A Darkened Heart
Book by: The Chambers of My Heart
I then spin around to face the enemy ship. It's not moving anymore.
“Prepare to board again. We'll take any still breathing sailors down to the brig and clean out their cargo hold.” I command. “And this time we won't have anything in our way to do so.” My added comment causes Sir John to reply.
“I wouldn't count on that. We have two ships headed our way.”
“What?” I run over to him and pull out my looking glass once more. Two man-of-wars have set sail with their destination being our area. “Have they spotted us?” I ask the youngest of the Three Gunns.
“It doesn't appear so, but they'll soon will if we don't move.” he replies. Hmmm, I would hate to lose the prize to the Shersian military. From the strength of the wind and the distance they still need to sail, there's still time to get what we came for.
“Alright, Sly and Gimp you're with me. Corshawl get this ship turned around and head for those rocks over there. Sir John keep watch over those military ships and signal us when they're near.” Removing the golden whistle from around my neck, I begin to hand it to him. Sly stops me.
“There's no need for that. We have our own way of signaling each other if something's wrong.” I'm told. Fine... I refasten it back around my neck then make my way for one of the life boats.
“Now tell me, how the three of you are going to carry whatever spoils you find plus any prisoners on that little boat that's already carrying you three?” Corshawl questions.
“The prisoners can be left with the Shersian military now that they sent ships our way. As for the spoils, there's not going to be a whole lot, but whatever we can find we'll get. Now get the Star turned around.”
“Captain, are you even using your head here? This is diplomatic issue. We can't just leave without an explanation.” he scolds. I really don't want to get up in a big issue concerning something so petty which this is, but if I were to have us leave then that would create an issue. Besides, I don't think my past predecessor would be too pleased with it.
“Fine, but we're still getting the spoils off of that ship!” Myself states firmly. The last thing I wanted to do was get tangled with another country's military. Sigh, however; I did want to be more involved in solving our nation's battle with Vexianna. This will have to do for now I suppose.
“If that's the case then I'm coming with you. Nixon, man the wheel.” Says my lieutenant briskly. So now with along with my lieutenant, Gimp, Sly, and I make our way back on to the enemy ship. Bodies are strewn everywhere from our encounter with the crew members. Everything on the deck is pretty much a wreck. The mass, which was our doing, is in splinters with the sails, our work too, full of holes. As for the severing of shrouds and the overall damage, that credit goes to the cloaked stranger. Whoever that man is, he's long gone now.
“Gimp, you and Sly take whatever we can use or sell back to the ship. Also, look for medical supplies for Giggs.” The two Gunns hop down into the open hatch leaving me alone with Corshawl. I hope my navigator will be alright. I wonder how deep those gashes are.
“So we're just going to wait here then?” I'm asked.
“Yes, unless you want to go out and meet them.” say I. Personally, I'd rather leave. We still have time to get away. “Of course, going out in a small rowboat up to two Shersian military ships isn't all that smart.”
“Well it's a lot better than just taking off without leaving some sort of explanation.” Corshawl retorts. This causes me to turn around and glare at him.
“Really? A Uphorian Privateer discussing issues with the officers of Shersia is wise? We're on very thin lines with them and for all we know, with us about ready to cut off aid, they might go over to the Vexians.” My explanation doesn't seem to satisfy him, but it does cause one of his eyebrows to raise.
“That's just a rumor going around. You can't always rely on those Kuron.” he remarks.
“It's more than just a rumor Corshawl. If it weren't true then why is Folyianna refusing to trade with them? Trading with them would aide them.” I explain. Sighing, my companion sets himself down on one of the barrels that sits close by.
“Well whatever they're doing we're not really involved. We can't stick our nose in it too much.” I don't say anything after that. Instead, I look out to the military vessels as they continue to approach us. I really miss those days when we were a part of something important. The Star had a purpose back then being known to lend a hand when necessary. Why can't it be the same way again? All we're doing is nitpicking at what should be.
“What did you guys find?” I spin around to find Sly along with his older brother climbing out of the hatch.
“More than we can carry back to the ship.” replies Gimp. That's music to my ears.
“Why didn't you guys bring some of it back with you?” I question.
“No time to carry it. Those are supplies and it's more than enough for this ship's journey to here and back.” Sly says.
“Wait, what are you saying?” asks my lieutenant.
“I'm saying by the excessive amount of cargo and the direction of this ship, I'd say that this vessel was headed for Shersia to deliver supplies.” replies the second Gunn. Me and Corshawl send each other looks.
“Looks like the rumors going around are more than true.” I say causing Corshawl to nod.
“And that means we just destroyed one of Shersia's supply ships. That's why they're coming out here, to recover it.” Sir John adds.
“That mysterious attacker did most of this mess. I'm really wishing that we caught him.” retort I.
“Hey, I'd love to stand around and talk about this. Gimp says sarcastically. “But we got to move!” he exclaims.
“I'm with you there.” Corshawl replies in agreement.
“Oh now you want to leave!” The four of us make our way to the rail, but before we can descend, the clicking of muskets are heard as well as someone hollering
“Freeze! You're all under arrest!” Quickly do I turn around while pulling out my letter of marque. I have two of them, one to keep in my cabin and one to keep on me.
