The Good Captain turned and started walking toward the castle his fair maiden falling into step within several strides. Neither of them waited for Ol’ Barracuda they simply walked away and gave him the choice to follow, the invite was there, if the old man was serious in what he’d been saying he wouldn’t allow himself to fall behind.
Three steps behind the Good Captain and the fair maiden, Ol’ Barracuda followed on. His first thought was to speed up his pace and walk beside his son but he quickly decided against it thinking that walking behind would show the younger pirate the respect he deserved. He had no intention of speaking again until they were in the privacy of the castle so walking behind also felt natural.
On the jetty Captain Bildgepoole remained still, he watched the the Good Captain, the fair Maiden and the old man walking away but he himself would stay put until they were inside the castle at which time he would finally follow and be in close quarters in case help was requested. He would not eaves drop on the conversation but he would stay close enough that him and a crew of defensive pirates could be on hand in less than three minutes.
The walk to the castle despite being short in distance was the longest walk Ol’ Barracuda could remember having. Each time he looked up at the castle it appeared to be further away, he knew it was only a trick of his mind but that did not make it easier to disbelieve. Rather than convince his mind of anything the old man instead spent his time concentrating on his gait, not too quick so as to walk into those in front and not so slow as to lag behind.
Stepping over the threshold and through the massive double doors of the castle Ol’ Barracuda felt nervous. His life, his efforts and everything he’d done in the last three days had been leading up to the point where father and son met for the first time in many decades but that still did not make what he was doing any easier.
“Would ye like someone to eat or drink?” The fair maiden said as the walked towards the large dining room.
“I don’t suppose ye ‘ave a dash o’ that famous ol Spiced.” Ol Barracuda said still being careful what he said and how he reacted to things.
“No we don’t, but I shall get ye some rum!” The fair Maiden stepped through one door leaving the two men standing in silence, they were still in the same position when she returned with the drinks. “Sit down ye silly ol’ men.” she started pouring three drinks. “Sit down and start ye talking.”
Listening to the fair maiden the good Captain sat down, at the same time motioning to the old man with his hand to do the same. When the drinks were poured the fair maiden asked the good captain if he wanted her to stay, with his affirmative answer she offered Ol’ Barracuda the same question.
“Aye, lass, feel free t’ be stayin’. Wha’ I ‘ave t’ say ain’t more difficult ’cause o’ yer presence.”
The fair Maiden pulled out a chair beside the Good Captain. Pouring three drinks had seemed bit presumptuous when she thought about it which is why she asked the questions but with those questions now satisfied she sat down and took a sip of her drink.
“Well ole man, ye time be a wastin’, but I be nuthin’ but a fair man, so ye ‘ave ’til th’ wee hand on that thar clock,” the Good Captain looked at, and pointed to, the large clock hanging on the wall above the open fireplace, “’til the wee hand points t’ four, t’ tell me yer tale.”
Ol’ Barracuda looked up at the clock, his son was giving him fifteen minutes more than the hour he’d requested, he took that as a good sign and started his tale.
“On th’ day I left…” Ol’ Barracuda started out.
“That does nah justify why ye left.” The Good Captain said after listening to his father speak for nearly ten minutes.
Ol’ Barracuda took a sip of his freshly refilled tankard of rum. “Nothin’ will ever justify why I left. Thar be naught I can do t’ make it up t’ ye. All I can but do, be tell ye me tale.”
“Wha’ do ye hope t’ get from this? Wha’ do ye expect o’ me, ole man?”
“I expect naught from ye, I do nah expect t’ gain anythin’ from this. I be here but t’ tell ye me tale.”
“Then be tellin’ this tale o’ yers.”
“That be me tale, take it as ye will me son!” Ol’ Barracuda said as he finished his story forty minutes and three drinks later.
A silence fell over the room, the Good Captain appeared unmoved by the old man’s story. He’d listened to every word, he could hear the guilt, hear the pain and hear the stress each word caused the old man but he could not find any forgiveness in his heart. The man had left him long before he’d come of adult age, left him to fend for himself and left him to grow up. But at the same time if the old man had not left he would not have grown up to be the pirate he was. Did such a thing require thanks? Praise? False forgiveness? The good captain didn’t know.
The Fair Maiden could see the pain on her Good Captain’s face, see the anguish he was fighting behind his eyes. She’d remained silent throughout the entire story instead choosing to hold his hand as it rested on the table. The grip tightened as he spoke.
“Yer tale be one o’ many words ‘n I be sure ye believe every one o’ them, unfortunately I can nah be as believin’.” The Good Captain said.
“Wha’ be it ye ‘ave trouble believin’ son?”
Almost as if the Good Pirate had been thinking of the response to that question long before it was asked he replied with. “Why now? Why are ye comin’ t’ me wit’ this tale now? If thar be really naught in it fer ye why come at all?”
Previous Pirate story here.