Sunday, June 14, 2015

Quest for the Wave Sweeper

Santiago López
May 30, 2015
The Quest for the Wave Sweeper
Creative Writing Draft

     On the docks, Sebastian J. Isaac, a sixteen-year-old swashbuckler, crouched inside a barrel of sardines. It was a foggy September morning in Cadiz Spain during the year 1632.  Sailors working outside hauled heavy loads of cargo down to the docks on horse-drawn wagons. Villagers dressed in collars, corsets and buckled leather shoes walked down the cobblestone roads. Even from inside his cramped barrel, Sebastian could hear the sound of music and drunk sailors in a nearby tavern called The Kraken’s Cavern.
     Now that the weather had turned cloudy, sailors began to freeze as they hauled the cargo onto the ships. Sebastian found out conditions were even worse inside the barrel. At the age of sixteen, puberty had expanded his body size, and now he was close to six feet tall and could not fit in the small barrel comfortably. To make matters worse, the sardines were extremely wet and slimy, and he felt as if he was taking a bath in a lake full of snails.
     All of a sudden, he felt himself being lifted and placed on a bale of hay. Peaking through a hole in the barrel, he saw that he actually was on a straw pile inside a wagon being drawn by a gray donkey with ruffled fur, chewing on a carrot. The wagon was heading towards a rickety old raft.  Sebastian was more than adventurous and wanted to stowaway aboard a sailing ship headed for a destination he hoped could save his village, Montoro. Soon the wagon came to a stop beside a raft of supplies. Reaching for the long, golden sword in his scabbard, Sebastian cleared away a wad of sardines and pushed open the loose bottom of the barrel. He crawled out, covered in sardines. Brushing them off lightly with his sword before placing his weapon back into his scabbard, a smell of the salty fish brought a sudden twinge of thirst in the pit of his throat. He walked into the Kraken’s Cavern for a bottle of rum, a mug of ale or a glass of cider. Quickly, he arrived at the bar.
     The bartender, was a bald, muscular man wearing an apron smothered in candle wax and ashes. Across his face was a long jagged scar and a patch over his eye, which made him look like a pirate. He had a peg leg that made him hobble, and the hook in place of his left hand gave him a menacing look. In his mouth, he held a tobacco pipe, and he blew a buff of smoke in Sebastian's face. He had a long red beard that draped down in braids, reaching his belly. His skinny, three-inch mustache curled up at both ends. As he held out a hand to greet Sebastian, the young swashbuckler noticed a tattoo of a sun with rays made of octopus tentacles and the face of skull with ruby eyes. It had an anchor for a nose and a mouth breathing fire with leeches poring out of sharp sword blades that resembled teeth. Wrapped around the skull-faced sun was a leech like sea monster with tentacles rising out of the waves.
     “What can I help you with, mucker?” the bartender asked him in an Irish accent before bursting into an extremely loud cough. “Mucker” is an Irish word for “mate”, which made Sebastian grin shyly. He looked around at the gambling men, drinking, smoking and laughing loudly. On the stage, drunk sailors played a Spanish tune on a guitar, a concertina and piano. Many men were slouching, fighting or throwing bottles. He gulped, wondering if he would be thrown out because of his age. But the bartender was too welcoming to throw any stranger out.
     “Well, I was wondering,” Sebastian stuttered while removing his hat to reveal masses of blond neatly groomed hair, “if I could have, uh, a glass of dark ale with extra froth on top.” 
     “Very well, mucker!” replied the bartender with a smile of friendliness, “Dark ale it is, then!” When Sebastian saw the sailor next to him drinking ale with shark fin, he thought it looked rather disgusting and was glad he hadn’t ordered that. Within a moment, his drink was prepared. Sebastian, took a sip of the ale and felt the fizzy froth bubble down his throat giving an enormous sigh of satisfaction. 
     “Thank you!” he told the bartender, who answered back, “Your welcome, mucker!”
      Suddenly, an enormous javelin crashed through the window and landed directly in the center of the dartboard that hung on the wall near the bar. The music stopped, the men gasped, and the pianist, who had seven drinks, passed out face down on the piano keys. Soon, the entire tavern grew silent. 
     From outside, a great explosion sounded! It shook the whole inn and the lights flickered out. Sebastian drew his sword and ran outside to see what the trouble was. The bartender and several patrons who were still conscious followed him. Before long, they discovered black smoke rising from the docks. Then they saw what the trouble was. The hay wagons hauling cargo and fishing raft had caught fire. Horses, cows, mules, donkeys, goats and even bulls were dashing across town in all directions. Even the fishermen abandoned their burning raft full of supplies and dived into the water. Several of the barrels and crates nearby were also blazing away. 
     All of a sudden, behind them, a second explosion sounded! It seemed to be coming from the old boathouse. And sure enough, it was. Within the debris of burning planks, a tall, black, form stepped out of the inferno. The silhouette was of a man with tentacle legs and arms. Through the smoke his blood-red eyes pierced the air. A plague of leeches poured out of his mouth that scattered the screaming villagers. Teeth as sharp as swords glistened in the mist and smoke rose from his anchor shaped nose. The phantom looked strangely familiar. In one, tentacle hand, he held a pistol and blew the smoke away. Then, in a flash, he sucked all the leeches back into his fiery mouth, and vanished like a dream into a blaze of sunlight. The fog and smoke cleared.
     “What a demon!” cried one of the sailors. He lifted his spyglass towards his eye to get a better view at the sun, but the phantom was nowhere in sight.
     “I know the legend of that devil all right!” said the bartender, who lifted his sleeve to show them his tattoo. 
     “Ooh!” everyone said, except for Sebastian who had noticed the resemblance. 
     He drew his sword back into his scabbard, and headed out searching for a place to sleep a few hours before attempting to stow away. Then he realized that in the commotion he had forgotten his hat, so he rushed back to the bar. As he picked it up and was about to throw down a few coins, the bartender grabbed him, delighted to see him again. “Fantastic mucker!” the bartender said, “sit down and tell me a bit about yourself”. With a big smile on his face, he moved closer to Sebastian, lifted him up and gave him an enormous hug. Sebastian felt uncomfortable to be hugged by someone he did not know well. Besides that, the hook poked him hard, though he did not get wounded by it. 
   “All right! Put me down please!” he begged. “One last one!” said the bartender, and gave him the tightest squeeze Sebastian had ever felt. He moved away from the pointy hook and out of the bartender’s arms.
     “I actually better be on my way!” Sebastian replied. 
     “Absolutely not! After all, we haven’t introduced ourselves.” the bartender proclaimed. “My name is Sir Arthur Hilch the Third! Named after me father and his father before him!” The man bellowed. 
    “Hi!” Sebastian said a bit shakily, “My name is . . . Uh . . . Sebastian, Mr. Hilch.” 
    “Pleased to meet you Sebastian!” said the bartender, enthusiastically, and gave him a firm handshake. Sebastian was glad that he had not shook hands with Arthur’s pointy hook. “Why don’t you join me!” Arthur suggested, “We’ll catch that lunatic once and for all!”
    “What lunatic?” Sebastian asked. 
    “This lad painted on me arm right here!” said Arthur, pointing to his tattoo. 
    “Oh!” said Sebastian understanding, “You mean that phantom?” 
    “Exactly!” said Arthur.
    Sebastian’s heart began leaping up because he remembered a legend he once heard and knew he had to search out the phantom to save his once beautiful village. ''You see," he told Arthur, “I come from Montoro but for many years, a curse has held our town in deaths grip. The river that gives life to us has been drying up and all the fish that fed us for generations have disappeared. Then a passing stranger told me the legend of the Wave Sweeper, a magical object that had the power to return water to our river. That’s when I ventured here Arthur. We are desperate and I’m absolutely ready for an adventure!” he said cheerfully. 
    “Watch your step, mucker!” Arthur replied, shaking his head in concern. 
   “Please!” Sebastian begged, “Call me Sebastian,” he said with hopeful eyes. “Something tells me we were destined to meet and it could be this legend is true”.
    “Very well, Sebastian!” Arthur said back, "Yes the legend of the Wave Sweeper is real. It lies on the Isle of Anghesey and many a man has died to get to a treasure that lies there guarded by a monster. You better be careful! It’s a treacherous voyage. Even for a young man like you!” bellowed Arthur, pointing his hook hand at Sebastian and drooling like a dog. 
    Then suddenly, he stomped his peg leg on top of Sebastian boot by accident. Sebastian drew his sword out of habit. Arthur backed away a bit, afraid if Sebastian wanted to injure him. Sebastian instead placed the sword back into his scabbard and replied, “Sorry about that! I would never defeat you with my sword. You just stomped on my foot by accident is all. I drew my sword to make you back off. Anyways, continue, please!” 
    “Well,” Arthur began, “to reach your destination, you’d have to cross the Island of Dragons, the Whirlpool of Hell and the Sea of Mythical Creatures that is guarded by . . .” then he whispered in Sebastian’s ear, “Starpeedus”. 
   “Who’s Starpeedus?” Sebastian asked with wonder. 
   “Shhh!” Arthur demanded, “You must never speak it’s name.” He continued to whisper,  “Starpeedus is a terrible leech-like monster with enormous tentacles and the head of a serpent. He is to be feared.” 
    “What does he do?” Sebastian asked. 
   “He gobbles up ships approaching the isle to steal the golden Wave Sweeper turning all the sailors trying to reach it into phantoms.”
   “Come with me into the cellar and I’ll show you a map!” he told Sebastian beckoning with his hook. Sebastian saw the shiny hook glisten in the sunlight. Despite his fears he knew he had to trust this man. Arthur smiled revealing a gold tooth as he grinned. He reluctantly followed him to the tavern cellar where the bartender lit a lantern. 
    The cellar gave Sebastian the creeps. There were rats hiding in the dark and a large bat hung from the ceiling. Cobwebs hung here and there, with spiders dangling from them. Of all things, spiders frightened Sebastian the most. Arthur fearlessly chased them all away with his hook and squashed a few spiders with his peg leg, while others vanished into the wall with the rodents. 
    Arthur suddenly gave a friendly smile, and his eyes lit up with delight. They were becoming fast friends and it was if Arthur saw Sebastian as his own son. "Take heart" Arthur continued, "with this map and my help, you can find the Wave Sweeper. But first it is important that you listen to my tale.” he said. 
   “Yes, please!” Sebastian said, interested. "Very well,” Arthur said. Then he lit his pipe and his face turned serious as he began the story of Starpeedus.

     Long, long ago, during the age of Atlantis, a comet struck creating a bright beam of sunlight. This beam formed a giant egg in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. In that time, a baby sea dragon was born. The gods and goddesses treasured him like their son, and Poseidon raised him and named him, Starpeedus. Over the years, Starpeedus grew up with blue green scales that glistened when they were wet and learned how to catch fish. He was well liked by all the gods and creatures of the sea. 
     By the time he was twenty-years old, Kronos, the god of war decided he needed a dragon to carry out his evil deeds, and so he cast a spell upon Starpeedus. He secretly used a powerful amulet to take Starpeedus under his control. The creature then wreaked havoc. He formed various obstacles for those who dared cross this part of the ocean, like the Whirlpool of Hell. Whenever a ship managed to pass the obstacles in one piece, he cruelly gobbled up the ships and with evil powers turned the sailors into phantoms. These phantoms worked as his slaves and invaded various villages while protecting a treasure on the Isle of Anghesey
     One day, I arrived with me crew. Six men were captured by the dragons who ruled their Island, and were toasted in firey breath. Seven were sucked into the Whirlpool of Hell, though a small piece of our ship survived as we hoisted the anchor onto a rocky island. Finally, we encountered Starpeedus himself. Ten of the remaining men were gobbled and transformed into ghosts including the captain, who is the phantom we saw today. I was the only one to survive. With a mighty harpoon, I leaped up for attack! It knocked me back, and I lost a tooth. Next, it swallowed me leg. I slashed at it a second time, but accidentally cut me face leaving this scar. I also lost me eye during the battle and the monster swallowed me eyeball as well. I only managed to stop it from killing me by stabbing its heart. The sea dragon cried out in horrible pain as if it were remembering something sad. At the same time, it savagely bit off me hand, before sinking back into the ocean.  As I watched the creature sink, there was a flash of lightning, leaving me with red scars that eventually faded into this tattoo. And then a deep voice spoke from the waves, “Sir Arthur Hilch the Third. Your courage has helped you survive the wrath of Starpeedus. However, you must be aware that Starpeedus is immortal, and will regenerate, unless a true hero finds his weakness! Farewell Hilch the Third.” And so I kept that in mind. When I reached Cadiz, I got me job here but never gave up on me search for a true hero that would defeat Starpeedus. Legend says that the golden Wave Sweeper it guards has healing powers that Kronos despises. Now it’s up to you Sebastian as I believe you will be the one to find Starpeedus’ weakness and complete your quest.

     “Bravo!” Sebastian cheered sarcastically while clapping his hands. “That was a rather epic tale invented by you.” 
     “Oh no, Sebastian!” Arthur said, no longer whispering while shaking his head, “That legend is a true story!” 
     “You’ve gotta’ be joking!” Sebastian said as if he didn’t believe him. 
    “Come on Sebastian!” Arthur said disappointed, “Use your head. Your search is why that phantom appeared in town this morning to frighten you!” 
   “Wake up you silly old man!” Sebastian said, “It had to be a hallucination probably caused by ale.” Sebastian scolded the storyteller, shaking his fist at him and rushing up the stairs and into a back alley. 
    Arthur chased after him. “Put your fist down” he cried, and lowered it with his hook. “Look Sebastian, that monster is guarding the Wave Sweeper. Me own father searched for it with me and his crew, but our ship never returned. The Wave Sweeper, is a magical statue of a golden boat and it is guarded by the dragon on an island called Anghesey.” Arthur began stroking his beard with his hook, when it got tangled in one of the braids.
