Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 2, Chapter 6

VI

 

Melchior was true to his word. The crew returned within a few hours. Together, they loaded all the supplies that they’d need to make repairs to the Specter during their voyage. When the sun finally began to set on the horizon, Baltazar turned to Melchior, “Order all hands on board, ready the ship for departure.”

Melchior nodded and turned to the crew, “Aye sir, all hands get onboard now. Everyone to your stations, let’s go!”

The crew scattered as Melchior barked out orders, “Hands to the braces, release mooring lines, set the sails!”

Gilles ran to the helm as the sails came down and brought the ship about 180 degrees. As the ship began to leave the harbor, Baltazar looked at the small fort at the harbor exit. He smiled as an idea popped into his head, moved to the forward railing on the aft castle, and called out to his men, “Mates, his majesty has offered us a chance to serve king and country. What say you men, do you want to be the king’s stooges?”

A resounding ‘no’ came from the men on deck. Baltazar nodded, “Well the king is waiting for an answer. What say we give him one? Run up port gun number one!”

Four men moved in and quickly loaded the cannon. It took them a few moments to get everything ready, but once they were done, the gun was rolled back it into place. One of the men turned back to Baltazar, “Gun at the ready sir.”

Baltazar nodded, “Open fire on the fort!”

The crewman hit the back of the cannon with a lit torch. It responded with a loud explosion. A whooshing sound could be heard as the shot cut through the air heading towards its target. In a matter of seconds, there was an explosion that cut a small hole in the fortress wall.

Baltazar nodded, “Hard over, get us out of here.”

The Specter quickly moved out of the range of the fortress cannons and out to sea. Once they were safely away, Baltazar turned and walked towards his cabin without looking at anyone, “Melchior, you’re on watch. Let me know if anything happens.”

Melchior nodded, “Aye sir.”

Without another word, Baltazar disappeared from view. He was weary from his meeting with his brother and didn’t know what would come next. He suspected though that it would not be pleasant.

From his residence, Philip III saw the attack on one of his fortresses. Smoke poured from the hole that the Specter’s cannon had created. He smiled, “So dear brother, it’s war between us then?”

*

Two days passed from the time they left Spain. Melisande finished up her duties and returned to the deck. The crew was fed and there were none that had been wounded during the day. She leaned on the railing as she watched the stars twinkle in the night sky. Each had its own distinct pattern and flickered various colors.

Everything that had happened to her since she left the abbey passed in front of her eyes. Her thoughts returned to Sister Mary, and how furious she must have been when Melisande left. She regretted just up and leaving, but she was relieved to have Papi with her, and she was much happier now. She’d found a place in the world for the first time ever. Granted, it wasn’t a perfect fit and it wasn’t exactly where she thought she’d be, but she was content with it.

Suddenly a voice appeared behind her, “Pardon the intrusion.”

She turned to see Melchior standing behind her. Her lips curled into a warm smile as she leaned back on the railing in order to give the first mate her intention, “No intrusion at all, just thinking about the unusual turn of events.”

“Aye,” he said with a smile, “a lot has happened in such a short time. Here we be, renegades on the high seas with a captain we just come to discover has royal blood in his veins. To boot, we now be serving with a woman. These certainly be strange tides.”

“So no one knew about Baltazar?” Melisande asked. “Don’t you find that a little odd?”

“Very odd,” Melchior replied, “but he been keeping everything as secret as he can. None of us be mind readers and never volunteers anything.”

Melisande nodded, “That is true…”

“May I ask a favor of ye, lass?” Melchior asked.

“Of course,” Melisande replied, “what can I do for you?”

Melchior paused for a few moments, but finally responded, “We be concerned about the captain. Since he returned, he’s not been himself. Something be eating at him.”

“I’ve noticed.” Melisande agreed. “What would you like me to do about it?”

“Get him talking.” Melchior replied. “A captain that’s mind be elsewhere does not bode well for his ship.”

Melisande looked over at his cabin. The lamps were lit and she could see him pacing about. She looked back at Melchior and nodded, “All right, I’ll see what I can do. Though I don’t know if he’ll talk to me about it.”

Melchior smiled, “Much obliged.”

Without another word, she turned and walked to the aft castle and knocked on the cabin door. Baltazar responded, “Enter.”

She opened the door and looked at Baltazar. He turned to her and smiled, “Mel, what can I do for you?”

She took in a deep breath, “The men are concerned about you. They think your mind is elsewhere.”

He nodded, “They may not be wrong…”

“Do you want to talk about it?” She asked. “We were all kind of surprised to hear that you are a Habsburg.”

“That would be because I am not one!” Baltazar shouted. “I am still the same person I always was. My name is Captain Baltazar De La Fuente. I’m no prince; I have no such riches of any kind.”

Melisande took a step back, “Calm down, I’m not here to judge you. I’m sorry if that’s a sore subject.”

Baltazar lowered his eyes, “It’s not your fault, you didn’t know.”

Melisande nodded, “So can you tell me?”

Baltazar looked away and sighed, “My mother was a maid to Philip II of Spain. It was one night when they were alone together in his country home. One night… that’s all it took.”

“So it’s true…” She replied softly. “Your father was the king.”

“My father,” he replied, “was an inbred degenerate, same as the rest of that family. I have no love for them, or the evils they commit that tear apart our great country, all to feed their lust for riches and power.”

“Is that why you attack Spanish ships?” Melisande asked.

“Yes,” he admitted, “I sink them and use their goods to pay my crew and refit my ship. I use a small amount to sustain myself and give the rest to charity. I could be a rich man now from all the plunder, but like it or not… I can’t escape what my family has done. So I don’t keep it for myself.”

“You can’t blame yourself for what your family does.” Melisande insisted. “You’re not them. You’re not your father. You are much better than that.”

Baltazar smiled, “Funny, I thought you said I was a ruffian and a scoundrel.”

“You are,” she replied, “but I’d count myself with an honest scoundrel over an evil monarch any day.”

“You’re very kind to say that.” Baltazar replied. “I am glad we didn’t throw you to the sharks.”

Melisande laughed, “Well I’m glad you feel that way, I’m too skinny to be a good meal anyway!”

They continued talking long into the night as the lamp light burned dim. Everything was quiet on the ship as the crew slept under the stars. Even the creaking of the hull was a peaceful sound.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

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Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 2, Chapter 4

IV

 

San Sebastián appeared on the horizon as the Sun reached its height. Baltazar watched as the port grew larger in the distance. He turned the wheel a few more degrees to port and headed straight in, “My lads, we’ve come home.”

The wind was at their backs as the Specter glided into the harbor. The ship was a recognizable sight in this port and was always celebrated when she docked. Melisande came up on deck and watched as a few small sailboats and fishing vessels lined up alongside the Specter to guide her into the harbor.

Papi was also on deck and smiled as she appeared, “Sleep well, Messy?”

She nodded, “Baltazar does pretty nicely for himself. His cabin is more comfortable than my cell in the abbey!”

“He does,” Papi agreed, “well he’s a rather… extraordinary man.”

Melisande noticed a huge commotion on the docks as the Specter made its way to the pier, “What’s going on?”

“There’s a big celebration every time the Specter comes home.” He replied. “This ship is rather well known here and Baltazar is considered a local hero.”

“Because of his charity?” She asked.

“Aye,” Papi nodded, “but also because of his… reputation with the womenfolk.”

Melisande rolled her eyes, “Wonderful…”

Baltazar looked at Melisande suspiciously. Her reaction wasn’t what he expected. Did she like him? Papi began to worry, but decided to address it later as he had other duties to perform.

As the ship closed on the dock, Baltazar turned to his men, “Tie up the sails, let the current bring us in nice and slow.”

Melchior nodded, “Aye sir, secure the rigging, bring up the sails.”

The Specter’s sails rolled up as the ship neared the dock. Baltazar turned his ship half a degree to port and brought her up to the dock as gently as he could. He then called out to the men on deck, “Mooring lines.”

There were men waiting on the dock to tie up the Specter as she neared. His crew threw a few ropes over the side and secured their ends. The men on the dock tied up the ship and then accepted the walk ways that the crew put over the side. Two of the men took the desk from the back of the ship and brought it down the ramp to the crowd. There was a large group of merchants awaiting the goods that the Specter brought in.

