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|And back to Catania's point of view! (If you guys get bored with the alternating PoV's then do tell me!)|
Things are not going so well for our favourite warrior. She gets hurt in more than one way in this chapter...Oh, why do authors have this need to be cruel to their characters? ;)
Sorry this one took so long! I promise future chapters will be put up sooner :)
“Look at your feet! They are almost in a knot again! What did I tell you about putting them this close together and attempting to turn in mid-swing?”
Shuffling of feet. Grumbling. Embarrassment.
“Wrist-control, Doyle! How often have I stressed that point? If you let the blade hang too loose, it will be knocked out of your hand at the first offensive blow!”
Nod. Knuckles turning white.
“No no no!! You’re not cutting a piece of meat here! Swing that blade, don’t chop with it like a butcher! The sword is the extension of the arm! Use it gracefully!”
Rolling eyes. Attempt to swing.
“Balance! Did you notice how off that stab was? You started too low, sir fisherman! And you got a wobbly blade as a result. Grip the handle firmer and raise that tip higher to find the blade’s balance!”
Sighing. Raising blade again.
“Oye! Not that high!!”
Grunt. Clenching teeth.
“Now run the third training sequence again and mind your feet this time! Mirror my steps and…- To the Gods, Doyle, Look up! Up! Don’t look at my feet! How are you ever going to see the strike coming if you’re looking down?”
“Right. Now we’ll try these steps together with the blade movements. one…two…clang…Quicken your pace and keep those swings coming! three…four…clang… This is not a dance, Doyle! This is a serious fight to the death… five…six…clang…probably against a fierce and terrifying opponent who’ll - …clang…”
Eyes widen in shock.
Catania hastily jumped to her feet as she heard a soft knock on her cabin door, a shiver of pain, caused by her own sudden movement, creeping over her fair features. She bit her lip and pulled herself upright before answering the door, trying to swallow back the nausea that forced its way to her throat. The warrior woman pressed her hand hard on a bloodied bundle of cloth that covered half of her right arm and weakly tried to turn the doorknob with her spare hand. Her fingers where slippery with her own blood, though, so it took a few attempts before she managed to get the door open.
Her eyes immediately darted downwards where they met those of a very concerned-looking, red-haired gnome. Cat quickly nudged the girl inside before the gnome could speak and slammed her hip against the door to make it fall shut again. She let her back rest against the reassuring stable woodwork, waiting for the spell of dizziness to dissipate, before turning to her visitor.
Rhea’s eyes widened to the size of saucers at the sight of the warrior’s arm and her small face turned red in anxiety. Cat knew that she was about to burst out in exclamations and questions any second now.
“What in the Abyss have you been doing? Look at all the blood!! Does it hurt? What happened? Who did this to you? Are you in trouble? Is that Doyle’s shirt? Are you ok? Talk to me!”
Through clenched teeth Cat grinned slightly at her friend’s usual incoherent questioning. Gnomes where known to be disorganised when talking and Rhea sure was no exception.
“How about answering one of those at a time after you had a look at my arm? What do you think, miss healer?”
Even through her own pain Catania noticed that Rhea winced slightly at being called a “healer”. Through Doyle and several rumours that travelled all around the ship, Cat had been able to form a pretty good picture of what had happened with the drowned boy, but had chosen not to bother Rhea with any harsh questions. She saw what a hard time her gnome friend was already having just by catching malicious whispers and having to stand the stares of some of the less friendly passengers. She just pretended she didn’t know and treated the gnome no different than before. After a week, things were settling back down, though, and the passengers were turning their attention elsewhere, gossip being plenty on a ship of this size.
Rhea, suddenly all business-like, nodded and directed Cat towards the only chair in the cabin, while she went to fetch a bucket in the corner. Catania saw the gnome heave the heavy container towards the door and into the hallway, but couldn’t hear the muffled conversation that was being held there. Apparently someone else had been outside her cabin, waiting. In her haste to get the healer inside, Cat hadn’t even noticed.
“Who’s there, Rhea?”, she asked with as much of a level voice as she could manage. But in truth her heart and mind were racing. What if someone had seen them? What if they knew!
