This is the thread where i shall post chapters of my story: High Tide
The title may be subject to change.
For a complete and full-length League of Legends novella that i wrote before i started this story, click the following link. Download link for the PDF is on the first post. (A Twisted Fate): http://na.leagueoflegends.com/board/...=twist+of+fate
The waves pounded against the sides of the boat, white foam exploding over the rails and onto the deck. The wind was so strong that the few crew members that were still above deck had chosen to hold onto the sides to stay upright. One small, bulky figure, however, pushed his way through the gale without any support. The yordle's eyes were squeezed into small slits to keep the sharp wind and rain from stinging his eyes. He reached the stern and quickly made his way down a short staircase to a door. Reaching the door, he knocked twice and waited. The sounds of shuffling came from inside and the door flew open. The yordle ran in and the door shut behind him. There was a pause as the soaking man stood there, dripping water from his thick beard onto the floor. His face was covered in scars and his dark eyes were deep and fiery.
“Cap'n. Are you sure this is wise?” he asked to the man in front of him.
“Yes, Balrick. I do.”
The man speaking these words was tall, his arms were thick but not as much so as the muscular yordle's. His eyes were deep green, like the sea, and he wore a thick beard that went all the way to his chest. His uniform was clearly that of a captain, grey robes with a red lining that went all the way to his ankles.
“With all due respect, Cap'n, I don't think it's worth it. Venturing into this storm, that is.”
“I understand, Balrick. But this island is my final goal.”
“Sir, did I hear you correctly?”
“Yes,go out with a bang. I'm getting far too old for this, Balrick. Vincent is still young and has potential. I'll find this island, take whatever bounty it has to offer and then hand up the old cutlass.”
“Well, it's been a pleasure, sir.”
“It ain't over yet,” said Vincent I, slapping Balrick on the shoulder heartily.
“No sir, it isn't. That's why I came to see you, when will it be over? We've been at sea for months and still no sign of the island, what is it that this place holds for you?”
“Old myths, Balrick. Check me off as an old fool right now if you wish, but there are tales of an island that was once inhabited by gods. The myth says that the gods left this island but left their power and loot behind. I've looked into it and I'm almost positive this island exists.”
“And you mean to go chasing after gods?”
“Yes, If that is what you want to call i-”
He was interrupted as a shout came from on deck, “Cap'n! Cap'n!”
Vincent ran to the door, throwing it open and sprinting up the stairs, Balrick followed. His head came above deck just in time to see the front of the boat explode into flames
Chapter One: Sea Child
The seagull glided on the air currents, it's white wings spread wide as it flew over the water. It had no destination in mind and so it continued to fly, flapping it's wings every few seconds to keep aloft. A few meters away, a boy watched. He was tall and could barely be sixteen at the oldest. His deep brown eyes followed the bird. He was leaning absentmindedly against a wooden post at the end of a large dock. The seagull dipped and flew towards the water before landing smoothly and tucking it's wings to it's sides. It cocked it's head to look at the boy in the leather vest and the baggy pants. The boy looked back and the gaze was held for a few moments before he turned and walked back the way he had come.
The boy's leather boots made soft thumps on the wooden boards as he passed by a small brigantine tied to the pier. He glanced at the boat, examining the hull and the small name printed in gold paint, 'The Vixen' He laughed quietly to himself, some people had no imaginations. He reached the end of the dock and turned sideways onto another. Not many large boats anchored this close to shore. Generally the captains of the large galleons would anchor a mile or two off shore and then row into Bilgewater whenever they wished. He stopped for a moment and turned to look at the shapes of the large ships in the distance. He looked at each one for a moment, looking for one distinct feature, he did not find it. He was not surprised but still felt sad, of course he wouldn't be back yet. He had been gone for almost two years now, what was another day? Many people told him that no news was good news but he knew the truth. In the seas of Valoran, if there was no word, any normal man would be considered dead.
But Vincent the Shadow was no normal man. He had been on voyages for months without word and had still returned. But never this long, never this long. But he would return, he had to. The boy closed his eyes for a moment and then breathed out and turned back and walked away from the silhouettes of the ships. He reached the end of the dock and had to step aside to let an old fisherman pass by, holding a large net and a metal bucket.
“Afternoon, Vincent,” said the fisherman, smiling a grin that displayed the few teeth that he still had.
“Afternoon, Martin,” said the boy, smiling back with his perfect grin.
He was one of the few people in Bilgewater with decent dental hygiene and was inwardly proud of it. The fisherman set down his bucket and net and cocked his head slightly as he gazed at the boy.
“You're looking more like your father every day, Vincent.”
The boy paused, not sure of what to say, “Thanks..”
The fisherman must have seen some the emotion that the boy was trying so hard to hide because he put a wrinkled hand on Vincent's shoulder and looked him in the eye.
“He'll be back, Vincent.”
“I know, he's never been gone this long, that's all.”
The fisherman nodded knowingly, “I've seen your father grow up, Vincent, and you after him. You both have salt water in your blood. The sea never takes it's own.”
“Let's hope,” said Vincent, nodding to the fisherman before walking away and onto the stone path that led to the dock. Martin's words echoed in his head 'The sea never takes it's own.'
Vincent wasn't sure if the old man's words held any truth but they gave him pause. He felt calmer than he had in a while as he passed by some of the inhabitants of Bilgewater. He listened to some of their conversations as he walked by.
“I swear, he knows what's going on...”
“I need the gold sooner rather than later...”
“I can have the hull repaired in a few weeks...”
