Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning
|Subject: Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning Sat Apr 26, 2008 2:38 pm|| |
I am much happy to be known to all of you by my words. My name is Vytautas Klimaitis and I am from Vilnius in Lietuva, or as you may know it called Lithuania. I am just 30 years of age and was born in Vilnius. My father was a merchant and my mother was a seamstress. They make fine home for me and my brothers and sisters. I have 1 brother and 3 sisters. They all still live in Lietuva.
When I was still boy of just 13 years, I leave my home and make my way to Klaipėda on the shore of the Baltic Sea. It is long way from Vilnius to Klaipėda. All the distance across Lietuva from east to west. But I make it in just three weeks. I want to see the ocean and sail on ships. I ask kapitonas (ship captain) if I may sail on his ship, but he tell me to go back to my mother and he give me sharp hit with his hand. I talk to others and get the same answer. No one is looking to have young boy on their ship. But I am determined, so I pray to St. Casimir.
I should tell you of St. Casimir. He was prince of Hungary when he was not much older than me. But he was sent out from Hungary and he flee to Poland. He was wellknown for his piety and chastity. I try to live like him, but sometimes I fail. But I still try. I pray much to St. Casimir, and he watches over me. He is patron saint of Lietuva, Poland and Hungary.
But back to my story. I am praying to St. Casimir, and I ask him for help and a sign of how I may get on a ship. Then I hear a robin chirping. This is very strange for a robin to be here I think. I look, and see the robin sitting on a crate, so I go over to him. The bird sees me and jumps down into the crate and calls to me. I think this must be sign from St. Casimir that I ask for, so I crawl into crate as well. No sooner am I in crate then some siloars put lid on crate and nail it down. I think the crate is to be filled with some goods, but it is just filled with Vytautas and small bird.
Oh, excuse me from for departing from my tale again, but I think I should tell you of my name. My name, Vytautas, is after Vytautas the Great, first Grand Duke of Lietuva. He ruled Lietuva from 1401 to 1430 and made a great nation of it. He is well loved, and I am named from him.
But back to my story. The sailors load the crate onto the ship with me and bird inside. I tell bird to stay quiet, and I thank St. Casimir for showing me the way. Soon all is quiet for a time. Then there is much noise and shouting as sailors raise sails and cast off lines to get ship underway. Soon we are on the sea, and for first time in my life I feel the waves of the ocean. Up and down and down and up. I am boy from a city much far from the sea, and this up and down is not good. I fear that soon I will be sick, and sure enough I am. I am sure you all remember the first time you are sick from the sea. I feel like my stomach will burst, and I make loud noise when I am sick. Some sailors on deck hear me and the knock on outside of crate.
"What have we in here?", they say. "Is it a little mouse that is sick?"
I am so very sick, and I tell them "No. It is not a mouse. It is Vytautas, and I am very sick. I think I am dying."
The sailors laugh much and say "Oh! So are you Vytautas the Great then? We thought you were long ago dead!"
I tell them "No. I am Vytautas Klimaitis from Vilnius and I am afraid I am dying. Please let me out so that I may see the ocean before I die!"
The sailors laugh some more, but finally the open the crate and let me out. I am very sick, but I make it to the ship rail and look on the ocean. It is beautiful I think. Then I get sick some more and fall down on deck. When I wake up, I am in the dark lying in a hammock below the deck. There is a sailor holding cold wet cloth on my head telling me to drink from cup that he has. I drink, but it is very bitter and tastes bad. The sailor tells me to drink all of it, so I do. I do not want to anger any sailors on this ship I think, so I must do as they tell me.
The sailor tells me he is ship’s surgeon, and that I am on a ship of the Lithuanian Navy. Now I am very scared because Lithuanian navy is very important indeed. The surgeon tells me to sleep and in the morning he will bring me to the captain who will decide what is to become of me. The surgeon tells me that young boys who hide on navy ships are usually thrown overboard because they eat too much food. I tell him I will not eat too much food and I will work hard, but he tells me to sleep. So I do.
