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Adventures from the Ocean of the Dead

by Michelle Cross

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released June 9, 2015

See free downloadable pdf for lyrics and album credits!

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Michelle Cross Chicago, Illinois

Michelle is a musician and artist based in Chicago. Sprinkled with classical influences and firmly supported by strong vocals, Cross’s songs tend to have a darker, moodier feel to them. At times, there is a lot of aggression and rhythm in her piano playing, yet even at its most gentle moments her powerfully emotional and melodic piano-based songs have caused listeners to sit-up and pay attention. ... more

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Track Name: The Son
A boy named Peter, now the reluctant man of his mother’s house, strides with a lantern and his violin towards a hillside grave. He laments the loss of his father, Jesiah King, who months ago had signed onto a voyage across dangerous seas and never returned.
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Peter:
Here comes, here comes,
Here comes, here comes
the rain ....

Here lies Jesiah King.
Father, you've left us with only memories.
"Fear not," he said to me,
"Be good to your mother, take care of your sisters... "

I remember he waved from the sail of a ship with a mermaid on its prow.
"I'll be home by Christmas, son. Remember you're the man of the house."
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A warm lantern glow emerges from the darkness below.

Who comes here at this hour of night? A lantern swings from side to side.
Could it be my father's ghost who comes to tell his secret to his son?

I said, "Who goes there at this hour of night?"
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A dark figure raises his lantern and answers:

I mean you no harm. I look for the son of King.
I traveled with him and I need a fire, my ship has tired of this storm.

Peter:
How fate plays into our hand, for I am the man you're seeking.
The son of Jesiah King, come in, come in from out this rain.
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Peter helps the stranger with his bag and they begin walking back together.
Track Name: Mother, Mother
Peter's two sisters each look out from a window inside their small home. They wait for Peter to return from the storm outside. Peter's mother is busy darning stockings by the fireplace.
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Sister 1: Mother
Sister 2: Mother
Sister 1: There's a voice outside I hear, and I hear it coming closer.

Sister 2: Mother
Sister 1: Mother
Sister 2: I'm afraid, are you afraid?
Sister 1: There's a man outside with Peter.

Mother stands anxiously from her rocking chair, reaching for her girls.

Mother: Come away, now come away.
Sister 1: There's a man outside with Peter. Sister 2: I'm afraid, are you afraid?

Mother: Come away, now come away.
Sister 1: There's a man outside with... Sister 2: I'm afraid, are you a…?

The front door swings opens. It is Peter with a rugged sailor behind him.

Peter:
Mother, Mother, there's a man he says he knew,
Well he says that he knew father....
(Sisters: Father, Father)
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Mother welcomes the sailor in, helping him to feel comfortable.

Mother:
Please come in, come into our home. (So, you knew my husband.)
Come sit by the fire, sir, you must be cold. (Was he a good friend of yours?)
Come sit by the fire, sir, I'll take your coat. (Is he truly dead.... ?)

And he said he would build us a house with stairs that led up into the stars.
And he said this with all the truth in his eyes - his blue, blue eyes.
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Her children gather around to comfort her.

Peter and his Sisters:

Mother Mother Mother
Track Name: Toulouse
Comforted by the hospitality of the King family, Quelch sits at the rocking chair before the fire, grog in one hand and pipe in the other. The children gather around him, anticipating stories of their father.
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Quelch:
A Frenchman of fame. Toulouse was his name. Tea was his trade,
And he would pay a generous sum to those who would come and sail away,
To places like lndia and Spain - I joined him right away...

Sailor Crew:
Toulouse, Toulouse - his eyes are like silver coins.
Toulouse, Toulouse - oh, why did we ever join.
Toulouse, Toulouse - we'll sail our souls today, but pay tomorrow.

Quelch:
Visions of wealth lured us all on, including your father, a faithful man.
A heavy, red sun approaching the East, where dragons swim and pirates sleep.
We work the day away...

Sailor Crew:
Toulouse, Toulouse - his eyes are like silver coins.
Toulouse, Toulouse - oh, why did we ever join.
Toulouse, Toulouse - we'll sail our souls today, but pay tomorrow.
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Quelch:
Said he knew a shorter way around the cape, but the risks were sharp,
And the crew was afraid - yes, we were afraid

Suddenly, the mast collapsed, the flag was up, and it was black.
And I've never seen blood before, like that.
Sabers clashing, life is flashing before our eyes.

