Chapter Three: The Black Moon

Something was calling out to him...Something was out there speaking his name, begging for him to come and join their ranks...Something that didn't sound quite human nor did sound like an animal...It was making his vision nothing more than colours-that much was certain.

Dak groaned, trying to fight whatever was out there wanting him to join its ranks. He could feel it in his bones, as it tried to yank out his soul. He had to wake up, had to get out of this nightmare.

He tried to open his eyes, but his body just kept fighting against him. He couldn't regain control of himself...He couldn't make himself return to the world of the living...

He could feel someone shaking him, thought they were saying his name. Then, he felt something...Pain...The person shaking him was hitting him...

His eyes jerked open. Ryanon started at him with big eyes. In her hand, she was holding what appeared to be some kind of heavy decorative piece. "What are you doing?" He sat up, rubbing the side of his head. "That hurt!"
Ryanon slowly lowered the decorative piece, but she didn't put it back from wherever she had gotten it. "It looked like you were having some kind of a fit."

Dak stared at her. "I was just having a nightmare. People do get those."
She shook her head. "No, this wasn't a normal nightmare. I've been trying for twenty minutes to wake you up."

His eyes narrowed. "Why did you hit me?"
"You grabbed my throat and were trying to kill me." Her eyes narrowed. Her voice sounded far too calm for someone who had almost been supposedly killed. However, there did appear to be red marks around her neck. Maybe he did actually do what she claimed he did.

"Oh...Sorry..." He looked out the window right above their bed. The moonlight shone through it, casting a little bit of light.

Outside, the fleet sailed on, perhaps the quietest he had seen it in a long time. The only sounds he could hear were the hooting of the owls and the sloshing of the water against the bottom of the boat.

Whenever, he looked back, Ryanon was staring at him with a frown. "What?"

"How long has this been going on?" she asked, her frown deepening.

"What are you talking about?" he asked, narrowing his eyes.

"The nightmares."
"I've already told you. Everyone has nightmares. I'm sure you had some when the ioslullumary was in your system."

She opened and closed her mouth as she stared at him with narrowed eyes. If she kept this up, he wasn't sure how she was going to be able to see anything. "I just want you to be safe."

He nodded. "I know...I really do know. I really am sorry about your neck. I didn't mean to hurt you."
She nodded as she rubbed it. "At least, I was able to get out of it pretty easily." Though her tone was light, he could hear the tension in it.

He just nodded as he laid back against the pillows. Maybe it would be best for everyone's wellbeing if he found another place to sleep. He hated the fear of waking up, knowing that he could had killed her. She was strong, but he had never thought of her as being so weak, so easily able to be killed.

He got his feet, climbing over top of her. Whenever he touched her, he could hear her breathing pick up. He was afraid of him...She was afraid of what he would do to her...

"I need some air," Dak said.

Ryanon looked at him with a frown. "I didn't ask you anything."
"No, but I'm just telling you where I'm going, just in case you were going to ask."

Her eyes flickered lazily over him, the frown on her face growing. However, there was a flicker of longing on her face, like she didn't want him to turn his back on her. He slowly bent down and brushed a stray piece of hair back from her face, letting his touch linger on her cheek for a moment longer than necessary.

Without another word, he turned and walked out of the room, letting silence linger in the air.

Outside, the ship was asleep. He crept slightly down the hall, lettering the stillness in the air reach his soul. The water lapped gently against the sides of the ship, making him feel as if he was a small child being rocked to sleep.

Up the steps he went. He could feel the main deck calling out to him. It was like there was something in the water that wanted him to come out and see what it had to offer him.

The deck was empty. There wasn't even anyone at the wheel. The ships in front of his slowly sailed down the river, which only seemed to be growing wider and wider with each little bit that they sailed.

Dak leaned against the deck, letting the night air cool his hot face. He hadn't even realized how hot he was until he had gotten up here.

He stared down at his hands, watching as they shook against the smooth railing. He could not believe that he had almost killed Ryanon. What would he had done had she not managed to get free? What would she had done to free herself? The thought of them being forced to fight against each other was just unbearable.

His unfolded his mother's letter, letting the words fills him once again. He didn't like the idea of his mother being able to find them so quickly. It was kind of on the disturbing side. Who else could find them so quickly?

He stared at the ship in front of them. Aymon was on there. If only there was a simple way for him to get over to there and let Aymon know of the queen's decision. He didn't want to admit it, but they did need Aymon's money.

The fleet started to round another corner. It almost looked as if they were heading out to open water. The land was growing further and further apart from them. He supposed that was a good thing. No one could really attack them from land.

The waves also seemed to be picking up. The ships in front seemed to be slowing down. His eyes narrowed. Something was wrong...Something was very wrong...He could feel it in his very bones...

The moon shone down on them; its light seemed to be more black than white. The air was still, far too still for water air. Though he could see that the wind was making the trees blow, it wasn't reaching them.

Above his head, the sails beat against the unmoving wind, making them come to a standstill.

"It's magic."

Dak turned. Kody was standing right behind him, fully dressed. He watched as the pirate lord took a few steps forward, a frown growing on his face.

"What do you mean?" Dak asked. He could feel something heavy in the air. It almost reminded him of the night the Waking Eye had sung its song.

"I've felt it for a few hours now, but I didn't want to believe it."

Dak could feel something burning on his skin. Whenever he looked down though, there was nothing there. He could feel though, all over his body, threatening to burn the very skin off his body. He could feel it threatening to strip him of everything he had.

"What is it?" Dak asked, finally finding his voice.