Soon there are many sailors who are waking me and standing me up. The drag me above the deck and make me stand in front of the captain. He is a large man with a great moustache, and he looks very stern. I am very afraid because I do not want to be thrown over the side and eaten by some large fish.
“What is your name boy?” the kapitonas ask of me.
“Vytauta Klimaitis from Vilnius.” I say as bravely as I can. My knees are shaking much, but I hide it and try to be brave.
“And how came you to be on this ship Vytautas Klimaitis of Vilnius?” the captain ask.
I tell him whole story of how I pray to St. Casimir for sign, and bird show me empty crate so I hide in it and then sailors put me on ship and then I get sick.
The kapitonas look at me very stern and tell me “You are a stowaway boy! Do you know how we deal with stowaways on board Navy ships? We throw them overboard and let the fish eat them! What do you think of that boy?”
I tell the captain that I do not much like the idea of being thrown overboard and eaten by fish, but if that is what must be then I will not fight. I only want to see the ocean and I have. I just ask the captain to let me pray to St. Casimir before he throws me overboard. I kneel on the deck and begin to pray.
Now I forget to tell you that the day was quite dark and foggy, and there was some small rain. It was a very cold dark day, and some of the sailors were shivering. But I kneel on deck and pray very hard to St. Casimir. I ask him to protect me and to make the fish not eat me in small pieces. I ask him if I am to die, to send a great fish to swallow me whole and not bite me into pieces. I ask him too if he could make the sun shine a bit because I am cold. As I am praying, the sun comes through the clouds and fog, and I am in a sunbeam. I hear a sailor yell that he sees a great fish coming, and I look to see a very large fish indeed. I have since learned this is a whale, but I did not know that then.
The captain looks at me, then the sky, then the fish, and says that no sailor is to harm me. He says that anyone who has his prayers answered by St. Casimir so quickly must be special. The captain tells me to get up and to go see the ship’s cook. I am to be his cabin boy, and the cook will tell me what I am to do. I thank the captain and ask St. Casimir to bless him.
So that is how I, Vytautas Klimaitis from Vilnius come to be sailor. When just young boy, I become cabin boy to Navy Captain, and friend to sailors on ship. This is just first part of my story, and I will tell more. I hope that I do not tire you with my tales, and that you find my words of interest.
Last edited by Conagh MacLoran on Sat May 03, 2008 9:07 am; edited 3 times in total
|Subject: Re: Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:42 am|| |
Lisette leaned back and whispered to Gudrun, "He tells good story, yes?"
Gudrun smiled back and nodded. "I have rarely heard better. Especially since I seem to remember that Russia all but destroyed Vilnius back in the 60's. I also seem to remember it's 100 miles from Vilnius to the sea. More Saints than Casimir must watch over him."
Lisette hissed. "Stop being a know-it-all, you ruin the story!"
Gudrun shrugged, "Vell, if you had taken the time to get to know Marcus... but no, you were out, sailing around, sinking things."
Lisette rolled her eyes. "Ish am going to listen to more now. It good story."
|Subject: Re: Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:16 am|| |
Vytautas blushed a bit at the two young women listening to his tale. He had seen many beautiful women in Lithuania. In fact, it is widely known that all Lithuanian women are beautiful. But the sisters at his table, listening so intently to his story made him a bit self-conscious, and a little nervous. They were both great beauties, and had voices that reminded him of a gentle sigh. Vytautas took a sip from his ale mug and continued.
I will continue my story for you. As I am saying, I become cabin boy to Navy Captain. His name was Kazimeras Tautginas. His name Tautginas means “The nation’s defender” and Kazimeras is Lithuanian form of Casimir. When I find this out it makes sense to me why St. Casimir sends me to this ship. The captain is “Casimir, defender of the nation.” Perhaps too this is why the captain has pity for me when I pray to St. Casimir. Either way, I know I am happy to be on such a great ship as this. The ship we sail is named the Katarina and is 40 gun Frigate, very much like Defiant frigate. She is fine sailing ship and Captain is very noble and courageous man indeed.
Four years I serve as cabin boy. It is my task at that time to bring food to the captain, to clean his cabin, make sure the charts are in proper place, wash the captain’s clothes and make sure his uniform is clean. I also fix any holes in his clothes as my mother had teach me to do. Any task the captain ask of me, I do because I want to become sailor.
In my fourth year serving my captain, the Katarina is in battle. Our sailors fight bravely, and Kapitonas Tautginas stands tall on the decks shouting orders to them. I want to stand on deck with my captain as well, but he tell me to stay in cabin out of way. I tell him I am now 17 years and boy no more. I am man. That is when I find you do not speak to captain as such. He gives me a hit about my ears and tells me to do as he say. I go to the cabin, but I watch through door. The battle is very fierce, and we close with other ship to range of grapples. They take hold of the Katarina with hooks and pikes, and come on onto our deck. Our sailors fight most bravely, and Kapitonas Tautginas fights most brave of all. I say small prayer to St. Casimir and ask him to protect me and show me what I must do. Then I see most terrible thing. Three of the sailors from other ship have my captain backed into corner of deck and are hacking at him with cutlasses. I am much afraid they will kill my captain, so I look around cabin and see a pair of pistols and small sword that my captain always keep in his cabin. I take them and go onto deck to help my captain. I fire 1 then 2 pistol and hit two of the enemies. One falls down dead and the other his very badly hurt and drops his sword. My captain is also hurt and is bleeding very bad from his leg. I take the sword and charge at last enemy yelling like wild man. The enemy turn to face me and my captain sees his chance and kills him with his sword.
When I get to my captain, he falls to the deck. I try to stop the blood from his leg, but the wound is very deep. Then I see it is not a cut, but he has been shot in leg from canister shot. My captain is very lucky to not be dead. I yell to sailors to find surgeon, and I begin praying to St. Casimir very hard to protect my captain. I have tears in my eyes as I pray, but my captain is very brave. He smile at me and tell me I have been brave and I fight very good. He say he is sorry for hitting me on my ears and that I am truly a man and not boy anymore. I barely hear what he is saying because I am praying so hard. While I pray I do not even notice that the battle is done. Our sailors have won. Three sailors and the surgeon come and carry my captain below deck to the surgery. There are many sailors here with wounds, who are crying for help, but the surgeon tells them to be quiet and that he must heal the captain first.
The surgeon looks very stern when he sees my captain. Then he tells the captain that his leg must come off. He gives the captain a stick wrapped in leather and tells him to bite hard on it. Then he tells me to hold the captain down. He takes knife and makes cut around the leg above the knee, then quickly takes a saw and cuts the bone. He makes the cut very fast. I do not think he sawed more than four times to cut the bone. My captain bites hard on the stick, but still he cries out. The surgeon finish and makes stitching on the end of the leg. The pain must be terrible because my captain passes out. The surgeon tells me I must take care of the captain and keep his leg clean so it does not fester.
For three days we sail to get back to Klaipeda. My captain is very sick and has a bad fever. I keep cold water in basin by his bed and put cloths on his head to cool him. By third day when we land, the fever is gone and my captain is smiling again. He thank me for being nurse to him, and he tell me to keep the pistols and his sword and remember him always. Some sailors take him to shore and bring him to infirmary to heal. I am lost without my captain and do not know what to do next. The first mate tells me I cannot stay on ship as cabin boy any more and I must leave. I tell him I want to join navy and be sailor, but he laughs at me. He tells me that cabin boys cannot be navy sailors, and that I am of low birth. I tell him that my father is merchant and my mother seamstress and that we have very good home in Vilnius, but he still tells me I cannot be navy sailor. I beg him to let me stay on ship because I love the sea. He says I can stay, but I can be no more than deck hand. I agree, and that is how I come to be deck hand on board the Katarina, frigate of Lietuva karinas juru laivynas (Lithuanian Navy).
Vytautas took another sip from his mug of ale and realized that he had been talking a very long time. His ale was flat, and his throat was dry. “I am sorry to talk so long,” he said to the two women at his table. “I do not mean to keep you from your own business, but if you will let me buy you another glass and perhaps some food, I would be most happy.”
Vytautas smiled and waved to the barmaid to come over to the table.