“I'm going to go get a drink...”
the disjointed sections of dialogue that he managed to catch from the different interactions didn't make any sense but Vincent enjoyed trying to figure out what had been said before and where the conversation was likely to go. He could never be sure if his guesses were even anywhere near accurate but that didn't bother him. Everyone needed something to take their mind off of life every now and again. This was Vincent's way of doing so. As he passed through a small market of food vendors peddling their goods, he spotted a small yordle woman standing behind a fruit stand. A small yordle child was playing with a tiny wooden boat. He spotted Vincent and any interest in the carved toy was lost.
“Vinthent!” squealed the child, his new teeth had given him a lisp and so the boy's name came out slightly warped.
The child ran up to the boy with his arms spread wide, Vincent knelt down and plucked the boy up from under his armpits and stood up, spinning the small child in a wide circle. The boy laughed with delight as the young man spun him around and around. After a few rotations, Vincent placed the boy back on the ground and smiled.
The boy smiled back and hugged Vincent, his small arms could barely reach around to Vincent's back. Vinent squeezed the boy back, smiling.
“Hey, Tell. How's my favourite little buddy?”
“Awethome. I have a toy, ith's a boat. Want to thee?”
“Sure,” said Vincent as Tell grabbed his large hand in his tiny grasp and began to guide him towards the fruit stand. Tell's mother smiled at Vincent as he walked behind Tell.
“Hello, Vincent,” she said, her face was glowed happily.
“Hello, Bethe, business is good?”
Vincent looked down as Tell tugged on his arm, trying to get his attention, “Vinthent! Vinthent! Look at my boat! You thaid you wanted to thee it!”
Vincent smiled as the child waved the tiny carved toy inches in front of his nose, “Wow! That's really nice, where'd you get it?”
“ith's made by my daddy. Mommy thaved it for my birthday.”
“Right! It was your birthday last week! How old does that make you now?” asked Vincent, taking pleasure in watching the boy be so excited.
“Thwee. I'm thwee.”
“Three! Wow, you're tall for your age. You'll be taller than me soon!” laughed Vincent.
Tell laughed, “You're thilly, Vincent.”
Vincent smiled and stood up, “Go play with your boat for a minute, I need to talk to your mom, OK?”
“OK, Vinthent,” Tell said, smiling and running onto the hill behind them and beginning to play with his toy.
“I didn't realize Balrick carved,” said Vincent, smiling at Bethe.
“He doesn't usually. But after your father announced the voyage, he wanted to be able to give Tell something that his father had made for him specially.”
“It's nice. It looks the the Dead Pool .”
“He did say that. After he was finished, he joked that he had to stop thinking about that ship. He said that he had spent so much time on it that even his carving couldn't forget it.”
“Well, I'm sure Tell will be happy to see him when he returns.”
Bethe's expression dropped, she looked at Vinent sadly, “Let's both be honest about this Vincent, the voyage was only supposed to be a year, at most. It's been almost twice that, I'm not sure that they're coming home anymore.”
“They will,” Vincent smiled, “Balrick and the crew have salt water in their blood, the sea never takes it's own.”
Vincent smiled as he saw her relax, the words had given her pause as they had him.
“I should hope so. Tell has asked when he father will come home a few times and I told him that I wasn't sure. He really believes in Balrick.”
“You have to have faith in your father,” said Vincent, knowingly, “If you can't believe in him, you can't believe in anyone. I felt the same way when I was his age.”
“Thank you for being so nice to him, Vincent. He really admires you.”
“It's my pleasure, you've raised him well.”
“Thank you, Vincent.”
“Here,” said Bethe, reaching into a small crate of fruit and pulling out an orange, “A small token of appreciation.”
Vincent took the orange and nodded, “Thanks, you know I like these”
“You have since you were a child. Your father used to joke with Balrick about it.”
Vincent smiled and turned back and jogged towards Tell, the orange clutched in his hand. The small boy was making the boat tip forwards and backwards in midair, making crashing and whooshing sounds.
“Hey, Tell. What's happening?”
Tell looked up and smiled, “The ship is in a storm.”
Chapter Two: Sarah
Vincent opened his eyes slowly, the sun shone through the window of his room. He lay there for a moment, looking at the dust particles swirl in the beam of light that passed through the window. He breathed in and sat up, the blanket fell off as he climbed, bare naked, from the bed. He reached into his closet and mused for a moment over what to wear. Within a few moments he had decided on a vaguely yellow shirt, a red overcoat and a pair of brown pants and his only pair of leather boots. He slipped on the clothes and headed into the kitchen. He liked to think of it as his house, even though his father was the one who owned it, Vincent spent much more time at the house, and in Bilgwater, than his father. He reached for a small, sausage that was wrapped in parchment. He took a bite and spat it out immediately. The sausage was far past edible. Vincent gazed around the kitchen, looking for anything to eat. His eyes fell upon the orange that Bethe had given him the day before. He shrugged, better than nothing, and grabbed the round citrus. He took a moment to peel the skin of the orange before heading out the door. He tossed the skin into a small bush that was directly beside his door. He walked into the main street and removed one of the slices before popping the fruit in his mouth. It was nice, Bethe was known around Bilgewater for her exceptional crops. This fruit was no exception.
Vincent strolled down the road with no specific destination in mind, eating the juicy citrus as he did so. The taste made Vincent feel more awake, the town, which was just starting to gear up, seemed more vibrant. Vincent's eyes came upon a group of people, standing in just outside Bilgewater's largest park. They were setting up various stands and tents. It took Vincent a moment to make sense of the sight, then he remembered. Today was market day, every month, vendors from all over Bilgewater gathered in this park and peddled their wares. Many inhabitants of the city took this opportunity to browse the wares of craftsmen from other areas. Vincent was still hungry and had nothing better to do, so he turned and walked towards the park. Finishing off the last piece of the orange as he did.
