Masque, Shadow, & Blade

Captain's Private Log, Tessa D' Angelo

The Swift Fate

Captain’s Private Log, Tessa D’Angelo - The Swift Fate

…where to begin? My mind is a tangled mess; my thoughts tossed over and around each other, like so many pebbles on the ocean floor, and I cannot bring calm to the storm within me. Perhaps putting pen to paper will allow me some respite, even if the words that spill forth not be entirely coherent ones… So, now where to begin? How to pull this storm out of my mind and onto these pages?

Damn it all! I wish to write of the things that should matter to a Captain, of the myriad events and intrigues that are plaguing Solandris and her people! I wish to write with an even, measured tone, to clear my mind of all else and focus only on that which is of great import. But my hand will not steady, my heart will not be still and instead pounds in my breast at the slightest thought of… no. Breathe. Focus. The truth is I do not feel myself of late. I do not feel in control. There is the crux of the matter, I think. I am the Captain of a ship, with an entire crew relying on me at all times. I am the Second Son of a well-regarded noble family, born to serve in a military capacity, to be always in control of myself and my emotions, to be ever-ready and vigilant lest danger strike, to be… still. Calm. Measured. I am no stranger to a lover’s touch, to the affection that follows, yet always I have kept firmly in mind those things that are most important: ship and crew, my responsibilities to my family – though I’m certain they think I shirk them – and to my city. If there is one thing I can always count on, it is my steady hand and calm mind. So, why do I feel now how those ridiculous stories describe the giddy, love-struck damsels! Solandris faces threats from many different enemies, all of us face the threat of a fallen god’s rise… there is so much to be done, so many things I need to be working on. And yet, all I want at this moment is laying, I assume asleep, in a cabin not far from mine.

I left a letter – such a letter I have never before written! – tucked under his pillow, confessing my desires and my fear. Was I right to do that? I doubt myself. All my training, everything that is soldier/sailor/captain in me, says now is not the time for fantasy, now is not the time to be entertaining such thoughts. I need to be clear-headed, focused, in control, as I always am, for our enemies are many, powerful, and may strike at any time. Blessed Calypso, I am conflicted. And yet, strangely, I also am not. I do not regret writing those words, nor leaving him that letter. There was no lie contained within those pages. Most especially I do not regret the other night, except perhaps for a passing notion that such good fish ended up going to waste uneaten. I think perhaps it is the doubt of not knowing how things stand in his mind, in his heart. I’ve not had a moment alone with him since, where I can bring up such a delicate topic. I am at once so confident, so assured of my choices, and yet filled with doubt and worry. How unlike myself I feel! Here I sit, when I should be plotting my next course of action, pouring out my emotions like a lass in her journal, agonizing over a boy. Perhaps I should just pass him a note as we used to in school! Bah. I am being a coward again, afraid to look too closely at my emotions, allowing pointless doubts to cloud things. Even if my mind be a storm, I know my heart. I know what I want, and it be him. There was no lie in that letter, but perhaps a bit of vulnerability that I am not used to? I wonder if I fear my passions are stronger than his own, but what of it if so?! I’m a sailor, we’re a passionate folk by nature. You’d be better off asking the tide to stop than asking a sailor to deny their desires. To think I’d be fearful of scaring him off; oh what a tale that would make… “Pull up a stool lads and pass the rum, let me tell you the time the siren ran from ME.” Ha!

He shakes my confidence though, blast him. The way his eyes stare into mine, the subtle flex of his muscles as he moves about the ship, the way he runs his hand through his hair. I cannot tell if he sees the effect he has on me. I pray that he does not, but then I pray that he does. It’s unsettling, and distracting, and maddening, and intoxicating. I think I must always have been waiting for him. If my beloved sea could take form, and kiss with a lover’s mouth, how could it be anyone other than him? I smell the depths of the ocean on his skin, taste the salt on his lips, and I am overcome. I thrill myself with idle thoughts of him sweeping me off my feet, into my cabin, and… well, some words should not be spilled onto paper perhaps. But tell me, how does one go about asking another to do such a thing? I suppose I’ll let myself know if ever I figure it out. Until then, I’ll just try to control the pounding of my heart at the sound of his steps nearing me. Maddening!

My mind seems to settle a bit now and I feel a touch of my old calm returning. Did I truly just need to speak these words, to acknowledge the storm that beautiful man stirs in me? Well, then so be it. I am settled in my path and so I shall not agonize over ‘what-if’’s any longer. My heart is in the hands of the sea, as it always has been, only now those hands have shape and form. Whether Calypso will bless me with fair fortunes, or ravage me like a ship in a gale, is yet to be seen; and completely beyond my control. I shall be content and steer my course as true as I know how.

 

… Sigh… It is with regret that I tear my thoughts away from Io, for the moment, but I must try to figure out my next steps! So many things happening, in such quick succession, and somehow I’ve managed to land myself and my ship right in the middle.

