The Titania, with its sails fluttering in the wind, made for a very picturesque ship. It was not a huge warship boasting of many-a-cannon. But, as far as fishing ships go, Titania was one of the best. At least Captain Edwards liked to believe so. And why not? It was one of the few ships that had a success rate of a hundred percent. Never had they failed to get the fish they had targeted.
Captain Edwards had recently heard rumors surrounding a new species of fish near the Veluise Islands. Huge fish, almost the size of humans, the rumors had said. Captain Edwards had seen his share of huge. As a young lad, he had faced whales and giant squids that towered over humans. He knew not to discount such rumors. The only issue was, the treacherous sea surrounding Veluise Islands. There were no maps that detailed how to clear this dangerous threat. The only solution was finding a skilled navigator, who knew the said waters. Edwards had been in luck. He had found one such navigator in a shady tavern. Mr Jach, as he called himself, had agreed to join Edwards’ venture. Other than the considerable pay he demanded, Jach also wanted another person joining them on board The Titania, a certain Alain Waterblud. Jach described him as his ‘body guard’. Captain Edwards had no choice but to agree. He knew the returns from such a venture would be ginormous.
Early morning on the day of departure, Jach and Alain made their way aboard The Titania. Edwards did not like the looks of Alain. His skin was pale and his eyes were a deep shade of red. Red coloration of eyes was common among the sea-faring folk. The salt and the liquor had such effects on sailors’ eyes. But, Alain’s eyes were a different red, a blood red. Edwards observed that Alain had a number of trinkets on his self. Charms, some might call them. Again, they were fairly common among sailors, but the sheer number of charms on him made Edwards uneasy. He shifted his uneasiness to the back of his mind. He was the captain and there was a venture afoot. He gave orders to his crew and The Titania set sail towards the horizon, the sun rising over it.
It had been two months since The Titania had set sail. They had entered the treacherous waters that Edwards had been wary about, couple of days ago. Jach had proven that the hefty sum spent on him, had been well invested. However, Edwards’ uneasy feeling about Alain had returned. It wasn’t without reason. Alain would spend the whole day moving from one side of the ship to the other, muttering like a madman. He spoke in a tongue no one understood. Sometimes, Alain would voice his weird words at the sea. Edwards had tried talking to Jach about this.
“Stay out of his way Captain. He wouldn’t appreciate anyone interfering with his job.” Jach had told and offered no further appreciation.
Edwards did not like this. But, Alain was neither causing any trouble or harm. In fact, the sailors of The Titania had started seeing this as a source of entertainment. They would make up their own translations about the muttered words and come up with various stories about Alain. Edwards let his uneasiness drop.
A few more days passed by. Jach continued navigating and Alain continued his incessant bantering. It was the sixty-seventh night of their voyage. Only the crew that was supposed to be on night duty was up, steering the ship according to Jach’s written instructions. Mr. Toobak was on lookout duty. Captain Edwards could not sleep this particular night. So he decided to take a walk, chat with the night crew. He started walking towards the upper deck. He sighted the silhouette of Mr Toobak, doing his job dutifully. Just as Edwards started walking towards him, he heard sudden footsteps on the other side of the deck. He decided to find their source. He saw a figure walking hastily towards Mr. Toobak, sword drawn. Edwards broke into a sprint and tackled the figure to the ground. Edwards disarmed him. Pinning him down with his knee, Edwards struck a match at held it near the figure’s face. The fiery glow of the match revealed Alain’s face. Before Edwards could say anything, he heard a splash coming from behind.
He looked in that direction, towards where Toobak was supposed to be standing. Not seeing his silhouette anymore, Edwards grabbed the sword lying near Alain and ran towards where Toobak had stood not moments ago.
“Man overboard”, he shouted.
(to be continued)