Posted by: Blue Lou Logan | September 27, 2014

The Tale of Logan: A Full Sketch (aka The Novel That Must Be Written)


The year is 1715.  Scotland is on the verge of uprising against England after a rough wooing into a supposedly United Kingdom.  In the village of Restalrig, between the capitol of Edinburgh and the key port of Leith, lives Louis Logan, bearing the name of a disgraced family and a fallen clan.  A fisherman by trade–but a smuggler by necessity–Logan lives and works on the waters of the Firth of Forth.  He cares not for kings or politics, but he feels the pains of poverty and English oppression, for himself, and for his neighbors and kin.

He is well known in Leith, and so, at the tavern one night, he hears of a Scottish noblewoman who is coming to drum up support for the Jacobite cause.  He goes to the dinner and the ceilidh, and he is smitten with the smart, strong woman that he meets.  They flirt, driving Logan to obsession, yet she draws him on.

And then the Rising comes to Leith.  As the Pretender’s men and the English square off, and the town becomes a war zone, Logan chooses to fall in with the rebellion, partly for his country and partly to impress the lass he barely knows.  Suddenly he finds himself on the long, difficult, and ultimately doomed Scottish offensive to the south.  Amongst angry Highlanders and conniving and squabbling nobles, Logan wonders what he has done and if indeed there is any meaning to it.  At the same time, he learns the ways of the soldier and the greedy, bloodthirsty way that the warrior takes to survive.  Eventually the Scots reach Preston, and the Scots are besieged by the English.  Logan fights because his spirit insists, even as the Highlanders feud and the nobles eventually betray their own men.  Surrender is inevitable.

Logan is captured and kept with the other rebels in a cold, dismal church, awaiting his imprisonment as a traitor to the Crown.  By total chance he is able to slip out.  In darkness, he makes his way through the marshes, hoping he cannot be tracked.  He goes to the one place he might find escape:  the busy port of Liverpool.  He finds the town squalid, full of crimps and pickpockets, and he is anxious to be rid of the place.  Desperate, he signs aboard a cargo ship bound for America, the Captain a known despot pushing his ship and his crew beyond normal expectations and into the harsh seas of winter.

It is his first experience in the broad blue.  The conditions are horrific, and the crew is worked to the bone, but, with the help of his shipmates, he learns and masters the ways of a tall ship sailor.  Yet, when the work slacks, he is often found at the rail, looking back towards Scotland, thinking of his home and the woman he might have loved.

The crew are pushed to their limits and beyond.  They are on the verge of mutiny when, one fateful day, as they near the New World, they sight a ship under the feared black flag.  The men plot for their freedom, and Logan finds himself their leader.  When the pirates board the ship, they fight with them not against them, turning upon their old oppressor.  The pirate Captain is one Benjamin Hornigold.  He impressed by the fervor of Louis Logan.  Perhaps out of necessity, perhaps out of that ongoing desire for freedom, Logan turns pirate.

Logan feels uplifted.  Though an exile, he is a free man.  He revels in the vastness of the sea.  Hornigold sails into New Providence, where Logan becomes one of the Brethren.  For the next year, Logan lives the pirate life to fullest, helping to take what ships may come, traveling from the American colonies to the woodcutters of Campeche, from Boston to the Virgin Islands.  Prizes are taken.  Rum is drunk, and whores are paid.  It would be grand life, but, as time goes on, Logan again questions the meaning of it all.  He gains a reputation as a fine hand and a capable fighter but also for his melancholy.  And so he gains the monicker of “Blue Lou Logan.”

On a day with a fair wind and a blue sky, Logan and the other pirates encounter a rare Spanish galleon, unescorted and ripe for the taking.   They capture the ship with little difficulty.  It’s not much of a prize, but, hiding below, Logan finds a scared, young girl who has stowed away.  She identifies herself as Consuela, daughter of the Mayor of Cadiz.  Consuela tells Logan that she has run away, unable or unwilling to meet the conditions of the gentry, wishing nothing else but to live by her own rules.  Logan’s heart melts, understanding her motivations and at the same thinking of her as the daughter he never had with the lass he never won, the family that might have been.  Logan takes Consuela under his wing, keeping her close even as he continues on the pirate path.  It is an odd couple, a proud Scot and warrior, and an innocent but feisty Spanish girl of the court.  The other pirates do not understand, but the bond between Logan and Consuela tightens with each day.

Unfortunately, Consuela’s disappearance is not unnoticed.  Word circulates that the Mayor’s daughter is in the company of a notorious rebel and pirate.  Out in the open, a Spanish warship, owned by the Mayor of Cadiz, overtakes the ship Logan and Consuela are on.  The fighting is desperate.  Logan’s only priority is to protect Consuela.  He fights like a savage to protect her as she maneuvers to escape.  But they are overcome.   Consuela is contained.  Logan is in chains.

They are taken to San Juan.  The other pirates are dispatched after the briefest trials and with nary a thought.  But Logan is picked out.  He is paraded slowly to the fortress and the waiting gallows as Consuela is forced to watch.  Logan’s mind is somewhere else entirely.  For the first time since leaving Leith, or perhaps for all time, he understands his place in the world.  As he is led to the noose, he thinks of his home far away.  Amongst the crowd is another escapee of the Rising, and he knows the face of Logan.  Just before the hatch drops, he says, staring intently, “So ends a son of Scotland.”

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