“It’s alright, Cat. That was only Doyle outside. I asked him to fetch me some hot water from the galley and some clean linen.”, Rhea answered from the doorway. She came back in and closed the door discretely. Her brow creased with worry-wrinkles as she slowly sat on her knees at Catania’s left side and carefully started to undo the make-shift bandage that had hastily been wrapped around the warrior’s wounded arm. The cloth was soaked with blood and the more it came unwound, the harder it was getting for Cat to bite her teeth and not cry out. She looked the other side and tried to push the throbbing pain from her mind. She was a general’s daughter. She would not scream!
There was a deep gash in Cat’s left upper-arm, from her shoulder down towards her elbow. As by miracle the top of the sleeveless leather tunic had not been cut through, the wound edging just inches from the rim. According to Rhea, as far as she could see through the bloody mess, the flesh and muscles in the arm were cut straight through, but luckily the bone underneath was untouched. The gnome had ways of treating bad flesh wounds with herbal medicine, but no bones could be mended without either weeks of rest or the Goddess’ Touch. And since Cat knew that last option was not available, she made a mental sigh of relief when Rhea explained how lucky she had been that the bones weren't broken. The ship would arrive in a week’s time and once ashore the group would have to travel at a fast pace towards the capital. Cat simply didn’t have a few weeks to spend in bed in order for the bones to grow back together.
Rhea’s face suddenly flushed a shade of pink as she tried to explain in a matter-of-fact voice that Cat would have to take off her leather tunic and her undergarments if the wound was to be dressed effectively. Catania simply nodded in understanding and allowed Rhea to help her undo the leather cords of her beautiful tunic and heave it off of her. The blood-stained undergarments were cut away since Cat would not have been able to raise her arm yet to pull them over her head. They were thrown on the heap of soaked cloth that had once been Doyle’s shirt...
A soft knock made both Rhea and Catania look up, the latter’s good hand already reaching for a blanket to put over her half-naked form. A few moments later Rhea sprinted towards the door and opened it only to a crack. A bucket of steaming water and a bundle of clean rags were shoved through and Rhea moved out into the hallway. She mumbled a few words, then came back in and shut the door again. Catania could not hear any footsteps going away from the cabin, though.
Some of the hot water spilled over the edge as the gnome did her best to carry the bucket towards the chair, making water stains all over her white dress. Next Rhea pulled a bundle of very fragrant herbs from one of her pockets, selected a few and threw them in the hot water, which made it turn a funny dark green colour. Then she carefully dipped a clean rag into the sweet smelling concoction and tried to clean out the wound without applying too much pressure to avoid even more bleeding. Catania chewed on her lower lip in a very concentrated manner, the knuckles of her good hand turning white as it gripped hard into the fabric of the blanket, but never once uttered a sound.
The hot, fragrant fluids seemed to singe the edges of the wound shut and after a while the bleeding stopped entirely, leaving a wide nasty red, but clean gash along the length of her arm. Cat swallowed hard when Rhea next took out a curved sewing needle and started fastening a piece of very thin white thread on it. Then the gnome let the needle drop in the green fluid too and let it soak for a while before taking it out again. At last she sighed deeply and turned back towards the wound. Her voice was a little shaky.
“I must warn you. This will sting. Quite a bit, actually. I’m sorry! This is the only way…”
Cat tried to give her friend a reassuring smile, but never got further than a grimace as Rhea squeezed the flesh on her arm together to close the wound. A low whistle escaped her lips and her eyes grew twice as large the moment the gnome meticulously started to sow the wound shut, but still she said nothing. She knew this was the way of the warrior. It was just one of the least pleasant parts, one she was not planning on repeating any time soon.
From one of her many pouches Rhea next produced a small pot with a white ointment that she applied in a very thin layer on the stitches and the red edges of the wound. The thread glowed once while the salve dissolved into it. The painful throbbing in Cat’s arm gradually lessened and then stopped entirely, and she found she could flex her fingers again without feeling the hurt up to half-way her shoulder. Rhea’s herbs could work magic!
