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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

A man was found floating in the ocean and was rescued. The ship that rescued him is on the hunt for a pirate ship. I don't want to spoil too much, or what would be the point in reading it?

Ethan Myers
The drenched red-haired man fell to the deck, dripping salt water from his beard and clothes, coughing.
Captain Dalco pointed to one of the crew mates, “You! Get this man a blanket!” He barked.
“Aye, cap!” the crew mate saluted and hurried off below deck.
Dalco turned to the rescued man and knelt down to his eye level. “What is your name?”
The red-haired man coughed, “Eiser…Eisermech.”
Dalco nodded, “Eisermech,” he repeated the name, “Welcome aboard the Watershark. I’m Captain Dalco Secher of the Nadraska Fleet, and this is my second-in-command, Conneil Thiserbay.” He pointed to the other uniformed man standing beside him and then held out a hand. Eisermech grasped a cold, wet hand onto his and shook it. Dalco helped him to his feet while the mate threw on a warm blanket over Eisermech’s shoulder.
“I-i-i-if I m-m-may ask,” Eisermech shivered, “W-w-where is the W-w-w-watershark b-b-bound for?”
“No where.” Dalco answered, “We’re on the hunt for the Crimson Cannon. A pirate ship. We’ve lost all of our shipments to that renegade ship, and we’re on a voyage to send it to the bottom of the ocean. By order of Operdias Niana, of course. We were on their trail when the storm hit us and delayed our pursuit. I’m assuming the storm sank your ship?”
Eisermech nodded, “I w-w-was a passenger of the Tigris Talon. W-w-w-we were emb-b-barking for Sudorvirl w-w-when the storm threw the sh-sh-ship over. I’m n-n-not sure if there are any other survivors.”
Dalco patted his shoulder, “I assure you, we’ll see to it that we find any others. In the mean time…Conneil?” He barked.
“Sir?” Conneil sounded off.
“Take this man below deck and bring him some more warmth. And I apologize Eisermech, but tomorrow you’ll have to work as part of the crew.
Eisermech smiled weakly, “I wasn’t expecting a free voyage. I will g-g-gladly serve you in thanks for r-r-rescuing me.”
Conneil started escorting Eisermech away when Dalco grabbed his shoulder and whispered in his ear, “Question him. Find out if he’s really an overboard passenger or one of the pirates.” Conneil nodded slightly and continued off with his duty, walking Eisermech down below.
Dalco glanced around at the watchful eyes of his crew. “Get back to your duties!” He barked. In that instant, every crewmate went to their work.
Puffs of smoke floated out of Dalco’s pipe as he sat in his quarters waiting. He knew that accusing Eisermech of being a pirate was a little, if not, paranoid. Yet it was the safety of the crew and Nadraska that was at stake here. And if he is as he says, then that would put away his suspicions about him. Dalco spent hours into the evening pondering about Eisermech.
Finally the cabin doors opened and Conneil came inside.
“Evening Conneil.” Dalco said in between puffing smoke.
Conneil tipped his hat before removing it, “And to you captain.” He sat down on the chair in front of Dalco.
He removed his pipe, “So what have you found out?”
Conneil shifted in his chair, “He’s an interesting man. When he felt warm enough and stopped stuttering, he told me stories of his life in Rychtolm, to the east of Nadraska. Stories like his time when a robber stole his locket and how he confronted that very thief when he went to the same inn. Jack Rabbit’s Hollow, I think it was. I’ve been there myself about nine years ago on diplomatic duty. When I asked him about the inn, he described everything like how I know it.”
Dalco nodded, “So do you think he’s actually who he says?”
“I know so, Captain. He doesn’t seem like the kind of man to lie. Everything he’s told me is all truth.”
Dalco exhaled a long held breath. Although he was relieved that Eisermech was a truthful man, he was more disappointed that he wasn’t a pirate. Now finding the Crimson Cannon was proving to be a difficult task.
“I suppose he’s our responsibility now. Until we dock back in Nadraska, that is.” He puffed another burst of smoke out of his pipe. “What do you think of him?”
