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Darkfire Stargazer
Song of the Savage - Chapter Five: Messenger's Errands

Some time later, Morgan sat in his cabin, lost in ponderous thought. Soon, the pounding of pawsteps resounded over the deck. The trouble Corsair captain lifted his head as Brilik returned, half out of breath. The weasel nodded hastily to his commander, gasping out his words quickly. "I spoke wi' Thajus, sir, he says our best bet is ter sail towards th' setting sun, then there's a good chance we'll come across some islands. He sez that th' more islands we kin' find, the better chance there'll be fresh water on one or more of 'em. Thats all, sir." Morgan nodded appreciatively to Brilik, frowning a moment in deep thought. After a moment's silence, he addressed the weasel crewbeast. "Excellent work, Brilik my friend. I believe the vixen Sandstar is at the helm at this time, and she is the one to know the new course to sail. Relay Thajus' direction to her, towards the setting sun. West, of course. Also inform Talongaze, the lookout, to be on the alert for any signs of land. Thank you, Brilik, that will be all." With a saltue, Brilik again exited the cabin, hurrying off. He moved with good speed, being a fairly lithe weasel. As he reached the forward deck, he skidded to a halt, catching sight of a tawny colored vixen near the helm. "Ahoy, Sandstar! I bring instructions from the Cap'n!" "Brilik, me old matey! Ah so ye only visit me on business now is it?" The sandy colored vixen laughed, her smile showing her joking nature. Brilik allowed himself a laugh as well, making his way to the giant wooden wheel that was the helm. He shook the vixen's light-colored paw with comradrey, gazing over the massive 'steering wheel' of the ship. "Good t' be out here in the air, eh Sandstar? Anyway, Thajus th' Navigator says ter head towards the setting sun if we wan' ter find land 'afore we all die o' thirst. That means west, right?" The vixen nodded before turning to face the helm, strong paws gripping the handles jutting out from the giant wheel. Slowly and firmly she turned the wheel, holding it steady once it had turned enough to satisfy Sandstar. She glanced at Brilik over her shoulder. "There ye are mate, we're 'eadin West. Best tell Talongaze to be on extra alert." Brilik nodded and turned towards the main mast, which was at Sandstar's back. He slowly let his eyes trail up the staggering height of the mast, squinting to see the black dot resting near its top. That was the crow's nest, where the keen- eyed searat Talongaze spent most of his time. Word around the ship was that he only came down to eat, and rarely to sleep. Clenching his teeth resolutely, Brilik began the ascent to the top of the mainmast. His paws determinedly gripped the swaying rope ladder that led up the length of the thick mast, the poor weasel not daring to look down. Soon he reached the crow's nest, and he was deeply grateful for this. Rubbing his shaking, half-numbed paws, he saluted the strange searat relaxed against the side of the lookout post. Talongaze was mottled white and black, blinking his strangely glittering eyes placidly. His voice was soft, as if rarely used. "Greetings, comrade. What brings thee to mine humble abode in the sky, hmm? I am sure thou art here on business, surely no beast wouldst make such a climb for his own pleasure." Brilik paused a moment, startled by the eloquence with which this strange creature spoke, as well as the unusual brightness of his eyes. Soon, however, the weasel caught his voice and recovered. "Cap'n Morgan asks that you keep on top alert for any sign 'o land, as we need to find some soon. We're about out 'o water, and if we don't find land soon, we'll all die 'o thirst..." The weasel trailed off, frozen by Talongaze's stare. The odd searat said nothing at first, but nodded his head slowly, never removing his gaze from Brilik. Gradually, he turned his back, folding his mottled paws over the railing of the crow's nest. Brilik inwardly breathed a sigh of relief to have lost the lookout's stare. Eventually Talongaze spoke again. "I am aware of this shortage, good sir, and I thank you for spending thine energy to make sure I am well informed. I shall respect thee for it. Tell the good Captain that Talongaze will always be on watch, but that all efforts are now being placed into fufilling his command. Thank you for thine company, comrade. Perhaps I shall see thee again." Brilik nodded hastily, speaking his goodbye as politely as he could before nervously scrabbling back down to the safety of the deck.
* * * * * * * *
The sun was beginning to sink into its nightly bed below the horizon as Morgan made his way to the fore'ard deck. Silently the mouse Corsair gazed out over the shimmering surface of the sea, lit up with pink light, beautiful and inviting as sweet strawberry icing. Morgan sighed heavily, nodding solemnly to Sandstar as she glanced over at him with concern, still guiding the helm firmly. She understood, for she said nothing to the troubled Captain. As far as he could see, it was nothing but rosy- tinged water, sparkling with the fading light of the day. Soon the stars began to peek out of the growing darkness to watch the sun's exit. But soon the placid evening quiet was shattered by a strange, booming call. "LAND AHEAD! OFF THE BOW! TURN A DEGREE STARBOARD!" Both Sandstar and Morgan had jumped near out of their fur at the bellowing voice, but quickly they regained their senses. Sandstar's tawny face lit up with delight, turning the helm in the commanded direction. The stomping of boots soon followed, Brutus was quickly at his captain's side. The big rat squinted fiercely out over the water, a puzzled look quickly coming over his black-furred face. "But cap'n, I can't see a thing! Only water!" Morgan chuckled, patting his companion on the shoulder. "Of course not, Brutus. None of us can see anything, only Talongaze. Thats why he's called that. Nobeast has sharper eyesight than he, and that is why he always remains in the Crow's Nest. He's afraid we'd miss something if were not for him. We'll strike land soon. Talongaze is never wrong..." (To be continued..)