Part the Two Hundred Eighty Seventh: Abigail Plots a Course of Action
The terror this time was different.
Hope recalled all the times she felt terror in Abigail’s presence. The times she threatened her, the times she led a daring assault on a prize, all those moments of fear were recalled at once simultaneously.
And this moment was not like any of those times. In the rising sun bathing the deck of the Black Swallow, every act of abuse Abigail had suffered at De Colera’s hands were visible, emblazoned on her in stark relief. Every welt, every cut stood out like sparkles on a golden idol; Hope thought she could even see the damage done to her spirit, made manifest on Abigail’s body, unable to believe that every trauma she could see could fit on her captain’s frame.
Abigail steadied herself on the boom and tried to straighten her back.
“They will try to pursue us,” she said to the crew, the cracking in her voice threatening to silence her as she raised it to the level she used at parley with the crew of the Raging Gale. “They’re angry at us; their bastard of a master was felled, and they will demand blood.
“And if we get away from them and they lose us on the open water, they will seek it. They will be hot for revenge, and in memory of the bastard who trod her damned decks, following his example the way he came for the Gale, they will come for us. Whether it be in a day or a decade, at a nearby port or a point on the other side of the world, they will follow us, and they will not rest until we are all hung, shot, burned or worse.”
Even weakened and diminished, Abigail still had the assembled crew enraptured. All of them stopped what they were doing to listen with undivided attention.
“Yes,” she continued, “they will come for us without mercy, if they think us weak and scarred. They will come for us, which is why we need to bloody them now!
“We need to give them pause, to seed doubts in their minds that coming for us will cost them more than they will spend in pursuit. No dog follows and nips a bad tasting prey that will hurt him every time he takes a nip at it. We will teach this dog that it will cost, and cost dearly, to try anything with us, and they will think better of it and give up.
“We must stop them here!” she continued, emphasizing the point by pounding the boom. “It must end here, if we are to continue. We will never be free to sail the seas again if we don’t stand up for ourselves. We must fight now, or we will be running forever. We must, must…
Abigail collapsed on deck in a heap before the crew…
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