Last edited by Conagh MacLoran on Mon Apr 28, 2008 4:11 am; edited 1 time in total
|Subject: Re: Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning Mon Apr 28, 2008 4:09 am|| |
I had to make some edit changes to the stories to clean up some geographical anomolies. Google maps are a wonderful thing.
|Subject: Re: Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:12 pm|| |
When the barmaid arrived at their table, Vytautas ordered three bowls of stew and three mugs of ale. The barmaid returned soon after with the meal and drinks, and Vytautas passed her ten doubloons. “You may keep what is left as a gift for your good service” he said to the maid. The barmaid scooped the doubloons up and hurried off to her next customers. Gudrun attacked the stew with a sense of abandonment. Lisette in the meanwhile supped carefully at her meal and glared at her sister. Vytautas smiled at the two sisters and knew that they were truly comrades in arms and souls that were linked to his. These two were most steadfast companions that he could rely on in a battle he thought. Vytautas sat back in his chair and continued his tale.
So, I have tell you story of how I come to be on Navy ship and that I am lowly deck hand. For six more years, I work as deck hand on Navy ship. I work as like I am part of navy, but I am not navy sailor. I am something else. I am just deck hand. It is my job to clean deck, to polish brass, to make sure that guns have powder and shot when needed. I also am made to work to raise the anchor when we are leave port. It is hard work, but I do not mind because I am on sea and my heart is glad. I must climb ratlines and raise sails when captain call for it. I must climb rigging to very top of mast to see that sails are set right. All this time I watch and learn and I become good sailor.
I watch captain how he command ship. I watch helmsman and how he steer ship. I watch every sailor and how he do his work, and I learn. For six years I watch and learn. But still I am not sailor in Navy. I am just deckhand, and sailors do not let me forget this.
One day, we are sailing in Baltic Sea and we see a ship. We look on this ship and know it is ship of Russian Navy, and it is our enemy. The kapitonas order us to set battle sails and to man guns with bar shot. All sailors act well and follow captain’s orders. Soon we get close to enemy ship, and we fire guns. First firing of guns does not hit much though, so the crew reloads guns very fast. I bring powder to guns as is my job. Russian ship fires at us though and makes terrible damage to our port side. Fifteen sailors of our crew are killed and three guns are destroyed. This is very bad I think, so I start to pray to St. Casimir.
There is much shouting on decks and many men are hurt. One sailor who is gun master call to me and tell me to bring powder for gun. I look and see only gun master and one other sailor, and I know that this is not enough to fire gun, but I do as I am told. We load gun, and gun master put chain shot in gun to try to take down Russian masts. We are very much afraid, and it is just the three of us left on gun deck. All the rest of crew is dead around us. We make cannon ready and gun master fires cannon. I pray to St. Casimir to make shot true, and when shot fire, it hits main mast rigging and knocks down mast. We are very surprised at this, but we cheer at what we do.
Gun master tells us to reload gun, so we work very fast. I bring powder while sailor and gun master make gun ready. Then I get chain shot and give to gun master. He loads shot, aims gun and we fire again. This time we hit mizzenmast of Russian ship and knock that down as well. Two shots and two masts are down. We are very good gun crew we think. I say small prayer to St. Casimir and thank him for helping me and ask him to keep me safe.
Now we are closing with ship, but we are very bad hurt and we are taking on water. Russian ship is hurt too, but is not taking on water. I think this is very bad for us and very good for them. I hear the kapitonas call for boarding grapples, and we all go up on deck. I still have sword and pistols that kapitonas Tautginas gived me tucked in my belt, so I am ready for boarding. Or so I think. I have never before boarded another ship. Always we have been boarded by enemy so this is new for me. We have done practice many times for boarding, but this is new for me. I am beginning to think this may not be right place for Vytautas Klimaitis of Vilnius to be.