Said he knew a shorter way around the cape.
Said he knew a shorter way around the cape.
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Toulouse, Toulouse...
Toulouse, Toulouse...
Toulouse, Toulouse - we'll sail our souls today, but pay tomorrow.

We'll sail our souls today.
We'll sail our souls today.
We'll sail our souls today.
Track Name: Pirate Zola and the Empress of the Sea
Jesiah, Quelch, and the other merchant sailors are made prisoners of the Pirate Zola, a notorious buccaneer obsessed with the Empress of the Sea. They are in shackles, awaiting their turn to walk the plank, and watch helplessly as the mad captain shrieks in delight with every plunge the trembling prisoners take.
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Pirate Zola:
Don't ask me how I can do the things I do.
Well, I've been talked about, all over.

I only live for the Empress of the Sea,
With her treasure caravan floating over me.

I'll cut your throat and help myself to your tea.
I'm a civilized kind of man when I need to be.

I only live for the Empress of the Sea.
I've been following her since 1693,
When she leaves her Turtle Palace on Hallow's Eve.
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Quelch speaks to Jesiah as they near the plank:

If this is the end, King, remember your wife, King.
Our fortunes in the grave.
You've lived a good life, King, but death comes tonight, King.
We'll walk the plank today.

Pirate Crew:
This pirate is mad as an eel - got' a pray if you can, got' a kneel if you can
This pirate is mad as an eel - got' a pray if you can, got' a kneel if you can
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Pirate Zola:
I'm not insane, l just like to get my way.
Everybody's out to please me, but it's not easy.

Give me the glass, I can see she's come at last.
Hoist the nets, cock your guns, light the torches and the bombs.
Now she's getting closer men, not a word till I say when.
Watch for the shadow of her bed....
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Empress of the Sea

The pirate ship darkens as the Empress of the Sea and her entourage fly over the mortals. She fans herself with a beautiful shell, paying no attention to the chaos below.
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Empress:
Sweet.... The air is so delightful in the morning.
The human's endeavor, bombs burst into feathers.

Sweet.... He kisses me so gently in the morning.
I am the only one he looks upon.

The Man on the Moon waits patiently for me to join him.
There's no one else who's strong enough to hold him.
To hold him. To hold him.
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Pirate Crew:
We all work the wicked sea. We work all day and we drink to sleep.
We all work the wicked sea. We work all day in the devil’s keep.
We all work the wicked sea. We all work in the devil's keep.
We work all day in the devil’s keep. We work all day in the devil’s keep.
Track Name: Twenty Men
Quelch, Jesiah, and the other prisoners plummet into the water as they are pushed from the plank.
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Quelch:
Overboard we fell,
into coldness, darkness.
Twenty men fell,
and swam for their lives.


Slowly,


silently,


twenty men


drowning.


Your father and I, we clung to each other.
And into the darkness we slipped in together.
Track Name: Wives of the Monkey King
Curtains of sheer magenta and gold billow with a morning breeze. In a plush canopy bed lies Quelch, dressed in Indian style pajamas. Beautifully strange women adorned in various animal masks and pompadours creep into the room. They carry fruit and silver toiletries and they dance about as they bring the room and Quelch to an awakening.
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Wives:
We are the wives of the Monkey King, wrapped in satins, purple and mint.
Powdered and scented, dressed in wigs, it's not a terrible way to live.
But our families, they still miss us.
But this is the way life is.

We are the wives of the Monkey King, have some food and a little to drink.
Everything here is for your pleasure, but the King will take his - measure.

And the King he always wins, but this is the way life is.
And the Monkey King awaits for the man to entertain.
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With sudden realization, Quelch sits up and asks:

Quelch:
Am I alone, was there another man who lived to know,
That such a place as this exists, tell me am I alone?
Or is it all a lie, was I the one to die...?
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Wives:
There is another one just like you, but he sleeps in a darkened room.
And his face is pale like you, but he will not move...

We are the wives of the Monkey King, and this is the way life is.
We are the wives of the Monkey King, and this is the way life is.
We are the wives of the Monkey King, and this is the way life is.
We are the wives of the Monkey King, and this is the way life - is.
Track Name: Eternal Bride
Quelch steps carefully into a large, silent room with all the velvet curtains drawn shut. Slivers of the morning light find their way through the cracks and rest across Jesiah's pale white face.
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Jesiah:
Come close, my friend, come close to my lips.
I've a secret to tell about our ruined ship.

There's a key in my possession, That opens a chest of
Pearls and ruby drops of fire, stones of blood and moon.