“I suppose you didn’t think of using that white salve before you started plunging a needle into my bare skin, hm?”, Cat winked and although she could still feel some pain, the healing qualities of Rhea’s medicine had managed to put back the teasing edge in her voice.
“I’m sorry, Cat. I really am! But this ointment is very hard to get and I only had a small amount to start with. I’m trying to save it for the journey ahead, hoping I will not need it again, but dreading it might have to be used for even graver injuries than yours right now. There really isn’t any to spare!”
Cat smiled and tried out a few movements with her injured arm to see how far the healing qualities of the salve would stretch. She noticed she could bend and stretch her arm again, but reaching above her own head still felt too sore. She didn’t even dare to touch the flesh itself, because despite the medicine, her skin still showed up as painful and inflamed as before. But the fact that Rhea’s care had managed to heal the damaged muscles in her arm already made the warrior woman regard her little gnome friend with renewed respect. Gift or not, the healer had already proven to Cat to be invaluable on this trip!
“I was teasing you, Rhea. I know you wouldn’t waste medicine like that. You’ve got too much sense in that head of yours to do such a thing.”
Rhea smiled back and then offered Cat a clean rag to wash away the rest of the blood that clung to her milk-white skin. The warrior woman cleaned herself up as good as she could, friendly but firmly refusing any offers of help. When all the dried blood was scrubbed off, the gnome ripped the linen in even strips and knotted the pieces of cloth together in a tight bandage around Catania’s arm. Then she carefully helped Cat into a baggy and comfortable blouse. A few moments later, except for Cat’s face that looked slightly paler than usual, nothing could betray the fact that she had just had her upper arm sliced through. Now the only thing left to do, was to clean up the bloody rags that lay on the wooden floor of the cabin.
Rhea bend down to gather the rags and held them up in the light of one of the oil lamps. Through the crimson stains a simple sowing pattern could be seen and an embroidery of two fish with their tails intertwined still slightly rose up from the bloodied cloth. Her eyes widened in recognition.
“This is Doyle’s shirt! He was wearing this today, I remember…Cat, how come you have Doyle’s shirt?”
Catania hesitated a few seconds before replying.
“He found me on the deck after the…um…accident. He took off his shirt and wrapped it around my arm. He took me to my cabin and that’s when I told him to go and fetch you.”
Cat tried to keep her voice level, hoping her tone wouldn’t betray the fact that she was lying, something she hated doing, especially to a friend like Rhea.
“Really? What a coincidence that he was walking on deck at this late hour! You’ve been lucky!”
There was nothing but honesty in the girl’s voice.
“But now tell me what happened! Did someone do this to you? What do you mean by “accident”? How can a wound like that be caused by accident?”
Catania looked away and gazed through her one and only window, but the stars offered her no comfort this night. She had dreaded this question and was trying to work out a way around it. But knowing gnomes, Rhea would probably press the matter anyway. There was nothing to it.
“I’m sorry Rhea, but I’d rather not tell, if you don’t mind. This is something I simply cannot share. And I would actually be very grateful if you could keep my accident silent.”
Rhea opened her mouth to protest, but then suddenly, to Cat’s surprise, the gnome just nodded and turned back to the mess on the floor. As she watched her friend fold the bloodied shirt and equally stained rags of the undergarments into a linen bag, the warrior suddenly realized Rhea knew exactly what it was like to have secrets you couldn’t tell others. She should have known the girl would understand the situation and that she would not press such delicate matters. She offered her a warm smile and then helped her clean up the floor.
As Rhea left her cabin a few moments later, the words of gratitude choked in Cat’s throat as the emotions were finally getting to her.
“Thank you, my friend…for everything! What would I do without you?”
Rhea smiled and patted Catania’s left hand.
“That’s ok. You just promise that whatever you are doing, you’ll stay out of harm’s way from now on. I can’t be having with you calling me out of bed in the middle of the night again!”
Rhea grinned, but then hesitated and looked Cat right into the eyes as she spoke again.
“..And promise me that if someone is really hurting you, that you’ll inform one of us. Go to Doyle, preferably. He’s a big guy. He’ll stand up for you, I’m sure!”
