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Corrandion, Corridane
I am JT, Ringer, nutjob, and archer, in that order. I like animated films, epic films, book films, movie music, folk music, and the occasional random other thing. I make friends by accident and like it that way...

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29 August 2010

Chapter Twenty-Two

The last time you see Tony for quite a while...

Chapter XXII

Emerging from his cabin the next morning, Anthony immediately noticed that there was such a thick fog hanging around that he could hardly see three feet in front of his face.
“Mate!” he shouted into the fog “Come out from wherever you are and try to be careful for once!”
The loud clomping of heavy boots was heard from somewhere in front of him, followed by a hollow “thunk” which was followed by the Mate himself sliding into view.on his back.
Hurriedly getting up from this undignified entrance, the Mate dusted off his coat and straightened it out as he explained. “Sorry, sir. I slipped on a patch of damp from last night’s rain.”
“Never mind that,” Anthony answered “is there a way you can signal the fleet through this fog?”
“We’ll have to use lanterns. It’s extremely dangerous so near Britain.”
“We’ll do it anyway. Carry on.”
“Good, Sir, what shall I say?
“Just say “Reef all sails and wait for the fog to lift”.
“Oh… fine then, I’ll do that.” The Mate answered apprehensively, and wandered off to find the lanterns.
Anthony stood still for a short time, and then went back to his cabin and slept for a time. Two hours later, he went back out on deck to check the status of the fog. At that moment, he felt a slight bump against the side of the ship. As if it had been pulled off by a giant hand, the fog lifted clear off the deck. Anthony could clearly see several men climbing aboard, with blades in their belts.
As he dashed forward, several more men gained the deck, shouting loudly. Reaching for his swords, he found that he had left them in his cabin. Dashing back, he slammed the door, drew the bolt, and dove under the bunk for his swords. Scrambling out, he jumped up, noticing that the enemies outside were pounding on the door.
“Fine,” he said “If they want to come in, I’ll let them.” Timing it perfectly, he unlocked the door a second before the attackers collided with it again. Unable to stop themselves, the British men came careening in at full speed. The leader collided with the wall, and his followers piled on, one after another.
While all this was going on, Anthony just stood off to the side, laughing fit to burst.
After a few minutes of shoving, during which Anthony kept laughing, as if he would never run out of breath, the leader of the British extricated himself from the bottom of the pile. Drawing two swords, he exclaimed “Funny, eh? Well we’ll see if you’re still around to laugh at anything when I’m done with you. You’ll be sorry you messed with the Admiral Lord Whiddake when he’s done with you! If you’re still alive”
Raising his own pair of blades, Anthony remarked “Really? Well, you must admit that it’s hard to see anything funnier than when you and your men came running in screaming like banshees after I unlocked the door. Your faces looked ridiculous.” With that, the duel began.
At that same moment, the main group was finishing a hasty breakfast. The twins were off to the side, discussing something that no one else could hear. “Poor boys,” David remarked as he munched on his beef “They spend half their lives in the dark about their father’s location, then I have to tell them that he died. After all that, it turns out that he survived somehow, and they reattach, split up, reattach again, and then he dies again, this time for real.”
“I know it’s hard,” Dameon replied “But Matt’s not taking it as hard as I thought he would. That’s good, because in a war, anyone who is still capable of worrying about anything else is a dangerous liability.”
A few minutes later, the twins returned to the group and simultaneously announced “We’re leaving.”
“Yes! We’ll come too!” the younger boys cheered.
At that, Dameon stood up and exclaimed “None of you are going anywhere without me!”
“Aw, father, you’re letting them leave, why can’t we go?” John whined
“Because,” Dameon answered “They told me this morning that today is their eighteenth birthday. Besides, I never really had control over them in the first place.” He turned and saw that the twins had left while he was still speaking, taking their share of the food with them. Dameon immediately called out “David, Gabriel, go after those two and tell them that I told you to stay with them to make sure they get home. I’ll watch these boys.”
David and Gabriel immediately grabbed their packs and ran off without saying a word.
Dameon picked up his pack and said “It’s no use going the same direction, so we’ll try north.” Six hours later, the little group, now made up of only Dameon, his son John, his nephew Luke, and his nephew Raphael, had traveled almost eight miles away from their starting point just outside Madrid. It being only six o’ clock in the middle of summer, they only took a short rest, and then pushed on for another two miles. By that time, it was seven o’ clock and beginning to darken. So Dameon halted the march, noticing a town on the horizon in which he would be able to find fresh supplies.
The next morning, Dameon woke the boys and told them to follow him in to the town separately, so as not to attract suspicious notice. He would meet them in the in the public square, if there was one. If not, they would find him in the courtyard of the tavern nearest the city gate.
Dameon walked the two miles to the town in solitary silence, hearing birds twitter in the trees in the area. He occasionally spotted a squirrel or a hare, but those were few and far between. Feeling relieved that such a peaceful place existed; Dameon was in front of the city gates almost before he noticed.
There were two drowsy guards holding antique spears in front of the gate, one on each side. One looked rather thin and raggedy, but the other had a stomach that went out past his belt. Dameon spotted a jug of beer sitting near the fat one’s chair. He picked it up and splashed their faces, shouting “Oy, guards! Challenge me!” they both woke with a start. The fat one exclaimed “Hey, what’s that?, Oh, no entrance without papers or payment!” as the guards crossed their weapons to block the way.
“Papers and such make no difference to me.” Dameon said in a low voice “I am an officer of His Majesty’s court, so do not try to stop me. Also, I have three assistants coming behind, and do not stop them either. Let me pass.”
“R-R-Right away, sir, and don’t worry about those as-s-ssistants of yours. They’ll be fine.” The fat guard stammered.
Dameon passed through, glaring at them all the while. As he walked through the town, he noticed the deathly silence that hung over the town. He wandered through the town looking through windows in all the buildings. In all of them, there were at least two people, seemingly asleep. Dameon entered one house, crept into the parlor, and took a long look at the occupants. They were all stone dead.
Then Dameon heard a shrill chattering noise behind his back. He turned just in time to see a rat scuttle into a hole at the other end of the room. Rats! The Plague! It was no wonder that the guards would not let anyone in! The whole town had been empty of human life for at least two days! Dameon ran back to the main gate, and stopping just short of it, strolled out and said, in his previous voice “Are you aware that you are the only people left alive in the entire town? Leave if you value your lives!”
The guards turned to look at him, their faces as white as ghosts. Dameon asked them “Where is the nearest town after this one?” One guard pointed behind his back. North?” Dameon asked. He nodded. The other guard held up three fingers. “Hours?” No response. “Days?” Vigorous nodding. “All right then,” Dameon responded “Get moving, now.”
As the guards disappeared, Dameon rejoined his group, which had been about to go to him. Immediately, he told them “We can’t stop here. There is another town three days away. We need to get there fast. I’ll explain later.” As the boys started to protest, he quickly turned away and started off, the boys struggling to keep up with him. After they were past the town, he turned and said “They were all dead. The Plague finished them off.” and kept walking.
They walked in stunned silence for about three hours, then found a large, shady tree and napped away the midday hours. At about two, they started off again. This time, they kept walking until seven, when the sun went down.
The next morning, they were up at dawn. Dividing their rations, which were nearly gone, they began their march. Resting for a few minutes at noon, they continued on until sunset.
The next day, they started at dawn again. The rations were gone. They desperately needed to get to the town today. At noon, they were two miles from their destination. They kept going. Then, suddenly, a squad of horsemen dashed out of the gate, headed straight for them! In five minutes, the soldiers had reached them. Then, the horsemen jumped off and quickly surrounded them. Tying Dameon’s hands behind his back, they marched off toward the town.
When they reached the town, Dameon and the boys were paraded through the streets like trophies from a big game hunt. When they got to the main square, the whole marketplace erupted in cheers. Dameon looked around to find out exactly why everyone was so excited at his capture, and noticed that in every shop window, there was a picture of his face. The posters had evidently been sent from Madrid by express.
After they had been shown in the square for a while, the Americans were led into the jail and locked up separately.
Understanding the gravity of the situation, the boys had kept quiet during the whole episode. But, once the jailers were out of earshot, they all started complaining loudly.
“Why are we locked up separately?!” John shouted
“I’m starving” added Luke “Don’t they have the decency to feed their prisoners?!”
“So we don’t conspire to escape!” answered Dameon “And we’ll get bread and water, just like normal prisoners!”
Then Raphael cut in. “Quiet down! I can’t hear myself think!”
“What’s on your mind?” the others asked, quieting down.
The answer came back sharply, but very clearly. “A way to escape, of course! I’ll get back to you when I have one.”
The others stopped talking. Retreating to the backs of their cells, they sat wondering how there could possibly be a way to escape their situation.

