Part the Sixteenth: Hope is Tempted with Articles
Hope could not find her voice until the last act of barbarity was concluded. As the sun started to sink, the remaining treasure the pirates could find and bring aboard the Gale had been secured, and the launch from the flyut with those who survived and did not join with the pirates was cast off with just enough provisions for the remaining men to survive, should they find safe harbor in week. Hope was still in such a state of shock that she allowed the blood on her dress to cake; she cared not how little of her was hidden under the form-fitting cloth…
“Did I not see smoked pork brought aboard?” Captain Sanders called out as the Raging Gale unfurled her mainsail and started southward.
Cries of “Aye aye!” came from the men, their faces lit by the fire that claimed the flyut, the light from the burning vessel giving way to shadow as they left their crime behind.
“I think this be a time for pork!” called the captain. “Quartermaster, make sure that all men receive full bellies as per the Articles.”
“Mister Campbell, the pork!” cried Osei. “Mister van Herck, your fine eye on each piece. Each to have shares as promised in the Articles.”
“That means ye be having more than me, eh?” Hope heard to her left.
She turned and saw Andrews, the man who attempted to pirate her songs earlier. “What do you mean?” she said. She had to repeat the question when she realized that he’d said nothing, his eyes drawn to her chest where the blood made her dress cling to her bosom…
“Oh my pardons- I mean, as musician, ye be claiming a share and a fourth, then,” he finally replied, trying not to stare where he had not ought to.
“And what do you mean by that?”
“Oh, your claim per the Articles. The Shipboard Articles, we all signed to afore boarding. The rules of the crew and conduct.”
“But- I never signed on to anything,” said Hope, confused.
“Oh… then ye’ll not be having more pork than the rest of us, then,” said Andrews as he allowed himself one more good look at Hope’s chest before he claimed his meat.
Hope drew him back around and asked, “What am I entitled to under the Articles?”
“A share and a quarter,” he said. “If a share of four coins come due, ye be having five.”
“Andrews,” said Campbell, handing him a piece of meat that van Herck cut for him, “stop bilging and take ye share.”
Hope felt her mouth open in shock. As a hostage, she realized, she could expect naught but the whims of the captain for her safety, but playing music willingly meant not only security, but a piece of the booty as well…
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