Men of the Sea
Live fast, die young.
Though it was a far cry from being the motto of a pirate, they seemed to abide by it. There was something simultaneously fun and dangerous about the life of a sea-loving brigand; people regarded them with a strange mixture of emotions when they realized what it was they were looking at. A measure of fear was always in their eyes, but more often than not, curiosity and respect resided there, too, depending on the pirates in question.
No gaggle of yeller-bellied sows could demand the respect that Fargus's crew did. The port of Badon was their home away from home; home itself was the Davros, but more than the intimidating wooden vessel, home belonged to the water itself, the peaks and the froth of the ocean.
Storms could slow them down, and waves could sweep over the deck, drenching burned skin and unwashed hair, but any crew worth its salt could overcome something so minor. It wasn't always easy to stay on course. In that sense, it was a lot like life itself.
Fargus's crew would pull together, hoisting sails and tugging on ropes, eyes squinting against the sharp sting of the rain on their faces; in that way, they were able to overcome anything. They worked together, one team, one goal, one family.
Badon was full of pirates, but none were as well known, as feared and respected, as loved as they. Pirates though they were, they never stole from those that couldn't afford to surrender a little. They would never hurt the helpless.
As far as scalawags went, Fargus's crew was the most honorable of them all—which didn't say much, considering how terrible some of the other pirate crews were.
The salty sea air brushed against Fargus's weathered face, and he allowed a small smile to part his chapped lips at the sudden coolness on his skin. The rails of the Davros's deck were rough, even beneath the callused, worn pads of his own hands, and he tightened his grip as he watched Badon grow smaller and smaller.
His eyes scanned the shore of the port city, and he paused, his gaze lingering on a small section of sand where he remembered finding a small slip of a boy. He had been lying there only Elimine knew how long before the pirates found him, his face peeling from the sun, blood pooling around him from whatever mess it was he'd gotten himself into.
His smile turned almost fond. Dart was a fine boy; he was glad that he had gone against the traditions of the town in order to save him. Holiday though it was, a human life was a human life, and even a hardened pirate couldn't bear to see an injured boy left to die when so many people were at hand, able…but unwilling to assist him.
Dart never could recall what had happened to him—the other pirates liked to say that Leviathan had left its bite in his flesh—and he seemed to adjust to pirate life well. He worked as hard as any of the others, and before Fargus expected it, the boy was a man, and he was one of the big pirate family.
Brother to all the boys, son to him.
He turned, away from Badon, and looked at all the men aboard the mighty Davros. They were milling about, some loafing, others hard at work. His expression turned stern, serious, and the few that dared to lean or sit simply smiled and waved up at him. He could hardly glare at them when they looked so happy, his weird, rag-tag group of boys.
He held his tongue, resisting the now-familiar urge to yell for Dart. Dan, he said his name really was, and both of them had laughed. Who would have thought they'd be so close to the truth?
But Dart—because to Fargus, that confused boy who had washed ashore the coast of Badon would always be Dart, and never Dan—was gone. Oh, he wasn't dead. He was on a quest to find treasure, a pegasus knight hot on his trail.
Suddenly, he laughed, loud and long, scaring half of the crew. He waved dismissively, and they got back to work, ignoring him despite their curiosity.
The fool boy—because that was what he was, with his silly dreams and the unquenchable thirst to live them—would never return.
It made him sad in the way only a pirate—a man who'd braved a thousand storms and lived to tell about it—could be. He'd turned that confused boy into a man who wasn't afraid to work hard to get what he wanted. Seeing him chase after those ridiculous dreams, letting him live his life… Ah, he was getting soft in his old age, certainly, to think such things.
Dart was a scalawag, a scoundrel, a dark-haired menace, and even if he never saw the lad again, he knew he would be in good—greedy, miserly—hands. His chest puffed out a little as he looked over his crew, the men who had once been boys in their own right, who hadn't known the bow of the ship from the stern and could hardly walk straight on the slick deck.
And here they were, he thought, straightening his back as he watched them work. Here they were, their feet planted firmly beneath them, an air of confidence as they shouted out orders and requests for help, receiving answers immediately.
"All right, men!" he shouted, his deep voice attracting the attention of all the men on his splendid vessel, not because he had shouted, but because he had called them men. "We may be short one whelp, but that only means that th' rest o' ye'll have to work a l'il harder to make up for losin' 'im!"
They stood up straight, grins on their faces, eyes shining with pride. "Aye, Captain!"
"And don't none o' the rest of ye go findin' yerself no money-grubbin', wheedlin' wenches o' yer own, neither!"
They looked around at each other and just grinned wider, some bursting into fits of laughter as they tried to answer him seriously, "Aye, Captain!"
"Now back to work, all o' ye!" And he waved his hand at them, his smile only growing wider as they scurried about to obey his orders.
Men. Good men. Each and every last one of them.
He turned back to Badon. It had almost disappeared completely. Maybe someday, he thought, they would pull into port to find another lost soul to fill the hole left by that dream-chasing Dart.
"A storm's brewin' in the air," he muttered, noticing the way the clouds darkened with every passing moment. "Nail everything down!" he shouted. "And what ye cain't nail down, take below deck!"
It wasn't long before the rain fell, hitting his skin like splatters of hot grease. He grinned, looking around at his boys—his men.
"Are ye ready?" he asked them, standing firmly in place.
"Ready, Captain!" they answered from their positions, their voices mostly drowned out by a clap of thunder. They tried again a moment later, not willing to let Father Sky outdo them, "We're ready, Captain!"
"Good!" he bellowed as a frothing wave crashed over the deck, soaking him and the others to the skin. "Now let's see ye prove that ye're men!"
He knew they wouldn't let him down.
I wrote this because I could. And Fargus is amazing. And now he has his own character tag. Everyone, celebrate my birthday with me...by giving me feedback!