I have only posted the prologue and first two Chapters of Storms.
There are those out there that have no moral values,
and would not think twice about stealing some one elses hard work, so I give you a teaser.
I hope you enjoy my first attempt at writing a novel.
Book two of this series will not be posted, as that would kinda ruin the whole thing for you.
I do however, have another book that I am also working on;
that has been uploaded, and of course that too will only be a preview.
Thanks for stopping in.
P.S. I will be making changes to Storms, and Sorcerers Reborn as I make those revisions them.
Artamus was a tall lad at 6’ 3”. His hair and scruffy beard, like his fathers, was red. His eyes were a steel blue. He was a handsome, well-built young man at the age of 17 years old. He wasn’t graced with bulging muscles, but he was not one to be trifled with. His body was well toned from many years of practice with the sword and bow, not to mention his labors aboard ships. He wore a necklace with an amulet portraying his family crest about his neck. His family was of Noble British stock and owned a shipping company as one of their sources of income. Artamus was learning the trade and fulfilling his dream to one day Captain his own ship.
Artamus had always been fascinated with the ocean and sailing. As far back as he could remember he had a passion for the sea. Born and raised at Aberdarona right on the ocean, all his games revolved around sailing the ocean blue, as a pirate, or a dashing young Captain out to explore the world. His mother, Gwendolyn, had argued with his father Benjamin, when Artamus was 5 years old, about taking him on a voyage for a month on one of their merchant ships.
“Benjamin he is just a boy yet. Please let him grow up a little, let him have his childhood.” Gwen said.
Benjamin looked at the woman he loved and gently took her in his arms.
“Gwen, when I was his age my father took me out on one of our sailing ships. I was thrilled at the idea of taking a long voyage with my father. Oh, what a time I had. The sailors told me stories of storms, and pirates, and Father just laughed. This will not rob Artamus of his childhood my love, it will enhance his childhood. This trip will open his eyes to the wonders of the wide open seas, and teach him to respect them as well.”
Gwen agreed after a short time and Artamus was off on his first real ocean voyage. That voyage, aboard Wave Mistress, was what had made up his mind as to what his future was going to be. Of course, he was always a good lad, but he was always there to listen to the sailors, telling their stories about adventures on the open sea. Most of all he loved the wind in his face and the smell of the ocean. He spent a lot of his time up on the Forecastle with the pilot and Captain Moore.
Benjamin sat with him many times asking him questions and answering his questions as well. Artamus loved his father. He also knew he wanted to, some day; take over the shipping part of the family business. He was only five years old, but he had made up his mind, he was going to be a ships Captain one day. That wasn’t his last voyage by a long shot, but it was the one he remembered the most.
For the next 12 years, Artamus Black worked hard to achieve the only goal that mattered to him, having his own ship. That is how Artamus Black was aboard the Merchant ship Wave Mistress when the storm struck on that early evening in March of 1598.
The wind howled tossing the ship about like a cork from wave to wave. The rain was falling in torrents, hammering into the young man as he made his way toward the hatch that led below decks. Long jagged bolts of lightning flashed blue white as they struck from the sky, briefly lighting everything like it was daytime.
Thunder rolled across the heavens, echoing off the waves as Artamus fought with every ounce of strength that remained in him to reach the relative safety of the hatch that led to the quarters below. He was almost there, his head down, when a wave hit him hard taking his feet from under him. As he skidded across the deck on his belly, he grabbed a water barrel that was only a quarter full and held on for his life.
The lashing holding the barrel let go just as a hand reached for him, but the ship lurched, as another huge wave struck. Artamus was flying through the air still holding the barrel. All that he really remembers for a long time after that; is being tossed around for what seemed like an eternity, in stormy seas, lightning and thunder all around him as he held tightly to the barrel, his only hope. Most of the time he was above water but found himself struggling back to the surface and his barrel. Coughing and sputtering on the briny salt water. He slowly moved to the barrel trying not to move it further from him. Every action produces a reaction in the ocean. He must have fallen asleep soon after the storm abated because again he came up spitting out salt water and trying to retrieve his only hold on hope; the barrel. He lay there catching his breath for a long time. When he opened his eyes the sun was just coming over the horizon. He still held the barrel.
