I am working on a second series of books, the “Arianna” series. This is the short story I wrote that inspired the series. I will publish part 2 and 3 as well.
The Legend of Captain Jon Blackwell
Once upon a time there was a merchant sea captain named Jon Blackwell. He was a fine and honorable man, and many say the most blessed captain on the seas. Merchants far and wide sought out Jon Blackwell to get their cargo from port to port. News traveled fast about the captain and how he was blessed by the goddess of the sea. His ships were never destroyed by unfavorable weather; he was never invaded by pirates and had the fastest fleet in the ocean.
The truth was Jon Blackwell really had been blessed by the goddess of the sea. Each night when he sailed, as the sunset in the furthest part of the ocean, he would speak sweetly to Calista. He would tell her how beautiful she was, how beautiful her seas were and how he loved the way the sunset cascaded off her waters. He would lean against the rail of the ship and whisper into the air. All the men of his crew believed that she had fallen in love with their captain and blessed him with favorable voyages.
Jon would laugh at his crew and call them superstitious, but he did this every journey and every journey turned out exactly as he hoped. When he docked, he would hear the stories of the other ships and their bad luck with pirates or how the seas had tossed them to and fro. As he drank his ale, he would just laugh and say “you should be more kind to Calista, she will see you through.”
The others were envious of Jon, and often times before each voyage he would have hundreds of men begging to join his crews. Soon, he had enough men for a fleet of his own and each ship was blessed by Calista’s love of the handsome sea captain who flattered her so.
But one day, just as the air began to chill, Jon grew ill. It was just a common cold to you and me, but without the kind of medicines that we have now, he took more than a couple of days to shake the sickness and did not chance a journey out to seas. During this time, he met a beautiful maiden with long red hair and eyes greener than polished emeralds.
This maiden’s name was Marissa; she tended to him while he was sick and bewitched him with her beauty. In modern day, she would be considered a nurse or even a physician as she would deliver babies and care for the sick. She was the kindest and fairest woman he had ever known; it was impossible not to love her. Jon did with all of his heart; the first time he loved anyone or anything more than the sea. Days turned into weeks, and with each passing day he found himself falling more in love with the beautiful Marissa. She was his princess, his savior and she also fell in love with him.
It had now been nearly two months since he had sailed and he asked Marissa to marry him, vowing he would stay on land from that day forward if she would only agree. He wanted to settle down, manage his fleet and sail no more. Marissa denied his proposals at first, despite her love for him, sure that he could not truly stay away from seas. Jon courted her for another month, not so much as setting foot on a small fishing boat, to prove his love for her. Marissa finally agreed.
They soon married and life was truly wonderful. Two more months had passed and Marissa learned that she was to have a child. Jon was as happy as an expected father could be, however fate had temptation in mind for Captain Blackwell, and the very same evening they received the news of the baby a knock came to their door. Two finely dressed gentleman stood in their door way and could not be persuaded to speak to anyone but the blessed Captain Jon Blackwell.
Not pleased to be pulled away from their celebration, Jon reluctantly met with them. They had a proposal for Jon Blackwell; a voyage that would bring riches not only to them but to Jon as well. One journey to China and back and if his crew proved worthy, Jon could retire to run his business from the city and they would in turn give him a contact to bring their teas and fine silks from the orient; their only condition was that he lead the first expedition.
Jon knew this would make him quite wealthy but also knew it would mean breaking his vow to Marissa. On the other hand, who couldn’t use the money with a baby on the way? Jon needed to think. He sent the men on their way, promising he would talk with them more the following morning. As he and Marissa prepared for bed, he spoke to her about the men’s offer.
He wouldn’t sail again without her blessing. Marissa knew that Jon’s first love was the sea. She used to love to sit and listen to him for hours tell stories of his adventures. She could see the ocean rise and fall in his eyes; the sunsets setting beyond the ends of the earth. Marissa loved him so and hated to refuse him, but she had a horrible feeling sweep over her. She feared if he went on this voyage he would not return to her.
Neither of them slept well that night, both full of thoughts of Jon sailing once again. He held Marissa in his arms, listening to her breath. The way her chest would softly go up and down reminded him the waves of the ocean; he had to admit that he longed to sail one last time but he would not say the words. Marissa curled close to him, but could feel that he was miles away and silent tears fell down her cheeks. She knew she would have to let him go and pray every day for his return.
The early morning sun began to peek through the curtains of their bed chamber. Jon climbed from the bed and dressed quietly, eager not to disturb Marissa. Rest was important for her in her delicate condition, he thought to himself, but as he turned to leave the room there she sat at the edge of the bed. Her eyes on him, clear and bright and full of love; he crossed the room and knelt at her feet.
Marissa ran her fingers through his hair and leaned down, placing a soft kiss on the top of his head. “You have my blessing, my dear, dear husband.” She said. “Just promise to return to me.”
Jon looked up into her eyes and he could see the longing there for him not to go, but also the unconditional love that will allow him to leave. “I promise, I will return.”
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