The Coral Princess creaked under the swell of the Placid Ocean. The Captain, a Pendaran by the name of Zorava, watched as his second looped a rope around a boulder the size of a bullock’s head. He lay back against the prow of his vessel, absorbing the rays of the sun on his bare olive skin. A slight breeze stirred, churning the green ripples into white crests, while a lone seagull wheeled overhead.
He barely averted his eyes as the sun glared so brightly that all he could detect was a yellow brilliance. To avoid the glare, he shielded his eyes with the steel of his cutlass blade; a weapon permanently affixed where his right hand should have been. His curled black locks and dropping moustache showed in the dull grey sheen of the blade.
His ship began to lurch more in the wake as the wind picked up, but from what he could see of the clouds, the weather would not be beyond the ability of his oarsmen to manage. The rope was finally looped and tightened under creaking duress, before being put down.
“Alla imi ayaunim,” said one of the oarsmen, a stocky black giant from one of the cannibalistic isles of the Placid Ocean.
“I will,” said Zorava.
The orange, yellow and pink clouds beneath the waves denoted coral. It was always best to keep one’s boots on when diving near it; the toxins entered the bloodstream on contact, making feet swell and painful to walk on.
“Coral,” asked his second incredulously, “That is the least of your concerns,” he said nodding over the side.
The oarsmen stared over the gunnels of the vessel apprehensively watching the black shapes which glided around and beneath them.
“I volunteered to seek out Radgen’s treasure, Merunin.”
“That you did,” said Merunin, giving an evil smirk.
Zorava watched apprehensively as the rest of the crew gathered as a human wall beside him.
“So even if I were to return, with the treasure; I am doomed,” he said.
“It would appear so.”
“And you all get a greater share, while you become Captain; no doubt.”
“No doubt, but what can you do,” asked Merunin, pursing his lips.
Zorava stared thoughtfully, before nodding resignedly.
“Would you pass me the bolder then?”
“Of course,” Merunin grinned, stooping to pick it up.
Zorava rushed at him as he straightened, thrusting his cutlass as both men went over the side. His good hand took hold of the rope near the huge stone, tearing him down into the cold depths. He looked up as he descended watching the sharks dart for Merunin and the spreading crimson cloud in the water. The pressure began to build in his ears, making his head swim with the pain, but mercifully, the bolder, scuffed noisily down the dark-brown keel timbers of Radgen’s ship. A small grey cloud, erupted when the bolder struck the sand of the seabed as Zorava surveyed the world in his immediate vicinity.
A green sea cucumber flexed and turned in on itself as it slanted diagonally downward. From the adjacent rocks, a black and olive striped eel, darted from one of the holes and snatched a blue speckled fish before retreating from view. Looking down, he saw the weaponry of Radgen’s crew in the sand, but one glinted beside a fallen helmet. Letting go of the rope, he swam over and dug into the sand, to see that the glint was gold. Further digging revealed a chest beneath it which had broken open, containing not only gold, but precious gems of every color of the spectrum. There was green for jade, sapphires in sparkling blue and the red of rubies among others. He had looted many ships before and therefore made a practiced decision, scooping all the gems he could into the helmet, knowing that they were much more valuable and lighter than gold. There was enough here to buy back the crew’s loyalty and with Merunin dead, he was still Captain.
Swimming back to the rope, he cut it and tugged twice, peering upward to the tan hull of his vessel and the fewer black shapes above. The rope tightened, jerking him from the sea floor. There was still the danger of the sharks, but a smile etched itself on his lips. He was Zorava, a pirate who had known many dangers, and as yet, no navy could capture him, he was sure that he could find a way to elude a few sharks.
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