We take hold of Russian ship and sailors begin to swing over on lines. It comes my turn and I take line to swing over, but I am not very good. I lose my foot when I slip on deck and I make bad swing to other deck. When I swing to deck, I run into one, then two, then three Russian sailors. They are not happy with me and I knock them to the deck. When I land I am on my bottom and I slide on deck, which has much blood on it already. I try to stop, but I slide across deck and into open hatch down to hold. This is not very good for Vytautas. I am below deck, in the dark, with much smoke from cannons all around me. I am thinking that battle will be over and if we do not win, Vytautas will be in Russian prison or maybe dead. I look for how I may get out, but I do not see how. So, I say prayer to St. Casimir. I see you smile some. You may think Vytautas is silly to always pray so, but good things always happen to me when I pray.
And good thing happen this time. While I am in ship’s hold saying my prayer, I hear ship’s rat squeak at me. I look around and there is rat sitting on barrel looking at me. I say to him “Hello Mr. rat. Did St. Casimir send you to me?” Rat look at me and clean his whiskers with his paws, then squeak at me more. I tell rat to lead and I will follow if that is what St. Casimir want me to do. So, rat jump down off barrel and run through hold. I must hurry much to follow rat, but rat always seem to stop to let me catch him so I am able to follow. Soon, rat lead me to ladder leading out of hold. I tell him, “Thank you Mr. Rat for showing me way out.” I climb ladder and get to gun deck. I can see much better here and I find passageway to top deck, so I go up. By the time I get to deck, fight is almost done.
I pull out my pistols and aim them at Russian sailors. I say in very stern voice for them to lay down their arms and surrender. I am also thinking that I should have prayed to St. Casimir to protect me, but it is strange because Russian sailors put down their weapons and give up to me. My shipmates cheer and tell me I do good job. I do not believe what is happen, but I keep a very stern face so that no one will know how bad my knees shake. I give orders for Russian sailors to go below deck and I tell some of our sailors to put irons on them. I am feeling very good now, but then Kapitonas come up behind me and ask me what I am doing.
I tell him I am making prisoners. He say to me that is job for real sailors, not deck hands. I say to him “Yes Sir, and I give him my best salute.” He then smile at me and say “No. You do not understand what I tell you. You are deck hand no more. Now you are true sailor and I make you such.” Vytautas feels very proud at this moment, and gives Kapitonas his best salute and say “Thank you Kapitonas!”
Our ship is very badly damaged, so some of the sailors go to her and get as much gear and goods as we can. We have decide to take the Russian Frigate. It is bigger than our ship and carries more guns. Even though there are two masts down, we are able to make some repairs to the masts and get underway. We sail into Klaipėda after one week to cheers from families and friends on shore. We bring Russian sailors to prison. They will not stay long in prison though because Lietuva and Russia exchange prisoners from ships all the time. I am happy because I have get to know many of the Russian sailors during our voyage. I even find out that many of them know St. Casimir too.
And so, that is how I, Vytautas Klimaitis of Vilnius become sailor in Lietuva karinas juru laivynas. Deck hand no more but now true sailor. I am 23 years of age and have spend 10 years on the sea. I have more time to spend though.
Vytautas took another drink from his mug and finished the last of his stew. He looked across the table at his companions and marveled that they were still listening to his tale. He thought that they are very kind in listening to him or perhaps very hungry. Vytautas signaled to the barmaid to bring another round of drinks. “I will continue my tale when barmaid brings more ale for us” He said to Lisette and Gudrun.
Last edited by Conagh MacLoran on Sat May 03, 2008 9:06 am; edited 1 time in total
|Subject: Re: Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:25 pm|| |
Lisette smiles. "Oh yes, a most excellent story. Ish enjoyed the battle part very much. Ish am convinced you know sea battles well."
Gudrun simply nods politely.
"In fact, Ish have some extra prize money. Let Ish buy us all a fine meal, to go with the fine ale you have treated us. After all, it is hard to tell a story on an empty stomach, yes?"
Lisette shouted the order to the barmaid and Gudrun winced. "Lisette, you're in a tavern, not the weather deck of a frigate!"
Lisette shrugged, unrepentant. "It gets us food faster, yes?"
Gudrun rolled her eyes and sat back. "Please continue, Herr Vytautas Klimaitis. This really is a most engaging history." She paused a moment, then continued. "Oh, and by the way, I am Gudrun von Klein. My loud, violent but very successful sister is Lisette von Klein, Kapitain of the heavy frigate Pride of Bavaria."
|Subject: Re: Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning Sat May 03, 2008 9:00 am|| |
Vytautas watched as Lisette von Klein shouted at the barmaid for service. Her sister Gudrun seemed a bit embarrassed by her sister’s actions, but Vytautas just smiled. “These sisters are very close,” he thought to himself. “They bicker with one another, but I can see they love one another very much, and would let no harm come to her sister. Surely these are true companions that I could count on in battle.”
As the barmaid brought fresh ales and more bowls of stew, Vytautas thought of his home in Vilnius so far away. He looked at the sisters before him and thought of his own sisters in his homeland. How they must miss their times together, but he must see the world. He could not stay in Vilnius. Not with the trouble. “Enough!” thought Vytautas. “That was a life time ago, and thousands miles away.” Surely his family was safe now that he was gone, but still he wondered. Did the magistrate still search for the one who violated the sanctuary? Did they know that it was Vytautas who stole into the cathedral of Vilnius that night and took the relic of St. Casimir? Did they suspect that it was a boy who so loved the saint that he believed that it was his sacred duty to protect the Saint’s relic from being sent off to some church far away in Hungary?
Vytautas held his hand over the locket on the chain around his neck, and thought of the bone that was inside. “Protect me St. Casimir, as I have protected you” he thought. For a moment, Vytautas thought of telling the sisters the truth of why he left Lithuania, but still he feared for the safety of his family. Even in this place so far from Vilnius, there could be some who would take his story back to the magistrate. No. Vytautas knew that he must keep his secret even though he was beginning to feel safe with the sisters von Klein.
As the trio worked at their meals, Vytautas continued his story:
So, I was now true sailor. I was very happy, and all sailors on ship are happy for me too, so they all take me to tavern in Klaipėda. All sailors buy me drinks, and I get very drunk, but my shipmates say they will help me get back to ship, and they do. They put me in bunk, and I sleep. Next morning, I am still feeling very sick, but I get to work as I think that may make me feel better. It did not, but I do not let others know how bad I feel.
It takes shipyard almost three months to refit Russian ship for us. Now, I should tell you that Klaipėda is really in Prussia, but Lietuva and Poland have Commonwealth together and Prussia is part of that, so we use their ports. In fact, Polish language is “official” language in Lietuva, but many of us still speak Lithuanian as well. When refit is finished, the Kapitonas renames the ship Sickti Pergalės which means “to claim the victory” in Lithuanian, because we claimed the ship as our victory.
]I sail with navy for 5 more years, and do well in Navy. I become officer and second in command to Kapitonas. We have few adventures in this time. Only some minor fights with smugglers and some pirates. Yes, there are always pirates, even in the Baltic. It is not very exciting work, so when I am 28, I choose to leave Navy. All on ship are sad to see me leave, and I am sad to go, but it is time. I am allowed to keep my uniform, my sword, and pistols. I still wear my uniform, though I have make many repairs to it. I think I do good job and it is hard to see where I have repaired, but I know every sword cut and pistol hole that I have fixed. Some of my blood has made stains, but I assure you there is more enemy’s blood on uniform then is Vytautas’ blood there.
When I leave Navy, I am not sure where to go. I think I should visit my family in Vilnius, but then again think no. Maybe it would not be good, and they may not let me leave again. They would want me to stay, and I cannot stay. I must see more of the world. All this time in Navy, I have keep writing letters with my family, so they know I am well, and I know they are well. Two of my sisters have been married now, and one has children. My brother is not married and my youngest sister is not married yet either, but she is seeing nice young man, so she will marry soon I think. My brother has joined the army, and has been in some battles, but most of the time, he is doing supply lines for others. He likes what he does, but think he will leave the army soon when his time is complete. My parents are good too. My father is fat, and my mother is happy. All my family is good, so there is no need for me to see them, but they still ask me to come.
I make decision to go to “New World” to see what is there. I find ship that is going to place called Nova Scotia, so I sign on as sailor. I think this is best way to travel, and I will save my pay from navy and make some more money from voyage. We make good speed sailing, and we get to Nova Scotia in about three weeks. It take Vytautas as long to walk distance from Vilnius to Klaipėda when he is boy as it does to now sail all across Atlanto vandenynas, excuse me, Atlantic ocean.
