Journal Entry 13

  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/theresab/goodshipwhitestar.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/theresab/goodshipwhitestar.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/theresab/goodshipwhitestar.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/theresab/goodshipwhitestar.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/theresab/goodshipwhitestar.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/theresab/goodshipwhitestar.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/theresab/goodshipwhitestar.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/theresab/goodshipwhitestar.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/theresab/goodshipwhitestar.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.
  • : Function ereg() is deprecated in /home/theresab/goodshipwhitestar.com/includes/file.inc on line 647.

Dear Journal:

This is perhaps the best entry ever! It is truly a tale to remember and to be told again and again!

They say that a sailor will do anything to get a good ship under his feet. Sometimes the good ship will find the sailor whether he likes it or not, this is one of those stories.

Two years ago I had left the Holy Lands and after having grown weary of traveling on dry land I booked passage on a ship called "The White Star." It was good to get the deck of a ship under my feet again and I was happy to be smelling the salt sea air.

We traveled to the Italian City-State of Venice. It was beautiful, and full of excitement. A festival was taking place that the locals called "the Great Western War." There was all manner of games includeing one played by the gentlemen to see who was the greatest duelist. I knew I was an excellent swordsman (even though the Captain says I win by luck and determination) so I thought I would try my hand. I needed a second of course, I found it surprising that Mordechai approached me and offered his services. We fought many duels, all in secrecy because it was illegal to duel in the State of Venice. The city guards were always snooping about looking for us. I then realized that since the alleys were so small and dark that a person could be ambushed on the way to their duel. I also found that I had no personal quarrel with any of the Gentles but my true enemies where the guards themselves. I then came up with a plan to ambush the Captain of the Guards and ransom him. Mordechai and I took off to the dockside to find some "unsavory" men to create this ambush, and to have a goodly drink as well.

It was not hard to find fellows that were willing to do a bit of work for a bit of the ransom so I was on my way to riches and decided to celebrate. Of course once I had had several drinks my tongue began to wag and some ears began to hear of my plot. The night wore on and it was time to return to the White Star to get some sleep. On the dock was the Third Auxiliary Dragoons who had traveled with us to Venice, they were having their annual toast. When I approached they all turned to me and said "Maaaarcooooos." They all had devilish grins that belied a plot. I figured I could run and then live as a fugitive with an army battalion chasing me or I could walk right into the trap.

I later found myself tied to a chair and being interrogated by the Dragoons. If not for the efforts of Mordechai I would have probably been executed on the spot. They pulled my pistol and asked what an innocent man like me would need of a pistol. Mordechai explained that a man had a right to defend himself and that the pistol had not been fired. They drew my sword and asked what a man would do with a sword if he was not out dueling. Mordechai showed them the blade and that it was not stained with blood. (In truth I had been using Mordechai's sword all day.) All this went on for what seemed like forever and all I could thing was "I wish Captain Lot would return. He is a friend of mine and would set all this to rights." Finally the good Captain arrived and I knew I was saved. He picked up a sword off of the near by table, looked at it, then pointed it at me! I had not ever seen it from that angle but it was in fact mine own sword. "Did you, or did you not conspire to have me captured and ransomed," he asked. I was undone! I had made a critical failure and had not realized that the Captain of the White Star was serving at this time as the Captain of the city guards! I spoke as quickly as I could, "You have to understand my situation,"I blurted. He reached back and drew my pistol and pointed it at me and repeated, "Did you, or did you not conspire to have me captured and ransomed?"

I looked to Mordechai for help. He looked at me and said, "In times like this it is important to tell the truth." With a sigh I turned to Captain Lot and confessed all that I had planned to do. He listened, then lowered the weapons and leaned back to think. After what seemed like forever he said, "Then you shall be a prisoner on the White Star under the Captain's watchful eye until you are seen fit to be freed."

And that is where I have been since then. After a year of being on the ship Captain Lot approached me. He told me that I could now earn my freedom if I could accomplish three tasks: First is that I must have a book that is filled with numerous people who will vouch for my honor and chivalric behavior. Second that I give a symbol of trust. Third that I give just payment for what my freedom is worth to me.

I set to the task and after a years time I had assembled the items and was ready to be freed. The ceremony was grand and I had invited many of my friends to gather for the occation at the place of my capture in Venice. I was sad to find that Mordechai would not be present. I began with telling everyone of my travels and the tournaments I had gone to. There had been many who had signed their names to honor, and I had even earned many awards that spoke of the same. Captain Lot received this and declared that the first part of the quest was complete.

I have learned through my time spent on the ship that Captain Lot is a very traveled man and on one occasion he had returned with little boxes. He gave one to each of us and when we opened them they had little notes that read "Here is the soul of Marcos de la Cruz, it may be given away and when opened Marcos will perform any task." I was confused. How did my soul get out and into a little box, and boy was I glad to have it back! I pulled the little box containing my soul and presented it. I held it out to Captain Lot and when he reached to receive it I turned toward Lady Caterina. I felt that the Lady would need of my assistance far more than the good Captain. Now, it was a great gift to give a "favor" yet it did not represent "trust"to me. The little box claiming to have my soul did not mean trust to me, so I reached into my bag to pull out another box. This one painted with silver wolves: it was the soul of Mordechai ben Abraham that he gave to me in hopes that it help be to be free. I was sad that he could not be there so I opened it and called for him. "This," Lot proclaimed, "Is a symbol of trust!" (Later that evening, even though Mordechai said he would not be there, he arrived.)

I began to speak of the third part of the quest but was interrupted by the Baron Jamal who stood up and shouted at Captain Lot! "I am tired of this! My Lady, the Baroness has been made to stand this entire time I have received little hospitality, and made to drink this swill!" and with that he cast the drink he had in his hands into the fire. "The only man," the Baron went on, "who has offered me a seat or shown me any kind of courtesy has been this man here, Marcos de la Cruz!"

Captain Lot was flustered. He had never seen the Baron so angry and when the Baron has given you your Letter of Mark allowing you to sail in the local waters you are best to take good care of him.

Lot did his very best to apologize for all this, however the Baron cut him off and said "Captain Lot, I think it well to listen now. I am taking away the letter of mark offered to your ship and giving it to the man of hospitality, Marcos."

The Baron produced a paper, the Captain was shocked, I held out my hand after warming them by the fire and smiled, for I had planned this all along and the Baron was completing a favor for me. I took the letter and turned to Lot. "So, Captain. Here is the last part of my quest, for you see, my freedom is worth to me what your livelihood is worth to you. I will trade my letter of mark for the key to my shackles."

Captain Lot went from surprised to dark. He folded his arms across his chest and glared at me. "I do not negotiate with scoundrels." We stared at each other for what felt like an eternity. Neither would budge. The Captain would not be coerced and I would not give up my chance at freedom. The Baron pulled me aside, and told me that these are moments where one has to put a lot of trust in your friends.

I thought carefully, and made my decision. I stepped up to Captain Lot. "My good Captain, you are my good friend, and all the White Star are my friends. I would never want to loose that, so I will give up this chance for freedom, there will always be another, and I give back the letter of mark to you." I handed him the piece of paper and the iron cuffs began to feel a lot heavier. "I thank you Marcos,"the Captain said, "and with that you have completed the quest and you are now free! Mariam, bring forth the key to these irons!" The crew and the crowd cheered! The key was set to my chains and I was then made a free man! Free to leave and go where ever I please. The Captain had always said that he would release me and I would be free to walk home from there, (He had hoped we would be at sea) but I was in Venice and could book passage back to my home in Ravenna. There were even a couple of drunken celts that were armed and ready to give me a bit of a cudgeling before I left. I looked around at all my friends and shipmates. I had sailed with them for two years then, and I began to realize how much I would miss them when I was gone. I looked to all of them and announced "I am free now and can go wherever I wish: however I cannot imagine being anywhere without my friends, so, I will stay and work on the White Star!" The crowd cheered twice as hard!

So, now I am a free sailor on the ship. A powder monkey still, but proud because it is my choice to be here. My Mother always said I should be a merchant. Well, I am now, on a merchant vessel called the White Star. I think I may never want to go home again.
Sincerely,
Marcos de la Cruz
Free man of the White Star