    Sebastian thought for a moment and changed his tone, hoping the story might really be true. If he could find the Wave Sweeper, he might save the village. For a quick moment, his young mind began to wonder…perhaps he could even use it to make a great fortune. “Not so fast!” said an unfamiliar female voice coming out of the darkness. The bartender and the swashbuckler turned. Lurking in the shadows appeared an old beggar. Arthur lifted his lantern to reveal an old gypsy fortuneteller. She pulled out a crystal ball and an image of the Wave Sweeper appeared. “Greed will only make your heart selfish. And if someone selfish comes upon the Wave Sweeper they shall fall into a pit of leeches and be devoured. You must have a good reason if you wish to retrieve this magical boat. Listen to your heart alone, as the Wave Sweeper can heal and return the water in the river. Your village has suffered a drought too long, and people rely on that river. The fish will feed the families and all life will return. Only you can make things better, Sebastian!” 
     This made Sebastian feel special. “Thanks! How can I ever pay you back. 
     “A gold coin will do.” she answered. Then she offered wisdom in exchange for the payment. “A true heart shall make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. You must just remember to go on your adventure with a good heart." 
     “I will!” Sebastian said, “I promise!”
    "Very well!" the old woman replied, "and good luck on your journey!" She then tucked her crystal ball back into her pouch, and with the wave of her hand, she vanished.
    Sebastian smiled. Then he turned to Arthur. “Arthur, please hear me!” he said. 
    “What!” cried Arthur with more delight than he had felt in a long time. 
    "Will you be my partner for the voyage.” Sebastian ask him.
    “I knew it!” Arthur bellowed with joy. Then he gave Sebastian another tremendous hug, much tighter than before. 
    “Ouch!” cried Sebastian, “You’re poking me with your hook!” 
    “Sorry, Sebastian!” Arthur said, letting go. They were ready for adventure.

     The next morning, the two friends set sail headed North for the Isle of Anghesey. They sailed for many days and nights through both calm and turbulent seas. As they approached their destination Arthur’s tattoo began to glow, signaling that the menace was near. They had finally reached Starpeedus and knew the precious Wave Sweeper must be close by. In a flash of lightning, Starpeedus rose out of the crashing waves! Leeches poured out from through his vicious teeth. Waving his enormous tentacles, he grabbed the mast tightly and began to rattle the entire ship. Sebastian climbed up the rigging to the crow’s nest to get a better look. From this lofty perch, he suddenly noticed a black amulet secured to a chain wrapped around the great beast’s neck. Red sparks shot from the amulet igniting electrical charges that looked like fireworks. Sebastian knew immediately that this was the amulet that Kronos used in Arthur's tale, and was to be the source of evil. Leaping from the crow’s nest, he swung from a rope like an acrobat, drew his sword and slashed the chain that bound Starpeedus’s neck. Swinging down onto the main deck he used the chain to propel himself back on board. Once he was on the ship again he threw the amulet down, raised his sword and smashed it to smithereens. The curse was finally broken. 
    Once the spell had ended, the dark scales shed off the sea dragon's body, revealing glistening blue green scales. The leeches dripping from his mouth vanished into mist. Even the tentacles faded away like the shadows of night. The blood red glow in Starpeedus’s eyes disappeared. His wings were no longer stiff. They broke free, giving him the capability to fly once again! 
     The termination of the curse erased Arthur’s scar and restored his eye, hand, and leg. Only the tattoo was left and a grin revealing his golden tooth. 
    A large grumbling sound suddenly erupted causing Sebastian, Arthur and the crew to take cover. They wondered if it might be a storm, whirlpool or another sea monster approaching. Instead, Starpeedus belched out his captives covered in slime but suddenly breathing. The released phantoms had been changed back to their human selves and were now floating in the water. “Brilliant son!” shouted the captain. Arthur thought he heard the familiar voice of his father. He ran to the side of the ship and looked down into the ocean. There, smiling up at him was his beloved father swimming towards him. Arthur threw a rope into the water and ordered the survivors to grab hold. Finally all were safely aboard and reunited. 
     Free at last, Starpeedus slowly spoke in a monotone voice, inviting Sebastian to climb the scales up to his back. Sebastian got on and wished the crew a fair journey. Then, the creature's enormous wings began to flap as they took off, headed toward to the Isle of Anghesey. “That’s my mucker!” cried Arthur as the ship turned headed back to Cadiz. 
    The majestic sea dragon flew gracefully with Sebastian aboard. On the island, the swashbuckler carefully tucked the golden Wave Sweeper under his hat. It was no larger then a deck of cards, and fit easily there. Then he returned to Starpeedus' back, and together they took to the sky, on their way to Montoro.