Writing prompt #6 – Black sails of despair

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Writing prompt #6 – Lovelorn

Osgar stood on the dock, watching the horizon. He heard a snort behind him. “You need to stop this, Osgar,” a rough voice said.

Osgar looked over his shoulder. His cousin Abbas was just out of arm’s reach, hands on his hips. “Why should I?” Osgar asked.

“The fleet was lost. They’re not coming back,” Abbas said. “Besides, you know she doesn’t love you.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Osgar said, feeling a stab go through his heart. “I still want her to come home safely. Not to mention my younger sister is in that fleet, as are your three sisters.”

Abbas scowled. “That’s true, and my parents and I have accepted the fact that they’re not coming back. Your parents have accepted the fact that Echo isn’t coming back. Why can’t you?”

“I can feel it in my soul,” Osgar said. “They’ll be home soon. I just know it.”

Abbas laughed. “Osgar, you traded your soul away long ago for the power to woo women. She’s the only one immune to the power you gained after that bargain.”

“There was no bargain, Abbas. You just don’t have any refinement in your interactions with women,” Osgar said, returning his focus to the horizon. He frowned. “Abbas, does that look like black sails to you?”

Abbas walked up next to his cousin. Osgar could see it in his posture that he was only there to humor him. Suddenly Abbas stiffened. “By the Sea Gods, Osgar. Those are black sails.” Abbas scratched at the scraggly beard on his chin. “But we don’t have any ships out right now.”

“Except for the lost fleet,” Osgar said pointedly.

Abbas turned and bolted back for the village. Osgar continued watching as the ships grew closer and closer. As they drew even with the docks he saw just how much of a miracle it was that they’d even made it home.

Great gaping holes showed in the worn gray wood hulls. The black sails were in tatters, and some of the masts were held together by metal bands. The women on the ships gave a ragged cheer as the men and children came running down to greet them.

Gangplanks were lowered to the docks by most ships. Those that didn’t have one anymore dropped rope ladders. The women abandoned the ships and ran into the waiting arms of their families.

Osgar bit his lip as Nadire, the object of his unrequited desire, limped off her ship. She was followed by Anara, Osgar’s younger sister. Anara saw him and flung herself into his arms, sobbing and shaking.

“It’s okay, little sister,” Osgar said, stroking her hair. “You’re home safe now.” He looked up at Nadire. “Welcome home, Captain Nadire.”

Nadire looked over at him. “Thank you.” She frowned. “Are you Anara’s husband? I don’t believe I remember seeing you before.”

Osgar’s heart broke. “No, Captain. I’m her older brother. I’ve spoken with you a number of times in the village.”

Nadire shrugged. “I speak to so many people I hardly remember any of them.” She strode through the crowd gathered towards the village and, presumably, her house.

Osgar continued smoothing Anara’s hair as his family joined them. His parents were crying, trying to pull Anara into their arms. She released Osgar and collapsed into their embrace. Osgar started crying himself. Everyone thought they were tears of joy, as theirs were. His were the bitter drops of a devastated heart.

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