Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta ships. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta ships. Mostrar todas las entradas

martes, 28 de junio de 2016

Through the unknown

   The fleet was moving at full speed. The sails were working tremendously well and the wind was taking them exactly where they wanted to go. Everything was going according to plan. The only thing that worried them was that, in order to go unnoticed by the enemy, they had to around the other side of the world to properly surprise them. That meant navigating through water no one had ever sailed before, which could be extremely dangerous, as they held no maps of the region or information regarding its potential inhabitants, whether they were permanent or nomad, like pirates.

 They had not seen any land for the past week and they were beginning to think there was going to be no land until they reached their destination. Some of the sailors were very nervous because there was a strong belief, among men and women of the sea, that the world was not connected on both sides. In other words, that they were heading for an enormous waterfall or “the end of the world”. In their minds and in their legends, that area of the world was inhabited by vile monsters that ate boats and sailor whole, leaving no trace of their existence.

  However, they had been convinced by their new masters with money and other riches they could enjoy once they returned home, if the battle was gentle enough with them. They were fierce and very driven, known for raiding ships all over the sea in the course of many years. But this was not a raiding expedition but part of an invasion army that planned on attacking hard and taking back their homeland by force. The new masters plan was to defeat their enemies in the hardest and most definitive way possible, in order to rebuild from scratch.

 The world would never be the same after all that, nothing could be the same. So many things had already been done that had changed the world, including the fact that they were passing through an unknown region. Alliances had also been made that were not probable before. The Yix, also know as the new masters, had reunited all pirate forced in the known world and had proposed to them to join their army or be destroyed. The pirates thought they were coming for bounty but the truth was they were surrounded the whole time the conversations took place.

 Finally, half convinced by the payment but also the threat to their existence, they accepted. By doing so, they were technically turned into slaves but with a much better relationship with their masters. The Yix were only cruel to those that deserved it and the pirates had done the right thing by allying themselves with their faction in the war. In that case, they wouldn’t hurt them at all. However, if they ever rebelled or thought they had any choice on important matters, they would how to pressure the men and women of the sea to make their will.

 The ocean was beautiful every single day of that long week they had already spent in it. The experts the Yix had brought in, had concluded that a week and a half was necessary to get halfway through the world, which meant the whole trip would make almost three weeks. These made everyone a bit uneasy because, even as big as the ships were, there couldn’t be enough food for so many people for so much time. The rations were small for everyone on board, both the pirates and the Yix and they were limited to only a couple of meals a day. That was not what either of them was accustomed to but traditions don’t really matter anymore when you’re trying to make history.

 Everyday, it was some kind of rice with fish. There was a group that took care of the fishing every single morning in each one of the boats and they were essential in order to have an orderly life in each one of the boats. Sometimes the fish tasted awful and some other times it was delicious. They could have it raw or roasted on a small fire created on a big bin to prevent the ships from burning down. Those moments, when they all ate, were the ones when all of them really looked the same, no matter their uniforms or their accents. They were all men trying to survive a horrible journey through an unknown region. They were brother and sisters, even if they had no real exchanges of words.

 After the first week, some of the sailors noticed something on the horizon, which was on starboard. Just when the sun set, the whole line above the sea appeared to be on fire, especially where at sunset. Some of the people said it was an illusion commonly associated with the sun but others swore they could see things happening in the horizon. No one really believed in the people that said that but even with the few instruments they had to see such a phenomenon, they couldn’t see a thing. The sun was exactly the same as always, except for that band of fire that seemed to appear every afternoon, just as they prepared for a new night.

 Nights were the most terrifying part of the whole experience as many men, even the sceptics, felt something was wrong when they couldn’t se the water they were navigation on. Besides, the moon and the stars were always veiled by a strange thing that happened every single night. It was as if the region was condemned not to look directly at the sky, instead having only some blurry vision of every part of the cosmos. This was frustrating for all of them, because the ships depended on the stars in order not to get off course. They could be seen enough in order to follow them but it made them all feel as if something was not right about those waters. Some thought it was haunted and others were still expecting to arrive to “the end of the world”.

