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New Story: "FOLLOWING TIDES" -- PART ONE

Now I haven't forgotten I left Kivi and Xan sort of HANGING THERE.... It's not a dead fic honest!

However this quicky simple muse bit me this week (And It's complete TEN parts are *finished*)



You know the drill -- I'm posting unproofread drivel as I write it... Well, only *I* proofread it.... I'm sure I missed a TON of Mistakes


TO READ THE FIRST SERIES FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **



Series Title: Following Tides
Chapter Number: Prologue
“Beginnings”
Author: D. Sanders
=============================



Twenty-four winters long in life, though seemingly much older for the wisdom and power contained within the eyes and spirit of the man who stood proud at the stern of his Ship “the Crimson Lady”, Vangel, son of Alexandre, son of Dmitri, son of Anastas, the seventh son of a seventh son, of a seventh son. Sometimes called the “StormBringer”, sometimes known as Captain Vangel DarkTide, always known to those close to him as simply Van, born upon the sea to live and die upon her beauty and bounty.

Van, like his forefathers, had traveled the oceans from the cold waters of the north and far south to the warm, hurricane ridden tropical east and west along the planets equator. Many eons ago, the planet once boasted large continents, and lands far and wide that the sea had reclaimed much of when the polar ice caps had melted and the sea level had risen to reclaim the low-lying lands. Only sparse Islands remained of once vast continents, and around those islands, man made dwellings like water lilies of wood and iron, the floating cities congregated. No one actually lived on the precious areas of Dry Land; those were cultivated with tender care for food and fresh water.

Between these aquatic cities lay vast leagues of deep water, teeming with marine life, danger and piracy.

Van, like his forefathers was a pirate of pirates. Taking only from the strong and leaving the weakened remains of humanity to struggle on in survival untouched. Purging them of danger, one pirate at a time, business for Van was always booming. The environment bred tyrants like stagnant ponds bred mosquito larvae.

“The Crimson Lady” was a vast and swift galleon. Red Sails flapped in the wind as her crew scuttled about their daily duties. “The Crimson Lady” held a hundred crewmen and women in her cabins tucked in her great belly. She had four full decks below. The lowest level held the bilge pumps, the armory, the water distillation machinery, and several, massive storage holds. The Second level was where the livestock of goats and pigs were kept. High windows, just above sea level, let in light, and because both species of animal could live on other foodstuffs beyond grains and grasses, the Crew of “the Crimson Lady”, had meat and milk for health.

A greenhouse of sorts was also on this level, where the cultivators grew tuberous root vegetables in row after carefully tended row. Long boxes of carefully packed and fertilized earth held the staples of the crew’s diet. Potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets, onions and radishes, anything that grew well underground with limited light was grown down below decks. The third level was where the main crew cabins were and each man had his own small, but private cabin to call his own. In the center was the galley and communal room where off duty sailors played cards, and shared companionship and frivolity. There was a separate bathing facility, enough for twenty men at a time to take care of personal hygiene.

Captain Van was adamant his crew be clean for the very simple fact that filth promoted illness, and illness in close quarters was not a welcome bedfellow, especially when the last healer on the Crew had finally succumbed to old age and passed a few months earlier. Van had not yet found a replacement and seeing as water was abundant, the distillation machinery could produce five hundred gallons of fresh water daily so they were never short of good clean water, and soap was never short on supply.

The fourth level held the cabins of the senior crew and those who had partnered each other or had children. The Captain’s cabin had windows that spanned the aft and looked upon the wake of water the ship left behind her. It was a large, luxurious cabin. Complete with separate sitting room, bathing chamber and bedroom. The Healer’s cabin, now standing empty and the first mate’s cabins were closet to the captain’s quarter’s from there, following rank order the rest of the cabins spread out from there, the remaining space was for the most precious cargo storage rooms for food and other vital necessities that could not be grown, processed or manufactured on board filled the last level below decks.

There were two open-air decks above these four. The first deck was open on all sides with just pillars and railings to support the upper deck and held nothing but a vast greenhouse from prow to stern. The main upper deck floor was made of glass so that natural light fell to the deck below. On any normal ship this would seem folly, and that would be true had the captain of that ship been a normal man. Captain Van was no ordinary man; he was called “the StormBringer” for a reason.

He could call the winds, he could tame a tempest, and he could bring rain to a parched quiet island. He was the seventh son, of a seventh son, of a seventh son. Magic was as part of his being as breathing. The enchanted glass floor would never break, not even if the mast somehow splintered and fell would the surface so much as crack. Nor would a man slip and fall, he could walk as easily across the glass bottom as he could if he walked across the wooden earthy floors of the other decks.

Unless of course he was naturally clumsy in rough weather. Not even enchanted glass could stop a man falling ass over tip over his own two feet.

The spell Van had wrought over his ship had taken years. Protections built one on top of the other to keep his crew safe. Fire would not burn the timbers, seams would not break in even the coldest of waters, the sails would never tear, the ropes never fray, and the nets never fail to catch. It had taken long labors to the point of exhaustion over several years, but these spells would remain, even if Van lost his life. They were imbedded into the vary natures of the objects he had wrought them upon. Only a wizard stronger than himself, and only one who knew the magic that had been called to make the spells, could even hope to unweave them. And take just as long to undue as they had taken to build.

“The Crimson Lady” would never sink so long as she had men in her belly to provide for.

The main deck held the chicken coops for poultry and eggs, the sheep who provided wool and mutton, and the workshops, from woodworking, to the smithy, to the textiles and weavers. The star watchers had an observation room and lookout at the top of the mast, and the First Mate and his crew were hard at work piloting “the Crimson Lady” to where Van ordered her to go. She was a virtual floating and self-sufficient city in and of herself.

The greenhouse deck was one of Van’s favorite retreats. He would sit among the grapevines and smell the sweet tang of fruit. His magic keeping them always in bloom. There were blossoms next to ripe fruit on all the vines. The potted fruit trees were arranged along the center. Apples, pears, oranges, lemons, limes, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots and figs. All dwarfed in size, but always in fruit. The grapevines grew along the railings on either side. Up the pillars string beans and peas trailed. Potted tomato bushes hung low with their bounty, squash trailed along the floor and pumpkins like large boulders grew large enough to sit on. In dark corners, mushrooms were cultivated, and a solitary avocado tree with it’s dark green, teardrop shaped fruit sat at the stern, welcoming the sun. Any man was free to come to the greenhouse deck whenever he wished and eat his fill. A hungry man was a discontented man. Van was no fool. He treated his men like the treasures they were. They were loyal, hardworking warriors, and he valued each and every one. From the littlest kitchen boys to his first mate. He knew all their names, their ranks, their faces and even their favorite foods.

He had gotten the avocado tree for Mischa, the ten-year-old son of Ivana, his head cook. The lad was currently finishing one and polishing the pit on his shirt and placing it in the bucket that collected the seeds. Nothing went to waste onboard the Crimson Lady, and Mischa waved a happy salute to Van, he waved in return as the lad scampered back off to his duty helping his mother in the galley.

Workers turned soil and watered plants all around Van as he plucked a pear and sat down on one of the pumpkins to eat it as he watched the horizon and the setting sun. Tomorrow would be a busy day for all. His scrying mirror had shown him that by midmorning they would run across the pirate ship “the Wraith” if they headed due east.

Captain Yvan was a cruel tyrant and Van had been trying to catch him going on three years. Ever since he’d come upon the wreckage of a small craft with just two survivors, Ivana and Mischa, they’d been half dead when his men pulled them aboard.

Their entire family wiped out and everything taken, down to the last fishing net.

Van despised men like Yvan. He raped the innocent, killed the weak, and lived off the backs of slave conscripted labor.

Van also chased this man for quite a different reason.  Every time Van found “The Wraith” in his scrying mirror, HIS image appeared.

Not Yvan, Yvan was nearing fifty winters and the first time Van had seen the image he was barely a boy of fifteen winters and then he had seen a child near ten. Tawny blond with jade colored eyes.

Every time the boy returned he as a little older, Van knew this boy had to be a crewman of some sort on Yvan’s ship. Every image made Van ill to look upon. The lad was beaten, tortured, starved and his eyes were filled with resignation to a hollow fate. Yet, despite it all, strong, defiant, proud and beautiful.

Van had fallen in love years ago with this boy, turned handsome youth in his mirror. He would save him tomorrow if he could and the gods of the winds and seas willing.

He would need all his strength, Yvan was no easy foe, and Van’s magic would take a beating. So Van finished his rounds of his men, took his meal in the galley over beer with the blacksmith. Played a few slight of hand tricks for Mischa before taking his leave and finding his bed for the night.

----

Ilya was always cold it seemed and tonight was no different from the last where he curled up in a coil of rope in the storage hold. A dirty cup of water in his hands and a leftover stew he had managed to scrape off the plates before he washed them.

That too was stone cold but it was food and he needed it. He’d spent all afternoon expending his energies healing a pair of idiots who’d gotten into a drunken brawl that turned knife fight. Ilya’s tasks on board “the Wraith” were simple. Do as he was told or be beaten. Whether it was washing dishes, mending nets, or healing fools.

Ilya was born in a vast floating city that surrounded a small island where his mother grew grain and then milled it into flour. His aunt grew cane and made sugar. His grandmother had been a great healer and it was from her blood his gifts came.