When we get to new world, we land at place named Halifax. This busy seaport, and many fishing boats are around. I spend some days looking at this new place. It is very interesting and very friendly people here. There are many who come from Scotland, but most are English. It seems to me that the Scottish peoples and the British do not get along very well, and the English always seem to be making trouble for the Scottish.
This is when I meet the two brothers Andrew and Conagh MacLoran. They have fishing boat and fish drying business. Conagh is captain of boat, and Andrew runs the business from shore. I meet them when I come to Andrew to buy some dried fish. We talk some and he tells me that he is looking for good sailor to take his place on fishing boat so that he may spend more time running business. I tell him I am looking for job and that fishing is something I can do plus I am good sailor. So Andrew makes me introduced to his brother Conagh, and I become part of crew of fishing boat. We do well fishing for several months.
One day, the Englishmen come to our business though and tell Andrew that he must pay more tax. Andrew tells them that he pays enough tax, and tells them to leave his place. The Englishmen are not pleased, but they leave. Next day, they come back with soldiers and guns. They say that magistrate has tell them to take our shop and our boat and to put Andrew in irons to bring to jail. Now, I must tell you that when they tell us this that whole crew is in warehouse working on things. I am talking with Andrew, and Conagh is near us. Andrew asks soldiers if he may talk to crew and say goodbye, so they think this is ok. Andrew goes to crew and tells them “Lads, these here English gentlemen seek to clap me in irons, to close our business, and seize our ship. Have ye all had enough of these English dogs telling us Scots how we may live?”, and with that, Andrew draws his pistol and sword, turns and fires at one soldier wounding him badly. I draw my pistols and fire two more shots killing one Englishman and wounding soldier. Conagh and sailors also join battle, and soon we have only two Englishmen left. There are two soldiers dead, one Englishman is dead, and six soldiers have wounds. We tell soldiers we are sorry for wounding them and give them bandages and rum. We tie up Englishmen and tell soldiers we will not tie them up too if the promise to not chase after us for two hours. They say they will not chase us, and Andrew says he believes them Conagh wants to tie them up as well, and crew wants to kill them all, but I agree with Andrew, so we do not.
We leave warehouse and lock door behind us, then we hurry to dock to board fishing boat. I look at dock and see English Cutter. On deck there are only 2 sailors, and it looks like all of the rest of the crew and captain are gone on shore. I tell Andrew to wait, and go talk to sailors. I have noticed the cross that one of them wears is familiar to me. Sure enough, is Cross of Vytis. Sometimes it is known as the Patriarcal cross or in France it is called the cross of Lorraine. In Lietuva and Poland though it is cross of Vytis. I talk to sailors and find they are from Poland, so I tell them I am from Lietuva. We talk in Polish and I tell them what has happened and that they may come with us if they help us steal ship. They tell me they do not like the English much, and they were made to be pressed into service to them, so they agree to help us. We board ship and make for sea. Now we are on the escape from English with only 1 hour more before soldiers tell report on us.
Andrew calls all hands to be on deck for meeting. He tells all of crew that we are now criminals to the eyes of the English, and that we must find a new place to go. Conagh says that he has heard that there is much money to be made in the south in the area they call the Caribbean, and that he has heard that the French are looking for help against the English. The crew talks a bit before we all agree to head to a port in Florida that is known as a French port called Charlesfort. I offer to act as Captain for the voyage as this is a Navy type ship and I am Navy officer. All agree because they know me and trust me.
I assign men to guns and show them how they must fire them. We do not have enough crew to man all the guns though, and there are only twelve of us. A ship like this has crew of 75 or more men in Navy, and we are very busy trying to sail it with just twelve. I tell crew that we must stop at ports and find more crew to come with us. They are afraid that the English will find us and that maybe we have make mistake taking this ship, but I tell them we will be fine. I say prayer to St. Casimir to help protect us and help us escape. One of the crew calls that he sees a fog bank ahead so I tell the helmsman to make for it so we can hide. I thank St. Casimir, and we go into fog.
