Part the One Hundred Eighty Ninth: Way-Laying Into the Fray
The sight seemed dire to Hope from atop the stairs.
Never before in her time aboard the Gale had so many men from another ship been on her decks in arms against the crew. There was no sight of the deck under the hordes of boarders and defenders.
“You can tell ours from theirs, can you not?” Garland asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Then find the closest of them to you and start on them,” he said before nudging her aside, cutlass drawn, and entering the fray.
She took a deep breath, grabbed the rammer tightly, and made her way into the melee.
She found herself facing the back of a large Spaniard with a drawn cutlass who had the advantage over Kelly, swinging down over him. Kelly’s parries were offering less resistance with each chop.
Hope took the rammer head and shoved it into the side of the Spaniard, knocking him off his step and ending his onslaught. Kelly quickly took advantage of the respite and thrust his blade into his gut.
Another boarder announced himself to Hope with a cry as he charged, sword ready to stab. He had a few feet clear before him, and he used them to rush her.
Half panicked, Hope readied the rammer like a lance and charged him as well. She tilted the Spaniard with a strike between his heart and shoulder, knocking him off balance.
Despite landing on his back, the Spaniard still made a stab for her. She twisted aside, putting inches between the tip of his blade and her body.
She clunked her head against something hard as she put distance between her and the sword wielder, who started to get back up. She spun quickly to see what she had run into.
Charity spun around in reaction, bringing the knife in her hand up to Hope’s face but stopping the blade when she saw who had collided with her.
“Se réveiller!” she cried before she turned her attention to a Spaniard to starboard.
Hope faced the other way, keeping her back to Charity’s, their derrieres brushing against each other, keeping Hope aligned to cover her rear. Behind her she could hear Charity curse as she sliced and stabbed the boarders she could hit. Before her, Hope wielded the rammer to push away the Spaniards, the tight spots she moved them into making them more vulnerable to stabs from Owen and Soubise.
One boarder, however, refused to be pushed aside. Bare handed, he cocked his fist and threw a punch at Hope, though taking long enough that she was able to bring the ramrod up to block.
The blow was potent enough that the ramrod broke in two and carried through. His fist landed where her neck met her body; Hope thought she felt something crack as she dug in her heels to keep from knocking Charity over.
Without thinking, she took the half of the rammer in her right hand and started beating her assailant with it. One blow got the side of his head over his ear, but the other two he blocked with his arm.
He grabbed her by the arms just below the shoulder and lifted her above the deck like a claimed prize.
She feared what being claimed would soon mean…
All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan