The Final Journey of La Barca de Maximilla, Part 1
The high noon sun beat down upon the ocean as waves crashed on the hull of a mighty caravel. The vessel was Calledonian, built to withstand even the most terrifying of storms with its lacquered white oak framed with Calledonian spruce. Her masts presented high in the sky, and as the ship strode they pushed the world to its side. The crew moved, adjusting the vessel’s lateen sails, tying her ropes, and navigating the waters, and they chanted to the prayers of the sea.
The ship itself had seen its fair share of the world’s various oceans. She had traveled to the ends of Candarion, from the rich and dense lands of Helios to the pristine prismarine shores of Koh. The vessel was called La Barca de Maximilla. All good things must come to an end, though, as her final voyage had been set. It was determined that she would sail from Obrexia to Koh as a commercial trading vessel for the Calledonian government. The maintenance had become too high to keep the ship for profitable commercial use. After this final trip, she was to be scuttled and set adrift off the shores between Koh and Sucia.
“¡Captain! You better come out ‘ere quick,” shouted the deckhand entering into the captain’s quarters.
“¿What is it, boy?” the captain questioned, furrowing his brow and rubbing his index finger into his temple as he examined several maps and documents on his cartographer table.
“The sky is… odd, Señor. It just recently settled in and it has the rest of the crew unsettled,” the deckhand replied.
“Alright then, boy. I’ll be out soon ¡Though, It better not be anything else or else it’ll be your head on the bowsprit!” the captain said. The deckhand stepped out of the cabin. The captain gathered his papers, rolled them up, and inserted them in a cabinet under his desk. He opened the only door outside from his cabin and stepped out onto the quarterdeck. He then strode down and passed the ship’s steering wheel to the main deck to join the rest of the crew. They all stood motionless, staring at the horizon.
Once the captain finally got a glimpse of the sky he stood in place, mesmerized. It was infected with an elegant mauve and sangria color that swirled into each other, mixed together, and seeped into the fabrics of the sky. The stars that had begun to twinkle in the wake of the falling sun shone as tiny amethyst gems in the violet sky. The captain had never seen a sight so captivating and fair in all of the dozens of years that he had spent in the sea. His moment of bewilderment did not last, and the murmurings and whispers of the crew made its way to his captain’s ears.
Hearing the worries of the crew, the captain tried to calm their suspicions, “ Come on men, we’re only days away from Koh, this sky isn’t an indication of anything.”
“¿Have you seen this before, Captain?” a deckhand in the crowd questioned.
“Well, not this specific sky no, but I’ve seen plenty of colored skies. This one just happens to be a new one,” the captain said. “Now, let’s get back to it. If some of you still have concerns, settle them. If anything, it’s probably just a minor storm over the horizon. Nothing we can’t handle.”
The captain ordered his men to their quarters and left only a handful of men on top of the main deck to watch over the ship through the night. As the last sliver of the sun began to fade away from view, the men made their way into their quarters. The captain, who was still staring at the sky, stood next to the hatch as the men entered. The last man in line, the navigator of the ship, placed his hand on top of the captain’s shoulder before entering.
“¿Castille, are you sure about this? These are conditions that I don’t think we’ve, and that includes you, seen anything like before. Let alone traversed,” Anselmo whispered.
“I’m confident in my ability to lead as I am confident in your ability to know where we’re going,” Castille replied. Anselmo stood in place while still maintaining his grip on the captain’s shoulder. He paused and looked at the captain for a second and went back downstairs into the lower decks. Castille followed but looked back at the mysterious sky.
As the boat slowly drifted into the midnight abyss, the rudder underneath the hull began to creep to the left. An underwater current pushed the reinforced wood panels. Over a few hours, the boat had drifted off course, and the sailors that were on the decks were all asleep. No one was left to attend to the ship. A sudden thunder strike boomed, and after it, came a heavy storm that rocked the boat from its starboard side to its port side. The crew, including the captain, awoke due to the storm. Several deckhands and merchants tried to make their way onto the deck to inspect the scene.
As they attempted to exit the hatch, a wave the size of a mighty oak attacked the ship from portside. A large jet of water pushed the crew back into the lower deck. The captain pushed through the men gathered around the hatch and made his way out onto the main deck. The rain hit Castille’s cheeks as if they were small pebbles. When he scanned around the deck to see signs of any crew attending to the ship, he saw no one.
Being alert, he screamed at the crew to quickly angle the sails in order to get out of the storm,“¡Get your asnos out here now!”
Many of the crew made their way over to the sails and struggled to untie the knots that were attached to the iron juts. The captain made his way over the wheel but when he tried to take control, he could not steer it no matter the amount of force he applied. The rudder had been taken over. The raging waters of the storm controlled the ship now.
In the middle of the struggle, another bolt of lightning struck the mainmast of the caravel. As the bolt split down the center of the mast, the log shouted out wood splinters. The metal rims that warped around it groaned, and a loud crash boomed across the deck. Several crew members attending the ropes near the mast fell as wooden spikes shot into their bodies. Their blood seeped into the grain of the wood. One deckhand standing next to the captain had been struck by the wooden shrapnel of the blast, and a large splinter stuck out from his neck. He went over to the captain and fell to his knees. He grabbed the captain by his skirt and begged for help, but blood rapidly filled his throat. The deckhand’s plea soon was drowned out by the gurgling of his own blood. He collapsed lifeless onto the captain’s legs.
A distant wave began approaching the rocking caravel from its fore. It had the height of a mighty spruce tree, and the strength of a thousand lions. As the captain was trying to take back the wheel, he looked ahead through the intense storm and spotted the faint silhouette of the wave. He screamed, “¡Brace for impact!” But his cries were of no use, as his screams were muffled by the intense winds that traveled across the deck. The devastating wave charged into the boat heading. It roared loudly and held the boat in its grip for what the crew felt was an eternity. As the wave had traveled across the ship, it had taken in its grasp four people who were trying desperately to angle the bowsprit sail. Though they tried to grab onto any hold they could find, the wave overpowered them. Not long after they were taken, they were already drowning in the deep vast waters of the ocean.
The captain retreated back to the quarterdeck and made his way into the captain’s cabin. He quickly shut the door behind him and screamed in tearful agony. The boat rocked from side to side, and several objects in the cabin were sent flying. A cast iron frying pan fell from the wall above the door, and dealt a swift blow to the captain’s head. The captain’s sobs came to an abrupt halt, and he fell motionless on the cabin floor.