Within the hour, the market was beginning to fill. Vincent was sitting on a bench near the edge, his hands behind his head, relaxing in the sunlight. The noise around him was a vague buzz. He had always found it easy to relax in busy places. Vincent started and waved his hand in front of his face as a large bee landed on his nose. He jumped up, swung at the wasp one last time before it retreated, annoyed by the brash behaviour of this hairless giant. After making sure that it was not returning, Vincent took a moment to look around. There were many stands, advertising everything from musket holsters to woollen slippers for infants. Vincent felt his pockets for any gold and found that he had 3 copper pieces, one silver and two gold. Not specifically wanting anything, Vincent thought it best to browse the wares and see if anything caught his eye.
He set off towards the eastern side of the market, glancing at the people around him. Once again Vincent played the conversation game.
“You won't find a lower price...”
“Beaut' ain't it?...”
“You sure? I can offer you better...”
“I'll have to see whether or not...”
“Wait, I didn't mean...”
Vincent jolted back to reality as the owner of the last voice bumped into him. Whoever had collided with him was set off balance and fell to the ground with a short cry of surprise. Vincent, shocked, took a moment to orient himself and look down at whoever he had just unbalanced. The young woman looked up at him indignantly.
“I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention,” apologized Vincent.
The girl opened her mouth, closed it, and opened it again, “That's alright.”
Vincent reached a hand down to help the girl up, she took it and Vincent helped pull her onto her feet.
“I'm really sorry about that,” said Vincent again.
“It's fine, I should have moved,” said the girl, she couldn't have been much younger than Vincent.
“I'm Vincent,” he said, extending his hand.
“Sarah.” She took his hand and shook it.
Vincent opened his mouth to say something but was cut short by a familiar voice, “Vinthent!”
Vincent turned to see Tell waving animatedly from beside his mother's fruit stand, a few meters away. Tell, excited as ever to see his friend, ran to Vincent and smiled.
“Hey, Tell. That's twice I've seen you in the past few days.”
Tell smiled and then noticed Sarah, “Whoth she?”
Vincent turned to Sarah, “This is Sarah. Sarah, meet Tell. Tell, Sarah.”
“Nithe to meet you Tharah.”
Tell's lisp made Sarah smile softly as he mispronounced her name.
“Nice to meet you too, Tell,” said Sarah, kneeling to shake the yordle boy's hand.
“Are you Vinthent's friend?”
Sarah glanced at Vincent, rather surprised, “I guess you could say that.”
“Do you want to thee my toy?” asked Tell, smiling happily.
Sarah looked at Vincent questioningly.
'Go for it' mouthed Vincent, smiling.
“Ok,” said Sarah, turning back to Tell.
“Yay!” said Tell happily he turned and led Sarah, much like he had Vincent, towards the stand.
Vincent followed after them as Tell let go of Sarah's hand and ducked behind the stand. Bethe looked from Vincent to Sarah questioningly.
“Hello again, Vincent,” Bethe glanced at Sarah, “who's your friend?”
“I'm Sarah,” she said, extending a hand and shaking Bethe's, “I'm not really Vincent's friend. I actually just met him.”
“Nice to meet you, Sarah. I hope Tell isn't being bother.”
“No, no, not at all. He's very friendly. How old is he?”
“Just turned three last week,” said Bethe as Tell came back around the stand with his wooden boat.
“Tharah. Look at my boat!” said Tell, waving it excitedly.
Vincent smiled to himself when suddenly a hand grabbed his shoulder, he turned and found himself looking into the face of the old fisherman, Martin.
“Vincent. You should come see this.”
Chapter 3:colors of death
Vincent walked behind Martin as he led him down the twisting streets and onto the dock where they had encountered each other the day before. Sarah was following rather hesitantly, Vincent had told her that it wasn't anything important but she had insisted. Vincent was surprised at At the end of the pier, where Vincent had stood yesterday, he could a small crowd of people. A small rowboat, presumably from one of the larger vessels farther out, was tied to the end. Vincent slowed down as they approached, the few people there seemed to be completely entranced by something on the ground.
“Out of the way, out of the way,” grumbled Martin, pushing aside two of the men with their backs to Vincent. Some sort of black piece of fabric was lying, crumpled on the dock. Vincent stared at it for a moment before realizing what it was. What lay in front him, ripped and torn almost beyond recognition, was a pirate's flag. More specifically, it was the flag that his father flew atop his ship. Vincent, shocked, slowly fell to his knees. He reached forwards and picked it up tenderly in his hands. The fabric was moist, it had obviously been in the water for a while.
“Who found this?” asked Vincent, surprisingly calm.
The man on his right raised his hand.
“Where did you find it?”
“I'm a crew member on 'The Illiad'. We were doing a routine shipping job but a storm popped in front of us. It ended up lasting a few days. We anchored in the middle of the ocean and when the storm passed, we found the remains of a ship. No bodies though, this flag was the only identifiable thing that we could find.”
“Where were you?!” asked Vincent, clenching the flag and standing up.
“What?” the man was taken aback.
“WHERE WERE YOU?! WHERE WERE YOU WHEN YOU FOUND THIS?!!! I DIDN'T ASK FOR YOUR GOD**** TEAR TALE!” yelled Vincent, standing right in front of the man. The sailor was taller than Vincent but was still obviously scared by the young man in front of him.
“Up north, we were headed through arctic waters. I don't know the exact coordinates, you'd have to talk to the captain for that.”
“Then get him.”
“Yes! Now! Get moving!”
Vincent turned to find Sarah staring at him.
“Your name is Vincent.....”
“What is going on?”
“That's a pirate flag....”
“No, It's not mine. It's my fathe-” Vincent realized his mistake as soon as he said it.
“Your father....you're the son......Vincent....” Sarah was obviously scared.
“No, Sarah....you don't get it...”
“You're the son of a pirate!” she screamed, her eyes full of anger and hurt.
“Sarah, It's not like tha-”
Vincent was cut short as Sarah punched him across the face. Vincent reeled backwards, falling into the water. He surfaced, sputtering, to watch Sarah sprinting down the dock.
“SARAH!” he yelled, trying to get her to come back.
She didn't react, Vincent watched as she flew off the dock and out of sight.
“**** it,” swore Vincent, accepting the sailor's hand and hauling himself back onto the dock, “what the hell was that?!”
“You just got slapped,” said one of the men.
“I figured that out on my own, thank you very much,” growled Vincent,running his hands through his soaked hair.
“Here,” said the sailor, pulling a blanket from inside the rowboat and throwing it around Vincent.
“Thanks,” said Vincent, wrapping himself in the blanket.
The group stood there, at the end of the dock, with the soaking Vincent in their midst for a while. No words were spoken. Martin was the first to speak.
“So. Vincent wanted to speak to the captain.”
Vincent was dried off and and about halfway through a large steak when the knock came at his door. He stood up and opened it. A man in a decorated sea captain's uniform stood in front of him, holding a large scroll under his arm.
“You are Vincent, I take it.”
“Yea, that's me. Come in,” said Vincent, motioning for the captain to sit down.
The captain nodded and stepped through the door, taking the seat opposite Vincent. Vincent moved the plate with the meat on it to the counter as the captain unrolled the scroll that ended up being a map.
“You wanted to know where we found the flag?”
“Yeah, that was on the list of things I'd like to find out.”
“Here,” said the captain, sticking Vincent's steak knife into the top right corner of the map, on top of the printed compass.
“Why were you there?”
“Are you going back?”
“No, whoever you're looking for there, I wouldn't have too much hope.”
“It's death to fall into the sea out there, son.”
“Yeah, but sometimes you got to have a little faith in your father.”
The captain looked shocked at these words, “I'm sorry, son. You're father.....he was a seaman?”
“He still is.”
“Was, son, was. He died where he belonged. I'm sorry,” the captain looked at Vincent for a moment and then left, leaving the boy at the table, staring at the map.
Vincent shook his head, “The sea never takes it's own,” he said to the night air.
Chapter Four: Captain
The pub was filled with loud and boisterous patrons as Vincent walked in. The bartender spotted him and called out, “Vincent! Welcome!”
Vincent barely knew the man but nodded anyways and took the tall stool that was offered to him. The bartender walked over and leaned forwards, “What can I get you?”
“A pint of Rapture.”
“Ain't that a bit heavy for you, m'boy?”
“Just get it.”
“How much do I owe you?” asked Vincent, beginning to dig into his pockets for his money.
“Nothin', on the house,” said the bartender, filling up a wooden flagon with Rapture rum, “I heard 'bout what happened. Your father was a good man, Vincent.”
Vincent took the glass from the bartender, “Is. Aint' dead till you found the body.”
“Vincent, they found the wreckage of the boat, do you think he could have survived?”
“Drop it,” ordered Vincent, taking a deep swig of the rum. The bartender opened his mouth then closed it and walked off, leaving Vincent staring at the wooden surface of the bar. Vincent became lost in his thoughts.
Why does everyone think he's dead?....Thought his friends would have more faith.......Or am I just being naive? Vincent's thoughts were a confused jumble as he looked down at the shiny oak boards below. He sighed and took another swig of the rum, it had a bit of a kick but Vincent's entire body felt numb.
Somebody sat down beside him and ordered a drink from the bartender, Vincent didn't look up until they spoke his name.
“It's hard eh, Vincent?” Martin spoke from beside him, holding a much smaller, and glass, cup of Rapture rum.
“I've had enough of your sympathy, Martin,” grumbled Vincent.
“I wasn't here to offer it.”
“Then why are you here? To have a drink?”
“Yes. And to hold a toast to your father.”
“He's still alive, Martin.”
“I know he is. The sea never takes it's own, remember that?”
Vincent smiled despite himself, “Cheers then, to the sea.”
“To the sea,” echoed Martin, raising his glass.
Vincent smiled and lightly knocked his mug against that of Martin. They both smiled and took deep swigs of the delicious rum. The silence afterwards was potent until Vincent spoke.
“What do you think happened?” he asked, looking at the old man beside him.
“I don't know, the flag looked burned, maybe they got into a battle with another boat.”
“Do you think that the cargo ship is to blame?”
“It's a possibility, but I doubt it. They barely have any weapons. Your father would have ripped them apart.”
Vincent smiled, “Well, then what happened?”
“The storm, up north storms are known to strip boats apart.”
“And you think he's still in the ocean out there?”
“I don't know, Vincent. But we'll never really know, will we?”
“Who else is going to pass through the arctic waters in the next few years?”
A crazy idea began to form in the back of Vincent's mind. The Rapture rum helped push the irrational idea from the deep end of his cerebellum to his tongue. He took a long drink of the warm alcohol and stared across the table at Martin.