24 August 2010

The Dog Days of School

I would have posted more pictures of my dog by now, but I no longer know when I will get the chance, as my school has begun a new year. I will be on tight time for quite a while. Will post when I'm free.

17 August 2010

The Secret

You will get where I got the second Captain's name from right away...

Chapter Three

One week out of Glasgow, as the Centaur was lying becalmed off the southern coast of Ireland, McNeal was aroused from his thoughts by cries from the deck of “Sail ho! Two points off the port bow, and coming in quickly!”
Jumping out of his chair, McNeal rushed out on deck. “Can you see their flag?”
“Aye, sir! I can just make it out! It’s Captain Jack Maturin of the brotherhood!”
“Jack Maturin, eh? Pull alongside and ask if he’s not afraid to make the voyage to Richontor.”
At this, McNeal’s mate came up to him and asked “Really? I have never heard that you would ever share your wealth with any other captains.”
“I have never wished to travel to Richontor before this. I shall need all the men I can get to be sure that some survive. But do not worry. I do not plan to share the treasure with any but my own crew, as the laws dictate.”
By this time, the Centaur was within hailing distance of Maturin’s vessel, the Destroyer. Taking the speaking trumpet from the mate, McNeal called to the crew of the other ship. “Destroyer ho! I’ll have words with your Captain!”
At a sign of acknowledgement from the other ship, McNeal lowered the speaking trumpet and spoke to his mate once more. “Bring another bottle of the good wine to my cabin. Brandy, too if he won’t take the wine. And tell the cook to double my midday meal.”
Saluting, the mate left his captain’s presence to comply.
Only a minute later, McNeal spied the Destroyer’s cutter coming across the space between the ships. Scarcely another minute had passed before McNeal’s fellow captain, Jack Maturin, stood on the deck of the Centaur. Immediately, McNeal began making a show of enjoying Maturin’s presence. “Come, my friend! You must sit with me awhile in my cabin while we exchange our news. I trust you had a successful expedition?”
Maturin, who was slightly more than six feet in height, as thin as a man could be while retaining perfect health, and wore his light brown hair down to his shoulders, did not seem nearly as cheerful as McNeal. “I do not have the time for that now. I have come, not as a friend, but simply as a fellow captain of the brotherhood, for aid against a common enemy.”
“An enemy? What ship could oppose my Centaur? You are safe on board this ship, my friend.”
“How many guns do you carry?”
“At this moment, there are two British frigates of eighty guns chasing my ship. There they are now.”
At this, McNeal suddenly grew apprehensive. The Centaur can stand and fight against any one ship, mate, but two is not to her liking. We’d best cut and run.”
“What shall we do for my ship and men, though?”
“Nothing we can do. We’ll be surrounded and blown out the water if we tarry here. You can swim back to your ship if you like. Or stay aboard and sail for Richontor.” McNeal added slyly.
Richontor? The isle no one has ever come back alive from?”
“Exactly. There’s treasure for the taking by the first man to survive that isle. And I aim to be the man. But I’ll give you a share if you come along. Come into my cabin, where I can explain over a bottle of wine. Cut the cable, men!”
As McNeal’s crew began to set the sails to flee from the British men o’ war, their captain settled himself into his cabin with his reluctant guest, Jack Maturin. “Now, I tell you, man!” McNeal exclaimed as he opened the bottle of wine. “You must be of good cheer! You are a guest aboard the swiftest eighty gun frigate on the ocean. We will not be caught. And you are on your way to untold riches.”
Maturin remained sullen and morose. “You are keeping me as a captive. You forced me to remain here instead of returning to my own men in their time of need. Why should I be cheerful?”
“Must I remind you? You are bound for the riches of Richontor! If you will only stop complaining, you’ll be rich enough to forget that ship and get yourself anything you wish! Even a respectable life! A lot of money in the right places can do wonders!”
Heaving himself off of McNeal’s hammock, Maturin replied “If you must. Where is the brandy? I don’t take wine. Awful French swill.”
Producing a tankard which he had kept hidden, McNeal agreed “Precisely my opinion, my friend. I drink good Irish ale, and don’t tell my crew that I only pour this on my meat. The meat needs something to soften it up before it’s fit for my consumption.”
Nearly an hour later, after McNeal and Maturin had feasted on the best of the stores, Maturin’s mood improved visibly. “So, McNeal, you are bound for Richontor?”
“Yes. And I am going to bring back the treasure, too.”
“What makes you so sure that you will accomplish what so many others have failed to do?”
“Two reasons.” McNeal replied, after swallowing another swig of ale. “I am William McNeal, and I know something others don’t.” He leaned back slowly, allowing a wide smile to make its way across his face while Maturin watched silently. Suddenly Maturin grew curious and snapped at the bait which McNeal had left dangling in front of his face.
“What do you know, that the rest of us don’t know! It should be enough for you that you have command of the finest ship throughout the brotherhood!”
Rising from his chair, McNeal leaned forward and whispered a few words into Maturin’s ear. At the sound, Maturin grew cheerful once more. “Yes. Yes. It would be the summit of my career to succeed in such a feat. He is a popular man among the brotherhood. Too popular for us…. I’m with you to the death!”
Turning to go back on deck, McNeal thought to himself “To the death, yes. To the death of whom, we shall see…”

16 August 2010

Forbidden Sands, cont.

Having started a blog, I shall contribute to Pirate Week with this story. The first chapter was posted last month.

Chapter Two

Later that day, McNeal went ashore, heading in the direction which lead to his favorite tavern, the Leprechaun’s Gold. It was a haven for unsavory characters. Most especially unsavory Irishmen like himself. It was there that he had picked up most of his crew, as he had little trust in hands who were not fellow Irishmen. The effect of his reputation could be felt and heard as soon as he came through the door.
“Best move aside. It’s McNeal…”
“…liable to kill ye for looking at him…”
“Nobody move ‘till he’s said his piece. We all know he only comes in here when he’s got news.”
Knowing the men were remaining silent in anticipation of his words did not give McNeal cause to accelerate his pace across the floor. He maintained his pace, seating himself at a table at the far end of the room, where he had his back to the wall and could watch the other occupants of the room. Clapping a gold piece down upon the table, he called “Bring up your best ale, man! And be quick about it!”
As the host hurried off to the cellar, McNeal rose from his place and called to the collective assembly “I need men! Who’ll join up with William McNeal and the swiftest ship in all the seven sea?!”
Several voices rose as McNeal quaffed a large amount of the ale which had been brought to him. Slamming it down on the table, once more, he counted the hands which had been raised. “Ten. I need more! Or are the rest of ye all cowards?!”
Faced with a demand like this, no man could keep his hand down, lest he be branded a coward by his mates. With one voice, the crowd replied “We’re with ye, Captain McNeal! Wither are we bound?”
Draining his tankard, McNeal sprang upon the table. Drawing his sword, a long saber, which was a sword most pirates shunned, he pointed it at the door of the tavern, shouting “Richontor! A place no man has ever returned from! Why do so many venture there? Because, it’s been said, there are untold riches waiting there for the first men clever enough to survive that accursed place! And I aim to be the captain of the crew which claims the treasure!” Leaping down from the table, he charged out of the building, followed by the rest of the seamen who had lately been patronizing the place.
When McNeal had regained the deck of his ship once more, his first mate immediately came up to him where he stood near the starboard rail and reported “The prisoner is secure in the lower deck, Captain.” Looking around at the new men who were streaming over the railing, the mate inquired “And what are all those men boarding us for? Should we not be resisting?”
“They are here because I wanted them. We’ll need them where we are going. Tell the crew to set the sails. We leave on the tide.”
The tide came up only an hour later, and Captain William McNeal and the Centaur, with nearly forty extra men and a prisoner below the deck, sailed out of Glasgow harbor under all sails, bound for Richontor, the isle of the forbidden sand.

- The somewhat Irish pirate Grizzly McNeal.

15 August 2010

I'm back home!

I returned home from my awesome vacation early this morning. Precisely 1:30 in the morning to be precise. You would not believe what I saw this morning, just before the sun came over the mountains properly! As I was about to take Thrasher out for a walk, _____ me if I didn't see a four-six point buck looking back at me from only fifty feet away! After the sun came up properly, I saw him leave at a run along with two does who were grazing out back in our dead orchard. First morning after I return! If that doesn't beat all!