As we are sailing later, we come across another ship that is very badly hurt. They tell us that pirates have attacked them, and that they are afraid they will not make it to shore. I tell them that they may come on our ship as we are short on crew, so about forty sailors join us from sinking ship. Their captain and all officers have been killed by pirates, but they have left the sailors alone. We get all of the cargo and goods we can from ship before it is to sink, and we leave. I notice that this ship looks much like our cutter from a distance, so before we leave, I tell crewman to take English flag and raise it on topsail so that if English follow us they may see it. If we are lucky, they will see the flag and think it is us but maybe the ship will sink before they find out different. Crew tell me I am wrong, but I say it is worth it to us to try, so we do. We raise full sails and head south.
Andrew and Conagh explain full story to all of crew, and offer them chance to join with us. Most agree, but five men say they have families and cannot leave. We are near to their port in Maine, so we head there to let them off. When we get there, some of the crew says they know others who may join us. We tell them to find only men they trust, and they bring back twenty men more. When we count all of crew, we have sixty four men now. Good crew, and we feel very good, so we set sail for Florida. Our hold is full, and our crew is happy to be on such a good ship.
So that is story of how I, Vytautas Klimaitis of Vilnius Lietuva meet Andrew and Conagh MacLoran and how we all come to the Caribbean together. The rest of the story you know. When we get to Charlesfort, we find poster of Highland Confederacy, and we make ourselves known to them. We serve France, and we all find ships to captain and sail. I am not official part of French Navy, but many of my crew are from France, Poland, even some of my old shipmates from Lithuania have joined me here as well, so I have very good crew and all Navy sailors. Because we are all navy of one kind or other, French Navy officers treat us as friends and help us just like we are part of their Navy. It is best we can do. We get all of the best supplies and help from Navy, but there is no Admiral who tells us where to sail.
Vytautas leaned back and finished the last of his ale. “That is the end of my story.” He said. “The rest you know. I am sorry to have kept you so long, and I see that it is getting dark now. If you would allow me to escort you two back to your ships or where it is you are spending the night, I promise to see that you get there safe. But I think you may not need Vytautas to escort you anyhow.” Vytautas gave a little laugh because he knew that the sisters were seasoned veterans who had seen their share of battles, and his offer, though chivalrous, was not needed. Still, he felt that it was only polite to offer, and he knew that if he did not offer, that St. Casimir would surely be displeased. Vytautas touched his relic locket and smiled knowing that the saint would be pleased that he was still polite.
Last edited by Conagh MacLoran on Sat May 03, 2008 9:44 am; edited 1 time in total
|Subject: Re: Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning Sat May 03, 2008 9:26 am|| |
It is my intention to end the story here. There are still some stories that I could tell, especially about the relics of St. Casimir that Vytautas seems to have stolen. He wears a locket containing a bone fragment, but what about the rest of the Saint's bones that he stole? Where are they?
In real life, my mother is the daughter of Lithuanian immigrants, so I have some connection to Lithuania. Unfortunately, I learned only very little Lithuanian, and rely on my English-Lithuanian dictionary to help me out. POTBS gave me a chance to "rediscover" much of Lithuanian history in doing research for my stories of Vytautas. I learned of St. Casimir and much of the history of Lithuania, causing me to go back and revise my story several times.
If any of you would like to learn a little bit more of St. Casimir, you can check out this link:
It is a very nice detailed description of his life.
Also, if you'd like to learn a bit about the history of Lithuania, this Wikipedia site is very good:
I am glad if you enjoyed my story, and I thank you for giving me an opportuntiy to express my creative side. I look forward to reading all of your stories as well.
Number of posts : 410
Registration date : 2007-09-10
Production: Hemp, Rope, Canvas, Cotton, Sails, Textile Unrest Bundles
|Subject: Re: Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning Mon May 05, 2008 2:06 pm|| |
Well I personally really liked it. It was a very interesting story that did a good job reflecting how his ethnic background typically views the Faith. Good job Conagh! Thanks!
|Subject: Re: Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning || |
Vytautas Klimaitis - The beginning