Hello, land-lubbers and sea-dogs alike!
This week is bound to be a confusing combination of restful and swashbuckling. Not sure whether to tell you to grab a brace of pistols or a margarita, because…
This week’s writing group prompt is:
Come Sail Away
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
It really sounds like a peaceful styx song or a piece of lovely lounge music, doesn’t it?
But you just know somebody’s gonna get keel-hauled this week. It’s gonna happen. There are too many sinister brains in this writing group for it not to go that way.
So let’s embrace the duality of it, accept that a swatch of canvas tied to a big pole can either mean peace and escape, or murder and plunder. Mostly, I think, it depends on what color you paint the thing.
This one’s straightforward enough that you probably don’t need my help interpreting or imagining, but here are a couple potential suggestions to put the wind in your sails:
- Combine “pirates” with just about anything and see what comes of it (e.g., what are “rust pirates”; what is their plunder, what type of sea fo they sail, are they even human?)
- Turn the ocean into a symbol and then send someone or something across it, see what that turns out to mean (e.g., if the ocean is “despair”, then what does it mean to sail away upon it? What would it mean to find an island? A ship in a bottle? etc.)
- Think about the phrase “come sail away” as an entreaty. There’s a suggestion here that you leave wherever it is that you are and take to the sea. Find out what that transition means to you. Why would anyone want to do this? What does the sea hold that the land doesn’t? How enticing is this, actually?
Now get out there and… relax? raid?
Whatever floats your boat.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!
The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!
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Nothing’s Bigger Than Dragons
“Ready to see a whale?” Highbright asked as the two dragons boarded the repurposed aircraft carrier.
“Ha! You’re still on that?” scoffed Windcatcher. “We all know nothing’s bigger than dragons. I’m just out here for a nice day on the water. And to enjoy one of your best chandeliers when you lose the bet.”
The carrier set off for the day’s destination. Windcatcher had a few hours to snack on sun crystals and explore. There was a museum of human artifacts — apparently they were for wars way back when, but Wind couldn’t make out the toys. She really needed new force-lenses.
She wandered below deck. Transparent floors let her see the ocean and lots of colorful fish. But they were all tiny — hardly a snack. How gullible did Highbright think she was?
“Isn’t it cool!?” squealed Highbright. He had appeared out of nowhere — speak of the draco-devil. “Entire oceans, teeming with life! Some of which we’ve never seen!!! And the best bit’s coming up.”
Awwww. Windcatcher couldn’t help but purr. Highbright was just so earnest. Maybe…
Then a shadow crossed her vision. Highbright gasped, and Windcatcher realized the long shadow was moving in a way only life could. It did seem sizable, though no telling how far away.
The spot was moving upward. Highbright ran up the stairs. “Come on!” he called. “It’s gonna breach!”
They raced onto the deck and stared out where the water churned. Windcatcher held her breath, hoping despite herself.
Then, there was a watery roar, and something MASSIVE shot out of the ocean. Up and up it went, far overhead.
The whale crashed back down and disappeared, leaving only waves. Absolutely…
“Majestic,” Windcatcher breathed.
“Wasn’t it! Hey — are you smoking?”
Wind suddenly saw the smoke rising from her snout and slammed a claw over it. “No! It’s just, uh, the air!”
She sighed. “Guess you win. Fine, take one of my beloved kites.”
Couldn’t be too sad, though. She’d seen something bigger than even dragons, and it was BEAUTIFUL.
Highbright purred. “Just wait until I find a submarine and show you the gargantuan squid!”
“Moon Through the Fog”
By Derek McEldowney (Deviacon)
Cornelia had always loved the legends she had grown up hearing. Tales of a Ghost Ship and its terrible deeds had plagued the small port town she had grown up in long before her birth. Any time a shipment went missing, or a lone sailor never returned, the whispers grew, but only for a while before being hushed by superstition.
Cornelia had a comfortable enough life, and a husband who was simple enough. He was not entirely unkind, but distant and uninspired more than anything. Cornelia never wanted any of it though. Every time there was a new tale to be told of the Ghost Ship in the fog, her heart raced with excitement, and she would secretly dream of an adventurous life far away from the small, simple port.
Those dreams of adventure had gone unnoticed by everyone, but not once did they ever begin to fade in her heart. No one even thought it odd how Cornelia would stand on the pier during the full moon and stare out to sea. Though few, if any, noticed.
The way the light of the moon glistened and lit up the dark water called to her in vain. As Cornelia gripped her aching, longing heart, the fog began to roll in over the horizon. It would most likely reach the port by morning and dissipate by midday. A simple life of predictability waited for her.
With a deep sigh and one last glance out to sea for the night, something in the fog caught her eye. Her heart raced again as she hoped her mind was not playing tricks on her now. She watched in excited awe as the thick rolling fog enshrouded a hull as dark and gleaming as the night sea. Tattered sails of wispy mist danced in the warm night’s breeze.
The ship silently stopped in front of her at the end of the pier. A gangplank seemed to appear from out of the fog beneath her feet. A pale hand extended to her along with the kindest words she had ever heard.
“Come sail with us?”
New World, New Life?
by Anonymous Midshipman
I first heard of the New World from my dad when he was home. He brought back black tea, which tasted sweeter than the well-water down the street, said he bought it abroad. I asked him what he meant by that, and he said, “Why it’s from the New World, son.” Now, when I heard the words, I had to ask him what he meant by that. What was the New World?
The rest of the day had been spent learning stories about the New World. Of course, it also left a want in me. The more I knew of this New World, the more I wanted to see it. I think dad in a way caught onto that, and whenever he came back, he’d had some other trinket from the New World, and whole new stories. Even now, I still remember those stories. In a way, they were the only way to remember him.
I had remembered dad not showing up at all one day. Mom cried and mourned that he was lost at sea. I didn’t understand it back then, thought she meant that dad would take longer. It dawned on me a month later, and terrible grief came over me. Days felt darker, and nights were restless. No way could I keep living in this city, especially as mom struggled to find the coin.
In the end, I signed onto the navy and convinced mom to take a ship abroad, maybe to one of the new colonies. ‘She’d be fine.’ I thought. And it wasn’t like I was the only lad my age who signed on. I knew of at least eight of the names on the list. I hoped that I’d see a few of them on the ship I was boarding. Maybe play Gin Rummy if there’s a lull.
I had hoped to see the New World, and I wound up seeing much more. Some of it I’d do all over again, and some I wished I said no when I could. But looking back… I don’t regret that first decision to leave.
by Skye Doust
Your eyes are open. You’re in the white room again. People surround you. They talk in hushed whispers. A familiar man comes closer, you struggle to focus. “Hey Dad,” says the man, his shallow smile strained.
This man can’t be your son. Your children had only just turned five. You try to say as much, but all that wheezes out from the mask is a haze of fog.
The fog was heavy the night before you stormed the beach. It was dangerous, but your ship took forty men across the channel. You’d met your wife after liberating her home. The celebrations had lasted forever.
When you wake up the room is dark. Next to you, she snores. It seems as though she is in a separate bed today. Part of that feels familiar, though you’ve never once slept apart since your wedding day. Perhaps she deserves a break, raising a teenager is hard, never mind twins.
“…-a fool,” you finish saying. Why is this woman holding your hand?
“I know,” she smiles through shining eyes, “I love you too.” Her voice is choked. Maybe she knows where your mama is.
The repetitive alien beep wakes you. You hold your eyes closed, maybe this time you won’t be alone when you open them.
“…-et him drift forever!” the man shouted. Seeing him, you smile automatically. The corners of your eyes suddenly become slightly wet.
“What is your plan, then?” the familiar woman snaps back.
“Quiet, he’s awake.”
“Not like tha-…”
You struggle to keep your head above the surface, each breath a fight. The men need you to get them to the beach. “It’s alright,” her voice comes from just out of your vision. You can feel your hands and feet slowly grow cold, as you vainly attempt to tread water. “I love you Dad,” you have no idea who is speaking, but you are not a father. Not yet.
“Yes, of course. It is alright, Mr Richards.”
Your men. “They made it, you got them across.”
Your family. “Forever with you.”
“It’s safe, come. Sail away with me.”
A Trip To Die For
By minergirl778 (aka frogfireFantasy)
“Uh… Daisy, was it?”
“Mhmm! That’s my name!”
“Right… uh… You’re not dead. Why are you here?”
The girl’s legs dangled playfully off the edge of Charon’s boat. She barely hesitated to answer his question
“Well, I’m here on a mission!”
“A…Mission?” Wait… Was she one of those people?
“Yep! I’ve gotta bring a hero up from Elysium and get their help defeating a monster!”
Yep. She was one of those folks. He rolled his eyes beneath his dark hood.
“Awful lot of trouble to go through to beat a monster.” He noted. “But, money’s money. Any plan for how you’re gonna get him out?”
“Well…” She stretched back a little, eventually lying down on the deck of the boat. “…Not really. I figure I could just go in there, Ask Hades nicely, and bring ‘em up! Some guy did that with his girlfriend! I can totally do it!”
“Uh…huh. You do know how that story ends, don’t you?”
He chuckled a little. Oh gods, they were going to eat her alive.
“Dead. The both of them.”
Her face smiled, but her eyes had fear in them
“…OH! Cool! Cool, cool cool cool.”
They reached the other edge of the shore and the girl slowly climbed out. She looked fearfully towards the entrance, but Charon caught her attention before she could go.
“A word of advice, lass. The dead seek to bring anything above them to their level. If you keep your wits about you, your story might end better.”
She gave him a small smile and a nod.
“Ok! Thanks, Charon! I’ll be back later with my hero!”
He waved her off with a smile. He loved teasing the heroes, but he always gave them encouragement when they left. He liked seeing them come back alive. His job didn’t give him much to be happy about… But bright-eyed youngsters like that just gave him hope.
“Good luck, Thespinis. May the gods guide you.”
by Magan (Legends of Dracora: Modern Dracora, Pre-Human Arrival)
Spearmint the rabbit settled comfortably on the ship’s deck, looking out over calm waves. His young earth elemental, Digger, shifted uneasily by his side.
He patted the elephant-shaped spirit’s rocky head, saying gently, “Go back below deck. I’ll be alright.” Digger rumbled reluctance, but obeyed, relieved to return to his dirt-filled basket in their cabin.
The rabbit shifted his prosthetic hindleg into a better position, marveling at the fine clockwork and springs. The rat and mice smiths truly knew their craft.
He looked again over the sea, wondering if the apes, monkeys, or lemurs had such creations in their isolated island kingdom. His destination.
The primates left Dracora during the Slayer Wars, barely heard from since announcing their kingdom’s founding. Spearmint’s research trip was a curiosity, granting him an invitation that was rare for mainlanders.
His studies into the mythical “hairless apes” of Dracora’s ancient past had proven fruitful so far. “Elves”, “dwarves”, “merfolk” and other legends dotted his bestiary alongside modern wildlife. But their mysterious disappearances from history eluded him. He hoped the ape kingdom held more knowledgeable records.
Spearmint was distracted as the ship passed Turtleback Island, the namesake giant sea-monster surfaced for the time being. Seal children frolicked and hunted with dolphins in the surf while parents watched.
The rabbit smiled, though questioned how sane beasts could live there as seafolk did. They had dwellings on its shell, but what about when the turtle dove? He made a note to ask later.
The seagull lookout sighted whales, and minutes later, a humpback surfaced alongside the ship. The crew’s translator, a parrot, conversed in otherworldly whalesong, then reported to the otter captain.
“Everstorm squall rolling in. She’s offered to tow us through it.”
The captain barked orders, the crew readying the ship while Spearmint went below deck and secured his belongings.
Digger whimpered, burying into his basket. “We’re fine,” Spearmint comforted, scooping soil over the elemental. The rabbit curled into his hammock as the ship lurched, shuddering at being so close to that eternal hurricane shielding Dracora from Void beyond.
He slept, hoping to reach their destination soon.
Away from the Sailing
By Jesse Fisher
Sea and salt, two things that no one with his type of nose wanted to smell. The naval sailor outfit did not help nor his own wet dog smell, while the shifting of areas to fit the patrons was interesting it sometimes sucked such as this moment.
Before the dark navy wolf was a collection of deities of the deep that came to this bar to have a convention of how each ruled their oceans or worlds as not surprising given their looks. Some the basic human but draped in seaweed and ship parts to a more full fish being, and don’t even get him started on the range of animals that are sea deities.
“How is a cat a sea goddess?” He asked aloud at the bar as Korun placed drinks on the tray.
“Could be a race of Cats that had a world of mostly water?” Korun suggested noticing the food order. “We might need a moment on the food as some of these are in short supply.”
“I’d ask which one but even I don’t want to know what they wanted.” The waiter replied as he picked up the tray. “If I was a bit more squeamish, these drinks would have me losing my lunch.”
“Can’t choose what people like, at least that is what I’ve learned from existing this long.” Korun spoke as he moved to the kitchen behind the bar.
“Ya and how long is that?” The waiter bit back.
With a sigh he looked back to the now nautical themed part of the bar.
“Well time to put on a happy face and just serve them as best I can.”
And then the sea shanties started and the off key singing of a choir of some voices that were never meant to be near the other.
“It is going to be a long day.”
“Call to Adventure”
By Hemming Sebastian Bane
The smell of Port Curdle hung sour as ever as Tablet walked down the ever-present dock. The sun rose above the horizon as the cheese farmers hauled in their daily curds. The jiaoren ran past them to the receiving wharf where she worked and tapped the rusalka man that was asleep at the booth.
“Ah! Welcome t-,” he began before realizing. “Oh, it’s you, Tabbie.”
Tablet looked at the rusalka with concern. “Patrol, do you need to sleep?”
The sleepy merman nodded. “I’ll be fine walking home.”
Patrol slowly waddled over to the door before falling against it fast asleep. Tablet couldn’t help but giggle. She jumped over the counter, then gently put her friend in the booth’s extra chair. The jiaoren grabbed the ledger from the counter and read it. Fish, fish, and more fish. Tablet sighed. It was going to be another boring day.
A bell chimed as a new ship pulled into port. The flag colors were so loud and gaudy that Tablet’s eyes actually hurt from looking at it. The sail was a patchwork of polka dot, plaid, and striped fabric and poorly painted flames decorated the side of the hull.
Off it stepped a woman in a long coat, shirt and trousers, and a tricorn upon her head. The scales on her face shone with iridescence in the sun. Calmly, she strolled up to the booth.
“This check-in?” the stranger asked.
Tablet blinked and then replied, “Oh! Um, yes! Ship name?”
“The Widdershins,” she replied, leaning against the counter.
“You’re looking at ‘er.”
Tablet looked, but avoided eye contact. “I, um, meant your name.”
The captain smirked. “Captain Zero Alphabet North Yearly. Zero for short.”
Zero winked. Tablet flushed red.
“Um, do you, um, have any cargo?”
Zero stopped and thought. “Just a box of sand.”
Tablet blinked. Did she just say that?
“I’m sorry; I didn’t hear that correctly. I thought you said a box of sand.”
Tablet’s mouth dropped open, her shark-like teeth visible.
“So, it’s real? There is land out there?”
Zero nodded with a smirk. “Wanna see it?”
Mad Men Come from the Sea
By Cody (ProfBelgian)
Bryson drove his shovel into loose earth and kneeled to the ground. He stuffed a young rhubarb start into a hole and blanketed it in fertile soil. It was growing season on the lonely island and his yield would be good. His father would be proud—at least, what was left of him.
Past the rocky shore near his farmstead, the evening sun began its descent and a distant drumming rolled in from the sea. Thrum. Drum. Drum. Thrum.
Inside his home, boarded windows blocked what little light was left outside. Bryson lit an oil lamp, then set a large plank against the door. He had only moments before they reached the beach.
Stuffing old cotton into his ears, he perched himself on a chair facing the door. He imagined the distant ship and its crazed crew, had seen it once, as it glided in on a thick fog heavy with drums and manic laughter. It was their shanty that drove all men mad.
He grabbed his father’s musket from the wall. He was left one shot when his father was taken. A pity he never learned to smelt.
“You save this for yourself, you hear?” His father had said.
“I won’t. If you’re taken, I—”
His father smacked him. Farm work made calloused hands and the sting lasted.
“You damned fool!” He grabbed Bryson’s face with sturdy fingers. “You think I brought you into this world to die?”
Torch light danced through the cracks in the windows. Bryson saw the door handle being tested, gripped his musket tight. The door heaved as if being beaten, sending wood splinters flying. This was unusual, Bryson thought, the madmen carried no tools or weapons, only song and drum.
He watched in shocked realization as his shovel blade came crashing through the door. When it was lifted out of its wedge, he saw a torch’s flame, then the face of his father, covered in sea rot.
He lifted the musket, shakily aimed it towards his father as the cotton fell from his ears. Their devil song filled his head and he laughed.
The Ride of a Lifetime
“Where the hell are we?” Nabiki asked. “I hate genre breaks!”
Mizuki looked around. “I think we’re in early twentieth century England.” She glanced at her friends wearing period clothes, then glanced down at her own. It wasn’t steampunk, but she was elated. She grabbed a nearby parasol and opened it with a giggle.
“Focus, Mizuki,” Myoni warned. “What are we doing here?”
“I found tickets!” Nabiki pulled them from her bag. “Let’s see. Nora Titus, second class.”
“Clearly that’s you, Nabiki,” Myoni snidely remarked. “You look like a maid.”
Nabiki stuck out her tongue before continuing. “Angela Grisham, first class, single berth.”
“I guess that’s me,” Ayase said, tugging uncomfortably at her collar.
Nabiki smirked before reading the final ticket. “And finally, double berth for Morris and Cassidy Grisham.”
“Oh no! There must be some mistake!” Mizuki blushed in shock.
“Doesn’t look like it,” Nabiki said, holding out the tickets.
“Don’t worry about it,” Myoni countered. “I’ll switch rooms with Ayase after we board.”
“What if that prevents us from finishing the genre break?” Mizuki timidly replied.
“What ship are we on?” Myoni asked
Nabiki groaned. “The Titanic.”
“Really?” Mizuki excitedly asked. “This will be the best vacation ever!”
“Mizuki, how do you figure?” Nabiki asked.
“We’re still in the age of steam, riding on the most luxurious ocean liner of its time! How will this not?” Mizuki countered.
“Mizuki, the Titanic sinks,” Ayase gently reminded her.
“Maybe the genre break will end before we hit the iceberg.” Mizuki grabbed Myoni by the hand and led everyone out toward the docks.
Ahead of them, the massive ship towered over them. Myoni scanned the vessel. “Ayase, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that your father?” He pointed to a man that looked like Shigure Mikage, currently boarding.
Ayase winced. “Oh no! That’s right, Dad did ride on the Titanic. You guys have to hide me from him!”
“But, you’re not even born yet,” Mizuki said, confused. “He won’t know you’re his daughter.”
“Exactly,” Ayase surmised. “Dad’s single right now. And knowing Dad, he’s probably going to hit on me.”
Till sea swallows all
By Eden R.
Standing at the top of a cliff, a pair of lone figures could hear the sound of the salty waves breaking on the rocky wall that separated them from the ocean so far down below. The scent of seawater carried by the cold wispy air of the cost easily made its way up to the pair as they stood, their arms tightly embracing each other with eyes just as tightly closed doing all they could to savor this moment
The sounds of footsteps could easily be heard as they continued like that. For a moment they did stay until they got too close to ignore one of the figures, a woman with short blonde hair stepped in front of the other glaring daggers at the man who just stood there crossing his arms with a Smirk. Speaking the vocal equivalent of the slime you would find on sea moss just after high tide.