06 August 2010

These are only the beginning. I have more, funny, ones.

Pictures of my Dog, Thrasher

What's that thing, Joe?

Chapter Twenty-one

how about this? Climbing on walls, and a moral at the end!

Chapter XXI

As Mark detached himself from the group, Dameon and Joseph continued on behind their new acquaintances. Joseph muttered to Dameon “I have a bad feeling about this. It’s the end of my rope.”
“You’ve escaped from tighter spots before! You can do it again!” Dameon exclaimed.
“I don’t think so.” Joseph answered “I’ve already cheated death once. I’m not supposed to live any longer, and I won’t. You can tell Mark, he’s tough. But Matt? Matt’s different.”
A minute later they were in the square, facing an angry Spaniard who could be none other than Cristobol Coinhara. Standing, of all places, on the gallows, Coinhara yanked on the hangman’s rope and brandished his gun, shouting “Ha! I see you there! What would you like? This or this?”
The two Americans shouted back “Shoot us if you like! You’ll regret it later!”
“Fools!” The Spaniard screamed “I’ll get all of you! Then who’ll be left to make me regret anything?!” BANG! CRACK! Joseph was hit in the chest. As the second shot sped toward Dameon, Joseph dove across and gave him an almighty shove, to take the second bullet.
Taking the hint, Dameon ran off, leaving a path of aching bones as he charged through the townspeople, who were franticly trying to stop him.
Forgetting Dameon, Coinhara walked toward Joseph, who was on the ground, slowly dying. After staring down at him for a minute, Coinhara looked up, turned around, and screamed “He is dead!”
The entire area erupted in cheers. Suddenly, two shots rang out, seemingly from nowhere. Mustering up his rapidly failing strength, Joseph shouted “Never underestimate any half- dead enemies you have! As I have done to your Admiral so shall my country do unto yours! Lie down beside me, my man, you’ll find that you have no choice.”
Quite suddenly, Coinhara noticed that his left leg could no longer hold his weight: his right hand hung limp and would not move. He collapsed alongside his enemy, who continued in a normal voice “This may be the end of me, but be grateful that it isn’t your end. Neither is it the end of the fight, although when that time arrives, you will be slain by one you have not yet seen.” A few seconds later, Joseph was dead..
“Well? Isn’t someone going to help me up?” The Spanish Admiral screeched “And someone take this – this body somewhere else! It’s an obstruction in the public square!”
Coinhara was hauled up by two large men who bore him off to the nearest doctor right away. As he was carried off the scene, Coinhara shouted “Get that other captain if it costs you your life! Stop everyone who looks like an American and lock them up in the strongest prison!”
At that moment, Dameon had finally reached the rest of the group, who were all together now. “We’ll have to run if we want to escape. Joseph said he’d meet us at the main gate. Let’s move!” The group bunched up and ran down the nearest dark alley. Halfway down, they found a gutter and scampered up like true sailors. On the roof, they found that most of the roofs, like theirs, were flat. A series of flying leaps got them all onto a roof three doors down. Once there, they found that the leap to any other roof could only be made by a bird. Mark began scaling the gutter as a scout, and a few feet down, he was heard to say “Aha, the window’s open… All clear!” At that, the rest of the group all began to climb down the gutter and through the window, one after another, until they were all standing in a fashionable study. From there, they marched into the hallway and found the back stairs, which led them to the kitchen. They immediately forced open the back door and dashed off down the dark alleyway again.
After two hours, they finally found their way to the main gate. “Funny” Dameon remarked “You’d think he’d be here by now.” When their turn came to go through the gate, the watchman exclaimed “Hey, you, you’re a want…” Luke landed a knockout punch before he could finish. “Run for it!” With David in the back, keeping everyone together, Dameon led the dash through the gate.
When they were sufficiently far away from the city to be sure that they weren’t being followed, Dameon took Mark aside and said “I hate to say this, but your father never planned to meet us. In fact, he knew he was going to die when he sent you away. He took my shot so I could lead you. I leave it to you to break it to Matt.”
“That’s alright,” Mark replied quietly “I thought it going to be something along those lines when he sent me away. Otherwise, there’d have been no objection to my following along.” He trailed off as he continued staring at the ground. Dameon gave him a hefty pat on the back. “It’s okay, you’ll get your crack at revenge someday, but don’t live just for that. Live for life.”
After a short rest, the group jogged off, heading back the direction they had come. By the light of a full moon, they kept this up until long after sundown, and then retreated into the thick trees to sleep.

05 August 2010

Chapter Twenty

Guess who's making cameos in this chapter?

Chapter XX

The next morning, in Madrid, Dameon shook Mark awake and said “We know they all got here before us, now we have to find them.”
“Find who?” Mark asked drowsily.
“You know who!” Dameon exclaimed “Wake up!”
“Oh right, those people!” Mark answered, jumping out of the bed he had borrowed from an innkeeper who knew nothing about him, since he had climbed in through the window last night.
“We should look in the market first.” Dameon said, ignoring Mark. “Then we can just wander around and see the sights.”
Ten minutes later, having scaled the wall again to get out, Dameon and Mark were both strolling down the street headed toward the source of all the noise that they could hear from two blocks away. They turned the corner and made their way into the midst of the revelry, wending their way through until they reached the contests of strength and arms.
As they leaned on the stage in front of them, watching the boxing match now in progress, the hooded man standing next to Dameon turned and said “So, you got this far after all. I was beginning to worry about you.”
“What? Oh, yes, we were fine, thanks” Dameon answered distractedly, still facing the stage. A boy with bright red hair had made his move and was now driving his much larger opponent into the rail. Suddenly, it finally dawned on Dameon that the man next to him knew what they had been doing. He immediately turned to confront the speaker and found himself staring in David’s face.
David, who had by this time removed his hood, said “In case you haven’t guessed yet, the redhead is Luke. He’s won every one of his matches so far. Gabriel took the rest of the boys a bit farther down to watch the quarterstaff duels. That direction.” He continued, pointing to his left.
Dameon took Mark and pushed his way through the crowd until he came to another stage where the audience was twice as large. Little wonder, because this match was far more exciting. Both men were experts, gaining or losing nothing. Suddenly, one of the men spun around, let go of his staff, and sent it spinning straight at his opponent’s legs. Jumping out of the way, the second man ran after the one who had released his staff, seeing an easy end, only to find him three feet away, armed and ready. Seeing the rush, the first man did another quick spin, shifting himself so he was broadside on to his attacker. Within thirty seconds, he had jabbed the man in the ribs, rapped his knuckles, and tapped him on the leg. All this was enough to make the man collapse on the stage.
As the crowd cheered the good show, the winner vaulted over the railing and landed next to Mark. Turning, he exclaimed “So none of you are hanged after all! I thought so as soon as I caught a glimpse of Matt running around. He doesn’t know about me yet though. I call myself Jose Sponsloreo..”
“Well, Dad,” Mark remarked “this is a lucky turn of events. Everyone thought everyone else had been captured and it turned out nobody was.”
Dameon cut in. “The audience is upset and there’s a challenger on the stage already, so you’d better get back on stage.” He remarked to Joseph.
“I’m too tired. Let Mark defend my title.” Joseph replied
At this, Mark eagerly grabbed the staff and vaulted on to the stage. Raising the staff above his head, he spun it around a couple of times and announced “I will now perform the world premiere of the ballet of the quarter staff!”
Closing in on his opponent, Mark made an exploratory jab, threw in a couple more spins, and rapped his opponent’s skull so hard that he doubled up, with eye- blurring speed. Just as he turned to face the crowd once more, a sling stone came whizzing out of nowhere, headed straight for Mark’s chest. He quickly sidestepped it and swung the staff for all he worth. The staff split on contact, with the broken end flying off over the back the stage while the stone sped back to its origin at the rear of the crowd.
“I say! Good play, that!” An American voice with a slight Spanish accent rang out. Mark jumped from the stage to meet the two men pushing their way through the crowd. The speaker, a tall man with cropped light hair, was wearing a long, frayed, brown coat, and was unarmed, save for a small knife that looked as if he sliced his lunch with it more frequently than fighting with it. His companion was slightly taller, with much darker hair. His sling was tied around his waist, but his stone pouch was much more prominent. He was decked out in black. The light – haired one, who was built like a wrestler, (And most likely was one), introduced them. “Hello there, Dameon, I remember you, even if you’ve forgotten me. I came here soon after we met to work in the underground. This man is my Portuguese friend. An expert shot with a sling, as you’ve noticed, but he speaks no English, only Portuguese. Oh, I almost forgot! Our names! You can’t introduce yourself and leave those out. In Spain, I go by Jose Blewant: My friend is Haydn Schaffrout.”
Schaffrout turned and whispered in Blewant’s ear for a moment. Blewant than translated his friend’s remarks. “He tells me he has seen a man running about who claims to be looking for an American in a blue coat. He says that since you fit the description, you had better come see what the man wants.”
Schaffrout and Blewant promptly walked off, with Dameon, Joseph, and Mark trailing behind. Joseph told Mark “Drop back and find your way to the others while you still can. We’ll handle this.”

