Grandfather and the Hurricane

J.L. Weinmeister

One afternoon the skies fill with dark, foreboding clouds. Those of you who aren’t confined to your beds with seasickness anxiously watch the storm build. After several hours, the wind picks up, and lightning flashes on the horizon. We have no choice but to sail through the tempest. The world darkens, and cold rain pelts the deck. Large waves toss the ship up and down. I sit on the deck despite the cold, the damp, and the lightning. My hands are pressed into the smooth planks. My eyes are closed. All my energy is being devoted to keeping the ship from capsizing.

The storm continues into the night. Most of you can’t sleep due to the noise, the movement, or the anxiety. I remain unmoved from my exposed position, drawing on my magic.

Finally, in the early hours of the morning, before the sun is even a thought in the sky, the storm dies out. The sea calms, the ship stabilizes, and all is quiet. Everyone is exhausted and sleeps late into the morning.

That night we gather together on the deck again, enjoying the calm seas and clear skies. I share a story Horatio once told me.

* * * * *

Horatio’s grandfather had a story he told every time Horatio and his brother visited him. They lived in Jeda, a coastal town bordering the Prekvalus Sea and the Tiasa River. Horatio’s family relied on the sea. His father was a boat builder, and his mother was a water sports instructor. His ancestors were fishermen and merchants who transported goods across the oceans. His grandfather always told Horatio and his brother to respect nature, particularly the open water, for if they respected her, she would take care of them. Then he would tell his favorite story.

“When I was a young lad,” he would begin, “I spent all my time in the water. The creatures of the deep taught me everything I needed to know; and when I was older, I became a reliable sailor, eventually becoming captain of my own merchant ship.

“One day when I was sailing across the southern Prekvalus Sea, I noticed a storm building on the horizon, growing steadily closer. My sailors grew anxious, and I was wary of the tempest, but I trusted my relationship with the sea.

“There was no land in sight, so we had no choice but to brave the storm. It was the most violent weather I had ever experienced in my long years at sea. Towering waves crashed onto the deck, mixing with the torrential rains. Jagged lightning forked across the sky, and thunder shook the world. The wind whipped our clothes, threatening to send us overboard if we didn’t hold tight to the ship. Everyone was cold and drenched, all struggling to keep the ship afloat.

“The storm raged for three days and three nights. We had to sleep in shifts, so there were always sailors manning the deck and keeping us alive. My sailors were terrified, but I knew what to do. I had weathered storms in the past. I knew I could do it again.

“After the third night, all was calm. The sky was clear and blue. Waves lazily sloshed against the hull. The ship was afloat, and the damage was minimal. All of my sailors were exhausted, and some were ill from the cold, but all of us were alive.

“I later learned we had sailed through a hurricane, one that claimed six ships. We were the only survivors. I knew my respect for Kareena and my knowledge of sailing had protected us. Have faith in Kareena and yourself, and you will survive.”

Horatio’s grandfather never feared sea or storm, and he never lost a ship. Horatio’s brother feared the water despite his grandfather’s stories; but Horatio believed him, for he, too, had been saved when most of his species had perished.

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