He saw something floating not far from him. It was wide and long and it was floating. Artamus slowly moved his barrel toward it trying not to upset himself again. To his surprise it was a door, more specifically a hatch door. It was thick and floated quit well. He reached out and pulled it close beside his barrel before he attempted to climb aboard. He was happy that it held his weight well and he was able to pull his barrel aboard too. There wasn’t much water left in it but maybe enough to keep him alive. The door would float a lot longer than the barrel he believed.
The sun was hot and he was soon afraid he would cook sitting unprotected like this. He discovered that what water there was left in the barrel had been tainted with the salt water from the ocean making it undrinkable. His chances of surviving just became critical. As the sun went down on what he believed was his first day afloat and probably his last day on earth, a breeze came up and he worried that another storm may be coming. The sky remained clear but it cooled off enough that he shivered as he fell asleep. It wasn’t a good sleep it was fitful and troubled mostly because he was sitting hunched over his knees.
Two days passed and his lips were chapped, his thirst was great and his hunger no better. His sleep was not better that night with thoughts of the inevitable invading his troubled dreams. Artamus opened his eyes against the suns glare trying to get his bearings; he was thirsty, hungry and sore all over. He chuckled at the site of sails heading his way. “I’m having illusions now.” He thought. “I am going to die out here Lord; anything you can do to help would be appreciated.” He laughed hysterically at his situation believing his prayer would never be answered. After a while, still laughing, he felt himself rising and figured this is the end; and Artamus Black, fatigued beyond reason, lost conciseness.
The cool cloth on his face felt good. He opened his eyes to see a wrinkled old seaman sitting beside him. “My name is Dillon. You’re going to be just fine young man. You are lucky I was able to convince Captain Antonio to let us fish you out of the brine. He isn’t a very kind man as I am sure you will sadly see in time.” Artamus spoke many languages because; in the merchant trade you dealt with people from every country. He didn’t realize it right then but Dillon was speaking Spanish or that he had replied in Spanish. “Thank you Dillon.” He wasn’t sure he liked the sound of his new home or mostly Captain Antonio. Dillon fed him a small ration of broth and water, it wasn’t much but it tasted great.
Artamus was wakened with a gentle shack to his shoulder. Dillon squatted beside him with more of the broth and hard biscuits found on every ship. When he was finished his meager meal Dillon informed him that he would be his help in the galley of the Spanish Princess. The rest of the day was spent helping to prepare the daily meals and scrubbing pots and dishes, Artamus mostly scrubbed pot and dishes.
On his third day Artamus met Captain Antonio. The Captain had no love for the galley; just what came to his plate from there. He was a short squat man dressed in bright colored cloths that were more appropriate for court than a ship. He looked down his nose at Artamus, which was hard to do for someone shorter than your-self but the Captain managed well, “So this is our fish is it Dillon. You can thank Dillon here for your rescue fish; I wasn’t interested in feeding another mouth especially not a British one."
Artamus was sure now that the Captain wasn’t going to be his favorite person aboard the Spanish Princess. He nodded his head and bowed to the Captain. “Thank you Sir.” Antonio laughed turned and left them looking at his back. “Young man, you handled that very well but watch your back Antonio does not like you!” Dillon said in a quiet voice so only Artamus could hear.
That night at supper; a group of sailors were gathered at the end of one of the tables apparently arguing over something. As Artamus walked passed them, giving them as much room as was available a fight started, and somehow, he was drawn into it. He was punched, kicked and elbowed many times before Dillon was able to break it up. The sailors just laughed and chuckled as they left the galley, leaving Artamus in a heap on the deck.
Dillon helped him to his bed roll in the corner and wiped the blood from his face. “That was intended just for you my young friend.” Dillon gently checked him over to make sure he wasn’t bleeding anywhere else and found nothing but severe bruising. “Rest for now Artamus while I clean things up, you’re in no condition to be helping me tonight.”
