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The Voyages of the Holy Cross

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Chapter 1

     As I write this tale I still cannot believe my very eyes of the things I have seen and heard. It is still a mystery to mine eyes. But me eyes do not lie to my soul. As God as my witness this testimony is the truth. I swear by my very soul and by everyone that is still with me…

  “Captain, what should we do” I asked. For I am called ‘Charles, the ship’s scribe, a noble name no doubt but one not of noble blood. I write as the Captain tells me to, for he is still shaken and unable to write…. for us all it has been a living nightmare….” write these very words” he said….

   1302 in the year of our Lord we set sail from off the coast of the Old World in search of new trade routes and safe harbors to protect our precious cargoes from the renegade pirates that lurk in the troubled waters of then known sailing routes. I, and my fellow ship mates were assigned to the Lead ship, ours being the largest and fastest was chosen to be the flagship in a convoy of five. Armored to the hilt, christen by his majesty’s high priest and proven sea worthily, we called her “Holy Cross”.

   Our first five months at sea brought us no closer to finding new trade routes. After reloading in the Port of Musclair, we barely escaped with our lives. Pirates boarded our sister ship the “Jess tine” and after slaying her Captain and crew and removing her goods, burnt her into the sea. May God rest their souls. I credit our first mate Erik’s careful eye while on watch for saving our very lives.

   With our spirits sorely dampened, our remaining ships now huddled close together caught the first winds of the new year and set out on a fully moon light night. Our course, wherever the currents would take us.

     Seven nights out and on the third watch an eerie calm broke out over the waters. Our sails went limp……The winds ceased to be…. It was as if we had beached our selves in the middle of the ocean……but we felt no bottom, our kneel had not dragged nor were we taking on water………..four ships and their crews……….and no one else….. we waited…..we waited for what seemed eternity…….as if the hands of time had stopped………..or had frozen……and suddenly……

   It happened, with out warning, the last ship in our mists, the “Harold” the smallest of us, waned and was pulled down as if by some unseen force to the bottom of the ocean. Despising our own safety, we quickly set out long boats to rescue any of her survivors……there were none………..all hands were lost………why? Though the ship had carried many wooden barrels now empty of their supplies, nothing floated to the surface, no sails,, no bodies…nothing.

    The decks of the remaining three ships were all filled with their crews begging to the gods for mercy. There was no order……. Only chaos…And then within minutes the winds came….. Mighty winds, blowing in all directions…”This can not be” I said..…..it was as if we had waken up all the winds from the bowels deep inside the earth………..these winds brought the sea back to life, an ungodly life with a mind of its own…the waves crashed over the bows of the two other ships and men were washed into the sea, only our ship stood higher in the water…..I could not hear their cries for the thunderous waves….wave after wave…the riggings were tearing away from the sails…..we were being tossed to and fro……. from port to starboard…..the waves like mad rats ran across the decks and into the belly of the ships…..” What should we do” the men begged…….”Pray with all your might” I yelled back to them. Each man with all their might clinging to the railings of the ship to keep from being swept out to sea…all of us together, but really all alone, each separated by their impending doom…. Just then the other two ships’ caught waves that cast them headlong into each other. Their bows ripped open and the kneels were torn from their underbellies….I watched both with horror and disbelief as their holds filled with water and these once mighty ships and seasoned crews sailed backward into the dark ocean depths and into eternity…..and then there was no ships save one, ours, and the winds ceased and a calm………..a calm so loud it was deafening to our ears came over the ship….I quickly called all hands for a count. Out of our crew of twenty-nine only seven souls remained and one shaken three -legged dog we had named “Moses”.  We called him Moses because we plucked him as a puppy from the swallow waters in Puma after he had fallen from another ship and was attacked by barracuda. His front right leg was torn off at the shoulders. Murray, our ship’s cook took care of him and nursed him back to health.

      As our ship set still in the night the water was as a mirror lit only by the moon. “What has God wroth, we must be accursed” I heard mumbling from my crew. And then another nightmare began. The sky above us started to collect dark clouds from no where and they were rotating like the hands of a clock. We had thought a North Easterner had suddenly blown up.

