Part the Eighty-Seventh: L’carte Dans Votre Tête
The silence in the cabin of the Raging Gale was broken by Charity, who gave a laugh. “C’est si idiot,” she declared to Abigail and Hope. “Of course I would not commit such an act. You rescued me and a fellow crewman from a horrid fate, and when I was found to be a woman I did not suffer what befalls exposed women on most corsairs’ vessels. Such talk is of course in jest, no?”
Hope noticed Abigail was smiling as Charity explained herself, all the while staring at Abigail’s fingers as they moved away from the paring knife they had crept towards during the silence…
“Your humor leaves a lot to be desired,” Hope said.
“If I were actively seeking this chart, would I be so open about it?”
“If ye be brazen enough and feel ye have the upper hand, aye,” said Abigail.
“That or try to make the other person feel I have a clear advantage and win through bluff, no?”
Abigail gave another smile, one that seemed more genuine to Hope than the last one. “Aye, there is that,” she responded. “Not that ye can do that here, but such track will serve you well in life, aye.”
“So this chart of yours,” said Charity, “she is safe from the likes of me and the rest of the crew in case they were really going to steal it from you?”
“They’ll not be stealing a chart they can never get their hands on.”
Hope’s sudden insight so took her by surprise it made her take a sharp breath. “So it’s not committed to paper, this map?” she blurted out. “The large map you refered to, it’s entirely in your head?”
Abigail gave another genuine smile, this time to Hope.
“Incroyable! You can keep track of so much without help like that?” asked Charity.
“Not without help,” said Abigail, as she patted her rutter. “Without this, everything I remember is just bits about this place and that, not connected into a larger whole. And without me, the rutter be naught but lists and scribbles.”
“And all the rest of the maps, then?” asked Charity. “Why keep them if you have this carte dans votre tête?”
“Me map in me head, as you say, I trust well,” said Abigail. “But I’m responsible for everyone aboard me ship if I guide them into perilous waters. I’ve amassed quite a few charts, and to have me plots checked against more than one insures that we be on the best course.”
“But if you lost them all, then what?” asked Hope.
“If it be just us without these,” said Abigail sweeping her hand over her charts, “then we have the one chart to go by. And with the rutter, we could get to any port we wanted to.”
“And without the rutter?” asked Charity.
“At least to a nearby settlement, if we had some sightings. Which is why playing with me backstaff will get ye in greater trouble than you can imagine.
“And if we are in desperate straits and don’t get to a settlement in time?” asked Hope.
Abigail turned to glance at her backstaff. “Still there and in one piece,” she said aloud. “Good.”
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan