Posts tagged ‘Malcolm’

You’re a devil meaning well

Malcolm smiled at Chris and shook his head. “Think nothing of it,” he said. “After all, the Agency pays us quite well to see that their people make it back safely in situations like that one.”

Chris chuckled softly. “It does at that,” he said. Then, he looked at Miriam and frowned slightly.

A curious expression crossed Malcolm’s face. Then, he smiled. “Miss Brighten,” he said, “I leave these gentlemen in your capable hands.” Then, before Miriam could even think to protest, he was gone.

She leveled a glare at Chris. “What?” she said.

Shaking his head, Chris said, “Don’t be angry at him. I’m sure he meant well,” he said. “After all, it was obvious that we had a great deal to discuss.”

“Yeah,” Miriam said, rolling her eyes. “He meant well, but he’s also full of mischief.” She sighed. “I came, hoping I’d inherit the ship. I was too late for that, but I decided I’d join the crew anyway.”

Chris nodded. “Does it bother you?” he asked. His brows furrowed. “That Grandfather left the ship to him?”

“No,” Miriam admitted. She shook her head. “It did at first, but now I know him and… this is his home. I couldn’t take that away from him.” She arched an eyebrow at him.

“I think he’ll do a fine job as the ship’s captain,” he said. He frowned. “The last several years, no one in the family even saw Grandfather. This boy… he’s more an heir than any of us are, blood kin or not.”

Love songs last longer than lovers ever do

Miriam’s brows twitched at Chris’s words. How could he be so blasé about this? “I should hope not,” she said, her tone scolding. His companion turned towards her, but Chris was unmoving. “Chris,” she snapped in exasperation. “What were you thinking? You could have been killed! What if you’d fallen?”

Then, he turned towards her, brown eyes wide with surprise. “Miriam?” he said, blinking. “What are you doing here?”

“I could ask the same of you, cousin dear,” Miriam replied, smirking.

Chris flinched. “I asked first,” he said. Then, he stood, brushing off his clothing. He straightened his tie and smiled at her. “Besides, it’s classified.”

Miriam fumed silently. Even if he didn’t say a thing: she knew the truth! He was with the Agency! Here, she’d thought he’d had the sense to open a little club and stay out of that organization. Really, the club was just a front!

“Seriously, Mir,” Chris said, breaking into her thoughts. He shook his head. “You… shouldn’t be here. It’s too strange.”

She snorted. “Imagine how I feel,” she said, folding her arms over her chest. “This is the last place in the world that I’d ever imagine seeing you and in the most unlikely of circumstances.”

His companion chuckled. “She knows you but little,” he said. He stepped forward, then, and bowed. “Miriam, I am Chrislyn Travis.”

“We call him Lyn,” Chris said.

The captain stepped out onto the deck and nodded. “Welcome aboard,” he said. He looked up at Miriam and a mischievous smile touched his lips. “It seems you are already acquainted with our magineer. Is he your boyfriend, Miss Brighten?”

“No,” Miriam gasped.

Malcolm looked shocked. “You’re ended the relationship over something so trivial?” he said, setting a hand against his chest. “Honestly, I knew love could be fickle, but I had no idea… Really, I’m surprised at you.”

Chris chuckled and said, “It’s not like that, Captain Emerson. I’m her cousin.” He bowed, then. “Thank you for the timely arrival.”

I believe in walls. That we need them.

They were gliding over the unfamiliar terrain. Miriam peered out though a nearby window. She could see a city far below them. “Where are we meeting these people?” she asked, Alistair.

“We’re picking them up from a roof in the city center,” he said. He pointed. “That’s it, up ahead.” He lifted a pair of binoculars to his eyes and frowned. “Don’t see them yet, though. Odd… this bunch is usually right prompt.”

Miriam frowned and pointed at the side of the buildings. “What’s that?” she said, scowling. She could see something there, above the streets. “About halfway up the side of the building.”

Alistair shifted his view and then handed her the glasses. “That’s them,” he said.

As he hurried over to the communications array, Miriam lifted the glasses to her own eyes and took a closer look. There, on the side of one of the buildings, was her cousin, Chris. What, in the name of that was, was he doing there?

