There was no ‘X’ marks the spot on the ocean, but that didn’t stop the Good Captain being able to pin point the exact location where they had last met Leviathan and lived to tell the tale.
Depth charges were set and ready to ignite. Each ship had themselves a dozen charges, each fuse cut and set to ensure separate firing times. The ships sat idle on a smooth ocean, less than a quarter of a mile apart and ready to run. It was hoped their improved and more targeted blasting efforts would allow them to drop more charges deeper into the water before they ignited. Then when they did ignite they would ignite in a controlled fashion from the first dropped to the last, covering as much of the deep water as they could.
It was known that the horrid beast dwelt in the very depth of Poseidon’s realm, but it had also been reliably reported that she had been recently rising. The two captains had no doubt that if the beast was awake she knew they were there, they just hoped that wherever the beast may be beneath the surface exploding charges at multiple levels would force her to the top.
Thirty six men stood on the top decks of each ship ready for their first attack, three men per barrel, two to lift and one to ignite. The Good Captain and his fair Maiden stood on the navigation deck of the Privateer, Captain Bildgepoole stood in the same place aboard the Revenge. Two men in the crow’s nest awaited their orders. When the Good Captain gave his order Reef Knot McAngus in the crow’s nest would signal to his opposite charge on the Revenge, he in turn would notify Captain Bildgepoole and the attack would proceed.
The Good Captain looked up at the crow’s nest and called out loudly. “Let the battle begin.” As the order went from one crow’s nest to the other he then looked down and his crew on the main deck and called. “Drop th’ first charge me lads.”
The first of the barrels packed tight with their special explosive blend they’d named Barrett’s powder went over the side of the Privateer and hit the calm water with a splash. Milliseconds later the same action was repeated a quarter of a mile away on the Revenge.
The crew knew timing was critical, firstly so that the charges did not drop too closely together but also so that they had time to flee the scene before the charges began exploding under water. Although the ocean had been calm there was enough breeze to push the ships away from the blast zone but they were relying heavily on the timing of the charges being right.
Before the last barrels hit the water both ships were on the move, unlike their previous attack where the two ships were opposite each other and their cannon attack was concentrated on two sides of the massive beast for their second attack they were going to be closer together. Instead of attempting to cause damage to the massive beast in multiple spots their aim was to cause maximum damage to the one spot. Being so close together did make them more vulnerable when Leviathan realised where they were but it was a risk the two captains had judged as worth taking.
The water was dark and deep, deeper than any other ocean known or charted within the world’s seas, but it was that depth that gave the crews time to get themselves into position and ready to fight. The ships sailed slowly away from the blast zone, keeping the distance between them roughly the same as it was when they dropped the first charges, keeping pace almost as if they were connected by an invisible rope.
When the ships were approximately the same distance from where they dropped the charges as they were apart they both turned, the Revenge turning left, the Privateer turning right.
Side on to where they expected the beast to rise the ships sat, bows pointing in opposite directions and waiting, on edge, for their nemesis to appear.
Running would be difficult with such low winds if things turned sour but neither captain were thinking about running, they were thinking about winning!. The hulls were stocked with cannonballs, the newly developed cannons with longer range were ready and their attack would be relentless, so relentless that it would make their previous attempt look like a bar room brawl carried out by drunken sailors.
The first rumble from beneath the sea was felt just seconds after the ships stopped. The charge had gone off in such deep water it’s effects would only be felt not seen. Seconds later another rumble was felt, it was the second round of charges.
While the effects of the first four rounds of charges could not been seen on the surface, only felt, the crews knew that deep down, towards the ocean floor the blasts would have been like an earthquake as the waves from the blasts rocked through the water and headed to the surface.
By the time the first of the explosions reached the surface things above the water had changed dramatically. In less than a minute the clear skies hard turned as black as the ocean. The cloudless sky was filled with dark and stormy clouds. The almost non-existent wind suddenly began blowing from the north, an icy wind straight from the Arctic circle, no gust just a solid and relentless blow. And the rain, almost horizontal rain began pelting down upon the two ships hitting the exposed crew like ice cold needles.
Mere seconds later the ocean where they had dropped the charges began to swell upwards, a slow and steady rising.
“THE BEAST AWAKENS!” Called the Good Captain.
Previous Pirate story here.