Philon, heir to a pirate empire, is determined to take a wife. And not just any wife either. No, he has set his eyes on Arianna Delora, a green-eyed beauty with a tongue as swift as her blade. Unfortunately, Arianna also happens to be the only child of his father’s mortal enemy, but such details do not deter Philon.
Tonight, Arianna is supposed to undertake the sacred ritual that will turn her from a girl into a woman. This ritual is the most important night of her life, but Arianna is uncertain. She enjoys the free life of a pirate and she does not want to give it up for the so-called joys of womanhood. Nor is she thrilled when Philon, son of her father’s sworn enemy, suddenly shows up at the ritual, babbling about making her his wife.
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Some background information:
- This story is 4800 words long and was originally published in Thriller UK No. 4.
- However, its roots go back much further. In fact, I first created Arianna, Philon and Jarina in 1983 at the age of ten.
- The initiating spark was meeting a young Dutch woman who served as the first mate aboard a tanker. She was the first (and only) female officer I ever encountered. The character of Arianna is loosely based on her.
- A very early draft of Rites of Passage was scribbled by hand during a particularly boring lesson either during my last year at school or first year at university. The published version, however, has been much revised since then.
- Even though the story is classified as fantasy, it is actually science fiction set on a planet with the low-tech civilization (the tech level is approximately 17th century is Earth terms), two moons and an abundance of water. I guess you could call it planetary romance.
- The current cover image is stock art by Gerhard Gellinger with a moon image by Duncan Miller copied in.
- The original cover image is a photo of the three mast bark Rickmer Rickmers moored at Hamburg’s St. Pauli quay, altered by the magic of Photoshop.