The next morning Artamus slowly got to his feet and went into the main part of the galley and began helping Dillon with the morning meal. Not long after one of the ships officers walked in with two of the men from last night. “Is this the one who attacked you last night?” He asked the two men pointing at Artamus. They both nodded vigorously stating that he was the one that started the fight. Bring him along and let’s see what Captain Antonio has to say about this.
Dillon argued that that wasn’t the way it had happened but he was told to mind his galley and stay out of the running of the ship. Antonio looked Artamus over, scratching his double chin with his chubby fingers. “This is not looking good for you fish, I cannot allow this to go unpunished I am afraid! Let’s see what should we do with you to teach you your lesson?” He walked around the cabin for a minute scratching his chins. “I think fifteen lashes with the Cat should do it quite nicely, about noon today so the whole crew can watch. That will show them that I don’t play favorites. Does anyone have any objections?” He asked his officers who tried hiding grins behind hands and the odd cough.
Dillon tried everything he could think of to change the Captains mind but all to no avail. Artamus was stripped to the waist, tied with his hands above his head and hoisted up so his toes barely touched the deck, to the Main mast where he was flogged in front of the entire crew. Artamus gritted his teeth at each time the cat of nine tails connected with his back. The crew hollered out the number at each swing off the cat. 15 lashes was a lot for any man, and Artamus was not in the best of shape after his three day as captain of his first ship and the beating. Artamus could barely keep his feet when he was finally cut down. He stood there eyes closed, breathing through his clenched teeth. Dillon was at his side immediately and gently took his arm. He leaned close and whispered “Try and stay on your feet lad, I know you can. Lean on me and I will get you to your bed roll.” Dillon’s soft voice and encouragement was the only reason he was able too kept his feet.
In his corner of the galley Dillon made Artamus lay on his stomach and washed his back with warm salt water before applying an ointment to his wounds. At the first touch of the cloth Artamus groaned at the sting of the salt but felt nothing more as he drifted into unconsciousness. He was left alone for two days, laying there, with Dillon his only visitor. Dillon came several times a day to feed him a broth that seemed to help him sleep and apply the ointment that soothed his damaged back. Two days was all he was allowed to heal though.
For the next three weeks, the final leg of their journey to Spain, Artamus was treated less than human bye most of the crew. If he was alone on an errand or doing a chore, he was picked on by members of the crew. Artamus didn’t like it but he knew that if he retaliated he would receive another lashing. If or when Dillon was spotted every one remembered that they had somewhere else to be on some other part of the ship.
Dillon didn’t answer he walked over to the mast and cut Artamus down. He slowly turned to the Captain and smiled. Antonio backed away obviously afraid of the old sea dog. “You ruin our sport Dillon, but for now I will let this go. I will remember this old man.” Dillon and Artamus walked away and returned to the galley. “Why did you do that Dillon, you almost ended up getting the flogging in my stead.” Dillon just smiled and continued walking.
Over the next few days Artamus was lucky to get any food or water. His wounds were healing slowly considering that they had been opened up on several occasions due to the punches he had received over the past three weeks. Artamus sat in his corner of the galley at the end of another day. He leaned against the wall, trying to keep his injured back from getting scrapped again. He was coming down with a fever and felt every bruise that much more. He finally fell asleep hunched over with his head resting on his arms. That night they put into the docks at Rota Spain to take on fresh supplies. Artamus was wakened from his sleep and overwhelmed by several seamen. They grabbed him and carried him over to the railing and heaved over the side of the ship; unfortunately for Artamus it was the pier side not the ocean side.
Artamus landed hard, knocking the wind from his lungs and causing more cuts and contusions over and above his healing gashes from the lashing and bruising from the beatings. When he was able to get to his feet his left leg gave out in a jolt of pain. He lay there till the pain subsided and felt along his leg and ankle to see if something might be broken. His ankle was twisted or sprained and regaining his feet was not working. He crawled along the pear mostly on his belly until his hand landed on a broken plank.
