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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Tales from Virdura: The Captain's Heir

“Where is Clyde?” asked Sheriff Camden Maynard, over Helena's screams, which were emanating from the adjoining room. “He should be here for the birth of his child.”

“Still on the lake,” replied Davina. “The Sail's not back yet.”

“Damn and blast!” said the Sheriff. “They should have been back an hour ago. In the name of princess Tricia, he's going to miss it!”

Abruptly, the woman's screaming stopped. Davina and Sheriff Maynard looked at each other in silence, with expressions of horror on their faces. Moments later, a new scream erupted. It was not the scream of a woman, however, but that of a baby.

The door to the room was thrown open, and the midwife stormed out. “Where is that fool, Clyde?” she asked. “He's just missed the most important moment in his entire life, I'll wager: the birth of his son!”

Just then, Clyde came bursting through the door, huffing and puffing. “Sheriff Maynard,” he spluttered, “You need to come quickly. And bring as many men as you can. We've just caught the biggest fish I've ever seen.”

Knowing Clyde's propensity for tall tales, the Sheriff waved him away with a chuckle. “Clyde, I'm sure that whatever you and your crew have can wait. You need to go and see your wife, and your new son.”

“What?” said Clyde, and took a step backwards. Then he composed himself, and went on. “Well, yes, that's wonderful. I'm sure she's beautiful... I'm sure he's beautiful. But Sheriff, if you don't come quickly, this monster's going to sink the ship!”

Sheriff Maynard sighed, and followed Clyde out the door.

***

Maynard whistled when he saw the fish, resting on the deck of The Carrington Sail, the village's only fishing boat. The fish was as long as nearly five people, lying head to toe. And Clyde hadn't been exaggerating about the weight, either; the water level was right up the side of the boat, and some of it was even seeping onto the deck. The ship was indeed slowly sinking.

“Do you believe me now?” asked Clyde. “If we can get that thing to shore, it will feed the entire village for a year. If we don't, then it might be the last fish we ever catch.”

Maynard screamed for as many people as possible to get onto the boat, and help to get the fish, but it quickly became apparent that they weren't going to bring it ashore in one piece. He gave the order for the men to start hacking away at it, with knives, swords, saws, and whatever other implements were at hand. After nearly an hour of work, over twenty people had finally carried the last of the fish onto the shore.

“And now,” said the Sheriff to Clyde, as they were admiring their handiwork, “you have another matter to attend to.”

***

When Clyde and the Sheriff arrived back at Clyde's home, Davina was still standing in the living area, waiting for them. She gave Clyde a reproachful look.

“Your wife is inside, with the midwife, and your child,” she said. “She almost died giving birth to your son, and she's not happy with you for not being there to support her. Best you go in, now.”

Clyde's excitement and smile disappeared as the gravity of what Davina was saying sunk in. He could have lost his wife, that day. Without another word, he opened the door and walked in.

***

Clyde walked into the room, prepared for a tongue-lashing from his wife. “My love,” he said, “we almost lost The Sail tod-”

He was cut short when she looked up at him, beaming from ear to ear. In her arms, she was holding the most beautiful baby boy that he had ever seen.

Upon seeing that face, and the baby boy in his wife's arms, he immediately rushed to her side and clasped her hand in his.

“Oh, my dear!” he exclaimed. “You're beautiful. He's beautiful. We saved The Sail today, as I said, and one day, that boat will be his. My dear, sweet, beautiful Albert. What do you think of that?”

Image: http://campadmin.itamtam.co.kr/web/uploads/camp/pic_src/201410/baby-20939_640.jpg

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