Another chapter. For the first, go here.
Vlad was boat shopping. It was traditional for a 16 year old boy to receive a boat from his parents as a gift. It symbolized his independence less than it did his parents' eager desire to get him out of their house. (It was also a cunning distraction from another Viking custom that involved a free can of gasoline and lighter with every AARP membership.) Viking boats came in one shape (boat-shaped) and in one color (brown). The only choice that young Vlad had was the figurehead.
Vlad had been to nearly every used boat lot up and down the coast, but was having a bugger of a time finding something that he felt suited him. He'd decided to stop at the lot of Mothmar the Sweet-Smelling before resigning himself to paddleboats for another year. Mothmar himself came out to meet Vlad at the dock. Vlad noticed his mismatched furry vest and furry barbarian skirt (rabbit on the top and bear on the bottom), and winced at the fluttering pieces of plasticized confetti that hung winsomely on Mothmar's hat.
"What can I do you for, young Barbarian?" Mothmar oozed, sticking his clammy palm into Vlad's.
"I am looking for a boat.." before Vlad could continue with his list of requirements, he was being steered toward the section that held boats specifically for young males. Namely, the section of boats that had figureheads shaped like young topless women. Some of these boats were leaning slightly forward in the water, due to the size of the 'adornments' on the figurehead.
Vlad shook his head in disgust. All that the figureheads brought to mind were the numerous "Arrghs" that he'd received in Mandatory Naughty Activities. (In fact, had he not done so well in "Gathering a Massive Hoard" and "Visual Intimidation Techniques", his record would have meritted a second go round.) Vlad wanted something different. Something that spoke to his inner soul. Something that was distinctive. Something that matched his eyes and would go well with whatever boots he was wearing.
He wandered away from Mothmar who was extoling the virtues of a rather squinty looking model and moved toward the exit. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw it. The prow of the ship was long and slender, and was not adorned with anything that could be considered human. In his eyes, the sheer wildness of the symbolism was ideal.
Vlad walked straight to his ship, slapped the hull and pronounced her name. "Thou shalt be the GRAY GOOSE."
Mothmar coughed slightly. "Inventive."