August 2015. Trondheim´s fiord, Norway
Where to start? I´d need thousands of pages, for you to really understand this world, although I doubt that most of you would believe me. I´ll try to explain you only the essential, by now. Understanding of course, that you´ll be discrete with this information, so… Your own life could depend on it. I´m sure that what I´m about to tell you will explain many things you hadn´t understand until today, but, please, I repeat: be cautious.
My name is Artai, I live in a medium size city. Some hundreds of thousands of souls, that I try to keep living, with the only natural issues that life offers us. Why I´m saying this?
I work for the Historical Conservation Society (SCH). An organization that publicly it´s dedicated to the patrimony preservation, archeological excavations, restorations, expeditions, custody of museums and all that can be related to art and history. However, our real mission is, since the SCH has been stablished, more than 1500 years ago, is… The combat against evil in all it shapes.
Yes, you have read correctly: the combat against evil or the Darkness armies, or as you prefer to call it. Although it´s not my intention, at least at the moment, teaching a Philosophy or History class, ´ll lay your cards on the table. By now, you only need to know two things. The first of them is that all the folklore and mythologic creatures that you have heard about, do not only exist, but many of them move around among you, hidden behind their magic and special abilities.
So, for you to get used to the idea, in figures: In this huge blue rock, there are about 7500 million of souls. From them, approximately a 20% are not human. What are they? Aliens? You´d wish to.
Don’t´ think that the balance leans towards us, because the thousands or millions of creatures and demons hidden behind doors that very few can see, are not even registered in the census. Besides, from the remaining 80% of souls, around the half of them are already condemned for different reasons, so that, once the moment comes, the elevator goes… Down. I don’t know if I´m explaining myself.
My job is to neutralize these creatures. Of course, there are many others that do the same, although they aren´t as good as me, I must say, and the bad guys have “employees” as well, working in the same.
The second important question, and that you should keep in mind to understand how things really work, is that since the beginning, as much them as us, are divided in different cults, secret societies, organizations, factions and clans, and at the same time the world was spinning around and all that you should have read in the History books was happening, the Light´s and the Darkness´ forces were doing the same, fighting and sharing out the territories of the Earth.
Summing up… This occult world it´s perfectly divided in territories, dominated by different factions. Each one with its own armies, powers, virtues and defects. And, although, initially the only thing that divides us it our affinity to good or evil, soon you´ll see it´s not that easy. Not all the Good´s factions not the Evil´s ones have the same intentions. I would like to tell you more, but I´m afraid it´s enough to swallow. I think it´s better that you discover the rest along the way, so that you can judge freely. Now let´s leave the theory and let´s pass to a practical case in the life of an… an… I´m sorry, I had not foreseen to define this as work. Just call me Artai.
This peculiar boat, that slides by the cold Nordic waters, is the Nemesis. With a huge and old wood hull, three masts, a large bowsprit festooned with a beautiful goddess’s carving. About forty-five meters of length and three lines of batteries with a total of seventy cannons of different calibers. A vessel that wouldn´t go unseen anywhere. A wonder out of its time.
It sails preceded by a thick and magical fog patch, that conceals the boat from undesirable eyes, and from any modern track system. On its deck, in the middle of the night, and practically in the dark, its occupants, from different races, epochs, and planes, whisper while they seem to hide behind the thick boards of the boat. Their clothes, the same that the inside of the vessel, don´t seem to completely correspond to the present century. You´ll see an interesting assortment of wood, steel and an almost indecipherable technology. Leather, sabers, crude hooks and chains. Night vision glasses in different colour spectrums and materials… Understand beforehand, that everything is the result of the same powerful magic that has allowed this magnificent Spanish galleon plow through the seven seas and arrive to these coasts without a problem.
One of the crewmen, guarded in the highest part of the mainmast, moves, his right arm, tracing arches. Then, he makes some signs with his hand.
—What is it? —I ask.
—We´re very close.
That gentleman in a peculiar look that has answered my question, is the Captain, Caleb Amin Asid Gómez de la Vega. Half Spanish, half Egyptian. I have met him for centuries. Our relationship had a dramatic start, in a dark cell of the Cyprus island. Since then, we have loved, fought, cried, laughed and blood together countless times. Believe me when I tell you, that this guy is one of the few people that I love and respect in this gloomy world. Sadly, he is since a long time ago, and for totally unfair reasons… an outlaw, for the majority of the Light factions.