“What?” asked Martin, staring at Vincent.
“I am. You used to be a captain, right? You could do it. C'mon.”
“Vincent, this is insane. I'm too old. I retired years ago.”
“C'mon, Martin, my dad's out there.”
“Vincent, you don't even have a boat, wor a crew.”
“I can find a ship. I can get a crew. But I need a captain, please Martin.”
“Vincent, think about it. I'm old. You've never been on a long voyage before. You're preposing to get together a band of riffraff to crew a tall ship.”
“To find my father, yes.”
“Vincent. I care as much as you do,” said Martin, not looking across at the boy in front of him.
“No, I don't think you do,” said Vincent angrily, “I need to do this, Martin. It's not a choice, I need to. My dad is out there. Please. You have a son, don't you?”
“Yes,” said Martin, quietly.
“Would he come to find you? Would his son come to find him? This isn't a choice, this is something i owe to him.”
Martin sighed and took a long swig of Rapture before looking back up at Vincent, “Looks like we need a boat and a crew.”
Chapter Five: Merchant crew
Vincent stared intently across the table at David, the local blacksmith, waiting for an answer. David tried to avoid eye contact with Vincent.
“So, David, are you in?”
“Why not?” asked Vincent, raising his eye brows.
“You're asking me to leave my job to go find your father in the deep northern seas.”
“Well, yes...” said Vincent, almost sheepishly.
“Vincent, I know how you feel. But this isn't something you should be doing.”
“Well, that's not up to you, is it? What's up to you is whether or not we can rely on you to be part of this.”
“Vincent, listen to yourself...”
“I have,” said Vincent calmly, “and now I want you to listen as well.”
“No, you're not. My father is out there somewhere, and each day i spend trying to find more crew members, the more likely it is that he is dead. Do you want to have that on your conscious, David?”
“Vincent, you can't place this on me.”
“And why the hell not? We need you Dave,” Vincent extended his hand across the table, “are you in?”
David looked down the boy's hand in front of him and then placed his large, calloused grasp in it. “I'm in.”
Vincent smiled broadly, “We sail in three days.”
David spat out the mouthful of alcohol that he had just began to drink. “What?”
“Three days. You were the last crew member.”
“How long have you been searching for crew members?”
“About two weeks. Welcome aboard, David.”
“How many of us are there?”
“Well, including myself, 40.”
“How the hell did you muster up forty men?”
“With difficulty. I got lucky with a few men that actually wanted to go out to sea.”
“Vincent, you're pretty much putting together a group of strangers to sail....you do have a ship, right?”
“Yes, managed to get an old captain to hand it over.”
“I'd like to see that,” laughed David.
“You can, c'mon.” said Vincent, taking David's hand and pulling him up and towards the door.
David glanced back at his drink before following Vincent out the door.
“Where are you going?” asked David.
“To show you our vessel,” said Vincent.
“You're the captain?”
“No, I can't be a captain. Martin is.”
“Martin? The old fisherman?”
“He used to be a captain, you know. A ****ed good one at that.”
“That was years ago Vincent, he's not fit for this kind of voyage.”
“He's the one who volunteered,” Vincent lied.
“Ok then...” said David to himself as they began descending towards one of Bilgewater's many docks. David began scanning the ships below to try and find one that was likely to be the one he was going to spend the next few months on.
“Where is she?” asked David, unable to pick which of the vessels in the harbour could be the right one.
“Right over there,” said Vincent, pointing to a medium sized tall ship.
“You got someone to just, hand this over?” asked David, examining the ship from a distance. It was well built, the wood was worn but showed no signs of decay. The masts were tall, their sails folded and tied down. Golden paint along the bow read 'Lady Luck'.
“He owed my father.”
“Seems like everyone in this town does,” said David, smiling.
“I'm not complaining.” Vincent smiled.
“So....we sail tomorrow?”
“Yes, bring no more than you need.”
“Isn't tomorrow a bit soon?”
“No. No it's not,” said Vincent simply, “I'll see you tomorrow.”
The cold morning air stung his face as Vincent walked down the dock. He had a large bag full of clothes and personal possessions slung over his back. He approached the Lady Luck and nodded to Martin who was standing on deck. The long gangplank that led from the dock to the deck was lowered so that Vincent could walk up. Martin smiled at Vincent, patting him on the back as he stepped onto the ship.
“Welcome aboard,” said Martin, smiling.
“Thank you, Captain,” said Vincent.
Martin laughed, “Haven't been called that in a very long time.”
“Never too late to start again,” laughed Vincent.
“I should hope so,” said Martin, rather more seriously than before.”
“Where should I put my gear?” asked Vincent.
“In the crew's quarters below deck. You're the first to arrive, so you get first pick of the hammocks.”
“Oh, any advice?”
“Pick the top hammock, closest to the door. You get fresh air and less noise.”
“I'll take that into account.”
Vincent climbed down the ladder that led to the crew quarters. He noticed the hammock that Martin had mentioned and was about to toss his bag onto it when he noticed the piece of black cloth on it. He pulled it off and instantly knew what it was. He quickly climbed back up to the deck and tapped Martin, who was consulting with the navigator, on the shoulder.
“What is it, Vincent?”
“What is this doing in the hammock?” asked Vincent, holding up the torn pirate flag.
Martin smiled, “I thought you might like to raise it.”
“We will not fly under a pirate flag. This is a rescue mission.”
“Point taken, then we shall fly the Bilgewater flag.”
