Rothermere's Travels

UP: Europa

   The Phoenix cut through the cold, salty air like a knife as it ploughed onwards through icy waters.

Her captain, Lord Rothermere, stared defiantly into the distance, scowering the dark and mountainous seas for signs of land. The storm has worsened since his crew had set sail almost a week earlier. The wind whipped across the ocean, its ghostly voice deafening the sailors as they clung to both rope and rigging.

Suddenly the monotonous grey of the horizon was broken by a dark and mysterious shape, Rothermere quickly unfastened his belt, and produced a small and beautifully crafted spyglass. Try as he did, he could not make out what lay before them, as the cruel seas threw the ship like a toy.

The Phoenix lunged onwards defiantly, as its terrified crew battled in vain against the elements.

“Steer left!” cried Rothermere, his voice barely audible above the wailing winds and crashing seas.

“I cant Cap’n, tis not turning!” came the response from Briggs, his strongest crewmember who manned the helm during the worst of storms.

Rothermere stumbled towards him, tucking his spyglass carefully away as he lunged through the water that had flooded the Phoenix’s decks. His brow furrowed as he strained on the wheel, it would not turn.

A noise caused him to spin round, and he watched in horror as the mainsail tore at its bindings, ropes stretched and timber groaned, but the old ship remained sturdy. The huge sail suddenly tore off its riggings, being sucked into the night, as if pulled by unseen hands.

Without its sails the ship was powerless, a majestic ship had become useless timber, a piece of driftwood upon a stormy sea. Without a spoken word the crew knew their fate, and despite the howling storm, the silence was deafening.

“We must brave this storm men! We must brave this storm!” Cried Rothermere, his crew scarcely acknowledging his voice. They stared out into the ocean, wondering if they would see land again, wrestling with the anger they now felt for their captain.

Suddenly the ship leered hard to the left.

“Hold her tight Briggs!” shouted Rothermere.

“I am holding ‘er Cap’n!”

Rothermere glanced over to him, the wheel was not moving, yet the ship had changed course…

“It seems our fate is no longer in our hands men” muttered the captain as he struggled below deck.

From the Town Cryer - The Journal of Ultima Online