The Waters of Dawn Cove
~Story 6~

"What do you guys want to play today?" Wodan asked the half dozen kids around him.
The kids naturally flocked around him, but he didn't mind. He liked being around them and having fun. Sometimes they went walking and he taught them about nature and plants. Sometimes they played games. Today he had an elaborate play in mind.
"Are you guys ready to play pirates and princesses?" Rowan asked, ruining the surprise.
Wodan gave his brother a dirty look but then forgave him. His twin looked almost the same but he kept his hair short so it was easy to tell them apart. The kids exploded in excited chatter and wild gesturing. Wodan got excited too. he quickly tied his hair.
"Wouldn't pirates keep their hair wild?" his younger sister Emmaly asked.
"Maybe, but I don't want it getting caught in some tree branch."  Wodan admitted. Getting hurt like that would be so uncool. 
"Who is going to be the princess?" Rowan asked.
He looked at Emmaly but she quickly shook her head.
"No way! I'm going to be a feeble princess. I'll be a pirate!" she called out.
"Irma can be the princess." one of the younger boys proposed.
Irma, the girl in question blushed but looked to be completely enamoured by the thought of being a princess. One other girl looked a bit troubled so Wodan quickly asked her whether she wanted to be a princess too. The smile that split her face was a clear answer and they settled on the two girls being princesses. The 4 boys and the older teens would be the pirates. 
It was Rowan who started the story. As always he had a knack for creating games that had clear rules and weren't complicated. Since they had two princesses, Rowan proposed to make two teams that would compete against each other. The team that could kidnap the princess (without harming her) of the other team would win. 
One of the boys remarked that they were an uneven number and that that wouldn't be fair. Without missing a beat, Rowan said: "Maybe Emmaly can be a rogue pirate who works against the other teams?"
Emmaly nodded vigorously. She would move faster on her own and she had great confidence in her skills. 
"I shall be an independent pirate, looking for treasure. I shall kidnap whatever princess i encounter to exchange for ransom." she said with a gravely voice.
"Let's each set up a camp. We each take a bell and sound it when we're done. Then Emmaly sets off and the game starts. We can use the bell again to signal when an enemy princess is brought back to the other camp.
Rowan was getting excited despite the fact that he didn't share his brother's love for children and pets. He did like to call to plan and organise and this game would allow him to do all of that. Playing against his brother and sister added an extra dimension of challenge since they all knew each other well and could predict what the others would be doing. But catching them off guard despite that would be such an achievement. 
Emmaly watched her brothers and the kids leave. She sat down on the ground and waited. She could do little more than think. She figured that a simple strategy would be best. Trying to hear where the bell sounds came from would give her an idea. But her brothers would probably tell the kids to not ring it at their actual camp. Crisscrossing the terain or moving in ever smaller circles would probably be the wisest tactic to stumble upon a camp or a pirate who could lead her back to their camp. 
It didn't take long before the bells sounded and Emmaly could head out. The game continued with children laughing and shouting and the princesses being caught and released. Emmaly got one of the girls to come with her, but she didn't get far before one of the boys came to take her back. The girl was all too happy to extend the game so Emmaly didn't put up too much of a fight. Wodan had set up a moving base where the princess and two guards moved around while Rowan had chosen a spot that was only reachable through a small corridor in the bushes. 
The sun had moved quite a bit across the sky, but the days were long in summer and they wouldn't need to return home for a while yet. Suddenly though a loud cry that didn't sound like a mock battle cry nor a fun cry, sounded. Alarmed, Wodan put the princess he was carrying back on the ground.
"I'm sorry your highness, I'll have to make sure everyone is okay. Can you stay here?"
The girl nodded, looking a bit unsettled. A few seconds later, Emmaly burst through the bushes.
"Everything okay?" she asked.
"I don't know." Wodan said, "I think the scream came from a bit further down to the bay."
They hastily made their way toward the water. There they found a couple of the boys swimming. Rowan was with them.
"Everything okay?" Wodan asked.
"Yeah." Rowan said, "I'm sorry, one of the boys fell in and we all jumped after him but nobody got hurt."
Not much later all the kids were at the beach and the pirates and princesses game moved to play-acting water battles. 
Their wild thrashing caught the attention of one of the nekrats who was nearby. The bright blue male, Basit, weaved in between the youthful swimmers and popped up.
"I want to play." he grinned.
The kids cheered and soon were having fun with the playful nekrat. Not long after, other nekrats popped up. Among them, the white Foam Revent who'd come to Dawn Cove to recruit hydroball players for the upcoming water festival at the refugium. The large nekrat dragged kids around and tossed them balls. But among other things, he also kept his eye upon the three siblings. They showed promise. They were clearly good with the kids. Neither too protective nor too irresponsible. The girl, Emmaly, was a whirlwind and smiled a lot. Wodan was caring and nurturing and Rowan a natural-born leader. Maybe Revent could do more than recruit hydroplayers here. After all the place had a connection to Lantessama where a lot of it's people had impressed nekrats. They might be willing to broaden their horizons... 

[INTRO] [STORY] [Emmaly] [Rowan] [Wodan]

All images found with google
Lantessama Isle