Mystical Times Round Robin Two
Ch. 1 By Jo
*Note: Many thanks to Mrinda, Keren, and Susanna for the ear, and suggestions.
The Nomad had been docked already for several days in Basra, awaiting repairs. Because of the landlocked condition of her crew, tempers were unusually high this morning. Bryn thought it best to just go her separate way again this morning, at least get out of Doubar and Sinbad's way. Since they made port after that bad storm, even Sinbad's mood had been blue.
"And since he won't talk to me about it, I will let him be for now," she thought to herself. She then makes her way from the small inn they are staying at to the grand marketplace. Pausing here and there to look at and examine the various merchandise, Bryn spends most of the morning in quiet solitude. She pays for her items that she has bought, and turns to make her way back to the inn.
Her purchases are tucked safely under her arm, a few little gifts for the others, and a new outfit for herself. She hopes that these small gifts will lighten the guys moods - a vial of salve for Firouz, new sashes for Doubar and Rongar, a nice boot dagger for Sinbad. And a new royal blue silk dress for herself. "Sometimes, you just gotta do something girlish for yourself. It's good for the soul, and the price was right," she thinks to herself as she reaches the exit of the market place. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a hoard of street rats descend upon her.
"We want what you got, woman," a young man of about thirteen tells her, and they move in upon her as one.
Seven boys, all about the same age, grab for her package, her pouch, her blade... anything they can get their hands on. Bryn reaches out and snatches away the package from the lead boy, tearing open the wrapping, and the items fall to the street. Another voice is added to the fray, while Bryn tries to fend off the boys and protect her gifts all at once.
"Boys, if I were you, I'd drop the lady's things and leave, NOW!'"
Startled, the band of boys does just that. Drop everything, and run the other way at the presence of the new baritone. He bends down and assists Bryn in gathering her belongings.
"Are you hurt?"
"No, and neither are the packages. You scared them good, they even left my gold pouch." Bryn smiles as they stand. "Thank you for the help," she looks at him with recognition. "You're the man who sent me that ale last night as well. You pulled a fast disappearing trick before I could acknowledge the drink."
"Well, duty called me away... rather reluctantly, I should add." He flashes a smile, adding, "It is a pleasure to meet you, m'lady, my name is Aeren." He takes her hand and gently bows to kiss it.
"Bryn, and it is a pleasure, Aeren. I was on my way back to the inn for lunch, would you like to join me?" She asks with a smile on her face.
Without hesitation, Aeren replies, "I would love to join you Bryn."
He turns slightly and puts his elbow out. Bryn smiles and takes it, thinking to herself that it has been a very long time since anyone has taken notice of her, in the good, nonviolent way.
They reach the inn, and after ordering a nice lunch, they set about to talking. Trying to get to know each other. Aeren tells her stories of being Omar's captain of the guard, and his ascension through the ranks. Bryn relates stories of the Nomad, how she met the crew, the travels and adventures.
Aeren laughs when Bryn finishes and says, "I don't know who had more adventures here, you or I! You are an extraordinary woman to be able to do all that with a group of men."
Bryn laughs as well and responds, "It's not so bad. They're all really good to me and I'm glad that I've joined the crew. I'd really be lost without them."
Aeren gets a very solemn look to his deep brown eyes and peers directly into Bryn's. "As I said, you are a very extraordinary woman." With that said, he once again takes her hand and bends to kiss it. Only this time, the passion that is evident in the kiss takes Bryn's breath away.
What neither of them have noticed is that Sinbad had entered the inn and witnessed the entire scene.
Ch. 2 By Keren
Note: Much thanks to Jo for acting as my sounding board. =)
Sinbad stood in the doorway and stared at Bryn and Aeren sitting at the table, talking like old friends. He felt mixed emotions rise within him - worry, suspicion.... jealousy.
"Sinbad, why are you standing in the doorway?" Doubar's booming voice brought him out of his thoughts. He mumbled something and made his way over to the bar to get drinks. The others joined Bryn and her new friend at their table.
Bryn looked up, a bit startled at the sudden appearance of all her friends.
"Mind if we join you?" Doubar asked.
Bryn grinned and chuckled as Doubar and the others sat down before she could answer.
"Not at all..." she replied.
Sinbad came over and sat beside her after placing the drinks on the table. He smiled at her and her heart did a small flip.
He looked over at Aeren. "Bryn... who's your new friend?" he asked, trying to keep his tone light.
"Uh...." she stammered, "....guys, this is Aeren. Aeren, this is Doubar, Firouz, Rongar... and Sinbad."
Doubar, Firouz and Rongar all nodded their greetings and tried to hide their smiles in their ales as they watched Aeren and Sinbad warily eye each other, both wondering what the other was to Bryn.
"So... Bryn tells me you're the Captain of the Nomad," Aeren was the first to break the silence between them.
Sinbad nodded. "That I am. And you are...."
Aeren chuckled. "Just a man who helped a beautiful damsel in distress."
Sinbad raised his eyes and joined the others in looking at a blushing Bryn.
"It's.... a long story..." she stammered. Sinbad's close proximity and his eyes on her were distracting.
Aeren chuckled. His easy going demeanor put the others at ease and they were all talking and laughing before long. All except Sinbad. There was something about Aeren that nagged at him. Maybe it was the way he kept looking at Bryn. Or the way she smiled back at him. Or maybe it was just his chuckles that were beginning to grate on Sinbad's nerves.
Aeren got up to get another round of drinks and Bryn's soft hand on his brought his attention back to the present.
Bryn's smile touched his heart. She looked into Sinbad's sea blue eyes and saw something in them before it disappeared. "Sinbad... what's wrong?" she asked softly.
Sinbad covered quickly and smiled back at her. "Nothing.. nothing's wrong, Bryn."
Bryn raised an eye and gave him that look he knew so well. She didn't believe him - but in true Bryn fashion, she wouldn't press him either. Ever since their encounter with Bryn's "father", their relationship had grown much closer and had entered into a new phase they were still trying to learn. But the trust in each other had never wavered. She knew he would tell her when he was ready to talk.
"Just... be careful. We don't know much about him, Bryn," he added.
She chuckled. "Sinbad... he's just a nice guy who happened to help me when a bunch of kids tried to rob me. It's not like we're romantic or anything."
He reached out and placed a gentle hand to her cheek. Neither of them noticed the glances the others were giving each other or the fleeting dark look that passed through Aeren's face as he returned to the table.
"Here we go. Last round on me." Aeren's booming voice broke through the quiet moment between Sinbad and Bryn. They reluctantly refocused their attention back to the others.
It was late in the evening when they all finally went their separate ways - the crew to the Nomad and Aeren back to wherever he came from.
Bryn found herself standing on deck, looking back at the town. Sinbad came and stood next to her.
"He was quite a character...." his voice carried in the still night air.
Bryn smiled and nodded. "He was...."
He looked over at her and back at the water. "You gonna miss him..."
She looked over at him. "A little. I guess." She smiled inwardly at the look that passed across Sinbad's face. "He and I had a lot in common."
Sinbad just nodded.
"But not as much as we do," she added quietly.
At her last words he grinned and turned to her. She smiled back at him and he reached out to gently take her in his arms and kiss her.
The next morning found the crew scurrying around, making repairs to the Nomad. Sinbad wanted to be away as soon as possible. And wanderlust wasn't the only reason. As Sinbad walked around making sure everything was going smoothly, he noticed Bryn standing at starboard and frowning.
"Bryn?" he asked as he walked over to her.
She motioned with her chin in the direction she wanted him to look. He looked and his frown joined hers.
Coming towards them was a company of Omar's Guards. And leading them was the tall familiar form of Aeren.
Ch. 3 By Jo & Keren
And again tons of thanks to Keren, M'Lady Wynter, for the help. Together, we'll bash those Muses!
Aeren and his troops stop at the gangplank to the Nomad. Sinbad casually raises his leg up to the rail, nodding to Aeren. "Captain, it is my duty to deliver this to you, and your crew." With that, he pulls out a small gilded scroll case. "I am to await your response"
Sinbad takes the case, opening it with trepidation. Reading the contents over his shoulder, Bryn then looks to her captain, flashing one of those "looks" that he knows too well. One that says be careful, but also other things too. Things that make his heart leap with joy.
Rolling the scroll back up, he hands the case back to the Captain of the Guard. "Tell Omar that we graciously accept, and will be there at the palace tonight."
