(image credit: Tomasz)
Lord of the Sea: Arctic Mission
Mission parameters. Maybe he’d follow them. Anurevin leaned against the gunwale, his gaze straying to the shimmering dome that cupped the ice-choked sea. Mission parameters, kill the baddies right? He rolled his head loosening the muscles in his neck. What other parameters did he need? None. Stupid things those so-called chains of command. Like any such hierarchy existed out here.
A soft chuckle started up in the back of his mind all out of proportion to the immense creature doing the laughing. A blue eye the size of a watermelon blinked in the twilight created by the shield arcing over the sea.
*You laugh because you agree with me,* he said over the private thread that connected them mind-to-mind.
The dragon made no comment in his head or aloud. Not that Sacrosi would. There were other dragons out there, some resting on icebergs, others eeling around in the frigid water. Anurevin shuddered despite the three sweaters layered under his knee-length wool coat. Even with scarf, hat and gloves, he was freezing his balls off while he waited for something to happen. Preferably a fight, right here, right now so he could warm the hell up.
He glared at the shield above but it remained one undulating wave of silver as the entities that created it cycled across its 12,720 mile diameter, pole to pole. It hovered a mile up from the sea’s surface and it had weak spots. One such spot had rotated over this patch of barren sea ice.
Come on, dive through and give me something to do. I’m bored as hell. But did the enemy take his invitation? Nope. Sarcosi’s laughter sounded in his head again but he ignored it. She wanted action too; she was just too proud to admit that swimming around and looking impressive was boring without an appreciative audience.
Come on, we’re just sitting here. Just one sentry’s awake. Come on give me a reason to roust the rest of ’em out of bed. Anurevin gave the shielded sky another glare but it remained empty of threats. He might just have to stand out here in the cold until his watch ended. The enemy didn’t feel like obliging him tonight.
He stamped his feet to return circulation to them and then gave up. Crossing the deserted deck, he headed below to fetch warmer gear. He plowed through the shared bunks where the rest of his team slept squashed two to a narrow cot. At the back of the room, a jumble of gear spilled out of open carryalls.
*Deserter,* Sarcosi teased. *Marduke won’t like you leaving your post.*
*Yeah well he can kiss my frostbitten ass. I didn’t ask to be part of his ‘team’.* Neither had he turned it down. Not that he could have since he hadn’t been given a choice and that rankled. Anurevin riffled through the knee high pile until a his ungloved had touched scales.
Shifting several bags aside, he smiled as the shield’s glow falling through the porthole picked out blue sparkles amid the shadows. Shucking his clothes, he pulled on a form-hugging suit made of dragon scales–Sarcosi’s–and it lay like a second, much warmer skin over his own. Flexible, yet breathable, the scale amor retained heat far better than wool. He shrugged back into his jacket and fumbled the buttons to secure it. He left his boots in a pile of discarded clothes since the suit covered his feet and provided far better traction on slippery decks.
Heading back topside, he tucked his hair under the suit’s hood. Standing around the top of the world all night for six months without access to a barber had allowed his hair to grow out. It brushed his shoulders when not confined and it topped the list if things he’d take of the minute he rotated back to civilization.
The hood had a flap that could be fastened to create a watertight seal over his nose and mouth, which he fastened. A stinging gale of wind sent him fumbling around the upper curve of the hood. Numb fingers pawed at a clear membrane and he pulled down over his eyes. A quick adjustment sealed it against his skin. Next he pulled the gloves on; they too were dragon scale and they extended halfway up his forearm and sealed with a touch.
Now he was ready for anything. He checked the sky. The shield hung there doing its thing; its weakness invisible to the naked eye. It was less a hole and more a thinning of the barrier up there. Maybe the enemy couldn’t find it tonight. Maybe it was up there right now cruising around in whatever lay above the shield seeking entry and not finding it. Maybe.
He folded his arms and leaned against the gunwale again. Not much else to do but stand there and wait. At least he was not freezing anymore. The suit had begun to build up heat.
*If you’re really that bored, you could take a sounding and give us a direction. Of course, we’re not supposed to move the ship without Marduke’s say so,* Sarcosi suggested; her mind voice dripped with the same boredom attacking him. *We could swim in a circle and make a whirlpool. Might be fun to see how far we get with this before he notices.* He being the jerk in charge, Marduke.
More dragon eyes focused on Anurevin; a rainbow of glowing eyes that reflected his own restlessness back at him. Why couldn’t the enemy just attack already? It was always out there testing their defences. So why not tonight? Was it on strike or something? Had it found something better to do?
Electricity charged the air making his scalp tingle. That prescient tickle, which had landed him night watch in the first place, started up between his eyes. A clock started ticking in his head, counting down from sixty. When it ran down, the enemy would emerge.
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To be continued…
Part of The Lord of the Sea
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Image and prompt courtesy of Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie: Photo Challenge 107