My heart beats slower by the hour.

Beckoning Quelch closer, Jesiah hands him a key, ornate and shaped like a peacock.

Death is at my bed, too much left unsaid,
you and I were close, just take the key and go,
Take the key and,

Tell my wife I'm not coming home to her tonight - but she'll be my eternal bride.
Tell my boy I'm proud, tell the girls to think of me by the twilit sea.

There's a key I stole, and if our ship still floats,
The treasure is sleeping,
Toulouse, are you listening,
We'll take all our bodies are worth.
Track Name: Peter's Lament
At the retelling and realization of his father's death, Peter stands from his chair, pulls his violin from its case, and begins to play a sad melody.

(Instrumental)
Track Name: Monkey and Her Drawing Board
Four of the wives lead a prepared, yet distraught Quelch through the palace to the Monkey King. As they enter the royal hall a small monkey paces bossily, followed by an ostrich with an elaborate chalkboard hanging from her neck. Other creatures of the jungle are busy at work maintaining the palace.
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Animals:

Monkey and her drawing board.
Monkey and her drawing board.

Monkey and her drawing board of the court.
By the King appointed, to keep score.
Monkey and her drawing board.

Drawing board.
Drawing board.

If you eat a grape, then the King eats two.
If you make a joke, then the King jokes too.
If you leave the room, then the King leaves you.
Monkey and her drawing board.
Monkey and her drawing board.

Monkey and her drawing board.
Track Name: Life is a Game
The wives usher Quelch into a decorative gaming room with marbled jade floors and beautiful oriental rugs. The windows stretch across the room presenting an aquamarine ocean surrounded by bright colored, extraordinary vegetation. The Monkey King sits at a throne, intricately carved from a banana tree. Shelves on both sides of the throne reach the ceiling, housing an array of board games from around the world. The Monkey King raises his chin and beckons Quelch to a seat across from him.
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Monkey King:
Come in, sit down. A little wine will clear your mind.
But, oh, too late. I drank it first and that to you is negative three,
And three for me.

Is everything fine? Maybe so, but not like mine.
Do you have all you need? Perhaps, but not as much as me.
Scorekeeper please, add another three.

So you want to go free, well, that's another penalty.
You're falling behind. Well, I've got something else in mind...

Life is a game, and I'm usually the winner.
I can see between you and me, who's the angel and the sinner.
Life is a game, and you're usually the loser.
I can see between you and me, who's the servant and the master.

Prepare the cards, a little game for us to play.
My finest boat, if you should win, you're free to go,
But if you should lose.... too bad for you.
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Scorekeeper:
"Let's begin. Deal the cards, five a piece. A cutthroat hand and a super prize.
One eyed Jack opens, his Highness takes the point - Suicide King ends his life.
Point to Quelch's side. Queen charms the Ace, and Quelch gains the lead.
Two trips the King of Clubs, and the game is tied. The next play wins.
Tempers are thin. His Majesty throws the Joker's heart - Quelch makes the catch.
It's a Black Queen! The sailor beats the King! His Royal Highness has lost the match!”

Animal court: (Somebody's got to take the fall.)
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Monkey King:
Well, what do you know - it's rarely so, you're free to go
I'm a little in shock. I can't imagine your good luck
But, lucky or not, take what you've got.

Somebody's price has got to be paid, I'm not happy at all,
But what else can I say?

Life is a game, and I'm usually the winner,
But you have beat my game now sailor, take your things and sail away.
Life is a game, and you're usually the loser,
But you have beat my game now sailor, take your things and sail away.
Track Name: Ocean of the Dead
Quelch is escorted out to the shore where a most peculiar boat is tied to a stake in the crystal water. The Monkey King watches from the window of the gaming room high above, arms crossed and a scowl on his face.
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Quelch:

My boat is a two-headed beast, with the face of a monkey.
East and West, watching out for me.

And like the wings of a bat, it’s sails so slowly open.
A sturdy craft to search the oceans.

I search the ocean...

Come, come away, out of the ether, my old friends.
Fill my sails, lift my hopes with all your breath.
Lead me to the Ocean of the Dead.

In the bewitching waters, of the Arabian Sea,
Toulouse's ship is floating or she sleeps,

In the cold deep,
Still in motion,
I search the ocean....

Come, come away, out of the ether, my old friends.
Fill my sails, lift my hopes with all your breath.
Lead me to the Ocean of the Dead - come away.
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The wives of the Monkey King, along with the other creatures of the palace, wave as Quelch takes to the water.

