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Ripples by Radi Anchev

                The day was bright, and the weather was fair. The port of Varna was looking as gloomy as usual, after the Tenebrian occupation became an absolute. The market was half empty, with some of the stalls either closed entirely, or merely empty. A small fountain in the middle of the stoney plaza, reflecting the rays of the sun that shined ever so brightly in the clear blue sky.

The stride in his walk simmered down as he approached and gazed upon the shimmering waters of the fountain. He stood for a few moments, readjusted his bag, and began a silent, but jaunty tune as he moved on. His boot landed on the wooden planks of the dock, the heel thudding. Not long after his ship came into view, from behind the masts of another caravel that was docked and his smile grew bigger as he approached. The plank was lowered, as it should be, and he climbed on board.

                The elven captain of the “Millenium Gull” was home, after the tension ridden campaign of Belitsa. Nonetheless, the success of the gathering, and the sight of his ship, were enough to keep the smile on his face. As per usual, the deck was mostly empty, save for a few men who were leaning over the railing and talking to each other. But there were more than usual. Upon his approach they greeted and most turned to face him. But some of them found it harder to do so. The captains’ eyes darted from one person to another. One was missing an eye. Another had straight reddish marks upon his bare skin. The smile faded and his posture straightened. The masks had lashed and gouged his crew.

          How many?            Five of us, cap’n. – said one of the men hoarsely, and raised four fingers, because his fifth was gone.          When?

          Not two days past. – answered another, an elf, with a voice that trembled, as he looked towards the docks  – They came in broad daylight and had barely begun the usual checkup when one of them snapped at someone stumbling at a single digit in his number.

His eye twitched and an immense feeling of boiling hot fire engulfed his lungs and his heart raced quicker than before.

 

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          I won’t beat around the path, captain. This will cost ya.

Those words shattered his concentration upon the memory of that day and so he remembered the reason he was here and looking for a fire mage in the first place. The elf smirked vaguely and looked his friend Stride straight in the eyes.

          I know.

The elven captain left the tavern with a quick and determined stride and headed towards his ship. His whole crew was gathered at the main deck and were waiting.  With a heavy step he climbed to the quarterdeck and faced them all, gazing with wrath. The eyes of his shipmates buzzed with anticipation and anger, and they simmered down. And so he spoke, leaning on the railing before him.

          I have sent the five to Althior, the blacksmith boy. He will know what to do with them. The rest of you will be split into three groups, by the First Mate. Two groups will go around the city when the sun sets. One will target the scum without masks. The other will target the masked ones, and will have a fire mage with them. You will leave their ashen remains as they are, next to their masks. The third group will remain at the ship. The next time they come for an ‘inspection’ they will die, and their bodies will hang from the spars. – the elf pointed towards the horizontal poles on the masts, which held the sails.          And what of the governor and the harbor master? – asked a man with curly brown hair and long goatee, tied in a braid.          The governor will not come. They know we might have a weapon that can annihilate them, but they do not know where it is. He will not act directly.

The elf, adorned in his finest red coat and feathered hat, stood up straight and smiled. But the smile was bound with rage and his eyes were full of burning anger that could no longer be suppressed.

           They came without warning and showed us no mercy. What they wanted? Who knows. But I know what WE want. And it is them – gone. So, we will strike as ruthlessly and mercilessly as they did, but we will not make the mistake of leaving them alive, oh no. It is said they don’t feel fear. But they will. They will fear and they will die with that fear embedded on their hidden faces. The ripples of the union at Belitsa and everything that happened there are already growing into waves, all across the land. All are organizing themselves and the number of uprisings are growing by the day. So we will make more ripples, starting with Varna, until the whole of our Lands is submerged under the tsunami that will be the Rebellion, a wave that cannot be stopped and one that will bring upon the doom of the ‘undying’ Tenebrians with unrelenting swiftness and absolute determination. Raise the Red, as we are at war, and no mercy shall be shown to the occupiers.

His voice grew in power as he spoke on, his anger and passion combining into a flow of words. As his speech came to an end a burst of screams and yells, both angry and happy, boomed from the main deck. Darimdam, the captain of the “Millenium Gull” smiled, and then he laughed.  

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The black bodies swayed on the slight sea breeze as it hit the ship. They brought upon a stark contrast of colors as they hanged in front of the crystal blue sky and the golden shine of the sun, reflected on the Sea. The city outside his windows was livelier than usual. Death had come to the usurpers in the night.He held a small paper in his hand, which unfortunately was a document he had to get acquainted with quite well over the past two years. He stared at his identification card for a few moments, and then focused on the paper that was on his desk – a report list. He had filled many of those describing his business and the details surrounding it. But this one was empty, and a massive spot adorned the center of the paper, blood-red on the outer rings and blacker as it concentrated inward. That’s how blood usually dried up, he thought. With both in hand, and a knife in the other, the elf made his way towards the office of the Harbor Master.