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Tides of Chaos: Chapter 11

This book contains a pirate crew that is inclusive (including disabled, LGBTQ+, and diverse characters and related topics/issues). Please be aware of this and if this will bother you then this is not the book for you.

Tides of Chaos is a brand new standalone novel in the world of Dakaal that explores the world of the pirates seen in Regret (Book 1 of the Assassins of Dakaal series). This is Dark Fantasy. It may contain instances of horror elements, steamy scenes, and dark humor.

This book is written with all the best intentions and the author welcomes thoughts from people in those communities to ensure that they are being properly represented. Due research is being conducted and the main characters have interacted with people from those communities for years in other forms of media.

Tides of Chaos will be free-to-read as it is written. It is being posted as a serial novel until it is finished. As such it is being minimally edited before it is posted. If you would like to read the polished and professionally edited version please wait until it is published as a book. The author does welcome feedback from readers should they want to take the time to do so. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this. I hope you enjoy these characters as much as I enjoy writing them.

Chapter 11

Reckless paced back and forth near the railing of the ship, running a hand through his long hair as soon as he saw the spires of the Elven capital come into view. Aderaan, the capital of the Elven empire, or what was left of it after the apocalypse. The last stronghold of the Elven people. The decadent city was full of crime, death, torment, and abuse. Reckless shuddered. “I think I know how ye felt facin’ yer family, Celeste,” He mumbled to the mermaid navigator near him.

Celeste gave him a sympathetic look. “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that then. Do you still have family here?”

Reckless shook his head. “Naw, I ain’t had blood family since I were little. They were killed.” Reckless trailed off, turning his back to the city. He didn’t want to see it coming closer, or the creeping anxiety it was bringing him.

“Do you want to talk about what happened? Have you ever? Maybe talking about it will take some of the power away from the memories?” Celeste asked gently as she beckoned him closer.

“Ain’t much ta tell really,” Reckless said with a shrug. “Papa killed my mama in front o’ me, tried ta kill me, I escaped so ‘e hung ‘imself. I were maybe eight summers old? We wasn’t noble but they were wealthy merchants, enough that I could steal some gold and make a run fer it. Ran out inta the forest, got found by me pirate family and taken to Port-Town and I ain’t come back here since.”

Celeste stared at him, horrified, then shook her head ruefully. “Oh, Reckless. I had no idea. And you were so young!”

“Aye, but were lucky and me pirate momma found me and took good care o’ me,” Reckless said, smiling finally. “And I ain’t no scart lil’ boy anymore.”

“That’s right! You’re a dread pirate captain, feared the sea over! They should tremble at the sight of our…” Celeste paused. “By the way…about that…The Flamingo is bright pink, everyone knows it’s our ship. Is it wise to dock her in the city proper?”

“No! That’s why you’re docking her at this little dock that Vyrge pointed out on this map!” Inxli exclaimed as he walked up the stairs shaking a map. He handed it to Celeste, who grunted and adjusted the ship’s course.

“Dunno why yer so excited. Ye should be more scared outta yer wits than I am,” Reckless muttered as his adorable yet fearsome husband strolled over to hug his leg.

“Difference is I’m here to avenge my family. You can’t do that,” Inxli hugged him tighter, then grinned wickedly. “It doesn’t thrill you just a little to know we can stroll right through the streets of a city that hates us and they can’t do anything about it? Where’s your sense of….of…satisfaction at the fact the city couldn’t crush you?”

“Back in Port-Town where I wish I were,” Reckless muttered. Then he shook himself. He didn’t like being the heavy remorseful one, he was supposed to be the happy supportive one. He grinned at Inxli, backing away so he could admire his husband in his mage attire.

Inxli grinned. He wore his bottomless magic hat, which covered his pink hair almost completely except for the green-tipped ends that fell over his lavender eyes. He wore a loose robe in bright pink embroidered with fancy golden runes. “I don’t get to wear this outfit much anymore now that I sail with you!”

“Mebbe ye should, ya look right terrifyin’,” Reckless drawled, winking at him. He had been convinced to put on fancy lordling clothes and he hated them. They were so much tighter than his pirate ones and the damnable vest felt like it was trying to squeeze the life out of him it was buttoned so tightly. He fiddled with it.

“Stop! You look handsome. You can change out of them once we’re safely in Ruel’s manor. He’s had the staff set us up a private suite and everything. He was so excited that we were coming to visit. He said we should’ve brought his family though,” Inxli said, moving over to the rail to look at the distant city, his eyes bright.

Reckless shook his head. Aderaan hadn’t treated Rubei and Vyrge kindly either and he did not blame them for a moment for not wanting to come back, even if their children were here. “Prolly still dangerous fer ‘em ta visit though. The city ain’t forgot them as it has us.”

“To forget us it would’ve had to know we existed in the first place,” Inxli huffed, bitter. “They’re lucky they had the sense to make Ruel king or we’d be burning the place down as we looked for the demon.”