“This vessel has trespassed on Uphorian territory. I have been authorized to chase and take down any offenders!” I inform them holding my document out for them to see. “This vessel as well as all of its contents is now under Uphorian authority.” For a second no one speaks. The Shersian guards who hold their weapons in firing position move to the sides to let their leader pass by in front of them. Is this a general or a commodore? I can't really tell being the fact that I'm not really familiar with the uniforms of Shersia's military. “This ship has trespassed in Uphoria's seas and it's my job to make sure that the offenders answers for it.” I tell him. There's no way that I'm surrendering the ship to them. It isn't theirs nor should it have been near here in the first place.
“That may be,” he says with a heavy accent. “but you're in our territory now meaning this ship is now in our possession and you as well for trespassing.” Two hand signals are given out motioning the guards to move closer to us.
“There is an alliance between Uphoria and Shersia. Why are you trying to charge me with invading?” question I. “And why was this ship on its way to deliver supplies to you?” Not bothering to answer my inquiries, the general simply shakes his head.
“You Uphorians want to know everything.” he sighs. “Take them.” Immediately, Gimp begins to fire sending the guards in various directions. Even their leader runs for cover. Of course, they do fire back.
“Get back to the ship!” I yell. Then putting my whistle to my lips, I give it a long blow telling whoever is on the Star to set sail. There's far too many to try and fend off. Sir John along with Sly make a jump over the edge. Corshawl, Gimp, and I run over to the edge to do the exact same thing. The oldest of the Three Gunns then leaps over calling at us over his shoulder after sending off a few rounds. More bullets rain down filling the air above our heads. It's too late for me and my lieutenant to jump. If we were to try, we would be shot dead. The two of us are ducking behind a couple of barrels for cover. “Got any ideas?” I shout.
“Just one” My lieutenant quickly jumps up, kicks over one of the barrels, sends it rolling, and fires at it as it rolls towards the Shersian military. He ducks back down as a noise is heard along with an explosion seen. Fire now spreads itself across the deck.
“How did you know that was filled with gunpowder?” I ask Corshawl as he makes his way over to me.
“I didn't” he replies. “I guessed.” Good guess.
One of the guards shouts at us in his language. I'm assuming it's some way form of telling us to halt. Ah, sorry can't under you. Looks like the explosion didn't distract them much less do much damage. Some of them are actually jumping through the fire just to get to us.
“Time to go.” I say. Grabbing a hold of one another, me and my lieutenant climb up on the railing making ourselves ready to jump. We have to aim or we're going to end up smacking against the window of my cabin. With knees bent, the two of us begin to lower our bodies to lift off when we're both shifted backwards by another explosion. The flames have found another barrel to devour. There's no point in trying to save this ship or the cargo now. Quickly, do I get on my feet. The guards have us corned now. Why don't they try to get off the ship? It's going to blow.
“We don't have time for this!” shouts Corshawl back on his feet. Once more do we climb up to make a leap for it while trying to avoid being grabbed. No one is by me at this second, but someone is behind him. A hand reaches out to grab my lieutenant by the hair when I jump at whoever the hand is attached to after shoving my companion overboard. Several hands then latch on to my limbs to drag me down. Now with myself pinned against the floor boards, restraints are put on. I try to wiggle myself out, but it does me no good. Blast it! I'm led to the commodore or general, whichever one he is after being put in a small boat with a handful of guards. We all watch as as the enemy ship spurts out another explosion before completely bursting into flames. One of the soldiers now is whispering something to his leader in their native tongue and gazing over me as he does. So much for getting a prize. What is Shersia even doing with trading with Vexianna? I ponder over it while the tiny vessel I'm in is rowed to shore.
Once land is reached, I'm pulled out of the boat then escorted to the military's holding cell. My two swords are snatched away while my pistol is removed along with any other opened viewed contents. I don't think they would go as far to frisk a Uphorian officer. No, my body is left alone. With nothing more wanted from me, I'm tossed in one of the barred up rooms. I land on my side causing it to ache. A quick glance around shows no one else to be in here. Thank goodness. My ears then pick up the loud slam of the cell door sealing away my freedom. They have no right to do this! And the person that should be in here is none other than that maniac who starting to literally tear apart the ship. The only thing I did was order to have the mass knocked disabling it from sailing. Ah well, no use in pointing fingers here. I have to figure a way out. I do have my pick locks hidden in my sleeve still..Ugh, there's too many guards on this floor to break through. I may be quick with my swords and accurate with my gun, but I'm not big which happens to be most of the guards walking around. Plus, I've been disarmed and there's not much bragging when it comes to my punches. As soon as I set myself free, I would be dragged back in here and frisked. No, I have to wait when there's not so many lurking about or when most of them have fallen asleep. Either way, I can't stay here.
An hour later......
They’re all still wide awake. You'd think that a least half of them would be dosing off considering how late it has become. I now, I'm starting to grow tired. Sighing, I make myself comfortable when a clinking sounding is heard. I turn my head to find the cage door being opened and something set down on the ground. What is that? I can't really see all that well due to how little light has made its way inside this room. Cautiously do I make my way over. I'm shut in again as I draw closer. Looking down, I spot a tray with a dingy old glass and a chipped plate resting on top of it. My meal I supposed...I bend down to observe. Dirty water occupies the glass while what appears to be half decent bread occupies the plate. Neither of which I'm going to touch. I'm not going to be here much longer. However; the extension of my stay depends on how long it takes for these watchdogs to fall asleep.
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