S is for Shipfish

S is for shipfish

The sea and its creatures appear in many ways in the fantasy world of the Windmaster Novels. Vessels are named after the inhabitants of the deep blue (Sea Falcon, Red Fish, Loch Bird) or the ocean’s fickle nature (Dragon Wave, Cloud Dancer.) Monsters from the deep blue form the basis of myth and legend.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

On the other end of the scale, are the shipfish, commonly regarded as a sailor's friend. The sight of the tall fins skimming through the waves and the luminescent trail left in their wake provided the sailors a sense of safety and security. Most captains kept a supply of fresh bait fish to toss to the shipfish as offerings to the sea gods for the boon of a smooth voyage.

According to legend of Iol and Pelra, the lovers jumped into the sea to avoid capture and the water gods turned the pair into shipfish. Since the legend was already covered in the A-Z post for the letter "L," here's an excerpt from Windmaster where shipfish perform a special service, the final requiem.

Dal’s somber rendition of the words of final journey seemed far away. She hardly noticed when four crewmen took the wizard’s place at the opening in the rail. Her fingers moved of their own volition to send the flute’s haunting refrain over the water. On the dirge’s final note, the crew tilted the board. A solitary ripple marred the surface of the lake when the body dropped into its dark depths.

A crewman’s cry of surprise at the two shipfish who rose alongside the ship broke Ellspeth’s inward focus. She felt the crew’s awe as the sea creatures’ whispery sounds repeated the funeral dirge. Their silver bodies surged upward to balance on split tails. “Almost like the King’s Guard,” a grizzled crewman at the rail offered. His observation of an honor guard came true when two more shipfish surfaced—the body balanced between their large back fins. The Sea Falcon’s crew stood motionless while eerie whistles echoed across the lake. When the final note of the unusual dirge faded away, the shipfish and their cherished burden slipped out of sight. Full dark had settled upon the still lake before the crew sought their bunks.

Unwilling to move, Ellspeth stood alone at the bow rail.

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Next up is the letter, "T." If you're following other blogs in the challenge, here's the master list of the other participants.

~ till next time, Helen

1 comment:

  1. Great information to go with the story! I hadn't heard about captains tossing them food before. That would explain why sea friends are more likely to show up! Good story, too.

    ~Operation Awesome. Our A to Z 2019 theme is the writing journey.


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