This is a story that may or may not be true.
Those islands over there are called the Pakleni islands, meaning hell’s islands, supposedly. In truth the name comes from the old Slavic word for tar- ‘paklina’.
Why tar? Well to answer that this story must be told. It is not a story for the faint of heart.
Back in the day, Pharos and the Pakleni islands were ruled by the King. He lived with his family in the Spanish fortress up on that hill, the Fortica as the locals call it. Some say he wasn’t really a king, that he gave himself the title. Whether or not he was one, he wielded power over the area and was regarded by the islanders as their leader.
In those days trade was done by way of ships. The ...view middle of the document...
The pirates sought refuge at the Fortica from the oncoming storm, leaving their ships docked at the Pakleni islands. The King welcomed them onto Pharos with open arms and extended his hospitality by housing their Captain in his home.
The Captain was a young man, thirty years of age, tall and of dark complexion. Striking, but fearsome in appearance, he had eyes like the devil’s, green-blue as the sea upon which they looked their entire life. The tar on his boots was as black as his raven hair and with each step he took his boots clicked, announcing his presence wherever he went. His skin had the appearance of worn leather, weathered from the salt and wind of a sailor’s life. The Captain was highly respected among his crewmen and among the leaders of the south. But a pirate’s a pirate no matter how honorable he may seem.
The King, being himself an honorable man, received the pirates without a second thought. He was a widower with no family apart from his three daughters. They were renowned for their beauty, true gentlewomen of noble blood, poised and highly educated in all the arts. Of the three, the youngest, Asja, was the King’s favorite. Her joyous laughter that rang through the fortress was one of the few things that still made the old King smile.
Her hair fell down to her waist in golden ringlets, her delicate features were made even more beautiful by the milky paleness of her skin. Such features aren’t common to this area where people are predominantly olive skinned.
It was Asja who caught the young Captain’s wandering eye.
The King decided to host a banquet for the young Captain in honor of their longstanding arrangement. Asja loved the Venetian tradition of the Carnival and begged for the ball to be a masked one. Her father who would have stolen the moon for his daughter complied with her wish.
It was a lavish affair, as such thrown by men who call themselves kings tend to be. The daughters all dressed as birds, the oldest dressing as the dazzling emerald and azure colors of the peacock, the second oldest, choosing the distinct gray and white coat of the swallow and Asja choosing the pure white color of the swan.
That was the first night the Captain laid eyes on Asja. She resembled a creature of the heavens in her white dress and feathered wings. From the moment he first saw her, the Captain was determined to have her for his own.
The daughter’s cheeks turned the color of the sky at sunset at the sight of the handsome pirate. His eyes that seemed icy to so many, drew her into their depths, making her see the entire world’s seas in them.
That night her father desired some entertainment. At his request Asja sang one of the old folk songs passed down from generation to generation. She was quite hesitant to sing despite her bold nature. She feared the scrutiny of those green-blue eyes that had poisoned her soul with desire. But there wasn’t anything she wouldn’t grant her father.
The song she chose was one known to all sailors, depicting the...