Come sail away… Come sail away…
Come sail away… listen what I say
Come sail away… come sail, sail away
Track Name: Ghost Ship Suite
Quelch sails into a wall of fog. The air turns very cold and wisps of spirits appear and disappear. He can hear wailing and voices whispering his name. As he slowly moves in further, he spots Toulouses's ship, crashed into a sea wall.
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Ghosts:
Ooooh Ooooh
Ooooh Ooooh


Quelch:

This air is full of vapors, numb.
Like clouds that came from heaven to haunt,
The water below.

The twin simians that flank my boat,
Seem to shriek with every creak, of our haunted ship,
Run aground a coral reef

And the sky she whispers, as if snowflakes could speak to each other.
(a s i f s n o w f l a k e s c o u l d s p e a k)

Wraiths and phantoms, calling the names of men I once knew
(c a l l i n g………. n a m e s)

To live and breathe. (Live and breathe)

To live and breathe. (Live and breathe)


Ghosts:
Ooooh Ooooh
Ooooh Ooooh
Track Name: Never Day, Never Night
As Quelch nears their broken ship, he makes out the face of Jesiah King waving from the bow. Quelch is startled as King, transparent, reappears next to him in his boat below.
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Father (ghost):
I am just the breath of life after death.
Your friend you knew as King, is sleeping.
I am just the soul that speaks, do not be afraid to follow me.

Look here upon the ship, the shades of men,
In clouds and in wisps, weeping.
They toil without rest, they sail unblessed - on the Ocean of the Dead.

Listen to the mournful wails of spirits,
Who can't fall asleep.

Never day. Never night. Always a strange twilight.
Angels keep far from reach. They cannot hear them sing.

Beneath the wheel's foot where
Toulouse always stood,
Is hidden the bounty upon our heads.
Use the key while you breathe, and share evenly
The gold with my family.

Listen to the mournful wail of spirits,
Who can't fall asleep........
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At the shade of Jesiah King’s bidding, Quelch retrieves and unlocks the chest. Suddenly, a figure appears….

Ghost Crew:
Who – is – this?
Who – is – this?

Quelch:
A spirit of the flesh, Toulouse returned from the dead.
His face transfigured by sin,
Translucent his skin - his hair wild and white,
My God, I thought you had died.
Track Name: The Final Jest
Toulouse- alive but with one foot in the grave- has been cursed to live among the dead, refusing to leave as long as his treasure is locked on board his ship.
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Toulouse:
At last, at last, at last my chance is at hand...

You don't know what it's like to live among the damned and the unalive,
But how could I ever part with all my gold?

It has such a hold over my heart, turned to silver coal

Toulouse suddenly turns menacing and snatches the treasure from Quelch, threatening to kill him…

Give me the box between your hands, or I'll kill you where you stand
I've been waiting for this day, for the fool to come my way.

But Jesiah King and his ghost mates intervene….

Father:
The waters are glistening, Toulouse are you listening,
The men still remember, you wouldn't surrender.
(It’s all over….)
And the rest of us bled, as you fled the monster.
(It’s all over….)
Toulouse, it's all over.

Toulouse:
Leave me alone the gold belongs
To no other man but me.
If you insist I follow you,
Then the treasure follows me.
And as a final jest,
I’ll open the chest
And watch it glitter all above me
And watch it glitter all above me

Father:
Pull him down under,
My brothers I call you
Over the ship and
Below the black water
At last, we’ll slumber
Forever and after
Toulouse, it’s all over.
Toulouse, it’s all over.

Toulouse:
As I sink - to my death.
Oh I sink - to my death.
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The wraiths of the ghost ship succeed in pulling Toulouse over board, but in a final act of defiance, the mad captain opens the chest, spilling its bright cargo. Toulouse watches the emeralds and rubies glitter above him as the phantoms of his former crew carry his body to its cold watery grave on the ocean floor.
Track Name: The Vanishing
Quelch, heavy hearted by the lost treasure, but happy for his life, prepares his boat for departing. Unexpectedly, the haunted ship begins to groan and shift, calling attention to a ghostly train of hands emerging from below. The spirits return the jewels to Quelch, one by one, as he leans over the rail of his boat.
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Quelch:

Hands of white swim to the line,
Where the darkness meets the light,
Bringing me a jewel bright.
No stranger sight.

And as the phantoms board their ship,
Set to sail their final trip,
The foaming waves begin to spin.
What's happening? What’s happening?