Cat didn’t know what to say next. On the one hand she was shocked that Rhea would think she couldn’t defend herself and that she would need a man to stand up for her. On the other hand she had to force down the giggles that were threatening to erupt at the fact of how far off the gnome was in her assumptions. Doyle would stand up for her, yes…had he not been the one to have accidentally stricken her down…
As the early sun rays penetrated the single window of the cabin, the black-haired woman groaned and turned over once more in her bed, pulling the blankets all the way up to her chin. That movement caused her to be rather violently shoved out of the dream realm and into the real one in which a stinging sensation was growing more painful by the second. Finally the wisps of pain found a way through her sleepy mind and Catania woke up, realizing that by turning she had rolled on top of her wounded arm. The wound was starting to throb painfully again and on closer inspection some blood could be seen through the bandage.
Cat sighed, caught herself in time not to stretch her arms like she did every morning, and stumbled out of bed. She was on her own for now and would have to dress the wound personally this morning.
Although she was a little anxious at what she would find underneath the cloth, she firmly undid the knots and inspected the stitches. The wound had been bleeding a little that night, but not too badly and at least it hadn’t got infected. Her skin still looked red and painful, though, and she dreaded having to touch and even wash that inflamed part. But Rhea had given her clear instructions and if she wanted to hide her injury to the rest of the world, she would have to make sure it healed as quickly as possible.
Once fully washed and dressed, the warrior decided to go on deck and breathe some fresh air. Even though Rhea had disposed of the rags and the floor was freshly scrubbed, Catania couldn't help but still smell the horrible and stale odour of blood in her cabin. The events of yesterday night had also upset her stomach more than she was prepared to admit and filling her lungs with some fresh salty sea air was just the thing she needed.
Catania opened the door of her cabin to step out into the hallway... and the first thing that met her eye was Doyle, still bare-chested and with sleepy eyes, leaning against the opposite wall.
His hair was ruffled and he looked as if he’d just stumbled out of bed. His tanned torso gleamed softly in the light of the hallway lanterns, the muscles acquired by a lifetime of hauling aboard heavy fishnets standing out to finish off a perfectly trained body. Not even the most eager soldiers at her father’s camp had been able to acquire such muscular structure, much to their –and Cat’s- dismay.
For a moment Catania was nailed to the spot, unable to even voice her surprise and disapproval, but the moment she came back to her senses she immediately reached for Doyle's arm and practically dragged him inside of her cabin, making sure that there was nobody there to witness her doing so. Once inside the anger quickly found a way out.
“What in the Abyss where you thinking! What are you doing outside of my cabin with no shirt on? What will people think? And don't tell me you've been out there all night? Oh dear gods, no...The shame!”
She had heard of some of the noblewomen inviting the bronzed sailors at night when their men were off in the lobby or the Captain’s quarters to play card games and drink the favoured heavy dark rum. The men usually came back stone drunk to sleep half of the next day away. Women could get pretty lonely on this ship, especially on a journey that took a month to arrive. The sailors “offered” the entertainment instead and Cat had seen many of them standing in the corridor like this waiting for the Lady’s men to disappear before entering their cabins. She knew just too well what this must have looked like.
And as usual, Doyle was completely unaware that he might have done something wrong.
“You were wounded and it was my fault. I had to make sure you were alright. I just held guard at your door tonight. That’s all!”
“And how is standing without a shirt at my cabin going to help me? Have you even thought about what this does to my reputation? Gods, you fishermen! Have you no sense in that big head of yours? I can't believe you've actually been out there all night like this! What will people say?”
Doyle's face had been impassive throughout her tantrum, but now Cat couldn't help but notice the slight frown that formed on the fisherman's otherwise always untroubled brow. His voice stayed the same, though, except for the minor emphasis on the title when he next addressed her.
“I apologize for my rudeness, lady Adweidan, but as far as I know my shirt was wrapped around your arm last time I saw it and is probably ruined now. And since it was the only decent one I had, I was unable to dress appropriately to appear in your presence. I also apologize for being worried about you. My mother never told me it was improper to be concerned about someone placed higher than oneself. I shall keep that in mind for future reference.”
Cat was taken aback by his sudden change of manner and suddenly felt a slight pang of guilt at having shouted at the big man. After all, he did stay at her door just because he cared about her well-being. He wasn't to blame for the fact that someone might have seen him there and have indecent thoughts about his presence. He simply wouldn't have even thought that far. Cat took a deep breath before answering.
“Doyle, as a man it's always improper to be seen topless at the door of a lady of my status. But since you obviously acted out of ignorance and true concern, I'm willing to let this slip. Just make sure you are more careful of your behaviour in future. I don't need to tell you that the set of rules for this part of the ship are completely different from the ones you are used to. Please take this in account.”
“I will. And for what it's worth, I've seen nobody pass so you don't need to worry about your good name being dragged through the mud. Nobody on this site of the ship ever gets up this early, you know.”
Catania exhaled an obvious breath of relief at this statement. At least no harm was done.
“My lady, if I may inquire, but how is your arm today? Rhea just told me last night that it was going to be alright in a few days, but that's all she was willing to tell me. Does it still hurt?”
The warrior almost smiled at the concern that had returned in Doyle's face and tried to set his mind at rest as best as she could. After all, who could stay angry at a full grown man with the look of a five year old who's favourite pet just died?
“It's still quite sore, yes, but I'm confident that our friend has patched me up well enough. At least I can use my muscles again now and I only need to worry about the flesh wound that needs to heal by itself.”
“She had to stitch it, right? Did that hurt much?”
The image of the sharp needle quickly found its way back to Cat’s mind which didn’t help her upset stomach at all. But she tried to be brave and remain dignified.
“Well…I can’t say it was enjoyable, no…Actually, it was quite painful...and there was just so much blood, Doyle...so much blood...But I'll be fit as a fiddle in no time again, I'm sure...Well, I think, anyway...”
Doyle didn't miss the hesitation in her voice and silently led Cat back to her chair. She didn't struggle when he gently lowered her down to sit and poured her a glass of water from the jug. She accepted the drink gratefully, her hands shaking just a little.
“Please Doyle, the name's Cat.”
“Sorry... Cat, how could this have happened? I have been thinking things over all night and as far as I can remember I didn't miss the sequence swing. Just when I lowered the blade you turned and I couldn't keep the sword from its downward path. What did I do wrong?”
Cat looked away for a moment, cradling the glass between her hands to keep them steady. She had been thinking about the incident too and could only come to one conclusion. Her voice was no more than a whisper as she answered, her head bowed down in shame.
“It wasn't your fault, Doyle. It was mine.”
“But how can that be? You are the one who taught me the sequence. How could you possibly have made a mistake? You know these sequences like the back of your hand!”
Cat hid her face behind her glass as she took a big gulp of the refreshing fluids. It shamed her to have to admit it, but she was sure that she had made the mistake and not Doyle. He was not to blame.
“No, Doyle. I missed the count and turned too late. You did only what you were taught to do. I...I guess I was talking too much instead of paying attention to the sequence, trying to make sure you knew who was in the lead. I should have known better. This wound is my own damn fault...”
“Please! It's hard enough for me to admit making a mistake. Don't make it worse by keep on denying it...”
Doyle was speechless for a moment. Then he moved over to the chair and just quickly laid one of his big hands on Cat's good shoulder to give it a short squeeze. It seemed to convey both their thoughts best.
For once, Cat didn't protest. She just gave him a faint smile while he respectfully removed his hand. The gesture had made a statement: they would be friends from now on instead of playing this silly game of teacher and pupil. The gods knew they both still had a lot to learn.
“But what now? Did we move from the wooden practice sticks to the real blades too soon? Maybe we should go back to the sticks for a while, after you've fully recovered?”
Cat shook her head.
“Nonsense. How are you ever going to learn how to wield that blade when only practising with wooden sticks? You need to learn the sword’s qualities and restrictions, Doyle, and only the real thing can teach you that. And we're going to train again tonight. I'm not going to let something like this set met back. You did exactly what I asked you to do. To treat me as an equal...I should really be thanking you for not holding back, but maybe that's a little too absurd in the situation.”
