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Journey to the north

Short fictional story (part one)

The sky was clear and tides were merry, Captain Salaz crooked man in his fifties was having a fine day at his ship which he named as The Untamed. Although it was only a schooner, Captain Salaz took great pride in sailing the ship. His crew was made of four members namely Meso, Picco, Kit and Kat! Together they called their crew The Sailors of The Untamed.

Captain Salaz was a petty pirate with a petty pride. He knew to swing a sword, but never knew to cut through someone’s flesh. Captain Salaz mostly wagered his life upon the mercy of other powerful pirates like Ozo, Mihaba, Xave and the most dreaded of all Captain Kilmanjo! All of these pirates were big men with big moustaches, owning galleons and a big thirst for ale, gold and women. They were never bothered by Salaz’s presence as they never saw any threat from him. All of them mocked Salaz as captain of the fools.

Salaz was more like a trader than a pirate. He never raided villages or merchant fleets. He traded small goods like firewood, meat and fish for his own supplies. He only preferred some bread, some ale and some cheese.Yet he proclaimed himself to be a pirate. He dressed like a pirate with a black eye patch and a tricorn hat. His men too never demanded anything more than ale. He knew the world mocked him on his face and also on his back but that never deterred him. He was fond of women but women were never fond of him! Many years back the powerful pirates had once taken him to a brothel along with them, but the women despised him and insulted him and almost kicked him out! It hurted Salaz to accept this fact. His men were more lazy than foolish but that never discouraged Salaz from sailing the sea, although sometimes he felt he should have sailed alone. The poor villagers of the Snakes island were his friends, as his mother belonged to this island. Salaz delivered their meagre produce to small ports like Langerfish, Prawnspoint and Scallopspoint. In return they gave him bread, ale, cheese and lemons! Occasionally some meat and fish.

The Untamed sailed east, west and south but never to the north. The tales from the north were never the happy ones. Ice sheets and cold winds would wreck any brig, his schooner was just a baby. He had also heard tales of an ugly giant kraken sleeping beneath those ice sheets. His adventurous spirit only sailed in the warmer oceans.

One morning Salaz announced to his crew,

“We will sail south the next morning and meet our brothers at the Snakes island. We’ll buy some ale, bread, cheese and lemons from them, enough to sustain for the next 3 days”.

Kit and Kat both cried together, “We are sick of eating bread and lemons, we want cakes and walnuts!”

Meso, while sharpening his dagger said, “What’s walnuts? Do they grow on the walls?”

Picco replied with his nose held high, “Dumb forever, walnuts grow like peanuts below the ground!”

Salaz said at once, “All of you deserve only lemons! No cakes and no walnuts! First dig some gold and then buy cakes and walnuts!”

The night was calm and the oceans were resting as well. Salaz was eager for morning, it’s been two weeks, he had met his brothers at the island. They were not his brothers by blood but brothers by trust.

The next morning they arrived at the ports of the Snakes island. There stood Mumbo and Jumbo the twins, his old aunt Pipi, a group of young men waiting with their produce and a young beautiful woman, maybe in her twenties standing with books and a suitcase in her hand.

Salaz got down from his ship and greeted his men. His aunt kissed him on his cheek and blessed him for a good wife. She did this to him every time he came back to the island. Aunt Pipi was sister to his mother.

“Aunt Pipi, find a girl for me, you only talk about my wedding! The next time I arrive I want you to bring my bride!” replied Salaz.

A bride for a pirate, yes why not. Which father wouldn’t like to give his daughter to a pirate who isn’t a pirate at all!

Mumbo and Jumbo introduced Salaz to the young woman standing with them. She smelled of rose and had blush pink cheeks. She wore a satin gown and had the most modest demeanor Salaz had ever seen in a woman. Not even in the last fifty years of his life, never!

“She is Lady Rose from the northern Wolf islands. She had arrived on our island two weeks back and now wishes to go back to her home. Salaz the Lady is very kind and has offered us a thousand gold coins for this voyage”, Mumbo and Jumbo said together.

A thousand gold coins for a voyage to the Wolf islands! Meso, Picco, Kit and Kat were already dancing after listening to a thousand gold coins.

“Lady Rose, a thousand gold coins is a great reward, more than what I may deserve. But I do know when greater is the reward, greater is the risk. The northern sea is the most dangerous of all. In summers the warmer winds create cyclones and whirlpools. If this isn’t enough, I have heard some chilling tales about the ugly creatures who live beneath the cold waters, I have heard they call them krakens.”

“Captain Salaz, yes you have heard right about the whirlpools and cyclones, but krakens only exist in fantasies. I know a route that’ll sail us safely from the cyclonic winds and whirlpools. If we take the eastern route from the Spice islands, we won’t come across the harsh sea. The western route from the Spice islands is a treacherous one I agree. But the eastern is a better one. Please captain, I want to go home, the Wolf islands my old parents wait for me.”

In the last twenty years, from the day Salaz was kicked out from the brothel, no woman had ever looked at him, let alone request him. Yet he was afraid for the lady’s safety, he thought what if Ozo, Mihaba, Xave and Kilmanjo become aware about his presence in the northern sea. They wouldn’t like it, never!

“Lady Rose, the northern sea is ruled by big pirates like Ozo, I’m just a dwarf in front of them. I cannot protect you from their evil eyes, you pay them a thousand gold coins and they’ll pay you back by selling you off to one of the brothels for a double price!”

Aunt Pipi slapped Salaz right at once. He turned red with shame.

“You, an old man of fifty, calls himself a pirate, dreams of a wife, you, if you can’t protect a lady, if you can’t sail her safely to her homeland, you don’t deserve a wife! Do you have any manners? How could you use such words for Lady Rose? I curse you won’t ever get married!” Aunt Pipi couldn’t stop spitting her rage.

Salaz was ashamed, completely ashamed of himself, yes I don’t deserve a wife he said to himself.

Mumbo and Jumbo grumbled between themselves, the young men standing with their monthly produce began leaving the port.

Lady Rose repeated, “I urge you, I’m sure you would sail me safely than anyone else.”

“I am sorry about my words, I don’t know how to talk to a woman. I’ll sail you to your homeland”.

Journey to the north (part two)


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