Status: Will be updated once to twice a week, until I catch up to what I have written.

The Quest

Chapter 14 - Preperations

Tess looked at Tom in disbelief. “W-What are you talking about? They’ve been sending us letters. You’ve shared them with me! We just got one last week!”

Tom refused to meet her gaze. “They’ve been dead since the beginning of summer. I’ve been recycling what letters they had sent earlier, and have written a few of the others.”

Tess sat on the bed, her hand brushing against the glass she had sat down earlier. “How do you know?” she whispered.

Tom sighed, “Before we left...mom told me they were being hunted down. Someone was looking for the Last Prophecy. She wanted me to take you away so you wouldn’t get targeted either.” Tears formed in Tess’ eyes as her hand migrated to her mouth in disbelief. “It took almost a month and a half before I couldn’t feel them anymore. They didn’t answer my howls. I knew after that.” Tom’s tail was curled between his legs, his ears hanging limply at the side of his head. It was taking all his self-control to not cry.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Tess asked, her voice cracking.

“I knew you’d want to go to them immediately, and I’m in charge of your safety. Mom didn’t want anyone to hurt you,” Tom answered. He glanced towards Destru, who stood awkwardly to the side, not knowing what to do.

“What about-” Tess started, remembering Tom’s little brother they had left behind.

“Dead.” The coldness in Tom’s voice made her shiver.

“Can we go see them?” Tess asked, tears now flowing freely down her face. “Someone needs to bury them.”

Tom paused before shaking his head no, “It’s too dangerous, their attacker could still be there.”

“I need a moment,” Tess rushed out of the room. Destru caught Tom’s shoulder as he attempted to go after her. Tom looked over at him, a whine escaping his throat when Destru shook his head no.
“Let the Lass process,” Destru whispered, gesturing towards a chair near his table.

Tom took the glass Tess left behind and sat in the offered chair. He glanced out a window as Tess walked along the side of the ship.

-----

Tess walked along the railing of Destru’s ship, furiously wiping tears away from her face. She had remembered hearing Tom howling to the moon. She knew they had a way of communicating with each other that way. How had she not noticed the difference? Was she that bad of a friend?

“You okay?” a voice asked her.

Tess looked over to see a smaller werewolf holding a mop and a bucket. “Do you have another one of those?”

The wolf looked at the mop, confused. “A mop?”

“Yes,” Tess sniffled, her arms wrapped around herself. “I would like to mop.”

“Okay,” the wolf handed his mop over, confused. “I’ll be back in a moment with another one.” With that, he bounded off and reappeared within a few minutes.

Tess took her mop and put it in the bucket, then pulled it out, sloshing water out of the bucket as she jabbed it at the ground. She swished the mop side to side as she started working on her breathing. In with the good, out with the bad, she thought to herself. Trying to regulate her breaths until they were calm. Wash away the negative, Tess blew air out, trying not to think about Tom’s family. Her family.

Tess didn’t realize how zoned out she had become as she mopped. The wolf that had been mopping with her had quit a while ago. She had fully taken over as her thoughts swirled in her mind. Chasing after one another, one quickly replacing the other.

She jumped, letting out a shrill yelp of surprise, her heart racing when a hand was placed on her shoulder. “Tom!” she gasped, as she gently hit him with the mop handle. “Why did you scare me?”
“You weren’t responding when I called your name,” Tom shrugged. He took the mop from Tess, preventing her from hitting him once more.

“Sorry,” Tess looked down sheepishly. She looked around the deck to see she had almost made it from one end to the other.

“You’re hired,” Destru clapped Tess on the back as he looked at his deck. “I haven’t seen it sparkle like this in a long time. Little Rune will have to take lessons from you.”

Tess gave a small smile as she realized she had taken over the mopping. “Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize if you’re feeling better,” Destru smiled. “Are you feeling better?”

“I am, thank you,” Tess gave Destru a hug, then let go and gave Tom a hug. “Thank you for giving me time to process everything,” she whispered, as Tom hugged her back.

“No problem,” he whispered back, hugging her tighter, holding back tears of his own. He hadn’t fully processed the news, even though he had known longer.

They were now both orphans.

-----

Destru allowed Tess and Tom to hang out on his ship, as they figured out their next moves. They ended up sitting on the railing, watching the sunset. Tess leaned against Tom’s chest as he rubbed her back. They had gotten a lot of talking and crying done.

“What have you decided?” Destru asked, coming up to the pair.

Tess and Tom looked at him. Tess still had watery eyes, but had mostly recovered herself. Tom had pulled himself together faster. That was the benefit of having known longer, but he was thankful to grieve over his lost family. Tom nodded his head towards Destru’s cabin, swinging his legs over the railing. Tess followed suit, grabbing Tom’s hand as they headed into the captain’s quarters. “We should talk in private,” Tom called over his shoulder, making Destru follow them.

Tom waited until the doors to the cabin closed before announcing, “Tess is right. We need to go back and give my family a proper burial. After that, we’ll be moving on and seeing where life takes us. I have no desire to spend the rest of my days protecting something that is most already happening. If you’d be willing to allow us to ride on your ship, I will gladly show you what the prophecy offers you.”

Destru cracked a smile. “Lucky days. If you can help with a few ropes or meals, you can count on a ride.” Destru shook Tom’s hand.

“When are we leaving?” Tess asked, wondering if she would have time to get some supplies at the shops before they left.

“First thing in the morning,” Destru replied. “Get some sleep tonight. And Lass,” Tess looked at Destru with a raised eyebrow. “Please don’t go for a swim tonight.”

Tess glanced at Tom, a confused expression on her face. “I won’t?”

Destru clapped Tess on the back, laughing. “If you would like to, the both of you can spend the night here. I’ll get some hammocks ready for you.”

“We appreciate the gesture, Destru,” Tom answered, then turned to Tess. “Come on, Tess, let’s get what we need and be back by dark.”