Mystra occupies Pentori. We’ve had no other word yet from there, but if I was him, I’d commandeer every ship, put my own men aboard, and fly the Pentori colors. But, perhaps, that is why I’m a privateer. Fortunately, most of the Pentori fleet was not in port when Mystra attacked, and, as far as I’ve been able to determine, are still north trading for goods to bring back. If Mystra seeks to attack us next, we might stand a chance, since he cannot yet bring the combined force of his ships and the Pentori fleet to bear against us, although those airships he has are a terrifying threat. At the moment. We’ve devised a possible plan to warn the Pentori ships against returning, and perhaps solidify them as allies in the process, but it’s risky and hinges on whether we can get the senate on our side. It must carry the weight of Solandris behind it if it is to work. But oh! If we can convince the senate, what an adventure awaits! My blood pounds at the very thought. I’m anxious to run up our colors and be off! Patience is necessary for this, lest we all come to peril, but that does not come easily to me. My hands itch for my swords and I long to feel the deck of such a ship beneath my boots. How different must it move from my own.

The threat of the fallen god draws ever nearer, and we run out of time sooner than I am comfortable with, though we’ve been blessed with some progress in our favor. The time comes soon to enact our plan, but much preparation still needs to happen before. I need to see about getting in touch with a friendly admiral in the Navy, we could so use the extra support those ships can bring to this. I must also remember to speak with Io more about his people’s assistance, as there are some particular issues they need to be aware of. It seems that my brothers as well as myself will be involved in this little scheme, for which father is decidedly not pleased, and that gives me pause. None of us would change our minds, and none of us would ask the others to remain behind, but even so, there is no small risk with this. It could be that we all are lost. I pray Calypso can spare a fond thought for us in this, for we surely will need her favor.

 

My mind is distracted, pulling me away from the tasks I feel responsible for, and down other paths. Perhaps I am overtired this night, sleep has not come easily to me in recent nights. I find the sight of my empty, cold bed to be particularly uninviting. As my mind wanders, so my pen follows… I had the most interesting encounter recently. I think I perhaps surprised the fellow with my reaction to the event, but what can I say, there is a reason I pursue the career I do. I fear I am rambling, let me see if I can clarify a bit:

I found myself wandering aimlessly around the Twilight court grounds the other night, curious to see if the rumors I’d heard were true; that if you didn’t know where you were going exactly, you’d become hopelessly lost. Well! That was too much a temptation to resist, and the first moment I was able, while the rest of my companions were focused elsewhere, I slipped off letting my boots carry me until I had no notion of direction, and could recognize no landmarks. I wandered still further, content to see where the twisting path led. Eventually I found myself at the entrance to a most intriguing tent. Upon entering, I was greeted by a man clothed in cloth so white it seemed to be made of light, who spoke kindly to me, instead of giving me the telling-off I’d half expected at my trespass. Looking at me intently for a moment he informed me I had “Time for just one.” Upon inquiring what I should do, he directed my attention to the tree before us, which was filled with threads, each one tagged, and instructed me to choose. How could I say no to that? I let my eyes wander over the threads until a certain tag caught my eye. It glinted at me and seemed to look just slightly different than that of it’s fellows. It compelled me to grasp it, so approaching without hesitation, I plucked it from the tree… and was instantly given this vision: I stood on the deck of a ship, locked in combat with the fiercest of opponents. Back and forth we fought, each of us straining for purchase over the other, seeking an opening to slip our swords behind the defense of our opponent. Ah, but the ship! She was strange indeed; there was no swell of the sea beneath her hull, no scent of salt in the air, the wind was cold & biting. I tried to think, to make sense of it, but the vision kept me trapped, it’s message not yet finished. My battle with this faceless enemy raged on, until, finally, he overcame me. Lashing out a booted foot, he caught me square in the chest and kicked with all his might. I tumbled over the side of the ship…into the open air, and fell. And fell. And fell. I awoke suddenly from this fantastical vision. Glancing down at the tag still clutched in my hand, I saw for the first time the words written there: “Your death is in the sky.” A large smile danced its way across my face and I cheerfully thanked the caretaker as I left to find my fellows with a new spring in my step. I do not put overmuch stock in the truth of these kinds of carnival visions, for there are many ways to interpret them and many details perhaps left out. But there is always at least one kernel of truth, one inescapable fact. You see, it was an airship the vision had shown me fighting on. So now, there is one thing I know for absolute certain: my boots will feel the deck of an airship. And, if my crew and I can get aboard her, we can damn sure take her. Whether I fall to my death or not, is immaterial. My spirits are raised and my blood burns for the conquest I know I will one day see.

 

… I grow weary now. The storm has blown itself out, and I’m left a’drift in a hazy morass of thoughts and emotions that bubble to the surface and are gone before I can grasp them, luring me to sleep at last. There is so much more I need to think on, more details that need to be worked out, more conversations that need to be hand, but I am spent. I shall leave that all for the morrow, and retire to my cold bed. Perhaps my dreams shall warm & comfort me this night…

…Io, my beloved, goodnight.

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