“You know full well she will have to come back with me, After all, I am her fiance”
glaring daggers at the man The blonde retorted “She never wanted to be with you..”
“As if that matters!” the man chortles as he starts making his way over to the red-headed woman. The blonde continued to stay in his way resulting in an annoyed look coming from the man.
“Move or I’ll call the guard!”
“No.” with that the blonde quickly backtracks over to the red-haired woman and grabs her hand
“Please hold on… As tight as you can…” she whispers to her love once she got the nod of an agreement she gasps onto her tightly and with a quick yank throws both of them off the cliff and down to the sea below
Love of the Loreley
By Astrid Jones
The wave-smoothed rocks, normally so colorful, no longer hold joy for me. I stumble across them on my way to the water, only stopping once my feet find the drop-off. Here the stones are slick. One misstep and I could sink beneath the gentle waves. Just like you. But this is my shore, and these are my rocks. They know the touch of my feet and will not betray me.
The letter you sent found me too late. Or perhaps that was your intention. You did not want me to follow you across that dark deep until you had prepared a place for us. A home. Something that should be made together. You would return for me one day.
I waited on this shore, even though your abandonment made my heart ache. For months I waited before their messenger found me, intent on telling me my bruised patience was useless. You had come to your senses. You had taken a wife; a woman they sent for you. Your new home was complete.
They were so smug when they brought me news that you were returning. You and the woman who had taken my place by your side. I released the storm that had been growing inside my heart. The anguish, the sorrow. It spilled from me until I was empty.
You were lying on my shore in the morning, brought to me by the night’s tempest. Now you are safe. Safe beneath my smooth, colored rocks and the waves that brought you back to me. But still there is no joy here.
Zeke storms out of the garden. From his clenched fists and scrunched eyebrows, it was clear to Belle how he felt about her proposition. Still, she believes she’s fighting for what’s right, although she feels her heart heavy from that exchange.
“How do you think the Council would feel if they learned that a Sterling corroborated with a rogue?” Zeke said in a stern voice.
Belle leaned in close. “How do you think the people would feel if you sat here watching as they starved to death?”
“This is bigger than us! We’d die the moment we bare arms against the Council.”
Belle stepped back. “Then I’d rather die fighting for my nation than live cowering in fear.”
She watches her old friend walk towards the lake in search of solitude; out of the corner of her eye, she sees Sir Benedict, head of the Sterling family, follow him.
By the lakeside, Zeke watches the gentle waves come and go as he reminisces on days long past, playing with a younger Belle on this very shore. His father stands beside him, silent and still. Eventually, the old man’s raspy voice breaks the silence.
“Son, I know that she’s leaving, and I know your thinking of coming along.”
Zeke says nothing, but the young Belle’s voice echoes in his mind. “We can reach the clouds! With Brass! And Steel!”
“Whatever you do, remember this,” his father continues, “a man’s honor comes not from doing what he is told to, but from doing what he believes is right.”
With those words, Sir Benedict hands Zeke a sheathed rapier, ivory and metallic. Zeke takes it and raises the blade up to the sky, the glint of steel gleaming from moonlight.
“Together,” Zeke hears that girl’s voice again, “we can build the future.”
“Thank you, father,” Zeke whispers as he wraps arms around the old man before heading back.
Back at the garden, Belle sits impatiently on an ornate bench. As the two meet again, he does not speak. He simply gives Belle a nod. Belle smiles.
“Welcome to the Iron Rose, Commander Sterling.”
“Sail to a safe place”[Aleph null science fiction]
They start to walk away, toward the bustling run-down market. I think they’re not happy here. They look … dejected. Maybe I can help them out? I speak up.
“Hey! You don’t have to stay here!”
“Do you want me to come?”
“Yeah. I think you would love a chance to see another sun.”
They replied “But I don’t love you. Can we be on the same ship together?”
I barely manage to hide a pang of guilt and sadness.
“I know. Even still, I’ll deal with the awkwardness. You don’t have to stay in this dump, and you seem decent.”
“Who else is aboard?”
Let’s see… Who else would be aboard?
“Kyle, Eli, Angel, Larisa, Roman, Calum, Septimus, and Parish.” That sounds about right.
“Oh. Yeah, sounds good. Are you sure you can deal with this?” They gesture between us. I know what they’re talking about.
I’m about to break down. Breath. She can still be my friend. Life isn’t all about romance. Self: you got this. Still, a single tear slid down my face. Self: you asked for an inappropriate thing, least you can do is help her out. I hoped she would come with. Didn’t want to leave her here in this place.
They continued. “Ok. Where, exactly, are we going?”
“No clue honestly. Wherever the money is I guess.”
“Maybe we need to do some planning”
“Planning … Uhg, fine. Planning planning planning…”
I reach into my pocket and pull out a disk, pressing a clicky button as I do so. A holographic map of the galaxy appears. This thing is really cool.
“Alright, let’s see. We are about … here” I zoom in on the map as I say this. I poke another point on the map as I continue talking. “Trade with Xanzlya is good this time of year, so that puts it about there. Maybe next we keep heading toward the galactic rim until you find a suitable drop off point?”
“Like It or Not”(some explicit language)
A thunderous explosion woke Peter from his sleep. He checked his watch, 3:33 AM. He heard the ship’s sirens begin to blare. Groggy crewmates casually slid out of their bunks, and began making their way out to the deck. Peter looked quizzically to his friend Matt.
“Must be a drill?” the sailor said, though the explosion had seemed all too real.
Following the other crewmen, they were about six feet from the door when a shot rang out. Blood and gore splattered against the wall as a giant of a man filled the exit.
“You lot get movin’ back in there!” he barked, cocking the 4 gauge in his meaty hands. “ ‘Nless you wan’ me te paint this ‘ole rig with yer brains!”
Several crew members woke from their stupor, while others remained frozen in shock. More gunfire could be heard from outside, as Peter and Matt turned back and ran down the hall. Another blast echoed from outside as the two sealed themselves in their bunkroom. Peter looked out the porthole to get a glimpse of what was occurring outside.
Fire filled the docks. Explosions ripped through ships not ten yards away. It was then he realized that his ship was moving. The tethers holding her had been cut loose, and she was pulling away, heading for open ocean.
“They’re hijacking the ship!” he cried to Matt.
“What?! Are they on low-grade acid?! We’re the fucking Navy, who do these pricks think they are?!”
A banging on the door took their attention from the window.
