How Many Pockets did the Magical Coat of Captain Twig Really Have?

by Amalasuntha

Twelve, if you’ve those on the outside and the ones on the insides as well.  Are you disappointed that you found out so quickly?  Be still, you have learned nothing. And the long tale is not ruined for the telling.  But you asked, see? And askings require an answer.  So, no more askings before I begin.  Again.

You sure you don’t want the Tale of Jenny Sparks Everlight Lantern, the Castle Bought with the Cats Earring or Righteous Harry’s Journey to the Underworld?  They’re shorter them, y’can choose for two o’them, or all three cut down, just the same?  Suit yersel’.  Has it to be that one?  Yes, yes alright, you have paid over true for it.  Most generous I might add, ‘tis not everyone who’ll think to bring jerky, fresh salt bread and a good drop o’ sunshine whickskey  all the way down here.  Good of you to find out of what I was partial afore ye came.  Most don’t bother.  Think that coins enough.  Coin’s good, but only gets you a shallow tale, extra will get you the rich fill of how it’s supposed to be heard.  Well? Set yourself down then, making the place look untidy, y’are. Y’know most’ll ask for Jenny or Harry or one o’the other popular ones, the long dark one don’t get arsked for much nowadays.   And it’s the long one I’ll tell.  Some’ll cut it down true enough, and ask for full payment on top.  But I know it all, and know it well, yer bottle bought you a good night o’tale that’s for sure.  Settled in are we?  Bank the fire up would ya, we’ll be needin’ that later.  Cold’ll bite into your bones in the deep shadow so it will.

Where was I? That’s right twelve.  And nothing but trouble they brought him, that’s for certain.  How do I know?  That’ll truly spoil the tale it will, I’ll get to it, have patience.  A small one before we start?  Ay, don’t mind if I do, keep the cold out better than the fire.  Y’don’t mind if I dig in?  Aaaah.  Haven’t had good jerky in many years.  Made it yersel?  Bread too?  ‘Tis a good skill that, the right woman can make a livin’ from that.  And a man can make a livin’ from storytelling too, thought ‘tis a poor livin these days.  So:  let’s be on with the night.

Back when the world was younger and the great ocean less tired than today, Captain Twigg wasn’t not yet a Captain, but a cook’s boy.  Can ye imagine that?  The gretness hisself, a striplin wet o’weed whose scabby pinny wet through weighed more than he.   The sleek Bella Pride weren’t even glossy dark wi’ age then, but a chubby little pale cog known as the Lavender Carousel.  Traded in spices she did, didn’t need much space, nor much speed, it’s a true desperate who’ll rob for cinnamon and dried batchi pods.  Bet yer didn’t know that eh?  Yer did?  Well, yer must have heard it before nay?  Who’s tellin’ this anyhow?  Yer paid me fair, let me get on.

Twigg the cooks boy had naught, not even a single pocket to his name at the very start.  Not even one on his pinny.  All day long, servin’ and cleanin’ and cookin’ and a little for sleepin.  Them days were probably long and longer, but not really were our tale starts.  Under some Captain he was, and a nameless crew on some well-to-do merchants ship, no-one really knows where or when he began, but that he was a cooks boy is certain, handier with a ladle than a lunge, washing up porridge pans rather than his deadly famous flanking manoeuvre.  .

His first pocket he got because of that unknown ship hitting a storm, ripped up from right underneath and tore into the rigging, clawing at the boards, breathing foul stink onto the decks.  The whole crew had no chance, didn’t even see it coming, and what a storm, the sirens howling and Ran casting her nets took most of the sailors straight down, and the Captain would have too but for Twigg.  That wet slip of a boy, all gangly and sodden had wrapped his pinny round a ropefast, and held on tight, grabbed the Captains coat as he was swooshed past in the sirens yowling.  That boy he held on tight, watching all of his crew go over and under, ignoring the Captains protests and insults and cries until.  Until the storm paused and hiccoughed and stopped as suddenly as it started.  Beautiful Ran sank again with her deadly nets, the rigging stopped fluttering like a wounded bird and all was still.  That sodden boy and his Captain were all that remained topside, the cargo intact, but not the crew.  The captain promoted the boy there and then to First Mate, a joke between the two o’them and together they sailed with a broken backed ship and cargo.  That Captain was half maddened through the loss of his crew, and only Twigg, the First Mate cook’s boy, remained sane.  At the sign o’port the Captain took Twiggs hands and presented him with a dark leather pouch, all stiff crusted wi salt air, and said it was his most precious cargo of all.  Because Twigg had saved him, he could have it.   Twigg arsked him what it was, and he only said ‘put in a pinch, get out a handful’ T’was only much later that Twigg found out what that meant, and later still when he figured out how to use it.

Read more about Amalasuntha HERE


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