Image Prompt Credit to Stefan Koidl on Artstation.com
“Are you excited Captain? We seem to be nearing the location of the bones,” The sailor said as he rowed the boat across the shallow parts of the water.
“Don’t get your hopes up, Brutus,” The Captain said eyeing the other person in the boat. “We’ve been down this road before.”
The Captain thought back to other journeys across the world. He had traveled to coastal towns, deep caves, and thick jungles chasing after rumors of local legends and strange happenings.
“This could be another rumor gone awry,” The Captain said.
“But what if it’s really dragon bones?” Brutus asked.
“Well then we will both be filthy rich. Our crew will be rich. Our children will be rich. Our grand children will be rich,” The Captain said.
They rowed the small rowboat closer and closer to the shore, across this shallow part of the ocean. The salt water splashed up and coated the wooden boat. The smell of rotten fish and salt water filled the air and small, coastal birds flew up ahead chattering to one another. Their large sailing vessel was behind them, bobbing up and down on the waves, because it was unable to sail through the shallow water.
Several small fishing boats circled a spot on the ocean. Many fisherman were yelling from at one another and discussing the discovery.
“There, Brutus. That must be the location in question,” The Captain said. “Steer that way.”
“Yes, sir,” Brutus said.
He turned the boat and it began heading towards the center of commotion.
“It’s mine. I found it!” One man shouted.
“These are my fishing waters. It should be mine,” Another fisherman shouted.
“They are not!”
“They are! I fish all the time!”
The Captain raised his pistol into the air.
There was a blast of energy from the pistol and a shock wave like the crash of thunder. The nearby fisherman stopped arguing and they turned towards the small rowboat.
“Excuse me gentleman,” The Captain said. “I believe you are arguing over something that is not yours.”
“Who are you?” The nearest fisherman asked.
“My name is Captain Gregory Fishbeck of The ARC Order and these bones are mine,” The Captain said.
There was a rumbling of voices as the fisherman talked to one another.
“Unless one of you want to do something about it. I have heard of people trying to undermine the authority of The ARC Order, but it never ends well,” The Captain said waving his arcane pistol around.
The Captain waited for a moment for any signs of disagreement.
“No? No one? Are you sure you don’t want to try to stop me. It has been a while since I’ve been in a proper duel.”
“Captain? Maybe it’s not a good idea to terrorize the locals,” Brutus said.
“Very well,” The Captain shrugged. “If there is nobody that wants to challenge The ARC Order, then get lost. If I find anyone interfering with the containment, you will be shot on sight.”
There was a final round of grumbles and cursing from the local fisherman, but they eventually dispersed leaving The Captain and Brutus in the boat hovering over the sight of the bones.
“Brutus, send up the flare. This looks like the real thing,” The Captain Said.
Brutus nodded and rummaged through his burlap sack. He grabbed a small wooden capsule from the bag and twisted the top. It began to spark. Brutus then pointed the top towards the sky. There was a small explosion and a blast of blue energy flew into the sky, lighting it up with dark blue and purple clouds.
This signaled several other small boats to leave from the large ship on the horizon. Crews of men and women came to shore carrying supplies. Tent cities were set up and people armed with weapons set up a perimeter around the camp. Boats were anchored around the bones.
The Captain had his feet up on the table inside the largest tent, using a large knife to slice up and eat a large, pear-like fruit. Nightfall had come and they were preparing to check out the bones in detail tomorrow.
“So do you think these are the real things? Actual bones of a dragon?” Brutus asked as he took off his sand-covered boots.
“It’s not likely, but I guess it’s possible. Dragons were rare even when they were alive, so any bones left over had disintegrated and scattered to the winds. However, the salt water has preserved these bones, whatever they are,” The Captain said.
“If we bring Dragon Bones to The ARC Order, we’ll get promoted for sure,” Brutus said.
The Captain laughed.
“Promotion? You’re thinking too small,” The Captain said. “Dragon bones will mean we can retire forever on a pile of gold. We’ll be in history books.”
“Captain, Sir?” A red-haired woman stepped into the tent.
“Yes, Harriet?” The Captain turned towards her.
“We just found one of the locals sneaking through the camp. We captured him and have him. I figured you would want to know,” Harriet said.
“I would,” The Captain smiled before standing up. “I want to see him.”
“Very well, I will bring you to him,” Harriet said.
“Come on Brutus, you won’t want to miss this,” The Captain said picking up his arcane pistol.
Brutus sighed as he put on his sandy boots.
They were lead out towards the edge of the tent city. Several of The Captain’s men and women stood around holding torches and swords. They had one of the fisherman on his knees, in the sand. There was a slash mark across his face which dripped dark, crimson blood onto the white sand.
“Well. Well. What do we have here?” The Captain asked looking down at the fisherman.
The fisherman said nothing, hanging his head and breathing heavily.
“I told you people to stay away, didn’t I?”
Again the fisherman said nothing.
“I told all of you that any interference with our containment of these bones would end in people getting shot on sight,” The Captain said.
The Captain knelt down and put the end of his pistol underneath the fisherman’s chin. He then used it to raise the man’s chin so that the fisherman was looking at him. The Captain realized that the slash across his face cut through the fisherman’s right eye. It was slashed open and leaking blood.
“Why did you come here?” The Captain asked the fisherman.
“Those bones don’t belong to you or your organization,” The fisherman sneered.
The Captain smiled.
“Your first mistake was coming back to the camp and the second mistake was making an enemy to The ARC Order,” The Captain said. “These bones are coming with us and there’s nothing you or any of those other fisherman can do about it.”
The Captain stood up and pointed his arcane pistol at the fisherman.
“Any last words?” The Captain asked.
The man began to open his mouth, but his words were cut short. The Captain pulled the trigger and a blast of blue, arcane energy shot from the pistol. The energy struck the fisherman and exploded, blowing away the left side of his face. Bones, flesh, and blood splattered over the beach and the man fell over, lifeless on the sand.
The other members of the crew stood around for a second, not saying anything.
“Well then. Back to work, everyone. There might be more coming to try to stop us. We can’t let anyone or anything try and take those bones from us. They belong to The ARC Order. Not some filthy fisherman.”
The Captain turned and made his way back towards the tent. The rest of the crew whispered among themselves before going back to their tasks.
There were no other disturbances throughout the night, and when the sun came, the crew began getting boats ready. The Captain and Brutus took the lead boat and other crew members readied their boats. They traveled out past a few rock formations that poked out from the waves and proceeded towards the location of the bones. The sea was calm and gentle as the sunlight glistened off the glass-like nature of the water.
As The Captain neared the anchored boats, he looked down into the water. It was almost crystal clear and it allowed him to look down, through the shallow water to the ocean floor down below.
“There!” Brutus pointed.
The Captain looked over, following the direction of Brutus’ finger, and saw the bones nestled into the sand. The Captain leaned over further to get a better look.
He first saw a series of bones that resembled the massive bat-like wings. The Captain then followed the bones down the arm and to the rib cage of the creature. His vision continued up to the massive skull sticking out of the sand.
Brutus looked over at him.
“That’s a dragon,” The Captain said nodding his head. “That’s a real dragon.”
Image Prompt Credit to Stefan Koidl on Artstation.com
Interesting parable…. is there an ending?
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Right now this is just a beginning of a story based off an Image Prompt. If people seem to really enjoy it, I might write some more stories in this universe. I think it’s pretty cool to mix pirates and magic, so we’ll see. For now, this is all I’ve written. Glad you like my story!