Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Weather" Blogfest Entry

 This is my "Weather" Blogfest Entry. Thank you so much for to Mia, Nick, and Amy over at "A Little Slice of Nothing" for hosting this blog.
The rules for the blogfest were to post a portion of your WIP that involve the weather as a "character" so to speak. so I dug through one of my many WIP's and found the selection below. This is from a story tentatively named "Mediterranean Merchant." Enjoy.

Fortunato’s merchant envoy had been sailing for three days when the seas began to roil in choppy peaks. In the distance, an angry hue of gray hung over the sky. Fortunato’s helmsman ran into the tent and spoke forcefully, “A terrible storm approaches. We’re on course to be enveloped by it!”

“Bah!” Fortunato scoffed. “I have been through many storms, disturbances of one sort or another. This one’s no different.”

“I think you should take a look.”

“Oh, all right,” Fortunato relented.  “Let’s have a look, shall we? Fortunato motioned for Matteo to join him.

When they emerged from the tent, the sky directly above the ship shone a bright blue with hardly a smudge of interruption. In the distance, however, a beast approached. The wind intensified, whipping the sails and flags. Even before they drew close to the monster, the waves pitched and fell with violent intentions.

“The gods are angered,” Matteo mumbled, almost inaudibly.

“What did you say?” Fortunato sneered.

“The Gods, I say,” Matteo repeated. “They are angered. Poseidon… Zeus…their fury shall soon be upon us…”

“Bah!” Fortunato dismissed.  “The gods, eh… who are these gods you speak of?  Everyone has gods of some sort or another. Should I fear your gods more than the Egyptian gods…?  More than the Roman or Indian gods…?

“Anger them not, Fortunato, for Zeus is everywhere… He sees everything.”

“Well, hear this: I spit in the face of this storm! And, I spit in the face of your gods.  If your gods were so powerful, there would be only ONE set of them, yes? But no, every city I call upon has their own set! To whom shall I pray, young Matteo? Not one of them has helped me to achieve my greatness. Not one! So forgive me if I don’t cower to your gods!”

Matteo watched the tirade from a safe distance, clear of stray thunderbolts. The reckless rhetoric was sure to be the merchant’s undoing, Matteo believed. Fortunato walked over and indeed spat over the side. An unnecessary gesture, Matteo thought. But then again, what did he know.  Fortunato was, after all, the merchant with four ships of cargo and crews headed for Corinth. Not he.

Closer… Closer the phalanx of storm clouds advanced, rolling like stampeding stallions across a vast plain. Before long, the dark canopy of sky had shrouded the four ships. Fortunato’s crewmembers on all of his ships were simultaneously instructed to lower all sails and secure all loose items. They were further instructed to take all of Fortunato’s most valuable belongings below deck to ride out the storm.  With sails down, the ship relied upon the arms and backs of the gargantuan rowers down below.  Soon, however, all efforts to row would be moot.

As the ships passed through a veritable wall of rain, those crewmembers unlucky enough to have been caught on the decks were pelted with an unyielding shower.  From below deck, it sounded like a thunderous concert of arrows barraged the ship.  Deafening. The crewmembers held fast to whatever they could grasp as the ships were pitched atop wave crests and plunged into unforgiving valleys of darkness. Every turbulent wave threatened to turn the ships on their sides. 

The fierce storm winds howled wickedly, encircling the defenseless fleet.  And, they proceeded to divide and conquer; first splitting the four ships into far reaching directions while rousing the waves into a churning fury.  King Aeolus’ unshackled herd of winds; Eurus from the east; Zephyrus from the west; Boreas from the north; and Notus from the south wreaked havoc like an army on the attack. The roiling cauldron of the sea pounded Fortunato’s ships like hammers to anvils, thrashing them into splinters.

Precious cargo was cast widely atop the unforgiving sea as all men swam frantically toward floating fragments of the ships that they, only minutes before, had stood within. Fortunato, effectively blinded by the driving rain and the angry swells, struggled to grab onto a nearby wooden plank.  An surge of energy spurred by fear for loss of life had not allowed him to reflect upon the gravity of the situation he now found himself grappling with.  But, grave it was.  His four ships… gone. His crews… gone. His cargo… gone. And, worse, a merchant with no cargo… was hardly a merchant.

Where was everyone, Fortunato wondered as he looked about?  The crew? The rowers? Had they all perished? And, the cargo? The cargo was certainly lost, he considered. Unaccustomed to circumstances over which he had no control, Fortunato fought for his very existence amidst the thrashing waves… alone in the vast Mediterranean.