When the good pirate captain navigated through the heads of the inlet he called his home port, with the Revenge less than half a mile behind, he had no idea his ships were being followed. Although both ships had spent the entire time they were at sea with eyes on the horizon searching for early warning of any potential threat they never saw O’l Barracuda Rattlebones or his ship.
It wasn’t a failure of crew that allowed the trailing ship to track them, it was the skill of the trailing ship’s captain that allowed him to remain unseen. Ol’ Barracuda Rattlebones may not have captained a ship for many a year, however it all came back to him back to him quickly when he set sail and began his chase.
His ship was smaller and therefore slower than the ship he’d spied in port but he knew that would be to his advantage when it came to remaining out of sight. However his biggest advantage in remaining out of sight was that he knew to where he was headed, maybe not the exact port, but that would not take long to figure out once he was in the area.
His plan had nearly come unstuck before he’d spent a full day at sea. For reasons he was not aware of the ship he was following came almost to a stop on the calm sea. His first thought was that the ship had struck troubles but he quickly realised that was not the case, there was commotion aboard the ship named the Privateer. What that commotion was he could not tell but he also did not hang around to find out, he stopped his ship and sat idle on the slow moving ocean until the two ships were out of sight. How he was not spotted he did not know.
Although Ol’ Barracuda’s hours were numbered he stood on the bow of his ship, eye glass to his right eye looking, searching the bays before him for the ship he’d been following. He’d checked four bays and two inlets before reaching the one he was at but he knew sooner or later he would come across what he was looking for.
It took him a further two bays but sure enough when he spotted two ships moored at a jetty below a huge castle Ol’ Barracuda thought he’d found the ships he been following, but it wasn’t until he spied the letters R E V E N G E across the rear of one of the ships that he knew he’d found them.
He’d had years to think of his next move, but every time his mind wandered towards such a move it went searching for the next bottle, the next tankard, even the next snifter of booze to wash it away. It wasn’t until he’d seen that captain at the tavern and followed him to his ship that he realised there was no more time to think only time to do.
He’d lived with the horrors of his own life for so long he could no longer count the years, but he also lived hiding from his future for nearly as long. It wasn’t until the fortune teller stumbled across him snoozing in the alley behind the tavern whilst he was waiting for the doors to open that he started to realise he could not hide any longer. More than once he’d told the old lady he was not interested in her information but she would not stop. She told him information he did not want to know from his past and his present but it wasn’t until she told him of his fate that he began to realise his days were in deed numbered.
That was two days before the arrival of the two ships, two days before he saw the captain walking to the ship and two days before he saw the letters R E V E N G E as they sailed away from him whilst he hid amongst the empty barrels on the dock. From that moment he knew what the fortune teller had told him was true, but most of all he knew that his hours were numbered and that number was small enough that he could hide no longer.
Climbing down from the bow of the ship Ol’ Barracuda spoke to himself, words he’d carved upon the gunwale of his ship since leaving port four days prior.
“I raise me head ‘n onwards I do go. ‘n I know now that me end it does come. But thar’s no reason t’ be scared.”
He had no idea if his ship had been spotted drifting across the face of the bay on the low tide but that did not stop him taking his chances crossing the unknown waters of the heads and sailing into the glassy waters of the protected bay. He knew two ships, larger than his own, passed through the same heads on a regular basis so whatever water was below him would not be the cause of his demise and he sailed towards the two moored ships.
Even before he’d crossed the heads he knew he was in canon range of the mighty ships, not only that, he was in direct firing line making him a target they could not miss. Wether the pirates in front of him could see that his ship was not armed, see that there was no cannons in the gunwales, he wasn’t sure but the fact that he was not fired upon he could only take as a good sign.
He considered flying a white flag up the mast, it was usually a sign of surrender but given he was not fighting he considered doing it was a good will gesture to show he meant no harm. However the lack of cannon fire had him thinking such moves were not needed.
Ol’ Barracuda could see there was no room for three ships moored at the docks, even when one was as small as his own so if a further act of good will towards the land based crew he anchored his ship in the centre of the bay, lowered his punt into the water and rowed himself towards shore.
He expected and got a welcoming committee on the jetty when he arrived. Standing up in the boat and showing his empty hands to the crew he called out loudly and proudly.
“I be here t’ see th’ cap’n!”
Previous Pirate story here.