My grand-pap was known far and wide as the rowdiest, rum drinking, treasure taking, swashbuckler in the Setereh Kingdom!
I was by his words a ‘book-lubber’ since I lived in a dorm at a private school after my father passed away. The quietest, tea drinking, book taking, educational buckler in the Setereh Kingdom!
But every summer since I can remember my Grand-pap came to port, then he would sneak me out of my private school dorm, and take me out on his ship the ‘Creaking Beauty’. I guess since it’s wood is so old every plank creaks when you step on it, even the small feet of my former younger self would let out a squeak from the ship.
But I loved it, a large ship carrying a crew of over twenty loud drunk men looking for that next chest of gold, or that lovely woman to bed.
He would take me to all these tropical and wild adventures, I even saw him fight against a rival pirate ship! Everyday was a new lesson I learned, and I soaked it all in like a sponge on water, it was the only colors I experienced in my gray world.
And Then he died…
It wasn’t even in a fight, or age that took him, it was his own stupidity. From what I’ve been told he was climbing the mast in a drunken dare then falling head first snapping his own neck, I guess he died doing what he loved so I can’t be too upset about it, he wouldn’t want to die any other way.
After that the ship was left hidden in a secret cove known only to his first mate who I never heard from after my grandpap died.
It’s been years since I last saw…or rather heard from the Creaking Beauty after that.
Imagine my surprise, after nearing completion of my own studies, a desk job already reserved for me to which my only task was to file papers of all kinds of manner, and reasons I couldn’t care less about.
When I had thought I had forgotten all about him, and the ways of a pirate, I suddenly get a strange letter in a crummy piece of yellow parchment that smelled like the sea.
The letter was written rather poorly, misspellings, and grammars to the point of nearly slapping my palm against my forehead in frustration, but there was no doubt it was my grand-pap.
‘To my favorite Book-Lubber’ the note began.
‘Ifn’ yer reading tis then it means my days are long and gone! Wish that I had died on my own terms, and my own ship my lad! Because Im wrting this and handing it to my first mate the moment ye become an adult, ifn I died sooner than be later! With my dying breath, and final wish before I plunge into the depth of Davy Jones, and punch the scurvy ridden seadog this way, and that, I give to ye my own last, and greatest treasure! The Creaking Beauty…she is yours now book-lubber! Do with her as you will by the time you get this note! Ye were made for the sea my little lad, you got a heart in ye that only that of a captain like me could ever had! Ifn my first mate be as smart as he is dumb he would be waiting fer ya on the map I wrote this will in on the back. Follow it my boy! Live yer life, explore the seas, and crack Jenny’s teacup once or thrice!’
Translating what I could I quickly realize it was a will written by my grand-pap himself giving me the deed to his ship, and naming me it’s new captain!
It was a struggle to take it all in, I couldn’t even feel the rough texture of the yellow colored paper in my hands. Waves of memories came flooding towards me like a tidal wave, smacking me across the face! The little vacations I had there were the most memorable, the exotic trinkets I wasn’t allowed to keep, but would often dabble in whenever the crew members brought something interesting, even recalling one night when a fascinating, but beautiful woman had decided to escort my grand-pap, and how he was so drunk, and delighted that he had nearly convinced me to take part with her as well.
I looked at my tower of books, and homework, the only true decorations I had in my room minus a bed, desk, and chair, and perhaps it was my inexperienced youth speaking…but I wasn’t going to be young forever and I certainly didn’t want to waste it studying for a job I never requested.
Freedom is something people seem to misinterpret a lot, sometimes it’s not a beautiful paradise where one can do as they please whenever they so wished, with no job, nor responsibility.
Sometimes freedom can simply be letting go of the shackles the world had so subtlety clamped on your leg when you weren’t looking, grabbing what you can, stuffing it in a trunk you can carry, and heading towards a less than perfect, old pirate ship, and going who knows where!
