Everafter Chapter 3

By Falco22

Tetra took a long moment to compose herself. Meldi was expecting them, she had promised to raid the temple's library so that she might have some answers when Tetra came. Tetra took a deep breath, tried to quell the shivers which had assaulted her body. She whipped her face with a hand, sniffled, then slowly counted to ten forwards and backwards. It was a simple mind game that had allowed her to pull herself together, an old game that her mother had taught her. For one wistful moment Tetra wanted her mother their, wanted to have someone who she could lean on. She wanted to be with the Old King again, he had been more of a father to her then her own father..

She sighed, then pulled herself from the chair. Neither Link or Nieko had moved in the hours long interrogation Meldi had given her. None of the temple gardians immediate suggestions had heeded a response either. Not even the needle poking. She had sat their for hours, the sun had set, and Red had forgotten to bring her meal. With an achey stomach and achey limbs she staggered from the room, Red was a little way up the hall sweeping non existent dust. A warning flag went up in her mind, but she ignored it, too intent on her stomach's growling. She made her way to the mess hall, and was slightly alarmed to note that it was empty. The only food that she could find about was some cold bread, and for a moment she was ready to yell at Nieko, ready to chew him out for refusing to cook. It took a moment for her mind to remember that Nieko was sick.

That was warning enough for her.

Tetra left the empty mess hall, passed Red who she knew was following her at a discreet distance, then went not to her cabin, but Link's. At the front of Link's door she paused. Red didn't break in his sweeping, but she could hear the gentle whisper of bristle over wood slow ever so slightly. She could feel his eyes, feel them in her back like hot pokers, could hear his doubts. Anger filled her, and for a moment she nearly acted on it. Tetra then remembered the last time her mind had fallen into this dream like state, she remembered how her tantrum had lost her a crew. Now she was trapped on a ship, headed in non-human waters, with people she couldn't trust.

What if it wasn't them though, what if it was her?

For a long moment Tetra stared at the wooden door, fingered the handle. Red was at her back, feigning a task while he silently judged. Something was wrong with Link, Nieko, what if it had infected her? If she couldn't trust herself who could she then trust, the untrustworthy? Twisted as that logic was it was the only pausible course right now. She turned to Red, and the man stopped his sweeping, the look on his face told her that he knew he was caught.

"I'm not well," She nearly strangled on those words. "My judgment on certain matters is open for you and the rest of the crew to overrule. Just get us to the temple north of Dragon Roost, I have a friend their who can help us. After you get me and Link to Dragon Roost what you do is your own business." A weak smile found its way on her lips. "I know this sounds all crazy, but maybe to counter craziness you have to be a little crazy yourself."

Red nodded, the motion was so stiff that Tetra knew it cost him. The pirate's thoughts were probably whipping around in that red bandanna-ed head quicker then an arrows flight. When he met her eyes though all the doubts of his loyalty fell away from her mind. This time she was able to put a smile on that had a little more energy.

"Thank you Frederick, why don't you spread the word a bit, the best thing I can do for anyone is to get some sleep. Perhaps by morning things will be better." Red nodded, then jerked all at once as he realized that Tetra had called him by his real name. "See you in the morning then." Again Red nodded, and it was to Tetra's worry that the motion was as stiff as before. As she opened the door and let her into Link's sparse cabin -so different from her own, not a comfort in sight!- Tetra knew then that she could not trust herself. Despite her hope for Red she could not trust the man, not after what she had just seen. It was not the way he had acted, but the way that every time she looked at him she saw something different. Suspicion, to confusion, to trust, then to suspicion yet again, nothing was as it seemed! So as she struggled to set up Link's hammock, struggled against the many mistakes in the gagging where the hooks were , struggled to untangle the mess of webbing that impeded her progress, Tetra prayed that Meldi would have some cure for them all when she got to the Earth Temple. Because if Meldi didn't have an idea then not only Link and Nieko were in trouble, but the rest of her crew. When the fabric held her weight she clamored on, and as the sea began its gentle rocking the hammock moved in time. For one moment she fancied herself in two great arms of water, being rocked to sleep by the sea, her true mother.

Somewhere, between dream and reality a poisoned thought crept into her mind. It fouled the waters, turned the blue-green waters of life into little more then memory, and in its place came corrupted memory. The waters receded, and a salt choked landscape filled her vision with piles of false snow. Dead things lay on the now visible ocean floors surface. Fish and animals were all entangled in a snare of bloated dead grass. Then they all moved, all of the dead, the corrupted, they moved like a stinking tide. With grasping hands to choke the living and to spread their retched existence.. Somehow she was standing on the deck of her ship, she screamed warnings, called on the Rito to send messages to those most certainly doomed. But they could no longer hear her pleas, they were deaf to all save one sound, the wild winds that now ran across the world unchecked for Valoo lay dead, the master sword thrust in his heart.

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