It was a calling, a need. He could not ignore suffering or pain, physical, mental or otherwise. Just like his grandmother.

His fatal mistake at a tender nine years old had been to walk past a great hulk of a man and before he could think, reached out and healed the man’s hand that had been cut from netting.

Yvan had been that man. He’d had his men grab Ilya and that was the last Ilya had seen of his family ten long winters hence.

If he refused to heal even the most minor of scrapes, he was denied rations and given the lash.

He’d stopped complaining about wasted magic fairly quickly. Oh how his grandmother would be furious. She’d always said, “A fool learns his lessons if given time to properly feel the error of his ways. And the gift is there for those with the greatest need first, not to those who would buy it’s favors and force it’s use for trivial matters.”

Ilya suspected Grandmother had met Yvan before and had come up with that saying. Or at least a butcher akin to the likes of him.

Ilya finished his sparse meal and pulled the spare netting, still full of the odors of salt and fish, over him as a makeshift blanket and tried to get comfortable to steal a few hours of sleep before Yvan found him and put him to work again.

The dream came again. The Same Dream that had come to him repeatedly over the past decade.

Fog was thick, and one could barely see one’s hand before one’s face as Ilya stumbled through the battle taking place on the upper deck of “the Wraith.”

He was sobbing with the pain of death, his gift crying out to those in need all around him. Men clawing at his legs pulling him down. He fell over a man with an arrow standing like a sentinel of death out of his right eye. His left no longer with sight.

He fell forward into the arms of a Dark Angel. He was tall, with long waves of raven black hair and eyes the color of the stormy sky. The cold Grayish blue color of his eyes at odds with the warmth they held behind them. The Handsome young Angel smiled at him, and held open his arms in welcome.

Ilya fell into them and a blanket of protection encased him as those arms enfolded him against a strong warm chest. The noise of the battle faded away, no sounds of screaming, no clash of metal on metal, stillness like the eye of a hurricane fell upon him and the whisper of a baritone in his ears made him shiver in his sleep.

“At last I found you. Fear no more, hate no longer, peace be with you now and always, Golden keeper of my soul.” A kiss was placed on his temple and the warmth spread throughout him like the sun breaking over the eastern horizon. He felt alive and on fire and he trembled with anticipation still wrapped in warm arms.

Ilya always jolted into wakefulness here with a groan of disappointment. Whether he was dreaming about his own death or not, Ilya could never deny the effect the man in his dreams had on him. He was always in a cold sweat and painfully aroused.

“They say when Death comes, it’s as welcome as a lover I suppose. I fear it not if that is my reward.” Ilya said to the heaven’s as he tried again in vain to go back to sleep.

He was just drifting off when the alarm sounded and Ilya rushed up the stairs to the main deck. A Thick fog was rolling in from the west, a huge white bank of it and moving fast.

“All Hands on Deck! This is no natural fog! To arms men!” The first mate called and men rushed to their swords and their bows.

Ilya stared wide-eyed where he wedged himself into a corner. He was no fighter; he’d like as not chop off his own head if he held a sword and shoot his own men if given a bow. His work always came after the fighting, and he swallowed the bile rising in his throat.

The men’s anxiety was already making him sick, by nightfall he’d be purging over the railing until he passed out himself. Being a healer was a curse almost as much as a blessing. He felt other’s pain, sorrow, anxiety and fear. He ignored them while he worked but once the work was done, after absorbing their foul effects all day he’d have to purge them the only way he knew how and that was to allow the sickness to wash through him in a physical manifestation.

And having only a small portion of stew in his stomach, he’d feel miserable tonight with the dry heaves no doubt. So he hunkered down and tried to close his eyes to calm himself and shut out the emotions around him and waited until he was needed.

-----



TO READ THE FIRST SERIES FOLLOWING TIDES PART I "ILYA and VAN" Go here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V **  PART VI ** PART VII ** PART VIII ** PART IX ** PART X




FOLLOWING TIDES PART II "SASCHA and YURI" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI ** PART VII **




FOLLOWING TIDES PART III "TOMAS and LEIF" Go Here:

PART I ** PART II ** PART III ** PART IV ** PART V ** PART VI **


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
fablespinner
Jun. 20th, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
Re: my goodness!
Anytime, I figured since I am writing SLOW due to my hands, I'm not posting it until it was done

^_^
(Anonymous)
Jun. 24th, 2005 07:27 am (UTC)
Love it!!!
You're so damn awesome! Love it Love it Love it. Unbelievable!
fablespinner
Jun. 24th, 2005 08:07 am (UTC)
Re: Love it!!!
Thanks! ^_^
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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