While their counterparts aboard the Revenge had their hands full fighting off two of Leviathan’s long slithery tentacles the crew aboard the Privateer had a fight of their own on their hands.
Like the Revenge the Privateer had been firing cannonball after cannonball at the bulbous head of the Beast where it stuck out of the water. Calls from the up in crows nest reported that the barrage of cannonballs slamming into the creature were taking their toll. It was slow progress but they were causing her harm.
Why Leviathan hadn’t chosen to wrap any number of tentacles around the Privateer, as she had the Revenge, was a question no one could answer, but it was also a question no one aboard was stopping long enough to ask. Good luck, windfalls, miracles, even a gift from the heavens were not the sorts of things pirates believed in but the one thing they did believe in was taking the advantage when it was offered to them. And Leviathan’s lack of attacking the Privateer was something they planned to take advantage of.
On the lower decks of the Privateer the crew prepared, fired and reloaded cannons one after another. The gunners knew the more often the cannons were fired the higher the chance of damage to the barrels was due to the constant heat from the exploding powders but it was a risk that had to taken. The driving rain pouring onto the barrel tips and running down into the ship helped with the cooling of the canons but it wasn’t enough if they couldn’t get the upper hand on the Beast in short time they could be in trouble.
While the lead gunner thought of contingency plans in case the cannons started to fail, up on the top deck the crew were readying themselves for a battle the likes of which had never been seen aboard a pirate ship before.
The water was churning beneath the hull of the Privateer, whether that meant Leviathan was preparing to attack or not the Good Captain didn’t know, but he did know that it was time to take advantage of the situation. Immediately he ordered his secret weapon to be readied and prepared for firing.
There was nigglings of doubts in his mind that reminded the Good Captain his secret weapon had never been used in anger, it had never been used full stop. In theory the weapon worked, in theory it would work without a hitch and the Good Captain had to believe that theory would serve them well because he was sure the Beast would not let them survive after a second attack.
The Good Captain ordered his specially made cannon be hoisted up from the lower decks. He didn’t need to remind the crew that they needed to be both accurate and careful as the cannon was raised upward then shifted across the top deck and into place on the rocking ship.
From the outside the cannon looked like a standard cannon capable of firing twenty pound cannonballs, however on the inside the cannon was modified, highly modified for the secret weapon the Good Captain had had designed. A skinnier and longer firing chamber packing more explosive powder would give the weapon better firing range and speed. While a stronger base and mounting points would allow for less recoil as the ship rocked on the water.
The crew worked quickly and within two minutes the top deck cannon was loaded and ready to fire. As the Good Captain and the Fair Maiden made their way down from the Navigation deck, carefully holding on to whatever they could to balance themselves as the ship rocked, the Good Captain admired his secret weapon.
Protruding proudly from the end of the cannon was a golden three pronged fork. Each tine more than two foot in length, the outer tined finished with a sharp triangular barb while the centre tine was tipped with a four inch arrow head. Despite there being no sunlight breaking through the dark stormy clouds the Good Captain thought he could still see a glimmer from the highly polished golden fork.
Although as pirates they did not necessarily believe or follow Greek mythology and they certainly didn’t pray to any Greek Gods when the Good Captain had seen images of Poseidon’s Trident he knew instantly that it was the weapon they needed to tackle Leviathan. With more time he’d have had several such tridents made but such a dangerous and powerful weapon required many, many months to make and as it was the foundry needed to rush just to finish the first model. What the Good Captain was about to fire was essentially the prototype model.
Cannons were still blasting one after another from the lower decks, the Good Captain assumed the same thing was happening aboard the Revenge but from his vantage point and without word from the crow’s nest he did not know for sure. The black, stormy clouds pounded rain down upon the ship barely offering a slither of light from beyond them. The water was still choppy and the froth that formed atop of the waves was being pushed against the ship and the crew by the gale like winds. If the conditions could get worse there was not one person on the ship that wanted to see it.
The Good Captain stepped up to the cannon, his Fair Maiden standing beside him. As much as they both would have liked to admire the newly developed weapon they knew time was of the essence, Leviathan still had not attacked the Privateer but surely that had to change the longer the battle went on.
In the hard, driving rain it was difficult for the crew to keep the fire stick alive long enough for it to get to the Good Captain so he could light the fuse but some how they did it.
Taking the fire stick in his hand the Good Captain lowered it towards the fuse, closer, closer until the flame licked the detonation string.
Previous Pirate Story here.