Doyle's face broke into a wide grin at Cat's playful statement and even the warrior seemed to have found her smile again.
“We'll just have to be a little more careful from now on. I've been able to conceal the one or two bruises and small cuts from the training sessions so far and you seem to be managing fine hiding yours as well, but one day Rhea will start to ask too many questions or someone will put two and two together...And if you're going to be summoned at Captain Cooper's cabin for beating up a Lady, then I'm not going to be bailing your sorry ass out!”
Doyle's smile suddenly dropped at hearing her utter the Captain's name.
“The Captain! Oh dear gods...I almost forgot!”
<br>He quickly rummaged through his pockets and produced a letter. The edges were a little bend, but the seal was unbroken. <br><p> <br>“The Captain's footman delivered this letter very early this morning. I could convince him to let you sleep and he somehow believed I was your manservant. He gave me the letter instead and made me promise that I would see it came to you personally.” <br><p> <br>Catania groaned loudly. <br><p> <br>“Oh Doyle! And I thought you said nobody had seen you!” <br><p> <br>“Um...Yes, well, nobody, except for the footman...and the deck guard...and maybe the servant girl that cleans the rooms, but I'm not sure if she really noticed me or not since she looked pretty pre-occupied...and then maybe the-” <br><p> <br>Cat's hand swiftly reached for her cushion and threw it forcefully towards the big man's head. <br><p> <br>“Out! Get out, you big oaf! And make sure nobody sees you! Unbelievable!” <br><p> <br>Cat rolled her eyes dramatically, but made sure Doyle saw her grin as he hurried out of her cabin. No harm done? Yeah right...Ah well, at least no important people had seen him and she couldn't care less what the staff had to say. Sure, rumours would be all over the ship by noon, but the servant girls had a large imagination and their so-called “true stories” were usually so exaggerated that nobody really saw them as a reliable source of information. <br><p> <br>Yeah, so maybe things weren't as bad as she thought. After all, at least the servant girls would be envying her now that they'd probably think he had spent the night in her cabin. She'd watched them fuss over a thoroughly ignorant and naïve Doyle on deck many times before. And they were right. He surely had the looks, if only he weren’t so low-classed and such an obvious fisherman she might have been interested herself! But as things were now, this would simply not do. She had her standards to live up to. And anyway, other matters were at hand now. <br><p> <br>She shook her head, still smiling, and turned to her letter. <br><p> <br><center>***</center> <br><p> <br>At exactly the third tolling of the day Lady Catania Adweidan, daughter of general Agrendared Adweidan, the leading general of camp Hortal on Stregille Isle, was announced and led inside the private quarters of Captain Cooper, the chief navigator of the vessel Blue Mermaid, her letter, the invitation for this private dinner party, clutched tightly in her gloved hand. <br><p> <br>The Captain's chambers were spacious and richly decorated with many treasures from far-off countries, ranging from exquisite feathered masks from the Matsu Islands in the South to crude ceremonial daggers of the Chappaz tribes of Loc Stratum. The Captain was a widely travelled man that had decided to spend his acquired fortune to buy a large transport ship on which he could pass his last active years in peace and quite as a conductor between Stregille, his original birthplace, and the Mainland. <br><p> <br>He was also known amongst the nobles of both the Isles and the Mainland as a man who loved life and all its pleasures, one who enjoyed the good and rich food of the Isle combined with the continental dark rum that could make a healthy full-grown man's head spin after a single sip. He also made it a tradition to invite the wealthiest of the nobles on board at least once during every crossing to indulge in one of the fine banquets his private cook conjured up. <br><p> <br>Cat had hoped to be invited to this function and thus be recognized as one of the favoured nobles. It was also a chance to show off the family crest, one of the oldest of the Isles, to make sure the other nobles would know that the Adweidan family was still an important and powerful force on the island, despite the rumour of the bloodline being watered down. She was an only child, her mother died during childbirth, and carried the burden of keeping her father's name and reputation high all on her own. <br><p> <br>Therefore the warrior had polished her leather armour till it