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By Darius Blake All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy

Chapter 1

“… I mean, I was never a fan of classic literature. All those long epics about the breath taking beauty of the shattered spiral? Not for me. I’ve always preferred a good shanty or even a dirge if the mood struck me. But all those bards with their lutes and their foppish hats and their tuneless ‘singing’ about the wonder of sights they themselves will have never seen? No. Makes me want to garrotte a man with his own lute strings.”

The barman rolled his one good eye in exasperation. The man slouched at the bar suspected the other rolled with it but, due to its uniform white colouration, it was somewhat hard to tell for sure. “Not much you are a fan of, is there?”

“Not on land, no.”

The man straightened, placed a few half-crowns on the counter and turned to walk toward the door

“What about out there? What is there for you out in open sky?”

The man stopped. Turning slowly, he flashed the bar keep a toothy grin.

“Why, Everything of course. What else?”

The Ship moored on one of the piers protruding from one of the lower levels of the tower was nothing special. Her dark timber hull was dotted with the standard patches of decay and barnacles you pick up after traveling through the spiral for a while. The deep red sails where ragged with a few years of wear and tear and had been patched in several places. Even the rigging looked like it had seen better days. But to one man, she was home.

“Well old girl? What say you to seeing how fast we can get to Maelstrom and back?”

The ship groaned in protest.

Her Captain sighed heavily. “I know. Believe me, I know. But these crates aren’t going to ship themselves out to the other side of the spiral. I promise, next chance I get, I’ll do some repairs. Come on lass… For me?”

The sails billowed outward. The rigging tightened. The hull creaked and groaned as the planks flexed and settled. Slowly, painfully, the Night Wind pulled away from her moorings and turned rimward.

“Atta Girl! Now… Let’s see if we can’t beat our record…”

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