“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The magical Fillorian ship Muntjac raced over the rolling waves of the sea, the eerie yet stately deer skeleton on the prow seeming to leap each time the ship met the crest of an oncoming wave. The sky raced with clouds the color of thinning smoke, driven by a steady breeze laced with a chilly edge.
At the ship's wheel, Eliot Waugh kept his big, elegant hands on the spoke’s thick wooden handles, guiding it through the choppy waves and keeping it on course. His silver-grey scarf appeared to leap as often as the ship’s prow, the delicate ends moving like butterfly wings.
“Do you think we lost them?”
Eliot glanced to his right as Margo Hanson stepped up next to him. She wore black breeches, knee-high leather boots, and a white blouse the same color as the whitecaps out on the sea. Her walnut-colored hair laid over her right shoulder in a thick, shiny braid.
“It’s been three days and I haven’t seen any other ships. I think that last storm put us well ahead of them.”
“El, we have to go back.”
Eliot’s jaw tightened as he stared out at the open sea.
“We’ve been over this. There’s nothing we can do--we’ve been exiled, and we’re fortunate they didn’t execute us.”
“Whitespire isn’t ours anymore. You know what Tick said--”
“Tick is a goddamned traitor!”
“Tick is beholden to whoever sits on the thrones. So is his family,” Eliot sighed. “And that’s not us anymore.”
“So you’re giving up your crown.”
“I didn’t give it up. It was taken from me and you and I barely escaped with our lives.”
Margo crossed her arms over her chest.
“The ungrateful bastards,” she scowled. “Whatever happened to Children of Earth ruling Fillory?”
“I’m sorry. If I had been the kind of husband Fen wanted, she wouldn’t have encouraged the coup.”
“Oh, screw that bitch,” Margo scoffed. “She was more than happy to ride your dick when the Leo blade revealed you were destined to be High King!”
“But it didn’t reveal that I prefer the company of men when the lights go out.”
“That’s her problem. You’re more than just your cock, El.”
“Thanks.” Eliot let the wheel play between his hands a moment.
“We can’t go back to earth, and we’re exiled from Whitespire. What do we do now?”
Eliot looked out over the water. They had the Muntjac, they had each other, and a small crew who remained loyal to them despite the Fillorian coup.
“Ever see The Princess Bride ?”
“Everyone has. What about it?” Margo asked.
A slow smile spread over Eliot’s face.
“I believe I’d make a great Dread Pirate Roberts.”