Come dance with the gypsies... Circulation: 193,963,135 Issue: 728 | 15th day of Eating, Y18
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Sylva's Spirit: Origins: Part One


by jrayeb3

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200 years prior to the events of the first Meridellan-Darigan war, near where the ancient kingdoms were first settled.

      Sylva was pacing around the room, his heavy boots thumping. The room he was in was nothing short of lavish, tapestries, paintings, and woven rugs affixed to the walls, and rivers of precious stones formed the flooring. Sylva's fur kept him slightly warm, but a hooded sweater held in the heat even more, as the spring air outside bit his skin. Inside of his hood, a scrappy Manjeer fidgeted, seemingly detecting Sylva's own impatience. The heat from the petpet's fur helped add to the warmth.

      A set of footsteps that weren't his own made the Lupe look up. His governor had arrived.

      “Sylva! The First Mate, the second in command!” The boisterous Ixi happily called out into the hallways. “Are you up to the task of colonizing another land?”

      The Lupe's face struggled to stay away from smiling at the happiness of his employer. “If you wish, sir” he said while bowing. If the negotiation went well, his family would be eating well for months.

      “Good, good. Now, we've got our eyes peeled on the southwestern area off of the bay.” He pointed to a map tapestry on the wall. “The wind is set to blow just right, and you should move very far very fast. You find fruits, spices, petpets, things that we can bring back and sell. And any areas you claim for Meridell will be ours, and the crew will take 10 percent of the profits. Do you understand?”

      Sylva nodded. This would be his 4th colonization trip. Usually the natives were quite surprised to see unknown faces, but Sylva had a calming, yet stoic presence, easing fears of the unknown for them. The Manjeer squirmed in his hood.

      “The area I govern will also take 50 percent of the profits. The remaining 40 will be sent to the king himself, to enforce the rule and what not.” He frowned, showing distaste at the king. It was a known fact the governor had no love for his boss, but his political stance had landed him a job and he wasn't going to tell the king no after giving him an important position. “This 50 percent is 5 percent higher than last trip's 45 percent, and the neopoints will be used to create a school, with the help of taxpayer funds and any donations.”

      One of Sylva's ears popped up in interest. A school? That would be certainly an improvement to the small area he lived in.

      Sylva looked up from his deep bow. “I think this sounds great.” He paused. Before every journey, he always had his doubts about leaving the only place he truly knew. Here was his family, his friends, where he grew up, and where he wanted to spend the rest of his life. But he shook this thoughts out, and nodded in agreement with the governor. “I shall start preparing.”

      The governor broke into a massive grin. “Lovely! You leave on the...” He thought for a moment. “You leave on the 12th day of Eating. This leaves you a full week to prepare for your journey, and you'll be taking The Weewoo.” The Weewoo was the government-owned ship used for exploring and colonization, and wasn't the fastest or the prettiest, but could go where it needed to go, if the conditions were right.

      “Only a week?” He bit his lip in worry. Would that be enough time?

      Of course. He was First Mate Sylva Proudtail. A week was an eternity for him.

      “Sure thing, sir.”

      “Excellent! You'll be the Captain of the Weewoo yet, just you wait!”

      He shook his head slightly at this. First Mate was a lot of responsibility, he could hardly imagine being in charge of the whole ship.

      “Oh, and I will make one exception for you... I've talked to the Captain already, but he is allowing you to take your family.” With a wink, the Governor walked away.

      “Best of luck, Proudtail! I know you'll make Meridell proud.”

      Sylva's face exploded with happiness. He could bring his family. Sighing with joy, he whispered to himself,

      “I sure will, Governor. I sure will.”

*****

      3 days later...

      “Dean!!” Sylva yelled at the Manjeer, and at the sound of his name, he perked up. With a small turn of his head, the Manjeer seemed to be calling for him to pat his head. Smiling, he indulged the petpet and touched its fur carefully. Dean's tail thumped on the floor, and memories of first finding the small Manjeer by his tiny house flooded his brain.

      “You're coming with me, Dean. The gov said I could bring my family, and you're my family as much as anyone.”

      “Talking to that mangy thing again?” A voice called from the distance.

      “Alex!” Sylva yelled back. His Captain, a young Gelert, barely older than Sylva himself, stood in the doorway.

      “That's Captain Alex to you, Proudtail.” Smirking, the Gelert walked into the room, admiring the junk surrounding the petpet and his owner. “You're packing?”

      “Yeah, it's harder than last time.” Around them, piles of objects were stacked. Old books, letters, weapons, metal, wooden crates, and the odd potato were around them.

      “Keep the letters and touchy stuff here. You'll be back, and you know how much The Weewoo leaks. Water could destroy any of that stuff.”

      “That's probably true...” Sylva glanced at the area sadly, before picking up one letter and placing it in his pocket.

      Alex rolled his eyes. “You never were one for following orders, were you? That's why I'm the captain, and you're just first mate.”

      Sylva stuck his tongue out in response. Despite being his captain, Alex was also his best friend. There was no one he'd rather have sailing the seas with him, except for Dean and...

      “You bringing Eliza?”

      The Lupe nodded. “Gov said I could bring my family, and she's coming.”

      Alex patted Sylva on the back. “Better hope everything goes well. Don't want her getting the wrong impression of our serious sea business.” He tried to muster a straight face.

      “But of course.” Reaching into the area around him, Sylva pulled out a shiny compass. He needed this to tell which was he was going on the sea, and it had been a gift. A sun was carefully painted on top, the sign of a faraway land which Sylva would most likely never be able the visit.

      “We've got 4 days, Mister First Mate, and 30 crew members to keep track of. Better get it all together.” With a wink, Alex left the room. Clutching the letter and compass carefully to his chest, Sylva followed him, Dean bouncing along by his feet.

*****

      The day the journey starts

      Sylva's stomach felt like it was filled with butterflies, some sent there from nerves, others from excitement. The crew was loading the ship with all of the food, water, and medicines it could fit.

      He was dressed in his sailing outfit, bright blue, and a sword strapped to his side, in case he had to cut down the ropes or rigging of the ship, the letter he had grasped a few days before in his front pocket. Dean sat on his boots, ruining his impressive image.

      “Proudtail!”

      Sylva turned to see his wife running towards him, her Lupe eyes shining with excitement. Her green fur was blowing in the wind, and she wore a flowing yellow dress.

      “Eliza!” Sylva smiled broadly. “I'm so glad you're coming.” He didn't mention how lonely it could be on the sea.

      “Well, it'd be horrible to just stay at home and miss the adventures you're having without me.”

      “Sylva, glad to see you're finally here. I've been waiting for 3 hours now.” Alex stood nearby, holding boxes of food, covering his face. Sylva ran up to help him, taking two boxes into his own arms, while the Gelert impatiently tapped his foot on the ground.

      Walking up to the ship together, the two friends were silent as the crew bustled around them. The Weewoo was alive, sailors pulled the rigging and stretching out the sails.

      “We're leaving in 2 hours.” Alex finally said something after setting the boxes down in the supply room. Around them, boxes of potatoes, cheeses, and dried meats were being loaded. This would be all they ate for the next month or so on the way to the area they would be colonizing, and Sylva mentally prepared himself for the piles of vegetables he'd be consuming.

      “You ready?” Sylva looked at Alex, and smiled.

      “As your Captain, I can tell you I will never truly be ready to go to sea. The sea tells me when it's ready, and all I do is obey.” He shrugged.

      Sylva grabbed his shoulder as he tried to walk away. “Are you nervous, Alex?”

      The Gelert smiled back weakly. “Yeah, I guess. If we don't get this right, our little town might not have a school, plus I'm always a bit nervous before every mission. But we'll be fine.”

      “You're right, we'll be fine. Things are going to be okay. You're a great Captain.”

      “Then, let's go get prepared. I think those Myncis working the sails might need a bit of help, and as your boss, I'm telling you you better go help them.”

      “Right on it, sir.” Sylva saluted to Alex, winked, and ran up to the ramp to the deck of the boat.

      To be continued…

 
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