Sunday Aug 2014
This website copyright Maximillian Straker 2014. All rights reserved. No material on this website may be copied, reproduced, or distributed without the prior written consent of the author (with the exception of attributed quotes). All exerpts, stories, and blogs are works of fiction: all the characters, places, and events portrayed in them are fictional, and any resemblance to real persons, places, and events is unintentional and coincidental. Any and all advice contained within them is for entertainment purposes only, and should not be followed.
A million stars were twinkling in the inky sky, with a crescent moon shining silver and bright. The stiff nor’easter cooled Ursa’s skin and refreshed him after the stuffy hold. The ship crashed through a wave, spraying salt water across his face and chasing away the last fuzziness of sleep.
He checked the tiller, a time-worn cypress pole set into a graduated bracket. The Sea Princess was sailing south-south-west for the Ophirian island city of Marrakhan, the notorious slave market which would be their only port of call between the northern home of the Arcadians and the paradisiacal flesh-pots of Ophir.
Ursa jiggled the tiller to ensure it was held fast, then climbed back down to the main deck and took a slow tour of the ship, checking the stowage bins, the ropes, the pulleys, and the stays which held the sail in position. Some of the knots had been worked loose by the shifting of the sail, so he tightened them, and re-tied one which some uncaring sailor had lashed loosely in a slapdash granny knot. The ship seemed disorganized, but was something of a familiar mess, where every piece of junk lay in its designated position, known to all who needed it.
Things seemed to be more or less in order, so Ursa climbed back up to the quarterdeck, stood by the tiller, and gazed out over the night sea. The old junk creaked and groaned as if in complaint, perhaps hoping that Ursa, as a seafaring northman, would pay heed to her wailings, for the Hunnic sailors had been born in the saddle and seemed to care little for the sufferings of ships.
A stooped shadow clambered up from the hold, his unkempt locks silhouetted by the lamplit trapdoor.
Crazy Kang, Ursa thought.
Crazy Kang climbed up on deck, saw Ursa by the tiller, and came up to join him on the quarterdeck.
‘How him back?’ he asked in Norse.
‘Foked. My leg too; I can hardly bend my knee. The shark would’ve bitten it off if I didn’t stab it.’
Crazy Kang chuckled. ‘Him let go bite because him sour taste.’
Ursa struggled with Crazy Kang’s left-handed gobbledegook. ‘What, you mean I taste bad?’
‘Ja, shark more happy eat shit from bucket than eat him. How him like whippy?’
‘The whipping? It foken hurt! May Thor hammer his balls!’
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Straker Ragnarok 1
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