Conneil hesitated, thinking. “He’s a likable gentleman with a big heart warm enough to melt away any doubt.”
Dalco raised an eyebrow, “That’s a strange way to describe him.” He tapped his pipe, “But at least we have an optimist who could raise moral if it’s ever at a decline.” He chuckled to himself. “He’ll be helpful if we’re out here for longer than the men can stand.”
He set his pipe on his desk and drew two wine glasses and a bottle of cherry brandy, filling the glasses and then handing one to Conneil.
Dalco raised his glass, “Let us hope that this overboard swimmer doesn’t prove to be an anchor in our back pockets.” The two men smiled and toasted.
It was mid-afternoon and the skies were clear with wind blowing in their general direction. Dalco watched Eisermech from the quarterdeck, diligently scrubbing the deck, conversing with the other mates merrily. He chuckled to himself, seeing Eisermech put smiles on the crewmates with his talk and jokes. Whatever was said was being drowned out by the clattering footsteps of other crewmates and the chirping seagulls above. It probably was about him in a non-respected manner, he mused. Dalco understood the men’s way of coping to stress by making jokes to the one in higher authority, so long as he didn’t hear it.
He turned back to the map and compass on a barrel next to the helm to consult with his officers, “I’m certain we’ve made thorough sweeps of the entire outer rim.” Said Conneil, speaking to the other two uniformed men, “The ship must be hiding in the Valtorica Isles, somewhere here.” He pointed to two small squiggly circles on the diagram.
“They wouldn’t be in hiding at the most known pirate hideout.” Argued a first officer named Bartves, “The renegades there only raid those that are on the Welcester trade route, and the Crimson has only been reported seen near the outer rim of Nadraska seas. They would have to be at the Peaking Reef.”
“No sailor would dare go into the reefs.” The second officer, Taric, stated. “The coral there would tear the Keel to shreds. The Crimson would be resting at the bottom of the ocean if it were in hiding there.”
Conneil pointed to Taric, “Yet if I’m not mistaken, I’ve heard that in those reports, the Crimson appeared to be a light ship, seeing most of the Hull out of the water.”
“Those reports are often mistaken.” Taric countered, “I wouldn’t take their word for it, even if I knew there was treasure to be found at Urbraken Island.”
“True.” Dalco spoke. All heads turned to the captain, “But if that were the case, then I think we should head just north of the Peaking Reef. Here.” He tapped a long diagram of an island. “At Tevornach.”
Bartves nodded, stroking his thick brown beard, “Aye. I agree. If memory serves me well, I believe there is a cave there on the rocky shores, big enough to fit the Crimson. Provided if the ‘reports are correct.’”
“It may be a short course,” Taric said, glancing up at the flags, “The wind is favorable today, blowing in that direction if we were to take it. My bet is…we’d be there in three nights, at best.”
“So it’s decided.” Dalco turned to the helm and twisted it to the right, glancing down at the compass set on the map, watching until the red needle swayed until it pointed east. He turned to his officers, “We’ll move in under the cover of night. If the Crimson is where we think it is, we’ll have the upper hand with the element of surprise at our side.”
“Aye sir.” They all shouted and then went down to the deck resuming their patrol on the working men and making sure the slackers get something useful to do. Dalco followed Bartves down, watching the mates. Especially Eiermech.
“I hope putting a stowaway in your care isn’t too much of a trouble for you?” Asked Dalco.
Bartves glanced up and grinned, “Oh he’s no trouble sir. He does the work well. I don’t think I’ve seen my reflection on the deck since being enlisted on the Watershark. A great person to chat with too.”
“Glad to hear that.” Dalco nodded.
“He’s a likable gentleman with a big heart warm enough to melt away any doubt. That’s how I think of him, that is.”
Dalco smiled thinly, “That’s interesting. Because Conneil said that exactly about him last night.”
Bartves laughed, “Well, if you were to talk with him, you’d agree with us.”
Two days had passed when the wind started to blow against the Watershark, delaying their course to Tevornach. Dalco stood by the railing, watching the sails rolled up and the men tying and swinging ropes towards each other. Nearby, two crewmates were pulling on their rope, talking.