Taking a few books of my own, clothing, and any other equipment, I stuffed them in my large trunk, and followed the instructions in the dead of night. I underestimated my Grand-pap, his hiding spot was very clever and daring for a loud drunkard seeing as it was very close to a heavily populated port yet he was able to sneak in, and out without anyone noticing.
Following his map, and taking a route off the main path, and towards a secret yet massive alcove near the rear of the port where most commercial, military, and shipping boats would go about their business.
When I got there I found the ‘Creaking Beauty’ still the same as I’ve last seen it. Anchored on a jutting rock and barely squeezed into the alcove, it’s wood was a pale brown, sturdy, but just barely, the main sail, the fore sail, the main top sail, and fore top sail were all a creamy white. I also noticed they had recently acquired for stay sail, a jib, and a flying jib on the bowsprit of the bow due to the sails being a much brighter white than it’s counterparts.
“Yo-ho-ho!” You heard someone cry out from the ship.
Surprisingly, I spotted the only member of my grandpap’s former crew, his first mate potentially having tended to the ship all this time. His hair was a dirty blonde, messy, and cut short and covered by 3 red, white and blue bandannas that crossed one another. His shirt, or shirts were just a mish-mash of brightly colored rags on top of one another, matching the same colors on his bandanna, and covered in muck with light brown leather slacks slung together by a belt that looked more like rope than anything, and dark brown leather boots. He sees me and gives me a loud shout of joy before I even got to the boat. His eyes were a dark blue, like the sea at night under the glow of the moon, and his expression was rather lighthearted, though I did recall he was always pretty upbeat, though even he couldn’t avoid the flow of time. Faint wrinkles lined his face, I figured he’d be hitting his late thirties at this point.
“Ahoy! Took ya long enough book-lubber! Ah thought ye would have flumped over like a sack of spuds” the man replied.
“I-uh, what?” you reply.
I had just remembered another part of my time with the Creaking Beauty…I never could understand what my grand-pap’s first mate could say…ever.
“I figured ya would, after yer grand-pappy gone and gaffed it” the first mate added.
“Gaffed? Is that a racist thing, or are you just making words up!” I called back.
I remember him having quite a colorful language from where he’s from to which I don’t know, but it seems like his vocabulary has only gotten worse.
“Ah~ don’t worry about all that toss, guess you’ll be filling in for that salty seadog?” the man asked.
“(Why can I only understand half of what he’s saying?)” you think to yourself. “Uh~ aye” you reluctantly answer.
“Mmm~ yer still a Jim lad, and green around the gills but I’ll take ya under the ropes before you make a gumpy little geck out of yourself! We’ll be calling you Cap’n in no time!” My first mate declared.
“We, w-what do you mean we?” You ask.
“Why all ye harty crew we be recruiting! Ya don’t think this vessel can sail the seas with us two! Jim lad you be bonkers to sail without a proper crew!” The pirate makes a valid point.
“Is there really no one else, just us?” You ask
“Aye~ them bilge rats ditch the Creaking Beauty after the booty run dry! Me being the Capn’s squire, and first mate stuck around waiting for his book-lubber to take his place! Bugger all that say nay!” The first mate was growing excited.
“Well I came all this way, so where do we go from here then if we have no crew?” You ask.
“We be going south to warm waters! There be plenty of lubbers there that’ll work for ya! I’ll teach ya how to talk proper along the way before ye go jibbing your gob!” the man proclaimed.
Well I certainly didn’t want to jib anyone with my gob…or whatever.
Before I knew it, I was aboard my grandpap’s old ship. The creaking under my feet was a like a nostalgia trip every step.
“All hands on deck! Hoist the main sail! We go where the wind takes us!” My first mate shouted to no one, but at me.
The pale white sail drop, the anchor keeping the ship still was pulled up, overall the whole process of getting a ship this big sailing with only two people lasted roughly an hour.
Yet I couldn’t hide my excitement, as my first mate takes the wheel and stealthily brings the ship to open waters before anyone could see the Creaking Beauty setting sail!
“Take a caulk me cap’n. First time hoisting the sail can be a lot fer a book-lubber like ye!” My first mate suggested.
He was right, an hour, or so of just getting this ship ready for the sea has left my arms feeling like dead weight, my body sore, and all while doing it in the dead of night, I didn’t know what he meant, but when he didn’t stop me from making a bed out of a pile of ropes on deck, I didn’t hesitate to sleep.
After a brief nap on deck I awoke to a seagull pecking at my face. I slap the flying rat away, and look at my surroundings. It was daytime and all I see is ocean, ocean, and more ocean with land only a speck in a distance, the ship swaying gently on calm waters.
My first mate had advised me to see the world the way only a few dozen or so people have, on the crow’s next high above the ship, at first the idea was thrilling, but one glance down when I felt the stronger winds from up high, and the constant creaking of my tiny platform immediately had me thinking otherwise.
“We’ll be spotting land any second Jim lad! How be it from up there!” my first mate asks.
I cling to the edge of the crow’s nest for dear life, gazing out at sea as I just discovered I have a fear of heights.
“I-I-I think I see something~” I stammer.
“I know not what ye speak! Talk like I showed, don’t go hollow on me now!” My first mate calls out.
“…Ah spot a mass of wood at the bow, can’t really tell what that is…” I explain.
“Use the scope you doughnut!” My first mate calls out.
“(Should I be offended he called me a doughnut?)” I wonder to myself before I spot a compressed telescope beside me made of bronze. I pick it up, extend it, and peer through it, and through the dirty glass I zoom in on the debris littering an otherwise perfect blue ocean and find that it is in fact not a pile of junk but a junky raft with two people on it, and a large black thing in the middle. I would be surprised how something so heavy looking would stay afloat on a pile of wood but my concern for the two rafters was stronger.
“A raft! I spotted a raft, two people be sailing the seas on a pile of woods ready to crumble apart! Kind of like us now that I think about it!” I cry out.
“Harr~harr~haw! That be a good one, so! Are we gonna plop down an absolute corker?” My first mate asked.
“How did my grandpa ever understand you!?” I cry out.
“The old Cap’n? Well he didn’t! But why toff up the past? We got two harties sailing the waters!” My first mate exclaimed.
“I don’t think it’s sailing as much as it is drifting, I don’t think they’ve ever touched the waters up until now” I say as I climb down the crow’s nest.
“Two lubbers eh? They be feeding the fish faster than a barrel of rum runs out in a party! Ya gonna do something…Cap’n?” My first mate asked.
Decision time it seems, I could just leave them like that, if they were a threat I would barely be able to defend myself, but my conscious seems to have other ideas.
“Bring the ladder down, we’re bringing them on board” I yell my orders.
“Aye, robbing them on the ship? A bloody mess to clean up but we could save any booty from the grasp of Davy Jones under the sea, I’ll be getting me cutlass ready to rinse them” my first mate says.
“No, we’re helping, I mean, think about it. After this they’ll owe us their lives and you did say we needed the crew numbers” I state.
“Arrr~ that I did boiyo! That I did, by your orders Cap’n I’ll prep Jacob’s ladder, and move us to the tippy tip of the raft! I can see that old sea dog doing the same! Good on ya Jim lad!” My first mate went on.
“(I suppose part of his reason for being a first mate was his grade A ass kissing)” I remark as begrudgingly begin my descent down from the crow’s nest.
My first mate turns the ship slightly to the left moving the old vessel just beside the raft while I work on stopping the ship by managing the sails. I rush to the side and spot the two rafters staring back at me. They had dark tanned skin, and more shocking was the fact that they were both twins, twin girls perhaps only a year or two younger than myself. They wore simple rags of leather, vines and tropical looking flowers acting as hair-pins, brooches, and anklets. They had dark brown, long, wild hair reaching to their backs with loose ends stretching wider than their thin bodies
“Hang on, I’m bringing the ladder down!” I cry out.
The girls only tilt their heads in confusion.
“That be no way to talk Jim lad! Ahoy! Be still ye crazy hearties! We be plopping down a corker on yer heads!” My first mate exclaims
“(I think they understood that less!)” I shout in my thoughts.
I peer down and notice the girls had nodded their heads in agreement.
“How the hell can they understand you!?” I cry out.
“Haw~har-har~ me people skills be bugger all bad. Can’t teach ye that in no books!” He declares loudly.
Regardless I lower the ladder, and the two girls take little time grabbing it, but immediately tie it around their large black pot before jumping into it as well. They tug at the ladder telling me to pull them up.
“I’ll be needing my first mate for this one” I ask.
“Aye-aye! Yer second back-breaking labor as cap’n! Ye’ll be doing that a lot here Jim lad. But don’t ye worry none, yer gonna be tougher than nails before you flump over” my first mate assured.
“Flump isn’t a word” I mutter.
“It to is a word! ‘Ang on I’ll help ya out!” My first mate was quick with the assist.
Pulling two thin girls up would have been no issue, it was the large cauldron they were on that was the real struggle.
“Urgh! This-uh this be heavier than it looks!” I grunt.
“Ah~ yer just skin and bones, we get ta shore I’ll show ya some taverns with meat bigger than your head and rum harder than a bullet!” My first mate cheers.
“Argh~almost there~heave ho!” I grunt and pant as you are close to losing it.
“Build the power Jim lad! Build the power! Heave ho! Heave ho!” My first mate eggs me on.
Finally the girls are within sight and climb down their cauldron but the thing is still on the other side of the ship. The girls not wanting to lose their only item of value quickly assist me and my first mate by pulling it up and over the wooden railing.
“We got this on locked down! Don’t toff it now! Heave ho!” my first mate cries.
“We ain’t toffing anything! Put your backs into it lasses! Heave ho!” I get caught up in the moment.
With one final tug the cauldron rests on top of the railing and the two girls carefully lift it and slowly lower it to the wooden floor. The ship creaks it’s loudest I ever heard her, and I can see the noticeable dent the heavy thing is making on my poop-deck as it was just a bit away from breaking through the floor completely. However after a few tense moments the cauldron stays and my ship does me proud by staying in one piece.
“Ah~ that’ll do beautiful, that’ll do” I rest on the floor and pat my ship.
“Arr~ she may be no sight for sore eyes, but the Creaking Beauty ain’t no damsel in distress lad!” My first mate said.
“Don’t know what that means but aye!” I agree sort of.
The two of you look over your new castaways as they look over their cauldron.
“Jim lad, their get-up” my first mate whispers.
“I know, natives but from where?” I wonder.
“Wild beauties from deep jungles lad, I know of few places but I never seen none leave their land” I first mate explains.
“Is that all you know?” I ask.
“Well I-hey-hey they’re looking at us, quit gaffing your crooker” my first mate says.
“Would you cut that out! I know ‘crooker’ isn’t a real word, I should know, been forced to read a dictionary more than once! What if your out of my sight, and suddenly you shout something cryptic like ‘oh~ me bramble creaks-me bramble creaks’! I won’t know what that means so how would I know how to help that?” I start losing my patience.
“Well that be simple Jim-lad, just re-kick me brambles!” My first mate assures.
I stare dumbfounded at my first mate, the silence broken by the giggling of the two girls I had suddenly forgotten about.
“Ah~ where be me manners! I’m Trent! First mate to the Creaky Beauty yer toes be standing in!” My first mate introduces himself.
“How come I never asked for your name” I wonder loudly.
“The book-lubber before me is me cap’n! He’s still a wee green in the gills if ya catch my drift” he muttered the last part.
“I heard that! Anyways, it uh be a pleasure to see two lasses on my ship uh…so what be your names?” I struggle with my pirate talk.
“Ugah!? Names? She Tia!” The teen on the right pointed to her counterpart to her left.
“She Mia!” The second teen to the left pointed to her twin on her right.
“And what’s two lasses doin’ on these waters?” Trent asks.
They look to each-other then turn to to me again.
“Find good stuff!” Mia cried out.
“Bring stuff back!” Tia shouts.
“Be best Shamans!” The twins cheer.
