Tag Archives: sailing

Challenge: Legal Theft: Blindsided (409 words)


It took three weeks to sail between the islands, though rough weather could turn it into a more interesting five. Not one among the crew had told him what sort of delay would be caused by a tussle with pirates.

They’d not prepared him well for that possibility.

No one had mentioned raiders. Certainly no one had mentioned sword- or fistfights or being captured and having his ankles and wrists tied together, sitting quietly on the deck under threat of being skewered like a pig while three burly men in ratty clothes watched him. 

None of it sat well with Aidan.

He wasn’t sure if he was more annoyed with the tight-lipped traders quaking beside him or the pirates.

He ought to have just gone below and hid. He wasn’t sure why he’d jumped to engage the pirates.

They had his knife and his sword now. They’d been thrown into a pile with the weapons wrested from or surrendered by the crew and a very few that belonged to felled pirates.

At least, he thought, Darryn wasn’t here. Until recently, he’d have had to look after Darryn besides, but now it was only Aidan’s own hide that needed saving.

And that made things easier.

To the man next to him, he grumbled, “You didn’t tell me there were pirates.”

“We didn’t know,” the sweating sailor pled. “I haven’t heard of any in the area before now.”

“Just our luck. Any thought what happens to us?”

“I don’t know these—”

“Hey!” one of the guards shouted, and the tip of a sword tickled the sailor’s throat. “I said no talking.”

“I was asking him,” Aidan said boldly, “what he thinks you’ll do to us.”

“That’s up to the captain.”

“Do you have a guess?” Aidan pressed.

“Pray to your gods, boy,” the pirate growled by way of answer. He lowered the sword and made to turn away, but was stopped by Aidan.

“Suppose,” Aidan said, “that I pray to the captain instead.”

“Captain don’t like beggars.”

“Maybe not, but maybe you could use an extra deckhand? Or a cabin boy?”

The pirate laughed. “Boy, you don’t want to be no pirate’s cabin boy.”

“What’re you doing?” the sailor beside him hissed.

“I need passage away. I don’t particularly care where. And you lot seem unlikely to be able to take me much farther. So what do you think,” Aidan asked the pirate, “since they can’t take me, can you?”

This week we all stole from Gwen at Apprentice, Never Master, who wrote “Herd” (1117 words) but showed us only the first line until we’d all written our pieces.

Kid at The Gate In The Wood wrote “Red for the Blood.”

Kate Kearney at More Than 1/2 Mad wrote “Three or Five.”

Bek at Building A Door wrote “Paying Passage” (375 words).

Challenge: Legal Theft: Man Overboard (517 words)


Callista leaned out over the railing, her eyes on her namesake, the stars of the constellation known as the Big Dipper or the Mother Bear.  The wind that night was chill and brisk, the ship speeding north under the power of its lowered sails.

Callista had been born on the waves as had many of the sailors on the ship so the susurration of the water was as familiar to her as her own heartbeat.

So she recognized when the waves broke too soon, the faint splash that disturbed the whisper.  She peered down into the water.  The keel broke the water and sent it skittering out to either side in a line that caught the moonlight and starlight and shone like a silver ribbon trailing from the boat’s prow, the crash of the wave into the water like the whisper of her mother’s voice in her ear.  The ribbon’s light scattered, broke, and refracted some ways to starboard, over just a small body, a small irregularity.

Callista leaned further over the railing, trusting in the wood and the ship to hold her.

The shape was neither seal head nor the nose of a whale breathing in the nighttime air.  It was flat and wide as a hatch door save for a hulk as if of discarded laundry heaped by its edge, making the plank tilt.

Callista turned.  “Essa!” she called.

Her call brought curious stares from the other sailors, men and women working or lounging on the deck.  The First Mate appeared among them.  A tall man with a taller presence, Callista was sure that he could help.  Despite the rawness of her shout and the terror that must shine in her wide eyes, he appeared calm even when Callista called down her report:

“There’s a person in the water!”

The sailors scattered into action, grabbing ropes and readying a boat with shouts and halloos.  The First Mate walked across the deck and climbed the steps to join Callista at the prow.  He lifted a rope from the deck and secured it around his waist.  The surety with which he tied the knots, the mere physicality of his person calmed Callista’s fear, and she called down to the man, though she could not from here in the dark tell if he was even conscious, “Hang on!  Help is coming!”

