadn't heard since—well, in a while.
"Do we have any money?" Cora asked as she rummaged through Amor's bag. Displeasure ran across her face as she pulled out an old, dried apple core. "Obviously," she threw it at Oren, "not!"
"Hey!" Oren called out as the rotten piece of fruit hit his head. Cora shrugged and hid behind his lover.
"I have some gold pieces we can use," Theyo pulled out a small leather bag and shook it, a jingling of coins pierced through the air.
"Thank the gods!" Oren exclaimed, Aeonia's brow raising.
"You're welcome," she joked.
"Hilarious." Oren rolled his eyes with a smile. "Let's hurry up and get something to eat." The knight grabbed the small bag and dashed for a food vendor.
"Oren! Wait!" Amor called as he chased after him.
"Help us," Cora looked to Aeonia as they both followed the boys. Theyo trailing behind them.
As the two boys raced through the market, dodging locals and streets carts, the smell of meat grew stronger in the air, hunger striking something fierce in the knight causing him to pick up his pace. He raced over the gravel paths, kicking up small pebbles and dust, leaving a trailing of debris in the air. The aroma grew and grew until a stand with searing meats was merely a few feet ahead of him. With the same power he took off with, he abruptly stopped, sliding across the gravel on his feet.
"Boy! Stopping kickin' up that dirt!" The meat vendor with his wrinkled skin and an aging voice cried as he swatted away the dust.
"Sorry but I've been in dire need of proper food for the past 8 moons." Oren apologized, mouth-watering, his face was hit hard by the smell.
"Well, what can I get you?" The old man smiled. Oren licked his lips looking down at the assortment of food, unable to decide. The small bag in his hand rested on his palm, he squeezed it gently.
"Oren!" Amor had finally caught up with him, heavily panting once he stopped beside Oren. The girls and Theyo quickly followed his arrival.
"You really need to contain your pet." Theyo's snarky comment cut through his heavy breaths.
"Seriously, how does one person get so excited for food?" Cora asked as she gripped her side.
"Not my fault he has an empty pit for a stom-" Amor was thrown off his feet, a hooded figure forcing their way into the two. Oren stumbled back, the bag of coins flying into the air and landing in the mysterious person's hands and swiftly taking off. Oren's instincts kicked in as he pursued the thief, not hearing the shouts from Cora and Amor. The only things he was concerned with was getting back that bag of money and who dared to interrupt a meal he was so close to. A fury swirled so violently inside him that his running turned into sprinting, the distance between him and the hooded figure closed, even with the thief's tricks and sharp turns, Oren kept closing the distance until he was able to leap onto them, tackling them onto the ground, the bag of money falling in front of them.
But Oren wasn't concerned with that. His throat was now dry, dust on his tongue and that same violent fire burned hotter inside him. He spun the person over, a fist in the air, ready to throw the first punch yet when he saw the burglar's face, something fell over him. A young man with piercing green eyes framed by olive skin with amber hair that fell in wavy threads. He smiled up at Oren, his lips stretching into a smile.
"'Ey, sorry man." His voice came out smooth, gentle in with its words. Oren was unable to move, almost paralyzed. The fire in him snuffed out, his anger turned to confusion.
"Oren!" Amor's voice cut through the air. Oren jumped off the man, his skin hot and flushed a light red as pressure built up below his waist. He swallowed his own spit.
"I'm sorry, my man," the thief spoke. "If I knew you'd been so quick on your feet—" he eyed Oren up and down—"though I should have assumed." He bit his lip. Oren bit his cheek.
"Back off," Amor stepped in front of Oren. "You stole from us." The assailant threw his hands in the air and nodded. He picked up the bag of coins and threw it at Oren. The knight faltered almost dropping the coins back into the dirt.
"I'll pay for your meal." The man patted at two bags on his waist, a serenade of jingling followed.
"Gods!" Theyo screamed as he, Cora, and Aeonia slowly jogged over to them, looking ready to faint. "Stop running!"
"If you had money this entire time—"
"I have money but that doesn't mean I shouldn't have more." A smirk growing across his face.
"You shouldn't have ours!" Cora tried to yell at him but her breathing came out harsh and raspy. She was barely able to stand, having to brace herself on Aeonia.
"Understood." The thief nodded.
"Name's Roman." He stretched a hand out to Oren. Oren slowly took is hand only to be pulled in closer to Roman. "And you're Oren." Oren's tried to swallow the lump in his throat but it was too big.
"As I said, I'll pay for your meal," Roman smirked into Oren's green eyes, the knight staring back into his own eyes, falling deeper into a pool of green.
"You better!" Cora cut through, still exhausted.
"Cora, stop." Aeonia hushed her.
"Uh-huh. I'm going to," Cora sighed and fell onto the ground.
"So, whaddya say? Want a free meal?" Roman asked one more time, not making eye contact with the others. He wasn't asking them, he was asking Oren and with his hand still wrapped around the knight's, calloused and warm, he couldn't help but nod slowly, the inside of his mouth coated in a thin layer of moisture, his tongue poking through his lips. I
"Hungry?" Roman's whisper came out so quiet that Oren barely heard it. But he did hear it.
Oren swallowed, clearing his throat to breathe back, "starving."Now his heart was racing and his skin was hotter than anything the sun could bear down on him, beads of sweat collecting on his temple, the constant licking of his lips. Oren felt his stomach turn, shake, and convulse. He has never felt this hungry.