Wordcount: 550 words
Summary: The fleet commander reflects on what got him here and where he’ll go next.
NOTE: This is the first draft of a story, so it will most likely contain plot holes, retcons, and other inconsistencies. I’ll come back and fix things once the story (or arc) is complete!
A Quiet Night
The fleet commander sat in his tent, looking out across the bays. There was no need for fog or storms and it was a quiet barely moonlight scene. The ships sat in harbor, main mast sails furled and sitting in quite repose.
The moon was a tiny sliver in the sky a day, no more, from vanishing altogether. He could just make out the ships by their watch lanterns and the waves as they caught the moonlight and sent it dancing.
The dark blue sails and dark brown hulls made for a shadow fleet, the thing of dreams and fairytales. And this was a land for fairytales.
But they were real, and now they were restocked, repaired, and ready for the long voyage.
All he needed now was to catch the channel and he could go home. He daydreamed of the bustling ports of the empire where he’d spent his youth across the decks of a dozen merchant ships. His later years were spent on military boats, when the empire’s conscripts caught him tarrying too long.
When he’d been asked to go on this mission, volunteer was the wrong word, and ask had heavy connotations that the refusal would be me with strong disapproval from the crown. He would have volunteered, if the choice had been offered. He believed too strongly in the divine direction of the dreamers to think that such nightmares could have been without context.
Now that he was here, the dreams seemed off, a bit, but he still believed in their validity. They would not have sent him out across the sea in search of something that did not exist. The crown might, he had no illusions about his worth in that respect, but the dreamers would never lie.
And now that he’d found Avalon and the channel, he could go back now, proof in hand that this had not been some silly dream. There were those who dismissed the Dreamers visions, even with all the proof. But once he had the channel, once he had her than there could be no arguing that he’d been right to trust his instincts.
A channel and the word of over a thousand men and hawks, that would win him nice rewards. Not enough to claim the’sland he discovered, but enough to settle down, break his indenture to the army and retire.
And there would be rewards for those that followed him as well, although some looked as if they’d rather stay here than face the seas again. It might not hurt to bring back not only the prize but the steading of a new colony as well. There were worse things to bring the crown than a new vassal state—although he had no illusions that his small force could conquer all three kingdoms on its own.
That would take the weight of the empire behind it, and he knew without doubting that this is how it would end. Another hundred blue ships and another wave of thousands of men and hawks would bring these countries to heel.
Distance was no hamper to the empire, not when it had men and boats to spare. The sea would extract its toll, as it always did, but enough of them would reach the shore to make this world their own.