Baltazar smiled at them, “Welcome to each and every one of you, we’ve got a lot of things to offload today for the right price.”

The crew waited as Baltazar marched proudly down the ramp and sat on a post behind the desk. His men brought down everything that they had taken from the Cristobal. One by one, each item was auctioned off to the merchants. It was quite a sight as every merchant almost seemed to be fighting over the goods.

Once everything had been sold, the money was transferred to Baltazar. He smiled at the merchants as they collected their new found items, “Thank you all very much. Remember, there will be more to come!”

Melisande watched Baltazar work. She couldn’t explain it, but she found something appealing about this childish rogue. He was fit, charming, and a fair man, but then she snapped out of it, and there are probably an uncountable number of other women who thought the same thing… and many foolish ones that still do!

Baltazar walked back aboard followed by crewmen carrying large chests full of coins that had paid for the goods. Melchior sat down at his desk and began to count the money. He was meticulous as he went through every jewel and every coin that they had received. Gilles went wide eyed at the size of the treasure.

After it had been gone over entirely, Gilles could wait no longer, “Well?”

Melchior looked up, “50 pieces a share.”

The men cheered as they lined up to receive the money. Each share was placed in a small leather pouch and handed to every member of the crew. Once they had their money, Baltazar smiled, “All shares have been well-earned and I am very proud of each of you. For those of you who have either signed on for one voyage or joined from other ships, good luck to you and I hope to see you back aboard at some point. Those of you who choose to stay with me, you have five days to enjoy your earnings as you see fit, then I want you back here to help get the Specter seaworthy again.”

Shouts went up from the deck and hats flew into the air as the crew cheered. Melisande stood against the railing away from the crew. She had a saddened look on her face as she watched the rest of the men celebrate.

Papi walked up next to her, “I will speak to the captain and see if we can get some supplies so that we can start our journey.”

She shook her head, “I’m going to miss this ship… This was an incredible ride. I wish I could stay onboard… more than anything…”

“You don’t mean that,” he replied sternly, “and you stand a better chance of living if we leave now.”

“I do mean it, Papi.” Melisande replied. “It just feels right…”

“What do you mean?” Papi asked.

She shook her head, “I… I don’t know, but for the first time, I feel like this is where I belong.”

Papi shook his head, “Well, unfortunately, it’s not up to us…”

Once Baltazar received his captain’s share, he made his way off of the aft castle and walked down to the main deck. Papi stopped him before he could disembark, “We’re ready to depart, Captain. I’m taking Messy out of here. I was hoping that you could provide us with some supplies before we go?”

Baltazar shrugged, “Yes, I could do that… yes… but, I’m afraid there’s a problem, old friend.”

“Captain?” Papi asked in a nervous tone.

Baltazar smiled, “I can’t let her leave.”

Papi glared at him, “Captain, with all due respect, this is not one of your mindless tavern wenches! She is important to me! I’ll not let any harm come to her, even if it means going against someone I respect as a friend.”

“You wound me, Mr. Clement.” Baltazar replied as a hurt look appeared on his face. “That you think I would be so blind as to not see that this woman is very special, far too much so to treat as a port of call.”

“Then what is the problem?” Papi asked. “Why won’t you let us leave?”

Melisande looked quizzically at Baltazar as she waited for his response. He returned her gaze, “If I just let you go, my crew might mutiny.”

“What?” Papi asked in a confused tone.

Baltazar sighed, “They spoke to me in open council, which as you know Papi, is every man’s legal right aboard this ship. They requested that I offer Melisande a position aboard ship as a full-share member of the crew.”

Melisande’s eyes lit up as she looked at Baltazar. Papi stepped in front of her and shook his head, “No, it’s far too dangerous, I can’t allow that!”

Baltazar smiled, “I know that, my old friend, but would you have me face a mutiny if I didn’t at least make the offer?”

“The crew really asked?” Papi asked.

“As I said, the crew has spoken in open council about her.”  Baltazar replied as he turned to Melisande. “It seems your ability to treat injuries, and your work ethic, trumps your gender. They have voted unanimously to invite you to remain on if you want to.”

Tears formed in Melisande’s eyes as a bright smile formed on her lips. Her eyes lit up even more than usual and shined brightly. She could not believe what she was hearing.

Baltazar reached into his sack, “Which reminds me…”

He pulled out one last leather pouch and handed it to her, “I believe this belongs to you.”

Melisande opened the bag to see 50 coins inside, a full share. Papi shook his head, “Her, a member of the crew? You can’t be serious! Before she came onboard, she’s never lived a day outside of the abbey!”

“But I am,” Baltazar replied, “She’ll serve as cabin… boy and healer. She’s already proven to be competent at both.”

He looked into her eyes as he continued, “That is of course… if you wish to sign on properly this time?”

The entire crew overheard their conversation, stopped, and looked to see what Melisande’s answer would be. They all looked on anxiously as Baltazar asked. Overwhelmed with joy, she grabbed Baltazar, hugged him tightly, and kissed him on the cheek.

Then, realizing what just happened, she pushed away from him with a nervous grin, “Um… it would be my honor to serve aboard the Specter. It’s all I ever wanted!”

Cheers went up from the men onboard. Baltazar smiled, “Excellent, that’s settled then.”

Morgan came up next to them and bowed his bandaged head to Melisande, “Milady, I be wanting to apologize for the way I been treating ye when ye first came aboard. Ye saved me life.”

She smiled, “All is forgiven. I got what I wanted. Perhaps we can be friends now?”

“Aye,” Morgan replied, “I’d like nothing better.”

He gave her a small salute as he turned to some fouled rigging. Gilles was tending to the helm, with a huge smile on his face from her reaction. Everything appeared to be coming together for all parties involved.

The celebration quickly ended when three lavishly dressed men accompanied by a battalion of soldiers approached the Specter, “Captain, we’ve got company, looks like they’ve got the king’s crest on their banner!”

Papi narrowed his eyes, “The king of Spain, what is he doing in San Sebastián?”

Baltazar turned his attention to the three men as they approached. He walked down ramp and on to the dock to meet them. The first man bowed to Baltazar, “Captain Baltazar de la Fuente, I presume?”

Baltazar returned the gesture, “You are correct good sir.”

The man smiled as he looked Baltazar over, “Your brother requests an audience with you, as soon as possible.”

The crew glanced at each other and whispered back and forth. Baltazar frowned, “You must be mistaken sir. I have no brother. I was orphaned at birth.”

“I see.” the man said with a smug frown. “Well then I shall have to tell King Philip, that he is mistaken about who he believes his brother to be.”

Louder gasps came from the crew. Melisande joined him on the dock, “Baltazar, King Philip?”

The man nodded, “Yes milady, your captain is the half brother of King Philip III of Spain.”

Melisande went wide eyed and she slowly backed away from Baltazar. Gilles walked down to the rail, unable to believe what he was hearing, “I don’t believe it, our captain is royalty?”

“Silence!” Baltazar shouted before turning back to the messenger. “Sir, I do not hold anyone from the House of Habsburg as blood and you would do well to remember that.”

Baltazar paused as he looked over the guards,” If however, the King would like an audience with me… I’d be happy to oblige.”

The man nodded, “Excellent, please accompany us.”

Baltazar bowed again, “Lead the way, milord.”

He turned back to his men, “Secure the ship.”

His men tended to the ship as he was lead away. Melisande watched until he was out of sight, “What does this mean, our captain is a prince?”

“If it’s true,” Papi replied, “then he is a member of the House of Habsburg… which makes him royalty…”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 2, Chapter 2

II

 

As Baltazar predicted, within two hours, the storm hit. Waves crashed over the deck and rain poured down on the crew. Though the ship was secured to prevent it from taking on water, they were still struggling to tie down the cannons on deck. The men had gotten the sails up and the cabins were secure, but a loose cannon could do serious damage.

Papi and Melisande were on deck trying to help out as much as they could. Mel stood with Gilles as they tried to push the number two deck cannon back into position. The cannon by itself was heavy and water crashing over it, made pushing it into place even more difficult.

Once the cannon was back on its blocks, Gilles reached out to Melisande, “Quick hand me the line and secure it!”

She struggled to reach him, but didn’t make it in time. The cannon broke loose and rolled forward, sending Gilles flying over the side. Melisande screamed, “Gilles! Man overboard!”

