As the winds lifted along with the music that began to play in a wooden ship not far from here, so did the spirits that inhabited it. There were many smiles that echoed with laughter as drinks were passed from person to person. In one corner, the men tested luck with skill as dice rolled across the floor and liars were left to pay their silver coin as they were caught in their deception. The air smelling of saltwater, the ship rocked back and forth on calm seas that gently touched the glowing white water below.
At the center of the ship’s jovial chaos was the captain Johnathan Carson also known as the “The Fallen Captain” but, that title is for later in the story. This man had long black hair that reached to his shoulders, eyes that were green enough to resemble two pupils carrying long blades of grass swaying within them. His face seemed to give away that he was intelligent and he had an enthusiasm that few others could match. For several years now he had obtained a ship known across the White Sea as The Rising Sun.
His crew had likewise been there since the ship was bought five years ago, and they had remained loyal to their captain as he had brought handsome profit by trading furs, silks, and other commodities. The Rising Sun and its crew steadily grew in reputation for being one of the best trade vessels in the White Sea as it went from island to island selling its goods.
Carson however, eventually became bored with the merchant life as he now had enough money to be a respectable citizen with a house and his own business if he so desired. He liked the idea very much. That being said, he was the type of man who would have felt unsatisfied if the stories of his younger days were filled with nothing but uneventful tales of sailing back and forth selling goods. So, on this night filled with laughter and merriment that could be felt miles away Carson made an announcement.
“Lads, you have been with me for five whole years and in that time we have grown richer than we ever expected.” Cups were raised and shouts rose to levels that seemed to shake the sea for a moment. The captain continued after a moment “Soon after this I plan to retire but, I ask one more adventure with you. I have received rumor from a fellow merchant that an island to the southern reaches of the White Sea has been largely undetected till recently. It supposedly contains a ruin that carries treasure far beyond one’s own dreams. You will leave your families for one year on this journey searching for this island that has been called Merchant’s Ruin. I will blame no man that wants to leave the crew after hearing a name such as that and carry all the gold he can into a good life. But, if you want to come along and we find this place your children, your grandchildren, and the many generations after will never go hungry again.”
A moment of silence passed as the air had suddenly become heavy with speculation and a tension that can only be described as superstition. Many of the sailors on that ship had ideas about good and bad luck as well as many rituals to prevent the negative outcomes of life’s chance encounters. But, on that night no one hesitated as every man said yes to their captain’s proposal with cups raised. Many of them thought if this place did exist more gold could be added to their pockets, if not than there was nothing to lose, just some time wasted. Of course, there were some skeptical about travelling unknown territory and a place called Merchant’s Ruin but those thoughts were privately reserved.
After that night, The Rising Sun docked into a port town the next day. For 6 months it stayed there as captain Carson and his crew got prepared to set sail and said their goodbyes to friends and family for what was hopefully the last time. On a summer morning The Rising Sun set out at dawn looking for something that may or may not exist.
To Be Continued…