Vincent's mind was pulled back as he gazed down at the flag. Memories, words. Yelling.
You're.....Father......Vincent....HOW COULD YOU?! The sensation of being dunked into freezing water.
“Vincent?” Martin waved his hand in front of Vincent's face.
“I have to go do something. Delay the voyage,” said Vincent, simply.
“Just tell the crew we shall sail tomorrow.”
“Just do it,” said Vincent, turning and sprinting back down to the dock.
Vincent stood outside the door, straightening his jacket.
“Alright, Vinent,” he said to himself, “just walk in there and explain. It was all a big misunderstanding.”
He reached for the door, noticing the name 'Fortune' elegantly carved into the frame, and knocked once. Silence greeted him. He knocked twice, louder. Once again, silence. He knocked again, even louder, “Sarah? Sarah? Are you there?”
Sarah wasn't there, either that or she was ignoring him. Vincent sighed out, he tried to peer into the window but the closed blinds blocked any chance of seeing the inhabitant. Vincent scanned the door for a moment and then reached tentatively towards the door knob. He twisted his wrist ever so slowly, it was open. He rotated the door knob all the way and pushed the door open. The inside was dark. A hook near the door held a red coat, the same one he had seen Sarah wearing on the day they had met. A pair of boots were laid out on a mat beside him.
“Hello? Sarah?” called Vincent, tentatively. No one responded. He went to turn the corner into another room and found himself looking at a well organized living room. A small fireplace with a smoldering fire was at the opposite end. The mantle just above it held, what appeared to be, a painting. The painting was beautiful, a woman smiled from the canvas, her red hair fell to her shoulders. It could have been Sarah, but Sarah was much younger than this woman, by at least a decade. He approached to get a better look and found a golden locket on the mantle as well. He popped it open to a photograph of the same woman, this time, however, she was smiling beside a man about her age with a thin beard and a little girl on her lap. Vincent reached forwards and picked it up, examining it carefully. Suddenly he felt something cold and round press against the back of his head.
“Don't move,” it was Sarah's voice.
Vincent began to slowly turn to face her.
“Turn back. Put the locket back.”
Vincent did as he was told, completely and utterly confused as he was.
“Good, now turn to face me.”
Vincent did so and found himself gazing down the muzzle of a flintlock pistol.
“Sarah, it's me,” said Vincent in a calming voice.
“I know that, that's why I brought the pistol.” her voice was flat and completely serious.
“You don't need to point that at me,” said Vincent, trying to keep the fear out of his voice.
“You're right, I don't need to,” the pistol began to lower, “I want to.” she cocked it and swiftly returned it to the position it had been in-right in between Vincent's eyes.
“Sarah, why are you doing this?”
“Because you deserve it.”
“For being a pirate.”
“I'm not a pirate!”
“Pirate's son, then.”
“Sarah, what the hell is going on?!”
“You're the son of Vincent the shadow, aren't you?”
“Sarah, that is irrelevan-”
“Aren't you?” repeated Sarah, angrily.
“Well, yes, but what does that have to do with-”
“Well than, you deserve it.”
“Why do I deserve having a gun pointed in my face?”
“Because you're one of them.”
“One of who? A pirate? Sarah, I've never been at sea for more than a week in my life.”
“That doesn't matter. You are going to pay for your father's sins.”
“What the hell are you thinking, Sarah?”
“I'm thinking that I could be about to avenge them.”
“Pirates killed my parents when I was a eight.”
“That's not my fault,” said Vincent, rather shocked.
“It's your father's fault.”
“They were looking for your father. It was a raid. Or do you not remember that?”
Vincent did remember, one of the other powerful pirates, Devlin 'Black Powder', had a serious grudge against Vincent's father for killing his son and had sailed all of his ships into Bilgewater and burned and raided the town. Vincent had hid in the secret room under the fireplace. His father had stayed outside with his crew and had fought. The raid had failed but it had seriously damaged Bilgewater, many civilians were killed. Of course, Vincent's father sailed out the next day and came back, a month later, with the head of Black Powder on a stick.
“I do. And I'm sorry Sarah, but you can't do this.”
“And why not?”
“Because it won't bring you peace.”
“Why not?” asked Sarah angrily.
“Do you think your parents wanted this for you?”
“What do you mean?” inquired Sarah, narrowing her eyes.
“Do you think they wanted their daughter to grow up into a bitter, venomous human being? Do you think they would want you to pull the trigger? To kill me? They wanted better for you, Sarah.”
“Don't speak about my parents,” growled Sarah.
Vincent smiled sadly, “You look just like your mother.”
Sarah grip on the pistol wavered for a moment as the words caught her off guard.
“You look just like her,” said Vincent, nodding towards the painting, “except, you have your father's eyes. She would be proud, they'd both be proud of the beautiful you've grown up into. They wouldn't want you to kill me in their name.”
Sarah paused and lowered the pistol, Vincent thought he could see a tear forming in her eye but she wiped it away “What do you want, Vincent? Why'd you come here?”
“To apologize and say goodbye.”
Sarah blinked away a tear, and looked at him slightly surprised, “what?”
“I'm sorry about your parents, I never thought of it that way. But I'm leaving, my father's gone missing in the north and I need to find him.”
“Find him, in the deep north?”
“Yes, he needs me now, for the first time.”
“You're going to try and rescue him.”
“You're going to bring him back?”
“Yes. Sarah, I don't care how you feel about pirates. He's my father, I'll take any chance to save him. You've lost yours, don't keep me from mine.”
