Saturday July 19th, 2014

The exercise:

Baseball Week continues by requesting that your writing has something to do with: pirates. Inclusion of a four line poem not necessary if you're writing a story that connects throughout this theme week, but feel free to do so if you're able to find a way.

We had a bit of a slower market this morning, as a whole lot of vendors had apricots. We still managed to sell most of them but it was definitely not one of our better ones. Especially with our blackberries just getting started and our current run of raspberries coming to an end.

Looking forward to a day off with my family tomorrow.


Captain Lightning Beard, as he insisted on being called, was never a very popular man among his peers. Or his crew, for that matter. His temper was ferocious and violent, even by pirate standards. He preferred motivation through insults and intimidation rather than encouragement and rewards. Loot was rarely split fairly, if he bothered to share it at all.

So it came to no one's surprise (other than to the captain himself) when his most recent collection of mistreated and unappreciated sailors mutinied and left him stranded on an island no bigger than his former cabin.

Lightning Beard survived his first week by drinking heavily (it's impossible to say with certainty how he was able to sneak a bottle or three off of his ship) and sleeping often. The second week was more of a struggle as hunger and sobriety took hold and the sun did its work with few clouds impeding its glare.

He'd taken to using the hook on his left hand to carve short poems into the sand at his feet. His final verse read as follows:

Me crew be dead,
On that ye can bet;
They be in the ground,
They just don't know it yet.

He sat, arms resting on knees, studying his work for quite some time while the fingers of his good hand combed his bushy black beard with its vivid streaks of white and silver. When he looked up and saw the ship on the horizon he thought he was hallucinating, or had simply gone completely mad.

When he heard the wolves howling, he became certain of it.


Greg said...

I guess the other vendors had to get apricots eventually, but I can see that it was a shame that they couldn't have held off for one more week. Still, you did sell most of them, and I guess that's the most important thing!
Wow, that's quite a continuation to your story from yesterday – and you worked a four-line poem in there as well! I see that we now have two sides of a story coming together... excellent! And I really like the last line about hearing the wolves howling; it makes me laugh and anticipate at the same time.

Heinrich von Hagen, Classmaster, looked at his students as they stood behind desks around the room. He'd been working with these men for four years now, taking them from green kids who couldn't be trusted not to get seasick in a strong wind or a storm to this: young men with muscles like old oak, tanned faces, arms and legs, and a true feel for how a ship should behave when they were in command. He let his gaze linger for a moment on each of their faces, mentally grading them for the last time. Five of them he was sure about; they were good men and would be a credit to Vastis. The sixth... there was something there that he didn't understand. He strongly suspected that they would be a credit to someone other than Vastis. The seventh was a late bloomer, and he only hoped that they would have long enough before being tested too cruelly to be ready to answer the test.
And the eighth. There, confident brown eyes met his, yellowish teeth smiled back, and Heinrich wondered exactly what this student's destiny was. He didn't even feel inclined to guess.
"You have one last test before graduation," he said, though he knew that everyone in the class knew this as well as he did. "As always, we mean to test your abilitiies to work together, to command, to show your mastery of the skills we've taught you, and give you the opportunity to teach us something back. The oceans around here are plied by four nations, of which we are only one. For your final test, you will raise the black flag atop a stolen ship and become pirates. You will be judged on what you return with, and that you return."
He was met only by smiles, some more confident than others, and nodding heads. The class were eager to prove themselves again. He felt a tight warmth at the bottom of his chest and recognised it as pride.
"Sign your names," he said, laying a piece of paper on his desk. At the top of it was written the first verse of the national anthem, a tradition lost in the mists of time:
Though the sea may roll and boil,
And our ships have just now started,
Behold the mighty conquering fleet,
Of the City of the Broken-hearted!

When all the names were signed and the last man had trooped from the classroom Heinrich pulled the paper towards himself, and paused. Then he picked the pen up and added his name to the bottom of the list.
What the hell. It was time he had a refresher course anyway.

Marc said...

Greg - glad you liked my continuation. I might have to write the story I originally planned (which had to be scrapped after this post) at some point.

Really enjoyed the opening assessment of the students. Feels like there are several more stories waiting to be told there.

Nice work to include the poem as well, and you left off at an excellent point for the following day's writing.

Mason Fox said...

Blackbeard loved his bow and arrow,
So he decided to shoot Captain Jack Sparrow.
Jack fired back at him with his gun
And caught him right in the buns.

Marc said...

Mason - hello and welcome to the blog!

Thank you for the laugh your poem gave me. The smile still hasn't left my face.

Hope to see more writing from you here :)