Part the Ninety Third: The Battle on the Deck
The man Hope faced suddenly realized he had an advantage over her.
Hope saw that he knew he had the better of her as she watched where his eyes fell. He was a good head taller and broad in the shoulders, all advantages in and of themselves. But what gave him confidence, Hope saw, was his noticing that she was unarmed, while he himself had a cutlass.
He took all of a second to relish in his advantage before he used it. He brought up his blade, preparing to hack Hope to pieces-
When his blade came down, however, it slid off Charity’s blade in a parry. Hope was pushed to the side by Charity’s free arm while her cutlass deflected her opponent’s weapon.
Hope watched as Charity took the initiative, quickly pulling her blade back, ready to thrust. Before he could regain full control of his weapon, Charity jabbed straight for his gut.
Hope couldn’t tell if the man who attacked her yelled out among the other cries of the dying, though she thought she heard the gurgle of blood as it gushed from the wound. She didn’t see his face as he pitched forward, as she was too busy looking at the dark sanguine flow from under and around his hand as he tried vainly to stop the bleeding.
Charity gave a brief glance at Hope after she killed him. To Hope she looked particularly fierce, glancing at her over her blood-covered left shoulder with intense eyes and a slight snarl on her lips. The moment was brief, but burned into Hope’s eyes, staying with her long after Charity gave a loud yell and charged slashing into the melee.
As Hope stepped back from the fight, she watched Abigail deal with her own opponent. As brutal and straightforward as Charity had been with her blade, Abigail was graceful and considered by comparison. She parried a long sword with a turn of her wrist, continuing the turn of her arm to bring her blade’s point to her opponent’s chest. A quick step forward, a brief bend of her elbow as Abigail stepped forth, and a red jet shot past her red hair.
Hope stopped her retreat long enough to notice the look that passed over Abigail’s face when she watched Charity. She followed her eyes to where Charity was slashing into another hapless boarder from the brigantine, treating the man as though she were a butcher hacking the carcass of a pig. She did not stop, despite the flecks of flesh her victim shed under every blow until her opponent was only a heap on the deck, at which point she would turn and find another soul to put to rest.
Hope couldn’t tell if Abigail was smiling as she watched Charity mete out the carnage. Before she could tell, Abigail brought up the point of her sword to go after another boarder, to make him sorry he stormed the Raging Gale that day.
And a part of Hope was sorry, too, to think that Abigail would be impressed by Charity, and how she proved herself in the heat of battle.
An accomplishment Hope realized she was just not going to do today…
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan