“On deck!” shouted the captain in a gravelly voice as the roar of thunder covered the call.
His left hand wiped the water from his face, while his right held a firm grip on the ship’s wheel. He could barely see amid the torrential rains and briny waves that crashed over the ship rail.
The night was dark and the stars were hidden behind thick clouds. The frequent cracks of lightning provided only intermittent light. But that is enough. The captain forsaw a wall of water in a giant swell ahead of the ship. The captain heaved on the ship’s wheel spinning it violently, and brought the ironwood galleon about in parallel with the mountain of water. The briny mountain swelled further before cresting just off the bow of the ship. The top would clear the mast by a good five or six feet.
“And now we test the quality of these ironwoods…” grumbled the captain to himself.
“Did you say something boss?” - Screamed the first mate to his left, holding himself steady with rope. The crew knew what Captain Yageter was aimed to do. The ship was staring straight into the mouth of the giant crescent wave. The Captain stopped the wheel and guided his ship in. In a few moments, they had entered fully and water crashed right over top, crashing into the starboard sea.
“Hold tight.” shouted the captain in warning. The crew are entirely at the mercy of this daring captain, and he needs every bit of their obedience. And their optimism.
The Temkyran Kraken Moon ship hadn’t been tested like this before. Although captain Yagheter trusted his shipwright, shipyards weren’t a real test of a vessel. It had been months since he had abandoned his old ship, the Kraken Grasp, for this one. She had larger quarters for more crew and a much larger hold. He’d even abandoned the Sigil of the Whale in favor of the Kraken. The captain hoped this quest was worth the scorn he drew from his family. Up until this moment, that had been the case. But even the confident captain worried about the weight of the riches in her hold from their first plunder in the Dragon Lands.
“If we get through this storm, I promise I’ll never touch a bottle of rum again!” a shipmate screamed amidst the crashing water. The sailor was atop the crow’s nest, close enough to stick his hand into the wave just above him. The crow’s nest swung wildly while the mast bowed under the strain of the wind and the swales.
“If we get through this one, I’ll drink your share of rum myself!” The first mate yelled to the sailor.
“Promise or not, you won’t last long up there!”
The wave broke early, as the captain feared and sucked the sailor in the crows nest into the rolling black sea. No one saw him after that. The Captain reefed on the ship’s wheel and brought the ship in line with the wave and surfed out the far side with stunning speed. The Temykan was out of peril for the moment, but she still had tumultuous waters ahead.
The first mate laughed, no other response seems warranted. Cynicism has always been the motto of Yagheter’s crew.
It wasn’t the crew’s first storm. Seafarers all of them. Warriors of the sea.
Another wave broke over the ship, and took the feet out from under half a dozen sailors. The water on deck tossed the sailors around like spiders in a rainstorm.
The Temykran groaned and pitched on her side but held strong. The Ironwood had proved quite resilient so far in the onslaught.
“The North can’t be overcome so easily”, the Captain gloated to himself through clenched teeth.
The rain fell in sheets across the Temykran while ice cold water slammed the ship sides. All manner of cargo sloshed and broke in the frigid brine on deck.
“If you get us out of this captain, we’ll fight for you for eternity!"
“Ready lads! The end of this tempest is nigh.”
The Captain cupped around his mouth.
“No storm, magic or not, can last forever!”
Even in the teeth of death, the Captain roused his men. Ice tipped his beard and a gold tooth reflected the lightning when it cracked.
The captain turned his voice over his shoulder and yelled again in exasperation.
“Pinky, DID YOU FIND the parchment!?”
Pinky’s slippered foot kicks open the Ironwood door behind the helm that leads to the captain’s quarters. The white-bearded, white-haired mess of a mage stepped up onto the deck. Water hit his divine robes, beaded off and fell to the planks leaving the old Mage to cast a spell.
The Captain grabbed an empty mug and reached down to his ankles and scooped a cup of the cold sea. He turned and tossed it right into Pinky’s face.
“For good luck Pinky! And also to sober you up. Haha!” The Captain laughed, unsure if the second part was even possible.
“It was time! I thought we’d be seeing mermaids walk before you showed up Pinky.” shouts the captain with a hint of relief amid an otherwise cocksure and confident smile.
“Luck has nothing to do with it, Cpatain. But I shall return the favour.” He laughed and wiped the water from his face.
“It was time! I thought we’d be seeing mermaids walk before you showed up Pinky. " shouts the captain with a hint of relief amid an otherwise cocksure and confident smile. “Luck has nothing to do with it, Captain. But I shall return the favour.” He laughed and wiped the water from his face.
The mage recited his incantation, but neither the captain nor crew understand the tongue.
The rain cowered to a drizzle, and the clouds gave way to the night sky. Stars twinkled above and the moon cast a peaceful light on a soothing sea. The celestial illuminations turned the ice-encrusted Temykran into a sparkling dream. The ironwood girl has done well, and she coasted gently on the sea as if guided by a divine hand. The captain tips his hat to the white mage. Pinky nodded in acceptance, but tapped at his temples to remind the Captain, he’d not soon forget the mug of brine.
“It was a light magic storm, easy to defeat.” Pinky said loudly. He strained to stand upright, not from the rolling seas, but the rum rolling through him. “Now, to matters of great import. When I find the wind scroll you found in the Dragon Lands I’ll be able to land us on the treasure isle of Nlenretel by moonfall. Till then just follow the northern star.”
Having made what he thought to be a suitable enough declaration of course for the bosun, the bearded old bastard slowly bent down, picked up a bottle of rum from the floor, gripped the cork with his teeth, pulled it out with a sharp swipe and spit it ahead:
“I think my share of the treasure just increased AT least 20%.” says the wizard with the smile of who knows he has solved an unquantifiable problem as he calmly reenters the door he had left.
“We’ve been going through the volumes without rest, you lazy drunk bastard, we’ll find it.” jokes the captain while Pinky goes away. Pinky, the captain and the crew have been going through their plunder since they left the dragon lands.
The cache of books and tomes was more than his crew had read in their lifetimes combined. Which was fine, they much preferred the gold and gemstones they’d taken over a trove of dusty old books. Even though she lay low with gold, the Captain hadn’t found his prize yet.
“It’s on Nlenretel, I know it.” Determined eyes scan the sea before him.
“BOYS, back to looking! Pair off with one who can read and search those books.”The Captain hollers at his crew,
“You find that wind spell for ole Pinky here, and every last bit of treasure in the hold is yours.” Cheers erupt from the crew as the promise of fortune warms their cold limbs. A buzz flows through them as they head below deck to search the crates of books.
“We’ll get that scroll for ya, you obsessed crazy bastard!! ” shouts the captain towards the door his old friend Pinky entered.
“We’ll make it there anyway, Captain, scroll or not.” shouted someone in the crew encouraging the captain.
“Aye, maybe. But ‘er since I heard those lads talking about it I’ve been after this Loot. It’s real, Pinky.” Whispered the captain
“A genesis bag. Probably the last one.” Turning his eye to the sea, steadfast in his mission, the Captain pondered on.
“And I want it now.”