call me "boy."
They call me boy, and mean "child".
I am fifteen years, and have received the rites. I have chosen the Path.
Have they no eyes, to see I am a man? Only a man has the scars. Only a man
has the training, the techniques and expertise.
Ah. I understand, now. They are merely ignorant savages, heathens who do not
They do not know a Knight when they see him, a holy warrior for the Lord.
They will cry for mercy, ask for the relief of death, soon enough.
Let them call me "boy."
A full turn of the moon's cycle, back to the quarter when they took us all
aboard, and they have shown us the lash and the cage, the pistol and the
knife, often enough to cow the weary and the ill. They think us cattle.
Or less, for even cattle are fed properly, given decent graze.
But they are the goats. Rank in the body, and bold only in their
numbers, fearful in their hearts of the whiff of the leopard upwind.
Fear the Leopard, you dumb beasts. Fear the Leopard, the one who bides and
waits for your blood.
Goats watch me as I perform the rites, sing the battle hymns, make the
sacred dance, to maintain agility and speed. They call me a new name, one
still much like "boy" to my ears.
Long has the sea surrounded us, surrounded and shown no sign of land. Twice
I saw what seemed shoreline, and twice it has been but a wisp of cloud,
Even Goats need the green of grass. Even Goats must come to shore, sometime.
I see land.
The wind shifts.
The Leopard knows to shift with the wind.
The vessel approaches its berth, and all are intent on the safety of the
I am a hungry Leopard. I worship the Lord with my hunger.
My bonds slice cleanly on the blade of the red-cloak, and his cloak reddens
darker still, from the silent spill.
The second goat dies as I sunder his vertebra with my left arm, while my
right twists the sword deep into the belly of the third.
Four rounds on me with a long-gun; I leap across the distance between. He
fires; I crush his skull with the butt.
The Leopard's thirst is unslakable.
Only one bars my way now. The goat with the lion's mane on his cheeks. He
holds the gun steady at my head. No fear shows in him.
He is also one of the Lord's Chosen. A Knight of the Leopard's tribe. I see
it in him.
As he sees it in me.
He lowers the gun, without firing, murmuring under his breath.
It sounded nothing like "boy."
A blessing, from a fellow warrior.
I sail the small boat away, escaping around the headland, and mouthing my
new name, tasting and testing it for strengths, weaknesses.
Call me Bo'sun.