Part the One Hundred Fifteenth: Hope in the Melee
The commotion in the common room of the Blue Dolphin turned to riot around Hope. Unlike the boardings the Gale carried out against her prizes, the action in the inn was without the benefit of having allies; each man was for himself and could not count on quarter being given.
Hope found it one thing to be in the midst of an action surrounded by shipmates engaged with an enemy, and another to be in the chaos of an all-out raw fight. The fury in each man’s face, every single one of them a possible opponent, struck tremendous fear in her heart.
Behind her lay the only safe passage, towards the door to the yard out back, one in danger of being denied by the creeping chaos before it. Hope dashed for it, desperate to miss the worst of the melee before she was awash in it.
She took a sidestep to the left in her flight, avoiding two men falling together to the floor, one grasping the other’s neck. She corrected course to avoid a club swinging in the hand of a privateer pursuing a foe, then ducked in time to avoid a tankard traveling through the air. By the time she straightened up, she had made the door and was-
The blow to the back of her head was glancing, yet enough to make Hope see a bright flash and lose her balance. She fell through the door out of the fight, face forward towards the ground with a crash.
Pure raw fear forced her up and to her knees. Rising too fast from the fall made her dizzy, though, and she took a few steps away from the action before she got to the bathing tub.
The ground continued to spin as she grabbed the edge of the tub, her sight fuzzy as the bright spots in her vision winked in and out and started to fade. Her heart raced as she heard the melee through the door, the sickly squish that comes with flesh being battered, with the cracking of bones from time to time. Even seeing this many fights, Hope still could not find the fortitude to face a conflict head-on without being seized by-
There was less than a second between realizing that she was not alone in the yard and when she felt a pair of hand clamp down on her shoulders. Instinct drew her arms to her sides, allowing the hands to move further on, pinning her shoulders back as the intruder moved in closer, grasping her and holding her in the way a spider would grasp its wrapped prey.
“Don’ make’a soun’ now,” Hope heard in her ear. “Y’do tha’ an’ I’ll ha’ ye spli’ like a beam un’a wedge.”
Hope tried to turn her head, to see whose voice was going into her ear softly. She succeeded in glancing at him despite the smell, the rum on his breath making it hard to look the man in the eye.
“Fin’ly now,” said Andrews, “I ha’ ye now, alun, jus’ the two u’us…”
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