—Are you sure of what you´re saying? No one has informed us of no anomaly in this area.
—Since a month ago… —He started to tell, with a serious look and clearly sorrowful—, we had thrown the rope more to the North. After more than a month between the crossfire, magic and fangs, we finally beat ones, arrested others, and then vanished. My men needed a rest, good meals and maybe, a little bit of warmth. Everything seemed normal when we arrived, but Irwine, of our best seamen, with certain psychic abilities, given his sensitive gift, advised us that something was going wrong. Before we could react, we were surrounded by these beasts. They got us off guarded, unarmed and in dry land. We had a narrow escape: We got to achieve the boat. There, we endured the attack without many problems, but four of my men lost their lives…
—I´m sorry, mate. You hadn´t told me that before.
—But that was not the worst part. For people like us, death is a comrade that you assume to see closely. Mendoza, and Johansson, were completely human. We saw how they took them yet with life he told me while he gritted his teeth…
—We couldn´t leave them behind, neither the poor people of the village. We brought the boat closer to the coast, as much as we could. We prepared ourselves and we started the rescue, inland.
— I won´t waste your time with details. I´ll only tell you that we arrived late. Late for everyone. We found the Necros head-on, there were at least five thousand of them. Several tribes gathered, going down south, drafting every man they could on their path. Joining a vermin’s army even bigger. We couldn´t even rescue them. We were forced to see how that mortuary warlocks removed the life of ours, giving it back to them in the most dreadful means.
I don´t know even what to say in this moment. There is a silence that lasts for more than a minute.
—There is not relief for it, but we will stop them and make them pay.
The vessel halts, in a middle distance from the shore. Inland, a small village known as Skatval: About a thousand inhabitants shared with clearance, in an area of green meadows and forests of leafy conifers. The weather is warm (being Norway, of course), around the 4 grades. Unfortunately, the day is much longer in the summer in these latitudes, and although it´s only 04:00 in the morning, it has already begun to get dawn.
—Getting closer would be dangerous.
—Dangerous for whom, Caleb?
—Have a look.
The Captain offers me a unique brass spyglass, that looks very old, but sparkly. It has its thickest part lined with leather, tied together with a strap and its medium part covered by an exquisite engraved of maritime matters. I place it correctly after totally unfolding it, and I start to observe.
—What do I have to search?
—Just watch and tell me what do see.
In a few seconds I realize something very strange. Hundreds of people, crowd together in groups across the coastline. They are… Simply standing, immobile. With their arms lightly open. Looking at the sea. Their pupils have a shocking green tone. Their eyes, their nasal cavities, their ears… Even their pores, fester a revolting greenish liquid.
Behind them… The fields, the houses, even some trees, are covered by viscous and blackish seaweeds.
—Draugens?! —I exclaim—. How is it possible? It´s been centuries since for the last time they were seen.
—The times are changing, my friend. The rising of the last Prince has disrupted the world. The gods whisper in fury, deads are waking up from their graves…
—I follow you, Caleb, I follow you. Don´t get too apocalyptic. We have a very serious problem here. Something smells rotten in Denmark.
—We are in Norway.
—Do we have to do something? —I ask, after a brief and tough look to my colleague.
—They are too many, we can´t do anything for that poor people. Before it totally dawns, they´ll be become draugens, and they´ll go back to the sea.
I observe then something interesting. I pass Caleb the spyglass, pointing at a specific spot.
—Look. On top of those rocks.
The Captain looks to the pointed spot, answering right away, with a surprise gesture. On top of the rock, the creature. It is difficult to describe it. Anthropomorphic in some extent. It´s body, seems to be formed by a dense mixture of putrefied seaweed and marine animals’ remains in state of decomposition. Without a visible mouth or nostrils, but with two huge round eyes of a dark brown color. From the mass that forms its body emerge some tentacles that hold it to the slippery rock by robust suckers.
The creature keeps the limbs, that seemed to be their arms, buried in the sand. All its body festers that disgusting green jelly, while a movement of its arms suggests that, somehow, it is pumping its venom. Without a doubt, that creature is responsible for what we´re seeing in the coast, but, it is not acting alone. The draugens are not that powerful. Near the creature, two dark draugr warlocks constantly recite psalms, in a language that only the dead can understand.
—It is worse than what we had thought —states the captain—. For centuries the necros haven´t been so in the South. This is not good.
—It isn´t, but at least we already know how to stop them.
—Necros don´t travel alone, and even less their elders. There must be hundreds of them, hidden behind those trees —Caleb indicates.
—With the bad luck we have… I think that they will rather be a pair of thousands —I answer back— How do we do it? The easy way or the hard way?
After that, I turn my head towards the Captain and the rest of men, with a big smile. None of them, brave soldiers, weather-beaten, hurt and blood in hundreds of battles, can’t do anything but share their commanders´ guffaws.
In fact, it´s such a noise we make with our laughs in the middle of the night that, from the coast, some draugr warriors, suddenly turn their heads, looking to the sea. One of them, makes several signs while gives commands in their dead language. At least 200 warriors are deployed by the beach. Some hundreds, remain in rearguard. The draugar are living-dead and scavengers, and so they carry odd weapons and clothing, stolen from their enemies’ corpses (the ones they don´t transform or devour). Luckily, the Nemesis’ magic fog protects us. From the shore, the beasts can only listen to the crew´s guffaws, and look at each other, confused.
—Any ideas? —Caleb asks me.
—yes, I think I have a plan to reach the coast without being seen.
—OK, I´m going to follow you although as always, I don´t really know why.
Everything returns to the deathly calm of the night for several minutes in which there can only be Heard the sound of water beating the sand and the rocks. The draugar don´t lower their guard and their warlocks continue with the ritual.
Suddenly… a whisper flies over the wind, getting close to the beach. One of the draugr commanders raises an arm looking suspicious to the strange fog bank. Just before he can pronounce a single word, a heavy cannon ball pulls off his head and impacts against a tree behind him, making him fall back to his knees and then to the ground, like a sandbag.
There is a general sign of surprise, but, without a second, the thirty-six starboard battery fire one after another, with a thunderous sound which bounces off the fiord´s mountains. It lights the night in such a way that, possibly, many of those draugar, and of the villagers of the region, would think that the very Lord of thunder had come down form the heavens.
The first broadside´s effect is devastating. The second, causes less harm. However, the beach remains filled with dismembered bodies from the undead. The ritual stops. Little by Little, the green venom disappears from the land. In the middle of the chaos caused by the attack, Caleb, thirty from his sailors and me, have time enough for moving closer to the shore, swimming.
When our hands can touch the sand, we get out the water gripping our weapons and roaring like the real sea dogs we are. The captain, of course, is the first that stabs his sword in the chest of one of the necromancers while he shouts: <
The combat is fast but merciless. Swords, pistols, spears and throwing weapons, fly and collide along the beach. Caleb, is a medium build tall man, with, straight black hair, long sideburns and light eyes. His skin, the same as their men, is bronzed and leathery because of the wind, the sun and the sea´s saltpeter. A loose-fitting shirt, open waistcoat, several belts, hide wristbands and leather boots. Earrings, some rings and a few tattoos complete smart his awkward and at the same time, one look. He´s armed with a hand knife on one side of his waist, a saber in the other and two double-breasted guns. His agility and speed are superhuman. His movements are typical from a fencing master.
A hook gets closer to him, tracing a horizontal arch up to his head. The captain dodges it quickly, bending his back and being much faster, throws a vertical struck followed by another in horizontal, cutting off one of his opponents arms and throat.
Immediately, he turns back, throwing a thrust direct to the another creature´s chest, but this time, he finds a solid shield that blocks his attack. The draugr takes advantage of his luck. With a skillful movement, strips off his weapon and charges against him, with the shield ahead. The onslaught is so powerful, that Caleb almost breaks by half the fir with which his back stumbles over. The undead brings his face closer to our friend´s and he roars, showing his sharp set of teeth and his putrefied black mouth, while he slowly draws from his back a rusty nicked blade ax. The strength of the beast is so, that the wood starts to creak like if it would break. However, Caleb is not a <
—I see you a bit slacker, my friend! I shout to Caleb from my spot.
—Without a doubt, I need a pair of coffees or a good shot of whiskey…
It wouldn´t be OK if I described myself. I wouldn´t possibly be objective, but I can tell you that those animals are not rivals for me. I get rid of the first four without almost batting an eyelid. With the fifth, I´m not so lucky. He skewers his spear in a side of my gut. An ugly wound, but not serious at all. The bastard smiles and throws another stab, this time at my neck. I feint it without many problems. I break his teeth with my hammer.
—Laugh now, scumbag! —I blurt out.
He drops his weapon, to take his hand to his mouth. I don´t make him suffer more than necessary. I pierce his heart, if he has one, with my sword.
Caleb´s men, answer as expect from them. Real XXI century corsairs. Ruthless Warriors, faithful and astute. Soldiers without a flag. Al lot of them, with a story, that ended being part of the Nemesis ‘crew.
The battle finishes with more fortune than usual. We don´t have to regret no losses, only cuts, bruises and broken bones. The village and its people are safe.
When they wake up, it would only have been a nightmare, that the Society or the North guild, justifies somehow. I inform both of them about what has happened.
—Good morning, Artai… Do we have to worry? —Francois, blurs out. He is one of the board members of the Historical Conservation Society. An arrogant, pompous and classist. A pseudo-intellectual of the French aristocracy, that has achieved a position thanks to his surname.
In the other corner of this three sides conversation, Igvar, chief of the Bladesmiths North Guilder. A guy who is just over 1,40 meters, like almost his congeners. Stocky, with a long red beard, curly hair and eyebrows so bushy that they seem two burning flames. Don´t let his size confuse you, very few have survived the confrontation with these grumpy dwarfs. Their courage, their bravery, and their war abilities are inversely proportional to their stature. Even so, they are easy going people if you know them, and that you would like to have by your side when you´re in trouble.
—I see you still have the same idea of me, although I´m making an effort, without any obligation of doing it, of showing the contrary. By the way: I´m happy to see you, blacksmith friend.
Igvar smiles ironically. Neither he likes too much this standoffish French.
—Artai, your calls and your actions —he mentions in an arrogant tone—, come almost every time followed by serious issues, lacks of protocol, and violations of every law and treaty, under the sun, between the factions of Light.
The leader of the guilder, smiles again. Behind me, Caleb and his men, some seated on the piled corpses of draugar, repress their laughs.
—OK. I have not called to argue about diplomacy among… civil servants. I think you should send someone.
—What has happened, friend? —Igvar asks.
—Well, I was… fishing? With some friends… —I say. They both answer squinting, raising one eyebrow and twisting their mouths—, when we found, by chance, a village full of…
—What? —Francois asks, moving closer to the monitor.
—Holy cow! —he exclaims.
—Where are you exactly? —says Igvar.
—In Skatval, a Little town in the fiord of Trondheim. In Norway.
—That is impossible! —they both answer back, almost at once—. Necros never go down so much. They don´t like the heat.
—Well, these have gone down. What is more, we have arrived just in time to avoid a much bigger disgrace.
—Besides of being busy recruiting souls, as usual, in some way I´m in the dark about, and by means of dark arts, they are transforming the inhabitants of this region in…
—I don´t know, but they were using a draugen as a catalyst of their magic.
—How —one exclaims, frightened.
—A draugen? —shouts up the other.
—Yes! —I answer.
—That is not possible!
—Are you sure?
—Not quite… —I answer again.
I move towards the beast that, now is properly apprehended between meters and meters of a thick blessed chain made of forged iron, and I stand by it, focusing both of us with the portable transmitter, as if I was about to take a selfie of us. The smell, and the babbling sound the creature emits, are sickening. Even so, I smile, looking at the camera. And I say:
—What do you think? Is it or not?
It takes them a while to answer, as well as to close their mouths, and, when they do, it is again in gasps.
—Oh, my Goodness! —our French guy exclaims.
—Sweet suffering Moses! —the dwarf shouts up.
—And the villagers? Has someone seen anything?
—By a whisker, although I can´t assure that they won´t suffer any side effect. They´ll need a medical examination, as well as any excuse that explains the damages.
—And the necros? —Igvar asks.
—A small clan. About 400 draugar in all, but they are now history.
—Incredible! The world is changing, my friend. Dark times lay ahead —claims the dwarf.
—Yes, I´ve already been told that today.
—And… Just out of curiosity. Even though we know you´re a… powerful <
—Igvar, have you noticed a Little attitude in that Word? Or it is my imagination?
—No, no… I´ve noticed as well.
—I was saying!!! —the French shouts up—, that however, not even you would launch yourself alone against 400 draugrs. Who has helped you to finish with them?
—Mmm… I think that detail is not important. The thing is, that we have cleaned up them out. Problem solved.
—Not at all! Everything matters here! And particularly when you´re involved. The coalitions, and the alliances work. when the rules and the pacts are respected —he blurts out.
—You´re right, Artai —Igvar adds.
—Are you really going with him in this?
—No, brother —he answers back— you know we are more… tolerant with certain things, but, he´s right here: none of us wants to mess. you know who.
—Of course, I´m right.
—I´ll remind you of that next time we see each other —I tell the dwarf.
—You know our gates are always open for your company and you.
—that would be fantastic right now. Oh, yes! My mouth is watering, thinking about your gently roasted beef and that amber ale. Pipe smoking by the fire, and contemplating those wonderful snow-capped mountains.
—My home is your home —he says.
—I might take you up on that, so I can spend the summer more to the north. I hate the heat, you know?
—Who wouldn´t, brother? —Igvar answers.
The conversation turns to some anecdotes in the dwarf King´s lands. Laughs, music and trolls. Meanwhile, our French colleague, changes his expression, little by little, until it seems that smoke shoots out of his ears. Then, he roars, wide eye and with a scowl.
—But what the hell are you talking about, you pair of fools?!
—Eh… Excuse us, Francois.
—Yes, our apologies… what were we saying? —In answer, knowing my words are going to anger him even more. Yes, I admit it, I love to rile up bureaucrats.
—What were we saying you ask?! —he roars again. Then, he breathes deeply a couple times and he speaks again, changing his voice tone. I blink an eye to Igvar.
—What are you doing with the corpses? —Francois asks.
—A Viking burial —I tell him.
—What an atrocity! —he states.
—It´s the best. Don´t forget what they are.
—Yes… maybe you´re right. Those beasts deserve nothing else.
—I have already ordered to send you doctors and some soldiers. They´ll be in around in a couple of hours —says the leader of the guild.
—Perfect, we´ll start with the “cleaning”
Immediately, we pile in a boat the draugar´s corpses. We fire them up. Then, we let the tide and the waters took care of them. The boat slowly gets ways heading North, while the representatives of both factions contemplate it, solemnly, from behind their monitors, but, unfortunately, Francois has seen more than he should.
—¿Artaiii? —howls the bureaucrat in the kindliest terrifying tone I´ve ever heard.
—Yeeees, sir —I answer, fearful.
—Have I seen what I believe I´ve seen? —he keeps using that disturbing tone.
—I don´t think so…
—I thought that the Society had already set the record straight on you about the… “companies you keep”. Is it that your insolence has no limits?
—Francois… I don´t think that … —Igvar says.
—Master blacksmith, with all due respect, this topic is none of your business. This man, represents a spotless organization. His decisions affect us all! The Society has never and will never be associated with…
—Pirates, is a Word a biiiiiiit… exaggerated, don´t you think? Besides it sounds outdated nowadays.
—You know what, Artai? Angus won´t always be there to protect you —he blurts out, in a threating tone.
Igvar and Caleb suddenly change their expression. They know that this classist aristocrat, man of too much words and few actions, has crossed a dangerous line. I can´t help that my eyes change their color and anger builds me up for a moment.
—You know what, Francois? —I answer back, getting closer to the camera—. That day, it will be you the one nobody can protect.
—Friend —Caleb says putting a hand on my shoulder— leave it. Sadly, some “cretins” still may choose to fill forms appropriately, instead of saving a life.
—Don´t try to justify your actions, Captain. I´ll unchain you by myself and I´ll judge you… properly, some day. This very day if you don´t move from where you are.
—Mmmm… I doubt it very much, Sir. It´s not the first time you threaten us like that.
—Gentlemen! —The blacksmith master roars for the first time—. It´s enough! We´re all on the same side. We all seek, fight and blood for the same reasons.
—You´re right as usually, Igvar —Caleb admits.
—Captain Amin, welcome again… from the dead. Welcome you and your men, of course. You have been a big help.
—Thank you, Sir. We´re always ready to come down to earth if necessary.
—So, is it that the leader of the North guilder is accepting favors from a… traitor and his crew of wretched, cursed and outlaws?
