This story came to me today when thinking of a work of fiction I have been developing for a number of years. This is the backstory for a support character in part of that work.
The project as a whole is called The Rift and involves Dimension Travel, Demons, Knights, Warrior Monks, New York Detectives from NYPD and more.
The image in this article is of my son, Saul, portraying one of the lead characters in The Rift – Chacho, The Stormrider.
One setting is a flooded world with little land and almost endless seas. Here there is a large ruthless Empire based on 17th/18th Century Europe in a region as warm as the Mediterranean. Here are the largest landmasses, though none much larger than mainland Britain. All that live outside that elitist land are subjugated and any outside their law are named by them as Pirate whether it is true or not.
It is in that setting that this story takes place. It came to me in the form of a sea shanty and as this is an oral tradition from free living folk that means I have relaxed any constraints on verses being of equal lengths and I’ve been as relaxed with the rhyming. Though it is not set to a tune I imagine it to be accompanied by a light rhythm from a drum perhaps with major scenes separated by soft flute or pipes.
Sally’s Dying Sailor
by Steve Hargett
I’m dying in shackles but once I was free.
I lived my life on the wide open sea.
I came to the Northern Isles a Summer ago.
What I found here changed my live so.
Two meetings so different have sealed my fate,
One born of love,
the other of hate.
Tis my darling Sally with her eyes so blue,
Who shares with me a love honest and true.
An indentured girl serving a fine fancy home.
But born of free spirit and longing to roam.
In the market I met her one trading day,
We were soon one,
What else can I say?
Tis Lieutenant Karol a mean hearted churl,
Who coveted Sally though she was my girl.
Many times he’d call on her and ask her to walk,
So that he could fill her head with wedding talk.
But my Sally loved only me and Karol was rebuffed,
His anger grew till,
My Sally he cuffed.
In anger I called Lieutenant Karol out.
I was the best swordsman of that I’ve no doubt.
Karol’s not a man to fight clean and fair,
He set up a trap with Sargent-at-Arms Culdare
They beat me and stripped me, threw me in a cell,
They whipped me
And sent my mind to hell
My Sally she found me and without the keys
She slipped in to my cell as easily as you please.
She gathered my up in her loving sweet arms
and carried me past that blasted Sargent-at-arms.
She was born of the Free People of the Caldera
Which gave her magic
And made her much fairer.
She laid me out on a hilltop under the open sky,
And it eases my pain even though I know I will die.
She tells me some news that eases me on my way,
She is carrying my child and will soon be away.
Her people have found her and passage over the water
Where she will live free
and raise our own daughter
She’ll not know shackles but will life free.
Living at peace on the wide open sea.