Part the One Hundred Twenty Fourth: Sounding Charity
“How again did Charity become part of the crew?” Hope asked Abigail later when she had her captain alone to herself. They were in the cabin, Abigail rearranging the charts and rutters in their holes.
“Weren’t ye there for that?” asked Abigail. “I recall you being present when she came before the assemblage at parley a few days after we beached the ship. Did ye not see her appeal to the crew at large for a place?”
“Yes, but how did they come to agree to her request to join?”
“Mayhap it be her having held her own in a few fights with us impressing the lads. Or it be with the two of us doing as we do that this lot be not showing a stiff stand to a woman amongst them.”
“Those can’t possibly be the reasons,” huffed Hope dismissively.
“Nay, they can’t. I be thinking it more likely the number of men we lost to the pull of land making any new recruit look like a good prospect. We gave farewells to a good dozen with few Tortugans a’wanting to join. And that’s not counting Akua and Andrews.”
“I’m more sorry about Akua. How will he fend for himself with a lost hand?”
“If ye be willing to put your back into it,” said Abigail as she put Dyck’s scabbard on the wall, nudging it into position, “then ye be holding your own no matter what ye have or don’t. My worry is, he’s not got much back to him; more likely he be sinking into begging unless he takes to a trade.”
Hope said nothing, trying to keep out of Abigail’s way as she busily put her gear where she wanted, the backstaff hung on the cabin door.
“And of course there’s Andrews’ murder,” added Abigail.
“Yes, right. The guards still have no idea who was responsible for that?”
“Nay, not a one. Whoever killed him is still out there.”
“Perhaps he left on another ship,” Hope said, trying to be thoughtful.
“Such is likely, aye. And if they be before us opposed and we have a chance, then we be setting things right in doing unto them.”
“No matter that he was a complete bastard?”
“Aye he was,” said Abigail, “but he was our complete bastard, and we stick up for our own. And since no one was there to see him meet his end, we assume the worst.”
“Wouldn’t it be funny if it ended up someone who joined the crew was the man who did it?”
The look on Abigail’s face told her that she didn’t think so.
Hope quickly asked, “I assume Charity is in here with us again?”
“Aye. There be no means to separate her from the men otherwise. It may be a bit crowded in here, the three of us, but we’ll be able to face it. You willing to stand for that?”
“I see no choice, really.”
“So long as you two get along, that should be it. You fine with her, I take it?”
“And know you if she have a thing against you?”
“Oh no, she certainly does not,” Hope tried not to betray Charity’s true feelings for her…
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