Part the Two Hundred Twenty Second: Taking a Heading
There were only stunned looks responding to Hope’s revelation.
“But…” Charity responded first, fumbling for words. “But… But how? We saw her shot.”
“And did you have a chance to see if the wound was fatal?”
“N-no, we were rushed right away, we got pushed overboard… She is? She’s really alive?”
“If they grabbed her fast enough after they swarmed the decks, ja,” said Goddard. “There was so much going on at that moment, they could have easily taken her while they dealt with everyone else.”
“All of whom were hung or shot,” added Osei.
“Save us,” said Hope. “And as far as De Colera knows, for now, we perished as well. And none of us were as valuable as Abigail was to him, so he won’t care as much or actively seek us out.”
“And you learned this how?” Samuel asked.
“John of Mersey. He had a tale to tell, which Morgan was kind enough to encourage him to divulge.”
“Which means he could go back to De Colera and tell him that you’ve survived.”
“Not after Morgan finished with him. He’s a very effective inquisitor, and was quite skilled in insuring that it will take some time before John divulges what he knows.”
The rest of the party, now seated at a table in the quiet corner of the common room, stared at her with stunned looks.
“If you’d heard the tale I heard,” Hope replied calmly, “you would have been more likely to see that he got what he did.”
“I don’t recall that Abigail using torture that much,” said Charity. “There was rarely need for it.”
“In the beginning, there was more,” said Osei. “Our first few prizes required that persuasion be applied, which I was often in charge of.”
“Morgan mentioned that,” said Hope. “Details of those early exploits were enough to encourage later prizes to be more accommodating.”
“And are you suggesting that we should become torturers, in whatever we do?” Charity asked.
“Not unless required,” said Hope. “And for now I don’t see us doing that, at least not indiscriminately.”
“Are you saying you want to go on the account again?” Samuel asked. “After what happened the last time?”
“Let me say this,” Hope replied. “Before I became part of the crew of the Raging Gale, I had lived a life that could not be called living. Not a real life by any means. Yes, there was violence, and terrible things done aboard her, and by and with her crew, and what happened to the Gale at de Colera’s hands was inevitable.
“But my time aboard her was the most alive I’ve ever felt. And I care not a fig whatever Providence has in store for me for falling with such companions, for I could never take up the expectation of the life intended for me in Carolina.
“And what good, dear companions you all are. All of you, finer people I could not hope to know, as I ask you to be with me for what must be done.”
There was silence for a moment around the table.
Samuel finally spoke up. “And this task, that you wish of us… What kind of venture do you seek, por favor?”
“I propose a venture, with the objective of rescuing Abigail from de Colera.”
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