The Ballad of Captain Twilight
The Ballad of Captain Twilight Begins
Location: Midnight Masterpieces
Date: 7/23/2010
Summary: Maereina tells Corwin the story of her mother, Captain Twilight so that he can compose the Ballad of Captain Twilight.
Characters: Maereina and Corwin
NPCs: None


Her slender face has the delicate bones and slim nose of an aristocrat. The subtle slant of her pale hazel green eyes combined with thick dark lashes adds a touch of the exotic. Full red lips shimmer with a faint sheen of moisture against her sun-kissed skin. Midnight curls fall just past her shoulders making her skin seem paler than it actually is. Large gold hoops hang sparkle in her dark curls where they dangle from her pierced ears.

A pristine white shirt loosely covers her torso. Tight black breeches cling to the curves of her legs enhancing their length. Black leather boots cover her legs to just below the knee. A wide belt of black leather circles her waist, closed with a silver buckle. A sheathed sword hangs from the belt on her left, gold and silver both gleaming from the hilt.

A red scarf is tied loosely about Maereina's neck. A sturdy sailor's knot ties it in place. The yellowed remains of a bruise still mar her left cheek.

Corwin has arrived.
Corwin arrives, in the very same spot he stood when he last left. He holds his sword, pointed downwards.
Maereina is sitting at an easel not far from where Corwin arrives. When she suddenly realizes there's someone in the room other than her, she stands abruptly, drawing her sword and pointing it at him before she can even identify who he is. She's actually quite remarkable in her speed and grace. Of course when she sees who it is, she lowers the sword and murmurs, "Good morning Corwin."

An inky black sky starts at the hilt, with a golden ship skimming silver waves laid into the dark wood. Golden sails furl over the top of the hand, with silver current washing out to protect the fingers and knuckles. The blade sweeps out from this, the ebon sky continuing with dots of gold forming both the stationary stars and one leading the way, gleaming brilliantly at the point with sparkles trailing behind it. The edge is radiant silver, flowing as the currents of the sea.
This blade is made of noble metals - silver, gold, platinum - or nearly pure alloys thereof, and in spite of this is as strong and durable as if made of quality steel.

"Nice sword," Corwin comments, even as he's sheathing his own.
Maereina sheathes her sword again as the comment makes her smile, "Why thank you. I didn't make it so I can't take credit for the artistry. I still haven't gotten to meet the woman who did."
Corwin asks, "Where'd you get it, then?"
Maereina murmurs, "It was a gift from John when I was his Second Mate."
"Well, I'll settle for complimenting the artistry in the hopes that I don't have to find out about how sharp it's edge is, fair enough?" Corwin says with a pleasant enough laugh. "Did you think about what we discussed?"
Maereina murmurs, "Razor sharp and it bleeds whether my opponent does or not. Well if I'm angry." She winks then looks back to her canvas and the long brown smear going across both sky and ocean now. "I did. I'm still not sure what to ask you for in payment, but I will do the painting."
"Thanks," Corwin replies initially. "If you'd like, we can call it a favor owed."
Corwin's expression becomes considerably more serious after he says this.
Maereina nods slightly, "But then I would need some way to contact you if I ever wanted to call in the favor."
"Very true," Corwin says. "There are a couple choices. I could get a Trump drawn of myself, or I could give you another sword, one that had the special power of being able to contact me."
Maereina murmurs, "I know about the black blades. I've seen John's before. I've no desire to bind myself to one of those."
Corwin says, "Who said anything about binding?"
Maereina hmms and nods, "I suppose you didn't at that. I'd prefer a trump if you could manage it in a reasonable time frame. The last person to offer me a payment involving trumps still hasn't paid me."
Corwin replies, "Getting a hold of me really isn't such a difficult task, anyway. Maybe, if you find yourself in a real pinch, you can think about me and I'll just show up, like I did today."
Maereina arches a brow, "Well now that's quite a trick. Is that because I've been to Banyan?"
"Don't worry about it," Corwin says with a pleasant smile. "I'm glad you've decided to do it. Now, I'd like to know about your mother."
Maereina smiles and gestures to a seat as she sits back down in the one she was in before he arrived. "My mother was a raving beauty. I consider it an amazing compliment to have been told I resemble her but I will always think her far more beautiful than I am. She was one of the Sea Queens of Minos. Closest thing Minos has to royalty are the captains of the ships and if you ask me, she was one of the best."
As Corwin listens, he takes the seat that was offered to him. He doesn't interrupt.
Maereina smiles, "They say every Minosian Captain has three names: the one for family and friends, the one for his legend and the one of his shame. For instance, John would be John Waverider, Captain Redhand and to those who dislike him, Captain Cowardice though I dispute there's anything of cowardice in the man. Mother was Nadine to her intimates, Captain Twilight on the high seas and Captain Sail Away occasionally behind her back for there were none who dared say it to her face."
Corwin does not take notes, but rather listens carefully, his eyes never leaving Maereina's as she speaks.
It is impossible not to see the love and hear the pride as Maereina speaks of her mother. "They called her Twilight for her hair the color of shadows at dusk. And her eyes were the shade of the sea. More than one man lost himself in the sea in her eyes and never found himself again, but the only man she ever gave her heart to was my father. He loved that she was a captain and had no desire to tie herself to the land, but he was one of those to whom the seas did not call so he offered to stay behind and keep track of her things for her as her port husband."
Corwin nods his head slowly. "And you? Who were you with?"
Maereina smiles but does not give a simple answer, "Over the years she had four children: two sons and two daughter. The first, Kyle, was just like his father and learned to run a forge from his father. The second was Niles, who heard the call of the sea but did not have it in his blood. He sailed with his mother for a while but decided to settle down ashore and help his brother in the forge. And then came a daughter with hair of midnight and eyes of green almost like her mother's. They say that she declared on the day of her daughter's birth that she was special and thus named her Maereina instead of Maggie as she'd planned. Almost immediately, little Mae showed a talent for the sea and some say it broke Nadine's heart for this special child she wanted to leave safe with her father instead of having her follow in her mother's path."
Corwin smiles softly, and nods.
Maereina murmurs, "When the little girl came of age she begged her mother to take her to sea, but Captain Twilight refused and apprenticed her to a storm crafter to learn to use her magic in safer ways. For years it went on this way with Mother going out to sea to trade and to plunder. For Captain Twilight was a pirate you see, a very good one. Twas said no one dared to fight Captain Twilight for it was known to one and all who sailed the seas near Minos that to fight Captain Twilight when she hoisted her colors was to see your ship burned to the sea with no hand allowed to leave. She'd lose whatever cargo she'd meant to capture in exchange for watching every man aboard drown should even one resist her will."
Corwin leans back a little in his seat, always listening, never looking elsewhere.
Maereina's eyes twinkle a little as she talks about her mother as a pirate, "Truth be told though she burnt very few ships. Such a reputation leaves one very rarely opposed because even if they do not know it for truth, they do not risk it for the loss of a cargo is much less than the loss of your life." She murmurs, "She was also an amazing business woman. I think mostly for my father's sake. He did not wish to think of her as a pirate, so the only gains she brought home to him were those gotten through legal trade. In this way her family was never involved in her piracy for she insisted none of us would sail with her again after Niles left to stay with us on Cameron. Twas seventy years of wheedling and pleading and the birth of another little girl before special little Maereina managed to convince her mother to let her join the crew of the Sea Witch."
Corwin makes a soft 'ah' sound, but still does not interrupt.
Maereina murmurs, "She was a hard captain but fair. She demanded that her daughter be showed no favor. I was the lowest hand on the ship and forced to learn every task to perfection before I could move on to anything else. In the end, though she would not displace her mates in favor of her daughter, I knew every task to be done aboard a vessel. Every knot in every line, every stitch in every sail. For I'd made those sails and hung the orb upon her mast."
Corwin's expression changes as Maereina relays this part of the tale. It is something of a mixture of surprise and newfound respect.
Maereina smiles faintly, "And when her daughter fell in love with another of the crew, twas said she lamented for she knew that soon her daughter would leave and after so many years of fighting to keep her shorebound, Captain Twilight could no longer imagine the ship without her." Her smile slips then as she continues, "And then came the night when the ghost fleet attacked. There was a storm that night but it should have been to our advantage because the sails could control the storm and let us sail as other ships could not and the orb allowed us to see through rains that should have blinded other vessels."
Corwin frowns, now.
Maereina's expression grows sad as she continues, "But nothing seemed to damage them. Not volleys from our storm cannons, not ballista. A particularly hard volley knocked Jason into the water and that was the last Captain Twilight saw of her sweet Maereina for the girl dove into the water to help bring her beloved back to the ship. And then the ship was aflame. When her daughter tried to return to the ship a burning spar fell and drove both her and the man she loved beneath the waves. And none who knew her ever saw the Sea Witch again."
Corwin speaks up, to ask, "Did you seek vengeance?"
Maereina shakes her head, "When I washed up on Amber's beach I had no memory at all. Not even my name. John happened upon me in the fish market and decided to help me. By the time I began recovering any memories, I had become a part of his crew."
Corwin says, "How long now, have you remembered?"
Maereina murmurs, "About six months now." She closes her eyes. "Jason didn't wash up with me so I have to assume he drowned. The wind and the waves did not favor him as they do me."
"Your mother and your lover," Corwin says with a note of sadness. "Life is too cruel, sometimes."
Maereina nods, "Still, Jason was not aboard when the ship was sunk so if she truly does sail with the ghost fleet now, at least he is not among them."
"What else do you know about this.. ghost fleet?" Corwin asks.
Maereina shakes her head slightly, "Not very much. I've meant to have a conversation with the other captains about it. Discordia and Stormcrow seem to know more."
Corwin stands up, nodding once more. "Very well, Maereina. I will compose your ballad."
Maereina smiles, "Thank you Corwin. I want her remembered. I look forward to hearing it when you are finished."
Corwin draws Gram out once more and offers a bit of a bow. "Until then," he bids.
Maereina murmurs, "And when will you want me to do the paintings? I will need to return to the source material to do so."
Corwin pauses, considering this. "As soon as you are ready."
Maereina nods, "I have a couple paintings I need to finish here and then a trip to shadow briefly. Perhaps I will test this notion of thinking of you when I return and see if it works."
Corwin laughs, pleasantly. "I look forward to it, then."
Maereina stands now and removes the ruined canvas from her easel to put it aside, "Be well, Corwin."
Corwin offers another smile, and then he's gone.

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