The Last Mate
By Cynthia Ravinski
Hidden in the sea grass on the edge of the cliff, Sadj viewed the three-masted Prevail, the ship that sailed itself. Her decks still empty. The taste of victory came to his tongue. Finally, it would be his. Only that ship could take him to the straights of Dairegga. No crew of a normal ship would sail those waters.
Below, the rowboat still waited, roped to the dock on the rocky beach--right where the crew had left it three days ago.
A dark, terribly familiar man ran out of the woods, crossed the beach and began pulling at the mooring ropes.
Sadj rose and dove forward, somersaulting down to the beach. That man couldn’t make it back to the Prevail.
Landing in the sand, he scrambled for even footing.
“Captain, wait,” he shouted across the beach, waving.
The dark man looked up and pulled his knife.
He must have seen the rest of the crew. Sadj sprinted toward the dock, the sand dragged at this boots.
The knife freed the rowboat in one slice. The Captain of the Prevail stepped aboard. He splashed the oars into the water. The boat slowly drifted away.
Gaining the dock, Sadj leapt. The rasping of metal rang over the sloshing of water.
Sadj landed, rocking the boat. He caught his balance, then focused on his opponent. The Captain had drawn a short cutlass, but hesitated.
When he lunged, Sadj sprang to the other side of the bench, landing with his foot braced on the bow.
Keeping his balance despite the swaying, the Captian said, “As your captain, I demand an explanation of your actions.”
“You know why. You’ve always stood in my way. No longer!” Sadj drew his main-gauche and, staying low, sliced for the Captain’s thigh.
The Captain parried, but a thin red line colored his breeches.
Their golden eyes met, the Captain’s questioning. Sadj clenched his fingers around his hilt and rammed the guard into the Captain’s face. He fell against the side, crimson ran over his nose and mouth. Sadj followed his opponent down and knelt on his chest.
Dazed, the Captain fumbled at Sadj’s solid weight and felt for his sword although he still held it.
The main-gauche slipped easily through the Captain’s ribs and into his heart. He convulsed. Sadj freed his blade and rolled the corpse into the sea. Under the red-streaked morning sky, he shuddered at the stains trailing in the water. Is this what victory feels like?
He sat between the oar locks and rowed toward the Prevail. Tonight, Sadj would board his ship. Tomorrow, he’d retrieve the men he’d signed at Frosbien, men who couldn’t sail but had other skills, and he’d be Captain Sadjamar.
The Prevail’s magic didn’t end at sailing itself, she also chose her own crew--unless her crew died and another boarded her before she could find new men. He'd learned this three days ago from his brother, the last captain.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011
One Piece of Flash
I wrote this flash as an action scene exercise and really like how it turned out. This story feels like the beginning of a much bigger story, but I'd have to learn a lot more about boats and the speech of medieval sailors. And I'm not sure if it's worth it.... Read on!