“Did you get anything out of that?” I ask.
“Ah think it’s a tribe thing Jim lad” Trent answers.
“Uh, can you two be more…what’s the pirate word for specific?” I ask.
“…Specific lad” Trent replies.
“Right-right! Can you two be more specific lad?” I ask.
Trent stares at me, the silence still evident.
For some reason I feel like I did a dumb…
The two natives look at each-other once more, murmured something under their breaths before nodding to each other.
Reaching into their loincloth which I see is just one long pocket they both pull out a peculiar silver powder and toss it into their cauldron which was three times as wide as just one of them, and reaching just below their chest.
“Ugaga-ugah! Cuma-Cumalota!” both girls cried out
The powder suddenly began to steam heavily obscuring my view of the inside of the cauldron, and suddenly I can hear the sound of rushing water. The steam dissipates yet a bit still lingers and pushes outward towards the edge of the cauldron along the gentle motion of the liquid before falling on the wooden floor. Me and Trent peer closely at the clear liquid before Mia taps her cauldron to snap me back into attention.
“Not done yet!” Mia scolds.
“Fun starts now!” Tia assures.
Pulling ingredients of powders, leaves, roots, and other items from many pockets in their clothing, they practically dance around their cauldron laughing, and dropping item after item. All of which causes their cauldron to bubble, rumble, change colors, and would occasionally erupt steam. Finally after dropping one last ingredient their mixture stays a consistent color of light pink.
“Drink!” Both girls cheered.
I stare at the concoction and my nose gets tickled by the sweet aroma.
“It doesn’t look…poisonous” I remark.
“Aye, but as cap’n ye should taste it to make sure it doesn’t jib us” Trent says.
“W-what me? If anything you should, to make sure the ‘cap’n’ doesn’t die!” I argue.
“Ah would, but uh…I be on break?” Trent replied.
“Gee, way to earn your first mate title…I’ll show you, you spineless jellyfish” I grunt as I peer into cauldron.
“Taking too long!” Mia groaned.
“Drink now!” Tia ordered.
Both girls grasp at my head and dunk me into their brew. I was submerged for a second but enough to get a mouth-full of their drink.
“Now why’d ya go and do a thing like that…though ay thought it was pretty damn funny!” Trent commented.
“Hm~mmm! It’s fruit punch!” I realize the taste.
“’Ave you gone mental? They didn’t stick a lick of fruit in that there slob!” Trent stated.
“Ugah!” Both girls pouted finding Trent’s comment insulting.
“Ya can’t say that when you haven’t tried it. Drink it now Cap’n’s orders” I already start abusing my power after a day as captain.
Trent grunts something under his breath but he nears the cauldron and cups a bit of the drink with his hands and sips it. He gags, but swallows what he drank before pulling away and wiping his mouth.
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding me, what’s wrong now?” I argue.
“Nothin’ Cap’n, but sweets and me don’t mix, can ya make a decent grog though?” Trent asked.
The girls look at each other muttering a secret conversation before turning back to Trent.
“What Grog?” Mia, and Tia asked simultaneously
“I figured as such” Trent grumbled.
“We don’t know!” Mia began.
“We want to know!” Tia added.
“Be best Shamans!” Mia said.
“We need stuff!” Tia went on.
“More stuff! More power!” Mia concluded.
“I think I get what they’re saying…” I murmur.
“Cap’n?” Trent turned to his captain.
“Uh, okay…they be looking to search the globe looting the land for special booty to bring back to their cap’n. That’s how they be ruling the land. Am I right?” I ask.
The girls quickly nod their heads in excitement.
“Aye being a book-lubber be helpful I see! Cap’n what shall ye do about this?” Trent asked.
“Hm~ Mia, Tia this ship-the Creaking Beauty be sailing all the seas and stopping in all the lands to collect booty bigger than the eyes can see! Ye do good by staying as me new crew, what say thee me beauties?” I put on my smoothest convincing voice.
