Part the One Hundred Seventy First: The Musician Attacks!
To Hope, everything seemed to freeze in place as she watched Charity’s predicament.
She was in close quarters with a man with a longer blade, keeping him from doing his worst though able to keep her at bay from finishing him off. Behind her, another man had his cutlass drawn and was raising it over his head, ready to cleave her neck from her body before she would see she was in danger.
Before Hope could think, she acted: She rushed the man coming up on Charity’s stern and ran straight into him, his ribs making a crack as her shoulder connected while she knocked him aside.
He did not go down, but steadied himself after his stumble. The look of surprise on his face flushed into anger when he spied Hope and realized what was happening.
She decided to copy Charity’s tactic, pressing herself against him as she stomped his feet and pelted him with her fists. All thought gave way to instinct as she engaged him, her only concern her survival as she kept him from realizing that she was disposable with but a single solid sword stroke.
And for what seemed an eternity, her plan worked. She pressed his chest like a tight leather vest, her blows if not knocking him down then at least keeping her alive.
When she tripped over a corpse on deck, she was certain that the struggle had been for naught, that he was going to bring up his blade and now add her body to the pile of deceased accumulating onboard-
She watched him take a step back, raise his blade as he continued to clear away from her…
…and run out of deck space, tumbling over the starboard side into the water.
Hope gave a cry of surprise, something that sounded joyful to her ears. Which of course, because of the circumstances seemed appropriate…
“Faire le guet!” she heard Charity scream behind her.
Hope turned quickly to see another member of Jean Herbert’s crew charging her.
She watched as he raised his boarding ax, and took the moment the head was over his shoulders to charge him. He stepped backwards, getting more space than Hope had with her last opponent, but made a muffled moan before blood flowed out of his mouth.
Charity pushed the man forward as she retrieved her knife from his back, turned to Hope and said, “Idiote! What are doing here unarmed?”
“But that man was going to kill you!” Hope protested.
“He was going after you!”
”No, the other one! The one who was coming at your back!”
“I thought I taught you better how to defend yourself!”
“But you needed help! I saved your damnable life!”
“You could have gotten killed!”
“Well so could- BEHIND YOU!”
Charity spun around, using her free arm to put Hope behind her as she faced a man with a cutlass in one hand and a dagger in the other.
There was a hot spurt of blood that bathed Hope’s face, as everything went black…
All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan