Alternative Prologue 

Here’s an alternative prologue idea. Not sure which one to go with, or whether either of them should be longer.

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Sam stood at the ship’s mast, legs struggling to keep balance on the rapidly shifting vessel. The rain had hardened and now fell in a torrential downpour, and the giant drops stung the arms of Sam as he looked at the clouds above him. This storm was not a natural one. There was something iridescent within the clouds that seemed to make the storm glow from within. Flashes of purple and silver emitted through the mists surrounding them and the ship rocked to and fro in response to the splash of colors. Sam tightened his hands on the rail in front of him without even realizing that he was doing so. The ocean surrounding the ship he stood upon was as dark as an abyss when compared to the flashes from the storm around him. He couldn’t take his eyes away from the choppy seas, semi-believing that if he did so the water would disappear and he would find himself, ship included, falling through the empty air beneath him forever surrounded by the supernatural storm. 
A strong hand landed on Sam’s shoulder causing him to jump and spin around. It was only then that he realized how tightly he had been holding onto the railing. He stretched his sore fingers out as his hands fell to his side. The man in front of him laughed at Sam’s uneasiness, but then walked past him to stare out at the storm surrounding them. His easy laughter quieted as he took in the view. Sam turned back around to stand with his father at the mast, his hands shoved into his pockets lest they betray his fear again. 

“Have you ever seen a Monstrum behave this way?” Sam asked, trying for all the world to appear as if he were debating the weather patterns of summers in the South than the uncertain storms surrounding the two men. A tremor in his voice betrayed his anxiety. He looked to his father, searching for the same notes of fear that he found within himself. Finnick held his back straight with his arms folded behind him. In looks, he shared Sam’s light coloring and stocky build but where Sam personified a growing pup, Finnick had all the dignity of an old St. Bernard. Sam felt himself involuntarily straighten his back as he turned his eyes back out to the sea. 

“Never,” Finnick replied to his son. “It must be a powerful talisman to control such creatures, but where is the holder?”

Unclasping his hands from behind his back, the older man reached down to his boot to pull free an old, copper spyglass. He brought it to his eye to spy through before handing it off to Sam. Sam clutched to the spyglass eagerly, bring the piece to his eye. He focused the eyepiece to the flashes of purple and silver that continue to light up the night sky. Even though he knew what to expect, knew the creatures that would cause such lights, the evidence before him stole the breath from his lungs. Winged eels flew through the clouds as simply as if they maneuvered in the waters. Bolts of electricity shot from their skin and helped light up the night skies, though there skins alone would have been able to do that. Their wings were like gossamer and so translucent that they could only be detected by their hummingbird speed fluttering. Sam had never seen this type of Monstrum before, even as he was sure he had studied every species known to man. There were more than he could conceivably count and they moved like a school of fish surrounding the small patch of ocean that the ship Sam now stood upon covered. 

He lowered the eyeglass and continued to look at the waves of Monstrum surrounding them. The creatures were so far above them that they were no longer distinguishable to the naked eye. The words that his father had just stated about the talisman’s holder reverberated through him as he searched the horizon for another ship. It seemed unlikely that any man or woman would be in this maelstrom controlling these creatures. 

“What has the captain decided to do?” Sam worked hard to control the waver in his voice. 

“What else would William want to do but steer directly into the bloody mass?” Finnick answered, though it was unclear whether he thought the captain’s decision was a good or bad one. The eyeglass slipped from Sam’s sweaty palms and rolled across the ship floor until it came to rest against Finnick’s boot. He reached down and grabbed the piece and carefully stowed it back into his boot. He put a comforting arm around his son’s shoulders and tried to ignore how Sam’s shoulders shook. “Let’s go see what delectable dish Cook has made today. Hey, if we’re lucky, we’ll all die and never have to eat that poor excuse for food again.” 

As the wall of Monstrum compounded behind them and seemed to grow each minute, father and son walked away from what Sam was sure was a portent of their certain death. His father talked beside him about nonsense, obviously an attempt to take his mind off the swirling creatures. Finnick’s words glossed over him though, and Sam chewed his lip while his mind worked furiously. Ignoring the potential power of a talisman that could control these creatures, there must be a reason why they were targeting the Cecile’s Dream specifically. A thought occurred to Sam. His eyes widened as he almost tripped over his feet before his eyes landed on his father’s in panic. Finnick quickly steadied his son, but he let out a resigned sigh as he saw his son’s realization. 

“Charlie,” Sam gasped. “Someone has figured out what Charlie is.”

