Part the Twenty Sixth: A Galleon Is Spotted
“Sail to starboard!”
Hope stopped playing her cittern at Bosfelt’s cry from atop the mainmast. While deep down she wished during the two days since she went on the account with the crew of the Raging Gale that something would happen to break the monotony of shipboard life, the cry still froze her inside. Her memories of the assault of the Dutch ship still haunted her, and during the quiet moments they preyed on her despite acceptance that she was now part of the crew that committed those acts.
Once again, holystones were passed from man to man to get them off the decks, cards for those at leisure were packed away and tankers for rum were drained quickly by those who had them. Lookouts in the rigging sang out as they spotted the prize, either to confirm or correct what had been said before.
“Two masts- three, I think,” Bosfelt cried out.
Captain Sanders brought up her spyglass. “Two sets square, one lateen,” she said as she looked. She called up, “Can ye see her aft decks clear?”
“Aye,” van Herck and Kelly called.
“Galleon,” she said as she took to the till and corrected course to port. “That easily seen this far off, she may be light in her hold.”
Hope noticed the anticipation on the faces of those on deck around her. Unlike the Dutch prize, this crew seemed more eager to go after the galleon. The men around her looked up to Sanders with anticipation…
“She may be more trouble than she’s worth,” said Sanders, “but a little trouble can be worth a lot. Heave into her with the wind!”
The crew around Hope gave appreciative noises that sounded more like angry dogs ready to pounce than men about to enjoy themselves. “Aye,” said Campbell, “we get them now, we do.”
“Did this ship do you any offense?” she asked him.
“All the Spaniards do us offense,” interrupted a member of the crew from behind Hope. “Would I could sink every one of them.”
“Aye,” agreed Campbell, “what Garland said, we all say!”
“What, pray tell, do they do?” Hope asked Garland.
“They be a ruthless cold lot. They don’t even bother to hold a trial if they catch you, they just hang ye from the yardarm right there.”
“How horrible. Wh-?”
“She be unfurling!” shouted Kelly, and Hope watched with the rest of the crew as the galleon’s sails puffed up noticeably. As they watched her crew make more canvas available to catch the breezes, the crew of the Raging Gale seemed to Hope to be growling.
Captain Sanders pushed hard into the tiller, and her ship lurched to starboard, no longer pointed at her prey.
“We’re just giving up,” Hope said aloud. She shared her thoughts without an emotional connection as to what was going on.
“Nay,” said the Campbell, “we be going beam reach to catch a cross breeze. We get to a point where we can run before the wind, then be upon her like demons on the damned.”
Hope turned away from him at that; the allegory did not sit well with her…
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan