Down she went, with his offerings he’d left in its hold. Several stupid merchants went down with her.
            He swam then, for hours until his limbs were weary and heavy as the oars he used and night started to come. He swam towards land, his crew scattered by the waves that tried to smother them like blue-grey velvet shrouds. Some of his men drowned, only the hardiest survived, a half dozen. Four of them would become his strongest, most loyal men.
            Finally he hit land and dragged himself ashore and there he lay for the night, too weary to move, even as the waves rolled around him, closing about his frame. He drifted into a deep sleep. A fitful one too.
            He had inhaled so much of the water that he was puking it up, with such a head splitting ache too, his vision swam which made him more nauseous and he felt as if he were being burned alive despite how much he shivered.
            Two of his men had found him and pulled him into a dank cave and there, he was badly nursed back to health. He considered himself the most unlucky bastard for surviving, he remembered thinking.
            Eventually the rest of his men reached the cave and they began preparations for getting away from this place. They were on Victum, after all.
            Louenans on Victum was not a healthy concoction to be sure. If they were caught, who knew what would happen to them. Nothing good, that much was a certainty.
            Tales had been told of how men had been dragged off, ship wrecked men at that who had no choce in the matter, some of them good, some not so much. But once the Victumians got a hold of these men, some got tortured, others hung and beheaded, the carcasses strung up in pieces atop poles along the shore. Some went so far as to say the Victumians feasted on their flesh but Simeon didn’t hold much stock in that. Pissed off they might be, even thirsty for violence, but he had met many Victumians in his time and they considered themselves a refined folk. Well the fancy ones anyhow. Sure they weren’t above murder, but they wanted to prove they were better than others in every way they knew how.
            Whatever the reality was, Simeon did not care to learn the truth. He would not be captured; he would kill himself before he let another have their way with him. Dying in a fight he could handle, it was what happened to the one that survived he misliked the thought of.
            So Simeon set up small scouting parties to see what was about in all directions. One after another the groups came back and went off again in another direction, relaying information. His first-mate began to argue with Simeon, saying they were being cowards, that they should go out and take what they wanted. Simeon did not share his reckless stupidity. He wanted to live, and he did not want to be manning a ship on his own. It was not easy; he knew that much from experience.

The End

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