—Well… the truth is that except for the “traitors”, with the rest of adjectives he has hit the target. Isn´t it, guys?
They all shout and roar, even cheer our French friend, between shots of rum, and shot in the air.
—¡Oi! captain! You are a very bad influence.
—¡Oi! Mr. Artai! You are a shame for the historical Conserva…
—Francois, don´t you think that, with these two… together, there´s nothing for you to do? Isn´t it better that we finish with it? —Igvar recommends.
—I agree —adds Caleb.
—No doubt —I confirm.
—Besides, such tensions are danger for health.
—Oh, indeed. Job stress is terrible —I assure.
—Yes, do you remember Gómez?
—Oh yes. He had such a strong back pain —I comment, touching my own back.
—Yes, Yes. He was always worried about something, poor man.
—Terrible —my colleague says—. The quick are dying, the dead are alive…
—Oh, yes, yes, I remember: A werewolf has eaten my hens…
—A witch has stolen my wallet…
—We practice yoga in the boat sometimes, you know? —he tells me.
—Wonderful. I´m more of Taiichi.
—And we´re following a cleansing program with tea and cereals.
—It´s so important to take care of yourself…
Igvar, endures almost stoically and without smiling, on the other side of the camera, while my “boss”, seems about to explode again, with a psycho expression that I have never seen in him.
—Bloody Sons of a b*@#@! I swear that I will kill you with my own hands! I don´t know how but I´ll kill you both. Do whatever the hell you like. I´ll inform your direct superiors, and they´ll lose their f*%@#%@ time with you. Adieu, à jamais, si c’est possible —he exclaims, before he cuts off communication.
We laugh for a long time, before speaking again. Igvar is the first to do it.
—You have gone too far this time, gentlemen —he says, smiling.
—No! I don´t think so. As soon as he fills some papers and gives some orders, he´ll feel again like Louis XV.
—Friends, I believe my men are about to arrive, so be on your way, whatever it is, thanks —Igvar tells us.
—A pleasure, as always —I answer.
After a warm goodbye between brothers in arms, we cut the call. We wait until the guild detachment arrives to leave everything in its place. That´s how it is always done. I know it seems topical, but, as far as possible, it´s better that people don´t know much than necessary. For instance, that they don´t remember they have been the victims of a dark spell conjured by an undead clan with the intention of transform them in repulsive abominations, leading to accession to their troops, and keep spreading their venom around the world.
The medical Captain informs me that they are going to leak to the press that the massive fainting have been caused by a bacterium present in the water, able to produce horrible nightmares, anxious states and hallucinations; but that, of course, it´s all already under control.
The lights and the sound of the canyons in the middle of the night are a much easier problem. “Strange atmospheric phenomenon in North Norway”, will be the newspaper headline. On my part, I leave my friends. The sea calls them incessantly. Is in the middle of the ocean, where they feel really safe. The sea protects them, and they protect it.
—Well, my friend…
—Are we getting romantic? —asks a smiling Caleb.
—No, not this time —I answer, shaking his hand and hugging him—. Today, I´ll leave you… but we´ll always have Norway.
—Come on, sailors, we´re going back to the boat! The sea needs us.
—Next time don´t take so long in showing yourself, or maybe…
—…We won´t be alive for then.
Caleb goes back to the vessel and leaves with his men heading South. Before vanishing in the fog, we hear them singing among the captain´s roars.
“In a rose tattoo, in a rose tattoo. I got your name, written here, in a rose tattoo1 ….”.
—Douse canvas!! Pull up the boats!! Helmsman! Southbound!
“In a rose tattoo, in a rose tattoo…With pride, I´ll wear it to the grave for u1”.
I can´t help to smile while I see them leaving.
—See you next time, captain! —I shout, greeting in the military style.
And that is a… relatively ordinary day for someone like me. There´s still much for you to be learned, but I think it was a good start. This, is a very big world, mired in an eternal war, now secret, among the Good and the Evil. An evil that will never stop. Even we no longer exist, even when this little blue marble goes off, the war will continue in other worlds, or maybe in other realities.
Many times, I´ve wondered why I keep doing this, why I enter into darkness the second I have a chance, but I have never got any answer. There is simply something, that tells me I have to do so.
1. Verses from Dropkick Murphys “Rose tatoo”. Coolest choice for a s.XXI pirate. I think.