The good Pirate stood before his crew on the jetty, his two large ships sitting on the water beside them moored to the wooden structure by thick ropes.
Although they couldn’t see it through the dark of the evening they knew the black sailed ship was sitting in the northwestern cove of the bay, it had drifted in there under the cover of the darkness and was waiting for midnight for it’s attack.
Had it not been for the young pirate out on a solo fishing expedition for the ominous shark that had been seen in the bay the ship would have been remained undetected until too late, but it appeared luck was on the side of the Good Captain and the young pirate had raised the alarm promptly.
Black Sails At Midnight as the tale had come to be known was the sort of tale few pirates forgot when it was told to them. It was the tale of a deadly pirate crew that sailed the seas, never seen in the daylight hours, only seen emerging from the darkness when it was too late. Some called them Vampyrates* but the truth was no one really knew what they were and whilst survivors of their attacks told many and varied stories, recounted many different methods of attack not one could recall in great details who they were attacked by, only the ship. A ship made of timbers so dark they appeared to be stained with blood and the ominous black sails, always the black sails, no other ship anywhere on the seven seas had been seen with sails as black as midnight.
While no one knew why the ship of the black sails never attacked before midnight it was one of the only stories about the ship that remained true to all accounts. Never had the ship attacked before the hour of the new day, one of the reasons they’d been given the name they had been by some pirates.
The Good Captain knew there was more to the early detection of the ship no one ever saw than just the luck of a lone fisherman, someone was watching from above to ensure he was prepared for the attack, but he didn’t have time to dwell on that as he outlined his own plan of attack.
With the two ships sitting end to end on the jetty and their hulls restocked with cannon balls after the honourable salute to the Good Captain’s father two days earlier their obvious and most dangerous line of attack would be from the forty cannons that lined the hulls of the ships. However without a target to aim for, even with cannons being notoriously difficult to aim accurately, the Good Captain knew an attack would be less than affective. At best hitting the target would be luck and the chances of success would be lessened. What they needed was an advantage and advantage that saw them strike first, strike hard and strike to win.
“Skullbagger, Murphey, Pockmark ‘n Swaggers o’er here.” The Good Captain called to four of his men to separate from the rest of the crew. He then turned to the rest of the crew and addressed them as one. “Th’ rest o’ ye man th’ cannons. I wants all cannons armed ‘n ready t’ fire on me command.”
As all the but the four pirates named rushed off to their respective ships to arm the cannons and prepare for battle the Good Captain, Captain Bildgepoole and the Fair Maiden stood on the jetty, they waited for the Good Captain to address the selected pirates.
The Good Captain outlined a plan that would see Skullbagger, Murphey, Pockmark and Swaggers all circle the bay. Darkness would be their cover, but they would also have to be prepared for it to be their downfall as they negotiated trees, roots, rocks and undergrowth. However it was a path they had travelled many a time as a part of their training, training that may not have been specifically done to battle the ship of the midnight sails but training that it was hoped would give them the upper hand.
The role of the chosen four was not to attack but to deflect. Fire fuelled projectiles, which in another world would be called Molotov Cocktails, would be launched towards the darkened ship, large double barrelled guns would then fire relentlessly, the blasts from the barrels lighting up the shore around them. Their hand held arms would not be powerful enough to mount any kind of successful attack, they would barely cause damage even with a direct hit.
Instead of damage the shore bound gunfire’s only intended purpose was to draw fire from the darkened ship, that fire in turn would reveal the ship’s exact location to the pirate crew manning the cannons of the Privateer and the Revenge allowing them to begin their attack.
While the chosen four grabbed their weapons and began their journey through the trees the rest of the crew readied themselves for battle. The Good Captain didn’t know how many cannons the darkened ship had, there had of course been reports from many sources which put the figure anywhere from twenty to a hundred, but with nothing confirmed the Good Captain refused to speculate. It was for that reason he ordered the crews of both ships ensure all available ammunition had been brought up from the hulls and was ready for firing.
Both the Good Captain and Captain Bildgepoole knew the plan and as they inspected their ships they made sure the crew knew them as well. There would be no order to fire, their would be no waiting for commands from the captains, instead all gunners were to remain in place and ready. As soon as the darkened ship revealed its location by firing upon the perceived threat on shore the crew of the Privateer and Revenge were to begin firing and fire without mercy until the darkened ship was sunk.
Satisfied his own crew was ready the Good Captain sent Swashbuckling McGee aboard the Revenge to make sure Captain Bildgepoole’s crew were in the same position. When McGee returned with a positive answer all they could do was wait for the ground crew’s opening attack.
*some might have called them Vampyrates but this author knows that name is copyrighted and would never call them that! But would recommend the books for any young adults readers out there.
Previous Pirate Story here.