Monday, March 30, 2009

The Tale Of Barakas Reverence

Nestled into the rolling hills surrounding the small town of Bruskas Crossing along the Allagash River, the Reverence family vineyard was a picturesque estate. Several generations had worked hard to cultivate the land and promote growth of the nearby town and their determination had paid off. The town of Bruskas Crossing became a local trade center and the Reverence vineyard grew and prospered.

That was how things were over a century ago. Under the reign of the curse Bruskas Crossing and the Reverence vineyard had seen a much different fate. Early frosts, harsh winters, and unseasonably cool summers had made growing grapes difficult. The Reverence vineyard suffered as grape production fell, and with it Bruskas Crossing also declined. It seems that the life and death of the vineyard and town were intimately entwined.

This was the world that Barakas Reverence was born into. A world that was so close to paradise, but yet it was so far away. The vineyard had long ago limited production on the traditional family wines and was forced to create new recipes with grapes that reduced in quality every year. New methods of doing business had to be conducted or else the vineyard, and even the town, would fail.

Barakas’s father, Damakos, and his uncle, Leucis, had concocted a plan to try to save the vineyard. Damakos would stay in Bruskas Crossing watching over the vineyard and producing wines while Leucis traveled the Allagash River trying to sell wine to towns along the river. Leucis’s marketing skills and Damakos’s brewing skills were enough to keep the vineyard afloat.

Once Barakas had reached thirteen years of age his father decided that the boy needed to learn the wine trade from the bottom up. No longer could the boy spend his summers idly cutting grapes from the vine. From now on he had to work. Convincing Barakas to join Damakos on his ship was an easy task, the opportunity to see and experience the world was enough of an incentive for a boy who constantly had his head in books reading myths and legends.

The first day on Damakos’s ship was a day that Barakas would never forget. He was expected to help roll the barrels into the cargo hold and get the ship underway. It was hard work for the boy and he tried to avoid it by hiding in his cabin. Once the ship was under way, there was no turning back. Barakas had to learn the shipping and marketing aspect of the wine trade.

Damakos was a strict but benevolent captain. He took his nephew under his wing and taught him much about ships, wine, and selling ones wares as well as how to run a ship. It was not long before Barakas was dancing about the rigging accomplishing what had to be done to keep the sails aloft. The boy also learned songs and tales from Damakos and the crew as well as how to hold a sword and fight. He even learned how to juggle.

Over the years Barakas grew up under the watchful eye of Damakos. The now young man was practically in charge of sales, he was the one doing all of the talking during meetings while Damakos looked on. A quick song before each meeting was all that it took to loosen the purse strings of prospective buyers. His inspiring songs were even instrumental in warding off pirates and thieves the few times they were attacked.

One day when pulling into port at Bruskas Crossing Damakos said to Barakas that it was time. They both knew what he meant and Barakas was left nervous about seeing his family again on this trip. Legend said that the curse on the land could be lifted, but the opportunity only presented itself once every twenty-five years. The last three times expeditions were sent out, and all three times they failed to return home. As the eldest son of the Reverence family, he knew that he would be the one sent on the expedition. The family was the largest influence upon the town with the largest stake in the town’s success or failure. It was only fitting that a member of the family be sent to try to end the curse.

Barakas only had a few days with his family before the mayor declared who would travel on the expedition to end the curse. Their mood was as sour as his; they knew he would be picked for the expedition and that there was no hope of his return. At the end of the week there was a large meeting at the town hall. After a stirring speech about what ending the curse meant to Bruskas Crossing he made his pick. Being a young man of the proper age, and as a member of the Reverence family, Barakas was chosen.

As he donned his hide armor and packed the longsword and shield, Barakas said bittersweet goodbyes. He knew that he would not be returning home and that it was a meaningless gesture that attempted to restore hope to the community. But on the off chance he was able to lift the curse, then he could restore his home to the way it once was.

The young adult made his way from the family villa on foot towards the meeting grounds for the expedition, singing a song to strengthen his heart while traveling to meet the fate lay out before him. That is how he wanted his family to remember him, confident and full of song.


  1. Evocative! I can see it.... I'm rubbing my virtual hands together (virtually rubbing my hands together?)

  2. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.