04 August 2010

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter XIX

It had been three dismal days since Tony had fallen into the trap set by the Frenchmen. Having been locked in the lower deck, he and his men were reduced to peeking out of gun ports every few hours to check on the progress of the ships. Tony’s loyal fleet was still in sight, but they had fallen back due to the superior speed of their target.
Tony and his men had opened all the gun ports to let in what light could reach them. They passed the time by emptying the hold to make more space for themselves; doing this only after dark for fear that their captors would notice. By daylight, they scratched out tic- tac- toe games on the floor.
That night, they began their usual process of unloading the ship. So far, all of them together had unloaded as many as eight hundred cannonballs, and by the look of it, there were still many more. Similarly, they had emptied at least ten barrels of gunpowder, but, as if the crew didn’t know that this huge amount had already raised their ship to the status of a dormant firebomb, there were still more barrels to empty. Anthony and his men ate their meager shares of the decoy supplies, and then resumed their nightly work: After three hours of this exercise, Anthony and his men had finally succeeded in emptying out every cannonball aboard and five more barrels of gunpowder.
When they had finished with all this, they lay down in their new space and fell sound asleep. Several hours later, at about dawn, a horrendous crash woke the sleeping captives. Anthony crawled over to the nearest gun port and looked out just in time to see another cannon fire with a loud bang and bright flash. A few seconds later, there was another horrendous crash as the second mast came down. Tony ran about waking his men and yelling “Your mates are firing at this ship! They’re trying to rescue us, so do what you can to help!” A second later, the mast came crashing through the deck, opening a huge hole for the men to escape through. “Up, up, up! Quick as you like now! We can get out this way!”
The men crawled up the broken mast like squirrels, dashing to the rail and leaping overboard. As he jumped, Tony could hear his mate screeching “Cease fire! The Captain’s in the briny!” Several minutes later, Anthony, soaking wet, was standing on his own deck again for the first time in four days. “Why couldn’t you catch up sooner?!” he yelled “Fine crew you are! You leave your captain and half your crewmates headed to the gallows on starvation rations, and you don’t even try to do anything about it for three days! I can’t believe you men!” He stomped off to his cabin and slammed the door so hard that a second later his crew heard glass shattering as his window fell out.
“Fancy expecting us to catch up with a swift sailer such as that one. It was lucky enough for him that the wind came up in our best quarter in the dead of night. Who does he think he is? An Admiral?” the master muttered as he strode back to his post.