Every crewman who had already finished securing their lines ran to the side of the boat. Melisande watched as they tried to throw him a line, but the force of the waves crashing over his head made it impossible. His head disappeared beneath the surface every time a wave hit.

Melisande knew that he would drown if they didn’t do something quick. She called out to him, “Come on Gilles, swim, swim man!”

Another wave crashed over his head and she could hear him struggling to breath. Without thinking, she stripped off the vest that she’d been wearing, leaving only her shirt and undershirt on, and jumped overboard. Papi saw her and cried out, “Messy, no!”

He was too late to grab her as she jumped over the railing and plunged into the ocean. She swam towards Gilles as quickly as she could. It took all of her strength to reach him as the waves crashed over her.

Within moments, Melisande grabbed him by the arm and held him above the water. The dirt washed off her face and the hat that had protected her hair fell off. She pulled on Gilles as she swam, “Its ok, Gilles, I have you.”

Gilles opened his eyes and looked at her strangely, like he had never seen her before. They swam back to the ship where the crew pulled Gilles back on board and tended to him. Half drowned, he was taken down below to rest. He didn’t say anything and just lay there with a confused look on his face. As the men returned to their duties.

Meanwhile, Melisande was struggling to climb back on board. Baltazar had been called out to the deck and was watching as the group pulled his new cabin boy up. When she was finally up to the railing, two men grabbed her and pulled her over the side. She lay on her hands and knees coughing for a few moments before standing up. She was surrounded by crewmen and Papi was unable to get to her. Her clothing stuck to her skin, revealing her figure.

Gasps could be heard from the crew as they realized what she was. Baltazar’s eyes went wide and he pointed at her, “You there, stand fast!”

He then turned to the two sailors nearest to her, “Bring her astern!”

Papi began breathing quickly and struggled to get passed the crowd. Two sailors grabbed Melisande and brought her to Baltazar. He looked her over for a few moments and smiled, “Well, well, Melisande is it? I should have recognized you sooner.”

Melchior appeared next to them, “You know this woman captain?”

“Aye,” he replied with a wide grin, “she kept me from falling into a puddle of mud and I saved her from some local ruffians.”

Melisande stood in front of him with a defiant look on her face as Papi came up behind them, “Captain… sir, I can explain!”

Baltazar turned to his cook, “You can explain this Mr. Clement, I belive that I would enjoy such a story. Why is there a woman on my ship?”

Papi nodded, “Sir she lives at Mont St. Michel, she was an orphan placed in the charge of the church. She must have snuck out and travelled to Gransville.”

“I see…” Baltazar replied. “So you know this girl.”

“Yes sir,” he replied, “a long time now.”

Shouts errupted from the crew as one large man with a thick black beard and matching locks of hair called out, “Having a woman onboard is a black mark on a ship! I say we throw her overboard.”

Melisande reached behind her back with both hands and pulled out a pistol and a knife. She turned the knife on the large sailor and pointed the gun at Baltazar’s forehead, “No one is throwing me over the side!”

Scattered laughs came from the crew as she stood with her hands shaking. Baltazar narrowed his eyes, “Easy there Mel, where did you get that pistol?”

She breathed deeply, “I stole it from the hold, just in case something like this happened.”

The quartermaster came up next to Baltazar, “Sir, be careful, those pistols were loaded, I saw to that.”

“Well, looks you thought of everything Mel,” Baltazar said with a smile, “but I wonder, how do you intend to shoot me with wet powder?”

She looked at the gun and was about to respond when Baltazar grabbed it from her hand. Two crewmen grabbed her from behind and ripped the knife away from her. Baltazar shook his head, “It never work have worked anyway.”

He then turned to the quartermaster, “Put this back in the hold, and this time, see to it the weapons are secured.”

The quartermaster nodded and took the pistol, “Aye, aye sir.”

Baltazar turned back and looked at Melisande. There was a lot of worry in her eyes as she waited to hear her fate. He smiled as he spoke, “Our former cabin boy will have my cabin. We’ll set her ashore once we’ve completed our mission.”

A look of relief and gratitude came over Melisande’s face as the crew protested, “You would risk a black mark on us?”

Another crewman spoke up, “Aye, looks like the captain may have actually taken a shine to this tavern whore! I say we throw her overboard.”

Baltazar grabbed her, pulled her away from his men, pushing her towards the cabin, “And I say she stays aboard.”

Baltazar faced the angry stares of his men and drew his rapier, “Or would any man jack here dare challenge my orders?”

The looks on the crews’ faces turned from anger to fear. One by one, they slowly began to back away. Baltazar nodded as he put his sword away and stabbed the knife they had taken from Melisande into the mast, “No one, no one is going to challenge me? Disappointing… at least the tavern whore was willing to put up a fight, back to work, all of you then!”

The men grumbled as they returned to their posts. Baltazar snorted and turned his cabin. Melisande had already gone inside and shut the door. Baltazar opened it and walked in.

Melisande was sitting at his desk with her face in her hands. She was clearly upset. Baltazar pulled up another chair and sat down next to her. He grabbed a towel and began wiping her face to help her dry off, “Why the tears?”

“All I wanted,” She replied, “was a life of adventure. I was so tired of living behind the abbey walls. I wanted something more for myself. I wanted to find out about my family, where I come from, and who I am.”

Baltazar smiled, “So you escaped the abbey and came all the way out here.”

She nodded, “I was desperate to get away.”

“Was anything you told me about your family true?” Baltazar asked.

“My father wasn’t a blacksmith.” She said quietly. “I’ve spent most of my life studying and reading, that’s how I know so much. I was taught how by the church, but what I told you about them dying when I was young was true. I don’t even know my family name.”

Baltazar frowned, “I am sorry for you. I can sympathize, believe me. My family and I have a… troubled history. I haven’t spoken to any of them in years. My father denied that I was even his son. So I can understand what that’s like.”

She looked up at him, “More than anything, I was hoping to find some answers. There has to be evidence out there. I need to know where I come from.”

“Take it from someone who knows,” Baltazar replied, “sometimes ignorance can be bliss. If you keep this up, you may find out that you were happier before knowing.”

“It doesn’t matter… That’s all over with now isn’t it?” She asked sadly. “What do you intend to do, kill me?”

“Are you joking,” Baltazar replied, “you saved my best helmsman. In return I’ll give you safe passage to our next port. Once there, you can do what you want. If you want to try your luck on another ship, all power to you.”

Melisande nodded, “I thank you for that…. Captain.”

“You’re quite welcome,” Baltazar said as he got up and left the cabin.

Papi was waiting outside, “Captain, please don’t hurt her. She’s an innocent soul. I swear she never intended to hurt a fly.”

“Relax man,” Baltazar replied, “pull yourself together. I have no intention of harming her in any way. I swear it on my family name.”

Papi nodded, “Then please turn us around and return her to the abbey.”

“Put about?” Baltazar scoffed. “Have you gone mad? We’re out at sea. Going home now would not be good for business. I will set her ashore after our voyage.”

Papi looked at him concerned, “But where sir?”

Baltazar placed his hand on Papi’s shoulder, “Relax my friend, I promise you that she will be cared for. For the time being, just know that she is well protected in my cabin.”

Papi sighed, “Very well sir.”

“Thank you.” Baltazar replied. “Now return to your duties.”

“Aye, aye sir,” Papi said, not at all convinced that his captain wouldn’t defile her at the first chance he got.

Baltazar felt the rain begin to slow and looked up. The clouds were beginning to break and the storm was passing them by. He smiled and turned to the helmsman that had replaced Gilles, “Steady as she goes, helm! We’ll beat this storm yet!”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Book 2, Chapter 1

Book 2

The Pirate Heroes

I

The next two days were spent refitting the Specter for its next journey. Melisande worked hard to make sure that she won the acceptance of the crew. She served the meals promptlyand then helped clean below decks. She made sure to help out anywhere that she could, but made sure that no mug was empty when in the hands of a crewman. The crew appreciated the speed with which the drinks were served and refilled.

One late evening, she listened to two of the crewmen on deck arguing like they did the day she came on board. One she recognized as Melchior, the first mate. The other she had met a few days earlier. She didn’t know his name, but everyone just referred to him as the quartermaster. Judging by the sound of their voices, they weren’t happy.

