Short fictional story (part two)
Salaz filled his containers with strawberries, blueberries, oranges and apples along with bread, ale, cheese and lemons. He also took some salt, onions and potatoes. For the first time he filled his containers with something other than what he normally took along with himself. Meso, Picco, Kit and Kat looked curiously at strawberries, blueberries, oranges and apples.
“Are these walnuts?” asked Kit and Kat together.
“You both will stay fools forever. These are pomegranates!” shouted Picco from crow’s best.
“Pomo…what? Pomo..granite?” stuttered Meso.
“Fools, all fools, these are not for you all, these are for the Lady. Now put them quickly in the stores, make sure there aren’t any rats around!” Salaz ordered.
Lady Rose observed the ship, rats were scurrying around as if the ship was their town. Smell of fish and meat filled the air. Salaz cleared up his cabin for the Lady to have a seat.
In the next one hour they were sailing far away from the shore. Mumbo and Jumbo, Aunt Pipi appeared a bit blurry and too small to recognise. Lady Rose seemed to like it inside the cabin more than on the deck. Inside the cabin she felt safe from the rats and the rotten smell of fish and meat. She didn’t find any threat from Meso, Picco or Kit and Kat, she rather found them intriguing.
Captain Salaz intrigued her too, but in a different way.
From the moment they left the shores, captain Salaz kept quiet. It was unusual for him to keep quiet since he had a habit of singing local ballads. He had learnt a bit of the northern languages, although he belonged to the southern warmer islands. Almost after three hours of silence Lady Rose asked,
“What do you think about the weather captain?”
Salaz was surprised, happy and confused all at once. It was only about Lady Rose had asked and yet he stuttered while answering.
“The weather…oh looks goof…umm good I mean, the sun’s shining it’s morning..oh no it’s almost afternoon…yes the weather is good.”
Alas, he breathed!
Lady Rose only smiled.
That’s it. That’s all the two spoke until evening. Only during lunch time, well there wasn’t any lunch time as such before, but Captain Salaz made sure Lady Rose had her lunch on time. Salaz charred some fish and served it with onions and lemons, bread and ale. Lady Rose liked it pretty much.
When the sun was about to set, the Lady went outside the cabin for the first time. The smooth sea, the orange sun, the purple skies and a light breeze brought a smile on the lady’s face. A smile Salaz could see from his cabin.
“Lady, would you like to take some rest? Maybe in the stores I could arrange you some space. I assure you, you’ll be safe there. No rats and no smell of fish and meat, I have made Meso clean it for you.”
“That’s so good of you. I made the right decision to come with you.”
Salaz blushed. He made sure the lady had her privacy. Even Meso, Picco, Kit and Kat didn’t interfere.
Three nights later, Salaz couldn’t resist singing one of his favourite songs. It was a song in one of those northern languages. Lady Rose was surprised to hear Salaz singing. He sang a good melody of a young woman who had lost her way and was helped by a young man.
Ten nights later, Lady Rose got more amiable towards Salaz and his crew. She began joining them in their lunch and enjoyed simple bread and cheese. She encouraged Kit and Kat to have all of the strawberries. Salaz and Rose sometimes spent nights talking about the world around them. Salaz told about the many lands he visited, about the many languages he could speak, he was definitely trying to impress Rose. He sometimes tried to get a sneak peek into her life, but was never clingy.
Fifteen nights later they reached near the first port of the northern Islands. The White island.
They halted their journey on the ports of the White island. This was the first time Salaz had visited any of the northern ports. The ale and meat taste a bit different and the weather was turning more bleak. The people looked and dressed differently. Lady Rose suggested they should get some warm clothes from the local market. And they did as she said. After resting for a day, they set out for the journey next morning. It was truly a tiring journey and the weather conditions showed no mercy upon them. Frost had started accumulating on the deck and the water beneath was heavier.
“So did you find any kraken?” asked Lady Rose.
Salaz only smiled, but his smile vanished at once. He saw something, a huge shadow, a huge ship, who’s ship is that, he thought to himself. He narrowed his eyes and read the name, “The Eagle”, it was Kilmanjo’s ship. Salaz started sweating profusely, he immediately took Rose by her arm and locked her inside the stores.
“Don’t make any noise and just trust me”, he instructed her.