 But they never did. They did, however, saw a small group of islands. They were located roughly halfway between the two continents they knew well. The islands were named Summer Islands, because of the weather of the region. Two of the ships got near them and used some rowboats to investigate if they were inhabited or not and whether they could get food out of there, something that had nothing to do with fish or rice, which was getting ruined pretty fast.

 The rowboats carried twenty men into the land, mostly pirates. They walked on the largest island and disappeared into its jungle just after arriving. From the ships, the Yix waited for them to return. After the first two hours, everyone felt something was wrong. From the apparent size of the islands, it was not very possible that someone would take longer than an hour in order to walk around them, much less to go across it. They have had an accident or something like that. Yet, no one did anything to go and help because of fear.

 They were right not to act on their suspicions. The jungle began to tremble after three hours. The palm trees and other plants began shaking and some birds escaped the place in order to fly to the smaller islands. Out of the jungle, a gigantic animal emerged. And then, another two. Everyone on the ship was horrified. The animals looked like scorpions but were much larger than the ones you would fin in the known world. They were huge and were covered in blood in their pincers and over their bodies. The two ships that had grown close to the island, decided to join the rest of the fleet and forget what they had seen.

 For the remainder of their journey, the sunset brought back memories of those assassinated by the creatures on the islands. If the world made something like that, if those animals existed, then worse things could also exist somewhere. That’s what was in everyone’s minds and what made them stare at the sky or at the roof every single night, no matter where they were trying to sleep. They stopped looking at the sun and decided to rely only on the veiled stars, even if some felt they were being tricked by the cosmos and lured into a trap.

 Almost a month to the date of their departure, they arrived to the continent they had intended to invade. Everyone was exhausted but they had advantage of numbers. Day after day, they took a little piece of land from their enemies. When these realized what was happening, it was too late. The Yix now owned the world and they soon freed their “slaves”. They let them have their corner of the world and they agreed on never revealing what they had see in the Summer Islands and how that place was maybe not unique but it should remain “non existent”.

sábado, 4 de junio de 2016

Men & Monsters

   The chains did a horrible sound, indicating that Genke was now a slave. He had fought bravely and had resisted for many days in the jungle, but the Wataku tribe had attacked with everything they had. They had burned down every single tree in the jungle, killing every animal that lived in it and making every former free man run for their lives. They put men on all sides of the jungle in order to capture the escaping men. They would beat them up with sticks that damaged the skin and then throw one of those stink bombs they used to render people unconscious.

 Genke had been the victim of one of those bombs and had woken up in a cell on top of a cart. He had been sleeping in a corner, as there were at least five other men with him inside the cage. The cart advanced through the wilderness very slowly and it was then when they all realized the jungle was burning, very far in the distance. It was something very difficult to see, as the forest had provided food and shelter for a long time and now it has fallen with them

 They wanted to ask where they were taking them but there was no way they would answer them. Any sound they made was answered with the crack from a whip. It always scared them despite the fact that it never it them. They were too scared and tired to fight nay longer and decided to let things happen however they had to happen. They stayed in silence and tried not to annoy the Wataku.

 The night passed and when the first light of morning appeared in the horizon, their new masters made them step down the cart and start walking behind it. They did not know why they had to do that but they did it without question. They had no intention of crossing any of the slavers. The man with the whip was on a horse and looked at them like a hawk. Any wrong move would be enough for him to react.

 That wrong move was when the youngest of the new slaves fell to the floor, possibly because of dehydration. The man whipped him with an uncanny ability and the kid’s flesh opened horribly, making wounds that would never properly heal, much less in the new conditions that they were living in. He had to be helped up in order to resume the walk, which he almost didn’t finish. The following morning, they entered a small village.

 It was called Sihoku and it was a settlement created by the Wataku that lived from capturing other tribes’ men. There was something like a jail there, where the five men were put in. There were lots of other slaves, possibly twenty more. Genke thought, for a moment, that they could rise and destroy the enemy but that wasn’t possible. Everyone was either too tired or had been beat up horribly by their new owner.