       As we gazed toward the heavens a figure of a man descended from the clouds and stood upon the deck of our ship. But even I know man cannot fly. It was a tall lanky, thin being with a drawn in face like it had a suffered greatly in life or, in its death? It reminded me of the vagrants that roamed the street of Bricton from the old world. Half starved, half crazed. It slowly walked up to the bow of the ship and turned toward our crew. It stretched out its left arm straight as a plank of oak with long boney fingers. Making a sweeping move from the right to the left it turned again and faced the sea and raised its arms up and the sea like the clouds started to churn violently but our ship remained perfectly still. I looked over the side and watched as the sea roared ‘round and ‘round. “This can not be” I said. “Who are you? In God’s name! What are you?”

  The stranger said nothing. The waves moving faster and faster around us. Still, we stood still.

The noise, oh the noise!! I could hear moans of wood, like trees falling, but not from our ship. A heavy fog rolled in over the area. Though we were scared beyond our very beings we lit lanterns to see. The stranger never moving from his post dropped his arms. The waves stopped and the calm appeared again. Our uninvited guest beckoned us to the railing. We approached him though terrified…. he again raised his flesh starved finger and pointed to the sea. Terry our ship’s helmsman raised his lantern up and illuminated the area just off the starboard side. I saw ships. A multitude of ships. Ghost ships I believe, littered with the remains of sailors. Wrecks of ships long ago forgotten now again floating on the sea. I saw ships that appeared to be made of iron with no traces of sails nor oars. I saw what appeared large cylindered shaped objects with no cannon ports on their sides. Ships with holes gapping in their sides and but yet still floating. And filled with treasures befitting a king. Holds filled with gold, silver bullion. The stranger turned toward us and said in an unearthly matter “Look” and pointed toward two ships. I saw a ghostly image of a small pirate ship along side of a much larger ship. I watched as the pirates’ slew the crew and began to haul her cargo over to their own ship. The pirates’ ship was too small to carry all the bounty but still they loaded her. Even a pirate captain would know not to load her that far down in the water, but they didn’t stop. I watched them empty the larger ship and then set her on fire. The pirate ship turned to pull away and being over laded with the treasure listed and sank into the sea.

  The stranger gave out a ghastly laugh that would draw most men to their knees. And then we were alone again, the ship graveyard of the damned and dead had vanished. The stranger slowly walked toward Terry and he commanded him to sail…….” this way” and pointed northeast. And our sails took life once again and we were under way.

Chuck gee 2002

Chapter two

   For days we sailed. The stranger never moving from his place. Night and day he stood watch at the bow of the ship. As we went northeast the weather was getting colder. My Men were growing cold. Blew, the ship’s carpenter went about making much needed repairs that we had suffered during the turmoil. Our ship’s navigator Shep was also under a great distress. I had secretly ordered him to observe our navigational charts and map out our destination. “Captain, as we move through the waters the stars move with us. I do not understand, nor can I determine our whereabouts” he replied. Still we sailed on. I had Josh the cabin boy make coats from the cloth sacks we carried flour and salt in. I lost track of days. The stress from the ordeal was weighing heavy on us all. All of us knew the sea; she was like a strong woman. She treated some ships with kindness, some with anger. Each of us had experienced her at her best and worst but nothing like this. We were unprepared for this and…… for what lie ahead.  

   “Land ahoy,” shouted Erik from the mast! There on the horizon like a rock rising out of the sea. I saw it too. I did not recognize the land. It was not on any map that we had. The Stranger turned from his post and in a voice from Hades said to us all. ” Sleep, we go tomorrow”. We dropped anchor for the night and at first light we sailed into the harbor. It was a narrow piece of water with a high cliff on one side and what appeared to be the remains of some ancient city off in the distance on the other. We were instructed by the stranger to set out in the long boat and make our way toward the shore. I had planned on leaving Terry on board to stay with the ship, but the stranger said, “He must see it to, with his own eyes”. “See…. See what I asked?”  “You shall all see soon” replied the stranger. As we rowed toward the shore I looked up to see the stranger was already waiting for us on the shore. “He is a demon, he walks on water like Jesus” I heard someone say from under their breath.

     We arrived on the beach and secured the boat. Here we were, with this, this…thing, this un human, somewhere with something not knowing what to think of it. He turned to us and said, “You shall follow and let your eyes see, but touch nothing, for you cannot change that which is unchangeable.” And we walked….

chuck gee

Updated: October 16, 2020 — 1:47 PM

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