The ship suffered a lot of damage. The side of the ship had a large hole in it and it rested crookedly in the water, bouncing up and down on the waves. A cannon entered through the wood. The pieces of wood from the ship, now soggy, floated in the waves and the sea gulls screamed overhead and the sea tasted like salt. The wind whistled and moaned. Commander Tereindyl Lightweaver looked at the floating pieces of wood and frowned. The crewmembers were killed by pirates. They died at sea. It was not a good day. It was cold. Some of his men were getting scurvy and they rowed their ship to shore and several of them went into town to get provisions and to see a doctor or healer. No, he thought. It definitely was not a good day. He was in a small rowing boat. First-in-Command was Dexter Durby, a forty-seven year old man. He had no family and no home and his men said he had been a prisoner once for stealing chickens. It was no matter. Tereindyl was glad to have him aboard. Sailing was rough. The water had been choppy. A hurricane was some miles off the coast of Maecus, a small fishing city. One of his men disappeared out at sea earlier that year. He had not officially recovered. It made him more nervous. A commander was not supposed to be nervous. It was not good for his crew. He swallowed hard. His eyes smarted. He took his pipe and put tobacco in it and lit it with a match. He threw the match into the water and walked down the beach. He sighed. He needed a drink. He wanted a drink. Tereindyl walked down a path that took him to town. It was nice out and he didn’t need a jacket. The bar was called the Overlook Purple Lizard. An inn rested on the hill at the end of the city and he looked down and no one walked there. His mind contemplating eating at the inn but the bar would have less people to bother him about money. He pushed the doors open to the bar and went inside and squinted his eyes. The bar was not busy. Hardly anyone was in the room. He sat on a stool at the bar and a waitress came over and asked him what he wanted to eat. “I’ll have fried potatoes, salad, and a steak,” he answered.
She smiled, snapping her gum. “That’s a big order for you,” she told him, chuckling. She tossed her hair over her shoulders. She was old. Very old.
He nodded. “I’m hungry,” he told her. He grinned. His eyes flashed. The door behind the bar opened and shut. He shook his head. Women didn’t take kindly to people like him. He was a pirate. Even Pirates of the King were hated, he thought. Well, at least he was able to eat and pay for shelter. That was the most important thing. He couldn’t forget about his boat.
He heard her calling him from the shores…the water lapped at the ship…men called to him from a distance…his mind snapped back to the here and now.
Soon, he thought. Soon, I’ll be on you again. He closed his eyes dreamily.
“Here you are, sir,” she said cheerfully. She put a frosty cup of beer on the table and came back with a plate full of steaming food. He paid his money and dug into the steak and ripped it apart with his teeth and a fork. The food went well down his throat. It was so good. He savored each taste. He took a sip of beer and licked his tongue. It was lemon beer. His favorite.
“You hear about war?” she asked him. “You look like a sailor.” She cocked her head to study him. To look at him. She was not an ugly woman. She was no means beautiful. Her career made her beauty shine. The sun was out today.
He raised an eyebrow at her. “War is everywhere,” he told her. She didn’t have to bring it up. He didn’t talk about it to strangers.
“Men come in here,” she told him. “Strange men. They wear red tattoos that shone of fire. These men harbor grudges against the songs of the past. Their footsteps rise clear for all to hear. In the stillness. In the darkness. In the light.”
“What you said doesn’t make sense,” he told her.
She chuckled. “I am an inn keeper,” she told him. “It doesn’t have to make sense.”
“Why don’t things ever make sense in life? Why do we have all this suffering?”
“Suffering comes from hardship,” she replied. “Hardship comes from within. Within us, there is turmoil. Out there…” she shook her head. “It is more difficult to explain. The darkness is everywhere. It is nowhere. Sometimes, things are broken.”