 Later, a tall member of the Wataku came and pushed every single man to the corner of the cage where they were being held. As he did that, two others carried a big metal deposit that worked as a feeding device for the animals. There were two of them. The big soldier pushed and kicked them, calling them names in his language and then left, doing some kind of a grin that they thought was very strange.

 As soon as he left the cage, every man except Genke and the boy that had been beaten up, ran to the metal deposits in order to eat and drink. They looked like pigs or cows feeding as if they had never eaten in their lives. Some pass over others to get food, some others hit their fellow men in order to get a handful of the food, some kind of mashed product that smells like it had gone bad recently.

 Genke did not even try to get closer. He thought they had to be better than that, he thought it was better if they showed the enemy that couldn’t be broken so easily. They had their houses burnt, their wives and children skinned alive or burned and now they were behaving just like the enemy wanted. They seemed to have forgotten every single thing that had happened recently and, the worst part, was that their new owners realized how easy it was to tame them and to convert them in the nice little slaves they wanted them to be.

 However, they had also seen how Genke had not even tried to eat or drink and they had already decided to make an example out of him. During the night, the cage was open and the big soldier entered again but this time he was careful no to be so loud or violent. He was there to grab only one of them and it was easy to stop who he wanted as he was apart from the group: Genke had separated from them because he couldn’t stand them anymore.

 The man grabbed Genke, woke him up and took him out of the cage. They tied a rope from every extremity and tensed the ropes from poles in order to cause him extreme pain. This was done over a wooden table were he was lying down, although there were moments when his body didn’t even touched the table. That was how much they stretched his body.

 Genke screamed all night. The guys in the cage realized what was happening and were sad for him but they had understood that there was no way to win to the masters. They were stronger and simply hand the upper hand. When morning arrived again, Genke was not thrown into the cell again but into the one in a cart. Others joined him there and then the transport began to move. The journey would be much shorter.

 The Wataku were sending them to the ocean. There, they saw some kind of event happening in the beach and also immense boats floating on the ocean. They understood what was happening just as the cart stopped and they had to walk, in chains, to make a line behind many other men that were been auctioned to a public of foreigners. They were dressed in funny clothes and look very different from one another. Genke even noticed that they all preferred to raise their hand and show fingers than actually speak during the auction.

 When they finished with the group that was there when they arrived, it was their turn. Genke felt sick, not only because of his torture, but because he was very hungry and thirsty. He walked in front of the foreigners making his best effort not to faint and then waited for their Wataku master to release them from the chains. But that didn’t happen. The Wataku were merciless and never forgive any misbehavior.

 All the slaves in their group were kept in chains and the foreigners had a chance to approach before they began the auction. Genke found it humiliating, as the foreigners checked every slave’s hair, their teeth, their skin and even their overall size, including the size of their feet. They didn’t understood why so many measurements and detailing. What had the mouth anything to do with working in a field?

 The auction began some time after that. One by one, the men that had been captured the same day as Genke were being sold to different foreigners. Other men from beyond the sea would come and take them directly to the ships. They didn’t wait or let anyone say anything. They just dragged the slave if they had to do it.

 The younger boy that had been badly beaten up by the Wataku was sold to a man with a mustache but when he was being taken to the ship, he started fighting his new owner, trashing about and yelling in their tongue. Somehow, he thought they would all suddenly rise and defend him from being taken away. The truth was much more sad: he was punched and kicked in the ground and carried unconscious into the boat. No one knew if he ever survived the journey.

 Genke was sold to a tall man, the tallest he had ever seen. His eyes were cold and his skin was the one of a ghost. He didn’t fight them as he was taken to the ship. He didn’t say anything when he had to sleep with dozen of others inside that boat. And he didn’t talked once he was sold again, in a port far away from his homeland, which he would never see again. He rarely spoke again, hoping he would eventually die and, at least, have some peace in his grave. That was his only wish.