Lonely Savior: Curse of the Forgotten One
Sotis was walking alongside the west coast of the region. His footwear was protecting his feet from getting burnt by the scorching hot sand. The bright sun was emanating intense heat, with Sotis thinking that he was on the verge of being burnt alive. The occasional light breeze was the only thing preventing him from completely boiling. To his left, small waves were crashing onto the shore. Sotis looked in the distance, observing the endless sea. He continued walking and noticed in his peripheral a large structure on the water. He approached it more and more, eventually managing to discern what it was. The structure was an incredibly large ship, bigger than he had ever seen. Three tall masts occupied the deck of the boat, with multiple sails attached to these. Sotis noticed multiple people embarking onto the ship, walking on a large wooden plank to reach the main deck. Wondering what all of this was about, he proceeded to walk towards it. Coming closer to the vessel, its colossal size became increasingly impressive and overwhelming. He looked around, searching for someone who could provide him an explanation. The first person who caught his attention was a burly man, standing by the side of the boarding plank. He wore a black tricorn hat, covering his black hair underneath it. Despite the scorching heat, he was dressed in a large black coat, worn over a white garment. His brown trousers were equipped with a scabbard of the shape of a sabre. With a stern look on his face and crossed arms, he watched the people go aboard. Looking to get more information on the ship, Sotis walked towards him.
“Hi, what's up with the ship?” asked Sotis.
The burly man turned around, wondering who had asked the question.
“It's Brodalluk Town, the finest vessel in the world.”
“Yep, this ship is a town. It's the place where we live and have lived,” he stated, “I bet you're pretty surprised about that, aren't you?”
Sotis pondered for a small moment, and came to his answer, “Not really, actually. The world is so vast, that it doesn’t surprises me that there happens to be a ship as a town. After all, every place has its own heritage.”
“Hmm, you’re quite an interesting fellow. There have only been few who were not bewildered by the magnificence of Brodalluk,” said the burly man. “By the way, the name’s Gustav. I’m the captain of the ship.”
Gustav held out his right hand to Sotis, inviting a handshake.
“Sotis. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Sotis grabbed his hand, giving each other a firm handshake.
“So, Sotis, what brings you around these parts?” asked Gustav.
“I’m a traveler,” he replied, “and I’m headed for wherever fate guides me next.”
“Haha! Spoken like a true seaman!” said Gustav, amused by Sotis’s response, “How about we drop you off at the region to the west? Some other travelers aboard are also headed there. It might end up being an interesting new destination.”
The world was comprised of multiple different regions. Each region varied in size, with several being a single island, and a few having an enormous size. Nonetheless, all these regions had one thing in common: they all had new places to venture forth.
Sotis pondered for a few moments, and accepted Gustav’s offer. He proceeded to climb onto the boarding plank and started to walk towards the ship. As he walked, Gustav yelled his name, catching Sotis’s attention.
“When you reach the deck, wait for me there!” yelled Gustav.
Sotis replied with a nod and continued walking towards the ship. There was a large distance between the beach and the ship, in order for the ship to not get stuck in the sand under the water. After walking for some time, Sotis finally reached the main deck. There were multiple people each busy with their own duty. Some were up in the masts, others were carrying boxes to the ship’s lower levels, and some were simply relaxing before the ship’s departure. Sotis noticed people of all ages, from children to the elderly. He even saw a lady tending to her baby. As Sotis observed more and more, he further came to the realization that Brodalluk was indeed a village, with its own community.
Sotis continued to watch the residents of Brodalluk preparing for their journey, as he waited for the return of the captain. Suddenly, there was ruckus among the residents. Wondering what had caused it, Sotis looked around, and noticed Gustav walking up the plank. People were running left and right, all going to their designated locations. Some residents remained on the top of the ship, while many others descended towards the lower levels of the vessel. In contrast, Sotis stayed put, as Gustav asked of him.
The captain reached the ship’s main deck and proceeded to kick the boarding plank away from the ship. Gustav breathed in, and using all the strength of his vocal cords, yelled a phrase for all to hear.
“Everybody! Get ready to set sail!”
Sotis heard a collective sound of agreement. The many sails were unwrapped, with the wind pushing these. The ship’s anchor was pulled out of the water, allowing Brodullak to move again. With everything set, Gustav turned his attention to the traveler before him.
“Despite its size, Brodullak is faster than most ships,” stated the captain, “We should arrive at the next region by sunset. Now come, follow me.”
Gustav opened a door which led to the lower floors of the ship. He walked down the stairs, with Sotis following him close by. The two passed by several doors, all having a fair distance between each. Gustav explained that they were the rooms for the families to live in. Each room had ample of space, all with basic necessities. The sizes of the rooms also depended on the amount of people living in it, with large families having larger rooms. The main source of light in the lower floors of Brodullak were from the sunlight passing through windows, as to avoid the excessive use of fire in the wooden ship. Sotis and Gustav passed by several other rooms, each with their different purpose. However, Gustav had yet to explain where they were headed, simply going further down the ship. Eventually, they stopped descending, having reached their destination. The place Gustav brought Sotis to was filled with large oars, with multiple rows of rowers. Sitting on benches, they all rowed in synchronization, contributing to Brodullak’s smooth sailing. Gustav put his hand on Sotis’s shoulder and revealed what he had planned.
“I never said that I would let you travel for nothing,” said Gustav, with a smirk, “Time to get to work!”
Gustav showed the place Sotis would sit. It was on the edge of a bench, with two other people to his right. The one to the far left was a fair-skinned teenager with black eyes. He wore an orange bandana on his head and was dressed in a white sleeveless shirt alongside gray trousers. A few drops of sweat dripped down his head and down his arms, putting all his strength into rowing. The person at the center of the bench was a tanned young woman with red eyes. Her red hair was attached in a long braid, falling down to the center of her back. Her pale blue shirt only covered the upper half of her torso, with nothing covering her small belly button. Her slim black pants covered all her legs, whilst she strongly kept her feet on the floor in order to keep her balance.
“You’ll be rowing next to these two. And don’t worry, they won’t bite!” said Gustav, before laughing very loudly.
Gustav returned to the upper floors of Brodullak. Seeing as he had no say in the manner, Sotis reluctantly sat down, and firmly held onto the oar. He felt a slight tap on his right shoulder, coming from the lady sitting at his side.
“Hey! My name’s Karina. The boy next to me is Will. Nice to meet you!” she said, without stopping rowing. The boy behind her nodded slightly, as a sign of greeting.
“Nice to meet you too,” said Sotis, “I’m Sotis, a traveler. I assume that both of you are residents of Brodullak?”
“You’ve got that right!” said Karina, with a smile, “We rarely encounter new people here, so seeing you is quite different from the usual.”
“Oh, aren’t there usually other passengers using Brodullak as a mean to travel across regions?” asked Sotis.
“Surprisingly not actually. This is the first time travelers come aboard in... months maybe? I’m not sure, you lose the passage of time when you spend a lot of time on the sea,” replied Karina.
“Huh. So, what’s the usual voyage of Brodullak?” said Sotis, curious about the ship.
“We tend to make rare breaks in regions, just like we did just now. Usually, Brodullak is far as possible from land, letting waves decide where it shall go. In fact, we usually don’t use this rowing room. And with how many people it takes to row this boat, it’s kind of a pain to always have this many people busy rowing! We’re only using it today as the captain wants to complete the journey to the next region as quickly as possible, so we can go back to venture unknown seas. The captain only accepted to take travelers aboard today since they paid a hefty sum. And I guess you just happened to be headed to the same place!”
“If there’s anything you want to know about Brodullak, feel free to ask me anything!” she said, full of confidence.
“Sure, thank you.”
They continued to row, with Karina occasionally sparking a new conversation with the traveler beside her. Will remained silent, completely engrossed in rowing. Eventually, Sotis heard bells chiming. Looking around, he suddenly saw everybody standing up and heading for the staircases leading to the upper floors. The two sitting at the same bench at him also stood up and waited for Sotis to do the same.