"It's just some kind of magic. It seems to be happening more and more often." Kody paused. "It's almost like there is something on the move, something that we haven't seen before. I think the world has seen it before, but no living soul has."

"Not even the fairies?" Dak asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Not any living ones."

"How can you feel all of this? No one else seems to be able to pick any of this up. What makes you so special?"
Kody just shrugged. "I don't know. It's just something that I've always able been able to feel."
"I see," was all Dak said.

"I think we are going to break up the fleet for a little bit. The duke needs to go on land to settle some things up and we need to go get something for him."

"I need to tell the duke something and it can't wait for much longer," Dak said as the fleet lurched forward. Indeed, the fleet did seem to be going in different directions.

"We will meet again soon, but we have to get this before it falls into the wrong hands."

"What is it?" Dak asked as the duke's ship grew smaller and smaller. Why now? Why did they have to do this now?

"Don't laugh, but it's a ring."

Dak stared at Kody with wide eyes. "A ring? What is so special about a ring?"

"It's part of the Black Moon Objects."
"That's a fairytale."
The Black Moon Objects were a series of three objects: a sword, a ring, and a necklace. Together it was believed that these objects could destroy any dark being in a land. Their magic was far older than anything that the world had even seen and that was the problem. It was just a legend, a fairy tale, a way of making small children go to sleep. Anyone who actually believed in these objects and what they could do was just completely mental. It just didn't exist.

"Well, we are going to get it. We are going to need nonhuman means of having a chance. Vicar has already gotten Nightstone," Kody went on.

"We have Amberfall," Dak pointed out.

"And it's hard to tell when Amberfall will come back."

"Are you saying?"

Kody smiled. "I think we need to do this."

Ryanon stared down at the map. Another large smile came over her face. She liked the idea of going after the Black Moon Objects. At this point, anything was better than staying on that stupid ship. It felt so good to have solid ground beneath her feet. "Do you really think we have a chance?" she asked Kody. She looked around the empty pub. She wasn't even sure where they were, let alone how Kody had found this place.

Kody shrugged. "I think we've a better chance once we get out of here."

Tamsin pinched her temples. "Why are we doing this? It seems like such a big waste of time."
Ryanon nodded toward the door. The rain was falling even harder outside. If this kept up, it would end up sending water crashing down on them. She hoped that the levies held. "You'll see."

"I just don't see a lot to be happy about right now," Dak muttered.

The foursome made their way out onto the porch, where the rain and wind was beating down on them so heavily so high that it was next to impossible to get the door close correctly. It took all four of them pushing on it with everything they had to even get it close.

Ryanon's eyes narrowed even more as they made their way down the slick steps. The light coming from the end of Kody's torch did little to anything to help them. It was so slick that Tamsin almost slid down the bottom three steps instead of walking.

Ryanon kept fingering the chest. She had a feeling that it was more than hope. There had to be something else that made it so important. Sure, hope was important and all, but there just had to be something else and she was going to figure it out.

The rain blew all around them, some of it coming in blasts so hard that it made it quite difficult from them to remain upright. Ryanon couldn't even tell if they were even walking in the right direction. The gas lamps that lined the streets were long gone and rain had covered everything so thickly that they couldn't tell the houses from the trees.

Dak grabbed Ryanon's arm, pulling to her to the side. Tamsin and Kody were hovering in a porch, her eyes peering at them. "We had to stop until daylight," Dak said.

Ryanon stared out into the black masses. "How long is that?"

Dak shrugged. "I don't know, but I can't tell where we are going."

Tamsin hugged herself. "This is just mad."

Ryanon stared down at the empty street. "It all has be connected. There is no way you could be feeling all of this magic if it wasn't."

Kody nodded at that last part.

The rain blew harder around them. Dak had been right about one thing. Stopping here and waiting until the sun came out probably did save them. She could just see themselves wondering around for hours without really having a clue as to where they were going.

Hours must have passed, but it felt like days. The sky was starting to lighten up a little bit, but it was still far too dark to start thinking about moving. The rain , it seemed, was actually letting up a little bit.

They waited for about another half an hour before setting off into the early morning light. They were the only ones on the street. Everyone else was smart and was remaining inside. The icy blasts of the wind almost sent them falling over backwards and more than once did some of the rain make its way into their clothing, brushing their cold skin.

Ryanon kept looking around for any sign of movement while keeping the box close to her. She just knew it was important, knew there was a bigger reason behind it than just giving them hope. The more she thought about it, the more she was starting to believe her own words.

They turned down another street. Here it looked like people had just dropped everything and ran as the waters threatened to rise.

They kept walking, going deeper into the town. Every once in awhile, they would see small signs of life, a cat or other small animal, but no people. Ryanon wondered if they were going to venture out at all. A few of the streets in this part of town looked like a warzone. The fronts of buildings were badly damaged or worse. A few of them looked like they had been burned or something. Glass littered the ground in huge chunks; doors were resting in their new homes on top of low flood waters. Items from the businesses littered the ground, left out to rot in the rain . Everything was just falling apart.

"It's just happened," Kody muttered, looking at a newspaper whose print was melting away into the rain. "They can't be far."

Ryanon shook her head. "I don't think we should go after them. They're probably just humans who are afraid." She paused. "I really can't say that I don't blame them."

Dak examined one of the busted out shop windows. "You're probably right."

"They shouldn't have been pulled into this," Ryanon muttered, staring down at what looked like blood. "They shouldn't have to fight like this."

"It's the way these things work," Tamsin muttered.