The Myths of Turret Rock
In a kingdom where the influence of the myths is as overwhelming as the power of the waves...
Hermanus longs for a chance to escape from slavery and live by the sea, where he spent childhood summers with his grandfather on the beach.
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At last, back on a beach for the first time since my childhood days. Away from the daily orders of the slave masters, and galloping with the taste of independence. No longer cooped up inland - which is a prison that has no windows - and my eyes dancing with the spirit of the waves.
Heading towards the beauty of the opposite headland, being drawn as powerfully as it lured the waves crashing against it.
Watching the mighty crests breaking on its jagged teeth; staring- until startled by the smooth glide of a dying wave about three quarters of the way across the beach. It trickled up, almost cutting across our path.
Fortunately there was no menace in its advance, and its tranquil glistening merely stopped me in my tracks. This was the nearest I had ever been to a wave, and I admired up close as it seemed also to be taking a brave closer look at me before shyly turning away in acceleration.
With a beckoning enchantment it slithered back out to sea, and as I allowed my gaze to linger, I felt the urge to create another encounter. In wild liberation, of the man until then kept under control by the legacy of grandfather’s restraint, I kicked with an impulse to start my horse along towards the tip of the headland.
My conscience leapt from slumber in protest at such rebellion, but that only made me ride faster. I might never have the opportunity again. So I charged, diagonally to the approach of the waves, still ready to retreat in haste at any moment if necessary - but not another ripple even so much as approached gingerly. If the waves wouldn’t come to me, I was going to them, and I would do it so there was enough time to actually gallop around the headland itself.
I rode close enough to the elegant nose of the rocky precipice to admire the jib of its resolute stand against the sea’s permanent onslaught, and galloped one step further than the measure of its nobility, in invasion of the ocean’s own dominion. The sea was still receding and I was going to make it… hopefully there would be a path back up on the other side—
We rounded the headland and I gasped in wonder at the sheer rocks. Such a glimpse of cliff from this new angle was like seeing my world upside-down. A solid barrier against the sea, although understandably standing umimpressed at my own arrival, simply stretching unceasingly into the distance.
And there was certainly no natural slope to give us a route up to the cliff top path. But as I started wheeling Thornamar around, the corner of my eye was filled by the approach of a huge wave. Coming out of nowhere. And it wasn’t breaking where it should be. I whipped Thornamar round towards the beach we had come from.
The huge wave was following in on the white of a different breaking wave and looked certain to catch it up. If it formed a double crest I had no chance.
We started a frantic gallop back to the shore, while I kept my eyes behind me, on the wave stubbornly refusing to break, seeming to rear itself and stand up to its full intimidating height. We were back round the headland and raced for dry ground by the most direct route.
“COME ON!” I shouted out to the horse, and put my head back down.
But the sound of the wall of water approaching us was deafening.
I afforded another quick glance over my shoulder. The huge wave was just breaking, on the back of the smaller one. It was several times taller than me and forming the white of the moment; Thornamar didn’t need any urging.
He was going flat out but the ocean accelerated as the two waves fused into one, and I felt the splash of spray even before I heard the explosion.
© COPYRIGHT Dan Lamb: this extract may not be reproduced in whole or in part, via any other media, without permission. All enquiries of any nature should be directed to the publisher.