Sunday July 20th, 2014

The exercise:

Baseball Theme Week enters day three with writings that involve: giants.

I picked up twenty pounds of blueberries from one of our fellow farmers market vendors yesterday and we got a start on freezing them last night. That continued today and we've probably got one more batch to go tomorrow.

Combine that with the ten pounds I bought last week and we should have enough in the freezer to get Max through the winter...

Nah, going to need at least another ten pounds next week.


Ivan never understood why everyone he met assumed he was stupid before he could even say a word. They were right, unfortunately, but that didn't make things less confusing to him.

His younger brother Igor, however, knew perfectly well what was going on. Born from the same parents, he was blessed with a similar, hulking physique to his brother, but he still had all the smarts as well. When Ivan was a young boy he was playing with his father's broadsword collection when one came free from its place on the wall and landed flush on his skull - he'd been a bit slow ever since.

But Igor knew that strangers had no knowledge of this incident. Instead they seemed to think that all of their energy and nutrition went into building towering, muscular bodies, leaving little or nothing leftover for the development of silly things like brain cells. Since this was not the case with Igor, and really should not have been the appearance for his brother, he found this incredibly aggravating and generally avoided dealing with other humans.

How, precisely, the brothers came into joint possession of three equally imposing wolves was not something anyone seemed too keen to investigate.

They had been accepted into their current sailing crew with open arms, which made Ivan girlishly happy and Igor deeply suspicious. At least at first. It wasn't long before he understood their appreciation for their ability to do the work of three men each, as well as the extra protection their friends (never, ever pets) brought with them.

After a few months the rest of the crew began to understand that Igor's quiet intelligence dwarfed their own and before he realized what was going on he had been promoted to First Mate. When their captain fell ill several weeks later he assumed that role until the old man's passing, at which point no other choice for the position was given any consideration whatsoever.

Captain Igor was still getting used to the title when his ship, in the midst of a mission given them by Padre Diego, encountered a stranded man on a tiny island. As he watched his brother row the man with the odd beard back to the boat he grew steadily uneasier. Partially because he saw that he was about to meet an equal... in rank only. He worried that his inexperience would make itself known through the wrong word or lack of ceremony.

But mostly his skin began to crawl because something was telling him that they should have left the man to his fate; that whatever circumstances had led to his being on that island, the end result was just. 

That there was something not quite right about the man about to step foot on his ship.


Greg said...

I hope that you'll be able to ween Max onto some other fruit by winter! Not that blueberries are bad at all, just so that you can keep him seasonal :) Still, it sounds like you and the freezer have plans to manage it all anyway, so keep up the good work I guess.
Giants was a twist I wasn't expecting, but your story has taken it neatly in its stride and provided some nice (and necessary) background. There are some nice details in there, especially with the family-hood of the wolves and the reason why the brothers are subtly different. And, of course, you've provided a neat little cliffhanger for tomorrow's installment!

If the class were surprised when the Classmaster boarded their ship wearing the crew's uniform they said nothing, and Heinrich said nothing either. He nodded to the Captain, Marcus, and kept his disappointment that none of the three most interesting (to him) students had taken the captaincy to himself. Heinrich busied himself in the galley, having taken the post of sous-chef in order to be able to avoid most of the fighting and watch his class in action, rapidly discovering that Chef von Trabihand was a stern taskmaster who seemed not to recognise him.
The ship hove to and left the harbour faster than was really safe, and though Heinrich was supposed to peeling asparagus he still managed to note that Marcus was standing confidently at the wheel, spinning it this way and that to navigate through the maze of sharp, underwater rocks that guarded the entrance to the harbour. As they left it behind, a wash of white water spreading in a v-shape where they'd been and the wind filling the bellies of the sails until they looked pregnant, they turned east, and Heinrich dropped the asparagus in shock.
"Filthy pig!" yelled von Trabihand behind him, and berated him all the while he was picking the asparagus up and washing it in salt-water (because the drinking water was too precious to be used for such tasks). Heinrich barely heard him though, as he considered the implications of the choice of course.
To the east lay Cittadoro on one side and La Mastitan on the other. There were many rumours about Cittadoro, but mostly they were just that, because the people who inhabited La Mastitan were giants and they guarded their seas with an unnecessary ferocity. Barges longer than a flotilla patrolled the entrance to the channel between La Mastitan and Cittadoro, and they only didn't come further out because their draw was too great. On their decks men could see the sailors of La Mastitan, each at least fifteen feet tall, standing and staring out to sea, waiting for a ship to draw in range of their fearsome, greek-fire throwing, weapons.
As Heinrich laid the last of the asparagus in its pan and turned to dicing onions he wondered exactly what his class thought they were up to.

Marc said...

Greg - pretty sure at this point he'd eat blueberries three meals a day for the rest of his life and be quite content. But yeah, I'd rather he be constantly asking for those instead of chocolate or candies or whatever.

The more I read the opening few installments of my story, the more I want to write the story I'd originally planned...

I'm glad that you were able to cope with the unexpected prompt, and that you did so with a deft hand. You've given us a very intriguing scenario here and definitely left me eager to learn what comes next.