Callista watched him as the First Mate climbed onto the railing and leapt from it without a pause.  The moonlight and the starlight suited him and seemed to make visible something of the First Mate’s manner that was not ordinarily visible.

He swam to the plank that she had seen, and he came alongside the man who lay draped over it.  Callista saw the First Mate touch the man but she could not hear what was said.  Together the two of them talked, and Callista watched, and other sailors gathered around her.

It was a privilege always to watch the First Mate when he sacrificed his own safety to try to secure the safety of another.  It was everything that the sailors loved about their First Mate.

Gwen is a thief!  She stole this line to write “Certain Lies,” which you can find on her blog, Apprentice, Never Master.  I also need to apologize for this and the last legal theft post.  I reread neither of them.  I have spent both days with Gwen and Amy of The Gate in the Wood in person.

Challenge: Legal Theft: Because I Could Drown (631 words)


You and I, we enjoy one another’s company, I don’t think there’s any denying that on either side, but when it comes to the big things in life, while I hope that we can have a rational discussion, I fear that there won’t be understanding without an alteration of the heart, and I know the ground I stand on, and I won’t move.  

I don’t adhere to any particular branch of Christianity because for me Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God, but I have chosen to believe the Christian history of God.  I believe that the Bible is God-inspired.

Is it the only God-inspired text?  Maybe not.  Maybe other sacred texts are God-inspired too because a lot of them hold similar root messages.  I don’t believe that prophets are infallible.  Peter climbed out of the boat, and he walked on water, but then he doubted and he sank.  Paul started as a hunter of the Christians and became one of the greatest teachers of Christianity.  David killed his friend to steal his wife.  The differences in the texts might be moments where the prophet doubted and he felt the winds and he felt the waves or even where he sank.  I don’t know.

What I know is that God is real.  He’s a friend of mine, and He watches out for me daily.  I see him in the eyes of my friends and in the way that their hearts bend towards the less fortunate and towards one another.  I feel him in the little moments of a car crash barely avoided, a kind word from a customer, something that goes right when I didn’t think that it could, that time that I got a 90 on the Latin test that I didn’t study for until breakfast that morning and the words of which I didn’t know when I left for class.

Somehow or another, you’ve turned your face from God, but I don’t think He’s turned from you, and maybe I’m here to throw you a life preserver, but I don’t know that I can be certain of you in a lifelong partnership.  If I pull you back on the boat, will you be able to find the life preserver if I need ever it?  Will you remind me where it is when I forget?  I want you on the boat–I want that badly–but I want a seasoned sailor–one who knows the Captain and knows the ship–to help me when I’m flailing in the water–and maybe that’s horribly selfish, it’s definitely a thought driven by fear, but it’s how I feel.

I hope you can understand that I can’t give up my First Husband for my second.  I need the second to be able to accept and love my First Husband or the partnership becomes unequal and the marriage fails to be what I want it to be, not that either is head but that each is the helpmeet of the other, the one that makes the other work best in the role that each is given by their gifts.  Because I won’t give up the One Man that I’m sure that I can depend upon for anything, despite anything, the One Man without flaw who I could find in the whole of the universe.

And I’m sorry if that hurts.  Hurting you is not what I want.  But I can’t trust my body to one with whom I cannot trust my soul.

And I hope that we can be friends still because I truly do enjoy your company, and I don’t want to lose you from this, but I had to let you know how I felt.  I had to let you know my fears.  No relationship can exist without openness.

Gwen’s a thief!  She stole this first line to write “As Loud As We Laugh,” which you can find on her blog, Apprentice, Never Master.

This is a subject I’ve been thinking and worrying about a lot lately.  And while we’re talking about fears, I’m not sure how I feel now about putting this out on the Internet and attaching my name to it, but when I wrote it, I was pretty certain that it needed to be available for the wider consumption of the Internet in some form at some time.  Then I remembered that I’d been asked if I was participating in this week’s legal theft.   I used this line for legal theft because the timing was opportune and, yes, I was interested to see what would become of it if I sent it out of context into the world.  I hope you all will take my words and fears as an opinion of an individual and not a wider population, and I hope you won’t judge me and especially not others harshly for what I’ve said.  But I hope this is what some of you need or want to hear; for whatever reason, I hope it comforts or uplifts you.  I hope you can see the hope and strength I have in my first marriage.