gleamed, thanking the gods many times in the process for the good fortune of it being undamaged by the careless training session. The crest, a silver talon clutching a large sword overgrown by thorn roses, was deeply embroidered onto the middle of the leather tunic and stood out beautifully against the good quality leather. Cat wore it with pride and made sure to make the light, but sturdy tunic even more dramatic and noticeable by finishing off her costume with silk black pants and matching sleeves. For a moment she thought about wearing the plated armour, but immediately decided against it after remembering her silly entrance on the first night on the ship. <br><p> <br>Her hair was pinned down, a few renegade curls finding their way down to frame her face, but that was about the most female element to her appearance. In her heart she was a warrior first, then a noble and if there was some room left in that ego of hers maybe lastly she'd consider being a Lady. Unnecessary to say dresses did not feature in her wardrobe. <br><p> <br>Head held high, Catania strode inside of the dining room and tried to identify the other guests as their heads turned as one to take in the newcomer. She recognized a few of the merchants she'd seen on board so far and was surprised to see even their women were invited this time. There was also Lady Ophara from Bisell, a wealthy widow with a rumoured lover on the Continent, and Lord Dulcarion who she remembered seeing in their own home when she was younger as he was an old acquaintance of her father's. The others she didn't recognize as such, but knew she'd seen and greeted them in the hallway of the wealthy part of the ship a few times. <br><p> <br>And then her eye fell on the last occupant of the table. The figure's features were hard to distinguish from between the shadow of its cloak and only when she concentrated did she finally realize who had been invited to the banquet too: Shade. She sighed even deeper when she saw that the only available chair left was the empty one across of him. <br><p> <br><center>***</center> <br><p> <br>“How dare he do that to me? This is so damn humiliating!” <br><p> <br>Catania stormed down the corridors, blindly finding her way back to her own private cabin after the banquet and in the meantime muttering and cursing under her breath, her hands balled to fists in anger. She felt like smashing things and kicked the side of the ship several times in fury. <br><p> <br>“I am <b>not</b> a child anymore!... <i>kick</i>... When is he ever going to accept that?...<i>kick</i>... Oh gods, how am I ever going to- ?...Oh, and the smirk on Shade's face was just so...<i>kick</i>...when he heard Captain Cooper tell about the...<i>kick</i>...Now he's never ever going to take me serious and I just...Argh! This is so...Oh father, why did you do this to me? I hate you!” <br><p> <br>From the corner of her eye Catania suddenly caught a movement from one of the corners of the hallway. As she looked up she noticed she was already in her own corridor and realized that her feet must have taken her back automatically. Her eyes darted back to the corner and before she knew it Shade appeared from the shadows, a look of sheer hatred and contempt on his face. <br><p> <br>“You? What are you doing here? I left before you did so you couldn't have been here sooner than me!” <br><p> <br>Shade said nothing but if looks could kill, Cat would have been dead several times by now. <br><p> <br>“I expect you came to gloat, right? I don't know what I've ever done to you to make you so bitter towards me, but I do know that this is a private matter and you have no business coming to rub it in. So if you'll excuse me, but I'm tired and I just want to...” <br><p> <br>Before she realized what was happening, Catania suddenly got pinned against the wall roughly, Shade grabbing her throat. She felt how her feet left the safety of the ground as he raised his arm and pushed her up against the wall with inhumane strength. She was so surprised she didn't even fight back until she realized she couldn't breathe anymore. She started to swing her arms widely while trying to scream for help, but Shade was crushing her air-pipe and no sound came out of her mouth. <br><p> <br>His voice was a whisper but with the most venomous tone ever spoken. <br><p> <br>“Oh, you think you have it so hard, don't you? Daddy's little girl is angry. Well well...But this time daddy's not here to save you, now is he? But this is what you wanted, isn't it? To stand on your own feet..don't make me laugh! You...you know absolutely nothing, you spoiled little brat!” <br>
|Ikonia - chapter03||
When children die
|Eli's journal_part1||Near Invincible: Silent Storm|