Octobris, 369

Mar 07 2017

The lad floated slumped over on a piece of driftwood. The small waves lapped at his chin, every so often flowing into his mouth to make him cough. The wreck of the ship was far behind him now, and he had lost sight of the bodies. He wondered how such a conflict of forces could end what was effectively all he had known for the past three years. Taken by the sea, the true Tubori way. The salt had dried his face and sapped all of the energy from his person. It was only enough for the pull of the tide to keep him from lulling off into an eternal sleep. That and the shouts of Hector, the quartermaster, who kept encouraging whatever survivors there still were to keep themselves awake and alert. The lad couldn’t tell the direction of the voice; in addition, he was unsure of how much time had passed. It had been sunset when Captain Downe attempted to drive the storm back with his own power, but now it was pitch black. Not even the moons shined their light on these bleak waters.

“Together boys! We ain’t driftin’ forever! And to Arien if we is to die by drownin’! I swore myself to the sands a long time ago, and she be an even more envious mistress than the sea!”

The lad struggled to keep his eyes open as yet again another wave rocked him. This one was gentle, and didn’t send him sailing off deeper into the darkness beyond. He was reminded of his mother for a moment, and then he stopped himself remembering. If he was to die, let it be in the confines of actuality; memories only served to make him regret and hurt.

“Captain Downe set us off in 336! I been sailin’ for thirty odd years and never did I see a storm like her! Aye, she were a ragin’ bitch she were…”

His hands brushed the sea floor, prompting the lad to look down, incredulous. He very slowly raised his shriveled and wrinkled arm from the water and stared at the sand and kelp that clung to it. He looked forwards but could only see blackness. If there was a shore nearby, it was far from any civilization. He dipped his arm back in and began to paddle, weakly. His toes dragged across shells, and he was confident he must have cut himself on one, but the lad couldn’t bring himself to fret much.

“You feel that boys? You hear the gulls? You smell that? That’s sanctuary! We’ve been watched over, just as I said!”

The lad awoke on his back, bare of all but his own skin, and stared up at a sun that was far too cool for the amount of brightness it produced. He sat up, joints as though they had atrophied in the short time from consciousness to movement. He was on a small, rocky beach, overhanging cliffs casting a large and damp shadow. The wreckage of the ship wasn’t as far off as he had presumed; it was about three klicks off from the shore, and still sinking; the bowsprit was completely straight and vertical, marking the spot as though on a map. Some of the dead crew had washed up, soiled by violent deaths and faces ruined by whatever sealife had gotten to them while they could. The lad found that he could not recognize a single body. He couldn’t mourn for long, however, as he was growing colder by the second. He quickly trudged knee-deep into the water and tore out the longest and widest strips of seaweed that he could find. He covered them with sand and waited for them to dry out while he searched and stripped corpses.

Hours later he had scaled the shore and reached the top of the cliff. Green forests, vast and lush lay before him. Down the middle of an entrance copse, a thin, dirt trail spotted with wet footprints encouraged the lad to begin his journey.

As he began to walk, a final wave washed over the remnants of the wreckage, and carried the ship down to the depths of the sea.

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