The Day the Lake Pirates Met the Ocean Pirates

Writing Prompt: The country is in dire need of another holiday that everyone can celebrate, and the government has given you the task of picking it. What event will you add to the holiday calendar and why?

        There is a lake in the kingdom with a river that leads down to the sea. The river is deep enough for some ships to travel up and down for trade, but most are too large except in the spring when the lake is very full and the river gets deeper. The strong current still prevents all but the swiftest ships from coming up the river into the lake.         There is a group of pirates that sail their ships on the lake. They were started by Captain Rupert Mycroft, though he was not called captain then. Rupert inherited a candy business from his father, an immigrant from Great Britain who brought with him to the kingdom little more than his grandmother's recipe book and the clothes on his back. Rupert's father started a small candy shop and confectionary that became a stable landmark of the shopping district. As a child Rupert worked in the shop after school and most summers, saving his money in hopes of traveling the world someday. Rupert's father was an overbearing man who thought his son a lazy dreamer and took every opportunity to tell him so.         One day while rupert was tending the front of the shop there was a crash in the back kitchen. Rushing to the back he discovered his father, dead on the floor from a heart attack, and the large pot of candy in the pressure cooker engulfed in flames. Rupert tried to pull his father out of the burning building, but fallen shelves pinned him in place ad throwing Rupert against the back wall, dumping its contents in his lap including the recipe book. The pressure cooker exploded throwing flaming candy in all directions and nearly toppling the building. Rupert was knocked unconscious from the force of the explosion, and was dragged to safety by several people who had seen the flames from the streets. Rupert was clutching his book of recipes, but nothing else survived the explosion.         Rupert himself was badly burned and lay in the hospital unconscious for nearly a month. Then one night he apparently awoke and snuck away. Some thought that maybe he had retrieved his stash of money on decided to go traveling, though his bank accounts were not depleted, nor the substantial insurance payments for his father and the shop. In his hospital room was found a corner piece of paper, apparently torn from the recipe for Almond la Mond on which someone had scrawled '***'. The note was found in a pile of glass, shards from a broken mirror, and some speculated that Rupert had been kidnapped or killed for his recipes by agents of a foreign candy company, though the constabulary were never able to prove anything.         Nearly 20 years passed. The burned out remains of the candy shop were boarded up though a long dispute over its ownership until a petition was passed around by its loyal former patrons for the township to claim eminent domain and erect a small park, a welcome edition to the crowded shopping district.         Then one spring at the peak of the thaw, a beautiful wooden sailing ship appeared in the bay, sailing in from the open sea in the middle of the night. The bay was usually bustling with small merchant ships of many types, but the wooden vessel was like something out of a story book, and quickly drew attention. Rather than docking the ship sailed to the middle of the bay and weighed anchor near a small outcropping of rocks usually avoided by the other ships lest they run aground. As the shipped parked for the day there was a buzz on the docks and many dock workers and curious onlookers ran to the bell tower, the top of St. Basil's, and other high points to try and catch a glimpse of the ship's crew. Though some claimed to catch sight of men milling about on the deck, no one could give any good description. The clue as to the ship's origin was the name painted across stern. It read in large letters 'Hiruko'.         As night fell ad the fill moon rose in the sky a swift current rushed into the bay from the tide. Coupled with the high temperatures from the day before the level of the river rose some 10 feet, well above the flood stage, and enough to wash out several of the small slat bridges, leaving only the drawbridge with its road deck nearly engulfed by the water. Thankfully the bridge was closed to traffic, scheduled for demolition and replacement by a new bridge able to accommodate wider ships and more road traffic.         Near midnight a large explosion was heard that rang across the hills above the bay. People looked out to see a brilliant flash from the side of the mysterious ship, some puffs of smoke, and the smoldering remains of the bridge. The Hiruko had fired 3 cannon balls and destroyed the bridge. As the town's people watched the Hiruko raised her sails and picked up tremendous speed, heading strait for the estuary at the mouth of the river. Sailors at the dock cringed, expecting the ship to tear itself apart on the sand bars at the mouth of the river, but the tide and heavy melt lifted the boat just enough to clear them. It ran up the river at a fantastic speed leaving a large wave in its wake that washed over the flood walls on either bank. Then all but one of the Hiruko's sails were suddenly released, and the ship quickly slowed in the strong current carrying melt water out into the bay. As they passed though the broken wreckage of the old bridge the ship gently nudged aside the large pilings and debris, passing though unscathed. Once passing the bridge the sails again rose and the ship gained speed again, quickly making it way up the hill, through the narrow valley, and into the open waters of the lake.         