Part the One Hundred Ninety Sixth: Staring East Towards the Sun
The pursuing galleon loomed larger.
Hope could better make out the ship as she came closer, her outlines offset by the sun rising behind it. Her foremast was now distinct, and the pennant atop her mainmast could be seen in outline catching the winds that compelled her after the Gale.
With the sun behind her, she was indistinct, as black as the cloak of Death. Hope thought it would have been appropriate had the black shape of the ship been an actual mouth to Hell, with demonic hosts emerging from it; the fact that she saw nothing truly evil spit out from the ship was a bit of a disappointment.
“Which one do you think it is?”
Hope turned and found Charity over her shoulder to her right. “I said, which ship that we passed when we went through the Little Plate Fleet do you think this one is?”
“I can’t tell,” Hope replied. “Truth to tell, I fear it matters little which one came for us.”
“You seem to think we’re going to meet a horrible end today, mon cherie.”
“We have more than enough gold in our hold that the Spanish court would certainly miss it if it stayed in our hands, which is weighing us down greatly, and making it much easier for an angry galleon to close upon us. I would say our times are indeed perilous, yes.”
“Yet you stay so serenely calm,” said Charity. “If it is indeed our last few moments, I would-”
“I still would not.”
“I was going to say, ‘stare at you happily for what little time we have left,’ petite amie.”
“Oh,” Hope said, blinking twice. “Somehow, I just imagined, well…”
“With so little time left to properly do things, you take what you can with you, no?”
Hope wasn’t sure exactly what expression she cast at Charity, but she watched her reaction to it turn from a tease to a longing.
“They may need powder at the ready,” Hope said with a nod.
Charity closed her mouth, straightened her shoulders and went to the hatch.
Hope turned her attention to the galleon. She considered what piece might be best to play, but felt herself unable to choose one. A dirge seemed heavy-handed, and a light trifle rather inappropriate, which left Hope with very few options as to what she should play, if indeed she should.
Wanting to buy time before being asked, she mounted the quarterdeck to get Abigail’s assessment what would work best.
Her foot touching the quarterdeck seemed to hush the crew of the Gale, as all eyes turned to the north east. She noticed eyes widening on faces turned that direction; even Abigail seemed shocked.
Feeling like Perseus, knowing full well what staring at Medusa would do to him but compelled to do so regardless, she turned her gaze to the northeast…
The galleon was much closer now, no longer a black spot on the horizon. She was close enough that the light behind her could be seen through her sails.
Sails that had on them blazing suns, the insignia of the Casa del Sol…
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