Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Buccaneers of the Time Winds

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Buccaneers of the Time Winds

    Chapter's One and Two up!
    Last edited by manmiles; 08-02-2011, 07:12 AM.

  • #2
    Buccaneers of the Time Winds

    by Miles Reid-Lobatto

    Chapter One- The Rescue




    Jack Twilight sat on the remains of the raft and waited to die. The sun had set long ago and the normally fresh and bracing carribbean weather had become cold and uninviting. The last of the few ship's biscuits he had managed to salvage had been eaten that night and he had drunk the last of the meagre water supplies two days before. As he looked up at the stars, Jack thought with a wry grin that he was finally Captain of the ship. The ship he had crewed, 'the Black Blade' had been sunk to the very bottom of the ocean, along with all of it's crew by the skilled guns of the British Navy. Through sheer process of elimination, Jack had promoted from a mere pirate to a captain. A rather pathetic Captain of an even more pathetic craft, a few planks of wood, shoddily tied together with sodden rope he had pulled off the remains of the rigging. He had been out on the seas a week, a prisoner of the capricious seas, with no sail to catch the wind and with no equipment to plot some kind of course, his fate was assured. It was only as a thick mist began to surround him, appearing as if from no-where, that Jack Twilight knew that the only escape available to him now, was death.


    Jack's hands clasped around the cutlass. It was the only weapon he had, sometimes, there were sharks in the waters. If he had found a pistol and had been lucky enough to have found dry gunpowder, he would have ended it days ago and taken his chances in hell. Cutting his own throat did not approach him as the best way to go. But as the days wore on, ending it all, in one way or another would became all the more appealing.
    'Better that than throwing myself into the sea to drown...' he rasped, throat burning from lack of water. He tried to lift the cutlass, to impale himself on it, but he found in that last moment, that his strength had failed him. The cutlass remained where it was on the raft, his fingers still wrapped around it tightly. A terrible cry escaped Jack's lips and if he could, he could have screamed up at the skies, screamed at the God who had so cruelly trapped him in this place with no hope of salvation.


    It was then, at the very peak of his despair of his salvation, that he saw the red star. Even in the thick mists, the star shone as bright as the sun in the summer sky.
    'How beautiful an omen...' coughed Jack Twilight. 'If the red star fades... I am truly a dead man...' His strength was all but gone, and as he looked up at the star, he did not even have the small amount of energy needed to blink. Off to his side, he was vaguely aware of a shape cutting through the mists, a black shadow.


    A black ship.


    Jack did not have the strength to cry for help. He looked over at the ship, the only salvation he may ever have sail calmly past him as if he did not exist. He tried to force life into his dying bones, but there was nothing to draw on. All he could manage was a weak, pathetic mewl of a cry for help and to watch helplessly as the mists swallowed up the ship. As all hope of salvation was now gone, Jack's eyes once found itself looking back up at the red star.
    'A dark, bitter omen then...' spat Jack hoarsly. 'I hope the Gods... I hope my cruel fate amuses you...' It was then that oblivioun overwhelmed his senses and he welcomed it like never before.




    'Are you sure he's alive?'
    The voice, gruff and masculine awoke Jack with a start. He found himself looking up into the faces of rough looking men, all beards and scars.
    'His eyes are open, that's a good sign,' grunted one.
    'That's nothing,' said a third. 'Do you remember that ship of zombies we ran into three weeks ago? He looks just like those poor souls... we might need to lop off his head.'
    Jack coughed and writhed with what strength he had, his eyes darting about to take in his new and terrifying situation. He was on the deck of a boat, a great big ship if the mast and sails were anything to go by. A new figure pushed past the men crowding over him, a small clay bowl in his hands.
    'You fools quite clearly don't realise. This man's half-dead from starvation and dehydration.' The new figure, a spindly, gangly form of a man clucked the burly, bearded scoundrels off with a wave of his free hand and kneeled to Jack's side, putting the clay bowl to his lips. Water splashed from the bowl and landed on Jack's lips, trickling into his mouth. It hit him like a lightening bolt, with energy he had not felt in days, Jack's hand shot up, grabbed the bowl and he began to drink.
    'Easy now,' said the spindly man. 'You need to drink this slowly.' Jack seemed to ignore what the man was saying, gulping down the water even though it still hurt to swallow. Soon, his great thirst parched, Jack let his head fall against the deck.
    'Wh... what happened?' he gasped.
    'We found you drifting,' said one of the men, idly playing with his beard. 'You should thank the Gods. There was a break in the mists. We would have sailed straight past you otherwise...'
    Jack coughed. 'I'm grateful that you did. After your fellow sailed past me...'

    There was an uncomfortable silence as the men looked at each other.
    'Our... fellow?' said the spindly man.
    'Yes. I mean... you must be part of some convoy fleet, lost in the mists...' Jack's words died as the men seemed to share a single, knowing look. One of the sailors stepped forward.
    'This ship... was it a great black ship?'
    Jack nodded. The sailors looked at each other, some of them grinned, one or two even crossed themselves.
    'He's seen the ship,' said the spindly man. 'The Insect will want to know of this.'
    'Well get him up then!' said the bearded man. 'We'll carry him to the Count if we have to!'
    'The Count?' asked Jack. 'Is he your Captain?' The men crowded around him, their hands pulling roughly at his clothes and with surprising gentleness, Jack was pulled to his feet and slowly half-dragged, half-carried across the ship.
    'He's our Captain.' The spindly man trailing behind. 'You... will have to prepare yourself. He does not look any man you've ever seen before.'
    'What do you mean?' spluttered Jack cautiouslly.


    The Captain's cabin was situated at the very back of the ship. The spindly man, identified by some of the men as the ship's doctor, Doctor Buckles leaned forward and rapped at the door with a gnarled hand. There was a brief pause.
    'Who is it?'
    The voice was high-pitched, almost femine, but with a strange buzz-like sound to the words.
    'Pardon us, Count,' said Buckles. 'The man we picked up from. The castaway...'
    'Yes, yes. I know who.' The Count's voice (if that indeed were the Count) was irritabled. 'Give him some food, fresh clothes and put him to work. I'm busy with my art!'
    'He's seen the ship, Sir. The Black Ship. He said it passed right back him in the mists.'
    There was another pause.
    'Send him in.'
    The bearded man pulled a small, metal flask from under his fur jerkin and passed it to Jack.
    'It's whiskey... you'll need it after you see him.'
    Jack took the flask cautiouslly as Buckles opened the door. The men slowly pulled Jack Twilight inside the Count's quarters.


    All in all, it was not what Jack was expecting. He had seen many Captain's quarters, but none ever like this. The entire room was filled with art works. Some of which, even Jack knew. In the middle of the room was a board and easel, a collection of dirty paintbrushes next to it. To the side of the cabin was a fabulous chaise longue, but it was reclined in the longue that truly surprised Jack.


    He was dressed, for all intents and purposes like a dandy at a dinner party instead of a Captain of such rough men as the ones who even now, held Jack tightly upright. He lay on the chair, one leg dangling over the side almost languidly. He appeared to be a perfect specimen of humanity, his body and his limbs almost Adonis-like in artistic perfection. But it was his head that Jack could not help staring at. It was the head of an insect. Red, multi-faceted eyes twinkled at him like the numerous surfaces of a diamond. Mandibles clicked and drooled as the horrific looking, yet spectacuarly dressed individual stared at Jack Twilight. Another most surprising thing was that all the men with Jack where looking at the half-insect, half-man figure as it it were perfectly normal.
    'My dear chap!' the figure jumped from the chair. Mandibles clicking in time to his words, the high-pitched, aristocratic voice had come from that horrific, insect face. 'I am Count Inzekt, Captain of the Buccaneers of the Time Winds and your most humble fellow.' He reached out a gloved, perfumed hand. 'We must talk. For if you have seen the Ship that Sails between the Worlds, then I am in your eternal debt.'
    Jack merely boggled at the sight before him and reached for the flask of whiskey.

    Comment


    • #3
      Chapter Two- The Count makes an Offer


      If Count Inzekt had even noticed, or had indeed taken offence to Jack Twilight's reaction, he never showed it. Instead, he merely offered Jack a chair to sit on. Jack found himself sitting on the chair incredibly dumbfounded, but now feeling a little bit more comfortable as the foppishly dressed monstrosity paced up and down before him.
      'Leave us,' buzzed Inzekt, waving a languid hand at the crew who were peering in through the single door. 'I wish to speak alone to our new friend here.'
      Doctor Buckles was the first to leap into immediate action. 'Come on you dogs!' he growled, batting the sailors away with his arms. 'Our Lord wants privacy, we give 'im privacy!' There were cries of annoyance among some of the crew, but in a few minutes, the door was shut and the cabin was empty except for one Insect-heading man of aristocratic bearing and one exceptionally out of his depth sailor.

      'You will have questions,' said Inzekt, his arms folded behind his back. 'It is quite understandable, my dear, dear chap.' He looked down at Jack. 'I believe your first thought is probably... 'Bloody hell, what's wrong with his head!'' His mandible clicked soundlessly for a few moments as multi-faceted eyes, each one catching the light and sparkling like a perfect diamond. 'Am I correct?' Jack nodded dumbfoundedly at the Count, the Count threw back his head and laughed.
      'Indeed, you are a long way from your home realm, aren't you? To answer your first question. There is nothing wrong with my head, at least, to me, there is nothing wrong with my head as there is nothing wrong with yours. I am... I believe the proper translation would be 'Insectreen.' In my home realm of the Multiverse, the people of Earth... well, what would be considered Earth to them... have pseudo-insect features, do you have the Theory of Evolution where you come from?'
      'Err... no... I don't think so.'
      'Oh my, you are from the temporal backwaters. Very well, in your world, man evolved from Apes. In mine... man evolved from Insects.' Jack mulled these words over in his mind, evolution sounded more like a complaint suffered by sailors but what could he really understand any more?
      'I... I see...' he replied, more out of a desire not to offend the man through ignorance than anything else. Count Inzekt's head drooped sadly. 'Oh dear,' he said mournfully. 'I get the impression that I'm going to have to explain everything. What a bother.'
      'I'm sorry,' said Jack, again more out of a desire not to displease his host than actual forgiveness.
      'Don't be, my dear fellow!' said Inzekt. 'We cannot be responsible for our home realm's intellect or cultural and scientific progress now, can we? First, I think you'd rather now the fundamentals, where are we and what can we do about it.'
      'It's a sea,' said Jack. 'As far as I can tell... the Indian ocean.'
      'Not any more... somehow, you fell through a wound in time. These oceans on which we sail are not real oceans, they are merely what our mind comprehends as oceans. We are on the Time Winds, the oceans of the cosmos on which the entire Multiverse hangs. We... are outside conventional time and space, with no hope of escape or return. An endless ocean... we try and make some life for ourselves, there are those who travel the seas like us, searching for an escape. There are those who have made lives and communities, making the best of what they do. Then... there is the Black Ship. The Ship you saw...'
      'What is the Black Ship?' asked Jack. 'The way your crew reacted...'


      Count Inzekt rubbed his proboscis the same way Jack had seem bearded men rub and scratch their beards.
      'The Black Ship, is one of two ships that can escape the Time Winds under its own power. The other, a Golden Barge. We don't know how, or why, but these two ships have some power that allows them to leave enter the different realms of the Multiverse. With this ship, we could escape, all of us to return to our home realms.'
      'Then why can't we?' asked Jack. 'Surely this Black Ship.'
      'The Black Ship appears to only a select few. It's Captain does not offer the ship's services lightly. Even to see the Ship like you did, it marks you as a rare and special man.'
      'I'm nobody special,' said Jack, finding such a compliment strange, coming from such a strange being.
      'We're all special... but you... you may be the key to our freedom. So, I have an offer for you!' Count Inzekt stepped backwards and gestured to Jack with his unnervingly human hands. 'Join my crew and help me obtain the Black Ship, you will get food, water and riches beyond your wildest dreams! Together, we can all escape this endless abyss. What do you say?'


      Jack Twilight sat back, looking up at the freakish Count. What could he say? Count Inzekt seemed pleasant enough, but with a ship like this, the man in charge would have to be just as much feared as he would be respected. For all his eccentricities, Jack did not trust the Count one bit, but he really seemed to have no choice in the matter. If he declined the offer of patronage, he could find himself back out alone on the seas, left to die. Jack Twilight took a deep breath and got to his feet.
      'Very well... Captain,' he said slowly, holding out a hand. 'I will join your crew and help you find the Black Ship.' Count Inzekt clapped his hands together happily and then grabbed Jack's hand with his own. 'Wonderful! You shall not regret this, my dear, dear friend!' A finely dressed shoulder was flung around Jack's own and he found himself being escorted to the door out of the cabin. The door clicked open without anyone touching it and the eager faces of the Crew stared intensely at Jack Twilight and their Captain.


      'My friends!' cried Count Inzekt. 'Jack Twilight has joined our crew and even more... he will help us locate the Black Ship and when we do... when we do... We will be free!' At this, the crew cheered with such vigour and passion that even Jack felt like cheering himself. These men, who knew how long they had been trapped here, away from their homes and families? Even if he distrusted Inzekt, Jack knew that he could not punish these men because of it. It was then that Jack Twilight's heart was set true. He would find the Black Ship and he would return home and all these souls would be returned to their homes too. It was the right thing to do.

      Comment

      Working...
      X