See Posts Below for Chapters 1 & 2 of our SteamPunk Adventure Romance Atlantea Soulmates
It was dawn on the second day of the storm. There was a brief lull in the weather but rain clouds could be seen approaching from the stern. Helena, priestess of Apollo, stood holding on to a rail in the shelter of the high poop deck. Her ship had been driven far off course. She had made prayers to Poseidon promising a sacrifice of a goat from the sacred temple herd. Her prayers and promises seemed all in vain, but somehow the battered ship survived the night.
The exhausted, hungry and thirsty crew were repairing the sail and trying to make the ship seaworthy again. The ship was holding her own but could not take much more punishment. Helena heard the captain bellowing orders, trying to attend to several matters at once.
No one noticed a huge grey and brown Leviathan surface under the ship. With a mighty thrust the creature’s huge head pounded devastatingly into the hull below the waterline. The ship rolled suddenly to the port side; wood splintered. The crew fell and slid across the deck towards the foaming cold sea. Barrels of wine and water broke loose with the blow, rolling across the deck, crushing limbs and creating havoc.
The Leviathan turned away from the stricken vessel and dived. Gradually the ship righted herself. Water was pouring into the hull from some of the boards which had been sprung by the impact. The crewmen dropped to their knees praying to Poseidon to call off his creature of the deep. Helena raised her arms in supplication, promising chariots of gold to the sea God; her prayers desperate to assuage the rage of Poseidon’s minion. Suddenly the monster's mighty tail lifted swiftly high out of the water and smashed down on the deck of the ship. The sounds of smashing timbers and cries of agony rent the air.
The ship began to list as her hold began to take in much water. They were doomed now. Men were throwing themselves into the sea resigned to their fate. Then, as if ordered by some higher power, the huge sea creature turned away from the wreckage it had created; a mighty plume of air blew from the top of it's head then it dived into the deep.
Helena’s thoughts turned to the Lord of the Underworld, Hades and the calm voyage across the river Styx which would soon be their next voyage. An incredible apparition appeared on the horizon. It was a ship like no one had ever seen before. Instead of a mast, the ship seemed to have a tall chimney which, like a kiln, belched a black fume into the wild airs of the storm. Her huge black hull was carving through the waves with disdain, as if the storm waves were nothing.
Was this the vessel that would take them all to the afterlife? Helena wondered. Is this craft Poseidon’s personal water chariot powered by magic? Now all she could do was die with dignity. Helena went into her cabin. Perhaps there was time for her to dress in her priestess robes so she could die as befitted her status as an honored Priestess of Apollo and devotee of dolphins.
“Ship off the starboard quarter.” yelled a signalman. Klaus spun the view scope to that portion of the ocean. There lay a brightly coloured Greek merchant ship listing badly, the mast smashed, laying across her deck. Her crew staring incredulously at the big steel ship that bore down on them with her smokestack belching black smoke. Klaus smiled grimly, no doubt these uitlanders are thinking my ship is a work of one of their ridiculous Gods, he thought.
The first mate ordered everyone to action stations on deck. Grappling hooks were thrown and the small ship was hauled alongside the battle cruiser.
As the wreck settled further down in the water, wallowing as waves washed over the decks, men were running on the decks of the black ship. The surviving crew watched as the great ship pulled abreast of them; grapples were thrown and the wreck was hauled roughly alongside. Two wide ramps were lowered, black uniformed men carrying long rods with sharp knives attached ran down onto the shattered deck.
"Put your hands on your heads, you Greek scum! Move up the ramp onto the ship!" yelled one of the uniformed men. The bewildered crew were herded roughly up the ramps into the black ship. One man who resisted was picked up bodily and thrown overboard. A loud boom startled them all. A rod held by one of raiders spat fire at a sailor, he screamed and fell bloodied and dying onto the deck.
Helena was on her knees praying for a safe passage into the afterlife, when she was disturbed by a pounding on the cabin door. The wooden door was no match for the force applied to it and it splintered, crashing to the floor. Black uniformed men swarmed into the cabin. When they saw Helena standing before them they halted their headlong rush. Her eyes blazed defiance. She stood tall, daring them to make the next move. Their leader shouted in a guttural form of Helena's own language. "You will come with us now!"
Two men forced her out of the cabin. They waded through the rising sea and flotsam on the shattered deck towards the ramps. Bruised and bedraggled Helena was the last to leave the stricken vessel. As she looked up at the black ship she saw the word Hieglund emblazoned in red upon the hull in unusual violent letters. She walked forward with her head held high refusing to show any signs of the fear and terror that possessed her.
To Captain Meinbach’s amazement a blonde woman in white and gold robes appeared from the stern cabin, almost carried across the flooded deck of the wrecked merchantman by his marines. In a splash of sunlight which shone suddenly through the clouds her fresh white and gold robes glowed like another sun. Her long hair was a wild tumble of blonde curls down her back. He stared hard at her, then she was lost to view, herded into the hold.
She truly was a remarkable looking woman, thought Klaus. The kind of woman I have never seen the like of before. Something compassionate stirred in his soul and he stood at the rail wondering if he had seen her before. Was she an Atlantean noble woman captured by the Greeks? There was something about her...
Anything of value was appropriated from the merchant ship and then the stricken craft was cut loose. Captain Meinbach watched expressionlessly as the wreckage promptly sank, saving his gunners the job of sinking it. To stray into Atlantean waters had sealed the merchantman's fate.
Now his crew would follow the prescribed procedure for interrogation and disposal of the captives from the stricken ship. He felt little knowing that the badly injured uitlanders would be disposed of in the ship’s furnace after being interrogated. He knew that all other human-like beings were merely ciphers; sub-human lookalikes to beguile the people of Atlantea. Those young and strong enough would be kept as slaves. Their eventual fate was to serve the Empire working in the coal mines on the island of Erebos.
Atlantean humans were above the mainland scum. They were genetically advanced and pure. Their fair skin, blue eyes and dark hair set them apart from the swarthy skins of other, lesser, humans. Like all the Greeks, Phoenicians and Persians.
The Empire possessed the supreme inventions of steam and industry, including the recently discovered wonder of electricity which lit the great city of Atlantis. Captured slaves would never be permitted to return to their homelands to spread word of the great power and technology they had experienced.
Klaus decided to go and watch the interrogation for a while. It did not amuse him to see the uitlanders tortured but it was his duty. To hear their cries and prayers as the political officers pitilessly extracted information had never sat well with him. But an Atlantean naval captain was required to be present at such things. Everything which occurred on his ship was his responsibility.