The sails luffed overhead, lazily snapping in the gentle wind that tugged them slowly forward into the oppressing gray. Paj stood starboard bow, one hand on The Phoenix’s
railing and the other encircled on the black and silver grip of her sword. The air was muffled around her, nervous words and general ship creaks swallowed by the ethereal atmosphere. “I don’t like this fog,”
she muttered, under her breath, fingers rubbing the hilt in absent minded strokes. With no crewman in front of her, Paj sunk her teeth into her bottom lip in a brief, outward expression of her uneasy uncertainty. Before sailing this way, she’d spoken to a few about the path she was taking, and they had warned her of fog and carnivorous monsters inhabiting the rocks and ocean. In a world with magic and creatures of the deep sea left uncataloged, Paj had considered for only two moments before deciding they would sail pass these mysterious islands.
Some part of her was curious. Paj had a ship, and freedom, and wanderlust. Why shouldn’t she explore the places previous sailors barely dared? On potential superstition? It was merely a question left unanswered: what was here? Another part, a new part of her, thought such a bold place would be excellent to hide worldly possessions - either her father's or her own.
Yet this fog felt… supernatural. The moisture clung close to the skin of her arms, left bare and prone to gooseflesh. The air felt heavy entering her lungs. Mindlessly adjusting the high-neck of her sleeveless obsidian blouse, Paj closed her eyes. It was magic. Tingling the atmosphere and butterfly kissing her skin. The Veil into the Beyond was thin here.
Gray eyes popped back open. Spinning on her heel, Paj moved swift from bow toward center ship, where she’d asked Kat to be to relay information to their current navigator. “Rhoda,”
Paj addressed a dusky woman, who’s chestnut hair put a prized horse’s mane to shame. She took the woman’s arm as she walked. “Climb into the nest with Maizy. Be our second set of eyes.”
Was the fog thickening as she spoke? Or was it her perception?
Sending Rhoda clambering, Paj approached Kat in the gloom. Her beautiful... What was Kat? A second captain? They shared power well enough and Paj leaned on the yellow-haired woman's expertise more often than not. Stepping close, her lips hovered near Kat’s cheek as she whispered. “Magic is involved. Perhaps the fog. How do we tell the crew without freaking them out?”
Including herself, there was only one other magically gifted crew member. Paj’s biggest worry was prematurely starting a panic, having seen plenty of negative, knee-jerk reactions toward magic. “Do we even say anything?”
As she looked in Kat’s ocean eyes for guidance, a soft lilt weaved into her ear from the fog’s depths. A wordless, beautiful melody that was both enticing and haunting.KATARINA