“Two days it’s been.” Melchior yelled. “Where the hell be the captain!”

The quartermaster shrugged, “Last I hear tell of him, a woman had him tied up on land.”

Melchior rolled his eyes with a chuckle, “Literally or figuratively?”

“I don’t ask questions.” The quartermaster replied, “It be unsightly. That be what I was told and that be all I wanted to hear. This woman he be looking for apparently be something special.”

“She best be an angel.” Melchior replied. “If the captain be wasting all our time on this.”

The quartermaster nodded, “Heard he saved her from a gang a few days ago, he did. Now he be smitten.”

“Poor fool…” Melchior replied.

Melisande’s eyes widened as she listened in. Oh dear God, it can’t be…

**

An hour went by as Melisande tended to her chores. Papi was barely talking to her, still angry by her refusal to return to shore. It weighed heavily on her that the man she knew and loved may never look at her the same. Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard the boson’s whistle piping all hands on deck.

Melisande quickly dropped what she was doing and ran up on deck with the rest of the crew. She turned to the man closest to her as she watched the gangway, “Gilles, what is going on?”

Gilles, the helmsman, was a short man with no beard and thick black hair. When he turned to face her, it was as though his whole body moved, “Captain be comin’ aboard.”

Melisande’s eyes widened as she watched and waited. Suddenly, across the walkway, she saw a man dressed in a red tunic and black trousers step on to the deck. She could not make out his face as his head was turned, but she was certain that she knew who it was.

Melchior saluted, “Welcome home Captain. Was your business on shore profitable?”

“In some ways,” he responded, “I managed to pump a little information out of one of the innkeepers about a Spanish merchant ship heading this way.”

“Feel free to spare me the details.” Melchior replied. “Be not interested in where ye got the information. I be more interested in the information itself.”

“Aye,” The captain replied. “We’ll discuss this at dinner tonigh. I’ll tell you all about my exploits on land.”

Melchior rolled his eyes, “And ye wonder why I be wearing thin.”

“Ah, but tis a good look, and much healthier my friend.” The captain chuckled as he turned around. “So what do we have here Melchior?”

Melisande sighed when her fears were confirmed, “Oh no…”

“The crew be assembled Captain La Fuente,” Melchior replied. “We weren’t able to find many replacements at this lousy little port, but we got enough to make do.”

Baltazar smiled, “Very good.”

Melisande did the best she could to keep out of sight as Baltazar looked over the group of men that made up his crew. He then stepped off the aft deck and walked the line, looking at each crewman.

Melisande tried to hide her face without seeming obvious. Baltazar stopped in front of Papi. He looked the old cook over for a few moments, “Good to have you back, Mr. Clement. I’ve been greatly missing your morning biscuits.”

Papi smiled and nodded, “I have a fresh batch cooking for you in the galley. You’ll have them before the day is out.”

“Good man.” Baltazar replied as he patted Papi on the shoulder.

Baltazar moved further down the line, inspecting them men. He stopped in front of Melisande and looked down at her face. She kept her eyes narrow to prevent him from seeing her tell tale pupils while mentally saying a prayer that her disguise would fool him.

Baltazar had an odd look on his face as he watched her, “Do I know you from somewhere?”

She shook her head, “I can’t say as your face is unfamiliar to me… sir.”

“You wouldn’t be related to anyone I owe money to, would you?” He asked.

“I wouldn’t think so…” She replied.

“Good.” Baltazar said through a sigh of relief. “Would this be your first voyage, boy?”

Melisande did the best she could to alter her voice, making it sound like that of a boy’s, “Aye sir!”

“What say you then?” He asked in a stern voice. “Are you prepared to serve, life or death, so help you God?”

Melisande nodded, “Aye…”

Baltazar smiled, “Good lad.”

He then turned and headed back to the helm, “Melchior, we sail at 8 bells! Get the ship ready!”

Melchior nodded, “Aye sir, everyone to your stations. Move it you dogs!”

The crew scattered across the deck. Each man headed to his station as everything came together. Baltazar watched suspiciously as Melisande disappeared below deck. He stood at the helm and turned to his first mate, “Melchior, what do you know about our new crewman? Where did he come from?”

“No idea, I’m afraid.” He replied. “We saw the boy looking lost on the docks and asked if he be looking for a ship to sign on with. He seemed anxious to sign once he came aboard. What’s more, he actually knows how to read and write.”

Baltazar nodded, “There is something familiar about that boy… keep an eye on him.”

Melchior nodded, “Aye sir.”

*

Melisande was below deck when she heard 8 bells chime. Baltazar stood at the helm barking out orders, “All watches on deck prepare to make way, shorten and cable. Men to the yards, aloft with you! Hands to the braces, weigh anchor, let fall the sails!”

Melisande nearly fell backwards as the ship lurched forward. She quickly found her feet and continued working. Once she finished setting the captain’s table, she ran up on deck and leaned over the railing. The cool sea breezes passed over her face and the ship began to pick up speed. Within moments, the Specter exited the harbor.

Baltazar turned one point to starboard as they reached open water. He stared out at the horizon and smiled, “Let’s have some fun.”

He used the coordinates that were given to him and navigated toward where this Spanish ship would be. Melisande decided to make herself useful and helped swab the deck as the rest of the crew prepared for action.

She saw Gilles pass by as they were priming the deck cannons, “Hey, any idea where we’re going?”

“Hunting,” Gilles replied with a smile, “we’re going after a Spaniard who will hopefully be carrying riches from the new world.”

A worried look came over Melisande’s face, “What happens to the crew?”

Gilles stopped working and thought for a moment, “Our captain is weird about that, he offers their crews a chance to join us, if they don’t, he sets them free in thier own ship’s longboats.”

“So he doesn’t kill them?” She asked.

“No,” Gilles replied, “not unless he has to.”

Melisande nodded as she finished working and went below. Papi had the captain’s next meal ready to go. He looked up at her as she entered the room, “Have fun on deck?”

Melisande nodded, “What do you know of Captain La Fuente?”

“Good man,” Papi responded, “good pirate. No one knows much about him. He avoids questions about his family and his past, but he’s quick with a joke and enjoys spending time with his crew. He gives each of us our fair share, but the odd thing is that he takes the rest of the plunder and what he doesn’t use to refit his ship, goes to the poor people and the church of whatever city we stop in.”

“Is that so?” She asked, surprised. “So he’s not like the cutthroat pirates that I’ve been reading about.”

Papi laughed, “No, he seems to be a man on a mission, but you would do well to stay away from him. His debaucheries on land are famous.”

“I know,” She replied, “I’ve met him before.”

“What,” Papi asked as a combined look of worry and surprise appeared on his face, “when?”

She lowered her eyes, “A group of ruffians attacked me as I was making my way to the docks. He stopped them.”

Papi stepped forward and took her hand, “Were you hurt?”

“No,” she replied, “he got to them before they laid a hand on me.”

Papi nodded, “He has my thanks, even though I can’t tell him.”

Melisande helped clean off a few dishes as Papi finished preparing the meal, “How long have you served him?”

Papi thought about it for a few minutes, “About five years. I served the captain before him. Captain La Fuente organized a mutiny when he was only 15. He took over command, treated his men better, and I decided to stay on.”

“I see,” she said in a rather disappointed tone, “so a scoundrel, a thief, and a mutineer.”

Papi smiled, “Yes, but an honorable one of each.”

Papi pulled the last plate out and placed it on a tray, “Bring this to the captain’s cabin. He’ll be expecting it.”

Melisande nodded as she took the tray. The boat rocked back and forth and it was difficult for her to keep everything on the tray, but she managed to make it on deck and then to the captain’s cabin. There was a strong wind blowing, but she was determined not to screw things up.

Once Melisande reached the cabin door, she placed the tray down, opened the door, and brought the tray inside. Baltazar was working on some sort of pistol as she set his tray on the nearest table, “What is that, Captain?”

Baltazar looked over at her, “Ah, Cabin Boy Mel, thank you for bringing my food by.”

She nodded as Baltazar held up the pistol so she could examine it. The hammer wasn’t like the pistols she’d seen before. Usually those had a lit match on the end. This one appeared to have a small rock wedged between a vice on the rear hammer. In front of it was a bent lever that fed down into a pan where the gunpowder would go, “I’ve never seen a pistol like this before.”

“Fascinating, isn’t it?” He asked. “We stole a box of ten of them off the last merchant ship we ransacked. The captain said they’re called ‘flintlock’ pistols. Look…”

He pulled the hammer back, pushed the lever into position and pulled the trigger. Yellow sparks flew from the contraption as the lever sprung into its open position. She looked in amazement, “So if I understand this correctly, whatever that stone is, when it strikes the metal, it creates sparks that cause the power to ignite! In other words, it can fire even in bad winds!”

Baltazar nodded, “Very good… how did you know that?”

“I…” She realized too late that she had said too much. “My father was a blacksmith. I understand these types of things.”

Baltazar crossed his legs as he began picking through the food, “Is that so? Tell me about your father, what was he like?”

Melisande shook her head, “No disrespect sir, but my family life is personal, they all died when I was very young. I don’t know much more than that.”

“I’m very sorry,” Baltazar replied, “forgive me.”

She nodded as she saluted, “It’s quite alright sir, but if I may be excused, I have other duties.”

Baltazar nodded, “Okay, you may go.”

Melisande turned to leave as Melchior walked in. She moved quickly to the side avoid bumping into him and saluted, “Excuse me sir.”

He nodded as she passed by, “Mel.”

Baltazar looked up at his first officer, “Melchior, what can I do for you today?

“Sir,” Melchior replied, “we’ve spotted a storm coming in off the port bow. I don’t think we’re going to reach the Spanish merchant tonight.”

“Bad?” Baltazar asked.

Melchior nodded, “It looks like we’re in for a squall.”

Baltazar looked out the window at the dark clouds on the horizon. He closed his eyes as the wind passed over his skin. To Melchior, it almost seemed like he was trying to read what the weather would be like from the sound of the wind.

After a few moments, Baltazar reopened his eyes, “We’ve got a few hours left… order full sail for about 90 minutes. Once it starts getting dark, drop all canvas, batten down all hatches, and go to storm procedures. I want this ship secure, mister.”

Melchior saluted, “Aye Captain, it will be done.”



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Drakin: The Story of Raiya, Release Date!!!

Hello All,

Well this is it. We’ve straightened everything out and the book looks GREAT! Everything is going to print and the book should be on the shelves as of 1/26. This has been one major roller coaster ride for us, but we’re so thrilled to be done and cannot wait to offer you my latest story! So set your calendars, Raiya is coming!

Book Synopsis:
‘ “Abomination, freak, monster…”  You get used to names like these when you have yellow eyes, horns, and scales, but Raiya could have really cared less.

After being forced into exile because of her appearance, Raiya’s mind has been focused on one goal; hunting down the dragon lord that killed her parents. For over thirty years, humanity has been locked in a struggle for survival against a race of dragons that had fallen from the heavens. They took everything from her and consumed the planet in a fierce war. Humanity’s numbers are quickly dwindling, leaving her few options in the way of allies.

What she doesn’t know is that her journey will strike at the very heart of the Red War and uncover truths about her past that she may not want to know. Can she finish what she started while coming to terms with the truths of her origin? ‘

Book details:

  • Series: Drakin
  • Paperback: 472 pages (Approximate at this point.)
  • Language: English

SAMPLE CHAPTER

Chapter I

“Unbelievable… thirty years of this shit…  wonder how we’ve been able to keep this up for so long.”

As Jagger pulled his jeep onto what was once Route 9, he reached over to the dash and turned the radio on. A tired-sounding voice appeared over the speaker, “This Matt Lowry, WPR hourly news. Today the Second Battalion, Eastern division, rendezvoused with the Third Battalion outside of New Washington beneath the third parallel in district 5. They were successful at warding off the dragon advance. Casualties were estimated at 30%. However, initial reports estimate that at least six dragons were downed in the fight…”

Jagger sighed. Why do I even bother listening to this? It’s never good news, just a constant reminder that we’re all fucked. Every time those beasts attack, we’re pushed a little closer to extinction.

“In other news, Captain Suen Luli of the Eastern Coalition Air Corps was awarded for…”

Click.

Jagger turned the radio off. He knew the typical song and dance of the news source. They’d tell the bad news first and then deliver some good news which would be played up to be more important. He understood why things were done this way. Morale was very important… especially when it was hidden from no one that humanity was losing the war quite badly.

The jeep drove under the remains of an old overpass that had long since collapsed. It maneuvered gently around the piles of debris. Jagger had spent a lot of time rebuilding and refurbishing his truck. He wasn’t about to get it banged up. Once it cleared the debris, he pressed the gas and picked up speed.

A sign on the side read ‘Now Entering Natick.’ Jagger had been told stories about how that whole area used to be lively with stores and restaurants for people to enjoy. He was too young to remember any of this.

The Red War had been going on for years before his birth, and Natick had been laid to waste while he was still a young child. Now all that remained was rubbed and maybe some salvageable equipment buried in the dirt.

The jeep rounded a large piece concrete that, at one time had been the side of a storefront. This was usually Jagger’s marker to find his way back home. As the jeep hit the open road, a loud noise cut through the air. Shreeeee!

Jagger hit the brakes, “Wyverns… shit! One of those days…”

Jagger quickly put the car in park before reaching behind the passenger seat and grabbing a large bolt rifle. A dark shadow passed overhead as he checked the cartridge battery. The indicator light jumped from red to blue, showing a full charge. Good… let’s do this!

Jagger jumped out of the jeep, brushed a few strands of his long, brown hair out of his face and aimed the rifle. The first wyvern he saw was flying low overhead. He ducked down behind the large piece of rubble that he has passed a moment ago. His gray eyes followed the target. He watched and waited… waited until he had lined up a clean shot, and pulled the trigger. Three large, positively-charged bolts flew from the barrel. Two shots hit the large beast, sending it falling from the sky. I’ve gotten too used to taking down drakes. I used to be able to hit with all three shots!

Sparks of blue electricity flashed through its body as it hit the barrel ground. The wyvern’s skin was too thick for the bolts to do any real damage. They only stunned it, but it was enough to give Jagger the advantage.

He quickly ran to the wyvern, pulled a large machete from his belt, and jabbed it into the only vulnerable part of a dragon’s body; the eyes.

The blade destroyed the creature’s left eye and plunged into its brain. The dying wyvern let out a painful cry as it tried to dislodge the blade. It was a gruesome sight that Jagger had grown used to. He’d been trained for a long time to show no mercy.

Every time he had to watch this scene, he remembered back to the first one he’d killed during his training. He remembered that it had made him sick to his stomach. Seeing a creature suffer like that seemed cruel, but every time he was about to look away his drill sergeant would stop him and force him to watch, “They’re lethal to the very end. Turning your back on one now could be the biggest mistake you ever make.”

‘The biggest mistake.’ It was something that he’d never forgotten.

The wounded beast slowly ceased movement as death overtook it. Jagger placed his foot over the beast’s snout and pulled his blade from its head. Greenish-purple blood spewed from the wound as Jagger wiped the blade off.

As Jagger finished cleaning the blade, he turned to head back to his jeep and grab a few supplies. The snout of a second wyvern was in his path. Oh shit…

Somehow the beast had used its partner’s death screams as a cover to hold Jagger’s attention long enough for it to sneak up on him. The beast smiled, “Hope you taste good!”

Jagger frowned, “This is one meal you’re going to have to work for.”

Jagger gripped the blade at his side, knowing he’d never raise it in time. He waited for the wyvern to lunge. This was likely it, “Bring it on… you ugly freak!”

As the wyvern took a step towards him, a black blur appeared in its path. It shrieked in surprise upon realizing that it had become outnumbered.

Jagger blinked as his eyes adjusted to the new player. They were completely clad in black robes from head to toe, making identification impossible. A gray backpack was strapped tightly to their back. Whoever this was, they moved with lightning speed.

The wyvern snapped at the robed figure, only to have the figure dodge out of the way and grab it by the neck. The stranger held the wyvern in a headlock as it struggled to get out. Jagger watched as it hissed and roared, “Damn… this guy is good!”

“Let go, bitch or I’ll tear your heart out!” The wyvern snarled.

Female… okay, well that’s a start. Jagger thought as he quickly moved to grab his bolt gun.