“Look at that red headed bloke up there, doing all the muscle work than any one of us here. He certainly loves to please.”
“So he does. And he’s a great people pleaser. Did you hear him talk the other day? Everyone loves him. He was telling us stories about his time on the ship before it sank.”
“I was sound asleep below. But it sounds like that bloke, Eisermech I think, is a good man.”
“He most certainly is. He told us that while on the Tigris, he accidentally bumped into a rather large lad on the way to docking it. He gave his apologies and then said, ‘why are you wearing men’s attire, m’lady? I mean, what sort of woman would denounce herself to sport in men’s garment.’ Then when the lad turned, he learned that it was a man, not a lady.”
They laughed, “Oh I should speak with the man when chance allows me.”
“You’ll love him. He’s a likeable gentleman with a big heart warm enough to melt away any doubt.”
Dalco frowned and turned to the two conversing crewmates. Many crewmates were starting to repeat the phrase to everyone for the past couple days. He thought it was innocent, but strange. Who’s telling everyone to say that about him?
He suddenly heard a loud thud on the deck. He looked and saw two crewmates wrestling, punching each other. All the other mates came over and cheered for the fight. Dalco rushed over, pushing through the mob and barked orders.
“Enough already you two! Stop this Nonsense!”
The fight didn’t stop abruptly as expected. Not even the crowd stopped cheering. “Stop this! I command you stop this immediately!” Dalco exclaimed.
The fighters hit harder, not even listening to Dalco. Their fists pounded into each others faces and sounded like a hammer hitting wood. “I COMMAND YOU TO STOP!!!” Dalco exploded. His fury only raged on further as the fighting didn’t stop.
He opened his mouth to yell again, when Eisermech came and pulled the two brawlers away from each other, “Hey hey, come on now!” He pleaded, “We’re all friends here. We don’t need to continue this pointlessness.”
Eisermech stood between the two, pushing each other away until they both relaxed.
“See, now that’s better. But your captain ordered you to stop minutes ago. I don’t think he’s very happy.” They quickly stood straight, hands behind their backs and looking into Dalco’s glaring eyes while he watched Eisermech salute quickly and shuffled his way into the crowd.
He shot his eyes back at the two men, standing with motionless poise. “Must I ask you gentlemen how did all of this intolerable behavior happen?”
The two men made quick eye contact to each other and the back to Dalco.
“Fine.” Dalco growled, “Have it your way. I demand an explaination!” He looked to one to his left. “Well?!”
“I-it was only a disagreement sir.” Replied the man. Dalco saw the mate’s face sweating like a waterfall. “It just got out of hand.”
Dalco shot a glance to the other, hands on his hip, “About what?” He was silent. “About. What.”
Still no answer. The two mates glanced at each other again.
“Conneil!” He barked.
“Yes sir.” Conneil sounded off behind him.
“Take these two to the mast. Fifty lashings should be fit.” Dalco expected to see the two mates’ faces flush pale. Instead, he was more impressed than disappointed to see that they were unmoved by their punishment.
Nobody moved. Nobody said anything. Not even Conneil. Dalco frowned and turned to his second-in-command. Conneil was looking off into the crowd.
“Conneil!” He barked. Conneil didn’t respond but continue to look into the crowd. Dalco turned to follow his gaze, only to discover that he was looking at Eisermech, nodding.
Eisermech stepped forward from the crowd. “I apologize for this inconvenience, Captain Dalco.” Dalco heard a blade ringing from its scabbard behind him. He quickly turned back to Conneil.
His cutlass was drawn and was pointed at Dalco. Suddenly there was a chorus of ringing blades all around him. Every crewmate had their cutlasses drawn and pointed to him.
“But I’m taking the Watershark.” Eisermech gallantly said. Dalco shot a glaring stare at him. “Please, take no offense to this. I only mean to have the ship, not have any blood shed.”
Dalco drew his sword and spun around, facing all the crewmates. “So you would all commit yourselves to something as dishonorable and soulless act of mutiny?!” He exclaimed to the men.
