As the fair maiden stood holding her good captain’s arm and looking out over the sea fog covered port she did not say a thing, not out of fear but out of respect. The two of them had not long ago spent an hour of bliss pleasing each other in the bed they shared yet before the sun had risen she saw the pirate captain awake and standing at the window and staring into the fog.
When she’d gone to his side to comfort him he’d told her of a quest, a quest he was not sure any of the crew, including himself was prepared for. She desperately wanted to ask him why he was even considering a quest where the crew was not prepared, although to be fair she didn’t know for sure that he was considering going into battle, he had only spoken about the quest being on his mind.
In the time she’d known the good captain he’d never been one to put his crew at risk, well any more risk than the daily life of a pirate put them in. It was a way of life for a pirate to risk life and limb raiding, looting, fighting and sailing but it was also what they trained for, a risk they all knew existed before they signed up. To hear him suggest that they were not prepared for the next quest seemed to suggest the quest was chosen.
The fair maiden pulled closer hoping he would talk, as much as she wanted sleep she wanted him to open up and free his mind of some of the burden he was obviously placing upon it. Looking out the window she could barely make out the ships where the were moored due to the thick fog. Through the quiet of the night she could hear a few stragglers returning from Nancy’s. It didn’t appear to be the entire crew, which didn’t surprise her, some would no doubt still be swilling rum and trying their darnedest to get up the skirts of Nancy’s wenches until they were asked to leave.
Although the fog was coming ever closer to the castle and would eventually engulf it along with the small village until such time as the sun rose and warmed sufficiently to burn it away or the wind picked up, the fair maiden could see the cobblestoned path below. It wasn’t until the few rowdy crew members stepped under the light at the end of the cobblestone paved pathway that the good captain finally spoke.
“Thar be an ol’ pirate legend what speaks ‘o a beast. A beast three hundred miles long from its head to its tail. No pirate has seen it, yet we all be knowin’ ‘n fear its moniker.”
Taken slightly by surprise by the break in silence, almost as if seeing some of his crew pushed him to speak, the fair maiden turned her head and looked him directly in the eyes. “What are you talking about my dear? Does this have something to do with the quest you were talking about?”
“It be th’ holy grail ‘o piracy.” The good captain replied.
“What be the holy grail, my dear?”
“It’s a quest ‘o wee to no monetary reward. thar be no gold, no jewels, no wealth, yet it be th’ most dangerous quest we have ever undertaken. ” The good pirate captain said, despite the fair maiden being able to hear the fear and awe within his voice as he spoke she neither felt him flinch or move.
“If there is no reward then why undertake such a dangerous quest?” She asked somewhat confused.
“I didn’t say thar was no reward! Th’ reward be beyond monetary value ‘n wealth! Fer if we were to succeed our reward would be that ‘o fear. When word ‘o our success spread not a scurvy pirate crew that sails upon th’ seven seven seas would be brave enough to draw fire on our ships.”
“But is the risk really worth the reward?” The fair maiden was being careful, taking tentative steps and thinking about her words before she spoke them. The good captain was obviously struggling with his thoughts and she didn’t want to add to that struggle by appearing to disagree with what he was thinking.
“Yarr it be! Th’ quest would take us to th’ very depths ‘o hell. It gunna test every pirate in the crew. It gunna test each ship. But to be feared upon th’ seven seven seas. To drive other scurvy pirate crews away simple upon hearin’ our moniker. That kind ‘o reward can not be bought or sold, but it can also not be matched by any other reward on th’ entire seven seas.”
Leaning her head on the good captain’s shoulder the fair maiden could see the thick cloud of fog was now engulfing the castle, what the good captain was looking at as he stared directly out the window obviously wasn’t physical, because there was nothing physical to see in such a thick mist.
“I think I understand what you re saying. A reward so great, a reward that would see your crew feared among other pirates, is definitely a reward worth seeking, but is is worth seeking at all costs?”
“Yarr I believe it be.”
“But at the cost of the lives of your crew, your apprentice or worse still your own life?” It was the fair maiden’s turn to show fear in her voice.
“It be thar scurvy pirate’s way ‘o life.”
The fair maiden knew that would be the good captain’s response as was not overly surprised. She was actually buying herself time to think of questions and assess the conversation herself, asking questions she knew the answer to was part of that process.
“I would ‘o course run it by th’ crew first. Thar would have to be a vote. Unanimous would be th’ only result allowable.”
“Yes dear, that does seem fair.”
Given that the good pirate captain had obviously decided he wanted to bring the holy grail of quests to the attention of the crew the fair maiden knew there was no point discussing whether it would happen. Whether they would be heading out for the mighty quest was in the hands of the crew, all she could do was try her best to put the the good captain’s mind at ease and get him back to have some restful sleep.
“Me dear, I be knowin’ ye be only tryin’ to help. I be knowin’ ye have accepted th’ life ‘o piracy. I be knowin’ ye fears lie as much wit’ th’ fate ‘o th’ crew as wit’ ye own. But just like our previous quest, a quest I’d been plannin’ fer many many a year, ’tis be a quest that has be drawin’ me, ‘n many another crew member, since th’ day we first heard it. ”
“Then tell me about this quest so we can go back to bed and get some sleep my dear!” replied the fair maiden.
“It be a quest, in search ‘o th’ lair, whar th’ fearsome creature doth dwell. We’d be on a ransom to brin’ back its head.”
“Who’s head?” The fair maiden asked ambivalently wondering if she really wanted an answer.
The pirate captain replied in one word and one word only before falling silent.
Previous Pirate story here.