"Doubar, Firouz, Rongar, Bryn, we've been invited to a feast tonight by Omar, to be held at his palace. Though how he got news of us being in port, I don't know." He looks to Aeren as he makes that last statement. "And the attire is to be formal," he grumbles. The crew groan in agony at the thought of having to "clean up" for the feast.
As Aeren turns to leave, he looks up to Bryn. Smiling he tells her, "I look forward to seeing you tonight, my dear Bryn." Bryn just smiles slightly, and looks away. "We'll be there," she softly exclaims.
The day passes, and the group find themselves getting ready for the feast. They are all wearing their finest clothes, and Doubar and Rongar are proudly displaying the new sashes that Bryn gave them. The men are standing about the deck, waiting on Bryn to come up, so they can all leave together. Firouz ponders, "What's taking Sinbad and Bryn so long?"
Sinbad is standing in the hallway outside Bryn's door. He fidgets a little with his formal clothes and wonders again if it was such a good idea to accept Omar's invitation. But he remembers the look on Bryn's face and he smiles to himself. As he raises his hand to knock on the door, it opens from the inside. Bryn steps out, wearing her new royal blue silk dress that she bought. It's sleeveless, with a semi form fitting bodice, that softly falls to pools of azure at her feet. A semi sheer overcoat flows over the dress in the same hue. Bryn looks to Sinbad, her hair for once falling loose about her shoulders. Sinbad smiles back in stunned silence. Stunned by the beauty that stands before him. He gently reaches out to her, touching her cheek, pulling her to him for a soft kiss. "Bryn, you take my breath away," he whispers to her lips. She softly kisses him back, and then reluctantly pulls back. "We should get going, before they wonder where we are."
He smiles again. "We should, you're right. May I?" and he offers her his arm. Bryn takes it, and he escorts her onto the deck.
On deck, Firouz and Doubar are getting restless, and are exchanging jabs when Rongar suddenly elbows them and motions to the hatch with his head. The three turn to look as Sinbad and Bryn come on deck. Firouz and Rongar look at each other with raised eyes while Doubar breaks out in a big grin. "You two make a handsome couple," Doubar teases as they walk towards them. "And Bryn, the wait was well worth it."
Bryn blushes as Sinbad throws Doubar a half hearted glare. They all hear a noise coming to the berth that the Nomad is at. It is a carriage with nearly perfectly matched bays, and one of Omar's guards driving. He prepares the carriage for them as they walk up to the transportation.
Firouz, Rongar, and Doubar get in. Sinbad hangs back a moment to steal another kiss from Bryn. Doubar rolls his eyes. "Come on you two love birds. Don't want to keep the 'Savage Sultan' waiting!"
With a reluctant sigh, Sinbad and Bryn enter the carriage and they leave for the festivities.
Ch. 4 By Keren/Jo
The crew were in high spirits when they arrived at the palace. It was festively lit with plenty of lanterns and candles. Sinbad nodded to a few of the guests he recognized as they were ushered into the banquet hall by one of Omar's aides. "Omar went all out for this feast!" Doubar whispered as he gazed around the room.
Sinbad nodded as he laughed.
He turned to see Omar walking towards him, Aeren by his side. The Captain of Omar's guards was dressed in black silk pants with a dark brown matching shirt and a deep red sash around his waist. There was no sign of any weapons. Sinbad sighed inwardly as he saw Aeren's eyes brighten when he saw Bryn.
"It's good to see you again, Sinbad!" Omar shook his hand and smiled broadly. He nodded at the others and then turned to Bryn. "Ah, you must be the young lady that Captain Aeren here is so smitten with."
Bryn took a moment to glare at Doubar who was snickering, then rolled her eyes a bit in embarrassment.
"This is Bryn. A ... member of my crew." Sinbad introduced her.
Omar decided to ignore the slight hesitation and nodded to her. "Indeed... well, a pleasure to meet you, my dear. Come now, Sinbad, and join us in this great feast!"
Omar watched with amusement as Aeren walked between Sinbad and Bryn and offered his arm to escort her to the table. He then had to hide a grin as he watched Sinbad smoothly cut in front of Aeren to help her to her seat and sit down next to her.
