Captain B


‘Ukiyo 5’ by Captain B


I caught up.

You know I did.

You know I arrived just in time.

Didn’t even need my steel.

My steed suggested I dismount and he stay back. Other horses and dogs might detect him. I wore an amulet to guard against such things. It would work with the two-brained beasts. It would not against sorcerer or sorceress.

The Delilah, whose name is Daitan, and she was a daring and bold one, had her there, my love, my light, her twin sister and worst enemy.

She’d already drained me and claimed my top knot. Who knew that in youth, strand by strand, hair by hair, she’d planned the same for her dear and beloved sister?

And the wig fashioned, she wore. It stood on end. Dark clouds rolled. Thunder boomed. Lightning licked and lit her sinister smile.

My beloved stood frozen in her tracks. She could not move. She was paralyzed except for her eyes. Her remarkable ears had already picked up my silent-to-most-and-nearly-all footsteps. Her sister might have had the sensitivity too had she not been drunk on the lust for absolute power.

Nearing, sword sheathed, I would not need it, I felt my beloved’s tension dissipate. With her beautiful opal eyes, she feigned and called attention to a mole which peaked its head from a hole.

Daitan, we shouldn’t mention her name, followed the gaze. Lightning shot from her eyes and the mole was no more.

One second too late, but only for the mole, I thrust from back foot. Distance covered, I snatched the contraband hairpiece just as Niko leapt. She and her once most-intimate-of-intimates rolled and grappled. I was quick with the flint. It sparked first off. I held the sinister weave to flame. The smoke nearly put me down. Intoxicating it was.

I held. It burned. My hand and arm will bear permanent scars, but any of the manuals would instruct to never let go until the deed done and the task completed.

As sister’s power drained, Niko wrapped her up and secured the fetters.

I might have made a stronger case for execution, but with family matters, an in-law should know his place.

After taking care of all the propers and paperwork at the bastille, back at the minka, over roasted duck rubbed thick with chopped garlic and ginger, sipping sake, Niko’s barefoot resting on my shoulder, her slightly opened kimono winking at a sublime future, we speculated the whereabouts of the necromancer and the other queue in question.

But no. Absolutely not. There was no haste. We saved it for another day. This night we celebrated victory.



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘Legacy’ by Captain B


My father
was bastard son of an emperor
I am
bastard son of an abbot
As he was whisked away and hidden
I grew up on monastery grounds
Nobody except my mother or father
ever talked of my parentage
but it was known to most
and not such a shocking thing
if one knew my father

I called him neither father nor papa
but the word in our language for abbot
like in many other tongues
shares the same etymological root

He was never given anything
by my, i suppose, grandfather
but he put me under his wing
and taught me the brand
that made him unique and famous

It had been no bigger shock to anyone
than him when he was appointed his station
Rogue, eccentric, unpredictable
had made him a character
among (in too many cases)
pious posers
perpetuating pomp, perversion
(secretly of course or so supposed)
and position

Another realm pointed him out
The few who cherished and sought the original way
the impetus and initial version
put him in his post to recall a pure form

Father did not suffer fools
He only pointed when to demonstrate the false
He wrote verse and only sought true
whether that was the delicacy of fresh octopus
(Oh his herbivore contemporaries loved to cite that one)
or the beauty and caress of his most favorite lover
who happened not to be my mother
but a blind and lovely musician
Of course
none are more beautiful than my mother
Father and mother
always remain great friends

But he made sure i worked the fields and orchards
He was also strict about my leaving at a logical age
to roam and explore
sail the seas and discover new lands
excite the palate with new flavors
experience the same or similar ingredients
prepared in different ways
so as to taste
for the first time
as place and sun’s position
altitude or near the sea
who you’re with or without
the language, commotion, or silence
buzzing or humming about you
can all influence anything and everything
greatly and peculiarly

it’s your nature
to the flower

The first time he sent me on my way
he said
See you in five years

I came home for one
then left again for seven
This repeated another time
The last sojourn eight years

When i returned
he didn’t need to tell me
his time was nigh

I would not be named in his place
nor did i want that in the least
In my last absence
he had accepted his greatest
(Aside from me, he said. Though
fathers might say such things)
A former opera star
and whether she has any say or not
an always and forever beauty queen
(Yes, the only one to rival)

She’d long wearied of the high society
the social circles, the beautiful but empty
thus, far from truly beautiful

You do not want to argue with the abbess
If you must question her
be a bit cunning and indirect about it

She does not preach lofty things
enamored by the sound of her own voice
No, that is not our way

Some talk when she can be found
at my side drinking wine from my orchards
and roasting lamb or pheasant or trout
but only on holy days
Yes, holy days

Some nights we sleep in her chambers
just neighboring the main temple
Often we sleep here in the cottage
my old but still spritely mother
in a comfortable but smaller abode
out back

We try to live by my father’s adage
which he didn’t invent
but only tried to relay
and exemplify
from the wisdom of generations

Do no evil
Do much good

He’d laugh
Too easy for you?
Just try it
Of course
Neither, both, and all exist beyond

He loved to laugh, quote, and compose
The Elder sang while drunk
and the other
His nest must have been cold
Old codger!


Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘Ukiyo 4’ by Captain B


When he came here, they called him ugly. They threw rocks at him for the way he spoke his mother’s tongue.

Our tongue.

Cordially, he expertly dodged rocks till the day he decided to throw back. I, with my sister, sat atop a hill and watched him return fire. Each projectile found its mark. He did not miss, and his tormentors became the first to fear him most. The berth they gave him when he walked down the village’s main road, nothing but a dirt path rutted from the wheels of many wagons, many hooves, was impressive.

When he came upon me as I bathed at what in that moment became my former secret spot on the river, we never again parted.

After our first intimacy, I looked up to see my sister. The look on her face that day was new. I shiver and wish not to describe it. Lamentably, I have now become accustomed to it. It is the only way she now looks at me.

After the last attempt at sabotage, as he carried her shackled over his shoulder, he joked that execution and getting it over with would lead to much less future strife.

He jested, and though the situation terrible, understands that any attempts on my life do not change that to me she is still my sister.



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘an evening’ by Captain B

an evening

the coldest of the beer
i’ve had in these five past
vacation days
and this, the fifth day

night fallen

back from camping
the landscape
on all sides

i’ll go with friends
stopped home
for a change of clothes
a bed

it’s Friday
this chest and its cold contents
will go down redondo
round down, soothing spiral
a bit of grounding
heavier sleep for the bones
there’s but
a little rum

tomorrow we hike
San Marcos Arteaga
climb up

in the canyon
top of the mountain
the river that runs through it
seeking secrets

nothing exaggerated tonight
a gentle easing
into it
how i love
cool sheets

but only after
this long
and moonlit

my neighbor is on her terrace
i on my roof
cool night
she can’t see me
she has on a blinding light
she likes to watch her cats play
i do too
from where i sit
she drinks white wine
her husband comes out from
time to time
not fooling anyone
she’ll hide the cigarette she is smoking
one link in a long chain
behind her back
when he comes out
she won’t take a drag
till he’s back inside

dreamt of an ex-girlfriend last night
thought of her most of the day
sometime since
attention turned

a flock of white birds
just flew overhead
a flock of white birds
just flew overhead

it’s been good conversation
this night
me and all the i’s
those others too

understand now
the dangers
of starving
the wolf?

my long drink
off to cool sheets
let the creatures of the night


Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘Ukiyo 3’ by Captain B


Niko was up ahead.

I rode through the night. No moon. Just a trusty steed’s senses and my ability to see in the dark.

She has been up ahead for some time. I had been down for some. A moon and then some has passed since we have known bliss.

The shapeshifter slipped into the room one night. She indeed spied Niko, naked, slip into the night. Beckoned by the forest to dance in the wind, among the pines, under a past moon that had shined upon a better time.

Then the Delilah nudged me with a cup in my daze. My blurry eyes and sleepy senses took her form as that of Niko, the only one to lie beside me in our bed.

In the cup was medicine. Or so it was said. She claimed my breathing irregular. She feigned concern as the real one might. The real one, I know, master of potions and spells and many things not known to most. This one too. They learned from the same sorceress. They grew together in the same womb.