“Ya sure we can’t do that anyway?” Reckless asked hopefully, trying to appeal to his husband’s love of fire and burning things. “Sure would make a pretty sight all lit up from here.”

“Tempting,” Inxli admitted, playing with a large ring on his finger with a gem that shone in the light like it was on fire. “But no, Reckless. Behave. Ruel is a good king and Onyx has worked hard to chase the bad people out of the undercity. It won’t last, I don’t think they can fix it, but until then we should help them. If only for Rubei’s sake.”

“Aye, aye…” Reckless grumbled. He noticed they were nearing the dock so he turned and headed down the stairs nearby to help them start preparing to dock the ship. He preferred to be hands-on with the crew and help as much as he could; it made them respect him as their captain much more. And he’d been raised to see the crew as family. If they all worked together they were stronger and more efficient anyway.

Once they docked only Reckless and Inxli left the ship. Their crew watched them disembark with mostly concerned looks. They had orders to flee if things turned sour. Reckless and Inxli both knew how dangerous this was for both of them. Reckless was certain they could handle it, even the worst parts of Aderaan were nothing compared to the rowdiness of Port-Town. And his husband could conjure powerful fire. What could possibly go wrong?

Inxli waited for Reckless to match his strides and they walked together, determined. Once they hit the city proper though the tall buildings and the cobbled streets were confusing. Inxli walked over to a street sign to squint at the name carved in Elven there and grumbled, “If only I could read Elven better.”

“I ain’t gonna be any help there,” Reckless said. He didn’t read much at all, much less Elven lettering.

“Maybe if we…” Inxli began to say, then they both heard the sound of clanking armor indicating knights. “No, wait…” Inxli said quietly.

Reckless tensed. Everything in him wanted to run. The knights of Aderaan were legendary for being trouble. But they were on the same side now right? The knights served Ruel…he let all the tensions fade out of his body when he recognized the red-haired woman that led the contingent toward them. Callistra. Onyx’s lover and leader of the knights under Ruel. Come to escort them, most like.

“Captain Inxli, Captain Reckless,” Callistra said warmly but in an official tone as she paused her group and they saluted the pair. “On behalf of King Ruel, I am to welcome you to Aderaan and escort you personally to his manor.”

“Thank the gods! I thought we were going to wander lost all day,” Inxli exclaimed, then grinned. “I mean, thank you, Commander Callistra. Good to see you! Please lead on!”

Reckless couldn’t help but feel nervous again when the knights fell in protectively around them as an escort. His fingers kept twitching toward his bow just in case as Callistra and Inxli had a lively conversation just ahead of him. He only half paid attention to it, scanning the rooftops and alleyways, the shadows. He only relaxed once he saw glowing green eyes, and the shadowy figure crouched nearby carefully watching. Onyx was there too. If the King of Assassins was also guarding their back he could relax a little.

He took a breath and let his gaze actually roam about the city. Taking it all in as an adult felt nostalgic and exciting. It didn’t match his memories or his nightmares, where all the buildings loomed and danger was in every shadow. It was just an old city, worn by war. He could even see some repairs being done on a nearby building by some mages.

As they made their way into the noble section, which had been forbidden to him as a child, he had to stop and wonder at the massive sprawling estate in front of them. His gaze drifted to the one next to it as well. Knowing that Rubei and Vyrge had come from wealth beyond his imagination was one thing. Seeing the estates of their families was another. So much land, such big houses!

“Built to house generations of a family,” Callistra explained, seeing his look. “That’s why they’re so large. Well, and to show off the wealth and power of the family. The bigger the house the more powerful and wealthy you are, after all.”

“Seems like it’d be the opposite to me if you wasted all your money building something that big,” Inxli said with a snort as they were escorted to the gates. The guards there bowed deeply to them.

“This is where I leave you. Please do not hesitate to send for me if you have need of anything,” Callistra said with a smile and bowed. She waited until they were safely locked inside the grounds and escorted to the manor before she left.

“’ey, Inx. Ain’t it a lil’ worryin’ that we had a full knight escort to the gates o’ the manor?” Reckless muttered to his husband as they walked close together.

“Yes. Hopefully, Ruel’s being overprotective…” Inxli said, then looked up as a giant dark shadow passed over them.

Reckless looked up as well. Sunlight glittered off of light blue and white scales and Reckless recognized the massive frost wyrm. Ice. Niyx’s companion. “Oi, Inx…Niyx too?” Niyx was Onyx's twin brother, and king of the undead.

“Yeah, that’s not a good sign. Let’s hurry inside,” Inxli mumbled then picked up his pace as fast as he could manage, making a beeline for the manor that had the guards rushing to keep up. Reckless followed, watching the dragon circle the manor, his fingers still twitching toward his bow until they were safely inside the building.

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