No amount of thrashing could shake this stranger lose. Her hands were locked tightly around the wyvern’s neck. She spoke in a voice that was barely more than a whisper, “No… you won’t…”

To Jagger’s utter shock, she jerked her arms, causing the wyvern’s neck to sharply turn to the side. The sound of a loud snap caused the wyvern to go limp.

The skeletal structure and bone mass of even the youngest dragons were considerably thicker than humans. Their muscle tissue was also incredibly strong. No human being should posess that strength. It was a physical impossibility.

Jagger watched in amazement as she let go of the beast, tossed its head to the side, and turned to confront him. He put on a friendly smile and nodded nervously. Careful Jagger, she looks like she’s ready to kill you. “Thanks.”

He couldn’t see most of her face under the hood, but her yellow eyes almost looked like they were glowing. Her voice was deep and very quiet when she spoke. It was almost a whisper and difficult to hear, “It was stupid of you to leave your car. A jeep can outrun those beasts and they always hunt in pairs, at least.”

Yup… definitely a woman. “It didn’t seem that dangerous. Wyverns can’t breathe fire, so its easier to fight on foot, especially if there’s only one. I didn’t see the second, and I’m usually not caught off guard like that.”

“One stupid move… all it takes.”

“Words of Wisdom.”

“Why did you fight?”

“Instinct I guess.”

“I see…”

The figure stared at him for a moment. To Jagger, it felt like he was in the middle of drill inspection back at WesCon command. Her eyes darted up and down for a moment before she abruptly turned and began walking away.

Jagger called after her, “Wait!”

The figure stopped but did not turn and did not respond. Jagger took a few cautious steps towards it, “I owe you one for helping me. Do you need anything?”

“No.”

“Really? Nothing?”

“No… not unless…”

“Yeah?”

The figure paused for a moment. Jagger waited as she slowly turned around. Her hood was down as though she were looking at her stomach, “I haven’t eaten in a few days…  I could use of some supplies. Do you have any?”

Jagger smiled, “No, but my town is nearby. Hop in, I’m heading for New Framingham. There are plenty of shops there.”

“A… town?”

“Yeah, you’ll be able to find anything you want there.”

“I… I’m not sure…” The figure replied in a nervous whisper. “I don’t typically do well around large groups of people.”

Jagger looked at her oddly, “Well… It’s the only major hub in this part of old New England after Boston and Worcester were destroyed. The survivors moved out here and established a fortified city in the only nearby area with buildings left standing.”

“Boston and Worcester… they were both destroyed?”

Really? How could she not know about this? “Yeah, for almost ten years now, where have you been?”

“Away…”

“Away?”

The robed woman climbed into the jeep and rested her hands on her lap. She turned to watch as Jagger grabbed a saw out of the back, “Yes… I’ve been wandering the country since my grandparents were killed by an elder dragon. I don’t have access to a radio so…”

Her eyes narrowed as Jagger walked over to one of the fallen wyverns, “Wait… what are you doing?”

Jagger looked down at the saw, “I’m going to get their teeth.”

“Why?”

“Dragon teeth are flame-resistant. They can be melted down and used to make armor, weapons, walls… all kinds of different things. They’re worth a fortune if you can get them.”

He placed the saw on the nearest wyvern’s mouth and began to run the blade across its gums. Blood stained his hands as he struggled to make conversation, “So… you’re a nomad?”

“There a better way to live beyond city walls?”

“Not really…” Jagger chuckled as he removed the upper jaw. “Okay… well let’s see, ten years huh?”

“Yeah.”

“All right so I can fill you in on the Red War, but what do you know so far?”

The girl shrugged, “Not much… From what my grandparents told me, the dragons first appeared in New York… After decimating Manhattan, they flew east and were seen weeks later heading towards Siberia. The five of them disappeared for about five years. When they reappeared, there were many… many more of them and they continued to multiply.”

She leaned on the roll bar of the old jeep as Jagger threw the teeth into the back. He then quickly wiped his hands and went to work on the second wyvern, “They were immune to conventional weapons and were too fast for nukes to work… not for a lack of trying… obviously.”

Jagger looked around the barren wasteland that used to be Wellesley, Massachusetts and nodded, “Obviously… is that it?”

“No.” The woman replied stoically. “I heard that countries were toppled by the onslaught of the dragons… Even the U.S. Government retreated. I heard the president’s speech, vowing to return and retake the land lost to the dragons… That was three days before he and his chiefs of staff were all killed. The remaining world leaders set aside their differences and formed into two governing bodies; the Eastern and Western Coalitions. They established regional governors, but the cities and settlements themselves are largely self-governed… That’s all I know.”

Jagger nodded as he removed the second wyvern’s jaw, “Sounds like you’ve heard most of it. The problem was that most weapons couldn’t penetrate a dragon’s scales. Missiles didn’t work, bullets didn’t… some armor piercers did, but they’re rare. Eventually we developed electrostatic shock weapons and super-focused lasers that could burn a hole through them, but by then…

Jagger let out a deep sigh as he spoke,”… by then, it was almost too late. Humanity had been reduced to nearly 2 billion people.”

“You’re losing the war…” The woman said in a whisper.

Jagger grabbed a bottle of water from behind his seat and poured some over his hands. The cool water rinsed away the dragon’s blood and soothed his skin, “Don’t you mean we’re losing?”

“Sure…”

Jagger got behind the wheel of the jeep and started it up. The engine came to life and caused the entire car to vibrate. He pulled back on the break and allowed the car to wheel forward.

The stranger eyed the dash, “Your car’s engine sounds different. They’re usually louder.”

Jagger smiled, “They’re usually falling apart. I spent years working on this one.”

“Impressive.”

Jagger kept his eyes on the road, though he occasionally looked up to make sure that the sky was clear, “By the way, I’m Lieutenant Jagger Bishop, WesCon Security.”

No response.

“What, you don’t have a name?”

“…”

“All right then…”

Jagger couldn’t be certain, but he thought he detect and annoyed sigh before she spoke, “… Raiya if you must know.”

“Raiya, that’s an unusual name.”

“I’m an unusual person.”

Jagger nodded, “Yeah I believe that, just from watching you.”

“Whatever you say.” Raiya said in a disinterested tone.

Jagger released a deep breath as he watched the debris pass, “So… those were some nice moves you pulled back there. You must be pretty jacked to snap the neck of a dragon. That was amazing.”

“It’s not that hard if you know where the joint is.”

“Maybe you could show me?”

“Doubtful, you also have to be really fast…”

“Oh… too bad.”

As the jeep picked up speed, Raiya struggled to keep her hood up. It acted like a sail, catching the wind that blew past her face. As it was pushed back, small flashes of her skin appeared. She grabbed the sides and forced them forward, holding the hood down over her face.

Jagger had his eyes on the road and could only see her out of the corner of his right, but what he saw left him with more questions than answers. Her skin was tanned, but her pigment appeared to have an almost greenish hue to it. The strands of hair he saw looked like it was a dark olive color. Maybe she dyed it somehow? Yeah right, where would she get dye out here? You’re probably just seeing things.

It was a reasonable thought. He never really had great lateral vision. However, as the hood flew back a second time, he quickly glanced over to confirm what he initially saw. His eyes caught sight of the odd complexion of her skin. There was no doubt that something was off with her. Who or what was this girl? Dragon’s Bane? There hasn’t been a confirmed case of it in a few years…

“Are you okay?” He asked.

“I’m fine… why?”

“Your skin… it’s… pale.”

“So what…? It’s just how I look.”

“All right.”


I hope everyone is as excited for this one as I am! I can’t wait to introduce you to a new world of dragons!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale, Chapter 2

II

 

Melisande spent the next few hours reading from the Bible at her bedside. She also had a small collection of parchment that she enjoyed going through. Her favorite was a small piece about ships at sea and the voyages that man had taken in the last 200 years. She knew all about the discovery of the New World and the colonies that had been established in the area.

More than anything, Melisande wanted to see all of these wondrous places both near and far. She despaired, knowing that such adventure would never happen so long as she was trapped behind the walls of Mont Saint Michel. It was a harsh reality to know that the place she’d called home was little more than a prison to her.

After reading through a few chapters, Melisande got bored and decided to go exploring. She left her room and headed for the main courtyard. She walked out to the main gate where a pair of guards was standing. The sun was just reaching its height overhead and illuminated the beautiful gardens that Melisande had helped plant.

