by English Bob
Memories of a lost foot soldier far from home.
| Lafayette is crying again. It hurts my heart to see such a man in the state of woe. In the last pair of days, we have had to hand feed the man water so he would not die of tear loss. Here we are five hundred, well four seventy on our way back home, stacked like cordwood, five high, hairs breath away from rubbing elbow to cheek of the man next to him. Every fart smelt, every groan in discomfort or self pleasure heard as if it came from the man hearing it.
The storm has finally let up, and according to our navigator we have no idea where we are. Somehow, I am unsurprised we are after all in the Norsican military. Upon open water where we are the weakest. Treading the tide, the look out finally calls of land. It is a governor island. That would put us somewhere near the Pyrat Isles. Six days off course at least! Sadly, governor islands are about as helpful as spoon in a knife fight. They rise and fall with the season, sometimes remaining, often times not. There is no swell tower to mark it as the Pyrats are particularly polite enough to mark these matters so one does not run aground.
I have extra room to stretch seeing as Marcus is no longer there above me. Poor man, leaving his family to serve only to expire so close to going home. Kurn's are a brutal lot, they take no prisoners nor do they accept being taken as one. Marcus should have known better, even if it was a child in tow. I will miss kicking his bunk when he snores.
Again, I trade bunks with Lafayette, settling for one lower to the bottom of the constantly leaking boat. My section of bulkhead was devoid of graffiti, it will be filled by the man but the hours of silence from one less voice would be worth the weight in gold. The reward of the switch often comes in the form of art he has scrawled in the wood next to the bunk as well, often of the naked female variety. This one was breath taking, almost of life only trapped in prison of wood and coal. My partner for the evening.
Having only two uniforms to everyone's five, the rest of my stock allowance was filled with books. Plays of the greats, Parus, Nigel, Riffen, Hen-Wu. I know them all, practicing constantly. Prying apart the passages as one would philosopher turned priest. Whispering a few honeyed words to my wooden partner moves her not. Back still arched with detailed, handful breasts thrust towards the sky, full lips caught mid-sigh with hair splayed like flattened root over pillow. Yet, no more than that.
The bell is sounded, the rotation has again moved. Air, glorious air of the deck awaits! Blue sky, rolling cloud to easily take the place molding mattress and its drippings of moss. Hearing my name a few times as I ascend the ladder to the deck. Dirty Brett. Filthy Beast. Well-read lay about. As I said, I only own two uniforms...
I have no love for the sea, chaos under foot, subject to whim and wind. Worse yet is the food sailors imbibe. The grog has obviously been backwashed, half cooked potato bits clinging to the edges of the tankard. Compacted apples, thick skin holding mush from the ground and mostly fat laden pork strips. At least the apple is cooked.
The lookout is a welcome sign calling below the stubby rigging. Ship sign! I can only hope they are friendly. Drawing closer the damage can be seen and it is severe. Of its four sails only held one upright, the captains shelter a shredded mass of jagged wood, only the wheel untouched. It flies the colors of green and sea blue. Pyrats! Little Sister to Norsica and she was hurt.
Pulling alongside, the Pyrat men worked feverously with pulley and line, raising the second mast. The captain hails our craft, Ryal Segal replies. Many of us had never seen Pyrat's up close, myself included. Standing with the Pyrat captain was a figure in white robes. As the wind picked up, the robes flattened to form. Either the man had an oddly shaped chest or it was a female. Legend says women of the Pyrat Isles do not leave the land, presenting no explanation to what I am witnessing.
An apparition? The spirit of the ship? The idea is spurred on as the men of the Pyrat ship pay her no mind. Yet, obviously we can see her as the men are speaking of the figure and her figure. The weight of gaze traps me as I feel her looking my way. Scrutiny intense, I had to wonder of the cowlick that rudely peacocks every morning is being observed under my hat. With experiment I move along the deck, only to have her take a step to keep me in sight. Unable to see her eyes hidden in the cowl of robe I get no respite as a box of clamp and nail is thrust into my arms. Lined up with the rest, we are to assist this legendary ship of the Pyrat.
Gangplanks thud, as the offer of help is accepted and the engineers are summoned. I am no carpenter; thus, I am a temporary mule it seems. More distressing is every time I cross over to the Brawling Whale the apparition made flesh draws closer. In the next pass she will be directly in path...