As Gilles predicted, the wind carried them to Venice in less than a week. No one onboard could explain such good fortune. Whenever they altered course, it almost appeared as though the wind was going with them. It blew through the sails hard enough to test the limits of the ship’s speed, but never enough to damage it. Lailah suspected that someone was aiding them on their journey.
Baltazar spent most of the time in his cabin with Aralyn. She had been badly injured and had not yet awakened. The bruises and cuts all over her body were slowly healing, but Baltazar worried about what damage was below the surface that he could not see. Lailah also peeked in from time to time to make sure that she was okay. She inspected Aralyn’s injuries to make sure she was healing properly.
On more than one occasion, Baltazar would turn to Lailah with a worried look, “Why won’t she wake up, what happened to her?”
“She’s fine Baltazar,” Lailah replied in a reassuring tone, “Aralyn poured everything she had into the fight, including her own life energy.”
“Her own life energy?” Baltazar repeated, confused.
“Every living creature has life energy,” she replied, “Angels have the ability to draw upon theirs for strength is they ever need it in a stressful situation. Aralyn used a great deal of hers and it is going to take time to replenish it.”
Baltazar straightened her hair as she slept, “What happens if an angel uses too much of it?”
Lailah frowned, “Then they wither away and die, but that isn’t what’s happening here, trust me.”
Baltazar shook his head and held on to her as tightly as he could. When Lailah was gone, he whispered in her ear, “I’ll make a deal with you; you wake up, and I’ll take you anywhere you want to go. How does that sound?”
Of course, he got no response, but he still waited a moment before speaking again, “Well… take some time to think about it.”
Another day went by before Venice came into view. With Lailah’s help, they were able to find the Patrisi residence within a few hours of sighting the city. As the ship sailed on, the crew could not believe their eyes. The old pier had been repaired, the shipwreck had been pulled from the rocks and was now a seaworthy boat docked on the pier, and the house had been completely rebuilt.
Baltazar could not believe his eyes, “What happened here?”
Lailah smiled, “Thank your love for this.”
“What do you mean?” Baltazar asked.
“Do you remember the when she raised the Black Vengeance from the ocean floor after the French sank her?” Lailah replied, “Her powers went out of control and went about reversing everything that Legion had done as well. Mont Saint Michel has been restored, and so has the Patrisi home.”
Baltazar looked around in shock, “This is amazing, it’s like the place we visited never existed… how is this possible.”
Lailah shrugged, “That’s what we don’t know. No angel has the ability to do all this. I suspect that when her powers finally flowed to the surface, she unconsciously ordered them to do the things she desired most, but this is only my theory.”
Baltazar nodded as he grabbed his spyglass. Looking through it, he could see that the house was deserted. Multiple footsteps on the ground made it evident that someone had been investigating the rebuilt home recently, but other then that, there was no evidence of disturbance.
Baltazar lowered the spyglass and turned to Morgan, “This is as good a place as any to make berth. Assign a lookout detail and grant shore leave to the rest of the men.”
Morgan saluted and turned to the crew, “Drop anchor, and lower the longboat for the captain.”
The red sails were folded against the yardarms and the anchor hit the water. Within moments, the ship came to a stop. The longboat went into the water and Morgan climbed down to inspect the boat. After a few minutes, he looked back up to the deck, “Longboat ready Captain.”
Baltazar nodded, “Take over up here.”
As he turned and headed to the cabin, he turned to Gilles, “Into the longboat with you. Take Lailah as well. I’ll join you in a few moments.”
Gilles saluted, “Aye sir.”
Baltazar disappeared into the cabin and sat down on the bed next to Aralyn. He leaned over her and gently whispered in her ear, “You’re home, Aralyn. It’s out there waiting for you. I’ll take you there so you can wake up in your own home.”
Carefully, Baltazar ran his hands under her back and legs and lifted her off the bed. He made his way back out on deck and over to the longboat. Before he climbed down, Baltazar handed Aralyn to Lailah, who sat down and rested Aralyn’s head on her lap. Baltazar then climbed down into the boat and manned one of the oars. Gilles took the other one and they began to row ashore.
