Master of the Seas

J.L. Weinmeister

After our respite in Se Vraja, we continue onto Se Siara, a small town in the foothills of the mountains. Then we reach Se Mahraha, a large capital at the confluence of two mighty rivers in the subtropical forest on the eastern side of Lekra.

It’s interesting how stories can be interconnected without people noticing. I’m going to tell you a tale from the eastern shores of Lekra, and you may find some similarities between it and a story I told you two weeks ago.

* * * * *

A young sailor named Garem helped pull a large fishing net out of the ocean and onto the wooden deck. When he and his comrades stored the fish below decks, he noticed a strange object amongst the sea creatures. It was a piece of gray wood with round holes in it. He picked it up and realized it was a flute.

Curious, Garem took the flute and set it out to dry near his hammock. The fish were plentiful, so Garem was busy with work and forgot about the flute until he returned home. He lived on an island just to the east of Lekra, so he was constantly near his beloved ocean.

He took the flute to the beach and blew a tentative breath into the instrument. Despite being in the ocean for who-knows-how-long, it still worked. Garem had learned to play the flute as a kid, so he played a few familiar songs on it.

He took it back home where it was soon forgotten.

* * * * *

Ten years later when Garem and his wife were making room for their unborn child, Garem found the old flute. He gave it to his oldest child, Sam. Sam wasn’t impressed with the flute, so he gave it to his little brother, Bretz.

Bretz played the flute all the time, and it was clear from the start he was a natural musician. When Bretz took the flute to the beach for the first time, he had the urge to improvise. He quickly realized the melodies he made up influenced the ocean. It would move with the tempo of the song. Calm songs elicited calm seas. Energetic songs caused storms and frothing waves.

Not wanting Sam to take it back, Bretz kept the magic flute a secret.

* * * * *

When Bretz came of age, he began work as a sailor, just like his father before him. He played his flute for the crew to keep morale up during the long days at sea, but he was careful not to let them notice its powers. If it was calm, he only played calm songs. And if it was stormy, he only played energetic songs.

At night, he would sneak on deck and play the flute. He used it to influence the weather and encourage speedy travel across the sea. His efforts resulted in increased profits for the crew.

It didn’t take long for Bretz to save up enough money to buy his own ship and outfit his own crew. He began transporting goods across the sea rather than fishing. His ships were always faster than all the rest and could deliver supplies in record time. Sometimes Bretz would send storms in the paths of his competitors to slow them down.

Bretz’s crew became suspicious of their luck at sea. They had never known a ship to avoid storms as effectively as Captain Bretz’s. The youngest and sneakiest crew member, Frank, was tasked with spying on the captain to determine the secret to his success.

Frank saw Bretz playing his flute at night, and over several nights, he noticed the flute had an influence on the ocean. Rather than tell his comrades, Frank kept the knowledge to himself. If he told them, they would end up fighting each other for the flute.

Frank waited until their final night at sea before making port in their hometown. Then he snuck into the captain’s quarters after Bretz had retired for the night and stole the flute. In the chaos that was unloading day, Bretz didn’t notice his precious instrument was missing.

Frank immediately boarded another ship, sailing to the north. He changed his name and started his own shipping business. Since Bretz no longer had his flute, he was unable to outcompete Frank, and Frank became the new master of the seas.

But Bretz knew why Frank was so successful. He realized he must have stolen the flute from him, and he was determined to get it back, so he set out to find Frank.

Frank managed to evade Bretz for a while, but Bretz finally cornered him on an island in the north. Bretz demanded that Frank return his flute, but Frank refused.

The two fought over the flute, tugging it back and forth, shoving splinters into their hands. Then, with a loud crack, the flute broke in two.

The two stared at the broken instrument in shock. Now they were both at the mercy of the sea.

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