“Good that y’all shut yerselves in there!” came the gruff voice of the giant man. “Ol’ Bill here’s gonna keep an eye on ya, so no funny business, ya hear?”
“Hope you fellas are comfortable in there!” came another voice, probably that Bill. “We’re havin’ ourselves a little cruise with this here battleship, and yer comin’ along with us.” Peter looked once more out the porthole, to see the blazing dockyard shrinking further into the distance. “Whether you like it or not!”
Aarun glided through the cottony magenta clouds of the midnight blue sky. The wind pushed his aquamarine and yellow striped sail at a brisk pace, his stance strong on his black glider. The green, bespectacled troll LOVED the open air, his red eyes glittering.
“The captain of the skies, look how high I can fly! Over clouds and under moons, the windy Gale is my boon! The stars shine when I ask, avoiding the sun is no easy task!” Aarun sang as he traveled above sparkling waters and rolling orange hills.
He was caught in a strong current, his sail threatening to fold, but he followed it on a loop de loop, a triumphant laugh echoing.
The large mountain range came into view, a smile widening Aarun’s face.
Gliding into a smooth landing, he dismounted and approached the cave entrance.
“Avast ye, First Mate Malise!” Aarun called, affecting a favored accent. His voice echoed from the cavern walls before they were swallowed up into the darkness.
A yawning roar was Malise’s greeting.
“Wake up, ye scurvy dog! The high skies await us! Prepare to sail!” Aarun advised.
“Will there be food?” a rumbling voice asked lazily.
“Aye, First Mate! Heaps of it! Now, come along! We must hurry to collect our crew!”
A dragon slithered from the cave. Faceted jade eyes and a sharp-toothed grin saluted Aarun, followed by a long, black scaled body with hair the color of the mystical blue flame.
Malise stretched his six, two-toed limbs while shaking his three-horned head.
Running at top speed, Malise leapt from the cliffside, righting himself in midair.
Aarun followed Malise’s lead, catching a strong gust to steady himself.
Stopping next to a river, Aarun dipped his fingers into the stream, wriggling them.
A head popped up, and a loud squeal erupted from the pink otter, her turquoise eyes dancing. Malise hissed in pain. “Please, do NOT do that,” Malise groaned.
“Deckhand Kaymen! Do ye be up for an adventure?”
“Aye aye, Captain!” She gave a hearty salute.
“Savvy! Board Malise! Next destination be the Fae lands to fetch Lookout Carm!”
The roar of a three-thousand flux engine echos down the valley as a crimson blur streaks across the sky. Trees on the outskirts of the sky-way bend with it’s passing, leaves pulled back to reveal their white under-bellies. With a deafening whine, Fyrefly scoops low over the long grass, flattening it beneath her thrusters.
Luke’s grip is white around the yoke as the ship shudders under the strain. With a tug Fyrefly goes nearly vertical, arching over the hills and climbing into the endless blue. He’s knocked back in the seat, bright specks dancing in the corners of his eyes.
Time to see if his work’s paid off.
With a deep breath, he rolls Fyrefly out of her climb. The engines whining, the hull groaning- he can feel the strain of the vessel through the soles of his boots. Thrown forward against the restraints, he grits his teeth and urges the ship faster.
“Come on.” he hisses.
Fyrefly screams as the ground grows closer…closer…closer.
Warning lights and alarms are blaring, the green swath of the sky-way cut through the forest grows larger by the second. Coolant levels are starting to run lower than he would like.
He takes a mental note of it and pulls back on the yoke.
There’s something oddly satisfying about the sound of air and reality ripping around him. A burst of bright light, then darkness- that moment of terrifying nothingness that lingers just outside the Veil. A small dust-mote of Creation skirting against the ocean of Oblivion. It calls, warm and familiar, like sleep- but so very absolute.
But the Call of Home is stronger. He follows it, wraps the cords of its song around his heart. Keeps his gaze on the map he’s made- encoded in the ship’s controls- rather than the Void outside. He resists the urge to open a Gate himself…he’s terrified of the Void- the threat of UnCreation. But he needs to know the transporter will work- he can’t leave it to chance.
He flicks the newest switch in Fyrefly’s array.
Reality splits open before him…and Dedomilla gleams in the distance.
A Terrible Mistake
by Lumi (Lumikat117)
Jacob has made many mistakes over the years. Admittedly most of them were small and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but this? This was probably the biggest mistake of them all, but yet he didn’t regret it at all.
He stood before the carnage that had been wrought upon the port town as the buildings went up in flames. The mad laughter of another man echoing around him above the screams as he quietly watched his birthplace be destroyed. All thanks to him and his stupid, stupid heart.
After a while, a lone figure strutted out of the fire, proudly strolling towards Jacob with a pleased grin on his face. He was Captain Runihura, the most infamous of pirate captains known, having never been caught until a few months ago. He had been scheduled to be hanged today, but Jacob had released him instead. It had been his duty to watch after the Captain, to make sure that he didn’t escape.
The former guard never had any intention of releasing the psychopathic man, but his curiosity had won out and Jacob had begun to talk to him. He had wanted to know more about his prisoner, what had driven him to piracy, what had led to him becoming so powerful. Jacob had shared about his own life as well, surprised such a man was even asking.
Perhaps it had been out of boredom at first, but he could see the steadily growing fondness in those dark eyes, eyes that had witnessed the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of people. Eyes that looked at him as no one else had before. Jacob had at first tried to deny his own budding feelings, but before long he could no longer pretend that they did not exist.
As the day of Runihura’s execution drew closer, he had been left with a terrible choice to make.
Jacob has made many mistakes in his life, the majority being inconsequential to the grand scheme of things.
But as he took the blood and soot stained hand of the pirate, he felt no regrets.
By Matthew (Handsome Johanson)
It was a calm Autumn afternoon. Astrid was reading the latest Terry Pratchet novel, and Leah was in the kitchen making something for dinner. Orange flames gently swayed in the fireplace, gifting a cozy respite from the chilling afternoon breezes.
Suddenly, the atmosphere was shattered by the shrill scream of Leah in the kitchen. Astrid jumps out of her chair and races to her calls.
“Oh my god. Are you ok?” she asked as the kitchen came into view. In the corner, Leah was scrunched up, pointing at the food she was making.
“There’s a spider on the counter. Kill it. Kill it!” Leah whimpered as the eight legged beast roamed the kitchen unabated. Astrid breathed a huge sigh of relief.
“No!” Astrid scolded. “ I’m going to take it outside where he can be free.”
“Ok, just get it out of here! And be careful, please. ” Leah pleaded, worried that the spider might try to attack with its dangerous fangs.
