First Monday Free Fiction: Rites of Passage

Rites of PassageWelcome to the May 2022 edition of First Monday Free Fiction.

To recap, inspired by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who posts a free short story every week on her blog, I’ll post a free story on the first Monday of every month. At the end of the month, I’ll take the story down and post another.

Pirates are having a moment in pop culture right now, so this month’s free story is a pirate story. It’s called Rites of Passage and was not only one of the first stories I self-published, but is also the oldest of my stories to still survive in a semblance of its original version. I wrote it by hand during a particularly dull class in the last year of school. It was revised and submitted several times and eventually published in an issue of Thriller UK.

The characters are some of the earliest I created to actually make it into published fiction as well. I created Arianna and her supporting cast at the age of twelve and initially intended to write a whole series about them, though this is the only story that exists in complete form.

So follow Arianna Delora, as she undergoes

Rites of Passage

Parla, the dusty orange moon, was hanging low in the afternoon sky. He and his mate Jopla, the pale silver satellite, were the revered gods of this world. They were the movers of the sea, the bringers of the tide, the parents of all people.

Tiro, boatmaster to the pirates of Tasso, looked up. Lord Parla would sink early today, never even showing his full splendor in the dark sky. The night was to be ruled by Lady Jopla alone, bathing the world in her silvery light.

A motion caught Tiro’s eye. A motion where there was supposed to be none. Something or someone was moving among the boats. Tiro’s hand tightened on the grip of his sword as he moved to investigate. As soundlessly as possible he followed the shadow that was moving around between the between the boats and confronted the intruder. Tiro drew his sword. “Who there?” he bellowed.

The shadow turned around and stepped into the light. Now Tiro saw that it was no intruder at all, but Philon, seventeen years, hotheaded and the son of the leader of the pirates of Tasso.

“Tiro, man, you startled me,” Philon complained.

“That is my duty,” Tiro said gravely, “What are you doing here, Philon?”

“I need a boat. Tonight.”

“What for?”

Philon smiled. “That’s private,” he said.

“I cannot let you have a boat, unless you tell me where you want to sail,” Tiro insisted, “Your father’s orders.”

Philon sighed. “Sarava.”

“And what would you want in Sarava? They are our enemies.”

“I have not forgotten.”

“Then what do you want there? Steal their treasures?”

“Just one treasure. The most precious one they have.”

“And what treasure would that be?” Tiro wanted to know. From the way the boy behaved, he suspected that there was something else behind this than just a simple raid, even if it was a raid on Sarava, whose people, pirates as well, were the sworn enemies of Tasso.

“That’s none of your business,” Philon snapped.

So Tiro had been right. “Nevertheless, you will have to tell me, if you want a boat.” Tiro was acting above his station and he knew it. It was not his place to question the boy. Philon was the Captain’s son and his heir to be. Upon a single word of his father he could have all the boats he wanted and Tiro could not do a thing about it. However, Tiro was certain that Philon’s father had no idea what his son was up to and that he would not approve if he found out. Therefore, Tiro would do all he could to discover Philon’s plans and if necessary prevent them.

“So if you must know”, Philon said, “Tonight I am going to take a wife. That’s what I need the boat for.”

The Captain would most certainly not approve of this.


This story was available for free on this blog for one month only, but you can still read it in Rites of Passage. And if you click on the First Monday Free Fiction tag, you can read this month’s free story.

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