XNNI - Pyramids of Ocean

XNNI - Pyramids of Ocean

A Chapter by BL

‘Drowned willow leaves lie peacefully on the riverbed.’


The badly damaged Sea Serpent was unceremoniously towed across the middle sea by a heavily armed warship. It laboured its way slowly from Ostio to the Jaws of Death and then a further hundred and fifty miles north out into the open, rough and churning ocean of Atlantis. There, in no place in particular place at all a destination point was reached and the warship fell back, drawing itself alongside the Sea Serpent. It was then that Bezon thought the end would come, he thought they would be boarded and have the hull smashed in and quickly sink to the bottom of the murky sea, but that didn’t happen. After a while some men from the warship came aboard. They milled about, looking about, taking a last look at the Serpent and it’s captives. Bezon caught the eye of one of the less active men of the group and could only give him the downcast look of defeat. The man looked from side to side to check he wasn’t being watched by the others and raised his finger in the air, looking up. Bezon followed its direction and saw a storm was coming. All they were doing was waiting for a storm to come and to let the anger of the gods do their work.

Shortly afterwards as the boat rocked, it was only a matter of time before it overturned. It lurched precariously from one giant pyramid of ocean to another, rolling, turning and taking in great quantities of water. The shrieking wind blew water off the top of the crest-topped monsters that looked forward in number. The Serpent began to lie very low in the water. Bezon could only watch from the mast as the sea water smashed into the open hull and filled it, drawing it under. Sinking was inevitable. From his limited view he could see Enda's beaten body lashed to the underside of the bow. Knowing the enemy as he did and their liking for patterns and symmetry, he thought there would be someone astern too, but could not see. ‘Can anybody hear me?' he yelled, but his voice was hidden by the roaring sea. There was no reply other than a low groaning from somewhere. Out of the fifty or so crew only three were left. What had happened to the others and then he remembered the ones left being sent into slavery and to the school of the gladiators; a fate of certain death. He had other painful flashes of memory that traced his path to where he was now. It was a predictable road of defeat, but one with an unexpected ending. He hadn't expected to live or for them not take the chest of gold. 'We do not need your offerings' the port admiral had said. 'Cast them away'.

His painful memories were interrupted by the bow of the boat crashing down into a black hole of watery gloom and it seemed like the whole of it would disappear into it, but somehow afterwards it lazily floated up to the surface. One of the groans got louder. 'Who's there?' he called out, but there was no reply other than the sound of the wheel spinning. It clunked to a halt reaching its lock and then started to ease back, gaining speed again the other way. Looking down at his scarred and bloody legs, the blue amulet swung about his neck, he couldn't see it as his hands were tied, but just the very thought of it brought back a memory of Yulla. He thought of her and there was sunshine inside him. She was sat in the meadow behind her house picking wildflowers. She was holding her amulet and was happy and that was all he needed to know. That's how he would leave her in his mind, that's all he could do before he died, he just hoped she would be safe. As the amulet bashed against his chest, he wondered what luck it had brought him. At the moment it was a weak charm offering little more than a sidestep of a quick death to a much longer more painful one, but he couldn't think negatively about her or it, they were all he had had.

A huge cracking of timbers sounded as the shifting boat took a massive broadside wave, it leaned over with the top of the mast parallel with the brooding dark surface of the sea and he looked around in horror and screamed with all his might. 'I am dead - so leave me to die'. The sea lulled momentarily and then the mast slowly rose up towards the stormy sky as the Serpent somehow righted itself, half under the swirling water. But how had it done that? he thought, wriggling his hands in the rope, burning his skin against the thick braid.

'Bezon, Bezon is that you?' a faint voice called from the blackness. How had the ship stayed afloat? It was a miracle. There was a grinding noise, like metal gouging wood.

'Bezon are you there? help me, help,' the familiar voice called in anguish. The ship had been low in the water, lower than usual because of its excess weight to start with. The scraping sound continued.

'Answer me I know you're there, for the gods sake' the voice called weakly. The chest, the chest of gold, was heavy, very heavy. It was central and at the bottom of the boat, it was acting as ballast. Was that how they were staying up? The scraping noise had stopped, but he could see the chest through the gaps in the broken deck. It’s top had been prized open, but it was still half full of gold coins.

‘Bezon, are you there?’ a sharp voice cut in across the din of the roaring sea.

‘Yes, yes, I’m here,’ he replied flicking his head left and right to get the icy water off his face. He pulled against the ropes that bound him and looking up saw that the mast was cracked off several feet above him.

'It's me Lord, Enda,' the voice said

'Thank the gods. What can you see, Enda?’

'Only water me lord and there's more and more of it,' Enda said amidst the sound of the surging roar, before he and the front of the boat plunged down and his voice disappeared.

‘Who the hell is that at the back?’ Enda shouted angrily as the bow rose again. Thank the gods Enda was alive Bezon thought.

‘Who is there?’ Bezon shouted down the wreck of the boat.

‘It’s me, Xo,’ a meek voice called. Xo was the cabin boy, a lad of just fifteen. Seeing his age, Cirero had obviously seen fit to spare him. An act of kindness?

‘Think yourself lucky you’re alive, boy,’ Bezon shouted as the boat crashed about, twisting in the waves. The water rose above Bezon’s knees and the hull submerged a couple of feet underwater, the whole boat was sunken apart from the mast.

‘Yes Sir, but what’s going to happen to us, to the boat?’ he cried his voice making a bubbling sound. ‘I’m underwater,’

‘Hold on. All we can do is hope for the best,’

‘Who is it?’ Enda called.

‘It’s Xo,’

‘Oh, of all the people it’s him,’ Enda exclaimed mournfully. ‘Can’t anyone get free?’

‘No,’ Bezon and Xo cried out in unison.

‘We’ll keep trying, we can’t do much else,’ Enda shouted.

'Hang on Enda, hang on' Bezon shouted, but there was no response from either end. The boat rocked and the waves smashed it down so the deck was further under. Bezon was suddenly up to his waste in water as debris floated about. He wrestled with his bonds frantically and could not see much at all now and knew his time was going to come. Hold your breath or death he thought as the water reached his shoulders, hurting his wrists as he tried to wriggle them free. Then the boat dropped from under and he was completely submerged. One minute passed and he thought of Yulla as he moved his arms in torture. They were in the meadow and he was listening to her heart and for a few seconds there as it beat in a calm rhythm he thought that the whole world rested in it. Two minutes passed and his lungs were on fire, thoughts of Yulla faded and his strength did too. Three minutes passed and an undercurrent brought the boat to the surface and he gasped for air, choking and drinking sea water in the upsurge. Looking around, the boat was just a shapeless skeleton of wood. He passed out, exhausted.

'There is a light,' a voice said faintly in the silent blackness. 'A light, I can see a light, there must be land,' the voice said more clearly. Who is that? I am not dead Bezon thought, but who is that?

'Bezon Be-zon, if you are alive wake up' the voice called again. Within the blackness of his mind he followed the voice and it took him into a night of a starry sky. Suddenly the night flooded in and he saw, the boat beneath him, the sky of stars and a calm sea, but all was spinning around rapidly in a whirl of confusion.

'Stop playing games with me, don't let me die on my own, I know you are alive, wake up' the voice said. Above gulls shrieked and the wreck of what was left of the boat came sorrily back into focus.

'I am here, is that you Enda?' Bezon managed to say.

'Yes master, it is me,'

'What can you see?'

'I can see a light and now some land, Sire,'

'Can you get free?'

Yes, but if I do I'll fall in the depths your Lordship,'

'Hang on then,'

The boat rocked on unsteadily for two more hours as the sun came up. The incoming tide caught it and it swirled towards the rocks. It crashed into the rocks and split into many parts. Bezon was attached to one, Enda to another and Xo was bobbing loose in the water with his hands tied. They managed to scramble up onto some rocks that were above the water line.

© 2019 BL

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interesting chapter,i liked it

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Added on November 21, 2018
Last Updated on February 10, 2019
Tags: spy, battle, empire, war, peace, kingdom, luck, fear, hope, romance, power, Memory, army, dust, adventure, fantasy, fiction, mystery



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