“Our shift’s over. It’s time to go eat!”
Following the crowd, Sotis also started heading towards the upper floors, followed closely by Karina and Will. As they were walking upstairs, Sotis noticed numerous residents starting to head to the room they had just left. He caught a glimpse of them preparing to continue the task that he had done, firmly holding onto the oars. Not knowing where to go next, Sotis decided to follow the pair he had stayed with up till now. They entered a spacious room, which had multiple tables surrounded with chairs. With no warning, Karina pushed Sotis down a chair.
“Now stay put! I’ll be back with lunch soon!” she said, before dashing off to another door nearby.
Just like asked, Sotis stayed seated, waiting for Karina’s return. Will sat down next to him, and continued to remain silent. Wanting to break the silence between them, Sotis tried to initiate a conversation.
“Do you like Brodullak?” asked Sotis, having no other question in mind.
Will was slightly caught off guard by the question, having not expected to be asked anything by Sotis.
“Um... I guess?” he said, hesitantly.
“You don’t sound too certain,” mentioned Sotis, noticing the lack of conviction.
“I haven’t really been to other places to compare it to,” said Will, once again saying as little as possible.
“But with how much time you must have spent here, you must have some sort of connection to it, right?”
“I guess... But it doesn’t really feel like home.”
“What do you mean? Weren’t you born here?” asked Sotis, wondering the meaning of his words.
“I was told that I was picked up from an empty boat when I was a baby. And I never felt the same love for Brodullak as the other habitants. But maybe I should since they were the ones who saved me.”
“You don’t have to force yourself to view the ship as your home. Some people simply feel a stronger connection with the place they were born than the place they were raised. It’s up to you to choose which place you view as home.”
“Hmm... I guess.”
“Well, I hope you’ll find home eventually, may it end up being Brodullak or a different place.”
With Will barely responding to Sotis’s comments, the silence that lay between the two resurfaced. Thankfully for Sotis, Karina returned shortly, carrying three bowls in her hands.
“Here you go! Dig in!” she cheerfully said.
The bowl was filled with white rice alongside a slice of an unknown grilled fish lying top. The three of them all took their forks, and started eating their meal.
“Well, I sure am surprised that you were able to row for so long!” said Karina, once again initiating a conversation, “You sure have a lot of hidden strength in your body!”
“Haha, I could say the same about all of you.”
“It’s only natural that seamen like use can handle this amount of work!” she proudly said, puffing her chest, “Hey, maybe you should become a resident of Brodullak! I’m already envisioning you as a great seaman!”
“Thanks for the offer, but I’ll have to past,” replied Sotis, “I’m much more used to traveling on land than on sea.”
“Aww, that’s a shame,” disappointedly said Karina, “Oh well, if ever you come across Brodullak again, it’s doors are always opened for you! Or rather, it’s deck!”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” said Sotis.
Sotis and Karina had finished eating, leaving their bowls on the table. Will was still slowly eating, with only fish left in his bowl.
“Come on Will! Even if you don’t like fish, you need to eat it all to become tall and strong!”
Will looked at the fish in his bowl with disgust. Reluctantly, he chowed down on the food remaining in his bowl.
“Good job! You’re such a cool little brother!” said Karina, whilst patting his head.
“You don’t have to say that,” replied Will.
“I’m going to bring the bowls back!” she said, before dashing off again with the empty bowls.
Once again, Sotis and Will were left alone together alongside a silence Sotis was craving to break.
“I didn’t know you two were siblings,” said Sotis, surprised by the two’s recent interaction.
“She’s not. I’m just her adopted brother.”
“Her adopted brother?”
“She adopted me as her brother since I didn’t have family in Brodullak. Or maybe it’s because she felt lonely herself,” explained Will.
“Well, whatever her reason was, at least you two have each other now.”
“Yeah, I guess,” said Will.
Despite once again replying with a short and somewhat cold response, Sotis received a different feeling from Will’s words. When Will talked about Karina, he seemed to lighten up, seemingly showing the affection he has for his sister. Sotis felt an urge to pat Will’s head, but restrained himself, thinking Will would not appreciate that.
