Part 03

Part the Third: The Woman Claims a Prize

 

Hope Harvey and the rest of the crew of the King Charles were stunned to discover that a woman led the pirates of the Raging Gale.  Her long red hair flowed from under her floppy hat like sea split by the prow of a ship, her gentleman’s short sword held with its point in front of the master of the ship’s face.

 

“A-are you mad?” Uncle James yelled at the master when the surrender was finished.  “This- this WOMAN is able to claim your ship like this?”

 

“This ‘woman,’ as you refer to me,” said the captain as she turned to look at him, “happens to have outgunned and out manned your ship, sir, by a wide mark.  And be ye remembering that a surrender withdrawn would be taken badly by your captors.””I have never-” was all Uncle James could get out.

The point of her short sword danced on different parts of Uncle James’ coat.  “It looks like you certainly have not.  No officer or naval man would wear stitching like this; be ye a court favorite of the new king, then?”

 

“I- I am,” he finally said as her short sword touched on his nose.  “I am to oversee plantations granted the Earl of Shaftsbury by His Highness, Charles II.”

 

“Oh ho,” said the captain, “a farmer!”  The crew laughed derisively at the declaration.  The more the laughter grew, the redder Uncle James got, the more pronounced the quivers in his arms…

 

“Uncle James, no!” Hope shouted.  “Don’t do anything rash!”

 

“She be yer niece, ‘farmer’?” the captain asked, as she leveled her short sword less than an inch from his left eye.  “Her family, what of them?”

 

“Please, my lady,” said Hope, “my father and mother had to come ahead first, and my uncle is a proud man.  Spare him, I beseech thee, lest there be murder as well this horrible day.”

 

The pirates were stunned for a few seconds before they rolled in laughter.  Hope gave a sigh, believing that now, finally, they were surely done for…

 

“How much ye weigh, niece?” the captain asked Hope. 

 

“I- excuse me?” Hope replied, startled.

 

“I need a good judge of weight for the blonde haired maiden,” the captain called to the crew.

 

A large black man came forward off the deck of the Raging Gale, his shoulders making him as wide as two pirates even if his blue waistcoat were removed.  He stood before Hope, who trembled as she looked up at his face.

 

He put his hands under her armpits and lifted her up and down a few times.  “Like two sacks of sugar,” he said aloud, his accent not quite Spanish.  “Two and a half,” he added after another lift.

 

“Say seven stone,” said the captain.  “That, ‘Uncle James,’ is what ye need to bring me in gold to have her back,” and with a nod of her head the black man placed Hope over his shoulder to carry her away.

 

Hope did not see what happened next as she felt the man’s broad shoulder on her stomach, but the sounds of the pirates’ cheers followed by the cacophony of the sacking of the King Charles did not make her hopeful about what happened next…

 

 

 

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All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan

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