Meldrick's Tales, Chapter 24, The Smuggler's Tale
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Meldrick the Elder
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Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:39 pm
Meldrick smiled as Loriel flitted about and tittered at the sound of the children trying to talk like pirates with all the 'Aarghs' and 'Ahoys'. It had become a simple holiday after the Smuggler's arrival. Loriel knew a little more about the Smuggler than most, but not as much as Meldrick did, for the mysterious stranger known as the Smuggler was a long-time friend from Meldrick's childhood.

Loriel tittered more and sprinkled a bit of faerie dust as the children made their way to Meldrick. "Meldrick, Meldrick, be it true ye know the Smuggler's real name?"

Catching on to the piratey talk, Meldrick chuckled, "Aye, me hardies, it be true that I be a-knowin' the Smuggler's, but I dare not speak it!" He smiled as he could tell that the children had all sat down before him, waiting for a story.

"Parhaps, ye could tell me what ye have heard about that scallywag. . .then I may be a-tellin' the true tale." Meldrick chuckled as he could tell the children were fidgeting about. "All righty, who be tha first ta tell me what it be ye haird?"

Meldrick chuckled as Tommy spoke up, somehow he knew Tommy would be the first, "Meldrick, I heard that he was a King who gave up his throne for the woman he loved and that when she died, he left the Kingdom broken-hearted, then took up pirating as a way to forget."

The old Elf smiled, as there be a tad bit of truth to that rumor, "Hmmm, that be a right good story lad. . .anyone else?"

Little Katey spoke up, "Sir Meldrick, I heard tell that he had lived among the Merfolk, but was banished because of something he did."

Meldrick chuckled as there was a touch of the truth in that tale also. "Hmmm. . .parhaps, parhaps. . .does anyone else have a tale to tell?"

As foot steps approached and Loriel tittered more, Meldrick turned his head to the person approaching, "How about ye, Smuggler, would ye like ta tell yer tale?"

The children turned and gasped, a few had seen the Smuggler before, but none had ever been this close, "We didn't mean anything by the tales, good sir, " Tommy said, "we were just repeating what we had heard."

The Smuggler chuckled, "It be all right, laddie. . .thair only be a few who know the true tale and I be not a-mindin' a-hearin' the tales told about me," he chuckled, "Some be rather amusin', if'n I donnae say meself."

Little Katey spoke up again, "Would you tell us your story?"

He smiled as he he looked to her, "Tis sorry I be, lassie, fer I be no teller of tales. . ." he chuckled and pointed to Meldrick, "but if'n I be not mistakin', thair be a fella about here who is."

"As fer me, I must be a-goin', fer I have smug. . .business that be a-needin' attention." With that the Smuggler turned about and called over his shoulder, "Now Donnae ye be fergittin' the good parts, Mellie!"

The children chuckled as they had never heard Meldrick referred to as "Mellie" before.

Meldrick smiled, "I guess I should start at the beginning. . .

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Meldrick was excited as the Gathering of Gypsies was to take place outside of the port city of Newland on the western coast. He wasn't that excited about the Gathering as much as he was excited about seeing his friend, Ja. . .(oops, almost gave away the Smuggler's real name, there, so for the purpose of the story I will call him 'Billy') Billy. He and Billy were kindred spirits, always off exploring, though Billy's love was the sea. It had been calling him for a few years now and Meldrick knew that each year's gathering might be the last that he would share with his friend.

As their caravan pulled into the Gathering Spot, he realized that Billy's tribe had already set up their camp site. Mother Marla could sense Meldrick's urgency to see his friend as she halted the wagon and he set about helping her unhitch the horses and tether them.

She moved to him and placed her hand on his shoulder, "Mellie, your brother Aaron and I have this, go ahead and get your gear and seek out your friend." Meldrick smiled and hugged Mother Marla, he didn't want to shirk his duties, but was thankful that she would allow him to go.

After going into their wagon and gathering his pack, he went back to her to thank her again. "Mellie, we will be here for two weeks, be careful, my son."

"I will, Mother Marla," he hugged her again and smiled as he set off in search of Billy.

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As Meldrick neared where Billy's Tribe was camped, he noticed the men and boys of the tribe were shaking his hand and patting him on the back and the ladies and girls were kissing and hugging him. Pausing a moment, he realized that Billy was really going to do it this time, that he had gotten his tribe's approval to leave.

Billy smiled, "Mellie, ye be just in time, me friend. . ." he then introduced Meldrick to his friends and family. Then turned to bid them farewell.

Billy's uncle was the last to say his goodbyes, "Young Master William, I know the sea be in yer blood, but know that yer heart be here with us." Billy hugged his uncle, "I cannae ne'er fergit it, Uncle Georgio, ne'er."

The old Elf smiled and waived his goodbye as Billy and Mellie started off down the road towards the port.

"I can't believe you're really doing this Billy, after all our adventures together, I will miss you, too."

Billy chuckled as he put his arm around his friend, "Ye could always be a-comin' with me, Mellie. . ."

Meldrick chuckled, "Well, I do have two weeks, though I know you mean for a lot longer. . .we shall have to see what happens when we get to the docks."

"Fair enough, Mellie, but first we be a-needin' ta stop off in the cove before we reach the harbor."

Meldrick looked at his friend, "Why the cove, Billy?"

Billy smiled, "Thair be somthin' thair that I wants ta show ye. . .Donnae worry, Mellie, ye won't be shanghaied or anythin'."

Meldrick chuckled as one of the adventures they had had together was playing that they had been shanghaied and taken upon a pirate ship. . .really a row boat they found in the Black River. "That was one adventure that didn't end well. . .the boat sank and we had to swim for it."

Billy chuckled, "Aye, that it did. . .but was good fun."

Meldrick nodded as Billy led him off the main road and down to the hidden cove and beach below. He smiled at the beauty of the area and how serene the waves were.

Meldrick turned his attention to the waves and when he looked back, Billy seemed to have disappeared. "Billy, where'd you go?"

He could hear his friend laughing and then Billy popped his head from around an old coral outcropping. "Over here, Mellie."

Meldrick smiled and followed Billy into a small opening that led into a large cavern. Billy lit a torch and waved it about as he smiled. Meldrick looked about seeing that the cavern was bigger than he had first thought.

There were steps built up that led to an upper level about 15 feet above the ground, well above the high water mark. "What is it Billy?"

"This be me store house, Mellie. . .I be a-havin' big plans fer the future," Meldrick followed as he bound up the stairs, then waved the torch about again. Meldrick could see that Billie had collected some boxes and things.

"So, you're going into business? I thought you were going to follow the sea?" Meldrick seemed a little confused.

"Har, har, har, oh Mellie, I be a-thinkin' ahead ta me future, ye know, after me sailin' days be over." He walked over to a large wooden desk, that his friend wondered how he was able to get it in through that small opening; and opened the middle drawer and took out a key.

"Mellie if ye ever be a-needin' ta get a message ta me, leave it here in me desk and I'll be sure ta find it."

Meldrick smiled, "All right Billy, it's quite a set up you have here. . .how did you get that desk in here?"

Billy chuckled, "Ahhh, now Mellie, everyone be a-needin' thair secrets."

Meldrick shook his head and chuckled, "That they do, my friend, that they do."

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After leaving the hidden cove, they quickly reached town and headed to the piers. As they walked up and down the piers, Meldrick watched Billy, who was looking over the ships berthed there. They finally stopped by the gangplank of a schooner and Billy called out to the ship's watch.

"Ahoy, Master of the Deck!" Billy yelled out.

A deck hand looked over the side of the railing, "Who's that a-callin' fer the Master o' tha Deck?"

"It be me, Billy, be that ye, Jack?" Billy yelled back.

"Aye, Billy, ye and yer friend can come aboard; be ye actually a-joinin' us this time?" Jack smiled a toothy grin, evidently he and Billy had known each other for awhile.

"Aye Jack, it be the right time fer me ta go and me friend, Mellie, here be a-joinin' us fer me first tour." Meldrick look at Billy, chuckling and shaking his head.

"Welcome aboard, Maties, and Mellie any friend o' Billy's be always welcome aboard the "Flyin' Cross".

Meldrick shook Jack's hand as they boarded the schooner. He followed Billy, being sure to take it all in as they moved towards the Captain's Quarters. "I hae ta report in, Mellie and I hope ye donnae mind, I arranged fer ye ta travel with us on our voyage ta the outer islands and back." He chuckled, "Ye might hae ta do a little manual labor, but it should be an interestin' trip."

He stopped outside the cabin and rapped on the door.

"Who be a-botherin' a workin' man durin' his sleep" boomed out of the cabin.

"Cap'n, it be Billy, reportin' fer duty." Meldrick was surprised when the Captain told them to enter and even more surprised when he recognized the Captain. . .Bobcat Blackie. . .the most famous 'Privateer' in all of the Zantarnian Seas.

"And who might this be, Billy?" The Captain said, motioning towards Meldrick.

"Cap'n, this be me best friend, Mellie, Meldrick o' the Gypsy Elves. . ." The Captain looked Meldrick up and down then offered his hand.

"Welcome aboard Meldrick, any friend o' Billy's be a friend o' mine." Meldrick shook the Captain's, surprised that Billy knew Bobcat Blackie and was being welcomed aboard.

Blackie chuckled, "I be a-seein' it yer eyes, lad, ye be a-wonderin' how an ol' scallywag like me be a-knowin' a fine lad like Billy. . ." He paused a moment while Billy lightly blushed, "Billy be a good luck charm and I found out that he be a-havin' an uncanny ability ta be able ta appropriate. . . er. . .locate just about anythin' I be a-needin'. . .it be why I offered him tha job o' ship's supply master." The Captain smiled, "Tis glad I be that he accepted."

Blackie patted Billy's shoulder, "Now get along ye two, settle in, we sail at first light."

------------------------------------

After setting up their bunks in the ship's stores, and answering a lot of questions, Billy took Meldrick on the 1 zg tour of the ship. It was evident from the start the "Flyin' Cross" was not what she appeared to be. Heavily armed below decks, which was not apparent when one was on decks where there were only 4 small cannons and a pivot gun by the wheel. Meldrick could understand now why Billy would want to sail on Captain Bobcat Blackie's ship.

As they sat at the stern, Billy explained the ship's business. How they carried a commission from the New Found Lands to protect their ships and shipping lanes as they were new colonies and still had no Navy of their own.
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The trip to the outer islands was uneventful and while Billy settled into his job in the ship's stores, Meldrick met the crew and helped out where needed. At night he would tell the crew of his tales and even Bobcat Blackie smiled as he listened to the tales, too. The Elf knew that the Captain had stories of his own and hoped to hear some of them some time.

While the ship was in port they traded items with the locals, mostly foodstuffs, grain and seeds for bolts of cloth. Billy made a few special trades of his own, including having a shirt, jacket, breeches and boots made. His outfit truly fit his position of Master of the Ship's Stores.

He also devised a trolley system below deck, that kept their powder dry and allowed them to move the powder from stem to stern, as needed for ballast or to get it to the cannoneers as needed.

-----------------------------

The "Flyin' Cross" had sailed the shipping lanes for a few days, keeping an eye out for any unusual traffic . Meldrick had noticed that the ship sailed under the Blue and Green Banner of the New Found Lands. He watched the crew and was amazed at how each carried out their assigned duties. Under the direction of Bobcat Blackie and his First Mate, Jack Strand, the crew was a well-oiled machine.
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The afternoon had been quiet and Meldrick had offered to take a turn in the crow's nest. He heard what he thought was thunder and realized it was cannon fire being directed at a smaller ship in the distance off the port bow. As he called out to the crew below, they were already swinging into action, letting out more sail and picking up speed as they headed for the melee. He looked down and saw Billy who gave him a thumbs up and then headed to the pivot gun.

The smaller ship had been damaged and its Captain was about to surrender when they saw the "Flyin' Cross" heading towards them. As the "Flyin' Cross" let loose a shot from their forward cannon that flew across the bow of the raider's ship. The raider turned and returned fire. Meldrick ducked as the cannonball whizzed by, then heard the Captain shout out.

"Show these scurvy dogs tha colours, Let them be a-knowin' who it is, who they be a-firin' at!" Bobcat Blackie stood at the wheel as two sailors quickly pulled down the banner of the New of the New Found Lands and replaced it with The Flag of Bobcat Blackie.

The other ship saw the white flag going up and you could hear the cheers, that is until the white flag unfurled and the Black Cat Flag of Bobcat Blackie showed itself. . .loud groans and barked commands could be heard coming from the raider ship as it turned sail and beat a hasty retreat.

The Captain chuckled as the crew cheered, then the "Flyin' Cross" and her crew turned their attention to the wounded ship, whose Captain removed his hat in respect and welcomed Bobcat Blackie aboard. The ships crews set about clearing the rubble and making sure the ship, "The Golden Swan" was still seaworthy.

The "Flyin' Cross" escorted "The Golden Swan" to Newland. Meldrick took that as a sign to let Billie know that he would be leaving the ship when it made port and Billie smiled for he knew the sea was not the life for Mellie.

After docking, the crew all shook Meldrick's hand and thanked them for the tales he had told them; even Captain Bobcat Blackie, thanked him and even told Meldrick that he would be welcomed back any time he wanted. Meldrick thanked them all as he walked down the dock with Billie.

"Mellie, thair be one more thing I be a-needin ye ta do fer me."

"All you have to do is ask, Billie." He smiled as Billie continued.

"I be a-needin' ye ta take this ta me office and place it in me desk." Billie handed a small package to his friend.

"All right, Billie, I'll do that, " with that being said Meldrick and Billie hugged.

"Take care, you son of the sea," Meldrick said.

"Ye, too, ye teller o' tales, " with that Billie left to return to his crewmates.
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Meldrick smiled as he returned to the secret cove, happy that his friend seemed to have found what it was he had been seeking all his life. He lit the torch he found inside the entrance to the cavern and proceeded up the stairs to Billie's desk, as he sat the package on the desk, he took out his key and opened it.

"Aren't you going to open it?" Meldrick hadn't expected anyone to be here, after all Billie said it was a secret place. He turned to see who had just questioned him and was surprised to see a young mermaid in a pool not far from the desk.

"Hello, and who are you?" he wanted to add "and what are you doing here" but it was obvious that she was someone Billie trusted as he saw a copy of the desk key around her neck.

The mermaid giggled, "I see Billie didn't tell you about me, did he? and you never answered my question about opening the package, Mellie." She blushed a bit, "It's all right that I call you "Mellie", isn't it?"

Meldrick leaned back against the desk, "No, Billie didn't tell me about you, " he shook his head, "I think he wanted you to be a surprise." The Elf paused a moment, "You may call me Mellie, as it is obvious that you are someone very special to Billie."

Reaching back to pick up the package, "To answer your question, no, I am not going to open it. Billie asked me to place it in his desk and that is what I intend to do."

She smiled a smile that lit up the cavern even more than his torch, "Billie said you wouldn't, you really must be a good friend." The mermaid giggled again, "Where are my manners, since Billie didn't tell you about, I should introduce myself, " she paused a moment, "I am Princess Mysella, but you can call me Myssy."

"It's a pleasure to meet you Princess Mysella. . .er. . .Myssy." Meldrick turned and opened the drawer, preparing to place the package inside it.

"Mellie, I believe that package is for me. . .if you just open the outer cover, you will find a rose and a card saying "To Myssy"."

He paused a moment and then sat the package back on top of the desk. He already knew that there was a rose in it as he had been enjoying the aroma all the way from the dock. finally Meldrick untied the cord and peeked inside and smiled, chuckling a little; "It is definitely a rose and a card "To Myssy". . .I guess it really is for you." He smiled and moved toward the pool.

Myssy moved back a little, not sure what Mellie was thinking. "I saw the key around your neck and I figure if I locked it in the desk, you would just wait till I leave and then get it yourself." He knelt at the edge of the pool and handed the package to her. She smiled and graciously took it.

The mermaid moved to sit on the edge of the pool, setting the package down a moment as she picked out the rose and brought it to her nose. As she inhaled the sweet scent she smiled and closed her eyes.

"I have a confession to make, Mellie. . .Billie asked me to wait until after you left, to collect my gift." she smiled again and continued, "But I had to see for myself, this friend that he trusts so much." Myssy sniffed the rose again. "I can see why he trusts you so, there is something about you that seems to put good people at ease."

Meldrick sat down and he and Myssy continued to talk through the night. . .

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Meldrick smiled at the thought of that conversation as he turned his attention back to the eager audience before him. "I returned just in time to rejoin my Tribe's caravan and the rest, as they say is history.

Tommy was the first to speak up, "Sir Meldrick, what did the Princess tell you?", "yeah, what did she tell you?" the others piped in.

The old Elf chuckled, "I think I will save Myssy's tale for another time."

There was a slight 'aw', then Tommy cried out, "I be Cap'n Bobcat Blackie, the toughest sea dog ta ever sail the Zantarnian Seas." and with that the children all joined back in celebrating and talking like a pirate. . .Ahoy. . .Avast. . .Aye. . .Aye aye. . .Arrrgh. . .
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Nema
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Knight of Zantarni
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Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:17 pm
A very good tale indeed, Sir Meldrick, thank ye kindly fer sharin' 't! Pirate
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Meldrick the Elder
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Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:29 am
Meldrick smiles and removes his hat and bows with a flourish, "I thank ye, melady, tis glad I be that ye enjoyed it so."
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