Republic of Genoa
October 14th, 1349
Paulo D'Agostino hated the night shift. He was tired all of the time, he missed his family and he could not stand his co-workers. But, he was now the harbour master for the Republic of Genoa. At night. Granted, his job consisted mostly of pushing paper, but he had his foot in the door. Old Endrizzi would probably never retire from his post as official harbour master, but the bastard couldn't live forever. All Paulo had to do was hold on until that day. He would be the logical successor and with the prestige of that title, maybe he could get his father-in-law off his back.
D'Agostino wasn't thinking about his future now though, he was actually out on the water for a change. A Portuguese slaver coming in late from Marseilles reported passing a ship on the way into port. They could see no crew and their hails were not answered, but the ship did have minimal sails set and were headed towards the city. D'Agostino and his crew of six were headed out to meet her.
It didn't take long to find the ship although spotting her had been tricky. Asleep at the wheel, D'Agostino thought disgustedly, but after closing with the vessel his assumptions changed. The ship looked as if it had been through a hurricane or attacked. Her main sail was the only one raised, and it was only three quarters up at that. The rest of the rigging hung in disarray. A lone lantern on the quarterdeck was the only source of light on the whole ship. Once they had closed enough for his own lanterns to illuminate the ship he realized she was a Genoese trader out of Caffa, on the Black Sea. Crews on these ships were never lax. The Doge made sure that examples were set for any sailor that strayed out of line. Paulo's stomach began to tighten.
He attempted to hail the ship several times as his sailors brought their smaller boat along side. Guards and sailors began exchanging worried glances as no answering call was received. D'Agostino allowed his four guards to board first after grappling hooks and a net were cast over her side. Once on deck, his sense of unease only deepened. "You two, lower that sail," he ordered, "Angelo, go forward and drop anchor." Hands on their weapons, the men set to their tasks. The deck was empty of men but strewn with equipment, sails and cargo. Worst of all was the silence. Paulo set off towards the lamp on the quarter deck, where, by its light he thought he could see a figure hunched over the wheel.
Sure enough, there was a man on the wheel, though he wasn't hunched over it. The obviously dead man had been lashed to the it at some point and now it was holding his body upright. Swallowing deeply, D'Agostino reached out with a shaking hand, grabbed a handful of hair and pulled the man's head back. The trio of screams from the front of the ship joined his own as the other sailors made grisly discoveries of their own. Removing his hand from his mouth, Paulo D'Agostino crossed himself quickly and crept back toward the body. "What in God's name did that?" he asked himself gazing in revulsion at the grossly swollen neck and blackened face of the dead man.
The Black Plague had arrived in Europe.
Six hundred and fifty-one years later.
Captain Dumbass watches the weather reports and looks fearfully to the skies. A frontal system full of cold air, heavy precipitation and hate is forecast to strike southern BC on Christmas Eve, the same day he and the family are planning to travel inland for the holidays. Little does the Dumbass know what else the storm is bringing.
The snow, much like the sniffles, starts small and unassuming. Throughout the evening though, they build with intensity and fervour. The trip is canceled due to impassable roads and white-out conditions. "Just as well," they think as their youngest spends night after night in their bed, racked with fever and a wet cough. Soon enough, the sickness spreads to the older brother. As with the younger, cough turns into fever, but unlike the younger, deep coughing causes the eldest to vomit.
Day after miserable day the colds march on. Captain Dumbass and Supreme Leader are on edge, each holding back the invader but weakening daily with the lack of sleep and constant attacks of bodily fluids.
Finally, the fever's break. The vomit inducing coughs, while lessening, continue on and with the breaking of the fever came the breaking of an apparent dam holding back an indescribably horrendous amount of terrible, terrible mucus in the second born. Thankfully that hideously freakish tide is almost spent, but just for laughs, the eldest decided to "evacuate" from the bottom end for a change today.
And with that, I will bid you adieu for a day or two.
(Sure, I could have just said "ya, kids have had a bitch of a cold but it's almost done," but where's the fun in that?)
Skateboarding on frozen sand
2 days ago