I inserted this chapter to explain later references.
It was only two days after the events of the previous chapter. Dameon’s mood had, unfortunately, failed to improve since he had reestablished his authority over the crew on the island of coconuts. Several of the men had continued to complain, causing Dameon to have them put in irons and confined to the lower deck.
The weather was doing nothing to help the situation either. The sky was hazy, and there was a light drizzle falling. “At least we’re hidden from our enemies, but if we did happen to meet any ship, we’d be in trouble. Our fuses won’t light.”
A moment later, David strode up beside him. “Shall I beat to quarters, prepare for boarders?” he asked, putting a hand to his hat.
“No use. There’s no way of knowing if anyone is out there.”
“Then I may light the lanterns?”
“You are free to do so, though I doubt they will help much in this weather.”
Saluting, David turned away to light the storm lanterns and hang them on the ends of the ship.
Although he was reasonably sure that they were out in the open area of the ocean, and in no immediate danger of running aground, the fog had prompted Dameon to begin to second-guess his desire for speed. Accordingly, he ordered the sails reduced. This was done quickly and quietly; Dameon had established long since that he preferred a quiet deck.
After a quick visit to Gabriel at the helm to confirm their course, Dameon decided to return to his cabin, leaving orders that he be called at the first sign of any change. Shutting the door as softly as he could, Dameon strode across his cabin to the single wooden chair in the room, lifting it and putting it down closer to his desk, and then finally placing himself in it.
Glancing over at the bunk, where Mark lay, silently bearing the pain of the injury he had brought upon himself, Dameon inquired “Any change yet?”
Mark, who was on his side, facing the wall of the cabin, sounded as if he were gritting his teeth as he replied. “Much better, thank you, but it still hurts really bad sometimes, like now.”
When Mark had finished, Dameon stretched his legs under his desk and replied “Glad to hear that you’re improving. The situation on deck is bad. It’s raining, so we’ll have to face boarders if we meet any enemies.”
“Hand to hand combat! Exciting!” Mark exclaimed, turning on his back to lift his head off the bunk.
“It isn’t all you seem to think it is.” Dameon replied, beginning to rise from his chair. Just at that moment, the door opened and Luke entered the cabin. He was dripping.
“Father’s compliments, Captain, and the situation on deck has changed.” He announced, exiting immediately.
Dameon, who was already standing, promptly rose and left the cabin himself. Once on deck, he was met by David, who remarked “The fog has begun to lift, and the lookout reckons that he has seen a ship approaching us.”
After a short pause, Dameon replied “We can’t be caught off guard. Prepare for boarders.”
With another salute, David left.
The job was finished nearly ten minutes later, and David came marching back to conform with ceremony. “Boarding nettings rigged and men stationed along the sides. Is there much else we can do?”
“I don’t believe so. Not in weather like this?”
At this, both men fell silent.
After five tense minutes, the massive prow of an enormous warship broke through the light fog only feet from the side of Dameon’s own ship. “He knows we’re here.” Dameon whispered to David, who was still standing beside him. “I’ll return in a moment.” With that, Dameon turned away, back toward his cabin. Once there, he turned to Mark, who was now sitting up.
“We have an enemy alongside. As you’re not fully healed yet, I expect you to stay in here and wait for me to return.” Producing a pistol, Dameon handed it to Mark. “If anyone tries to come in, fire.” Then, Dameon returned to the deck.
Almost instantly after Dameon returned, he heard the crash as the new ship collided with his own, followed by loud slicing sounds which announced that the enemy had begun to slice the netting impeding their progress. It was only minutes later that hundreds of yelling Spaniards began swarming the deck of Dameon’s ship.
Dameon hardly had time for one call to his men before he was fighting for his life. Saber drawn, he rushed upon the nearest group of enemies, laying several low with quick thrusts. Over the din of combat, he could barely hear David crying “Come to your end, you fiends!” and Gabriel shouting “Five! You haven’t had enough yet, eh?!”
After twenty minutes of hard fighting, which felt like an hour to Dameon, who was standing in the middle of a circle of dead men, fending off still more, he heard his cabin door creak open. “Mark!” he thought “How could I forget that that injury was driving him crazy? He wouldn’t stay in there away from the battle if he was tied down!”
Turning to run toward Mark to defend him, Dameon could only watch as Mark knelt down, steadied the pistol, took aim, and fired at a tall Spaniard wearing an Admiral’s hat who had just appeared on deck. Before Dameon could reach Mark, he heard the sound of a second gun firing. Turning for no more than an instant, he saw the Spanish Admiral, still standing motionless, with a smoking pistol in his hand, facing Mark’s direction.
With a shout of despair, Dameon continued running to where Mark lay, stretched out in front of the cabin. After a few more minutes of fighting, Dameon heard the Spanish Admiral shouting “Stop! Sostinier! (hold!) Sostenier su fuego! (hold your fire!) he added to the men of his crew who had drawn pistols. After a short pause, he continued “The Americans must give up their arms! If they do so, they will be my prisoners, and may have their injuries treated! If they do not, they will all be killed!”
These were far more reasonable terms than Dameon had hoped to hear. Relieved, he laid his sword down, kicking it across the deck toward the Spanish Admiral, who picked it up. Seeing this, the rest of Dameon’s crew laid down their arms. Suddenly, they were each set upon by several Spaniards and bound. Striding over to where Dameon was standing over the body of Mark, the Spanish Admiral said quietly “I said that only to save this boy, to be my servant. The rest of you have no hope.”
A moment later, on the Admiral’s orders, several men raised Mark from the deck and carried him down to the surgeon’s station. The rest of the Spanish crew immediately began transferring Dameon and his crew to the lower decks of their Admiral’s flagship