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

The Quest

Chapter Fifteen - The Journey Home

Tess looked up from her position on the floor of the ship’s kitchen. “You’ll get your sea legs soon enough,” the cook grunted, as he picked her up and handed her another vegetable to peel.
“I never knew ships were so wobbly,” Tess groaned, sitting back on the bucket the cook had given her as a seat. She began peeling the vegetables handed to her. It had surprised her at the different varieties on Destru’s ship. Some of which she had never heard of before. She stopped peeling when she heard bubbling coming from near her. Tess looked at her cauldron and waved her hand towards it. The spoon sitting in the bowl began stirring at a steady pace.

The cook eyed her potion, then moved on to preparing their lunch, hardly uttering a word. “Add Tarragon to your drink,” he finally said, his back to her.

Tess cocked her head at the cook, thinking about why Tarragon would be a good choice to add to her brew. She shrugged, then went to the herb cabinet and added a few sprigs to her potion. She had only questioned the cook a few times since she could set up her potions in the kitchen. The cook was a troll with magical properties and had brewed potions in his younger years. He always stayed in the kitchen, since it was below deck and away from the sun. Occasionally she had caught him on the deck breathing in the salty air at night. “What will you be brewing next?” his gravelly voice asked as Tess sat back down on her bucket.

Tess sat thoughtfully as she determined what her next potion would be. “Perhaps a good memory potion,” Tess finally admitted. “We’ll be arriving at Tom’s home soon, and we’ll need all the wonderful memories we can get.”

The troll nodded their head as they continued to chop the food and put it into their pot of boiling water. They waved their hand over the pot, making the spoon stir the food. He had helped her take control of her own spoon stirring skills. Never once questioning how she could do some of the things that she did. He never spoke a lot of words, but Tess preferred his quiet companionship. She felt like they were pretty good acquaintances for the few conversations they had had.

Her mind wandered to Tom. He had become a tremendous asset for Destru, being able to climb the masts in heavy winds and help with the ropes. Tom seemed to enjoy the freedom the ship offered them, too. She wouldn’t be surprised if he tried to convince Destru to let them continue sailing with him.

“Tess!” Tom called as he bounded down the stairs into the kitchen, stopping short when the cook stared him down. Tom had caused a few accidents in the kitchen after they had set sail. This had caused him to be banned to the entrance of the kitchen, where he couldn’t do as much damage.

“I’ll be right back, Nyx,” Tess sat her items down then walked up to Tom.

“Come quick.” Tom pulled Tess’ arm and dragged her up the stairs. He didn’t stop until they were at the railing. He pulled on the back of Tess’ shirt as she stumbled, keeping her from falling overboard.

“What are you trying to show me?” Tess asked, blinking rapidly, trying to see what Tom was trying to show her.

“Look,” he smiled, pointing across the water to show her trees that were flowering on the other side of the water.

“Oh Magnolias,” Tess smiled, eyeing the beauty of the trees. She had always wanted to visit a grove of them. Not only were they versatile in her potions, but they were pretty and smelled delicious. “Will we be stopping near there today?” she turned towards Tom. She would love to grab a few blossoms before they moved on.

“I can ask Destru,” Tom’s ears perked forward at Tess’ excitement. She didn’t get excited over just anything. It had to be something that she didn’t see often for her potions, or something she deemed pretty. Tom had a stash of rocks and crystals to give her if she ever got into a bad mood.

“How’s the Young Lass and Wilkie?” Destru asked, coming up from behind the two. “My nose was itching, so I figured one of you must’ve said my name.”

“Destru, you have an entire crew that could’ve said your name,” Tess laughed as Tom made a face at Destru’s nickname for him.

“Nah, they know better than to call me by my name.” Destru gave a toothy grin. “What can I do for ya Lass?”

“Are we going to be docking anywhere near here?” Tess asked, pointing to the Magnolia trees. “I’d love to grab a few blossoms.”

Destru looked towards the trees, then shook his head. “Sadly, we won’t be stopping anywhere near that grove,” Destru replied. He watched Tess’ smile fade from her face. “But we will stop near another grove. One where you won’t have to fight off Tree Nymphs to get the flowers from.”

“That would probably be our better option,” Tom nodded. He watched the trees, now noticing a few moving figures tending to the trees.

“Agreed,” Tess nodded, remembering the last time the two of them had run into Nymphs. They were becoming corrupted from their mistreatment. “Let me know when we dock,” Tess turned towards Tom, who nodded, then bounded back down into the kitchen.

“She enjoys hanging out in the kitchens,” Destru crossed his arms, smirking.

“Nyx and her seem to speak the same language,” Tom agreed, before turning to Destru. “Is there anything you’d like me to do? I’d like to take a quick nap before we dock.”

“Have at it,” Destru waved Tom off. “I’ll have Rune come find you when we’re ready.”

Tom nodded, then headed below deck. They had a few more days of sailing before they made it home. He couldn’t shake a weird feeling that they were going to run into more trouble.