Hope made the leap over to the French vessel and stood next to Osei, looking down into the hold. Surrounded and outnumbered were two men, both of whom looked to her to be her age. Hope looked at the two, one a dark-skinned youth, his eyes terrified and looking wide through his held up arms, his finery looking the worse for wear. The other was a fair skinned lad, his hair tied in a tail, wearing seaman’s clothes and wielding a cutlass, despite the irons on his legs. Herbert, Goor and Kelly had axes and cutlasses drawn against them, but they were kept at bay by their lone opponent.
“He’s no more than Mesnil’s age,” said Campbell from above, where the rest of the crew stared down.
“Ja,” said Simon, “but what an arm he has there.”
“If it is a fight you wish, messeurs,” said the youth in irons, “then I shall oblige.”
“Right,” said Owen. “We got the rest of yer crew down, we can do you in too-”
“Belay that!” boomed Osei. “You there, why are you in irons?”
“Mutiny,” said the lad as he lowered his blade slightly.
“On what grounds?”
“I stood up for ce homme here, Marcel.” He nodded to the other young man, whose terror was still etched on his face.
“And what did you do?” Osei asked Marcel.
Marcel only looked around in terror.
“Qu’avez-vous fait, monsieur?” Osei asked him directly. “¿Qué usted hizo, señor?”
Marcel just looked at him, more in wonder than in terror, but still said nothing.
Hope could not follow what Osei said after he gave a long sigh; the words were too strange to her ears for her to follow. Whatever Osei had said, Marcel responded to in kind, his panic diminishing with every strange word in his reply.
Osei took a breath with a grave look on his face after he exchanged some more words with Marcel. “This man,” Osei then announced to the crew, “was recently purchased by the captain of this French vessel, for performance of his personal pleasure.”
Hope wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, though the way some of the Gale‘s crew reacted with indignant faces she imagined it was something disturbing…
“According to Akua, here-” Osei continued as he indicated the slave-
“Votre nom est Akua?” the youth in irons interrupted.
“Vous ne m’avez jamais demandé mon nom!” Marcel/Akua replied.
“Gentlemen, stand!” Osei barked, and both of the French survivors put their arms at their sides and gave him their full attention. “It is obvious that neither of you were full members of the former crew of this vessel. You are hereby asked to declare, whether you stand with us or against.”
All eyes and ears turned to the two youths in the hold to hear what fate they would choose…