The ghost ship slowly begins its descent to the deep. Jesiah King gives a last nod to Quelch as the waves embrace him:

Sleep now, on your way down -
down, down -
(s l e e p n o w)
to the ocean ground
Sleep now, on your way down -
down, down -
(s l e e p n o w)
to the ocean ground
Sleep now, on your way down -
down, down -
(s l e e p n o w)
to the ocean ground
Sleep now, on your way down -
down, down -
(s l e e p n o w)
to the ocean ground
Track Name: Leucade's Rock
At the sound of splintering wood, Quelch turns to see the mermaid masthead moving her arms. Coming alive, she tosses her hair and leaps from the prow of the sinking ship into the foaming waves.
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Quelch:
She is the last to drown. A mermaid, she clings to the prow.
Suddenly free, her head turns to see
What has held her for so long. A curse has been broken, she falls
Into the sea. She swims cheerfully.
Now she is looking at me. Now she is coming to me....
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The siren swims to Quelch and thanks him for freeing her from the curse of Toulouse’s ship. With her fair voice she tells him her story and the love she harbors for a barber’s son…

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Mishka:
The barber’s son walks by the sea and hatches eggs of turtles.
To find his father’s boyhood dream. Within the shell, a mermaid dwells.

Sea gulls, won’t help you find your way.
Sea shores, go miles and miles all day.

And from the black water the laughter came.
And from my heart, I called his name.

Burning the lantern light ‘til day.
I never dared to sing a word to him.
And he wants to live below the waves.
And all too well the spell will bring him in.

And men will hide their hearts inside a jar
Like happy fireflies like pretty stars….

And so I let them find me at Leucade’s Rock again
And sing my ocean lullaby to lonely shipwrecked men

Sea gulls, won’t help you find your way.
When sea girls, will take you to your grave.

And from the black water the laughter came.
And from my heart, I called his name.

Burning the lantern light ‘til day.
I never dared to sing a word to him.
And he wants to live below the waves.
And all too well the spell will bring him in.
And all too well the spell will bring him in.
And all too well the spell will bring him in.
Track Name: Follow the Mermaid
Taken by each other, Mishka leads Quelch, his treasure retrieved, out of the haunted waters to his next destination, the house of the King family.
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Quelch:
Beautiful thing, so sweet and fair.
How my heart dreams to touch your hair.

Quelch and Mishka, together:
I am yours from here and after.

Mishka:
Let me show you the way, wherever you may go. Wherever you may know…

Follow the mermaid, the waves are moving faster.
Follow the mermaid, I think I hear her laughter.
Track Name: Peter Decides
Quelch smokes his pipe and stares thoughtfully into the fire, far away in his mind, while Peter gazes out the window at the storm-tossed sea. Eager to prove himself a man, he declares to his mother he will follow the journey of his father, to share his adventures, and understand for himself the man, his father, Jesiah King.
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Peter:
I have decided tomorrow will be
The day that I see what my father would see
Had he come home would he sail out with me
Back to the arms of the Empress of the Sea

I have decided tomorrow will be
The day that I see what my father would see
Had he come home would he sail out with me
Back to the arms of the Empress of the Sea

Tonight I’ll dream, a Monkey King is chasing after me….
Lost his game to me.

I have decided today, mother said,
“Don’t be silly, go up to your room”
Maybe it seems a little silly to you
Maybe it seems that I have frightened you
Mother don’t cry, I’ll be back with the bloom of the
Moonlight….

Tonight I’ll dream, a pirate ship is chasing after me….
Father can you hear me?

Can you hear me, a storm has passed (Can you hear me)
Tomorrow will be, here at last (Always with me)
I have decided tomorrow will be (Can you hear me)
The day that I see what my father would see (Always with me)
Had he come home would he sail out with me (Can you hear me)
Back to the arms of the Empress of the Sea (Always with me)
Track Name: His Eyes are Blue
Once Peter decides to sail the seas in his father’s footsteps, his mother knows there is no stopping him. She sings by their seaside home, calling for her husband to watch over their beloved son from the spirit world.

Mother:

So the fates have chosen for me
And it’s a lot for me to try and take in
If I forget to breathe
It’s not that…

I don’t want to live.
Always I try
But I don’t understand
The meaning of a man

And you, you’re still a part of me,
Still part of everything around me

His eyes are blue his hair is red
Just like the sunset, I feel you in the air
I always knew, the day would come too soon
My love, watch over Peter, when he comes to you.
Track Name: Ending Overture
(Instrumental)