Training to take on the mighty beast Leviathan started immediately, or very soon after. Because both crews were well disciplined and took pride in their jobs the two ships were prepared to sail at the drop of a hat neither crew needed to spend time readying them.
The first voyages would be only short, temporarily seeing them out at sea, cannon training voyages practising both distance and close in combat using the dead skeleton hulls of the long forgotten ships that littered the coast line. Ships that had run aground, or been forced there in the heat of a loosing battle were not the ideal practise vessels because they didn’t fire back, but neither did Leviathan, as far as the legends suggested.
Cannonball after cannonball were fired at the skeleton ships, ships that had long ago been looted and stripped of anything of value. The two pirate ships, the Revenge and the Privateer practised separately for hours on end, perfecting the aim of the imperfect cannons, firing from different distances and giving the gunners at chances to hone their skills.
Even in the pirate world the phrase ‘practise makes perfect’ had meaning. But unfortunately that meaning didn’t apply to everything and while the perfect team was put in charge of the perfect cannon the perfect shot was often as much a fluke as it was good skills, but that wouldn’t stop them training and training hard.
The legends told of a tentacled beast, three hundred feet from its head to its tail that rose from the dead calm sea wrapping itself around unsuspecting ships and dragging them, crew and all, to the sea floor. The good captain knew it would be a formidable beast but with no pirate crew ever surviving to tell the exact tale of the beast all he could was train based on the legends.
Long distance shots were of course harder and less accurate but as the good captain reminded his crew on more than one occasion, Leviathan despite it’s reported size, would not want to be involved in a long distance battle. They may have the opportunity to attack from afar for which such training could prove helpful but Leviathan would be unlikely to surface from a distance it could not attack.
Close combat battles and cannon fire were a dangerous combination, especially given the threat of friendly fire was possible. Of course the crew would not be trying to hit each other but as the legend told of Leviathan wrapping it’s long tentacles around ships and thrashing them around in the white waters of froth it created cannon fire hitting it’s intended target, even a target so large was not going to be guaranteed.
Practising such a short range game was not difficult, the two ships could sit within thirty metres of their targets thanks to the deep trenched gutters of the surrounding coast line where their target ships sat dead in the water. Although at times while they trained the waters close in were rough with long rolling waves and wind swept white water which made cannon practise harder the good captain knew that it was nothing like what they would experience whilst in battle with Leviathan. He didn’t need a legend to tell him that such a beast could create waters so rough it would be like sailing through a cyclone, such thoughts happened without effort.
When single training ceased the two crews brought their large ships together and practised as one. Again it was battle training that may not accurately represent what they would be fighting but it was practice. Both crews would aim at the same targets, firing cannon after cannon into the empty hulls. They would fire together, fire in sequence and fire randomly, each ship communicating between their respective crow’s nests then relaying the messages down to the captains.
Ever since the good captain’s fleet had become two ships the crews had worked on communication techniques, techniques that could see them accurately get messages between ships when they were too far apart for voices, which was most of the time. It was a method known only to them, a code of hand gestures and actions that each and every crew member knew and understood and a method they hoped would work as well in battle as it did in training.
Hand to hand combat was another area the good captain knew would not be utilised in fighting the massive beast, but swordsmanship was a skill that did transferred across many forms of battle. Practising with another crew member gave the crews discipline, but it also allowed them to practise their footwork and their art.
It was impossible to tell from the legend alone if the sharpened swords of the pirate crew would be enough to slice through the massive tentacles of the Leviathan as she wrapped herself around the ships, but it was the only line of defence they had.
The crews trained hard on both land and sea, the clanging of metal on metal as their swords clashed filled the air. After each training battle the good captain ordered every sword, knife and blade to be cleaned and sharpened ready for an attack. If the blades were to be effective they had to be in the best condition they could be.
After a solid week of training the good captain and his nearly as good second captain met and compared notes. Although they’d been training together as well as separately the two men had plenty to talk about. Were they ready? Had they trained enough? There was many a subject to discuss over a tankard of ale as they sat on the balcony over looking the harbour where the two ships were moored. The first and last thing they both agreed on however was they needed to know how they crew felt about what was planned and whether there had been any changes of heart after such an intense week of training.
A meeting was called and the entire crew again shuffled into the large ball room to hear what their captains had to say. For a second time the voyage, the battle, and the beast was laid out before the 400 strong men. By the end of their discussion the two crews were still enthusiastic, still confident and still itching to get into battle.
“We sail on th’ high ‘o th’ tide to’morrow mornin’,” the good captain called into the ballroom.
His words were met with cheers and hollers as the crowd of merry men became exited for the battle of their lives.
“Ye be knowin’ ye jobs. Be off ‘n have them done. We want th’ hulls filled wit’ ammunitions ‘n weapons ‘n we want th’ galleys filled wit’ grub. If ye finish ye own jobs help a fellow crew member. We have eighteen hours before we sail!”
Previous Pirate story here.