03 August 2010

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter XVIII

Later that day, Cristobol Coinhara was galloping down the path after his escaped captives. Finally spotting them about three hundred yards ahead, he raised his revolver and fired into the air. Mark, who was lagging behind now because of his injury, yelled “Give me a gun and I’ll hold them off!” “Wrong, boy! You’re not going to die like a hero if there’s a better shot with you! You go on and I’ll get them!” Dameon shouted back.
Dameon dropped behind a nearby tree while the others went on. Readying his gun, he fired at one hundred yards. As the result showed itself, he remarked “I hated to do that, but at least it died instantly. No, he’s jumped free. I hoped that wouldn’t happen. Time to leave the area.” He pocketed his gun as he said this, and, keeping within the tree cover, he hurried to keep up with the others. Several yards farther along, he found Mark sitting on a stump. “What are you doing? Why aren’t you with the others?” Dameon shouted.
“I ran out of breath!” Mark yelled back “What do you think!”
“Well, how ironic” Dameon answered sarcastically “The one who starts a marathon is also the only one who knows he can’t make it!”
“What was I supposed to-look out!” Mark screamed. Dameon grabbed him and pulled him out of the way just in time, feeling a bullet graze his back as he did so.
“Well, there’s one thing that’s certain.” Dameon announced “You’re probably as fast as you always were, but you’ll never keep it up for long. That’s the only thing wrong with your father: He can’t stand endurance runs.”
Keeping on the edge of the path, the two fugitives stayed under the trees the whole time while on the run. An hour later, Mark collapsed. “You stick it out longer than your father can, at least. Here, I’ll carry you. Let’s hope those men haven’t caught up with the rest of our group.” As the evening approached, and they were now pursuing their enemies, Dameon slung Mark onto his back and stepped onto the path, walking until the sun went down. “Don’t worry” he said “No sensible person would keep going now. Here, I’ll take first watch, though why I’m doing all this I don’t understand. What’ve you ever done for me? Oh yes, soaked my boots, that’s right. Where’s your father when I need him? Miles ahead and convinced he’s saving me from hanging, so maybe I do owe him this much.” Dameon muttered as he built a fire.
In truth, at that moment, Joseph was sleeping beside his own fire about twenty miles ahead of Dameon and Mark. He was lost in a dream, one which involved a tall man with a black beard, who looked like a Spaniard, who was brandishing a pistol. Without thinking, Joseph drew his own pistol. But before he could fire, the Spaniard had changed into Joseph’s friend Dameon, who said “No! Don’t fire! The time for that has passed. You are to go on. You are to go on without firing another shot. Make the best of your time you have left to prepare for the time when you must meet our Lord. We will keep your boys safe.”
Then, suddenly, Dameon faded away and Mark appeared in his place. “Don’t you worry, father. It’s a great new adventure. Nothing bad ever happens and it lasts forever. You just have to prepare for it.”
Then Dameon reappeared. “Remember! You must go on without a fight!”

02 August 2010

Chapter Seventeen

I know, this isn't a good chapter. But something had to happen to Tony...

Chapter XVII

Unlike everyone else, Tony was staying out of the hands of his enemies and leading his fleet through a successful campaign against the European allies that made him look as if, once again, he was going to win the war without any outside help
He ran into a new enemy ship nearly every day, but as most of them were just scouts, they weren’t much trouble. One day, (It happened to be the day that Mark led the escape from Cristobol Coinhara), Tony’s flagship, which was far ahead of the main fleet, once again came in contact with one of these apparent scouts. As they were only about one hundred and fifty yards apart, Tony shouted below “Throw one or three across her bows, to open this discussion!” Immediately, three consecutive shots rang out underneath his feet. The French ship answered with one that fell drastically short. “No danger!” Tony yelled out “prepare to board!”
Within half an hour, Tony and his men were on board the Spanish ship carrying supplies to suffering South American colonies, which carried only twenty guns. Through his Spanish interpreter, Tony answered “Your story is full of holes. For one thing, I know for a fact that there are no colonies left in the New World, and for another, it takes more than weak guns like yours to scare off a boatload of pirates. But I’ll check your hold any way.”
So Tony and his men went down the hatch into the hold and found several sacks and barrels which, strangely, did not feel like desperately needed supplies. When his men opened the first sack, Tony announced “Just as I expected. Cannonballs, not grapefruits. Open the barrels!” So they pried open the hogsheads and found- flour. “Flour!” Tony screamed “Come now, men , Anthony Mellino will not be foiled by simple Spaniards!” At that moment, everyone heard the lid slide across the top of the hatch and some thing moved on top of it. “Now you’ve done it, Sir” a crewman’s voice said in the darkness “By revealing who you are, since your name is hated throughout the lands of our enemies, you have successfully dropped yourself and half your crew out of the pot and into the fire.”
“If I were you, I wouldn’t speak that way toward your Admiral, lest you want to serve some time in the brig when we escape!” Anthony shot back. His temper had grown short since the discovery that he had been fooled by simple Spaniards. The recollection that it had actually been his decision, prompted by no one, to check the hold, only shortened his temper more. But he managed to restrain himself, saying “Don’t worry, though. Our ship could blow this tub out of the water any day.”
At that same moment the lookout on Anthony’s ship called out “That ship’s leaving, and the Captain hasn’t come back! We’d best go after them!”