I was an average young lad raised on a pirate ship.
I have no linear memory prior to being ten winters old. I expect this is normal, but have not bothered to check with any scientists on this concept. I have some vague memories prior to that, but cannot place them specifically at ages other than simply by reference. My first memory is one that I can guess at timing simply due to ages and such.
I was just three weeks past my fourth birthday. We had sailed towards mama’s home at Blizzard Coast and had not yet reached the rocks where we would put to ground. Mind you, we rarely went too far from Blizzard Coast so mama could be near home and dad could hear the latest news on King Gerald.
Jordan, the ship’s pseudo physician, had passed my bed and entered mama and dad’s chambers. I quickly dressed and followed just in time to be handed the first of the twins mama gave birth to that night. I welcomed Squirt into the world as my first brother and, though later named Harry, the name “Squirt” stuck. The younger twin, Peter, was named after my father. These two were the first of four siblings to be born aboard that ship.
I should explain a few things. My name is Patrick, by the way…Patrick Green. I am now 21 winters old. Currently, I am captain of The Haven as dad has “retired” and is now just a passenger on the ship. With his expertise, he is a wonderful passenger to have along for the voyage when I need advice. It is as though I have two first mates to draw from. I grew up on The Haven, although I was not born on it. I was 15 before I knew the story of my birth…but I will come to that.
Perhaps coincidence, but the day I found out about my birth was the same day dad promoted me to first mate. The crew cheered as though it were a coronation, and the irony of that sunk home not long after.
My dad was the only captain I knew on this ship. His name is Graham Thoms. I do know that, prior to my arrival, he was first mate as well for five years. He and his best friend joined the crew as teens and worked their way up the ranks for ten years until his friend was captain and dad was first mate. My mama is Margrite Smythe. Although she has never officially been a member of the crew on The Haven, she helped to create what is one of the most educated ships on the seas. She is the reason most of the crew can read and write well. Mama and dad were never married, but their union was never questioned. The love affair they had showed that they needed no vicker to tell them they were a couple. As mentioned, they had four children…giving me three brothers and a sister.
Squirt, whom I have already introduced is my first mate. He is a strong lad, and bloody huge, too. He stands a good foot taller than Hemmings who, while still alive, was the tallest of the crew. Squirt could probably win most of those Scottish strong man games we have been lucky enough to see. Peter, Squirt’s younger twin, is much smaller and thinner. He has become the brains of our operation, you might say. His money sense has made him the accountant of the Haven…that plus he is damned good with a frying pan, so he tends to spend his spare time in the galley. Michael is two years younger than the twins. He has a voice that can command wild dogs. His singing and strumming has been known to bring the lasses to their knees. The charisma he possesses makes up for being a something of a slob and a glutton…even mama can no longer excuse his eating by saying he is still just a growing boy. The youngest is Alex, who is not quite a year younger than Michael. Alex is going to be more suited to command one day than I am. Alex has both Michael’s charisma and Peter’s intelligence wrapped into a blossoming female body. She also has a bit of fire in her belly that makes her the most rebellious of the bunch.
As mentioned, my last name is Green…and with dad being named Thoms, you see a conflict no doubt. Graham Thoms was my father’s best friend and first mate when Peter Green took command of The Haven. My father, Peter Green, had fallen in love with a princess of Blizzard Coast…Princess Renatta. As you can guess, my parents hid their love affair. Margrite Smythe was my mother’s handmaiden. My birth parents were killed by Blizzard Coast guards as my father tried to save my mother and me…but, again, I will come back to that.
Growing up on The Haven, as I said earlier, was average. I was an average lad raised by, in essence, twelve fathers and a brilliant mother. Jordan taught me field dressing wounds and horse husbandry. Clemmons taught me how to climb rope ladders and raise sails. Anderson taught me how to avoid rocks while steering. Nixon taught me how to load my pistol and hit a stone off a fence from 200 paces. Hemmings taught me to make beds and flip eggs. Of course, the others taught me as well things like flirting, drinking and what not…dad and mama were not going to do that, so someone had to.
Our mission, it seemed, was to take from those who had too much and then dad would donate it to those who did not have enough. We would gather our booty only to keep just enough to live on. We would celebrate by setting anchor near a city where mama and I would go in and buy books at the local town so we could read stories to the crew during our festivities that evening while they drank ale and sang songs around a bonfire where we would share our meal. One of the earliest stories mama introduced me to was one called “Robin Hood and the Monk”, which told me the story of a rogue who was there to help those who were being tread upon by others. Robin Hood’s tales were very popular during our celebrations. The stories were so well received that we even visited Nottinghamshire once, just because we had read about it.
When I was 15, mama and I had journeyed from The Haven and into Blizzard Coast to find books for that night’s celebration. As we searched the market, I found a book by a writer named Leonard Cole called “Prophecies of The Blizzard Coast”. I had slipped it into my bag after paying for it and moved on. A few days later, I sat in bed with mama tucking me in. Our normal night was for me to read her something before sleep, and I read her the chapter from Cole’s book called “The Pirate Prophecy” that ended with the line: “A pirate’s son will take the throne.” The next day I was taken into mama and dad’s quarters for a long talk. First, dad named me first mate. They then explained to me the truth about my birth and my parents…imagine my shock when I realized I could be the pirate’s son in the prophecy.
I also now understood why dad was so concerned about King Gerald. He knew that one day I would need to be introduced.
I do so wish that I had met my parents…and one day, soon, I look forward to meeting my grandfather. That will be an intriguing day.
Mama and dad, though not my birth parents, chose to raise me as their own. They did so with a love and respect that many children with their birth parents would never receive. As I said, I have four siblings…not half-siblings, or step-siblings…these are my brothers and sisters and shall always be so.
King Gerald looked up at the old man then back down at the papers in front of him. He shuffled through them before asking, “Is there more?”
The old man shook his head. “Not yet.” His hands were bound behind his back. “Captain Green only began writing this a week or so ago. He intended it…”
“This cannot be proven, anyway.” The king stood, his long black cloak had gold piping and swayed at his feet. Gray had taken over his hair on both head and in beard where it was once near black.
“Yes it can. You knew Margrite…and Margrite still lives.”
King Gerald’s blue eyes suddenly went from steel to oceans as the first tears appeared tracking down his cheeks. “Margrite? After all these years, she…?”
The old man nodded his bald head.
Two armed guards stood behind the old man. They shuffled, uncomfortable with seeing their king show such emotions.
The king turned and rubbed his chin. Returning his attention to the old man, he picked up the papers and asked, “Where did you get this? How do you know…?”
“This is the first of his log as captain.”
“I gathered that, but where did you get it?”
“I am Graham Thoms.”
The papers fell from King Gerald’s hand. The tears flowed even more openly. He leaned on his desk and gazed into Thoms’ eyes. “Where is my grandson?”