Astrid grabbed a piece of paper and politely encouraged the little guy to get onboard. Together, they began their journey into the woods outside. She walked for a moment before deciding she had gone far enough, and and set the small creature onto the forest floor.
She turned to leave when she heard a harsh, raspy voice behind her.
“Forgive me for being a bother, tonight.”
“I’m sorry, what?” Astrid called out as she turned around to see no one behind her.
“I tend to wander a bit too much for my own good.” The voice continued. “But I really appreciate you not killing me and throwing me away.”
“T-the spider? Is that you?” Astrid stammered as her heart swelled up with fear.
“Do not be afraid. My god has temporarily granted me the ability to talk. He has a message for you. If only you would come with me deeper into the forest.”
“Uhh, I have to get back. My girlfriend is waiting for m-” But the voice interrupted.
“No matter, I’ll be here whenever you are ready. Just call for Loki. He’ll know what to do.”
Do you remember the Zeppelin?
By: Larissa (Lari.B.Haven)
“The new model of Sky whale Zeppelin will arrive at Porto Real next week”. Said the headline.
Carlos bent the newspaper and something jumped from his memories. It was a long time ago, but Carlos still remembered.
The memory was so vivid. His lovely wife and the giant whale-like construction that sailed with tranquility above them in the sky.
His five-year-old son was still in the realm of dreams and he and Zoella had just commemorated their first year of marriage.
On that day they were walking around the town after a stressful visit to her family’s Mansion. His wife’s family always was a delicate subject for her. He hated the way they treat her, with cold looks and subtle insults.
But on that warm afternoon, everything just seems to dissolve slowly after she put her feet on the beach sand.
They sat quietly next to each other looking at the waves breaking on their feet until she spoke within a deep breath:
“ He always looks so displeased with me.”
“You don’t need to visit your grandfather if that’s how he makes you feel…”
“I know…” She answered fixating her gaze on the fishing boats sailing.
“Zoella, I’m your husband, I’m here for you.”
She remained silent until something caught her attention. She held his hand surprized. A bluish silvery spot started to roll from behind the clouds.
“It’s the Zeppelin, Carlos! It came early!” she said smiling. “They said it would only arrive next week!”
The crowds soon fill the beach, the sailors waved and screamed from the boats, the children ran to the water to give a better look, everyone was overjoyed.
All Carlos could do was look at her excitedly gasping and pointing. He occasionally glanced over the sky, the metal Behemoth was impressive, but nothing held more beauty than her joyful expression.
Carlos wanted to see her smile again. While she was still in the hospital, he decided to sit in his writing desk and write her a letter:
“My love, Do you remember the Zeppelin?”
“WHY THE FUCK ARE WE RUNNING AWAY?!” Danth’s kobold ears flapped as he ran through the trees.
“BECAUSE THERE’S A GIANT FUCK OFF SQUID MAN WITH A HALBERD CHASING US!!” Bjorn ran as fast his dwarf legs could take him.
“I WAS BEING FUCKING RHETORICAL, RUN!!” Danth snapped back, almost running on all fours.
The two small humanoids ran, as, through the trees, another humanoid creature three times the duo’s height, wearing a sigil on its chest and with a large halberd in its hand. Its form was shadowed as the village behind it burned, its yellow, hate-filled eyes locked on the two humanoids.
Danth was faster than his companion and reached the beach where their dingy was moored. He didn’t waste time untying anything and just cut the rope keeping the dingy on the beach. He began pushing the dingy as hard as he could out into the sea. He got a few feet out before turning to his partner, “JUMP!!”
Bjorn hopped on a rock and jumped as far he could. Danth extended his hand and used magic to push his friend closer to the dingy. When the dwarf landed, Danth used his magic again to steady the waters around them. He then turned towards the beach, “Hold on to something!”
As he pointed his hands towards the beach, their pursuer came out of the tree line. Its dark purple skin was illuminated by the moonlight. It screamed and began running towards them. Danth forced the magic building around him outwards in a gust of wind that pushed them far out into the sea. The dingy crashed against the waves like a rock skipping over stones. Both Danth and Bjorn screamed out as they held onto the sides of the boat for dear life.
Once the force of the wind subsided, they both began heaving, their chests rising and falling quickly. Bjorn puked over the side when Danth noticed a strange set of blankets under one of the seats. Danth slowly looked underneath and saw a small human girl, shaking in fear.
Offering the Stars (Corespace Universe)
By Calliope Rannis
“No!” exclaimed Clev Repper, breaking his normally quiet demeanor. “No, I mean…what you are suggesting is…completely unsafe-”
“Just think about it for a moment okay?” Astra replied, gesturing for him to sit back down, before turning to her other prospective partner. “What about you? Are you interested?”
Ember was still languidly laying sideways in her chair, but her eyes were now looking right at Astra’s own rather than the patterned ceiling. “Well, I do love the idea of stealing some billionaire prat’s prize toy, but this is much more of a, ah, commitment than what I prefer to do.” She sat up a little. “I keep my statements low key for a reason after all.”
Astra paced for a few seconds, fiddling with her long dark-blue hair. This wasn’t working. She was no orator, she couldn’t convince these two people to follow her to the stars, all she was EVER good for was knowing things that she never got to see –
Knowledge. Facts. Maybe just use facts. You know those, after all.
She turned and replied: “Ember Rhilanin, your petty vandalism and public disturbances aren’t ‘statements’, they are an excuse.”
“What-” Ember blurted.
Astra rattled on. “You are a thrill-seeker. What you ‘say’ with your actions is inconsistent and generic because you don’t actually care, you just want to be chased, to evade capture again and again. What I’m offering you is the epitome of that – an endless chase to the far reaches of space, with a ship that will be able to outrun your pursuers every time.” She smiled and softened. “At least, if that ship has a pilot as good as you at the helm.”
Ember stared at her for a moment, before shifting her body to face forwards. “You’ve certainly done your research. I feel like I should be concerned about that, but you ARE right.” She stood up. “Your plan is insane, Astra Adoras. But it’s the exact kind of madness I’ve always wanted to try.”
She extended a black-nailed hand, which Astra took with delight, before swiftly turning to Clev.
“Thought about it yet?”
Fairer Skies and Wilder Dreams
John and Paul made their way through the market, the same routine as the day before, and all days before that. They had little to sell, but it was a living. One had to make a living. They wandered the coast line, passing many canopied stalls and shouting vendors, when John caught sight of a poster, brown and worn in the salty breeze. Calling Paul over to read it, the two share a glorious grin before suddenly dashing away from the market, their small basket of wares left behind. The poster had read:
“My name is Lionel, though it hasn’t been for long, and I am what you might call a ‘Daydreamer’. When stray dreams and thoughts take form, rising into the cloudy sea, that’s where you’ll find me and my crew.