“I’m back!” said Karina, as she approached the pair once again.
She grabbed Sotis’s wrist, pulling it to lift him up from his seat.
“Since you’re not going to be staying here long, you might as well visit Brodullak a bit! Come, I’ll show you around!” she cheerfully said, as she dragged him along.
Will followed the two of them closely behind, as Karina ran around showing the different parts of the ship. She showed him the inside of her and Will’s room, which closely resembled any other house in a small village. They walked past a room filled with livestock. Many cows, ducks, pigs, and chickens were entrapped by fences, enclosing them in spaces. Karina explained that these were the residents’ food source. They continued to walk around Brodullak, and eventually took a break on the ship’s main deck. Sotis observed the ocean, watching the waves hit against the ship. With a slight wind flowing in the air, Sotis felt refreshed, having spent considerable time inside Brodullak.
“Feels nice, doesn’t it?” said Karina.
“It sure does,” replied Sotis.
The trio spent time relaxing on the deck of the ship, waiting to reach the destination. Multiple residents walked past by, each of them being busy with their own lives. It further emphasized Sotis’s belief that Brodullak truly was just like any other town, with the exception that it was on sea.
Suddenly, their moment of relaxation came to an end when a resident at the top of the mainmast started screaming something.
“Vessel at north-east!”
Multiple men and women started running to the main deck, trying to identify what he had seen. Curious about why it would cause so much commotion, Sotis looked as well. There was a large ship in the distance, though significantly smaller than Brodullak. Sotis wondered why so much stir over a ship, with nothing being out of ordinary. The commotion slowly died down as their captain, Gustav, started approaching them.
“Well, all of you know what to do now. Let’s head for it!” cried out Gustav, firing everybody up.
The residents screamed in agreement, and Brodullak took a sharp turn to head towards the other ship. Wondering about the turn of events, Sotis proceeded to ask Karina.
“You’re about to find out very soon,” she swiftly replied.
Having not received an answer to his question, Sotis decided to wait. The two ships had become very close to one another, though the tall height of Brodullak made it seem that it was much farther. Gustav stood on the edge of the deck, in order for the people in the other ship to hear him well.
“Alright, give us everything you’ve got! Otherwise, be prepared to face the wrath of Brodullak!” yelled out the captain.
Surprised at the words he had just heard, Sotis turned to Karina to confirm what Gustav said.
“It’s exactly as he said. Brodullak attacks other vessels to seize all their belongings. How else do you think we manage to live out on the sea for so long? Food and items from other ships is the only we can manage to stay at sea. We simply do not have enough resources onboard. Plus, we do not know when we’ll encounter another ship next, so we must use every opportunity we have,” explained Karina.
Sotis was both shocked and disgusted by her words. Stealing from smaller and weaker vessels was something he simply could not condone. During Karina’s explanation, the other ship had supposedly refused to capitulate. It started drifting away, trying to escape the immense vessel.
“Do not let them escape! Nobody can run away from Brodullak! The entire sea is ours!” yelled Gustav, ordering the residents around him.
They all scattered around, each going to their own assigned position. Brodullak continued to chase the smaller ship, shifting their destination. Sotis quickly ran up to Gustav, ready to question their actions.
“Is this really right? Are you fine with looting from those weaker than you?” asked Sotis.
Gustav grumbled, “Listen young man. Life at sea is harsh. Harsher than anything you have ever lived through. Thieving is necessary to survive. Small things need to be sacrificed for bigger things to be sustained. Now that you understand, stay back!”
“But surely there is another way? Surely, you don’t have to do all of this for Brodullak?” said Sotis, stubbornly trying to change Gustav’s mind.
“Look, this is how things have been done for generations! Get out of my sight!” yelled Gustav, irritated.
“Gee, you’re really starting to piss me off! Guys, get at him!”