One guard saw her coming and waved to her, “Good morning Melisande!”

She turned her attention to him and smiled. The young guard was only a few years older than her. He had long brown hair that was tied up under his helmet and dark brown eyes. Melisande always thought that he was a decent looking man, just not her type, “Good morning, how are things out here today?”

“Quiet as usual.” The guard replied in almost a whisper.

“You sound almost resentful.” Melisande commented in an inquiring tone. “Not a fan of the peace and quiet?”

The guard’s voice went from quiet to annoyed, “If I was, I would never have joined the military. I had enough peace and quiet on my family’s farm back home.”

Melisande nodded, “I know the feeling, believe me.”

The guard lowered his eyes as a realized that her situation was even worse. While he had some freedom on his farm, she had none in the abbey, “My apologies. I probably have no right complaining.”

The two stood silently for a moment when the guard finally tried to lift her spirit, “So I saw a ship today, a fairly large one too.”

Melisande’s eyes widened, “Really, what kind?”

“Just a carrack,” he replied boastfully, “nothing particularly special, but it had about six cannons on the side that I could see.”

“Six,” Melisande said in disbelief, “was she a warship?”

The guard chuckled, “I highly doubt it. Carracks don’t handle cannon fire very well. Most likely it was just an overprotective merchant who thought that adding a few extra guns would make his ship safer.”

Melisande nodded, “It’s still quite a mystery. What would be a good warship?”

The guard shrugged, “The Spanish rely pretty heavily on caravels and galleons, but I have heard of other navies using a ship called a galleass.”

“What is a galleass,” she asked.

“I’m afraid I don’t know,” he replied, “I’ve only heard of them. They’re ships with massive oars and a ram on the front. It’s sort of a silly design in this day and age if you ask me, but then again, I never was a sailor.”

Melisande nodded, “I wish I could be.”

The guard shrugged with a smile, “Maybe someday you will be.”

She laughed and shook her head, “What, me, a simple kitchen girl? Let’s not be silly.”

“Stranger things have happened.” The guard replied. “Don’t count yourself out so quickly.”

Melisande thought about it for a few moments and smiled, “Well thank you for at least temporarily raising my spirits.”

The guard returned to standing at attention, “Any time.”

Melisande spent the rest of the day wandering the courtyard, imagining that she was a sailor out on a ship far away from the abbey. A slight breeze blew through her hair, making the illusion all the more real for her. She could almost feel the crash of the waves against the wooden hull of the ship so yearned to serve on.

After a few hours, the sound of the waves in the distance and the gulls in the air made it too much for Melisande. She decided that it was best to just return to her room and spend the rest of the evening reading. Without another word to anyone, she disappeared back inside.

The sun set and was quickly replaced with stars. Melisande watched the night sky and attempted to count as many stars she could, even though she knew it would be impossible. One oddity that she had noticed in the sky since she was a child was that there were two stars that always seemed to be in the same place no matter what. They weren’t on any chart and were even visible when the others couldn’t be seen. She could never figure it out, but she had given up trying to a long time ago. Slowly, she began to drift off to sleep under the night sky.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Destiny: Divinity’s Finale Chapter 1

Book 1

A Simple Dream

I

Normandy 1601

The sound of loud church bells drove Melisande from her bed in the residence cells of Mont Saint Michel. She stood up, slid her feet into her wooden sandals and opened her window to let the sun in. This day was special for her as it was one of the few really warm days in Northern France.

The sea breeze caressed her face as the gentle sound of waves crashing on the shore filled her cell. It was high tide, which meant that the abbey was completely surrounded by water. Only a small bridge in the water connected the massive building to the mainland.

Melisande was a little disappointed as she enjoyed sneaking outside of the walls to run along the sandbars and marshes when the tide was out. It appeared that she would be stuck within the abbey’s walls at the mercy of her caretakers for the day.

Ever the optimist, she shrugged it off in the hopes of seeing a ship on the horizon. It was a common occurance to see the small sail of a fishing vessel or courior on the horizon, but every now and then, she would be treated to something larger. The height of her mornings were when she caught sight of a large merchant vessel or, every once in a while, a warship.

This would not be one of those mornings as her tranquility was quickly interrupted by a harsh knock at her door, “Melisande? Melisande, are you still in bed at this hour?”

Melisande let out a startled yelp as she raced for the robe hanging next to her bed, “I’m up, I’m awake!”

A deep sigh could be heard from the other side of the door, “Have you at least made yourself decent?”

Melisande quickly tied the sash to her robe, “Yes, you may enter.”

The door burst open revealing an old nun with her arms crossed on the other side. The nun was very heavy footed and her steps could be heard throughout the abbey when she walked. Upon seeing Melisande’s appearance, her lips formed a scowl, “Young lady, it is not becoming to stay in bed all day. You have studies and chores to perform.”

Melisande frowned, “I finished my studies yesterday and this is supposed to be my day to rest. Please Sister Mary, it has been a long time since I went exploring. Might I have a few hours to myself?”

Sister Mary rolled her eyes, “I have watched over you since you were a baby, I have taken care of you, and I have put up with your nonsense. Exploration and adventure are for soldiers and sailors. What you desire is not all it appears to be, believe me. That is the path of pain and loss. You need to learn to be a lady. Find yourself a calling and perhaps a husband. Especially since you’ve decided that you did not want to join a holy order.”

“I’m sorry Sister,” Melisande replied honestly, “I am grateful for your care… but becoming a nun never had any appeal for me. I have spent my whole life thus far behind these walls. I don’t wish to be behind them forever. Something out there calls to me, I can feel its pull.”

She looked over at the two stained swords that she had mounted over her bed, “Something bigger awaits me and I need to find out what it is.”

Sister Mary followed her gaze to the swords and shook her head, “I never wanted you to receive those things, but your father insisted, and I was not about to deny someone their dying wish.”

Her gaze then returned to Melisande, “Your path is your own to choose, though you may find yourself regretting such a decision if you go searching for answers. I hope that I don’t live to see that day.”

“You don’t know that.” Melisande replied. “These swords belonged to my family… and I don’t even know who they are. I need to find answers if I’m ever to be able to live with myself.”

The elderly nun touched one of the swords near the hilt, “A few generations of your family were protected by them, this is true, but where are they now? You are the last of your family.”

Melisande stood next to Sister Mary as she looked at the swords, “But I don’t even know them… I don’t even know what my family’s name is. Will you finally tell me about them, please? Who were they, what were they like, and what is my full name?”

The nun turned away from the swords and looked Melisande in the eyes for a few moments. She saw the stormy blue eyes that never looked the same from one moment to the next. It was as though an entire sky scene passed through her pupils as she stared.

Finally the nun sighed and turned to leave the room, “I told you that I forgot your family’s name. I did not know your family well, so I can’t provide you with any information. I only met them once when they released you into my care. I’m an old woman. My memory fails sometimes”

Melisande rolled her eyes and became angry, “You’re lying. I don’t know what you think you’re protecting me from, but I deserve to know. If you truly don’t know the answrs, then you know someone that does!”

Sister Mary stopped dead in her tracks, but did not turn around, “Two demerits for your tone. It’ll be three more if you don’t begin your chores soon.”

The door closed behind her as Melisande sat down on the bed and began to sulk. She had been confined to the abbey all of her life. Often times if a ship passed by, she would try to convince one of the soldiers on guard to let her use their looking glass. Most of the time, she was successful and Melisande spent the day watching as the ships passed.

The guards didn’t make life any easier for her as they were full of stories about wars past. Melisande loved to sit and listen to the old veterans talking about past glories from long ago, even though she knew that many of them were blatantly made up or exaggerated. It made her yearn even more to free herself from the protection of the abbey walls.

Melisande had often dreamt of a life at sea, but that life was restricted to men. However she was certain that she could make it work if only she could get away from the abbey. Such things were little more than pipe dreams as she knew that she was kept there for a reason. If she tried to escape on foot, the guards would catch her in no time.

Still, in many ways, Melisande could hear the sea calling to her. It was as though an unseen spirit of the sea was pulling at her arms, but Mont Saint Michel would not release her feet. She balled a fist and hit the stone wall as tears formed in her eyes. She could barely stand it anymore.

