Part the Two Hundred Eighty First: Putting Out to Sea Again
Climbing aboard the Black Swallow felt odd to Hope.
She steadied herself against the gunwales as the decks righted and steadied coming off the sand. After the swimming and diving she had done to get the ship’s hull free, being aboard the ship seemed unnatural to her, as though she’d never been to sea before.
Part of her wondered if it was the swimming that was to blame. The more she let herself dwell on those moments in the water, the more she felt the lure of the sea, calling her back, like a siren…
There was comfort in the snap the mainsail made as it filled. She found her focus and placed herself squarely on the deck.
By now, the rest of the crew that had helped to push the hull off the sand were aboard, and those that were in the launch were boarding.
“Look sharp!” Osei barked. “Trim us to beam reach.”
“You heard him,” said Hope, though the force with which he’d tasked the crew had already placed them sharply on their way as they worked the boom to get the most from the sail.
“Is Abigail secure?” she asked Charity.
“Oui,” she replied, “I made sure she is centered in the hammock with a blanket. She will be comfortable for the entire voyage.”
“To somewhere close and friendly, I hope,” Hope muttered.
“What of the launch?” Mason asked. “What shall we do with it?”
“How do you mean?” asked Hope.
“Are we going to try and drag her behind us? She’s too big to pull up and stow on deck.”
“I’d rather not be waiting for the tide to come in again, if we can avoid it. How much would she slow us down if she were attached and dragging from the stern? If you can secure her well, would she really be a liability?”
“I can keep her from dragging us too much,” said Mullins. “In a pinch, though, we might need her cut loose.”
“If the pinch does come, then yes, we must. Mister Jukes, did you make enough additional powder to affect our stores?”
“What I made, miss,” he replied, “is good only for flash and to startle. This is very weak powder that would be of no value if placed in a cannon.”
“So our stores are no better than they were before we set foot ashore.”
“Aye, but by the same token, they are no worse.”
“Are we expecting a fight?” Mason asked.
“I would hope not. If our luck holds, we should be past the fort and out to sea without incident.”
“The way our luck has been so far?” Charity noted.
Hope turned her back to her and sang out, “Trim to beam reach.”
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