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Yule Mathoms 2005 Collected

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December 8 - 17 cunning corsairs: 3. Tale of the Cunning Corsairs - by Raksha

The Tale of the Cunning Corsairs

Seventeen bold Corsairs whiled away the hours, awaiting the signal to disembark from Pelargir and open black sails on  the Anduin, gateway to the  rich City we came to plunder:  from Sarkanga, the old man of the ship, to  little Azraf, the cabin boy and the mighty Berkim, who drummed the slaves'  oars.  And I, Nallo of Umbar, quartermaster.  We had such hopes, such  dreams of roaring into that white stronghold of  our ancient enemy, of  seizing gold and pale-skinned maids for pleasure and profit.  And to see  the haughty, elf-blooded Gondorim humbled was a dream burned into the hearts of  our fathers and their fathers' fathers before them as long as the Corsairs had  counted the years.

Then a mist came up.  No true mist, for it was in truth a great and  terrible wind of ghosts, ghosts who flew up onto all the ships of our proud  fleet.  There were screams, and the sounds of our mates' scimitars and  knifes, striking at nothing.  And our crewmates fell, gibbering in horror  and dying on the deck, or leaping overboard.  The things in the mist; they  grinned as they bore down on us.  I thought I saw a few living men striking  out from among that ghostly horde, if they were in truth men - one was very  tall, with a grey cloak, a white face, and eyes that burned silver in the  moonlight.  Ai, we could not stand against them!

Seventeen Corsairs choked back our terror and decided to live.   Cunning rather than courage ruled our hearts.  We dove over the side, and  swam for shore, then ran for our lives, cold, wet, desperate to be away...

We made it to Pelargir, where, hungry and miserable, we surrendered to the  townsmen.  They needed extra hands to rebuild; and, because we had  surrendered, they let us live in servitude, until, a year later, they released  us.

I never returned home to Umbar.  I work in a dockside tavern, and hope  to wed the Tavernier's daughter - she will have me, but her father is less certain. Sarkanga works for a sail-maker down the street.  Little  Azraf was adopted by a family who had lost their sons.  Berkim was hung  after he knifed a merchant.  The other thirteen Corsairs who fled with us  during the Night of Ghosts are scattered throughout Pelargir; living well for  the most part.  

Sometimes I miss the old life; the time when we Corsairs were feared from  Harandor to Andrast; and I answered to my captain instead of a fat Gondorian  innkeep.  But whenever I turn to the sea, I hear the shivering wind and my  skin crawls, my heart quails.  I can't forget the sight of it, the awful  sight, of the dead things, borne on that wind to kill the living.  I don't  know if my father, dead since I was a lad, would curse me for cowardice, or  laugh at my cunning.  I just know that I'm still alive, and glad of  it.

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In Playlists

Playlist Overview

Last Update: 29 Dec 05
Stories: 24
Type: Workshop/Group List
Created By: Yule Mathoms Challenge 2005

Thanks to Juno-Magic and Aranel Took, HASA members were presented with 24 cues to use to create presents of stories, drabbles, and poems for the Yule season in 2005. Many members contributed many wonderful "mathoms" for you to enjoy. Find them all collected here.

Why This Story?

The eighth set of mathoms


Story Information

Author: HASA Workshop

Status: General

Completion: Ongoing Serial

Era: Multi-Age

Genre: Other

Rating: General

Last Updated: 01/10/06

Original Post: 12/03/05

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