The Lost Prince: Part IV – The Good Captain’s Men

The Lost Prince: Part IV – The Good Captain’s Men

I shrugged. For all my craftiness in ensnaring the assistance of the Lariptians, I had no other plans up my sleeve. Una frowned. She pressed her hands against the bars of her cage, and, without warning, flames started to erupt from her open palms, enveloping the iron. I started. Was Una trying to melt the bars? Before I could ask her, Una collapsed, gasping for breath, palms smoking.

“I thought it was worth trying,” hissed Una, “sorry it didn’t work. I’ve only ever dabbled with the element of fire. You should see the sisters of Unaloth. They could blast a hole in the side of this ship with a flick of their wrists-”

Suddenly, we heard heavy feet clattering towards us. The burly Lariptian had, once again, brought us some food. We kept us mouths tightly shut until the sailor once more, vanished into the darkness. As soon as we were alone, Lazrilus spat out an oath.

“I can’t stomach anymore of this bread,” he grimaced, “it sits in my belly like a rock.”

With this declaration, the Vomoran lifted a metal bowl full of water to his lips. He took a sip and winced.

“Ugh!” he spat, “it’s disgusting. I’d rather drink sea water than this filth!”

“That’s it!” I cried. Lazrilus blinked in confusion. I turned to Una.

“Una, could you sing to that water? Like you did in the boat? Could you control it, I mean?”

Una chuckled.

“That little puddle? Of course, I could. It’s easy enough to control small portions of water. Why?”

“The lock!” I exclaimed, “could you bend the water, like a key-and use it to pick the lock. When we first met you, you had such control over the waves, surely-”

“Yes!” exclaimed Una, “I could, at least, I think I could!”

“Try it,” said Lazrilus, “before they come back!”

Una lowered her head until her dark lips were inches away from the bowl. Words trickled from the tip of her tongue and even in the darkness I saw the surface of the water trembling in resistance to her enchanted whisper. As Una’s voice grew louder, the water began to violently shudder until, without warning, a long tendril of water lurched over the side of the bowl and hung, suspended in mid-air. Una sang, guiding the tendril until it reached the lock of the cage. The water slithered into the lock. Una’s eyebrows quivered. She sang on. Lazrilus crept backwards, an expression of awe creeping over his face. Eventually, we were rewarded with a faint click and the door of our cage swung open.

“You did it!” exclaimed Lazrilus in a hushed cheer. Una beamed.

“I’m out of practice,” grinned Una, “that was harder than I expected. What should we do now?”

I pulled the door of our cage shut.

“Lock the door,” I instructed, “hide the bowl-or, if we can’t hide it, just make sure that Lariptian brute doesn’t take it away. Make sure we always have that bit of water to use. Now we know we can get out of this cage whenever we want, we might have a chance. Una, how far is it from ‘The Spiral’ to the mainland of Kazore?

“Not far,” said Una, “you can see the coastline from ‘The Spiral’s’ peak. I could carry the two of you there by singing. Or, if we could just get our hands on another raft, we might have a chance!”


One day later, Dromlinson, Una and I were standing on the deck of The Tears of Eveline, watching ‘The Spiral’ grow larger and larger on the horizon. Dromlinson had summoned us from the brig, in order to confirm that the strange rock the Lariptians were heading towards was indeed ‘The Spire’ that we’d convinced them was to be their salvation. The more that I saw of ‘The Spire’ the more it dawned on me that this was no mere port. Indeed, it was more like a fortress. It tore through the grey flesh of the sea like the black and twisted scabbard of an ancient sword. It was jagged and twisted in shape, with a bulging, square base upon with a small hamlet of grey, dome-shaped houses had been moulded out of black and purple stone. From the base, ‘The Spiral’ looked as though it were reaching – or pointing – towards the grey sky. The ‘point’ of the finger was encircled by a stone staircase that had been hewn out of the purple and black rock, though, the lower half of this staircase was also flanked by a bright purple barrier. Orange light seeped out of small oval holes that punctuated the ‘finger’ of the rock. It took me a moment to realise that this light was being produced by lanterns and that the pointed rock of ‘The Spiral’ was hollow.

The Lost Prince
Illustration by Rebekka Katajisto

“Is this ‘The Spiral’?” demanded Dromlinson. Una nodded, silent. Dromlinson dabbed at his eyes with his crimson handkerchief and shook his head in awe.

“It’s very impressive, I must confess,” said Dromlinson, “what I want to know is, why couldn’t we find this on our map? If you hadn’t pointed it out to us, we might have sailed right past it.”

“‘The Spiral’ is something of an embarrassment for Kazore,” said Una, “it was only recently that we started using it as a port. Before that, it stood unused for almost a hundred years, as a monument to our greatest failure.”

I opened my mouth, my curiosity, despite the circumstances, was peaked. I was cut off by Dromlinson, who gently dragged Una to the side of the ship and pointed at ‘The Spiral’.

“Is that where we dock?” said Dromlinson, “over there-by that long thin rock that sticks out at the bottom. I can see ships there…”

“Yes,” said Una, after a moment’s hesitation, “although, it might be best if you were to let my husband, servant and I go ashore first, with a small group of your own sailors. Otherwise, the masters of ‘The Spiral’ might mistake you for pirates.”

I clenched my fists. If Dromlinson went along with Una’s plan, our escape was guaranteed. Una intended to summon a mighty wave, one that would sweep aside our Lariptian escort and provide us with the opportunity to find a place to hide on the island. Without Una to barter for supplies, the Lariptians would either be forced to flee, or mount and invasion of the island and, as Una had told me below deck, such a course of action would spell doom for our captors, as ‘The Spiral’ was designed to be impregnable.

“A single Priestess could obliterate a small army,” Una had assured me, “on ‘The Spiral’ there are at least a dozen, as well as at least two hundred Acolyte Warriors!”

Dromlinson’s eyes flickered over to Una. I shivered at their coldness. The Lariptian folded his handkerchief into his breast pocket and shook his head, slowly.

“I’m not a fool, little Priestess,” said Dromlinson, “before I got stuck on this blasted vessel, I was one of the most respected Advisors to the Governor. I know a trap when I see one. Before I let you anywhere near that island,” Dromlinson nodded to ‘The Spiral’, “I’m going ashore myself. To speak to your people. If they know who you are, I’ll bring you home, safe and sound. If it turns out you’ve lied to me,” Dromlinson’s mouth twitched, “I can promise you, you’ll suffer.”

And, with these words, Dromlinson unknowingly scattered our best laid plans to dust. Lazrilus swore when Una relayed Dromlinson’s intentions.

“It won’t take him long,” snarled Una, “even if he’s rowing… and when he speaks to the Kazoreans, they’ll either tell him that I’ve been excommunicated. He’ll kill us. I know he will-”

“Maybe not,” muttered Lazrilus, “maybe we can still follow the plan… if the Kazoreans offer him a reward for bringing them an exiled Priestess, he’ll bring us ashore, right? Then, maybe, you could still create a distraction and give us a chance to escape-”

“That won’t work!” hissed Una, “first of all, the Kazoreans won’t arrest a Priestess they’ve already exiled. If I tried to go ashore myself, then yes, they’d execute me. But if Dromlinson tries to bring me ashore, they’ll just tell him that I’m forbidden from stepping foot on Kazore and turn him away.”

“We’ve got to escape now,” I said.

“How!?” cried Lazrilus, “this ship is full of Lariptians, there must be nearly two hundred of them.”

“I don’t know!” I roared, “but we have to try. Maybe Una can sing us to ‘The Spiral’, maybe she can’t. We can’t just stay here and wait for Dromlinson to return!”

“Bah!” growled Lazrilus, “well, hurry then! Unlock this damned cage!”

Una didn’t need further prompting. She sang to the water and, moments later, our door was thrown open. We hurried along the long, dark corridor, Lazrilus taking the lead and Una and I doing our best to keep up. Una kept murmuring her song, and her thin tendril of water coiled itself around her wrist. My heart hammered against my breast. It had been many years since I had had to fight my way out of anything. Still, I resolved that, if that was our only option, then I wouldn’t simply cower behind Una and Lazrilus.

As soon as I made this promise to myself, Lazrilus faltered. Una raised her hand and her tendril of water snapped into the air; its tip pointed ahead. When I saw why Lazrilus had stopped, my heart sank. Captain Locksley was blocking our path, flanked by the burly Lariptian that had brought us our food. Locksley’s gums flashed as his lips twisted into a feral grin and his coarse, hairy fingers tightened their grip on a small bronze-coloured pistol.

“You…” rasped the good captain, his teeth clacking against his gums, “woman… come.”

“Stay back,” barked Lazrilus. Locksley raised his pistol until its pitch-black eye was pointed directly at the Vomoran’s skull.

“Woman…” rasped Locksley, “come…” 

“Get away from her!” snarled Lazrilus, lunging forward. Locksley was so surprised by this sudden attack that he couldn’t help but stumble back, nearly knocking over the burly Lariptian and firing his pistol without thinking. The tip of his weapon exploded, and yellow sparks danced before my eyes, leaving me both deafened and blinded – although, mercifully, his shot darted far over Lazrilus’ shoulder. The Vomoran bounded forward and seized the captain’s wrists in his hands, snapping his fangs at the Lariptian and roaring in rage. Locksley grinned and pushed the Vomoran back, pinning him against the wall. I cringed as the Vomoran’s head smacked back against the ship’s metal ceiling, but Lazrilus didn’t seem to mind. Foam oozed out the corners of his contorted lips as the captain, slowly but surely, pushed the barrel of his pistol closer and closer to the side of Lazrilus’ head.

The burly Lariptian finally shook himself out of the confusion of almost being flattened by his own captain and, growling, lumbered over to the struggling pair, only to falter when something piercing blue and razor sharp snapped before his eyes. The sailor turned his head, howling in pain. A minute cut had been ripped open on the bridge of his long nose and twin river of blood gushed down his nostrils. Una’s voice reverberated down the corridor, as her sapphire whip of water bobbed above her head. The Lariptian spat out a curse and tried to charge her, only to recoil, whimpering in terror, as Una whipped him again and again. I took the opportunity to dart forward and, with the speed and determination of a far younger man, slammed the bottom of my elbow into the tip of the sailor’s ear. The sailor screeched, and hopped backwards, clutching his ear. Lazrilus’ face had turned black from the strain of holding back the captain’s pistol. Locksley smiled, eyes gleaming with bloodlust, as one trembling finger inched its way to the trigger. I grabbed Locksley by the back of his uniform and pulled with all my might, Locksley stumbling and, as he wheeled around to strike me, the pistol dropped from his fingers. The burly Lariptian sailor had fled, leaving his captain to his fate. Una sang and, her whip of water snagged the pistol and threw it into her hands. Locksley’s fist connected with my neck and I crumpled in a heap, gasping, chest burning. Lazrilus roared again and sank his teeth into Locksley’s shoulder. Locksley’s eyes bulged as thick fountains of crimson spurted out from the narrow gaps between Lazrilus’ fangs. Locksley shook the Vomoran out of his lesh but, before he could gather himself to strike back, Una pulled the trigger of the good captain’s pistol.

About The Author

Rhys Clark

I am an English and Theatre Studies student at the University of Warwick. I particularly enjoy dystopian literature and political satire. My influences as a writer are George Orwell, Christopher Hitchens, Kurt Vonnegut and Harold Pinter.

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