Prologue

This was a prologue to a rough draft I had written numerous years ago that follows a similar plot line as the current novel I’m trying to work on now. Using for research into my current novel and trying to find my writing weaknesses

The seas were choppy that night. It was almost as if they were playing about under the night sky, not a care in the world. The wind blew a musical note above them as the stars twinkled with their amusement. The ocean was so carefree and so wild that even Poseidon himself would have ignored the steady passage of the silent ship as she crested through the waves. 
She was an old passenger ship, one that you would have never imagined could still sail, what with its faded red paint and rotting wood. But she was sturdy, and she was steadfast.  She chopped through the frolicking waves with a slow dedication that seemed to have a sobering effect on the ocean around her. She was graceful in her tattered way, like a duchess who had grown old but had never lost the commanding authority of her title. In fact, so like a duchess was she that the name was emblazoned on her side. She did not sneak through the night like a thief, but she swanned in with grace, even as it seemed her sails would fall around her. 

There was safety in destruction, however. And this passenger ship knew it. Even as she looked to sink in the midst of spring showers, she found more safety than the sturdiest ships that sailed this part of the Atlantic Ocean. With her sloping section and peeling paint, she was safe from being a target of the many pirates that laid waste to passenger ships such as she, for no pirate would waste a mark on a ship that was so obviously not going to yield them any coin. 

Perhaps that was why she seemed to drift through the seas so calmly, for she had found peace in her safety. Most ships no longer travelled through this section of the sea. The pillaging of fine sea vessels had become so horrendous, that is was no longer safe to travel this route, even if it was the shortest way. 

So tonight, she sailed through the ocean as if she was leading a younger man to dance, completely confident that she would make it to see morning. 

How truly terrifying it is to find out how wrong you can be. 

Out towards the horizon, a ship cut through the waves, not in the calming way of The Duchess but like a shark, ready to circle its prey. It headed towards her, as if she had been its target all along. She continued parading as she had been, and it was obvious she did not see the shark close in. So content was she in her safety, her crew and passengers lay sleeping below her mold covered decks. 

All but one girl, who looked out toward the sea, away from the oncoming ship. She was a slight thing, with brown curls that reached to her waist. Her eyes were sky blue, and seemed too bright for her otherwise tanned face. A splatter of freckles played across a long nose and peppered high cheek bones. Her eyebrows, though naturally sculpted seemed to be caught in a state of a permanent frown as she stared longingly at the sea.   Her back to the dangers ahead, she stared out longingly to the sea, a newspaper clutched in her hands. 

She didn’t need to hold onto the newspaper any longer to know what it said. “Golden Fleece Believed to Have Sunk, Crew and Captain Missing.” She chewed her lip, as she was known to do when worried; replaying the title again and again in her head like her own personal mantra. That was when she finally heard it. 

It wasn’t as if there was really a sound that was heard over the sea noise, but there was a change in the air. Her hands tightened on the newspaper as her eyes, alert, scanned the sea. She turned around slowly, until she faced the ship that now towered over The Duchess. Ropes had been dropped to the deck and she watched as men silently climbed from the dark sleek vessel to the small passenger ship which she had sought refuge with.

Her eyes widened, but she immediately grabbed for the knife that was held tightly beneath her corset. She ducked behind the nearest rigging for the sails. Her breaths came out short and quick, and as her heart raced she forced herself to calm down. She looked toward the cabin, knowing the crew slept within, unaware of the new danger presented here. 

She crouched uncertainly, ready to make her way to the captain to wake him. She looked to the mysterious men and her heart plummeted in her chest. 

She was never going to make it to the captain. 

The smell of gun powder was thick in the air, and the girl knew that this was the end for her. Clutching the newspaper to her breast, she held her breath as she waited for the moment to happen. 

A match was struck, and in its glow she saw the same men who had just climbed down the rope now climbing up it to safety. The last man to stay aboard The Duchess dropped the match as he, too, sought safety in the larger ship. 

She pushed the knife back into her corset as she waited for her world to erupt. The fire lit rapidly, casting an eerie glow against the night sky. Then, everything went white as the ship exploded into pieces, casting the girl what felt like miles into the sea. The world had gone silent as she clutched at the only piece of driftwood she could find, dazed as the fire burned in front of her. 

Their mission done, the pirate ship sailed back into the night, the men aboard celebrating their latest conquest. They had known they would find no riches aboard The Duchess, but what they did find was a way to send a message. The message: “Don’t ever borrow money from a pirate that you can’t afford to pay back.” They laughed as they were sure the captain of the tattered ship had finally learned his lesson.