The girls giggle at my compliment and turn to each other once again…or rather I hope they understood my compliment, and not just laughing at my attempts to sound like a pirate captain. This time they didn’t even need to speak to each other as one glance at their eyes, and they were nodding their heads.
“We follow you clumsy pirate!” Mia said.
“We be pirates too! To make us strong!” Tia said.
“Teach us good Cap’n!” Mia, and Tia declared at once.
“Great! Already we have double the crew numbers” I reply.
“Yer slipping again Jim lad but ye prove yerself a good talker so ay forgive ye. But only four ain’t enough to travel far, and we be under-stocked, we need grub, and grog!” Trent said.
“And other things as well correct?” I ask.
“Grog be top of the tippest top of the list Cap’n” Trent assured me.
“One step at a time first mate! First we set sail to…crap where do we go again?” I ask.
“Cap’n we be island hopping through the Setereh Kingdom” Trent explained.
“I guess with our low stocks that’s all we can do, but we got a lot of great ports in the neighborhood, we’ll find all we’ll need for our long trips” I say.
“Cap’n yer not talking right!” Trent reminded.
“I’m working on it! It’s my first day! Girls…what’s wrong?” I shout, but then turn to the young women who are sitting beside one another rubbing their stomachs.
It was only shortly after did I hear their tummies grumble with hunger.
“The lasses need meat, I’ll cook us some breakfast Cap’n!” Trent said.
“Meat!?” Both girls immediately stoop up at the first sound of food.
“You go do that, I’m feeling hungry myself so make some for all of us!” I call out.
“Aye-aye!” Trent shouts back.
With him gone under the ship to prepare a meal I approach the girls to let them know what’s going on.
“You two sit still, we be bringing you the grub, and eats to make ya burst” I assure them.
The promise of food brings a smile to their faces.
“Food, want juicy red meat!” Tia started drooling.
“Meat, meat, meat!” Mia chanted also unable to control her saliva.
“I gotta know though, how long have you two been drifting? Yer certainly not part of Setereh” I ask.
“Sail many days and nights!” Mia began.
“Only saw small lands, no good stuff!” Tia started.
“Then we see you!” Mia said.
“You take us in, you feed us now! We know what this mean now!” Tia added.
“We found really good stuff here Tia!” Mia said.
“Whoa, if you’re talking about the ship, it ain’t gonna happen” I reply.
“We no want ship!” Tia said.
“We want Cap’n’s stuff!” Mia said.
“You can’t have my stuff…it’s mine. Anyways get yer butts over to our dining deck, it ain’t much to look at but a room with a table and chairs be good enough for me, and thee” I offer
“We no want that stuff!” Tia corrected.
“We want ‘you’ stuff!” Mia explained.
I’m baffled at what they mean by that, and even more baffled when they suddenly came up to me and kissed my cheeks, one on each side before giggling to themselves and dashing towards the lower level of the ship. Then they suddenly turned around as if forgetting something, and sure enough, they lifted their heavy Cauldron down to the ship with them.
After some time Trent came back carrying thick slabs of meat. While he didn’t say what animal they came from, food was food and with a sprinkle of salt, and sauce I didn’t care. The twins took no time in ravishing their meal, chomping down on them with little to no class.
“Where are the utensils?” I ask.
“And you whine when I make up words” Trent answers with a mouth full of food.
“That’s not…never-mind, I’ll just add it on my to shopping list…” I mutter as I grab the juicy meat in my hands and chomp down on it.
“By the way, I notice our jolly roger is missing, where did it go?” I ask.
“Hmm~ yer grand-pap took it along with him to his watery grave. This ship has no face” Trent said.
“Well we’ll never make a name fer ourselves if we have no face to show. Give me some time I’ll make us a new jolly roger” I assure.
“Aye-aye cap’n!” Trent cheered.
“Aye-aye!” Mia, and Tia cheered along with him.
While progress was going smoothly there was still many dangers left for me to deal with. Not just the sea but the kingdoms themselves can be my mortal enemy in a blink of an eye, but for now eating with ship-mates I can also call friends I can honestly say I’m pretty happy being a pirate.