Scaling the side of a ship was one thing; the fourth time around made it another. Nonetheless, Destiny Devereaux made a mental note to keep small sharp items in a pocket under her sleeve rather than tangled in her hair; a pocket with a snap too. Bandages had been hastily removed to tie daggers to her soles, and Destiny slowly made her ascent, calves screaming for care. Hearing the telltale creak from inside the ship, Destiny wedged her elbow into the boat and held on with her fingers as she was leaned back, the light rain threatening to release her grip. A sharp, cold wind dried Destiny's eyes out and made her teeth chatter – she didn't even want to think about her whitening fingertips, whose cuticles were chewed on and jagged. Only one thing went through Destiny's head as she ship's angle turned against her even further; off of the windlane, even.
This isn't the first time.
"So you've escaped, Devereaux. How...stubborn." The clockwork seemed to struggle for a word. Destiny slid down a few feet, as if on cue. She growled and climbed up even further than she had fallen. Looking up, the clockwork seemed to split in two. Then into four. Snapping back at the cold and wet, Destiny blinked furiously as the musketeers morphed back into one.
It's too early for this.
Destiny's comedic side was actually right. The Skyway lit up a brilliant orange from a distant wildfire – Destiny automatically blamed the Troggies and their lack of planning with their torches. She could feel frost on her chin and eyebrows, and sweat making layers on her forehead. She could make out a dinghy above her, something with paddles. Inching up a little farther, she heard a clattering on deck, only giving her more time to move up. The ship made a sickening clank as it turned inward and began circling. It only meant one thing, and it didn't give Destiny a reason to look down: The Armada was in for the kill – they were approaching a Stormgate. On any ship, standard protocol would be to take cover when entering and exiting a stormgate (with the exception of the daredevil navigator), but the clockworks could ignore it. Destiny wanted to ignore it; to venture into the depths of her mind as the stormgate tested the ship's – and her – strength before entering the small windlane in between worlds.
And too late for me.
A bang brought Destiny back to her senses. Her dark hair swept in front of her face, but she saw a face in between locks. A pirate wearing a stetson cocked his musket and stood guard next to a rail, looking back at Destiny.
"Come on!" He roared over the wind. "You can make it – hit 'im in the chest, he won't be going anywhere!" Destiny shut her eyes and continued climbing, hearing the roar of the stormgate getting closer, and the steps of soldiers clacking over the deck, and the musket firing.
A little further..come on..
Destiny felt a hand grab her wrist and pull her up. She untied the daggers and threw them into the last few soldiers, making them backbend a bit sickeningly, then slump over. Destiny heard more footsteps, and the blood rush in her head. The musketeer thought for a moment, then rushed to the clockworks, stripping any material – and the masks – from them. He darted back to Destiny, who was huddled against the rail.
"Stormgate's coming." She whispered, as the boy joined her. Unlike Destiny, this pirate was relatively new to the business – by the looks of it. Scratches were at minimums, and his hands weren't callused at all. Destiny, through the gale, was puzzled on how the lubber could have possibly gotten to the deck without getting an apendage sheared off. She left the thought for later, and felt the ship start to turn in.
"Why aren't they going after us?" Destiny heard a note of doubt in the musketeer.
"Most of 'em aren't designed for these conditions, and they're a few times stronger then us. Smarter by the looks of 'em."Destiny grunted. She poked her head over the barrier and stared down into the pit of a stormgate, the lightning crackling around the ship. In fact, by the looks of it -
"Is this the prison barge that D. Devereaux excaped?" Destiny turned back towards the musketeer and removed a bandana from over her mouth, as if it would help the situation. However, it did.
"I – I'm Remmy Lawson, and - " Destiny cut Remmy off.
"Remmy, is it? Hold on to your insides. You've never gone through this before." Destiny remembered the shelter that she had set up when she navigated through stormgates – the relatively thin barrier between the deck and the sky wouldn't hold up with too much weight on it, not with the velocity of the stormgate. "On three, we roll towards, and then crawl in between the sails. OK?" Destiny didn't wait for a response.
"One." Remmy gazed thoughtfully and pulled a rag over his mouth, as Destiny had with her bandana.
Three. The word seemed to echo in both pirates's heads as they violently tumbled towards the sails, and then switched to schooching ont heir stomachs towards the sails, conically shaped and perfect to take shelter in. Destiny laid back and caught her breath in quick gasps, with her mouth open and eyes closed. Even though she had ascended prison barges four times now, it never ceased to wear her out; the adrenaline coursing through Destiny's veins withered and died. She applied pressure to her legs and replaced the bandages, somehow sick to her stomach from the pressure and turning of the ship. The glowing sky darkened, and all that Destiny saw around the center sail was the lightning and debris in the Stormgate.
"When will we hit?" Remmy wasn't as new as Destiny had thought, or maybe he had done extensive reading.
"Soon. Better be soon."
"Where does it go?" Remmy whispered
"How am I supposed to - " Destiny closed her eyes and thought about how her stomach was feeling in reaction to the ship's movements. Her eyes widened.
"Rem, how much ammunition do you have?"
"Enough." Remmy answered, and Destiny cocked an eyebrow.
"I'm a Swashbuckler. Enough is.."
"Maybe five more soldiers?"
"Enough indeed," Destiny laughed. Her stomach filpped again, and she breathed in.
"Why aren't they up here?"
"Stop asking." Destiny darted out of hiding. "Every second we waste is one more step towards us for them. Every second we get is another chance to get out of here." Remmy looked back to his findings.
"Put this on. I think I saw a barrel of gunpowder on the other end." Destiny huffed and slipped on a mask, using her bandana to secure it. She slipped the garments on over her clothes and tiptoed out. She rolled back a barrel.
"Shoot it." She barked. "This ship is going to Skull Island."
"Shoot it." Remmy gulped and let a single spark of electricity out, slicing through the barrel and creating an explosion. Destiny leaped out of the way and started running – one thing she was capable of in her state. She grabbed ahold of Remy's hand and dragged him into a dingy, which she unlatched, using the oars like batacuda fins to furiously paddle through. Her mask slipped off and landed on the boat. Remmy gasped.
"Destiny, your -"
"My – my what?" Destiny flashed a red-light look at Remmy and kept paddling until the windlane cought the dingy and Destiny could finally lean back and pat her face, and tenderly stroked a bruise on her eye.
"Hey, we're getting closer. If going in was so bad, then -"
"Getting out is the fun part." Destiny tried to hold back any unintended sarcasm, and she was unsure of how much was caught. "Mind we do it right," she thoughtfully added. The stormgate-exit to Skull Island was farther than Destiny assumed (as usual), she and Remmy stayed down for almost a full minute before the turning began – but this time it was calmer., more controlled. Destiny flapped the oars so she would face the front, and kept her eyes over the front to make sure that the dingy didn't run into anything. The light grew brighter, and Destiny hollered.
Warm wind struck Destiny's face, and she raised both hands in the air.
"It's good to be back; eh, Rem?" Destiny chuckled and replaced her bandana. "Remmy? Hey, you there?"
Destiny turned back, and her heart skipped a beat.
He's not dead.
Destiny sat down and kept rowing towards the windlane.
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