Miriam hated it when parts of her personal life and her public life intermingled. “Captain,” she called, “Permission to go on deck?”

“Granted, Miss Brighten,” the captain told her through the comm.

Sighing in frustration, Miriam spun out of the room and bolted up the steps. “Just what has he gotten himself into this time?” she asked herself.

By the time she’d reached the deck, they were laughing. She could hardly believe her ears. “Let’s not do that again anytime soon,” Chris said, smiling at the elf who sat beside him on the deck.

Wait, wait, don’t tell me!

Miriam stifled a chuckle as she stepped into the mess. Many of the crewmembers had partaken of the gremlin’s brew. All of them were feeling the after effects now. They were themselves again – but themselves with what was possibly the worst hangover ever.

“Good morning,” she sang, as she sat down between Neil and Alistair. “A fine morning, is it not?”

“No,” Neil said. He set a hand against his head and then sighed. “My head is pounding and my mouth feels like I chewed sawdust.”

“How can something taste so good on the way down,” Alistair said, his voice raspy, “yet so foul on the way up? That’s what I don’t see.” He chuckled and said, “That was good brew, though. I wouldn’t mind more.”

“I’d be careful of that, if I were you,” a soft voice said. It was the captain. Malcolm chuckled and patted Alistair on the shoulder. “You’re not much taller than me to start and last night… well, you weren’t taller than me at all.”

Both men looked stunned. Neil turned to Miriam and shook his head. “That… that was faerie drink,” he said, his voice faint. At Miriam’s nod, he asked, “What did it do to us?”

“Wait,” Alistair said, eying the captain with great unease. Malcolm was smiling like the cat who’d caught the canary. “I don’t wanna know. If you’re gonna tell him, wait until I’ve left.”

Malcolm chuckled softly and then headed over to the table where the officers were seated. “Good morning, Gregory,” he sang cheerful at his first mate.

Miriam stifled a laugh and then poured herself a cup of tea. “Pass the eggs, Alistair,” she said, as she focused on getting her breakfast eaten. She looked up with an expression of innocent surprise when Alistair bolted out of the room. “Something I said?” she asked, looking at Neil.

Neil laughed and shook his head. “He never could hold his liquor,” he said, giving her a playful wink.

Anonymous men catching a ride into the future

Miriam smiled faintly and said, “I’m curious, Captain.” Turning away from the drunken gremlins, Malcolm nodded. Miriam’s brows furrowed. “Did we come here just to test my abilities?”

“No,” he said, smirking faintly, “We’re going to pick up some passengers.” His brows furrowed. “They didn’t give their names – just the location where we’ll meet them and the date and time when they wanted us to come.”

Miriam frowned slightly. “Do you do that often?” she asked, concern etching her tone. Perhaps it was her cousin’s line of work, but she was always suspicious of people she didn’t know. It surprised her that the captain might not know who his passengers were.

“What’s that?” Malcolm asked, blinking.

A faint smile touched Miriam’s lips. “Pick up passengers you know nothing about,” she said. Her brows furrowed slightly. “Might that be dangerous? I mean: they could be anyone.”

Malcolm chuckled. “These men have flown with us before, Miss Brighten,” he said. He shrugged and stared off at the horizon. “I might not know who they are by name, but I know them. Even if I didn’t, Grandfather did and he trusted them.”

“All right, then,” Miriam said, nodding. She remembered her grandfather from when she was a little girl. He’d always had good sense and he was a good judge of character. It did make her wonder, though, just who the anonymous men that they would be picking up were.

Pushing away from the rail, Malcolm said, “We’ll moor here for the day and meet them in Porton tomorrow morning.” Then, he inclined his head and turned to go back below decks.

As Miriam watched, a faint smile touched her lips. The captain was young, but he seemed to know what he was doing. It would take time, but she knew she would learn to trust him.

Affable Drunks

Miriam was standing on the deck of the airship, staring off at the horizon. The gremlins, having been relieved of their duties for the moment, were drinking. A few had begun to sing in their little chirping voices. Some had pulled fiddles out of their hats and were playing those. Others were dancing. A few were just laughing and drinking. They offered their drink to whatever human might pass them.