Upon reaching the lake the ship did not slow down, but rather picked up speed as the strong winds blowing across the lake's smooth surface carried it further out into the expanse of open water. Those living along the shore tracked its progress, but as the temperatures fell the wind died down and a thick fog engulfed the lake at the ships upon it. The Hiruko sailed out into the middle of the sound and vanished.         The next day a search party was rounded up among the local fishermen, and several ships went out to search for the Hiruko. The propeller driven ships were fast, but the lake is very large, and after 2 days of searching the coastlines and open water they turned up neither hide nor hair. Some speculated that the ship may have sunk somewhere in the middle, run aground on one of the many rocky outcroppings in the dense fog. Others thought that maybe they had continued up one of the tributaries, but few of the sailors and fish crews believed it as most of the rivers were small and shallow, full of rapids and impassable falls even at flood stage. The fishing captains had to return to fishing, lest they miss the salmon coming up through the lakes to spawn, but agreed to keep an eye out for the ship. No evidence of the ship was found, but several vessels reported a strange, sweet odor whenever the fog on the lake got really thick.         Two years later and the new bridge was on the verge of completion. The bridge was designed by a famous architect who had grown up in the kingdom before leaving to study, and the design was meant as a gift to the people of his homeland. The bridge had a solid and stately look of stone and ornate steal work that belied its high tech design which allowed the bridge to be partially raised for most smaller ships without blocking traffic. Only the largest ships would require the bridge to be closed, and even then the whole operation took only a few minutes.         As the bridge's completion approached, someone involved noticed that the date coincided with the destruction of the old bridge by the Hiruko, and even that had quickly become an essential part of local folklore. It was decided that to commemorate the event a large celebration would be held at the bridge on its first raising. Since the bridge's destruction many local captains and adventurers had tried to make the same journey up the river to the lake above in larger and larger ships. However none but the very smallest could make the journey due to the strong currents and shallow depth of the river. It appeared that such a feat could only be achieved when the river was at its highest, and even then it would take a skilled captain to make the journey without crashing their ship to bits on the rocks. Hearing of the celebration, several local captains approached the organizers and proposed to reenact the Hiruko's trip, and soon a race was added to the festivities. The celebration would begin the that evening when a fantastic pyrotechnic show would fire rockets from the bay to the bridge. The bridge would then raise for the first time, signaling a handful of antique ships in the harbor to begin their race to the top.         The festivities were a great success, and although none of the ships managed to make it all the way up the valley and to the lake above, each vowed to try again next year. And so each year there after the race was run again.         For 6 years no ship could make the goal. The seventh year's festivities were almost called off. A great spring storm blew in from the open ocean drenching the kingdom and making the fireworks show impossible. Most contestants bowed out, but a few ships decided to go ahead despite the rain and poor visibility. Most of the ships were quickly swept back out to the bay by strong currents and unfavorable winds, but one ship continued on. Just as they came around the last bend of the river before the late above the storm intensified, and the ship's mast was struck by a bolt of lightening, breaking it in two and tearing the sails to threads. A final gust of wind and the tremendous momentum of the ship carried it to the lake where it became hung up on a rocky sandbar piled up by the runoff.         The ship lay in the path of the storm and its captain considered what to do. The ship could not be sailed, but leaving in the life rafts was treacherous in these high swells. As he contemplated the men's fate, one of the crew spotted a light coming towards them in the rain. As it drew near the men could see the ship's name painted across her bow. It was the Hiruko.         The Hiruko came up along side the crippled vessel with gang planks and crewmen dressed as pirates helped the captain and his crew aboard. The men were taken below and given blankest warm blankets and tea, and served warm candies.         Back on shore the people feared the worst. Several captains volunteered to go out into the storm and look for survivors of a wreck but officials decided it was too dangerous to go out into the storm. Soon the storm let up and crews prepared to go out when a small fleet of dingies came paddling into wharf at the edge of the lake. Inside were the men of the wrecked ship, safe and sound, each clutching a large barrel filled with candies with the words 'congraduations' written on the side. Ships soon went out to recover the remains of the racer's vessel, but there was no sign of the Hiruko.