***This is a story I recently self published. It is my pleasure to post it in its entirety here for any reading enthusiasts. Feedback would be greatly appreciated, as I want to improve with my writing. The story features characters from friends and family, and some from another forum.***
*sorry if the text looks messed up, I dunno what's wrong, but I will work to make it look good.*
***South Sea, 10 miles away from Port Goodweather, November 20th, 1658***
It was a starry night with a full moon. A mild breeze blew from
the southwest and no clouds could be found above.
Valegrious Coral stood on the poop deck of the Smelly Ignacia, a
medium size monster-hunting warship. His elbows were pressed against
the surrounding railing, his chin rested on the palms of his hands, his soft
brown eyes gazed out to nowhere in particular as he pondered about
many things. Mostly he had been thinking about the things he had lived
through in order to get to where he currently was, but also on his mind
had been his dear sister, whom he would be seeing in just a few days after
what had been a long, exhausting, and surely danger-filled trip.
It would have been a quiet night if not for the splashing of the
water as the ship sailed smoothly over it, the flapping sound of the sails as
the wind hit them, and also all the shouting and laughing coming from the
main deck where other sailors were performing some mild, nightly duties.
Valegrious had issued some orders to them about ten minutes ago and
had gone to the back deck to have some alone time, a thing he really
valued while out at sea. Just by hearing the sailors' joyous talking, singing,
and joking tones, he knew that they were just as happy as he was to soon
be making it back to land.
Valegrious was a handsome twenty two year old man with
brownish, short hair parted in the middle and to the sides. He was four
inches shy of standing six feet tall and had a slim body. He appeared not
the muscular type to the eye, but the truth was that he had more power in
him than met the eye. His skin color had always been a very soft light tan,
but out at sea working under the sun most of the time had turned it a
Valegrious had worked hard to achieve many goals at a very
young age when he and his younger sister Magatha had tragically lost both
their parents. Because the responsibility to look after his sister had fallen
entirely on him, he'd had to look for a job in order to take care of her and
also himself, for they had no relatives alive whatsoever.
Though it was a dangerous world in which they--and many other
kinds of beings--lived, Valegrious had been up for any decent work he
could find. Unlike others who chose to follow dark roads to make a living
either by stealing, exploiting others, or killing, the lad's good heart had
kept him away from joining any of the local thief or assassin guilds where
gems flowed easy into one's pockets at the expense of risking one's life. A
few friends he had known had invited him to join a few weeks after their
parents had died, but Valegrious had quickly declined their offers and had
even paid for that with a beating.
The lad and his eight year old sister had faced rough times and
even had to abandon their home village a few months later when the
gems that their parents had left them had run out. With what little they
owned they had gone to Port Goodweather, which happened to be the
closest location to their village, and there they had found mercy at the
hands of an orphan caretaker, a kind-hearted blonde woman who had
dedicated herself to the caring of orphans after she had lost her own
daughter in the past.
Though they had found a home, Valegrious had known during
that time that he had to do something in order to help the woman who
had helped him and his sister, for life in all of Galileah was not easy for
Soon enough, Valegrious had contemplated the idea of enlisting
in the service of the realm's armada, but Evelina Brengle, the woman who
had become his second mother, had told him that he would not even be
considered for a spot, for he was still too young. Valegrious then
considered joining the monster hunting guilds where his parents had
worked most of their lives, but the orphan caretaker let him know that he
also was young for that, in fact, for any job, for young men were
considered only when they were past sixteen years of age. That's when
young kids such as him became known as men, and many options opened
when one reached that age.
Though he had failed to find a job, those setbacks had not
stopped Valegrious, who really wanted to help out at the orphanage in
some way. He was the oldest orphan in the orphanage at age twelve at
that time. Food and income were hard to come by when it was only
Evelina who was doing all the working, and at times she did not find work
at all for days, for all she did was clean houses and manors, sow, cook
stews and other dishes for other people, as well as other low-paying
errands that were not often available for the taking. When that happened,
all of the orphans and also Evelina had to endure a bit of hunger, at times
for consecutive days. Life was so hard in Galileah that families sometimes
even had to sell their children in order to eat and survive.
Valegrious had seen all sorts of misery and trouble during his
early days in the orphanage, and that really filled his heart with sadness. It
was also the thing that had led him to go out and attempt to find a job in
the big port city of Goodweather.
For a twelve year old like him back in those days finding noble
work in the realm of Bulmax was hard. Most teenagers were quickly
recruited by thief bands and other groups that enticed young ones with
many promises of power and wealth. But Valegrious had been one of the
lucky ones and had avoided stepping on those dark roads.
One fine day that he had been traversing the docks of Port
Goodweather, as desperation had begun to take over him, the lad had run
into a kind-hearted felinum who had made a living hunting sea monsters
in the local south sea. The felinum folk pretty much resembled humans,
but they had cat-like ears on their heads, long tails, and thin hairy coats,
although it appeared that they were just normal human beings, for their
hair was not that visible over their human-like skin. Most felinum folk
usually had weird symbols painted on their face, neck, arms, or legs, but
there were those that did not do that, like this felinum that Valegrious had
met. She was rather tall at six-three, was slim yet strong, and had light
brownish, silky hair that fell off to the sides down to her jaw line. She had
light skin, and the color of her cat ears and tail was multicolored, like that
of a calico cat. The humans co-existed with the cat folk and many other
benevolent species that called Galileah their home, but because of their
many differences in looks and beliefs, the species often had problems
accepting or looking at each other like the allies they were.
That felinum had been a few men short of fulfilling her ship crew
that day, and so when she had stumbled upon young Valegrious at the
docks, she had spoken to him about her problem.
The felinum had not even been interested in hiring him at all, she
had just called the lad over and had asked him whether he knew any abled
men or women who would be interested in working on a fishing vessel
under her orders.
Valegrious had been surprised to be approached by her, what
with him never really having had the chance to treat other beings other
than humans. In fact, Valegrious had never seen a felinum before, so he'd
been quite amazed of the tall creature, but mostly mesmerized by her
beauty. Nonetheless, he let her know that he knew no one in particular,
but he pointed out to her all the sailors roaming about the docks that he
thought could be looking for such a job. The felinum, though, had already
spoken to all of them and had come to know that all were already taken or
none had wanted to work for a subhuman like her. She had not known
why but she told this to the young kid.
"Bah," she had spat aside quite disgusted. "Most are taken, Lad.
And the few other dolts who seek a job have not the heart to work for
me, for a subhuman, as they refer to me, the b******s." Looking over at
some sailors that were passing by, she added loudly, "They're all just a
bunch of losers."
That had really saddened and stung Valegrious, to learn once
again that his own kin treated others unfairly merely because they were
different. His father had taught him different, that is why Valegrious had
not minded at all that the cat-like creature had come to speak with him; he
saw her just as he would have seen any other human.
"I would be interested in working for you, Miss," had said
Valegrious in a lively tone.
"You?" the felinum had replied in awe but had given the young
man all her attention. "But you're just a lad. What do you know about
Valegrious had no experience whatsoever as a sailor, and he had
let her know that with a saddened face and tone.
"But I am willing to learn," had added the troubled young man,
who desperately wanted to find a job and a way to sustain those back at
That fateful day, the felinum had remained quiet for a while just
observing the human boy as she had been caressing her chin. If anything,
the female admired the lad's willingness.
The felinum had had real need to replace two of her crewmen
who had not come back for two days after the captain had given her
whole crew free time after their last trip. The felinum had even sent the
rest of the crew to look for them but they had not found them in the
entire port. Most likely the men had returned home or something, for the
sea was not made for everyone, and the captain had seen in those two fear
but mostly discontent on their last trip.
"Very well, Lad," the felinum had said at length after she had
convinced herself that giving the lad an opportunity could prove
worthwhile, or maybe it was that she just felt like helping him out, what
with the felinum knowing how difficult life was for many beings. "If
you're willing to learn, I see no problem in that. I can bring you aboard
my ship, but I warn you now: the sea life can be very rough, very
enjoyable, but also very treacherous. There are many dangers out at sea
just as there is danger inland. My crew and I hunt sea monsters for a
living, we're above ordinary fishermen. Do you know anything about sea
"I just know that the sea is filled with them," had replied
Valegrious, who had lived his life so close to a port and the sea and yet
knew little about all that, for his parents had not allowed him to go out
that much. "My father, god rest his soul, told me stories about them and
how there are many a variety out there, just like the many monsters that
plague the world."
When she had heard the lad saying that, the female had become
aware that he had no parents, and that sort of had stung her and made her
feel deeply sad, for she had no relatives alive either.
"Quite right," she had gone on to say and had even crossed her
arms over her plated busty chest. "The vast sea is filled with them
creatures. Old stories say that all these monsters came to be after an
ancient war between gods broke out and was fought mostly in this world
of ours. Heck, there is a broad variety of monsters at sea that we keep
finding new ones every now and then, and bigger too. But anyway, you
know about them, you're not a complete dolt like other people out there.
And so, if you are not afraid of sailing, or scared of sea monsters, I surely
will take you in this day as one of my crew members, and I will teach you
all that an aspiring sailor such as yourself needs to know. But, besides
your life being at risk every day out there, also know that you will be
performing hard work nearly every day, for everyone's got to pull his or her
own weight on my ship. Do you still wish to become a sailor for me and
the Smelly Ignacia?"
Valegrious had really given the matter some deep thought, and
mostly because the felinum had sort of scared him with her words. But he
had known well what kind of life awaited him back in the orphanage if he
refused. Most likely nothing would change and he and all the others
would have to endure hunger and misery for several years until he grew
and became of age and was able to work and help out. Or, he would
probably give in to temptation and end up like his friends had when they
had joined the local bad guilds. Whatever happened, the lad knew that
would be wasted precious time, and Valegrious wanted the best for his
sister and really wanted to help out Evelina and all the other orphans. The
words that his father had once spoken to him had convinced him to say
yes to the creature: Life is brief, Son. We have to seize every single second and
make the best of it.
Valegrious had been looking for an opportunity, and this one had
presented itself to him in his hour of most need. He had known at that
time that he would not be letting it go to waste. He had been scared, but
necessity had been stronger than fear that day.
"Yes, I do," Valegrious had replied with a firm voice. "Please,
Miss, I just need a job so I can take care of my sister and other folks at an
orphanage where I live."
The felinum had become aware that he also had a kind heart and
other folks to look after.
"What is your name, Lad?"
"Beautiful name you have," had said the felinum with risen
"According to my father's words, the name means great valor."
"Hm, I can see why you were given that name, then, Young
Valegrious. I detect plenty of courage within you."
That had made Valegrious smile warmly.
"Very well, then, let us say no more," had smiled the pretty
felinum. "You are now part of the crew of the Smelly Ignacia. I am your
boss. My name is Jzak Hennessy. You can refer to me as Captain
Hennessy from now on, or just plain ol' Cap'n, I really don't mind. From
this moment on, you've stopped being Valegrious of the land and have
become Valegrious of the sea."
Valegrious had been so happy to hear that he had been accepted,
that he had found a job after he had done much searching, but he had
also felt very unsure of what was to come. The whole idea of going out to
sea and hunt monsters--creatures he had never even seen--scared him, but
he had understood that it was too late to go back, and besides, he knew
that wherever he went and found a job there was bound to be trouble, or
his life would be in peril. His parents' death spoke highly on that; they had
died on a mission working for a good guild that specialized in killing
monsters and keeping the region threat-free.
And so knowing that by telling the female creature that he was
not interested would make him look like a coward, and that he also would
be disappointing and shaming his parents wherever they were, Valegrious
had accepted the kind offer from the felinum.
Captain Jzak Hennessy had never seen such courage before,
much less from a young pup like him. She was glad to have him agree and
vowed in that moment that she would take him under her wing and make
him grow as a sailor.
Jzak had given him plenty of time to go back home and say good
bye to his loved ones, not to mention grab a few essentials for the trip.
"Come back if you really meant your words," she had told him
with a kind smile, for during their conversation she had also registered
plenty of doubt within him. "It is still not too late to decline my offer,
"I will be back," had promised Valegrious in his most serious
tone ever. "You can count on that."
"I will be waiting on my ship, then," had said the Felinum with
her arms crossed. "It's that one over there, Lad."
She had pointed out the ship from several that were stationed far
off in the harbor and asked him whether he would be able to find it when
he came back. Valegrious had taken note of the mighty looking vessel and
had nodded at her.
"I can't miss it," he had said. "Not with that huge steel thing on
the back of it."
"That's a harpoon cannon," had explained the felinum after a
chuckle. "Just one of several weapons we use for hunting the larger
monsters. But, you have seen the ship, so you know where to find me.
Besides, the name is imprinted right on the back just above my cabin's
Valegrious had nodded at her and then left her side. After he had
spent around ten minutes talking to her, he had rushed back to the
Evelina, above everyone else, had been very confused and shocked
at the unexpected news when Valegrious let her know the whole deal. She
could not believe that the boy had dared to go as far as put his young life
at risk merely to help her out. Evelina knew of the grave danger that was
involved working as a monster hunter out at sea, but Valegrious had made
her see things his way. He had let her know that working honorably at sea
despite the danger involved was a far better option than him sitting there
doing nothing or give in to temptation and desperation and end up like
many other young ones did by joining the local guilds. And so Evelina's
heart had been dealt a dose of great sadness once again, but in the end,
with tears on her face, she had known that she could not keep him there
regardless of what she might try to say or do to change his mind.
Valegrious had a kind heart, she knew, so she finally agreed to support
him with his decision.
As to young Magatha and the other orphans, they had been so
sad to learn that Valegrious would be leaving them in order to go work on
a ship. Valegrious was just as sad as they were, but he made them all
understand that it was all for the better. Everyone had cried when he left,
even the few orphans that had known him so little. Valegrious had cried
Evelina and the orphans had come to the docks that day to say
goodbye and also to admire the ship that he would be working on.
Valegrious had had some final words with Evelina and his sister Magatha
and the other orphans before proceeding to board the ship. The orphan
care taker had also had very serious words with the felinum. Mostly she
had just entrusted Valegrious to her care and told her to bring him back to
them safe and sound.
The felinum had soothed her anguish by telling her that she
would do everything in her power to keep him safe. She promised
nothing, though, because everyone's life in a world full of turmoil was at
risk all the time. Evelina had understood that well and had chosen to
deposit her entire trust in her. The felinum had been kind enough to even
give the woman a small pouch of gems, and when Evelina had asked her
why, the felinum had merely smiled at her and had told her to take care of
the orphans with food and clothing, that the gems were like an upfront
bonus of Valegrious's services to her. Evelina had thanked her so much,
and the two had even shared a hug before the orphans and Valegrious.
Since that day, young Valegrious had sailed the rough seas beside
the tall felinum, several humans, and other weird species that formed part
of the ship's crew. Besides twenty one other humans, seven of which were
tough-looking women, Valegrious had shared the ship with three other
felinum, two of which were males and one female, and also a female elf,
two wolf-blooded men whose species were known as lycans, and a water
The first months had really been tough for Valegrious, both
performing the tough work on the ship and also because he had sorely
missed those that he had left behind. Then there was the whole getting-
to-know-the-crew issue. Valegrious had been shy with them all, but as the
first days had passed, he had begun to open up to each and every one of
them, particularly the blue-skinned water pixie, who, after the captain, had
been the very next one to speak to him when he had come aboard the
ship the first day. Sailing with them all, the boy had endured what life
threw at him, just like a tough boulder on a beach takes the pounding of a
powerful thunderstorm and remains unmoving. He had seen and learned
many things on the many trips he took. Jzak Hennessy and the rest of the
crew members taught him a lot, but it had been mostly the captain who
had taught him so many things, including how to fight and defend himself
using several weapons, for it indeed was dangerous out there; trouble did
not only come from under the sea. The captain had also taught him so
many things from the world itself that young Valegrious had not been
aware of, such as the existence of many other species and faraway lands.
Before he knew it, Valegrious was loving it out there, because he was
working and learning so many things.
But not all had been happiness and learning for the young man.
He had also lived through many dark, dreadful experiences that had taken
his heart. The ship and most of its crew had survived several deadly
encounters against pirate fleets, sea marauders, flying hags known as sea
harpies, and tough, gigantic sea monsters that had been bigger than the
ship itself. Two times had the felinum captain had to purchase a brand
new ship when monsters out at sea had destroyed or sunk the previous
ones. Most of those who were still alive had really run alongside mother
luck during those bad experiences. They had managed to survive the
attacks and later had been rescued from the deadly sea by other passing
After living through those kinds of nightmarish experiences,
many were the ones that quit that life. The majority though, the seasoned
mariners and those truly brave at heart kept going back for more because
the demand and pay for hunted sea monsters was high in many of the
realms of Galileah. For example, a flafagon, an oarfish type of creature,
was big enough to feed many mouths for days. Catching one and selling it
to some market netted around two black gems, and that was quite a good
profit. The flafagon was just one of many lesser creatures fished by sturdy
fishing poles attached to the ship. A flafagon was the first sea monster
that Valegrious had seen, and it had come while he had been on watch
duty of the fishing pole under Jzak's order just a month after he had
joined the crew. How proud the felinum had been of the boy that day,
and she would be more proud of him when later at night another flafagon
had taken the bait under Valegrious's watch, and then a third two hours
later. Jzak had riddled the boy's face with so many kisses that night. And
many of the sailors had called the boy blessed and lucky, and the felinum
had thought that about him as well.
Then there were the Creycion. These were serpentine-like
monsters that had small wings on their sides. The wings afforded the
creature to jump out of the water and fly briefly. Those nasty flying
predators sold for four black gems, because their meat was delicious and their
hard skin was used for the making of armor and also weapons. Catching
one depended on luck and timing. Many unaware sailors lost their lives to
these ferocious creatures as they would come out of the water
unexpectedly. Valegrious had seen crew mates of his get killed by those
creatures on several occasions, and he, himself, had just barely survived an
attack from one such creature on his second trip out. The creature's nasty
mouth, which was filled with sharp jaws and wider than a shark's, had just
barely missed taking him whole and down under the sea never to be seen
or heard from again. Valegrious had always been focused doing his job, so
he had heard the loud splash coming from the starboard side, and from
the corner of his eye he had seen the huge creature emerging at the side.
He had moved out of the way, but the young lad had not been that lucky,
for the creature's spike-filled sturdy body had nicked his left arm good
and had left him a bad scar and a memory to be proud of. He had
survived, but barely. The felinum captain had taken care of curing him
after the attack, and she had spent several days looking after him, for
Valegrious had developed a bad fever and his wound had become
infected. Luckily, the felinum had been able to cure him with the
medicine available to her on her ship. Valegrious had been unable to work
for two weeks, but he had spent that time mostly within the captain's cabin
reading books and learning new things from her, who was always up to
teaching him something new.
Valegrious, after he had survived his second near-death
experience against a mighty Kraken that had taken the ship and many
sailors under the sea, had quickly come to love what he did out there. He
valued life, and the encounter with the kraken, and a Gochapello, which was a
sea monster thrice the size of a whale, as well as his close call with the Creycion,
had made him understand just how valuable and precious life really was.
But he also was reminded that quitting a profession he'd come to love and
live in fear was already death. And so he had come back for more as well,
and it appeared to him that danger fled from him.
His courage, dedication, and hard work had earned him a high
rank aboard the Smelly Ignacia. After ten long years, he had not only
made it to lieutenant, a high rank that not too many who started off like
him from nothing ever reached, but he also shared in the fame and glory
that the ship and its crew received for their exploits achieved while sailing
the south sea. Yes, Valegrious had started from the very bottom and had
climbed up the ranks rather quickly, not due to how much Captain
Hennessy had come to love him over the years as if he was her own son,
but rather through his hard work and dedication, and because he had
survived the rough seas up to that point. Now as a lieutenant of the ship,
his work load was lessen by a lot, his share of the profits was higher, and
he only answered to the captain. Despite being an officer now, Valegrious
was often seen helping out and teaching less skilled sailors who struggled
doing their job. Seeing him in action even when he wasn't supposed to be
doing that filled Captain Hennessy with so much joy, for she had come to
understand that her gamble--nay, the opportunity she had given the
lad--had paid off in a big way.
I've really come a long way, Valegrious thought and felt very grateful
for that as he stared up at the star-filled sky. The gods were up there, he
believed, perhaps looking down upon him and the ship and its crew. He
thanked them in silence for all the good and bad experiences he'd had so
far. In his thoughtful state, Valegrious often offered prayers to them on
nights like these, and that's precisely what he went on to do then.