I’ve had other crews before, friends and good lads from all over. But I can no longer remember their names, very much like I cannot recall my own from that time. One of the dangers of Daydreamin’ you see, is you will eventually fade into the clouds to join the dreams if you’re at this job long enough. It’s not guaranteed, I’ve been at this job longer than most, but I’ll not sugar-coat it for ye.
To be a daydreamer, you have to be brave and adventurous, all caution thrown to the wind before setting sail. You’ll see things like you’ve never seen before, sailing the vast open sky like common fishermen as we cast our lines for ideas and dreams, maybe even catchin’ the occasional nightmare! Common sense is not a welcome commodity on the Dream-Catcher, and if you don’t like it; you’re not welcome aboard.
If you are lookin’ for the adventure of your lives, come find me. You don’t have to look hard, I can be found anywhere dreams are made real. Look to the sky, and you’ll see me aboard the Dream-Catcher comin’ to claim ye, and we’ll sail away to fairer skies and wilder dreams”
The rage of a quiet man by Clanso
(Tales of an Island Installment 2)
Captain of the Ekrumdory 2 was slowly getting a migraine. The air was filled with music and Mira was standing on the table and singing her heart out. Meanwhile he had to fight his inner demon.
Mira was a whirlwind of positivity, she worked hard and had big dreams. He caught a glimpse of his own daughter in her sometimes, and her voice was beautiful.
That’s why it became increasingly harder for Captain to resist the compulsion to join the dance. He knew what would happen if he did. The last time he had lost himself to the music, the sea and sky themselves had answered and nearly ripped the Ekrumdory 2 apart. His feet were still not quite touching the ground. He would not be able to resist the call for much longer…
Everything changed however, when Mira got injured.
They had told her to stay on the ship, but when Johnny got dragged overboard by a fog monster, nothing in the world could have stopped her from leaving.
When Captain recovered the bleeding Mira and saw the damage to her legs, every fiber of his being that had longed for a dance was now filled with the cold rage that all but one of his enemies feared.
As he gently pulled a blanket over Mira’s still form, he heard the voice.
It was ancient and it seemed to overflow with malicious joy.
“Oh my, you do have a soft spot for the girl”
Captain gritted his teeth. “She’s under my protection now. If you touch her…”
“What? You will kill me?” The voice didn’t sound impressed. “How? Are you going to fatally stab yourself again?”
“If I have to, I will. Leave Mira alone.”
“It really doesn’t make a difference anymore. We won’t let you die and dancer girl will need crutches for the rest of her life. I made sure of that. Can’t have you dancing to the thieve’s tune after all.”
Captain swore at the empty room, but the only answer was a low groan from Mira.
He would end this once and for all.
Footage: April 9th, 2194 – Unaired
Greetings, once and future employee! I would like to be the first to give you a warm welcome to Starlight Enterprises (TM)! Whether you’re from the Inner Planets or Jupiter Station, we’re pleased you’ve come to sail the stars with us!
The first thing to remember here at Starlight is simple: we staff are a family. There is no “I”. Each crew has at least twelve members working at any given time, and all of them are specifically restructured to care and trust each other more deeply than you could ever imagine. In fact, happiness and morale are our highest priorities!
Despite appearances, we are aware that there’ve been rumours. Ships going offline, people disappearing. We can swear with the utmost sincerity that you and your crew are perfectly safe out here in the void of space.
Of course, even if they were true, it wouldn’t matter! For you, the voyage is what matters! There isn’t anything before the journey, and there isn’t anything after. Trust us! Come with us!
Now that we have that out of the way, we’d like to address matters of payment and benefits. We know that you need your money, and it’s coming soon! We just need to straighten out a few monetary details, write up some contracts, and you’ll be receiving your first paycheck before you can –
Oh. I’m sorry, didn’t catch that –
Okay. Are we still rolling or –
Got it. We can cut it out later.
Now that we have that out of the way, we’d like to address payment and benefits. Starlight employees don’t need payment. You enjoy working for us. You want to come with us. However, complimentary psychological services will be available immediately upon arrival.
I hope this covered all of your big questions. You’ll be reporting to your latest assignment shortly; upon arrival head directly to your captain. Do not speak to anyone else. Do not acknowledge anyone else. There is no one else. Begin your journey!
By Giovanna J. Fuller
The guardian had denied his request. Still he would persist.
Before that, he had weathered the harsh cold of the far North. Still he had pressed on.
Before that, he was laughed at and ridiculed by his fellow warriors. Still his heart longed.
Before all that, he had seen her a vision between the swells of pain. In the madness between life and death, her face was there. He fell.
Now he would find a way to carry on his quest. He would cross the Gjöll to see her again.
Móðguðr would not let him cross the bridge, so he would build a boat.
As he worked on his vessel, he thanked the gods that he had not perished in battle that day. The Valkyrie would have carried him off to Valhalla to drink with his father and grandfather until Ragnarok, but then he would be forever separated from her. It was her dark beauty that kept him from slipping away. It was her fierce expression that lit a fire in his heart and kept him warm as he built the vessel on the bank of the river.
The battle maid guardian of the bridge watched him impassively. She was only to keep people from crossing the bridge, not the river. He completed his work unimpeded. He pushed his raft into the water and crossed. He left all his worldly possessions behind. He knew he wouldn’t need them anymore for he would have her.
‘Just a little longer…’ he told himself.
The other side was cold. Far colder than the warrior’s home or even the far North. He passed by mountains of snow and rivers completely frozen over. He made his way to the only building in the land.
There, seated on her throne, sat the woman in his dream.
‘Is it possible to be any more beautiful?’
Her face was half decayed and turned into a permanent frown. However, on her other side, her lips had turned up into a brilliant smile that threatened to warm the room. “You came,” her voice was breathless, excited.
“I have, Lady Hel.”
“Setting Sails towards hope”
The small group dragged their feet over the dirty road, dust clinging to their ragged clothes.
Most of them were small children, the oldest counting maybe fourteen winters.
Older ones carried the exhausted on their backs, slowly making their way east, away from their past, towards the distant shore.
The war was bad, but the civil war had been even worse… after the royal families had been killed, paranoia had spread like pestilence.
Suddenly war-orphans were suspected of being shapeshifted spies, no matter which of the two clans they belonged to.
Some had tried to shield them… and ended up dead as traitors themselves.
So they left.
A small column of children departed through the intact gates of Kojas, with the smoke of many fires darkening the sky overhead.