Sarah, unable to contain the tears much longer, nodded, “Go. Leave. Get out.”
Vincent paused, wondering if he should try and comfort her.
Vincent nodded and walked past Sarah towards the door. Just as he turned the corner, he saw he step forwards and pick up the locket. And then Vincent was outside, closing the door, and Sarah Fortune was left alone with her memories.
Vincent watched as Martin lined up the crew along the dock. He could put names to faces. David: the blacksmith. Charles: The man who ran the local fish shop and a multitude of others. As soon as they were all lined up, Vincent hoisted his bag over his shoulder and jogged down the dock. Martin noticed him and motioned towards Vincent, everyone looked. Vincent arrived in front of them and began to speak.
“I'd like to thank you all for coming out. I know this isn't an easy decision but I'd like to thank you none the less. This mission is simply a rescue. My father has gone missing in the deep northern waters. I intend to find him. This mission will be short, A year at most. Anyone having second thoughts, you may leave now.”
Vincent waited in anticipation. No one moved.
“Thank you,” he said, relieved, “ I assure you, we are in the most capable hands. Martin,” he gestured, “is going to captain this voyage, and we shall assuredly all be safe and well under his command. So, with no further ado, you may board the ship. Select whichever hammock you wish, any hammock with a bag has already been claimed. Thank you, again.”
Martin nodded and motioned for the crew to board the ship, “We sail within the hour,” he ordered. The crew nodded and began to file back onto the ship. He watched, all these people, come to help me. He felt immeasurably grateful as they filed past. He tried to put a name to every face, and could, until the last man. He was slightly shorter than Vincent, with a cap pulled down, covering his face. Vincent paused and grabbed the man's shoulder.
The man started, but didn't turn.
“Excuse me, do I know you?” asked Vincent, racking his brain to remember a name.
“Not likely,” said the man in an abnormally deep voice.
“What is your name?”
“Sa-Simon,” stuttered the man.
“And why are you trying to get on my ship, Simon?”
“I'm here to help, Martin asked me to join.”
“Ok, Simon, can you please turn around,” asked Vincent, wanting to get a better look at this mysterious crew member.
Simon turned but had turned his face downwards so, once again, Vincent could not see.
“C'mon,” grumbled Vincent, leaning over to try and get a look.
Simon moved his head again and Vincent was once again only left with a patch of shadows in front of the man's face.
“Really? This is childish,” said Vincent, reaching over and grabbing Simon's cap.
Simon tried to stop Vincent from removing the hat but was too slow and Vincent pulled the hat off before Simon could protest. The hat dropped from his hand and hit the dock with a sad THUMP.
Vincent stared. There was no Simon. He watched as the fiery hair, that had been lumped under the hat, cascaded downwards. Vincent searched for words as he looked, in shock, upon Sarah Fortune. The only word that came to him did nothing.
“Vincent,” she said, staring back with stone cold eyes.
“What are you?”
“Because of what you said. They would want more for me. They'd want me to help you find your father.”
“No. You're not coming.”
“You don't have a say in it.”
“And why not?” asked Vincent, indignantly.
“Because you're not the captain.”
Before Vincent could object, she was on her way up the gangplank and onto the ship. He stayed there for about half a minute, brooding. Then set off after her. As he stepped onto the deck, he saw Sarah just ending a conversation with Martin.
“You can't just let her!” yelled Vincent, storming towards Martin.
“And why not?”
“Because...” said Vincent, grabbing Martin by the shoulder and dragging him back into the navigation room at the stern. He slammed the door behind them. “Because she's a woman.”
“Vincent. Please, what difference does that make?”
“She's a woman. On a ship! A ship is no place for a woman, Martin!”
“She's probably better at sailing than you,” interrupted the old man.
“That doesn't matter, she just can't!”
“Fine. Ask the crew. If more than half of them object, I'll tell her to leave. If more than half agree, she stays.”
“Deal,” said Vincent, smiling. He was sure that this would be an easy feat.
He stepped outside and took a few paces forwards before yelling, “Alright everyone! Time for a vote! All opposed to Sarah joining us on this voyage..” Vincent raised his hand into the air. No one in the crew moved. Surely they hadn't heard him properly.
“Everyone opposed to Sarah accompanying us!” Again he trust his hand into the air, as if he had to show them how to do so. No one moved.
“EVERYONE OPPOSED!” he yelled again, this time becoming worried. Still, he remained as the only one with his hand in the air.
“And everyone for...” said Martin's voice from behind. Vincent watched in horror as every member of the crew raised their hand. Vincent's own hand dropped in shock.
Sarah smiled and crossed her arm, “Looks like you got yourself another crew mate, Vincent.”
Chapter Six: Farewell
The Tiny figure running down the dock was unmistakable.
Tell's voice called out as the little boy sprinted down the docks, his mother walking behind, carrying a large crate in her arms. Vincent smiled and picked Tell up from under his arms and swung the toddler around. He set Tell down after one full rotation. Tell laughed and grabbed onto Vincent's leg, smiling his gap-toothed smile.
“And what, pray tell, are you doing here, Tell?” asked Vincent.
Tell looked up at him, “I didn't underthtand that,” he said, with an innocently confused face.
Vincent laughed, “I asked, what are you doing here, Tell?”
“Coming to thee you. Of courthe.”
“Oh. Of course,” said Vincent, knocking himself on the forehead in mock remembrance, “How did you know to find me here?”
“Wow, your mom sure does know a lot, doesn't she?”
Vincent looked up from the grinning child and smiled at Bethe, “Hello.”
“What's in the crate?”
