Story - Part 5

Author: Andrew /

Rollan awoke, albeit groggily and with a throbbing headache, to the sensation of rocking back and fourth. The floor under him was moving and swaying, he thought. Upon closer observation, he was lying, curled up, on stained, rough, old wooden floor. What's more, around him, as he blearily looked up, was a cage of blackened iron bars with a great big lock on the door.

How did this happen? One day he was on his way from a remote village to the city, the next he's decided to follow a man who, for some reason or another intrigued him. Who was he kidding? It was the money. The money flashing around in front of him, sliding across the counter with careless ease. He had been greedy. How ironic now, that not only had he not made any money, but in fact, had been sold himself to put more money in the same man's pocket. He'd find that bastard someday, that was certain. For now, he was stuck on what seemed to be a ship with a massive bruise on his stomach and a huge bump raised on the back of his head.

Gods it sure was cold. He noticed that he wasn't wearing much. He just had on a ragged pair of trousers and a linen shirt. The pants had a rope belt, but that was it. While he sat and tried to observe his situation, all the while trying to ignore the thumping feeling in the back of his skull, he noticed he was terribly hungry. How long had he been in here? How long had it been since they left the city? They hit him hard, he might have been out a while. He looked around and saw, over on the floor, there were a few crusty hunks of bread and a tin cup of stale water. Hardly a feast but anything would beat starving. He gobbled them up quickly.

The bread wasn't much and the water seemed sour but it at least took the edge off. As he looked around the room he was in, he saw lots of crates and barrels. Sadly, they seemed to be out of arm's reach and the cage walls were bolted tightly to the floor, so it's not as if he could scoot the cage from the inside. As he looked, he noticed a few of the barrels had rough lettering on them, labeling the different contents. Some seemed to be food like apples or pears. One even seemed to be a barrel of walnuts. There were also what seemed to be other barrels that were tarred and sealed to hold liquid. With a ship's crew, he figured a lot of it was probably grog and booze but maybe there was some water too. He had heard it was bad to drink salt water but he didn't exactly know what kind of water they were in, so perhaps they didn't need fresh water on board.

Rollan sat against the back wall of his cell and thought. So, he was sold into slavery, or so it seemed. He was bought, for sure. He really had no idea what for but he could imagine without stretching all too far. Would he be a farm hand or some kind of other manual labor on some rich estate? Would he be made to fight in some huge colliseum for the masses to see murder... or be murdered? He gulped at that thought. Perhaps he would simply be a house servant. He chuckled at that idea. Well, whatever it was, he was sure it would be something he'd rather not do. He heaved a sigh and, with the rocking of the boat and the pounding of his head and the still present complaining of his stomach, he drifted back off into an uneasy sleep.

He awoke to creaking boards overhead and thumping footsteps. He followed the sound overhead, on what must be the floor above him down the length of the room. The footsteps became clearer, as did some talking that he could hear now.

"Captain say where we were dropping anchor?"

"Aye, some place called Strama's Landing. Little port town or some such. Just to re-supply take a night off the water."

"Be good to hit the town again. Colmaire wasn't enough. Place 'idn't have naught but grime and cold wind. Kinda like all we get out here, eh?"

"Stop yer whinin'. A sailor's life is a sailor's life and you know there ain't nothin' like it."

"Yeh, yer righ'. I jus' get so bored out here day after day s'all."

"Well, entertain yersel- Well well well, look who's awake."

The two men who'd been talking came to the cage. One was a big fellow; tall, big as an ox. He had a red rag tied like a bandana around his head, wore a thick, old, grey-blue leather waistcoat that seemed to have had some form of gold stitching along the edges once, but it was frayed and tattered now. He wore high black leather boots that went to his knees and six earrings in his left ear. He was light skinned. His partner wore a similar kind of jacket but nowhere near as fine, in this time or a previous one. He wore a battered triangular hat with a frayed feather in it. He wore a plain tunic-shirt underneath and wore black leather shoes with tarnished brass buckles on them. He had long, matted, greasy hair about to his shoulders and a few scars on his face.

"Looks like he ate," said the big fella.

"Aye. Think we should tell the Captain he's awake?"

"Probably..." The big man looked thoughtful. He looked around, popped the top off a barrel and grabbed an apple and took a big bite, still looking at Rollan and thinking. He took one more huge bite, taking another third of the apple, looked at it, shrugged and tossed Rollan the scant remains. "Yeh, let's go tell the Captain."

The both turned and left and, as soon as they were gone, Rollan near dived on the apple. He ate it quickly, not thinking to savor it. The cool juice went down his throat, sweet and delicious while the meat of the apple and the skin scratched his parched throat.

After a while, footsteps came again.

A man came to the cage. He was not entirely what Rollan had expected though. The man was young, almost boyish. He looked about nineteen, maybe twenty. He was wearing a long red waistcoat with gold embroidery and a large, thick, collar and lapels, with oversized cuffs. Beneath this, he wore a shirt that Rollan would have called frilly but thought better of it at this moment. Around his neck he wore a black scarf that flowed over his jacket. He wore tall, kneehigh boots of black leather that were polished to a mirror shine, which matched his black leather gloves. On his head was what seemed to be a bandana, but also made of the same black leather, holding back blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. He had fair skin and icey blue eyes as he stared down at Rollan.

"It would seem that our new guest is indeed awake. My name is Captain Barret Tollomey and welcome aboard The Siren."


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