It had been weeks since their departure, maybe longer… and their minds were weary with exhaustion.
So they thought the woman ahead to be a trick of their minds at first; only as they approached, did she appeared real.
She wore a green cloak, over which she had strapped leather armor, reinforced in parts with what seemed like wood.
Her hair was mostly gray, with intertwined strands of green and red remaining.
She wore a pointy hat, and an ax was visible over her shoulder.
An adult was an unexpected sight, but the kids were too tired to even flinch.
Then the woman went down on one knee, revealing a warm smile,as well as a blackened scar where her right eye should have been.
“Don’t worry;I know how you must feel. I was once driven from my home, from Kojas as well.” She looked at each of the children, her face etched with genuine compassion.
“I have made a new home across the waves, in a distant land. You don’t have to be vagrants on the run. It can be your home, too. All you have to do is come sail with me across the sea.” She offered the leading child a hand, and as they looked down, something flickered in their eyes.
Then they accepted the offered hand.
Setting a Stolen Sail
By Mike Collins (Lakemoron)
The pirate Captain directed his crew to tie down the supplies as they load them to distribute the weight in their stolen vessel. His first officer led the acquisition of their new arms off the ship.
The Captain whispered, “Mister Christian, make sure to take as much rope as we can hold… you can never have enough rope.”
The second officer replied, “Aye, aye Captain.”
As the Captain stood watching over their escape, one of his sailors approached, “Captain, sir?”
The Captain said, “Yes, mister… Tweedy?”
Tweedy tried to stand taller, “Sir, the ship’s crew… a couple of them are awake. We dealt with the night crew, but if we go after the crew in the hold.”
The Captain put up his hand, “Absolutely not, we’re leaving under cover of night for a reason, so unless they make themselves into a problem, we leave them be.”
They would fly no flag, sail for no country or kingdom; they will sail for the thrill of the open sea. Their vessel has no name, but a name isn’t as important as the freedom the ship brings, the freedom of a pirate. They lowered the ship and set sail with the wind.
The Captain smiled, “With a strong wind, we sail free.”
An alarm bell rang out as the sailors woke and ran to the deck. The first officer quickly tallied up the damage, “Captain, the launch is gone along with the minigun, several pistols, and some supplies. We found the deck crew all drunk and passed out.”
No one in the crew saw the helm ropes were cut, as was the rigging for the mainsail.
The Captain growled, “Who’s missing?”
The first officer said, “Captain, no one is missing.”
A call went out from the crow’s nest, “Small vessel to port, sailing away with the wind.”
The first officer looked through his monocular, lowered it down, then picked it back up and looked again.
The Captain asked, “Well, Mister Chadwick, what do you see?”
“Well, Captain sir, it’s the rats. They’ve stolen the launch and are sailing away… Sir.”
“From Thief to Crewmate” by Carrie (Glaceon373)
One job, I told myself. One little swipe, then walk away. Then everything’ll be okay.
I slid behind a man at a jewelry stand in the crowded market of Solarium. Even the shadows of airships made more noise than me. In one quick motion, I plucked the coin purse from the man and turned to run—
A hand snatched my wrist and yanked me towards the ground. I hit it with a thud.
The man leaned over me, mustache well groomed, eyes filled with anger. “So, you think you can get away from me, thief,” he tried to say menacingly.
I held up the bag. “You dropped this.” I started inching backwards, then froze. I recognized his face.
Jonathan Taestor, Duke of Solarium.
Well, a glorified council member, really. But a Duke.
He raised his hand and screamed a command, activating the market guards. Hollow suits of armor woke up and advanced towards me.
I booked it.
These guards never got tired. But they also had no brains. I weaved through crowds, bolted through alleys, all to get them to deem me “unfindable.”
But when I ran out of ideas, there were still dozens on my heels.
Panicking, I dashed towards the airship docks. The wooden galleons hovered gently, hulls covered in wind glyphs. One of them was departing upwards. A length of rope hung over the edge.
I leapt, scrambled up the hull, then collapsed on the deck, gasping. Then I looked up.
Around twenty crewmen stared down at me, with the occasional scarred face and jagged tooth.
I remembered the Duke’s purse. I tossed it forward, coins spilling out. Their expressions brightened.
One stepped forward. “And what might you be doin’ on MY ship?”
“Oh, just, uh…” I glanced behind me. The guards were now the size of ants far below.
He laughed. “Well, for a stowaway, you’ve got manners. Paid an’ everything. Well, you just gonna sit there, or stand up an’ introduce yourself?”
I got up. “Ostentasha, at your service.”
“Well then, Ostentasha,” the man gave a crooked smile, “welcome aboard.”
“A Sweet Bottle” Submitted by Connor/Dragoneye
Creaks groaned through the hull and a faint roll of waves beyond it.
Irelin snuck up to the deck of the ship, the night sky above him devoid of clouds. He leaned against the mast and stared up to the stars that flickered in and out.
“Up so late, huh, ant?” Irelin’s body jolted in fear at the sound of a voice. The red cream locks held underneath a wide brimmed hat.
“Cap’n. Shouldn’t you be getting sleep?”
“Shouldn’t you?” Captain Raani sat herself beside Irelin with a large glass bottle in her hand. She then took a swig of it, wiping her face with her sleeve. “I guess you’ve caught me, then, ant.”
“I guess so, ma-, I mean Cap’n.”
“Still getting used to this, aren’t you?”
Irelin sat himself up. “Well, I’ve never been out at sea for this long, let alone as a pirate.”
“Trust me, soon enough, this’ll be the only world you’ll wanna be a part of. It’s the high life. You get to see much more than the little island we call home. Foreign nations, money, friends with benefits, and good drinks.”
Irelin pointed to the bottle, asking, “Is that Lucid Mead?”
“You bet your scrawny Dreamharvest ass it is,” spoke Raani, another sip following it. “Made from Sugarbee honey and hops, and aged in enchanted barrels. It’s a nice taste of home.” Raani passed it over to Irelin, who sipped a miniscule drop from it.
“C’mon, ant, that was weak. You’re a pirate, your momma’s not here to chastise you about your drinking habits. Drink more, you teeny ant.”
“But, I don’t want to be drunk. What if we’re attacked in the middle of the night?”
“As your captain, I order you to drink that mead like you were gonna die tonight.”
Irelin hesitated for a moment, only to see Raani shove the bottle into his mouth. “That’s a good boy, ant. Now you’re a hornet!”
Irelin coughed, nearly choking on the mead that met his lips. As he continued to clear his throat, Raani was rolling back, laughing hysterically while pointing at Irelin.