A few residents close to them looked at each other and proceeded to follow Gustav’s orders. They pulled out a range of bladed weapons from their respective sheaths. A tall man swung his saber at Sotis’s back. Instinctively, Sotis pulled his dagger out of its scabbard, blocking the attack. Sotis pushed him back with a kick, making the man fall and tumble. A lady to his left attempted to stab him, but with nimble movements, managed to avoid it and quickly disarmed her. Sotis was hit with a series of attempts to injure him. With major combat experience, he managed to avoid all assaults, and render the residents harmless, all while managing to avoid injuring them in return. The residents he had subdued were exhausted, unable to continuing attacking Sotis. In one last effort, Sotis tried to convince Gustav one last time.
“Are you sure that you cannot change your ways? Please, there must be a better alternative solution,” implored Sotis.
Gustav grumbled loudly and was starting to think about defeating Sotis with his own hands. However, a voice in the distant abstained these thoughts.
“Captain! The ship is far gone. We will never be able to catch up to it. We better bring the chase to a close.”
Gustav looked around trying to identify who had said those words. He quickly locked his eyes on the person he was looking for: a young woman, Karina. He then turned his attention to the ship they were chasing and noticed that it was indeed way too far for Brodullak to reach. Annoyed, he gave out an order to the residents, but not before grumbling loudly.
“Everybody! Forget the other ship! We’re heading back to our original destination!” yelled out Gustav.
Multiple residents seemed confused at this order, likely since ship chases ending prematurely were rare. With Brodullak heading for the region, Gustav approached Sotis.
“So, you got your wish. What do you want us to do in the future now?” asked Gustav, annoyed at the turn of events.
Sotis thought for multiple long seconds but came to no answer. Impatiently waiting for a response, Gustav questioned him further.
“Oh, so you wanted to stop us without having an alternative solution, huh?”
“I’ll be frank,” replied Sotis, “My only thought was to help the people in the other ship. I hadn’t thought about what would come next afterwards.”
“So, you just want to help people without even knowing their situation or even who they are? You know, that’s not always going to bring you good results,” stated Gustav.
“I am well aware of that. However, I know that I will regret it if I do nothing,” said Sotis, with conviction.
A moment of silence stood between the two, with neither of them knowing what to say next. Eventually Sotis spoke up.
“I’ll offer you a deal. I want the residents of Brodullak to stop looting other ships. If it ever seems that it would bring the downfall of Brodullak, you are free to do as you have always done.”
Gustav thought for several seconds, before reluctantly agreeing, “Ugh, fine. But the moment our community seems to be in danger, we’ll go back to attacking ships.”
The two men shook their hands, though in vastly different circumstances than they had done earlier in the day. With this agreement, the two parted ways, returning to where they were before the smaller ship had been found. Karina ran up to Sotis, seemingly slightly worried. As usual, Will followed her behind, though was a lot calmer than his sister.
“I’m sorry that I couldn’t do anything to help! Are you alright?” frantically said Karina.
“Don’t worry about anything,” said Sotis, being fairly relaxed, “I know it’s hard to defy your captain’s words. Thank you for saying something back then.”
“Oh no worries, that was nothing!” she said, back to her cheerful self, before dashing off somewhere else.
Once again, Will and Sotis were left alone together. However, in comparison to the previous times, Will was the one who broke the silence.
“I always thought that stealing from other ships was weird,” said the teenager, “It’s good that you did something about it.”
“All I did was propose to bring a stop to this,” replied Sotis, “It is still up to them to change their ways.”
“At least it’s a start. And today’s events finally helped me figure something out.”
“I... I really don’t feel at home here. I spent so much of my life on this ship, but it still feels so foreign to me. I think... it might be good to find where I come from.”
Sotis smiled as he heard Will’s words. He felt proud of him to have figured his thoughts out. Looking off at the sea, Sotis gave Will a bit of encouragement.
“The world is very big. I want to warn you that it may take a lot of time before you find your home. However, always remember that it’s out there. You’ll find it someday, I’m sure of it.”
“I hope so too,” said Will, slightly touched by Sotis’s words.