**

It took Melisande an hour to get cleaned up and get ready for her chores. She brushed her long blonde hair back behind her left ear and allowed the right bangs hang down to her cheek. Her hair flowed half way down her back as she worked. When she was finished tending to her appearance, she left her room and made her way down the tower’s winding staircase. She then proceeded through the abbey to the main kitchen as the residents and clergy finished their meals and began to clear out.

Melisande was seated over in the far corner and given a small bowl of wheat. She ate it down slowly, resenting the flavorless mush. She never sat with anyone and was mostly ignored by the other people in the room. When she was certain that no one was looking in her direction, she dumped the wheat into a nearby bucket that she would later use for cleaning.

Sister Mary came over to her a few minutes later with an emotionless expression on her face, “Well Melisande, I am glad that you are finally up and about. Are you ready to begin your chores?”

Melisande nodded unenthusiastically, “Yes sister, I finished breakfast, so I’ll get started.”

“Good,” she replied, “I believe Mr. Clement could use some help in the kitchen. You’ll start there today.”

“Yes sister,” Melisande replied respectfully.

Without another word to the old nun, she obediently turned and entered the kitchen at the back of the room. The kitchen was little more than a stone closet with a single oven carved into the back wall. Two tables were the only furniture and they were covered with dirty utensils.

Amidst the chaos, the cook looked up and smiled at Melisande as she began her work, “Top of the morning to you, Messy.”

Melisande smiled as she picked up the water bucket next to the fireplace, “Good morning, Papi.”

Papi was a stout man that, despite his imposing size, held himself the way a soldier would. Though he never talked about his past, Melisande was certain that he’d been a military man at some point. She didn’t know his real name and always referred to him as Papi or Papi Clement.

Though Papi was somewhat of an enigma to her, she still looked at him as a father figure. He was also the only man who got away with calling her by the nickname ‘Messy,’ which he gave her as a joke about how she cleaned. It always seemed to get a rise out of her which was something he enjoyed greatly.

Melisande’s attachment to him went back to when she was three years old and he would set aside some dough to make a cookie for her whenever he was cooking. As the years passed, she would periodically sneak off to the kitchen to see him whenever Sister Mary’s back was turned. He always enjoyed the company.

Papi was not a priest or a clergyman, but he was the best cook in town and was often hired at the abbey. He also had a reputation for disappearing for a few months at a time. His absence was always upsetting to Melisande and each time, she wondered if she would ever see him again.

Papi watched Melisande as she got down on her knees to clean the floors and noticed the sad look on her face, “What troubles you, Messy, why the sour look?”

Melisande stopped for a moment, “Have you ever felt that you were destined for more then you are, or ever asked the question whether or not this is all that’s out there for you?”

The chef chuckled as he thought back to his younger years, “Oh when I was younger, sure. We all have those feelings at one point or another. Fortunately, in my time, I have seen much of the world and had my share of adventure. After all that, a little peace and quiet is a welcomed change.”

“That’s what I want!” She blurted out. “I’ve often thought about getting out of here and seeing the world. I want adventure, but moreover, I want to know who I am and where I come from.”

She touched her cheek right below her eyes, “I know I’m different, I just would like to know how and why.”

“Different?” Papi asked. “What would make you think so?”

Melisande chose her words carefully as she responded, not wanting to cause alarm, “Well my eyes for one. I’ve not seen another pair quite like them in my years, and…”

Melisande stopped for a moment, wondering if he should tell Papi this part. She trusted him, but it was quite personal. Still, he had never given her a reason not to believe that he would keep her words quiet, “When I close my eyes at night, I see things.”

The old cook stopped tending to the mess, “Things, Messy? What sort of things?”

“I… I don’t know…” She replied. “I think they might be angels. I close my eyes and I see these beautiful people dressed in white robes, dresses, or in silvery armored plates. They all have wings, but many are different shapes and sizes. Other times, it’s just one angel with her eyes bandaged.”

Papi looked nervously at her, “Messy, I’d be very careful about who you tell about those dreams, especially here.”

“I know,” she said with a nod, “don’t worry, I am not so naive that I don’t know what they might think.”

Papi turned back to cleaning off his table, “So what do you think these dreams mean?”

Melisande shrugged, “If only I knew, but I think it has to do with who I am. These dreams don’t feel like dreams at all. They’re more like what you’d expect from memories, if that even makes sense.”

She looked over at the small window which had been cut into the wall, “I want to find out, but I can’t do that as long as I’m stuck here.”

“You are probably better off not knowing.” Papi replied. “The world out there is a treacherous place. Even the strongest have trouble just getting by.”

Melisande glumly nodded continued her work, “Yes, that’s what everyone says. It’s too dangerous… I should just stay here and become a nun… forever… You sound like Sister Mary.”

Papi bit his lip as he looked at her, “Messy, I have some bad news for you.”

Melisande usually knew what this meant. Papi was going to be disappearing again. She closed her eyes as she responded, “You’re leaving again, aren’t you?”

Papi nodded, “Yeah, tomorrow.”

“For how long?” She asked.

“I can’t say.” Papi replied. “Hopefully not for too long.”

Melisande frowned, “I’ll miss you…”

“I’ll miss you too, little Messy,” Papi replied, “but no more frowning. I’ll be back!”

“You promise?” She demanded.

“Have I ever lied to you before?” Papi asked. “Of course I promise.”

“You better.” Melisande replied.

Melisande was meticulous in her cleaning. She made sure that no crack in the floor went unattended to. An hour went by as Papi and Melisande worked. They were just finishing wiping everything dry when Sister Mary appeared at the door and looked around.

Melisande smiled, “I’ve finished cleaning, what do you think?”

Sister Mary surveyed the room, as usual, without a hint of emotion and nodded, “Satisfactory work… ok, you have done your chores for the day.”

“Satisfactory?” Melisande scoffed with a surprised expression. “I scrubbed everything until it was spotless.”

Papi nodded, “I saw how hard she was working, madam, she scrubbed the entire kitchen down.”

Sister Mary gave Papi a stern look before turning back to Melisande, “Don’t ask one’s opinion, if you don’t honestly want it. Now be gone with you.”

An exasperated Melisande stared at her for a moment in disbelief. The nun returned her stare and clapped her hands, “Come now, move it!”

Still in disbelief, Melisande shook her head and stormed past the old nun up the stone steps, heading back to her room. She was angry, upset, and frustrated all at once. It never seemed like anything she did was good enough. Just once, a’ good job,’ or a ‘thank you for working so hard,’ would be appreciated. She thought to herself. Not from Sister Mary, no way, that would be too much to ask!

Melisande was years ahead of other people in her studies and she always did a good job on her chores. Though she credited being so far ahead in studies with the fact that she simply had nothing better to do with her time. In her heart, she would have made the trade to have experienced some of what the outside world offered.

**

Papi shook his head as Melisande disappeared. Sister Mary turned back to him, “You disapprove of the way I’ve raised Melisande, do you?”

“Not at all madam,” he replied, “she’s a strong-willed, but polite and hard working young woman. You’ve done as fine a job with her. As good as anyone could hope to.”

Sister Mary’s stoic expression didn’t change, “Don’t hold back. Say what’s on your mind, Mr. Clement.”

Papi looked at the stone stairs where Melisande had been standing, “However, I don’t know about how you treat her sometimes. It seems a little cold. I may not know much about her case, but she is still young. I doubt her being here is her own fault.”

Sister Mary glared at him once again, “You think I’m hard on her because I blame her for being here?”

“I can only judge based on what I’ve seen.” Papi replied. “It does look like you’re hard on her for something even she doesn’t understand.”

“Then perhaps you should watch more closely.” Sister Mary hissed. “It has been my charge to care for her since she was born. I have raised her within the church and protected her.”

“Protected her?” Papi said suspiciously, “Protected her from what?”

Sister Mary turned to leave the kitchen, “You are paid to cook, not investigate. Keep your opinions to yourself and let me decide what is best for her.”

Papi shook his head with a slight grin, “Don’t ask one’s opinion, if you don’t honestly want it.”

Sister Mary paused for a moment before turning and giving the cook an angry stare as she walked away. She didn’t appreciate her words being used against her.

Papi smiled, knowing that this was one of those rare times where he actually won an argument against her.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim