Part the Twenty Ninth: The Casa del Sol
“Cast off!” cried Osei when the last man of the Raging Gale leapt the widening chasm between the ship and the galleon they had plundered. Boarding axes were used to give the ship a push away from her prey by all men able to use them, and the oars used for emergencies were used by some to provide more force to move.
Hope watched the defeated looks on the faces of the Spaniards brighten from relief at surviving the boarding to satisfaction that their shame would be avenged. Their smile got bigger when they saw the Casa closing in, making them easier to see as the galleon drifted away from her.
“Damn the wind!” said Captain Sanders as she took the tiller. “We be needing to go beam reach to get us some distance, and even then she could get her teeth into us on her new heading.”
“Who is ‘she’?” Hope asked, noting the threatening ship that was coming ever closer.
“She be the Casa del Sol,” said the captain. “And she also be a great discomfort to me for some time.”
“Why, what is she?”
“She be a fast galleon, well crewed to ply the seas in most headings, with three guns for every one we have. She be after us since last we were off the Florida Keys, coming for some time.”
“What could you have done to make her come after you?” asked Hope as she watched the Casa del Sol come closer.
“We had surprised a Spanish vessel loaded with reales heading for Havana. She was escorted by another galleon that we slipped past at dawn; when we came aboard the treasure vessel we hit her hard before her escort could come on us.”
“Was the escort the Casa?”
“Nay, she was not half the vessel we face now. But within weeks of our seizing the treasure, the Casa was on the waves out for us. We’ve been plagued by her since.”
Hope watched as the Casa del Sol started to loom larger on the horizon. In the decreasing distance between the two ships, she could better make out the blazing sun on the mainsails of the fore and main masts and see clearly the two gun decks from how much higher she rode on the waves.
Hope started to despair. Having just signed the articles, she knew that the Spanish would treat her as one of the crew, and that she would suffer the fate of all pirates: To be hung, and then have her body left in port as a warning to any who might consider going on the account.
Provided they were merciful…
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan