After the evening, and wee hours of the morning, spent at the Black Hand Inn the Good Captain and his merry, if not drunken, crew of pirates made their way back to the Privateer. She was of course moored exactly as they left her, alone at the jetty in the small bay barely large enough to hide her from the open seas.
The Good Captain had timed their departure for the home port perfectly, the swell as it pushed into the bay was up, but the tide was also up and by the time the big ship was prepared to sail the tide would be getting ready to turn. The Good Captain knew the waters they sailed and he knew that on the dead of the high tide the swell would drop, the water under the keel would be more than sufficient and the wind would turn and push them out through the heads and into the deep blue ocean.
By the time day had fully dawned over the Privateer they were thirty miles out to sea and headed home, the sun and clear skies chased them from the eastern skies while in the western skies they in turn chased dark stormy clouds that threatened more rain than they were delivering. The seas were rough with a side swell of several feet but the big ship handled them well and aboard her the crew barely even noticed. For the Good Captain and his second mate navigation was easy and relaxed, they were headed for home and happy.
“Ye know wha’ those black clouds remind me o’ matey?” The Good Captain asked his second mate.
“Nah cap’n I don’t.” Scurvy Pete could feel a story coming on and his feelings weren’t wrong.
“When I was but a young pirate, afore I even sailed under that evil Cap’n Morgan bastard, I sailed under th’ captaincy o’ a pirate named Cap’n Silvertooth. I spent only but a few years wit’ th’ man but he was a good man, a man who knew th’ seas ‘n knew how t’ treat his crew.”
The Good Captain quickly and easily fell into a story telling mode while Scurvy Pete listened and kept the big ship sailing true on the ocean of blue.
“We was ridin’ th’ tempests o’ glory, thirty miles from Spain, north east o’ th’ Bay O’ Biscay ‘n maybe a century aft th’ Spanish defeated th’ English in th’ battle o’ th’ same bay. Th’ clouds were as dark as wha’ we see in front o’ us.” The Good Captain pointed forward without thinking. “A storm th’ likes we had nah seen at sea afore was beatin’ down on us wit’ its full glory. Teemin’ rain drenchin’ everythin’ it touched. Winds so strong th’ rain felt like icicles as it hit us in an nigh-on horizontal trajectory.
Th’ waves pounded against th’ wooden hull o’ th’ Screamin’ Polly, which was an odd name fer a ship but if I’m completely honest th’ name reflected th’ cap’n perfectly. She was a majestic ole poppet, so proud ‘n so strong ‘n a pleasure t’ those who sailed upon her.”
The Good Captain looked to the starboard side without concern as he took a breath and continued to speak.
“Th’ storm turned th’ world around us dark ,without a warnin’ or order th’ gunners prepared themselves t’ fire, th’ riggers maned thar ropes ‘n th’ plunders took up thar positions. We knew nah wha’ was out thar but we were t’ be prepared ‘n awaitin’ th’ command o’ our cap’n.
Through th’ darkness, through th’ rain ‘n through th’ howlin’ winds that were envelopin’ th’ ship thunder clapped loudly. But ’twas th’ lightenin’ that shot through th’ air like sparks from a firin’ flintlock that had each ‘n every exposed pirate on thar toes. Even th’ hardest o’ pirates felt a shiver in thar bellies as thar souls were showered wit’ rain ‘n each time thunder clapped in th’ sky ’twas like a sarcastic laugh from above.
Th’ skull ‘n crossbones were flyin’ high but ’twas a ragged an’ tattered mess as ’twas trashed against its mast. Th’ storm was commandeerin’ our vessel ‘n it mattered nah wha’ we tried thin’s looked pointless.
We were chasin’ lead or we were chasin’ gold. Th’ bounty that lay waitin’ fer us could ‘ave been booty or it could ‘ave seen us no better off. It could ‘ave been a booty that rewarded us all or it could ‘ave been naught better than a ship anchor. We knew nah wha’ ’twas but that was th’ fate o’ a pirate o’ th’ day.
All around th’ big ship guns spat fire, cannons spat iron balls, ’twas a volley o’ ammunition firin’ in all directions, Th’ acrid smoke from those firin’ weapons still somehow managed t’ fill th’ area around us despite th’ ragin’ winds that pushed everythin’ away from us. Timbers were ripped from th’ hull, railin’ torn from th’ gunwales ‘n sails torn from thar masts ‘n left tattered ‘n torn.
We were feedin’ th’ flames o’ despair yet surrender was nah on our agenda. We could nah see past th’ figured head o’ th’ ship but we were still fightin’ fer either lead or gold, we knew nah which. Th’ sea pounded against th’ ship, th’ storm slammed into us. Then jus’ like we’d sailed into th’ storm unsuspectingly we sailed straight out o’ it ‘n into clear skies.”
“’n wha’ happened when ye came out th’ other side?” Scurvy Pete asked.
“Naught?” Scurvy Pete was confused.
“Naught, nadda , nuthin’. Th’ seas were flat, th’ wind was gone, th’ sun was shinin’ ‘n thar was narry a sign o’ another ship, neither heartie or foe.”
As the two men stood at the helm of the Privateer Scurvy Pete knew exactly what he’d just heard, it was not just a story but a warning. A warning that all may not be what it seems when a pirate’s senses are engulfed by measures beyond their own reach.
Previous Pirate story here.