"Aeren, my friend..." he chuckled, as he watched his Captain of the Guard grit his teeth and sit a few seats away from the couple, "I fear you've picked the wrong woman to become smitten with."
The feast was noisy with much laughter and food. Bryn laughed as Doubar tried to tell a sea tale to a lady friend while Firouz cut in to clarify a few points. Sinbad had left to chat with Omar about something. Music from a flute and harp filled the air and people slowly began to flow to the dance floor. As she watched the couples dance, she wondered if Sinbad could dance - and smiled at the thought of dancing with him.
"May I have this dance?" a voice brought her out of her thoughts.
Bryn looked up to see Aeren standing to her left, his hand outstretched towards her. A warm smile lit his dark eyes from the inside. She smiled hesitantly and was about to respond, when a hand on her shoulder caused her to look to her right. And up into Sinbad's sea-blue eyes.
"Sorry, Aeren, but Bryn promised me the next few dances." Although Sinbad's words were directed at Aeren, his eyes never left Bryn's. Without another word, he took Bryn's hand and led her to the dance floor.
As they walked, Bryn chuckled, "Sinbad...."
Sinbad grinned. "I know, I know. But I wasn't about to let him steal the first dance from your captain." Bryn turned to him with a raised eyebrow. "My Captain, eh... is that all you are to me?" she teased.
Sinbad returned the look and teased her right back. "I don't know Bryn... you tell me," he whispered, as he placed a hand around her waist, drawing her close to him.
The smile she gave him took his breath away. The music started and the world suddenly disappeared. Lost in their own world where the only people who existed were each other, they were blessedly unaware of the grins from Doubar, Firouz, Rongar, and Omar. And the disgruntled look from Aeren who danced nearby.
An hour or so later, Doubar sat back in his chair with a satisfied sigh and looked around the crowded banquet hall. Firouz had finally left him alone and was off bothering Omar about inventing something new for his collection. Rongar was dancing with a beautiful baroness. He spied Sinbad and Bryn and chuckled. The two were still lost in their own little world on the dance floor. Although the music was gay, they danced to their own slow rhythm. Sinbad hadn't taken his eyes off of Bryn the entire time they had been out there and same with Bryn. Every once in awhile, they stole a kiss, oblivious to the fact that couples around them were smiling at them. Doubar grinned - it was nice seeing them finally getting together. He had been serious when he told them they made a very handsome couple. He didn't know what had happened to them in that storm cloud, but he was glad that it had made them finally see what they had all known for a long time. The two of them were in love - or getting there.
He raised an eyebrow as he watched Aeren walk purposefully towards the couple, and groaned. "Why is there always someone coming along to ruin the good mood and fun?" he growled to himself as he saw Aeren tap Sinbad's shoulder and then move to take Bryn's hand for the next dance. He readied himself in case there was trouble, but relaxed when he saw Sinbad nod and graciously allow Bryn to be swept off.
"Feet get tired?" Doubar asked, trying to keep the merriment out of his voice.
"No... just decided to be gracious and let someone else have a dance," Sinbad replied nonchalantly. He kept looking out at the dance floor, his eyes following Bryn.
Doubar hid a smile in his mug. "Uh-huh. Sure. Whatever you say, little brother." That earned him a glare before Sinbad turned back to keep his eyes on Bryn. He didn't trust Aeren. And he didn't like him much either. Didn't like the way he smiled at Bryn. Or the way he talked. He wasn't even a very good dancer. Probably wasn't very skilled at fighting either. Sinbad stifled a deep sigh, realizing Doubar was watching him and grinning like a fool. He didn't understand why he was feeling this way. Why did he harbour such animosity towards someone he barely knew....
Doubar shook his head as he reached out to refill his mug of ale. This was gonna be interesting, he thought to himself. Sinbad was usually the one who always got the lady, the one that other men were jealous of. The shoe was on the other foot now, and he wondered just how his little brother was going to deal with the situation.
What sounded like a growl from his little brother made Doubar glance up over at the dance floor. Aeren and Bryn had stopped dancing and he had a hand on Bryn's cheek. "Uh-oh...." thought Doubar as he alternately watched Sinbad's face grow darker and Aeren slowly begin to bring his face down towards Bryn.
TO BE CONTINUED…