Eleta: Chapter One

Fiction By Clare Marie // 9/2/2009

                                                                          ELETA

                               "Is it by your discernment that the hawk soars?" -(Job 40:26)

CHAPTER ONE : Seahawk

 

A great, battle-worn ship glided through the dreary waters of Kraken Bay.  The fog lay thick and ghostly, but not a lamp was lit.  With soft splashes, the ship's oars moved up and down rhythmically, while the men who rowed sweated with something that was not exertion.  On deck, the rest of the crew paced quietly up and down, panic in the haunted looks they gave to the muddy shore, barely visible in the mist.  One figure alone stood motionless, a steady hand on the wheel.  The other hand rested on a curved sword, hardly to be seen under the heavy cloak.

At length, one of those pacing stepped up to the steering one.

"Captain," he whispered, his voice rough.

"What do ye want, Carter?" replied the other, in a high, though soft voice.

"The men are near mad, sorr, with anxiety.  Sure, it's worried they be.  What now can I say to the awd lot?"

"Ye will say nae word and keep to yer post," came the answer.  The sailor glanced quickly at the captain, who stared straight ahead. 

"Musha," said Carter, "ye donna want me to give a word of encouragement, or the like?"

"Na, na."

"But, sorr..."

"Wisht, Carter!"  The captain at last looked at the sailor.  "Back to yer post 'fore I take a switch to ye.  Give the men a bit o' ale to soothe their poor awd stummicks."  Carter tugged his forelock of greasy dark hair respectfully and turned to go.  The captain looked up at the sinking moon and the few stars peeking through the clouds.

"Carter."

"Aye sorr?"

"An' tell the men it's home we'll be, come mornin'."

"Aye sorr."  Carter disappeared into the dark.

The captain reached for a jug of wine and took a long pull.  Lithe and tall of frame, fierce inner strength and courage radiated from this commander of the sea.  All that could be seen of the face under the hood were two piercing black eyes, the color of the ocean depths.  Two or three of the men, relieved by the captain's message, stopped and conversed with the lone figure; all spoke with the same honor, admiration, and respect.  This was one greatly looked upon as a hero.

With the rising of the sun and the evaporation of the mists and the makings of a soft wind the oarsmen came on deck.  True to the captain's word, they found familiar shores and friendly waters waiting for them.  The captain cast back hood and cloak, revealing the thick long hair and cool, collected face of a young woman.  She tossed her sunny red locks and her gold earrings tinkled.  She wore no other adornment save a bird whistle, shaped like a seahawk.  Breathing in the salty air, she turned her proud gaze on her men.

"Arra, all hands to stations!" she cried.  "Hoist the colors!"

"Aye!"  "Aye sorr!"  The crew scrambled about gladly.  A flag was pulled up the mast, snapping in the breeze.  It was a white seabird on a background of greenish-blue.  As the vessel sailed by, its name Dealer of Justice displayed proudly, folk on the shores cheered.

"Eleta!  Eleta!" they cried.  "Hail the Seahawk of our people!"  Captain Eleta stood straight and proud, acknowledging the shouts with a calm smile.  First mate Carter grinned back at the throng, and the crew hailed them likewise.  A song was now raised, swift and rippling as the sea:

From the Western Sea

To the Rising Sun's shores

Sails a ship, the greatest ship;

Grand and royal, fierce, warlike.

To hear the name of the ship's captain

Men blanch, cower, flee, and hide;

For the name is that of Eleta,

Pirate She-King, Monarch of the Seas.

All hail Eleta, noblest of men;

She who protects us,

She who is our Queen!             

 

As the vessel came up to the wharf, people swarmed to the docks, some cheering, some singing, all smiling.  Behind them stood the ancient stone fortress, Rochstan, which was Eleta's home.  Her parents also lived there, and these now came out of the castle, escorted by their men.  The crowd made way for them, bowing lovingly.  Some reached out shyly and touched the garb of Eleta's parents, and an old woman kissed the hand of each.  They, too, had once been pirate kings, and were respected much.  Now too aged to sail the waves, they embraced their daughter gratefully.  While the Sea Kings made conversation, the crowd dispersed, milling about the dock to watch the cargo unload.  

"So here's our ain bonny lassie, maire beautiful than ever," spoke Osseta, Eleta's father.  Eleta glowed, kissing him affectionately.  If any other person had dared call her 'bonny', she would have challenged him to a duel on the spot.  

"I donna ken how ye can still be callin' her lassie, when, sure, she's a grown woman," laughed his wife, Romneen.  "Buss me, bairn."  Eleta obliged, planting on her mother's cheek a 'sweet', as Eleta called kisses when a child.

"Musha, speak for yerself, wife.  There ye be callin' the lassie a bairn!"  Osseta chuckled, squeezing Romneen's arm.

"Och," cried Eleta, "can a poor wee 'lassie' get a word in, at all, at all?"  

"Wisht, and don't ye know that bairns should be seen and nae heard?" teased her father, sharing a wink with his wife.  

"Oh, get along with ye," said Eleta, laughing.  "Come an' tek a look at me plunder."

"As if ye followed that rule yerself, husband," giggled Romneen, taking Osseta's arm and walking behind their daughter.  "Look at what a bold pirate ye've made."

"Och, an' I can guess who she teks after," returned Osseta with a smile.  Romneen herself had been as fierce a pirate as her husband, and both could see that Eleta was following her example.

It took many hours for all the cargo to be unloaded from the ship, booty from a three month raid.  Osseta and Romneen felt very proud watching the caravans of their daughter's wealth be transported to the castle.  Eleta returned to them after the last chest had been taken away, and they all walked back to the fortress for their evening meal.  

 

Eleta was--from sailing--used to much exercise; so after supper she wandered among the moors behind the fortress.  As always, she came to a spot that both moved and haunted her: the family graveyard.  Not many of her ancestors were actually buried there, for most had died at sea.  But a good 75 or so graves were erected, and she walked among these.  She stopped when she came to a pair of miniature tombstones.  One read:

                             "Daughter of Pirate King Osseta and his wife Romneen.

                          Died sometime in the year ---- before birth, at 6-8 weeks old. 

                                                             Name unknown."

And the other:              

                      "Adred Sumâ, son of Pirate King Osseta and his wife Romneen.

                      Died two days after that of his birth, on the 12th of Midsummer."

A tear seldom seen pushed under her lashes, but she impatiently brushed it away.  Bending over, she gently set down a bouquet of wildflowers, touched each stone, and walked away.  Memories flooded her mind, but just as she brushed away the tear, so she pushed back all painful thoughts.  Not yet could she let herself remember.

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Comments

Cool! Good chapter! You

Cool! Good chapter! You really surprised me with the Pirate Captain being a woman. Definitely want to know more of Eleta's story!

Heather | Wed, 09/02/2009

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And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

I like it so far. :) Can't

I like it so far. :) Can't wait for more.

Kyleigh | Thu, 09/03/2009

I. LOVE. This. Please post

I. LOVE. This. Please post more soon!! I like how they talk, and Eleta looks just how I would imagine a pirate queen. And I like that she has an interesting past.

E | Thu, 09/03/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

Thanks, everyone. :)  Oh

Thanks, everyone. :)  Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention the name of this chapter, so I edited that. :)

Clare Marie | Fri, 09/04/2009

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"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]