“Mutiny?” Eisermech raised an eyebrow, “My captain, this isn’t mutiny. There is no rebellion. Your men love you with their lives. And believe me, I know. They’ve all told me how great of a man you are and how they would sacrifice themselves for you.”
Dalco turned and raised the tip of his sword to Eisermech. “If that’s what they’ve told you, then why have they drawn swords on me? This is what any sea captain would call mutiny.”
Eisermech sighed and hung his head, “I believe I should repeat myself. I’m taking the ship. Not these gentlemen.”
Dalco blinked, “What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about me. Just me. I’ll be the one taking control of the Watershark. These men are going to be my fine expendable drones.”
“Expendable drones?!” He looked again to the crowd, “And you all agreed to this?!”
“They didn’t.”
Dalco gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes, “What do you mean by this? How else would they commit themselves to be under the slave labor of you?”
“Slave labor?!” Eisermech jeered. “Oh please. They’re not going against their will, because they no longer have it.”
Dalco hesitated. “How?”
Eisermech shrugged, “If I knew I would tell you. You see, I have a way with people. Even when I was a small child, people did as I told just after I had a pleasant conversation with them. It was wonderful watching those boys and girls dance at my command. However, my hometown became aware of my ‘demonic’ speech craft, so I took my things and began to live in another town. I had to find some way of controlling the neighbors without arousing suspicion, and so I would often tell people to describe me. Everyone!”
“He is a likeable gentleman with a big heart warm enough to melt away any doubt.” The crew echoed.
Dalco drew a breath. This isn’t possible! But it’s happening! How?
Eisermech chuckled, “Your shock is amusing. That’s exactly how the Crimson Cannon’s last captain felt about this gift.”
Dalco eyed Eisermech. “Yes, it is I. The former pirate captain of the Crimson Cannon. Unfortunately, the storm that hit days ago sank my ship and all of my crew drowned. Don’t get me wrong, they were all avid swimmers, but I can’t exactly command them to swim while underwater.”
“Then…”Dalco didn’t finish.
“Quite right!” Eisermech cheerfully answered the unsaid question, “The crew of the Crimson Cannon surrendered their will to me, with no choice of course.”
Dalco was at loss with words. He couldn’t believe them. “No. This isn’t possible.” He muttered.
“I’m afraid it is. Allow me to demonstrate. Taric? Jump over board.”
In that instant, Dalco watched his second officer rush over to the railing and threw himself over. After the splash, Dalco dropped his sword consumed with terror.
Eisermech grinned, “Satisfied?”
Dalco hesitated a long moment, “If your speech craft is effective on my crew, why hasn’t it worked on me?”
Eisermech scratched his head, “I could never understand it myself, but for whatever reason I can never make men of high authority bend to my will. It might have to do with having a disciplined mind, but I’m not certain of myself.”
Dalco fell to his knees, wide eyes with bewilderment. His crew was dead and there wasn’t a single drop of blood spilled.
“Oh don’t feel too bad, captain, I have no intention of killing you. Quite the opposite in fact.”  Eisermech snapped his fingers and Conneil and Bartves grabbed Dalco’s arms and hoisted him up. “Would you two gentlemen kindly take this honorable captain to a boat?”
Without a word of acknowledgement, the two officers dragged Dalco over to one of the boats being lowered. He didn’t fight it. He wouldn’t take the lives of his trusted men which made his chest feel hollow.
He allowed them to toss him into the boat as it went lower and lower to the ocean. Dalco lay limp in the boat, watching the wood of the hull slowly pass him.
“Give my regards to Operdias Niana for me!” Eisermech called out. Dalco looked up to see him waving goodbye.
Dalco (Dal-coe)
Conneil (Coe-neel)
Bartves (Bart-ves)
Taric (Tar-ik)
Operdias Niana (Oh-per-dee-as-Nee-anna)
Urbraken (Er-bra-ken)
Welcester (Well-ses-ter)
Rychtolm (Rie-ch-tolm)
Valtorica (Val-tor-ika)

Submitted: May 13, 2011

© Copyright 2021 Ethyn. All rights reserved.

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