Writing Group: Hoist the Sail

Yarr Boatswains, Quartermasters, and Cabin Boys!

On yer feet, ya lazy mongrels! All hands on deck! Haul up the anchor and…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

Hoist the Sail

Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

It’s not often we get a prompt as atmospheric as this one. It’s not often we get a nautical prompt in general! Bring out all your best tales of pirates, mermaids, and high seas adventure this week! 

The first place my mind goes to with this prompt is pirates, and I’d venture to guess the same goes for many of you. Perhaps your character is the Captain of a ship, drunk on rum and the thrill of the opportunity for a new bit of thievery. Maybe your character is a young stowaway who doesn’t realize what they’ve gotten themselves into. Or perhaps you could write from the perspective of someone trying their best to take down a group of pirates instead. 

But pirates aren’t the only ones who might hear the phrase “hoist the sail!” around them. Perfectly legitimate businessmen, merchants, fishermen, Navy sailors, and more all might find themselves on a ship with sails that need hoisting. You could write about someone sailing along the silk road, excited and nervous for new business. Or about a fisherman catching more than he’s bargained for. Or else about a new recruit’s first time on a ship, getting seasick. 

There are plenty of legends out at sea. Tell us tales of the horrors a crew sees in the Bermuda triangle. Of krakens devouring ships whole. Of ships with ghosts manning their masts. Of the sight of the Flying Dutchman out above the water. 

Tall ships aren’t the only ships with sails, though. This prompt doesn’t have to be confined to the days of pirates. You could write about a family in modern day going out on a sailboat for the afternoon. Or a mechanical ship at an amusement park that broke down—its mechanical sail un-hoisted. Or perhaps you’d like to write about how a child, instead of making a fort, makes a boat out of their blankets.

Perhaps someone mishears the phrase “hoist the sail” as “hoist the sale!” There are all sorts of hilarious stories you could write with this idea. What happens when pirates host a yard sale? Are passersby too scared to buy anything? What about someone deciding to turn away from piracy and sell all the things from their days of thievery? You could write about a pirate-themed sale in modern day store—a mattress store with sheet-sails, an antique store with model ships, or a video game store selling Sea of Thieves. Perhaps you could find a way to combine the modern form of piracy with this prompt?

If you want to go the sci-fi direction, you could write about something Treasure Planet-esque, with tall ships in space. Or you could write about a ship with a solar sail on it. A “ship” doesn’t have to be a water vehicle; it can also refer to steampunk skyships, modern dirigibles and zeppelins, and even tanks and other large land vehicles like in the Mortal Engines series. Maybe the ship doesn’t sail through space, but through time itself, sailing along the timestream.

I have two challenges for you this week. 

This prompt is occurring the day before Mother’s Day in America, so my first challenge for you is to somehow connect this prompt to Mother’s Day! You could write about a sailor’s mother, or pregnant wife back home. Or perhaps you could write about a woman who snuck onto a ship, despite it apparently being bad luck. Maybe she snuck on to get a glimpse of her son, who she hasn’t seen in years? Or maybe her son was kidnapped and put on a slaver’s ship, and she saves him over the course of the story? (Also, if you are in a country in which Mother’s Day occurs at a later date, feel free to save this challenge for yourself for then!) 

My second challenge is sort of an addendum to the first. My second challenge is to write this prompt from a unique or unexpected perspective. My initial thought for this challenge was to write it from the perspective of someone who is not actually on the ship (which could easily include a wife or mother watching from shore). You could write from the perspective of the siren singing the sailors to their doom, or the selkie falling in love. Perhaps the crew mutinied against the previous captain and you write from the perspective of the captain sitting on the shore, watching his beloved ship leave. Or you could go the non-human route with this challenge: you could write from the perspective of the parrot on one of the sailor’s shoulders, the shark circling below the plank, or even the ship herself! 

Remember, these challenges aren’t mandatory! They are meant to be a fun bonus if you’d like to have a little extra challenge. But, if you don’t want to use them, please don’t feel obligated to!

Drink up me hearties, yo ho!

—Kaylie & Pearce 

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 Saturday at 3:00pm 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! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least five stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
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    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
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  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
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    5. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
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Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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6 months ago

There’s a Port on a Western Bay
By MasaCur

Nabiki gripped the helm’s wheel as she stood on the bridge, grinding her teeth as she listened to Myoni sing.

“And the sailor said ‘Brandy, you’re a fine girl…”

“Shut up.”

“‘What a good wife you would be.”

“Shut up!”

“‘But my life, my love and my lady, is the sea.’”

“I loathe that song, and I hate you for singing it.”

Myoni grinned. “Are you still bitter that the crew voted for me to be captain?”

“I don’t get it! You’re obnoxious!”

“And you make bad decisions, Nabiki. The crew obviously wanted someone they could rely on. Besides, you’re still the ship carpenter. That’s an important position. You should thank your father for teaching you woodworking.”

“This is still bullshit!”

“It’s the pirate code, Nabiki. If the crew is unhappy with the captain, they can vote for a new one. Be happy they didn’t choose to maroon you as well.”

Nabiki growled as she clenched the wheel.

“Captain Sempai!” Goro yelled down from the crows nest.

Nabiki looked up with a growl. “Are you literally calling him two different titles?”

Goro effortlessly descended the mast, and held out a spyglass to Myoni. “Naval vessel on our tail. I think it’s the student council and disciplinary committee.”

“Excellent.” Myoni approached the railing to the bridge. “All hands on deck! Full sail! We’ve got the navy on our tail, and we need to lose them. Trust me, we’ll win this genre break if it’s the last thing we do.”

“I’m tempted to let them catch us, just so I don’t have to listen to you sing anymore,” Nabiki growled.

Myoni rubbed his chin. “That’s an excellent suggestion, Nabiki. I think a sea shanty is in order, don’t you Goro?”

Goro’s lips curled up into a smile. “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl?”

“Yes!” Myoni shouted triumphantly.

“No!” Nabiki screamed.

6 months ago

Unexpected Catch
By DisgusTangy

Elnora Tyde, captain of the Fallen Hook, had survived just about everything, even death itself, but in all 362 years of life and undeath, nothing had prepared her for what faced her on the deck of her ghost ship today: a small child, sopping wet, and balling his eyes out.

She approached the boy, towering over his tiny form. Part of her was annoyed at the interruption of her nap, but she was also curious.

“Do you know who I am, boy?” she asked.

“N-no, ma’am,” the boy whimpered, eyeing the ground.

Of course he didn’t. Kids these days had no respect for the supernatural.

“Well, then,” she continued. “I am Elnora Tyde, Captain of the Fallen Hook. I have been roaming these waters for over 3 centuries. I have survived, seen and done things you couldn’t possibly imagine. I am not to be trifled with, so you’d better have a damn good reason for being on my ship, interrupting my nap.” She added, “And look at me while you’re talking.”

The boy looked up at her, wiping tears from his eyes. Whether they were red from crying or the salt water, she wasn’t sure.

“I-I’m sorry ma’am,” he said shakily. “I really don’t know how I got here.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Really? I don’t know many people who just happen to stumble onto ghost ships by accident.”

“It’s true! The last thing I remember was being on a boat with my dad, a-and there was a big storm and it was all scary and- and then the boat got all flipped and it was all dark and wet and I couldn’t breath and- and I- and then woke up here and-” His voice broke as he collapsed into a mess of sobs. “I just want my dad back.”

Elnora contemplated for a moment, then crouched down. “I.. I’m sorry that happened,” she said as kindly as she could. “What is your name?”


“Well, Martin, you can stay with us for now, while we figure things out.”

She didn’t mention that he was probably dead as well.

Norman Gray
Norman Gray
6 months ago

Moonlight (repost from private group)
By Norman Gray

One stormy night, a lone sailor came to her island… His ship was battered by the crashing of waves, and she watched as he was thrown overboard, plunging into the water.

He had eyes like moonlight, she noticed… Streaks of luminescence followed in his wake as he sunk through the murky depths. She stared captivated, as his bright eyes fell upon her.

She swam closer, and threw her arms around him…

He smiled, then whispered in her ear as he returned her embrace. “How fortunate I am… Few could ever know of your beauty, but for a moment.”

His voice was unlike any man she’d heard before.

“Gentle whispers beneath the tides.
Oh, how the light shines in his eyes!
So softly held in his embrace,
The fairest smile upon his face.”

There was much she could have sung of this sailor, had he given her the opportunity…

But as her lips parted, she was silenced with a kiss, and her songs were all but forgotten… She was lost in desire, lost in lust. Lost in his eyes.

She took him by the hand, guiding him ashore. Above water, she would find that his words had even more eloquence, his voice ever more soothing… His touch more breathtaking.

She relived that day over and over in her mind. It had changed her, forever.

She could turn brave men cowardly with her embrace, and silence a sailor’s cries as she lured them beneath the sea… It was her nature. It was their fate.

A siren was not meant to fall in love. But fall deeply, madly in love, she had.

And so she sang of him, hoping that her songs had the power to sway the breeze, that she might see his sails cresting the horizon once more:

Somewhere far across the sea,
Lover, you’ve made a wreck of me…
‘Til your return, I count the days,
To be lost again in your moonlit gaze.

I urge the wind, please hear my song:
In my arms, is where he belongs.
Shipwreck upon this lonely shore…
Lover, hoist your sail nevermore.

6 months ago

Good Intentions (Chronicles of The Dragon)
By Makokam (with edits by i-prefer-the-term-anti-hero)

The blue sky was broken by only a few clouds. Jostica and her parents boarded a small sailing ship.

“Welcome!” the Captain said. “We’ll be taking a cruise around the bay. Lunch will be served momentarily!”

A crew member directed them to the dining room below deck.

“It’s surprisingly spacious down here,” her mother said.

“Well,” another crew member said, “normally we have three or four groups on, It’s more cramped then. But with just the four of you it has plenty of space.”

“Four?” Her mother squinted.

“Us and him.” Jostica glared at him
They all took their seats. “It must have been pricey to get the whole boat to ourselves,” her father said to Jostica.

“It’s a special occasion so I splurged.”

“I didn’t realize they were paying you so well.” Her mother served herself some salad. “Though they should be paying you better, however much it is.”

Jostica “heh”’d and said, “Well, they provide all my necessities. So even if it’s only an ‘okay’ paycheck, it’s all mine. And I… had some help paying.”

“Oh?” her father said. “Thomas pitched in?”

“Actually…” She stuffed her mouth with pasta. “It was Jonathan.”

Her mother scoffed. “You STILL talk with him? What does he even do for money? Murder for hire?”

The correctness of the comment stung more than she’d admit.

“Or did he threaten the boat company?”

“He didn’t threaten anyone! Mom!” She stood, throwing her napkin down. “He just wanted to help me do something nice for you on Mother’s Day.” She walked out.

“She doesn’t want to see you,” she said to the man sitting in the lounge.

Jonathan looked up. “I heard.” He stood. “I didn’t expect anything else.”

They walked up to the deck. “You don’t need to defend me.” He stepped onto the railing. “Try to enjoy the cruise.” and he leapt back to shore, setting the boat rocking.

“Oh my! What was that?” their mother said as she and their father came up as well.

“It was uh…whale,” Jostica said, “came up and bumped the boat.”

“I wish I could have seen it.”

“Me too.”

Last edited 6 months ago by Makokam
Ethan Jesse
Ethan Jesse
6 months ago

A Brief Report on the Land of Arcane
By Ethan Jesse

Let me tell you of the land where the sails catch light, there where the Moon knows hours beyond night.

That place is an island, far from our shores. It’s about the size of Brazil, with a structure like a dragon roost. Its origin, too, feels draconic in nature, for it stretches from a center-point and resembles if a splash of water became stone, like a god of the land displaced the depths.

As I’ve said, this land, which we now know as Arcane, sees only the night and the light of its Moon. Our science is baffled, for only the most arctic regions have seen phenomena that so much as resemble the island’s. For those traveling towards it, the transition is gradual. Even if one were to arrive at midday and sail towards Arcane on our finest vessel, it would appear as if the sun raced out of sight, completely replaced by the full Moon upon crashing on shore.

If this were its biggest wonder, we could be kept busy for an eon trying to understand its intricacies. But nigh, Arcane holds something greater, beyond whatever logic or reason we could have ever known. Truly, the only word to describe it is magic, thought to be born of a climate where all things can count the craters of the Moon in every waking hour. Trees of indigo and leviathans down below, with skeletons of winged beasts scattered to and fro.

Yet, as a final challenge to us outside that land’s limits, there exists civilization. Not just people, but a vast empire of ice-wielders and blood-slingers, people who crack time and bend the earth like rubber. The Arcane Empire, ruled by their raven king, thrive in that land beyond our reason or time. There, in that land, where they use not water-wheels or windmills, but sails atop an open flame to harness moonlight, or Luna. This palace of wonder is one of top interest, and one which mere investigation may never reveal the secrets of. I do hope it is something I will have the pleasure of looking into further.

6 months ago

Love of Treasure
By RamblingRook

I had to get rid of the Medallion. Rough seas had threatened to capsize the Scarlet Scourge for days now. The moonlight cascaded into my chamber illuminating the sapphire in the middle of the coiled serpent. It was near hypnotic. “I have to keep it.”

The deck was silent except for the creaking of wood or so I thought.

I heard the flintlock click as my first mate took a breath, “Apologizes Captain, but it’s the only way we can end this nightmare.” His hesitation was clear. We never killed our own.

I spun around to face him, “Does the rest of the crew agree? What if it doesn’t work? My blood will be on your hands and you will all still be cursed.”

He grit his teeth in a vain attempt to steel himself as his hand trembled. “A risk I will have to take. You never should have tried to steal from a god.”

“I made a mistake.” I put my hands up in a defensive gesture. “One I intend to fix if you’ll just-”

“How is sneaking off the ship supposed to help?” he reasoned.

“How is killing me supposed to help, Corvin?” I fired back. I glanced behind me. My chance to hop into the dinghy and lower myself into the water had passed.

“The gods are upset. You lied to us, Darey and now you’re trying to aban-.”

No one else needs to get hurt because of me,” I pleaded. “I’m taking it with me.”

He lowered the pistol, “What are you talking about?”

“If I leave it won’t affect any of the crew anymore. I need to keep it.”

He went pale. “You stole something, didn’t you?”

I said nothing.

“Didn’t you!” he roared, bringing the pistol up in a flash.

“Let me go.”

“How do you know that we aren’t cursed. I won’t let you kill yourself by running off. Return it to the sea.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Then you’ve left me no choice.”

There was a loud crack and I fell bleeding into the waves.

6 months ago

The adventures of Captain Kjell Serkailj: The new Sea
By Quetzalcoatl

“Hoist the sail, boys! Hoist the sail!” It was strange, hearing the captain be so frantic, even though the ship laid in the calm for almost a week, in the dead middle of the sea. If it was the captain of any other ship, then, maybe we would have simply thought of him going crazy, but he didn’t even have any sanity for insanity to rot. Still, he was a good captain, both in judgement and endeavour, and thus we trusted him in his decisions.

In the following bustling though, only young Kjell, the youngest on the ship, for whom this was to be his first trip, noticed, that the captain went back to Mother See. The old croon, who is usually just called Mother, was the oldest of the crew, and the only woman allowed to be on board the “Moon Lady”. She knew of things others did not, and the captain was too fond of this knowledge than to ever care about the bad luck she could bring. As for the others, most of them have grown accustomed to her, whilst others still feared her in many ways. Young Kjell on the other hand, still did not know what to think of her. He trusted the captain deeply, so he did not care that a woman was on board, but he strongly disliked the kind of alien knowledge the croon had to offer. It was knowledge not fit for the world he came from, not yet fit, for he has yet to set foot on other shores.

But before young Kjell could even begin to wonder, the other sailors have already hoisted the sail and promptly, a strange feeling took hold of the ship. It was as if the ship moved backwards and would somehow fall at the same time. It was an eerie feeling, for this was no movement a ship should do, not even in the strangest and most perilous waters.

But soon, the ship came to halt once more, and when young Kjell looked at the water, he saw a strange sea of black and light, of the like there are none on this world. The captain then appeared again to give out his next command.

“Hoist the sails! Hoist the sails once more! Onward, onward to new shores!”

Berith Quinn
Berith Quinn
6 months ago

Mother’s Errand
(Tales from Aetherion)
By Berith Quinn

Rana swam through the murky depths, while her long mermaid tail and fins flared out like gossamer wings in the sea. Souls of the recently drowned and eternally damned reached out for her. Faster she swam, just out of their reach, as she clutched a flask against herself.

She wasn’t surprised that the dead were restless, and wanting to add to their crew. Dead surface dwellers always found it hard to let go. But the ship that Rana saw last night was different. It was cursed.

It was cursed well before its masts were aflame. Cursed before the crew were shouting and fighting amongst themselves. Cursed before the dark tainted wood warped and cracked, as though a beast bellowed a final roar in its death throes.

Rana had watched the crew contort and flail as they sunk into the depths. But what had shocked her was the ship itself. Even as its hull splintered in the dark waters, the ship seemed to thrash and attempted to claw its way towards the surface with ethereal talons as it plunged further below. Never had she seen a ship have a soul.

But last night wasn’t important now. Her mother had given her a task.

Emerging near the shore as instructed, Rana saw a solitary figure on the beach. Even in the pale of the moonlight, it was clear that the purple skinned demoness had been waiting impatiently.

Rana held out the flask to the demoness, who snatched it with curious delight. As the moonlight caught the flask, its contents were apparent inside the glassy prison. A miniature ship with masts aflame. The very same one that Rana had seen sunk the night before.

“A cursed ship in a bottle? So the old sea witch does have a sense of humour.” The demoness giggled, while Rana glared at her for the thinly veiled insult to her mother.

“The Matron of Depths considers all debts now paid.” Rana spat in deviance.

The demoness gave a long graceful curtsey, before she replied with a smirk.

“On behalf of my mother, the Grymhold sends her thanks.”

6 months ago

Just a game
By Pumpkin

The atmosphere on the Last Hope is dire this morning.
The Dread is up ahead but the winds are against us.
We’ve anchored on a nearby island, waiting for the winds to turn.
And remembering the dead to pass the time.
We started with six.
We’re still six now but these are fresh faces we picked up on route.
The mates I set off with are feasting on brine in the deep dark.
Part of me feels bad about being alive still.
Better sailors than me have died.
Better men and women.

Standing on the bow I can see The Dread on the horizon.
Dark, menacing and shrouded in fog.
This mission took too long already.
Waiting here feels worse than death.
I take a deep breath and head to the captain.

When I told my mam what ship I was boarding she told me the captain is a witch.
I didn’t believe her then.
I believe her now.

As I enter the cabin the captain sits hunched over the table, her eyes fixed on a set of three dice.

“Morning Terry, how can I help you?” she asks without looking up. Next to the dice, I spot a map of the seas.

“Permission to speak freely sir?”

“Yeah sure, go ahead.”

“Can you shift the winds?”

She looks up at me and in her eyes, I see a shift “I can, but you won’t like the price to pay.”

“We need to get to The Dread, it’s spreading, every day we waste out here is a day we should be doing battle instead.”

“Yes, I agree.”

“Then why-?”

“Are you feeling heroic, mister Terry?”


“Are you feeling heroic?”

“Yes! Yes, I do, now can we just-”

“Thank you, Terry, I truly appreciate your sacrifice.” She picks up one of the dice and changes the face. “You may go now.”


There’s a ruckus up on deck.
“It’s a miracle! The winds have shifted, we have to set sail now. This is our chance!”
I nod, glad to see my fellows happy.
And sad I won’t be home again.

Danny Gilhooley
Danny Gilhooley
6 months ago

The Voyager
By Danny Gilhooley

Nimmo’s eyes ran over the last sentence of the letter before looking back up. Prince Emil sat perched on the throne. The King had been away for a few years, often on the front lines of battle. When he was away, the Prince was in charge. And from what Nimmo could tell, he was getting comfortable in his new seat.

“I don’t understand,” Nimmo said.

“The letter is very clear,” Emil said. “Don’t pretend you don’t understand.”

Nimmo folded the letter and placed it in his breast pocket. The chains on his hands jangled as he put them back at his side.

“You were a part of the Third Northern Expedition, correct?” Emil asked.

“I was,” Nimmo said.

“Then I believe we have—”

“And you know how that expedition ended,” Nimmo said. “Don’t pretend you don’t remember.”

Emil smiled. His eyes narrowed. He snapped his fingers and the guard behind Nimmo swung something heavy behind Nimmo’s knee. Nimmo collapsed. He winced as the chains around his ankles and wrists dug into his skin. Before he could do anything more, the guard grabbed Nimmo by the collar and hoisted him back onto his feet.

“Do not interrupt me again,” Emil snarled.

The guard let Nimmo go. He stumbled forward, but regained his composure.

“I know everyone but you perished at sea,” Emil said. “I also know that you somehow managed to make it back. Considering the Northern Waters are still as impossible to navigate as it was back then, I begrudgingly say you are the most skilled mariner we have available.”

“So now you’re sending me to die?”

“If that were the case, I’d kill you right here. No, I want to get as much use out of a traitor as I can. Garand isn’t a traitor, and he’s also a skilled mariner. Sail to the Northern Waters and find him. If you return, then I’ll let you go.”

“And if I refuse?”

Emil leaned forward. “Then you can be the next round of cannon fodder. If I were you, I’d hoist the sail again.”

6 months ago

Raid in the Shadow of Fear
By: The Missing Link

Call me Ishmael, navigation computer for the pirate ship Pequod. You see the captain is a bit of an eccentric, rather the whole crew is, thespians who felt the call of adventure. While I cannot understand it, I have scanned through the captain’s favorite book. SUGGESTION. Do not call him Ahab. While some of the crew may joke we hunt whales of a kind, he fancies himself more of a Sinbad the Sailor type.

“Ishmael,” the captain shouted with equal parts glee and confidence, “Any news on our target.”


“You heard that lads, ladies, battle positions. Ishmael, set course for intercept behind Phobos.”


The Pequod’s sails flare bright gold as they catch the solar winds, bathing my panels in ultraviolet bliss. To Mars we go. Though far away, I see the spire of Olympus Mons shadow the colony, still red amongst a sea of grey and green, seeming to point to our cover’s twin, Deimos as it obscures the sun from our view. I did say the captain enjoyed his theatrics. And then, I see the Dionysus, white as a ghost, crest into the sky on a wave of exhaust vapor before it breaches the atmosphere. Show time.

On the captain’s signal, I set off the dummies, little more than balloons, to force the ship to change course. Small enough to slip radar, and of course, biodegradable. The ship wails in effort as its air thrusters struggle to change its course.


The ship pulls into Phobian orbit, inviting the saboteurs waiting in its shadows to attach the airlock, a loose, filmy bubble, to the cargo door. They drill into the belly of the beast, opening a path to the riches inside.

I’m a bit disappointed, or at least that’s the associated emotion in my database. Amateurs. Our crew is out in a flash, the bubble engorged with treasure, and like it never suspected a thing, the Dionysus sails onward to Luna.

6 months ago

Wild Liberty
By Taja DaLeen

Once upon a time, back when magic was still known to all, there was this ship. She was very beautiful, with a figurehead in the shape of a unicorn, made of wood so light it was almost white, and with translucent sails that shimmered in all the colors of the rainbow. While her crew consisted of both magicals and nonmagicals, she herself was enchanted; she didn’t need any wind to sail, as long as the witch captain was at the steering wheel it went onward by the sheer force of will, and the overwhelming wish to be free.

Many a passenger found themselves on that ship without knowing how they got there. She resonated with your feelings; and once she deemed your need for freedom worthy, you were brought as part of her crew.

Not that anyone ever complained about having to leave their old life behind like that. You wouldn’t either if you could choose to sail with mages and therianthropes, meeting mermaids and selkies and maybe even the occasional kelpie that left its river, no? You’d rather go on adventures, looking for treasures, fighting krakens and sirens, and not worry about a place to live or a job or all those mundane things, wouldn’t you?

Well, you are not alone. And lucky for you and many others feeling the same, it is said that she defied the ravages of time and still sails the seas to this date. To get on board, you just have to wish for freedom more than anything, it has to become your biggest desire.

And once it is, you might just find yourself part of the crew of Wild Liberty.

6 months ago

Sea Born

by Galer

“You know? In ancient times people would see us with a bad eye!” Lionel said while using his strength to haul in the catch in this, tempestuous weather. He used his wide wings as a form of leverage to get it into the ship. “Is a bit Ironic now that we are helping a ship now, right Genima!?”

“Less chat, more singing old man,!” said the mermaid, and then she sang to motivate the crew of the ship. “Little bit of turbulence, my ass!”

As she exclaimed, a tentacle almost hit the ship. An immense tail was splashing the surface of the water.

The captain really needed to jinx them like this? There would be turbulence but not in the middle of a fight between a kraken and a leviathan. The battle created nauseatingly high waves.

This made the crew do anything in their power to not let the catch and the ship go to Davy Jones’s locker It was a place no one particularly wanted to end in.

“Oh screw off I am not that old!” Lionel replied with his usual joviality. He started singing a sea shanty, intermixing with everyone’s song. That would have been a chaotic madness-ridden mess if not for the others trying to improvise along.

It was specialized to motivate the crew with a burst of more adrenaline than usual. Magic to trigger their chi-enhanced hysterical strength.

The effect would have been better if half of the crew wasn’t using water magic to get the immense waves to spare them at the moment.

And finally, after some effort, they got the last of the catch out.

The voice of the captain blared out of the speakers, “Ladies and gentlemen, hold on to something. We are going to get the hell out of here!”

“Oh thank god!” exclaimed Genima as she stopped singing.

The engine got into high gear, slowly but surely getting them into more tranquil waters.

Yet another typical day for the crew of The Indomitable ended.

Lee Strangely
Lee Strangely
6 months ago

by Lee Strangely
(mild CW: some physical abuse)

The sweat and saltwater filled the air as men crowded below deck, surrounding the net that thrashed about.

“For god’s sake, just grab it!” one of them shouted.

One man moved back and forth, waiting to pounce. As his hands drew closer, his eyes remained fixed to her silvery green tail as it whipped about; as it glimmered in the flickering lamplight.

After some taunting from the crew he finally lunged, wrapping his arms around her slippery body.

“Lelnou!” she shrieked.

Two others went for her arms as she clawed at anything that got near her.

“Lelulu nou!”

Suddenly, she jerked. The first man dropped her, screaming. He stared at his lacerated hands, then turned back to her, catching a glimpse of the thin fin-spines along her body as they retracted.

She shouted, “Runa!”

In retaliation another man hit her across the face with a thick piece of rope, as if it were a whip.

“Amana!” she cried, “lamé, runa amu!”
Right as he was about to swing again, another crewmate grabbed him, “that’s enough, just throw her overboard.”

“Why, so she’ll swim to another ship?” He grinned, drawing a dagger, “they’re bad luck…”

“Runa! AMANA!”


The other two let go. Everyone in that room went silent. All turned to the man with the dagger as he collapsed.


Everyone looked up at smoking, splintered hole in the ceiling.


They flinched with each step.




Standing at the bottom of the stairs with a pistol in hand, the figure’s glare pierced the shadows.

“C-captian,” a crewmate stammered, “w-w-we caught a mermaid…”

“I see that,” she growled. The smell of the smoldering wicks woven into her blackened hair followed as she walked closer. “Back to your posts…”


They quickly began clearing the room. As they did, she knelt beside the mermaid.

“Amana!” the mermaid cheered.

The captain cradled her, “Emla aro, Irra atha… Amanala atha.”

One paused, whispering to his friend, “what’s she saying?”

She immediately turned back, “Leave… NOW!”

As they scurried away she returned to her, “{Why daughter, did you come here?}”

6 months ago

Pensions for Pirates
by Shinigama

David Milton, manager of Bigmouth-on-Sea bank, neatly sharpened his pencil. He then neatly signed some forms before neatly placing them into his drawer. As he did so, there came a knock at the door.

The rather flustered shape of Janice, the front desk clerk, entered his office.

“Er, Mr. Milton?” she said. Her feet shuffled awkwardly.

“Yes, Janice?” asked David.

“There’re some customers who are being a bit… difficult…” Janice began.

“I see. Don’t worry, I’ll see to it,” said David, neatly standing up and neatly walking through the door before Janice could stop him.

If it weren’t for the protective screen, he would have neatly walked onto the very sharp cutlass pointed at him. Holding it was a snarling black beard sporting a black captain’s hat. From their shoulder leered a green parrot. Beside the not-so-very-gentle man was a gaggle of twenty smelly and scrawny shapes, wielding as many blades, but only about half as many limbs.

“Yar, finally, I be talkin’ to the captain of this establishment!” growled the captain of the band of customers, waving the cutlass.

David gulped and straightened his tie. “How may I help you?” he blurted out.

He jumped as the captain dumped a handful of metal objects onto the table; precious pearls, radiant rubies and shiny silver coins.

“Me and my crew have been toilin’ away-” began the captain.

“TOILIN’ AWAY!” squawked the parrot.

“-sailin’ the seven seas-”


“-all to build a little nest egg for our retirement-”


“SHUT IT, ya rotten, landlubbin’ bird!”

The parrot closed its beak hurriedly.

“Anyways,” continued the captain, “We be told that we’re not allowed to deposit our hard-earned treasure in this here bank. ’tis not legal tender, they be callin’ it. Now what say ye?”

David stared eyes wide open. That small pile of jewelry alone was worth more than the bank itself.

David was a neat man. But inside, he was just as rotten as his clientele.

He flashed a neat smile and said, “Can I interest you in one of our pension schemes?”

6 months ago

As deep and vast as dreams can be (Private thread repost)
by Aracnarquista

“Hoist the sail and raise the flag, my boys. This vast ocean is ours to explore, and fortune’s winds blow today!”

It was funny listening to such an enthusiastic shout come out of the captain’s voice. Especially considering how high-pitched and childish his voice is. I shouldn’t complain, though, as my voice sounds exactly the same.

“Captain, I don’t mean no disrespect, but none of that is possible or true. This ship has no true mast from which we could hoist a sail, there is no wind today, we have no flag and this isn’t even an ocean.”

“Mate, I swear one day I will make you walk the plank for being so contrarian. Live a little. We are having fun, we are a pirate crew sailing the seven seas!”

Truth be told, I can’t help but feel proud at how imaginative and passionate the captain can be. Still, the impulse of correcting him is stronger than me. I look around his vast and deep oceans and his ship, and all I see is the contrast of grey unto gray – newspaper against cement.

“Captain… there is no plank in this vessel! Even if we had one, you could not make me walk it. You know we both are just figments of imagination, floating on a paper boat down a shallow stream on the street. Even the child whose dreams conjured us into being is not seeing us anymore – she went inside when her mother called her. Playtime is over.”

The face of the captain lightened up, and not just by some trick of the light. He had some captaineous wisdom to share.

“My dear mate, how can you say “just” figments of imagination from a child.That we are, yes. But is there anything more powerful and wonderful? Is there anything more ripe with possibilities? You are mistaken in thinking little Sam has forgotten about us. Right now, she is telling her mother of our wonderful adventures in these dangerous waters – don’t you see that’s how we are still here? Onwards we sail, for little Sam’s big dreams!”

6 months ago

A vampire at sea

by Reinkarnitor

‘I’m going be sick’ was all Fiona could think about.

She got rocked back and forth in her coffin, constantly banging against one of the walls. If she were not dead already, she was certain that she would have been covered in bruises.

‘Why did I even go there to begin with?’ she groaned in her mind.

It was 1880, and she was somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, on her way back to Great Britain. She had to admit that she may have gotten a bit too excited when she moved to the not so New World five years ago. She waited almost a hundred years for things to settle down in the newly established United States of America, but even now…after five years of living there, she realized that she would always belong in London, and so, with a heavy heart, she decided to take yet another hellish sea trip back to her foggy homeland.

The sea…the biggest running water there was. It was a nightmare. She did not even want to imagine what would happen to her, if the ship would sink.

She would’ve loved to walk a bit on the ship to get out of her coffin, but firstly it was broad daylight right now with nothing but open water for miles and miles, nothing providing even the tiniest amount of shade, and secondly…nobody actually knew she was on board. She already caused quite a ruckus last night when somebody spotted her for a second and then the rumour of a restless spirit haunting the ship spread…there was no way she would put more coal into that fire.

‘I’ll have to endure it’ she thought and tried to distract herself with fantasies of what she’d do, once she arrived back in London.

Still…whoever first decided to build a ship and sail the seas…that person, at least in her mind, must have been insane.

Last edited 6 months ago by Reinkarnitor
6 months ago

Just Sit Right Back and You’ll Hear a Tale, a Tale of a Fateful Trip
By Marx

There are benefits to being in the middle of nowhere.

And as Murphy surveyed his surroundings from his spot on the ship, he watched the sands of the seemingly endless beach on one side and the waters of the seemingly endless ocean on the other, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Because another thing Murphy didn’t see was demons. Except for the one, of course. Nisha was busy getting the ship ready for departure. Even the fact that she was trusting him to be the lookout was a good sign considering she had much better eyesight. If she wasn’t worried, he assumed he shouldn’t be either.

Then again, Murphy knew exactly jack and squat about sailing a normal ship, much less whatever they were on now. Letting his eyes wander, he took in the stretched muscle and skeleton appearance of the sea craft.

There was a time when he would have questioned this. When he would have wondered if it were alive. When he would have wondered how Nisha even came across such a thing.

But that time had long passed. The hows didn’t matter. Neither did the whys. Once this ship set sail, it would just be him and Nisha for a few glorious weeks with nothing around them but ocean.

No demons popping up every other day lured by the scent of his blood. No brutal fights leaving mental scars of things Murphy would never be able to unsee. Just peace, quiet and solitude.

When he’d initially asked for this, he hadn’t expected Nisha to be so onboard about the idea. After all, they had to leave their ‘safe space’ in order to get here, putting themselves in danger merely to get a momentary reprieve from it.

But if they would actually be able to drop their guard for more than a few moments at a time, all the trouble would be worth it.

“Ready to go?” Nisha asked, grinning from the front of the ship, which looked suspiciously like a giant skull.


He still wasn’t gonna question it…

Murphy merely smiled back. “So ready.”

Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
6 months ago

That ship sailed

By Tamela Redfin

Reagan looked at her shaking hands. She knew her body craved the sweet taste of fermented berries, but she knew better than to give in. Thanks to Jezebel and her boyfriends, she had been doing such a good job detoxing.

But soon, her limits would be put to the test.

She was having lunch with her family on the seaside when she heard a familiar sound. “Hold on, I’ll be back.” Reagan told her family.

Standing on the seaside was someone she never wanted to see again. “Really Reagan? It’s been thirteen years and no call? No letters? No letting me visit my daughters?”

“Oh, your daughters? You didn’t sound interested in fatherhood last I knew, especially not when you ratted me out to your mother and said ‘I hope the bastard dies.’”

Edison shrugged. “Well that one wasn’t mine. But Sapphira and Zirconia are. Let me see them, Reagan!”

Reagan flexed her claws. “Really? Also, if you really loved me, you wouldn’t have been rough, forced me to be straight, and you would have taken in Jasper, your blood son or not!”

“But our moms thought we’d be cute together…”

“I don’t care what my mother thinks! I care that you did horrible things to me and the children. Now I’m supposed to give you a second chance because our mothers were delusional?” She swiped her claws across his face. “Now fuck off!”

He let out a blood curdling scream. she ran off as crimson dripped down her claws. Nobody was going to hurt her or her family like that.

Zirconia walked over to her.
“I’m ok. Want to get your siblings and home?” Reagan asked.

“Sure mom.” Zirconia nodded.

“If only Lukey was here…” Reagan muttered. She wished she could speak to her dear sweet. She wanted to talk about their son and the time they missed.

Later she asked Salvador about it. “His name is Lukas Vene. Age: 34. I want him to meet his son.”

Salvador nodded, “If we can track down puppy mills and illegal dog fighting rings, we can find Lukas.”

Old n Gold
Old n Gold
6 months ago

An Important Voyage
by Old n Gold

Lévi paced along the white sandy beach with his hand against the back of his neck. A small rowboat floated sluggishly up and down against the shore just beside him. Suddenly, a man burst through the thick bush onto the beach, almost tripping on the soft sand as he looked around himself in a disoriented fashion.

“Dammit Reg what took you so long?!” Lévi asked as he quickly readied the rowboat.

“The trees is what,” Reg replied, shaking his head, “can’t find your way in a maze of the same bloody tree.”

“Well thankfully the sea is lacking in trees, get in,” Lévi gestured towards Reg as he already began making his way to his ship docked further into the bay. It was a small vessel but it had a sturdy character which allowed it to steel its way across the ocean to this faraway land.

The two arrived at the vessel and climbed aboard, the crew, formerly relaxing on the deck, hurriedly began to rush to their posts at the sight of their captain.

“Hoist the sails!” yelled Lévi over the sounds of the birds, “and make it quick if you can, I’d like to make it on the open ocean before sundown.”

Lévi had never been this hasty before, but he had good reason. He had received a letter the other day while he was docked in town concerning his mother. She had been struck with a terrible illness several months ago, and reading between the lines it was clear that it would be fatal. It was for this dire situation that he ought to—nay—he must sail back to his hometown across the ocean, and fast.

Lévi’s family had all died in the years he had been across the ocean without so much as a goodbye, and he was sure to not let that happen to the only family he had left.

Soon, with the help of his now energetic crew, Lévi and his ship took sail from the secluded bay, heading to a small town across the ocean.

C. M. Weller
6 months ago

Teaching is Hell [A Devil’s Tale]
C. M. Weller

A cat follows a man on board a ship, then that man is good luck. A cat follows a HELLKIN on board a ship? Well. The luck at least cancels out.

This particular devilborn gave no name. He answered to ‘Hellkin’ and that seemed to be enough. He was unnervingly quiet, and watched with an intensity that made everyone nervous. You could SEE him committing words to memory.

Captain Haaloch of the Fortuitous Matron had tried to get the rest of his crew to show the Hellkin the ropes, but each and every mother’s son had complained. So now he was doing it.

It was the looming. This odd fellow had a natural tendency to loom, and therefore frightened the piss out of all of his sailors. Hellkin frightened the piss out of Haaloch, too, but he had to swallow it and turn this ominous presence into a sailor.

“This is one of the mainsail lines,” he said. “Sheets one to four. Here, here, here, and…” he accidentally met that intense and absorbing stare. Haaloch forced himself to continue, swallowing his terror. “…here.”

Nod. “Are they stationed?”

“No. You man the one that needs the help. Sheets one and three hoist it. Sheets two and four guide… it… down.” He could swear those yellow eyes were drilling into his soul. “These cords on the yardarm… -uh- keep it tidy during storms.”

“So the wild winds don’t take us away, ja?” said Hellkin.

“Yeah. Exactly.” If he looked at the horns, he didn’t have to meet those unrelenting eyes. He forced himself to carry on. “These ropes are for securing loose cargo whenever we have some on deck. They’re under nets for now in case of storms.”

“Hallo katzchen,” cooed the monster, bending to pet the ships’ cat in the middle of the coils.

The cat gave his blue thumb a wash, and continued to not come to any harm from it.

Hellkin had a rare true-smile, made more unnerving for the fact that all his teeth came to sharp points.

The sooner he could drop this creature off, the better.

6 months ago

Voyage of the F.T.S. Squirrel (Frontier Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Reynard stood on the bridge of his airship, an eager smile on his face. The Squirrel wasn’t a big ship, but it was his and the launch was something he looked forward to most, every time a new voyage dawned.

The smuggler checked the instruments, making sure that every rotor was properly aligned. He noticed a small irregularity and radioed through to the engine room and the left, front rotor was several degrees too low. Even through the glass of the bridge, he could hear the satisfying clicking of metal gears, as the rotor shifted up. He allowed himself a moment to watch the rotor move, before ordering the engineer to stop.

He didn’t need to check the instruments. He’d been flying the Squirrel for long enough to know when rotors were properly aligned, just by looking at them. He let his gaze move over the landing platform, which the airship was still tethered to, seeing a fuel tank being rolled to the side. Barely a few seconds later, he received word that the helium had been fully replenished and the microtears in the airship’s balloon had been repaired.

Reynard double-checked the fuel gauge. They were all filled up and ready to launch.

“Engines, report,” he called into his radio.

“All engines ready. We’re just waiting on the tethers.”

Reynard turned several nozzles and heard the whirring of the rotors, as the engines started up. Helium was pumped into the balloon and he heard the familiar noise of it blowing itself up to full size. It didn’t take long for him to smell the familiar scent of the engine exhausts. On an airship this small, the smell permeated the entire space. Unfortunate, but what could you do. Something hissed and Reynard adjusted the controls of the pressure valves. The whirring reached a high pitch and he positioned himself at the steering controls.

He could hire a pilot, but he preferred to do it himself.

“Release tethers!” he called through a radio.

Barely a minute later, a light in front of him flashed green and the Squirrel rose from the ground.

6 months ago

Amhrán an Ghrá

Finola wandered the dried wastes, wondering what would become of her. Sealskin tied carefully around her waist, she mourned the emaciated ground she walked on, remembering when it was filled with water.

The bright sun burned her sensitive eyes, and her skin felt too dry. She thought of her sister, the one she had been searching so long for. Was there water where she was, or did this calamity span the entire globe?

She poured through her memory to find the spell that summoned water, foregoing the canteen and instead summoning it into her open hands, drinking with gluttonous abandon, since she didn’t know when she would find anything. The water that fell from her hands was immediately consumed by the ravenous ground, leaving none for any who might pass by.

Finola was tired. She did not know how long she had been walking, and she begged for the cool of night to be soon. She zoned out and kept walking forward, not needing to waste precious energy on things like conscious thought.

It was in this unconscious state that she fell into it: a beam of wood sticking out of the sands that were once the bottommost depths of the sea. When she saw the tattered flag she knew it at once: the remains of their first ship. The ThunderStrike had long since been lost, but now it was unburied, a corpse of a ship whose grave had been desecrated.

The only thing that kept her from weeping was the need to conserve water. Did she leave it to rest, or did she enter its depths to find painful memories of her lost captain and distant crewmates?

Finding the ship, she knew she couldn’t be more than ten leagues away from what used to be a shoreline city. She pointed herself in her best estimation of East and trekked along.

Dagmar Makara (dystop)
Dagmar Makara (dystop)
6 months ago

Pirate Poetry Parley
by dystop (Dagmar Makara)

“Yarrr! Roam the sea and hoist the sail, swish-zi-swash ye’re a blubbering whale!”

Great, the crew of the Dancing Orange had boarded us.

I’d heard about Parley pirates who battled with rhymes & poetry, thought it was myth. You idiots have no idea I read the dictionary for fun.

The plump plum Captain Orange began: “HAIL THEE- Strip thee bare & winch your smiles; your breath is off the Beaufort Scale!”

“Ohhh, Navigator!”- he bellowed. “Your turn.”

“You’re blackmailing and molotov cocktailing- your disinterested Auntie was Fahrenheit Scaling…!”

Are you f-ing kidding me?! You’re using repetition of syllables to piss me off, you’re no poet. Right, that’s it- Poetic Parley I shall fire…

“Straight from hell and murky depths, after all that rum you’re a rotund mess!”.

“Outrage!”, spluttered Orange.

“WELL?”, I said, continuing.

“You think you’re such a heartthrob, but your ship is full of slobs! You’ll only stay afloat as a corpse without a throat!”

Captain Orange was pouring sweat.

“Oi!”, shouted my Shipwright.

“With passion, or I jump in!”- he demanded.

“Then jump in! I’m hungover, go away, I just want my coconut”.

“YARR!! View thy crew and that priceless strongbox, your Scabby sea-bass of a Navigator stole its stocks.”

“Codswallop!”, interjected Orange.

“Then why’s it empty?”.

Not bad, Shipwright.

Orange huffed like a steam engine. Made my hangover look like the sniffles.

“I’m taking over, I’ve had enough of this lunatic and I just want a bloody nap”.

Orange sneered, face brick-red from cholesterol and embarrassment.

“Hey, Orange, let’s put an end to this– I just want a coconut, man.

I cleared my throat.

“Ahem. With TWENTY pieces of PURPLE SILVER coins and the NINTH moon- You turn into a hideous WOLF. Let rhymes deregulate- let’s DISCOMBOBULATE.”

Orange was beetroot. These words have no rhymes. What followed was a fever dream.

“I… with… schventry… um, brillcream and the Crickey moon, you’re merely a… sulphur? Roam… the sea and hoist… the sail, schlurple waddle worbage, now… bumfuzzle hullabaloo bumbershoot…

“Now get off my DAMN ship, I have a really bad hangover and I want my DAMN coconut!”