Karina came back shortly after, and the trio spent the rest of the day together. As the sun started to set, they had finally reached their destination, arriving at the new region. Two wooden rowboats were dropped in the water, for Sotis, Will, and the other travelers to use to reach the region. Will received many encouraging words from the other residents, wishing him the best of luck for the future. Sotis, on the other hand, received praised for his combat abilities from a few people, alongside requests for him to become a resident of the ship. Being ready to leave the Brodullak, Sotis and Will jumped onto a rowboat, while the other travelers shared the other one. The boats were then lowered into the sea, leaving the group to their own affairs.
“Have you said all of your goodbyes Will?” asked Sotis, wanting to make sure that he had no regrets before being too far away from Brodullak.
“Yes. I’m ready to push forward on my own.”
Receiving confirmation from Will, Sotis grabbed the oars, and started rowing away from Brodullak. As the boat drifted further and further away from the town, Sotis noticed small tears coming out of Will’s eyes. Despite all that he said, he was still attached to Brodullak. Nonetheless, Will’s best course of action was to journey off to find a place he could truly call home. While Sotis was thinking of something to say, his thoughts were interrupted by a loud scream heard coming from Brodullak.
“Where do you think you’re going?!”
The voice was Karina’s. Sotis and Will could barely see her, being some distance from her. Suddenly, they saw a girl dive into the ocean. Everyone stood in surprise and worry after seeing her jump off. Nonetheless, their worries were gone when they saw here aggressively swimming towards Sotis’s and Will’s rowboat. She grabbed the edge of the boat and was pulled onto the boat with the help of Sotis and Will.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?” instantaneously asked Karina.
“I was sure you wouldn’t let me leave if I told you,” responded Will, “and... I’m not sure if I could leave if I saw you.”
Karina hugged Will, and Will reciprocated, despite her being completely soaked. With the two sharing a moment, Sotis remained silent, smiling at the heartwarming scene unfolding before him. While hugging Karina, he saw Brodullak starting to drift away. Noticing that, he immediately broke up the hug, worried about Karina.
“Wait, Karina, the ship’s leaving without you!” anxiously said Will.
“Oh, don’t worry about that,” casually answered Karina, “I already told them everything.”
“What do you mean?” asked Will, confused.
“I’ll be following you on your journey!” she proudly said.
“Wait, what?! But I’m off to find my home! This has nothing to do with you!”
“How could you say that, Will? I’m your sister! We may not be related by blood, but we are still family. And family is more important than anything else. I am never going to let you go off alone. If that means that I must leave my home, so be it! Nothing is ever going to separate us!”
Will remained silent for some moments, not knowing how to answer. Eventually, he found the words he wanted to say.
“Thank you,” he said, with a smile.
“You’re welcome!” she happily responded, grinning.
While the brother and sister were talking to each other, Sotis was rowing the boat up to the shore, arriving to the new region. They all stepped out, prepared to each head off towards their own destination.
“So, I guess this is goodbye then,” said Sotis.
“Yeah... But hopefully, we’ll see each other in the future!” replied Karina.
“I sure hope so too. I wish you two the best of luck in finding Will’s home.”
“Thank you! All the best of luck to you too!” responded Karina.
Will thanked Sotis as well, before heading off with Karina into a completely new territory. Sotis headed off in the opposite direction, also heading into an unknown region, with new places to discover and make his mark.
Several weeks later, Brodullak encountered once again a ship of a much smaller size. As Gustav prepared to give the order to invade it, he had a hazy memory in his mind. He did not know what it was, but he remembered that they were not supposed to continue stealing from ships. In complete confusion as to what that memory could be, Gustav yelled to the people on the other ship the first words that came to his mind, surprising and confusing the residents of Brodullak.
“Are you guys in need of any help?”
From that day on, Brodullak became known as the helper of the seas. Their reputation of being sea thieves was left in the past, and they came to the aid of any vessel they encountered. They were rewarded generously for their actions, bringing prosperity to the town. Yet, nobody remembers when and why they changed their ways. All that remains is a vague memory of an agreement involving the captain. An agreement that positively impacted Brodullak Town for years to come.