Here is Part 3 of a new idea I have had based off the above picture. Art by Mateusz Ozminski I discover while looking for art for a writing prompt. I felt this image was beautiful and it created an idea I could not get out of my head. I will be posting pieces of this a little at a time for the next while.
Enjoy Part 3 of Titan’s Call
The pair made it down to the lower city, following the hardened staircases of the great islands hide down from the upper levels down onto the creature’s starboard side. From the staircases they could see out over the great sea, there was another island in sight just on the horizon to the west. Esme stood excitedly at the railing hopping up at down a little as she pointed out the island to Nikon.
“Which island do you think that is?” She asked him.
“Well we came from Jeraq to the east, I’ll bet that is probably Bespin, I heard someone on the platform talking about another flight coming from Bespin.” Nikon said.
“I wonder what people from Bespin look like,” Esme said with a smile.
“Just like us I’m sure.” Nikon said, he looked up the staircase towards the head of the island, it was dipping back beneath the waves for another bite of seagrass. The fishing vessels that races across the waters around the island all turned their sails towards the creatures head, as it came up dragging tons of fish with it.
“Look” Esme shouted pointing to the waters around the islands head as it came up. A giant serpent, snapping its fangs at the islands jaw as it rose from the water with a roar. The serpent writhed in the water for a moment before vanishing back beneath the waves. “Can the island be hurt by the serpent?” Esme asked Nikon, he smiled.
“Of course not, the islands are invincible, nothing can hurt and island.” He said putting the young girl’s fears to rest. “I’ll bet some of those fishermen area going to try to hunt that serpent, it would feed the city for a whole migration,” Nikon laughed.
“I wonder what sea serpent tastes like,” Esme wonder aloud as they descended more of the steps towards the docks.
“Get lost kid,” One angry old fisherman snapped at Nikon a few hours later as the pair were walking the docks asking about work. Esme sneered at the man as Nikon pulled her further down the docks.
“All you did was asking if there was space for a deckhand on his boat?” Esme complained.
“And we got our answer,” He said with a sigh, it was the third such answer.
The docks were a free floating system that was lashed to the side of the island, it would rise and fall about fifty feet a day as the island walked across the sea floor. Floating houses and shops occupied the waters along with the dock. The only way back up to the lower city were ladders that hung down from the end of the stairs one hundred feet up.
For the two children who had spent most of their lives in the farming districts on the tail end of Jeraq it was a strange sensation to walk across a floor that seemed to move far too often. “Ay, you’ll ge’ yer sea legs yet,” A fisherman said at the next boat as he watched Esme and Nikon stumbled as the dock bucked beneath them.
“Sea legs?” Esme asked, she glanced down at her feet in the worn silk slippers that she had stolen a migration before. “Is something going to happen to my legs?” She asked. The old man laughed.
Esme smiled at him, this fisherman was nicer than the last few. He was around fifty years old, but looked much older, his sun weathered skin wrinkled and scared. He had a thick graying beard and tiny black eyes the squinted at the two children as they approached.
“Naw lass, yer legs will be fine, you’ll jus’ get used to the sway a the docks beneath yer feet.” He said, smiling at them. “Naw wha’ brings two littles this far down the island?” He asked.
“We are looking for work sir,” Nikon said.
“Ay, work,” He nodded. “Cap’in” He called up the side of the galley they stood beside. A younger man of twenty stuck his head over the side of the galley railing and looked down at the man and two children.
“What is it Sal?” He called.
“Are you the captain?” Nikon asked.
“I am, you are you?”
“These two be lookin’ for some work,” Sal called up to the captain.
“Are they now,” He eyed them, “Wait there I’ll be down in a second.” With that he grabbed a rope from the side of the mast and leaped off the side of his ship, swinging through the air, Esme watched in awe, her mouth wide open and her eyes shining. The captain landed on the dock beside them. His red robe settling around his broad tanned chest, his long blond hair falling in curling waves to his shoulders. He handed the rope to Sal, then knelt down to meet the two children eye to eye. His green eyes searching them.
“You know there is usually work up in the city proper, especially for two such as yourselves.” He said kindly.
“Sir, we don’t have parents to find us employment we came from Jeraq to seek a life here, we hoped that there would be a place for us on the docks.” Nikon said, he straightened his back trying to seem taller and older than he was. The captain smiled.
“Well we do have room for a cabin boy on my galley, but,” He looked at Esme, “A fishing vessel is no place for a little girl.” Esme’s expression fell, she had been enthralled by the captain’s display, and now had imagined herself doing the same thing.
“We were going to find her work with a seamstress.” Nikon said.
“Oh do you mend clothing?” The captain asked, she shook her head. “Then why a seamstress?” He asked.
“I am good with my hands,” Esme said, holding out her calloused and worn hands.
“How old are you two?” The captain asked as he cupped Esme’s hands in his, they were warm and hardened by years at sea.
“I am eleven and she is ten.” Nikon told him.
“A ten year old girl should not have such worked hands.” He told Esme.
“Can I be a fisherman with you then?” She asked so abrupt that Sal burst out laughing once more.
“No little miss you are not made for the sea, fishing is hard work you leave that to cranky old men like Sal here,” Sal nodded. “but my wife lives here on the docks in our house, she mends clothing and nets,” He held up a finger pausing to make sure she was paying attention, “and she has been looking for someone to teach her skills to.” Esme’s face lit up.
“I could learn how to mend the nets. I will be the best net mender on the island.” She exclaimed. The captain smiled at her.
“I am Captain Lic of the Sea Baron,” He waved at his ship.
“I’m Esme, he is Nikon,” She said excitedly, “I am happy to meet you.”
“So, Nikon are you up for being a cabin boy?”