The Wolf islands were only a day’s travel apart. It seemed like Captain Kilmanjo too was traveling towards the Wolf islands. It wasn’t surprising to find him in the North but it was surprising to find Salaz in the North. Every pirate knew Salaz had never dared to travel to the northern sea.
The two ships got closer and someone from The Eagle waved at The Untamed.
“What are you doing here?” asked the voice
“Sailing to the Wolf islands, to meet an old friend.”
“You got no friends in the North! Are you smuggling something or someone?”
“Smuggling and me? I’m hardly a pirate, I know nothing about smuggling!”
“Yes you are right, you can only smuggle horse dung! Meet you at the Wolf islands, will see you with old friend”
Another deep voice ordered him,
“But you must follow us, you’ll not get ahead of us. You try to act smart and that will be the last time you act foolish, did you get it, you captain of fools!”
“And, one more thing…pledge your ship and fealty to Kilmanjo. The northern sea belongs to no other but only Kilmanjo. You have trespassed the sea, you’ll have to pay for it. You must be thankful that you are being left alive…come join us…”
“My ship, my only ship, I breathe because I sail… sailing I love sailing, I love these waters and the wind…how could I give up all of it…this is what I have done for my life and this is all what I have…” Salaz murmured to himself.
Meso, Picco, Kit and Kat looked at each other in disbelief. Whatever happens they firm upon one that’s thing that they’ll follow Salaz, wherever he goes. Rose was also listening from the stores.
Salaz stood on one corner of the deck, facing The Eagle and thought,
“If this is what it takes to transport Lady Rose to her home, to her parents, I’ll do it. Maybe this is my last chance for bravery. I have lived my life on the mercy of these pirates, I always tried to be on their side of business, but in my heart, I have always been that young boy who saw his father’s fishing ship being sacked by the pirates. I have seen my mother flee with my siblings to safety…I hope she’s safe wherever she’s gone. I have always been the young boy who got infatuated towards the pride and cruelty of these pirates…I tried to be like them but I’m not…I’m just a fisherman’s boy. Too kind for this world…and timid. The pirate who sacked my father’s ship and my village…he took me as his hostage…and so I have been a hostage of my own fearful soul for my whole life! And I now stand with the responsibility of a woman who trusted me. The first ever woman who trusted me…I must take her safely to her parents…”
Salaz went to the stores and found her gazing out of the little windows. He explained to her what happened and assured her safety. For a moment they looked into each other with eyes filled with trust. Salaz came back to the deck and stood besides the railing, staring at the humongous galleon sailing ahead of his ship. He turned pale and feverish, he was scared too scared for Lady Rose.
Salaz raised a white flag…and accepted the terms.
The Untamed followed The Eagle, slowly and steadily. Salaz had planned to smuggle Lady Rose from one of those lemon containers.
The next morning, they could see the harbour from afar, Salaz hurried into the stores and explained to Rose and his crew his plan. As decided Lady Rose offered him a thousand gold coins..he felt a bit awkward accepting those..but there was no time to think if it was right or wrong. He kept those coins safe inside the secret pocket of his tunic.
Lady Rose wanted to do more than just giving those thousand gold coins. She understood what Salaz had to give up so that she could travel safe. As the port approached, Salaz helped Rose to hide into one of the lemon containiners. Rose gave him a map for her home. There was no time for a proper farewell.
The Eagle had dropped the anchor and Kilmanjo himself got down on the port to welcome Salaz. The Untamed followed The Eagle. Salaz could see some disbelief in Kilmanjo’s eyes. Kilmanjo was a huge man with a huge black beard.
“Salaz, now tell me what’s in your ship, so valuable than the ship itself that you have given up your ship for it?” Kilmanjo asked in a rough voice.
For a second Salaz thought Kilmanjo was puzzling him with a tongue twister. He couldn’t believe Kilmanjo himself was talking to him.
“It’s my ship and as usual I have some lemons, bread, cheese and some ale. Here is my stock. I have brought them as a gift for my old friends, you can have a look over it”, replied Salaz. Maybe this was the first time ever Salaz found courage to talk to Kilmanjo. And he knew this courage came from Rose.
Kilmanjo didn’t suspect, there was something that didn’t make him suspicious. Meso, Picco, Kit and Kat held those containers on their shoulders one by one and took the path towards Rose’s village. Salaz stayed behind for some time just to make sure Kilmanjo didn’t doubt his intentions. He joined his crew in the afternoon when they had almost reached Rose’s village.
Good luck, sheer good luck!