Out on the wild seas, the uncertainty looms ahead, seeps through my very skin, grabs my bones with its cold hands. I can feel my heart beat, the uncertainty is very real, living in my imagination doesn’t seem like an option right now. Unless I convert it into my reality.
No land in sight, a hungry crew, threat of a mutiny, limited resources yet a burning vision and desire for glory keeps us together. Scurvy showing its early signs, the leaky planks trying their best to not offer us the watery grave. We do the best we can.
But we weren’t always sailors, were we? We were explorers of land, we climbed mountains and crossed grasslands of yore. We cut through jungles and followed the sound of rushing waterfalls. We yearned for gold, not unlike we do now, but the methods were different. The threats were of a different kind, cannibal tribes and gigantic beasts, poisonous bugs and mud that ate us whole. But we met living things then, fought some, ate some, lived with some. Now we’re alone, sailing through the storms and frozen winds. Alone with a disease of heart that only gold can cure.
I remember when we first saw the sea. It was beautiful the way it kissed the land we were on, it seemed like a natural transition for us to make. We had trampled on land enough, vision of us braving the oceans in search of distant lands filled with gold hoarding natives kept us awake at night. We knew the continent well, it knew us too well enough to kill us now. We built a ship with our bare hands. Spun the sails out of the cotton we traded for silver with natives. Took lessons in sailing from the King’s favorite navy captain and borrowed his maps that showed the limits of his horizon. We were out to chart new paths.
We carry guns and cannons, the first settlement might be a fight, we’ll need to defend ourselves. Half of our leaky ship might go into our first fort till we build a stronger one and scouts survey the area. Offering crystals and trinkets to native chieftains might make life smoother as we plan to take on the Kings. Keeping our sanity and staying together will ensure life. Staying put and building alliances will ensure regional glory. Taking gold back home will ensure immortality.
Sitting in the cabin, the journey looks inspiring. Not so, as I look at the dark deep unforgiving waters. Handle of my cutlass gripped tight, I fight back the tears of fright, gulp down my fear and stare hard at the glowing moon. Then at the North Star to reaffirm the direction. I adjust my cloak, the salty wind cuts my lips and black gums. It has been three months, the drinking water on board is stale and stinks. Meat is scarce. Legends spoke of a continent that should be right here, somewhere where our eyes can see. Cannot be more than a few days now. Should not be. We’ll be barely alive then.
Birds of the shore were spotted yesterday, that means land is near. The night will be its darkest till we lay down anchor. Though what will follow is a bigger fight, reaching land is a basic fight for survival.
I wait for the immortal dawn.