Part the Two Hundred Fiftieth: Into the Light of the Dark Black Night
Hope hated the swagger shown by the man atop the bowsprit as he edged closer to the newly-christened Black Swallow.
There was something in his sashay as he put one step before the last with casual firmness. She couldn’t put words to what she was feeling as he moved to get a closer look at the sloop before him, his flyut slowing as it crept closer.
“I hope yer looks are like yer voice,” he said as he was coming into better view; she could make out the long hair that poured from beneath his Monmouth hat down his shoulders.
“Why say you that, sir?” she replied.
“Because if ye strike what colors you have and comply, then yer hitch with the Dark Eagle will be all the better, providing ye look as good as ye sound.”
Hope grimaced as he provided in his offer the words she couldn’t put to his sashay… She made a small motion, raising her hand slightly before the rest of her crew.
“So what say ye to me generous offer, lass?” he said just as features on his face could start to be spied.
Hope drew a deep breath and replied:
The swivels peppered the bowsprit as the Dark Eagle’s emissary jumped and fell atop his perch. She was surprised that he could edge back that quickly towards the bow while using only one arm and leg to hold on over the water.
The rapport of the two three pounders followed, with the one shot that hit true filling the air with the rip of planking cracked by the round shot scarring the flyut’s hull.
“Get us going now!” she pointed to Goddard, who let out the boom to catch while Samuel took the tiller to get the tack.
“Just in case, have the swivels readied for another round,” she said as the flyut veered to starboard.
“We’re under full sail,” said Goddard.
“Well get us out of full!”
“But, but we-”
“Get us off a straight course before her guns find us!”
Goddard went for the tiller with Samuel to make a violent correction to port.
As the Black Swallow changed heading, the flyut’s three guns to port fired in uneven succession. Her best shot was half a cord to starboard and high, but the scream the shot made as it streaked past threatened unimaginable pain.
“Get us back on the original tack!” Hope said. “Now we need as much distance as possible!”
Goddard and Samuel quickly set the tiller back, and the Black Swallow soon made its way with haste towards the dark west.
Hope watched the flyut anxiously, waiting to see if she could find the same tack to pursue her and her crew…
…and almost laughed as the other ship started to list to port. The top yard snapped from the mast and dragged the sail down before he flyut righted itself and slackened her sails.
“We did it!” she said aloud.
“How did we manage ce miracle?” asked Charity.
“The gash we put in her,” said de Flanders, “that would have been une blessure mortelle if she followed us.”
Hope sought a seat on deck, the rush from the encounter finally allowing her to start to find sleep…
All content Copyright © 2010 James Ryan