What luck he thought as he used it to help get his feet under himself. He tested his make shift crutch making sure it would support his weight. He hobbled around the docks for what seemed like hours before finally passing out behind some crates, thirsty, hungry and very ill. There he slept and slowly drifted into unconsciousness, his injuries, fever, lack off food and water was getting the better of him. Artamus lay there curled into a ball, partly covered by an old piece of sail cloth he had absently pulled off one of the crates.
On a ship at a pier not far from where Artamus lay slowly fading away, Ranger, Knave and Bartolommeo were going ashore for some relaxation, chatting about things that had happened on their voyage thus far. Ranger said that he was glad he wasn’t going to be the one that had to tell Lord Benjamin Black that his son had been lost at sea.
As they walked and talked, Knave slipped behind some crates to relive himself. “Hey Ranger, Bartolommeo come see this!” He shouted. They both came at a run wondering just what Knave had found. He was bent over something partly covered by a piece of canvas. It was dark and hard to see what The Knave had found. “Well looky here I have enough to buy us all drinks for the night.” He held up a chain with a medallion attached that glittered in the glow of a nearby lamp. Ranger took it from him and looked it over under the lamp.
“Oh Lord! This belongs to young Artamus Black.”
Sticking the chain and medallion into his pocket, Ranger ran back to the boy behind the crates, bent down and looked at the skinny, barely living young man lying there. He shook his head and checked to see if there was any life there and was thrilled to feel a weak pulse; he wasn’t looking at a corps.
“Give me a hand lad’s; we have to get him back to the ship. Winston will know what to do!” They didn’t argue with the first mate. Artamus was lifted gently by Bartolommeo and carried back to Wave Mistress and Winston. Winston just shook his head. “This young man I think must be charmed. Washed over board and surviving is one thing, but ending up here at the same time as we too are here because we were blown so far off course and ran out of water. Well it’s only another three days to Burry Port now. How he got himself beat up like this I don’t know, but let me see what I can do for him. Leave me now, except you Ranger, you can help me clean and bandage our young waif.”
Artamus was on the ocean in a terrible storm holding onto a barrel. He could see land a long way off reflected with every bolt of lightning and swam with his barrel toward it. He wasn’t making any headway as far as he could see. It seemed that the harder he tried the further he was getting away from where he wanted to be. He swam on endlessly and was tiring but he knew some were deep inside he couldn’t stop, he had to keep going. Something was pursuing him; he could feel its presents behind him.
Artamus looked back but could see nothing. He swam on finding the strength from someplace inside. The storm was abating and he saw that the shoreline was not that far away now. He increased his efforts, determined to reach his goal, to make land and be rid of whatever followed.
As Artamus fought his battle; Captain Moore aboard Wave Mistress was preparing to dock at Burry Port. He knew that Lord Burry had the people to help young Artamus. After Wave Mistress had docked at Burry Port, Artamus was taken by wagon to castle Burry where he was attended to by the castle doctors and staff.
Artamus continued with his battle to reach the shoreline and the safety he felt he would find there. He was sure he saw an angel above him at one point and vaguely remembered drinking warm nectar. He looked ahead and saw that the shoreline was only another 50 yards. He doubled his efforts and soon he was able to stand and walk, as tired as he was he kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Three days passed and Artamus slowly fluttered his eyes open for a short time, remembered later drinking something sweet and then slept for another day. When he finally woke, Artamus found himself in a large bed with his chest and back bandaged from neck to waist. A woman sat beside him on a chair and jumped up on his waking. “Doctor, Doctor, come quickly he is awake!”
The door opened and a thin, balding man entered with two more women. “Thank you Meeghan. So your back with the living are you!” He chuckled as he checked Artamus over. “Your leg is looking good, healing well I would say. ”He smiled and said in a cheerful voice. “Well young man you certainly made us work for our supper I’ll say. Your wounds were badly infected and we feared you would not make it. Roll over now and let me check your back!”
Artamus rolled over with the help of the ladies and the Doctor removed the bandages. “These will heal now that the worst is over young Artamus.” He turned to one of the women and asked her to apply more of the salve and re-bandage the wounds. The Doctor left happy that things were going better than he had hoped. After Artamus was wrapped in fresh bandages and rolled over again he found he was very comfortable in the large bed he had been given despite his aches and pains. Everyone had left except for a nurse that kept close watch on him. The door opened and Lord Burry entered with the most beautiful woman Artamus had ever laid eyes on. He was staring at her; totally captivated by her beauty.
“Well, well you look a site Mr. Artamus Black. I know your family well. Your father and I have had an adventure or two in our younger days. I am hearing bits and pieces of your adventure, but I would like to hear it straight from you. By the way this is my daughter Anwen, and she would like to hear your story too.” She was openly looking at Artamus and blushed a bit at her fathers’ words. He tried pushing himself up to a more comfortable position but wasn’t doing well at it. The nurse and Anwen came over and helped him, inquiring if he was comfortable. He said he was and began telling of his adventure, from the time he was thrown overboard to his ruff exit from the Spanish Galleon.
Lord Burry considered the tale then looking up at Artamus said, “Captain Moore from Wave Mistress sent some of his men looking for any ship that had rescued a man at sea, but nobody seemed to know anything. It seems your Spanish ship had already left the port at Rota. I would guess they wanted to get their treasure home to the King.”
Lord Burry shook his head before continued. “The Spanish and the British have never been; well let’s say friendly. Oh, we trade with each other and the likes but there has always been hostility between us. Something like this could explode into all-out war between Spain and England.” He studied Artamus to see if there was any reaction to his musings.
Artamus consider Lord Burry’s words carefully. “Sir I believe the ship’s captain, Antonio, was such a one that doesn’t like the British and that this was his way of putting a thorn in our side or getting his revenge for some slight. I will heal; and in time, I will be looking for this ship and its captain. This is my problem Sir. I will get my satisfaction, in time, but it will be my way not England’s. I do not wish to start a war over something that is my business alone.” He looked himself over and laughed, he was a site all right, but he would heal.
“I believe you’re on the right track young man. Well I have other things that require my attention; I will stop in and check on you later. Anwen, are you coming or are you going to talk this young man’s ear off.” Lord Burry was smiling at his daughter as he turned and left the room chuckling all the way. Artamus looked at Anwen, her long reddish blonde hair, her oval face with those beautiful eyes that drew you to her. She wasn’t any more than 5’ 5” tall and from her arms and face he assumed she didn’t weigh more than 80 lb’s. They sat and talked for an hour before the nurse told her it was time for Artamus to rest. She left but it was clear that neither she nor he was happy about it.
Over the next week, Artamus healed faster than the doctor figured he would. He had also found a good friend in Anwen Burry. She came to visit him daily and they grew closer with every day. When he was able, they walked the gardens together often and talked about many things. Anwen talked about what she would like to do with her life. She told him how, she too, was learning the trade, and was interested in some day being Captain of her own ship. Anwen had designs for her ship and she called it Dragons Breath. Artamus was impressed with her drawings. She certainly had a good overall design.
Anwen asked him how he would seek his revenge from the Spanish captain that had treated him so wrongly. Artamus thought about that for a day or two before he spoke. “I like the design for the ship you intend on building Anwen and would like to use your general print to build a ship of my own. I think maybe I will become a pirate and see how many Spanish ships I can lighten of their loads from the new world. I am sure to run into Captain Antonio and his crew eventually. Dillon was the only one aboard that ship that treated me kindly in any aspect.”
They began spending more time together as the days passed. Anwen challenged him to a sparring match with practice swords, as Artamus grew stronger. She said it would help him regain his strength. He didn’t think that was a good idea but liked her so much by now that he didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Artamus suggested a match with the long bow at fifty yards. Anwen was quick to agree but wasn’t going to let the sparring go either. When they arrived at the practice field later that morning a grizzled old fellow watched them approach.
“Good morning Lady Anwen, have you come to beat my men up again today or will you let some of them walk off the field?” Anwen did not blush; she looked him square in the eye and asked him for two bows and arrows. “Jayden I also need a target placed at 50 yards for a little challenge I have with Lord Black here. He is healed well enough to use a bow and then maybe I will spar with him to see how well trained he is. I promise I will be gentle with him Jayden!” Artamus chocked and sputtered but said nothing.
Jayden laughed and hollered for some of his men to bring the best bows and arrows and to set up a target at 50 yards. Anwen was dressed in trousers and tight fitting top, comfortable attire for this kind of activity. Artamus was dressed much the same. It was obvious that Anwen had a very good idea how to dress for battle. He wondered if she was as good as Jayden touted.
The competition began with Anwen placing her first arrow just inside the bulls’ eye. Artamus swallowed hard as he prepared to shoot. Dam she is good! He calmed himself and released the bowstring. His arrow was quivering just above Anwen’s’. After three arrows, each Jayden called it in favor of Artamus. “I am impressed My Lord. Lady Anwen is probably one of the best archers I have seen in a very long time; mind you my men are very good but no match for my Lady.” He looked at them both in turn and asked with a raised eye brow. “Are we ready to try the swords now?”
Artamus gulped audibly while Anwen smiled and told Jayden to set things up for some friendly sparring. For a woman to be able to shoot as well as Anwen did she needed to be a lot stronger than she looked. Artamus was a little apprehensive about fighting with a woman, he was always taut women were fragile. He was about to have his first lesson in the difference between fragile and a powerful tiger stalking it’s pray.
“Would you like some protection My Lord; your just healed and I would hate to cause you any more injuries so soon after your ordeal.” Artamus bowed to the Lady Anwen. “My Lady; I have been taught that one must suffer his lumps if he is to learn his craft well. If the Lady wears no protection then neither will I!” Jayden chuckled and led them onto the practice field. “My Lady, My lord, there are no rules here, may the best swords person win.” He bowed to both in turn and chucked as he left them facing each other.
Anwen was very agile as she moved about looking for a chance to attack. Artamus, after a couple of minuet’s, figured this had gone on long enough and lunged at her. That was his first mistake. Anwen easily swatted his sword to the left with her own and gave him a welt on the arm he threw out to guard himself from her sword. The battle had begun.
Artamus soon found out that just because he was fighting with a woman his task was far from easy. Anwen was very good and he had several new welts and bruises. Mind you, Anwen had a few as well. Artamus flinched the first time he actually connected and paid for that, so he treated her as another man from that point on. She certainly was not giving any ground on his part.
This went on for a good half hour and both of them were tiring. That is when Jayden stepped in and declared Anwen the winner as Artamus had a few more welts and bruises than Anwen did. They were both breathing hard as they lowered their wooden swords. Artamus bowed and thanked Anwen for the lesson. “You are very good My Lord. We will have to do this again, and soon.” She said. One of Jayden’s men offered them towels to dry some of the sweat off and another offered them cool water.
As they walked back to the castle they found that their bond was growing even after beating each other up with wooden swords. Anwen stopped and turned to Artamus. “Sir I believe you owe me a kiss as the winner.” Artamus was taken aback at her request. It’s not that he hadn’t kissed a girl before or that he really did want to kiss her. The way he felt about her made him hesitate.
“Are you say My Lord?” He looked at this stunning woman, and decided that she was special to him and without further hesitation wrapped his arms around her and kissed her soundly on the mouth. When they parted Anwen swallowed hard and looked at him. “Well now that was much more than I expected My Lord.” He took her hand and began walking again.
“I believe I am in love with you My Lady Anwen, and truly hope you feel the same toward me! I will be leaving soon to return home and finish my training. I will come back as soon as I can and make you my wife. From there we came begin to realize our dreams together.” Anwen held his hand tightly; the warmth that filled her at his touch was making her giddy. In a very quiet voice she replied. “Artamus Black I will accept your offer. I believe my feelings for you are the same.” They continued on in silence, neither wanting to upset the harmony they both felt. Anwen and Artamus were almost inseparable from that day forth. They went to the practice field often after that day and soon the young man’s strength returned.