As the boat pulled away from the Black Vengeance, Baltazar yelled back, “Organize shore party and see to it that the men get their shore leave.”
“I’ll take care of it,” Morgan yelled back, “Don’t you worry, you’ll have a well rested crew, sir. You just worry about getting Aralyn better. We’re going to need a good nurse where we’re going after she wakes up.”
Everyone onboard laughed as the boat pulled away. Baltazar smiled and saluted. Baltazar and Gilles rowed towards the shore as quickly as they could. Unlike the last time they had shown up at this house, the sea was very calm and quite. It was only a few minutes before the boat grazed the rocks underneath her.
Gilles and Baltazar jumped out and pulled the boat up on land. Gilles looked around and nodded, “This be eerie, everything fixed as though nothing happened in the first place.”
Baltazar nodded, “Perhaps that is for the best. Better the world not remember Legion and what he did.”
“Very true,” Lailah replied, “Something so evil could stir the minds of man even after it has been destroyed.”
Baltazar turned to Gilles, “Check out the house, make sure it’s secure.”
Giles nodded, “You got it Captain.”
Lailah looked up at the second floor, “I’ll check up there.”
She spread her wings and flew up looking into each window, inspecting the rooms, “This is incredible… everything exactly as it was the day Aralyn was born. Nothing at all has been altered.”
Gilles opened the front door with his pistol drawn and began to look around. The house was fully furnished and clean. It actually seemed quite welcoming. He walked through the rooms on the bottom floor without finding anyone and returned to the entrance. He picked up a torch that was leaning behind the door next to, of all things, an old arquebus.
Gilles pulled some gunpowder out of his pouch, sprinkled it on some cloth and wrapped the cloth on the torch. Once it was ready, he unloaded his pistol, held the flintlock of the pistol against the rags and pulled the trigger. The spark ignited the torch which then burst into flame. He lit the lamps on either side of the door and at each end of the house as the sun began to go down. Once they were done, he went inside the house and began lighting the lamps inside as well. Finally, he got to the fireplace and lit the fire there, which illuminated the kitchen.
Once everything was lit, Gilles returned to the front door once more, “Captain, the house is secured.”
Baltazar watched from the outside as the beautiful house came to life. The sky began to get dark and the stars appeared overhead. Lailah landed next to Baltazar as he picked up Aralyn. She looked up at two unusually bright stars in the sky, “Why hello, my sisters. What brings you here?”
Baltazar looked at her oddly, “Who are you talking to?”
Lailah continued to watch the stars as she responded, “My sisters Ariel and Roselyn. They’ve been watching this home since one of their sisters lived here.”
“You mean Adaline,” Baltazar replied.
Lailah nodded, “Her circle grew quite fond of this area, even after her death and continued to watch over the Patrisi family.”
Baltazar sighed, “A lot of good it did them.”
“Yes…” Lailah said softly, “Unfortunately no angel was really a match for Legion, so our options were limited.”
Baltazar brought Aralyn inside, took her up to the second floor, and laid her in a comfortable bed that looked like it had just been slept in a few hours ago. Lailah’s lips twisted, “The last person to lay there was Aralyn’s mother, when she gave birth.”
Baltazar watched as Aralyn slowly began moving and pulled the blankets up around herself. He smiled, “I think we’d best leave her alone.”
The two of them retreated from the room. Lailah sat on the front stoop outside watching the stars as Baltazar claimed a small cot on the first floor. Gilles went poking through the kitchen for food and found the house fully stocked with preserved supplies. Given the age of the house, he wasn’t sure how good they’d be, but he was starving and decided that it was worth the risk.
Baltazar sat back against the cot and began to fall asleep. He looked around once more and thought about the life that Aralyn had been robbed of. Would she have been better off if she were raised here with loving parents instead of the cold trappings of an ancient abbey? The answer was obvious; of course she would have been better off, anyone would have been.
Baltazar thought back to his own family. The mother who loved him and the father who had cast him out and refused to even admit he existed. It filled him with a great deal of resentment. Inside, he couldn’t wait for Aralyn to be well again so that they could get back to plundering his family’s ships. Baltazar’s head once again filled with fame and fortune as he drifted off to sleep and dreamt of easier times.
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