“I wouldn’t,” Miriam said, as she heard them make the offer yet again. At the sound of a youthful chuckle, she turned around.

The captain shook his head at the little gremlin. “I’m really not allowed,” he said. Then, he sidestepped among the dancing gremlins and joined her at the rail. “At least they’re friendly drunks.”

“Gremlins are always friendly,” Miriam said. Then, she winked and added, “At least, they are to the side that summoned them.” The comment earned her another youthful chuckle.

Malcolm looked out at the horizon and said, “It brings to mind two questions, Miss Brighten.” He gave her a sly, sidelong glance. “What happens to those that share the gremlin liquor?”

“They turn into gremlins,” Miriam said. Then, she laughed and added, “At least until they sober up.”

“You startled me for a moment there,” Malcolm admitted. He sighed and turned to face her, his expression turning serious. He ran a hand through his tousled hair and then bit his lip. It was as if the question he next had was more difficult.

“What is it, Captain?” Miriam said, blinking.

Malcolm took a deep breath, then looked into her eyes. “Why didn’t you try to take the ship away from me?” he asked. His eyes darted back and forth as he searched her face for the answer to his question. “You look too much like Grandfather to not be kin to him.”

“He was my grandfather,” Miriam admitted. She sighed and looked out at the horizon. “At first, it was because I was too late. I had to be here when the ship took off to claim the title of captain. I barely made it on board.”

“And, now?” Malcolm said, blinking.

Miriam sighed. “You seem to know what you’re doing,” she said, shrugging. Then, she smiled. “If it was Grandfather’s wish that you be captain, who am I to argue?”

Malcolm sighed softly and then smiled at her. He glanced over at the cavorting gremlins. “Just how many of those are members of my crew?” he asked.

A sly smile touched Miriam’s lips and she said, “Now, Captain, you said you only had two questions.”

He let out another youthful chuckle and said, “Is it more than half?”

“I only summoned six,” Miriam admitted. There were nearly two dozen gremlins enjoying the eldritch brew that was being passed around. “I promise, they’ll turn back.”

“It’d serve them right if they didn’t,” Malcolm said, chuckling and shaking his head.

Be beautiful, brief, and blinding

Miriam stepped boldly into the wheel room of the airship. Neil cleared his throat and said, “Captain, Miss Miriam Brighten, here to apply for the post of magineer.” He gave her a faint smile, then stepped over to the maps and charts, to check their course.

The captain turned to face her. “Thank you, Master Neil,” he said. He was a slight man, with a shock of black hair that fell around his face in tangled waves. His round face gave him a childish appearance that made Miriam want to grab hold of him and smooth out the mop of hair.

However, he had a sort of presence that told her he was no child – or at least, not a normal one. She honestly couldn’t say if he was a child or a member of one of the groups of Kenzeans that so resemble them. His bearing made her think it was, perhaps, the latter.

He looked her over briefly, then said, “I’m Malcolm Emerson, captain of this vessel.” He turned away and looked out at the horizon. “As you can see, we have an engineer to handle normal flight. What we need is someone capable of navigating through portals.”

He turned to face her again and arched an eyebrow at her. “Can you do that, Miss Brighten?”

He was so self-assured that, for a moment, Miriam was a little afraid of him. Then, she remembered something her father always used to say. Straightening, she nodded. “Sir, I believe I can.”

“We’ll see,” he said. He whirled to face Neil. “Master Neil, lay in a course for the Stormcoast Portal. Miss Brighten, to your post, please.”

“Aye, captain,” she said, whirling around.

She was nearly to the door when the captain called, “And, Miss Brighten!” She turned back to face him and he gave her an impish smile. “Do try not to get us killed, right?”

“I will do my best, captain,” she replied. Then, she hurried off. That answered two questions. She was a member of the crew, for she was certain she’d see them safely through the portal. Also, the captain was definitely a child. However, it raised another. Just how had a child laid claim to her grandfather’s airship?