“Fruit, thought your crew might want some for the journey.”
“I'm sure it would be appreciated,” said Vincent, turning and calling to Martin to send two crew members down to take Bethe's crate. Within a minute, Sarah and David were walking down the plank. Sarah smiled widely when she saw who it was.
“Why hello, Tell,” said Sarah, smiling widely.
Tell, seeming to have forgotten all about Vincent, released the young man's shin and sprinted over to Sarah.
Sarah smiled, “Hello Bethe.”
“Hello Sarah,” said Bethe, eyeing Vincent in slight confusion.
“Don't ask. It's a long story,” said Vincent, waving his hand to dismiss the unspoken question.
“Not THAT long,” snorted Sarah indignantly
“YES. It is,” said Vincent, looking pointedly at Sarah, who laughed and nodded as David tilted his head in the crate's direction.
Sarah and David lifted the crate up and slowly made their way back up the plank. Tell waved even though Sarah had her back to him.
Tell turned to Vincent, “ith it true that you're leaving, Vinthent?”
Vincent's felt terrible looking down at Tell's tiny little eyes.
“Well..Yes. But not for long. Your daddy and my daddy need help. So I'm going to help them.”
“What do they need help wif?”
Vincent paused, “Nothing big. Just a little something.”
Tell smiled as if this answered had assured him fully.
Vincent, desperately grasping for a way to move away from this subject, followed Tell's gaze, now resting upon the figure head of the Lady Luck.
“Want a tour?”
Tell's eyes lit up like a thousand little stars at the sound of these words. He looked up at Vincent and the smile spoke volumes.
“You don't mind, do you?” asked Vincent, looking to Bethe.
“Of course not,” Bethe smiled.
“Thank you,” said Vincent, taking Tell's hand and beginning to lead him up the gangplank and onto the ship.
The Lady Luck was small, compared to the Black Pool but Tell's eyes shone with excitement, and the grin on his face showed that he could have been on a dingy and still be impressed. Vincent smiled, he really was going to miss the little yordle.
“This is the main deck, or above deck,” said Vincent, “this is where we really operate the sails and steer the ship”
Tell gazed around, his wide smile not faltering for a moment. Vincent smiled to himself then gestured sideways “and this is the crew quarters.”
Time had a funny way of slipping through your fingers whenever you were close to a moment that held in its grasp a decision that you wished you didn't have to make. And time made no expense for the scruffy haired pirate's-son named Vincent. As he emerged from the cargo hold, explaining about how the ship was able to keep all this weight up to Tell, Martin walked up to him.
“It's time. We need to sail now. Before we lose the wind.”
Vincent's stomach felt like it was being pulled into an unstoppable cyclone that originated somewhere in his naval.
“Of..Of course,” said Vincent, giving Martin a brief salute.
“Do you weally have to go, Vinthent?” asked the tiny yordle at his waist.
“Yeah, i do.” said Vincent, trying not to think too much about what he was leaving behind. He slowly led Tell down the plank to the dock, where Bethe waited patiently for her son to return. Vincent let go of Tell's hand as they stepped onto the dock. Tell released Vincent's hand but did not step away. Instead, he turned and looked up at Vincent with his deep blue eyes, the same colour as the fuzzy skin that loosely covered his body and spoke.
“I dont want you to weave, Vinthent.”
Vincent's heart felt as if it had been wrenched from his chest. But still, he knelt down and looked Tell in the eye.
“I know. But I've got to go. And maybe someday, when you're as old as me, you'll understand why. You'll have something special that you need to pursue..”
“Or someone,” said Bethe, smiling kindly and nudging her head in the direction of Sarah, who was untying ropes that kept the Lady Luck tied to the dock.
Vincent glowered at her for a moment.
“And when you find that thing. You'll understand. Because you know that no matter what you have to sacrifice or leave behind, it will be worth it.”
“But you're coming back, right Vinthent?”
“Yeah, Tell, I hope so. But until then, you're gonna have to be twice as good and work twice as hard to make up or the fact that I'm gone.”
“I will, I Pwomithe,” said Tell, smiling at him.
“Good. I'll miss you, Tell,” said Vincent, reaching his arm out and rustling the hair on Tell's head.
Tell paused and then enveloped as much of Vincent as he could in another hug.
“goodbye, Vinthent.” said Tell, his face in Vincent's chest.
“Goodbye, Tell.” said Vincent, standing up and walking back up the plank. Feeling, without a doubt, that part of him was lying there, on the docks, in the arms of that tiny child. Vincent watched, his heart somewhere around his kidney, as the plank was raised. Martin called from the head of the ship, “Raise anchor!”
Vincent could hear people behind him moving. He could hear the chains of the anchor rattling, the sounds of the sails being unravelled, he could hear everything. But the only thing he listened to was the sound of Tell's expression. Then the ship moved, and Vincent had to take a step to balance himself. And Vincent stood there silently as the sails were pushed by the wind, taking him away. Away. Away from his home. Away from everything. And then, over the sound of shouting, of creaking boards, of his own thoughts, came one voice.
“Bring my daddy back, Vinthent!”
And the force of these words hit Vincent like a blow to the stomach. His breath slowly leaked out of his in a low whistle. And, as much as he wanted to. To walk to the edge of that fateful ship, to call across the water. To promise Tell that he would. That he could. But as the docks slowly became slowly smaller and smaller, he couldn't. And so he just stood there, until Bilgewater faded from view behind a rocky spit, silent. Because he couldn't promise anyone anything anymore. Because it wasn't up to him.
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