I drank from the cup. My eyes opened too late and only a fleeting moment before they shut again tight. She cut my top knot. The prize she would claim and exchange for power. Spells and potions and still the elusive secret to transform will into bidding. Easier to come about it with cunning, dishonesty, and at the expense of others.

My top knot must be retrieved and thrown into the fire. It has already been the source of malevolent witchery for selfish ends.

The sleep was deep. It was not restful. Niko stayed around long enough to nurse me back to consciousness. When I finally came to- weeks later- she said nothing. I tried in vain to stand. I could not. Even my voice was barely audible and that which I willed to express, more than feeble.

She rode away on her mare and did not look back. My sobs, the only protest I could make.

Eventually I rose from the bed. I examined that tragic night and the folly. I observed the wrong turn and the clues missed that would have prevented all of this.

I am now strong. I now must act.

I have dreamed and seen Niko’s activity. I know what she is up to. She is highly capable and able. Still, even she can benefit from aid at certain times.

The time that draws near will certainly be one of those times.

My only chance for reconciliation is to appear at the auspicious moment, brandishing steel with a purpose.

The time is nigh.



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘Plans for repose’ by Captain B


going back
it was good to be home
a long holiday visit
a long journey and campaign
this year
i was bearing gifts

there were those i had to see
on other matters
the winter was upon us
best to just survive

but when spring arrived
our journey would
and could only be timed
to arrive some months later
for their spring
in the land we had to visit
for reasons
we had not a clue


Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘Ukiyo 2’ by Captain B


The last thing they tasted was my steel. The three who came for me.

Well. Niko claims one of the dead. Her dagger found his throat as he attempted to come in through the window. I had urged her to leave it to me. She thought otherwise. The other two also lost their lives, spilling from their throats. I prefer clean kills. Their daimyo met his end in the same fashion.

Raven has flown ahead, making sure the morning’s road is free from ambush. Tomorrow we ride.

The last thing I tasted was Niko’s kiss as she refilled my cup with sake. Now I put the cup to my lips, but not before licking them, savoring her before sipping it.

After we cleaned up the mess and the hired driver wheeled the corpses off with a message back from where they came, I made us a nice ramen then washed the dishes.

Niko now resumes her melodic and hypnotic pickings on the lute. Her kimono hiked high and open, urging me to have a taste but not with haste. Listen to the melody. Have another cup or two. The moon hasn’t even risen yet.



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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‘Ukiyo 1’ by Captain B


Ninja fell to the roof silently. Niko strummed the lute hypnotically. I sipped sake with suspicion, having wagered their arrival this night. Mind tricks and games of strategy. A back and forth that lasted weeks, but acumen determined this night.

The Raven, my first and favorite comrade of this region, just but let out a seemingly casual caw to tip me off of the assassins. Another slight kraa received and I know they are three.


Such a slight team for the warrior who slashed their daimyo down in such a stealthy way. Quick and correct my blade. Mixed breeds the both of us.

My left eye and eyebrow signal to Niko not to miss a bridge or a chord. Long ago I secretly called her Neobulé before we came together. She has only begun to educate me on musical vernacular. Forgive my ignorance. She is well armed. Although even a ninja assassin has a code of honor and she should be safe and not a target.

That is unless the daimyo’s widow ordered otherwise.

I feel them now. One is in the hallway closest to me. She is on the other side of the room. Albeit a second is just outside the window below her. The third is near the most logical exit which we call the back door.

When the daimyo discovered I was a bastard son just as he, he would not accept it. When he found out my father was from Paros, his Thracian father rolled over in his grave. Homelands, years forgotten. Ancient conflicts, not so. Migrations east to other continents. Abeyant tongues of our fathers. Adoption of that of our mothers, could not placate his anger or resentment.

He called on me correctly. At high noon on a day exactly a month ago, I gifted him first strike…then beat him to it. The clean slash severed his jugular. Some of the closest spectators wore his blood on their kimonos as they left the duel in fear, lamenting and wondering what would become of their daimyo’s fiefdom.

I must now rise and get to it. Three? Ha! They do not know with whom they deal!



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro


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