The Wreck of The Indignant

Samuel was still  shaky after the trip though the Dragon's Eye as he came out on the deck. The cabin boy had been ordered to fetch the captain's lunch from the Cook now that they were through the Eye. The deck was strangely quiet though, which made him look up. All the sailors were simply standing there, looking over the port bow with solemn expressions. He was about to ask what was going on when the captain came out behind him, nearly running him over.  
"What is going on here? Everyone get back to your stations!"
 
Almost as one, the entire crew turned to look at the captain. Their expressions ranged from shock to outright fear. One sailor managed to stammer out, "But.. cap'n, it's the Indignant!"
 
"Back to your stations! We'll have none of that silly superstition on MY ship."
 
Samuel tried to make his way across the deck when he heard some of the others grumbling amongst themselves.
 
"It's an ill omen, I'm tellin' ya."
 
"No need ta be tellin' me. Slightin' Enmir at the Indignant will doom us all."
 
"Next port I'm gettin of this ship, I'm tellin' ya. This new captain doesn't know his..."
 
"Shut yer trap or he'll toss you over!"
 
The two crewmates quieted down as they went back to their work. 
 
Samuel looked over the railing then and saw what all the fuss was about. It was the decaying corpse of a long wrecked ship impaled on a sharp rock just barely jutting out from the ocean. Seaweed and kelp hung from it like garland. All around it he could see pieces of cloth, bottles with paper in them, and the gleam of coins. The sea birds were circling it, letting their shrill cries fill the air. Samuel might be just a cabin boy, but he knew a shrine when he saw one.  His ma had told him to give the gods their due or they would take it the hard way. He knew he had to be quick or they'd pass it by. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out the feather he'd found just before boarding the ship and a small clump of hard cheese he had been saving. He found a loose thread at the bottom of his shorts and quickly tied them all together. He glanced over his shoulder and saw the captain was busy talking with the First Mate. Samuel pulled his hand back and threw the little bundle towards the wreck as hard as he could.
 
As he watched, one of the sea birds swooped down and caught his offering in it's beak and banked around to land at the top of the wreck. He could see the feather dangling by the string from it's mouth. He didn't have time to consider it before he heard the captain shout out commands to the crew and Samuel knew he needed to get to the cook as fast as possible.
    As one exits the Dragon Crossing and veers west along the norther coast of Maezes it is inevitable that you will pass the wreck of The Indignant, a Clipper Class Sailing Vessel that crashed upon the newly made rocky outcrops during the first expedition to Maezes after The Fall.  The wreck has persisted for over a century now and seems to be preserved by the magics of The Fells that extend that far out into the waters. Sailors now use it as a landmark to make sure they stay far enough away from the shoreline. It is also exactly two leagues from there until a ship veers to port in order to head to Crossing's rest.
When a ship sails past the wreck, it is common practice that someone will toss an offering to Enmir, either coin, jewelry, or simply prayers written upon oil cloth. It is considered bad luck not to make some type of offering. The only thing worse than failing to make an offering at the wreck is any who attempt to pillage from it. Tales are told of the Curse of the Indigent that seems to plague any who were brazen enough to even attempt to reach the wreck. Whether these tales are true or not is anyone's guess. 


Cover image: by David Mark

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8 Jan, 2021 01:49

I love the bit of prose - hopefully it's not an ill-omen to get your offering snatched by a bird!

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea! Please check out my peculiar plants entry! :)