Part 34

Part the Thirty Fourth: A Good Omen

Hope smelled the air. The salt she detected going past her nostrils convinced her that she was still alive, and that maybe, perhaps, this was going to be one of those rare days when things were going well.

“Which ‘cay’ are we going to?” she asked Captain Sanders.

“It’s not named, Hope,” said Captain Sanders. “It be a small spot not on many a chart, known well by those on the account and ignored by the rest. There be some chance we may need share space there, though more often than not only one ship ever comes at a time.”

“You mean other pirates?” she asked.

“Aye, though it be by understanding that the Cay is neutral, and that no quarrel be held there. As all men be needing rest from the sea, it be the ultimate in charity to allow them such respite when there.”

“So while you’re at the Cay, if another vessel comes there, there’s no attempts made on your person?”

“Aye,” nodded Sanders. “That be the way of it amongst the Brethren of the Coast.”

“But what if the other ship wanted to go after us, and just set sail for us the moment we left and took us on the seas?”

“Mister Collins,” Sanders called out, “what be the state of the guns?”

“Cleaned and ready,” said Collins. “We be secured and have shot ready enough for two long actions, if pressed.”

A cry went up from the crew off to port. Hope turned watched as a large gray shape shot itself out of the water before going back into the drink.

“There,” said Sanders. “Something to raise our spirits.”

The gray shape darted out, its back curved and the fin on it raised like a sail.

Sanders saw the puzzlement on Hope’s face and continued, “A dolphin be a sign of good luck off your ship. And we’ve never had any luck but good on this vessel every time we spot one.”

Hope watched as the dolphin sprung forth in the wake of the Raging Gale and went below, staying with the ship as she sailed on. She admired the way the creature emerged and re-entered the water like a needle sewing cloth. Hope was impressed that such a beast could stay with the Raging Gale on its own power, moving alongside the ship without needing sails or masts.

“It’s almost galloping like a horse,” Hope said aloud, as she watched the dolphin keep up with the ship.

Collins looked over the side and nodded. “Aye, curves his back like one. Remember Charlie’s horses doing that too.”

“Charlie?” Hope asked.

“Aye, at Newbury. He sent his horses up Round Hill, and we shot them down with our guns.”

Hope blinked and looked again at the Master Gunner.

Collins looked at her and replied, “Oh aye, I sided with Parliament in the Civil War.” He added after a beat, “And no, I’ll not be holding that against you that you be in the New World because of a Stewart.”

“What makes you think I worry about that?” she asked him.

“Because I’ve never see you have a day since you come aboard when you don’t worry about something.”

Just to spite him, Hope smiled, and simply admired the dolphin racing them to the Cay…

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