Chapter Sixty-Five: Hope on Soot-Black Sails

The ship charged on.  Two months after the fateful message, Ilya had resumed translator duties.  James was back at the helm.  And the ship hummed with activity while they searched for Irian and Namid.

Thor was on the deck.  He had been there two weeks, his third out of the infirmary.  A lesser man would have died from the wounds he received fighting the basilisk.  He held the haft of his hammer, its wrapping still caked with gore.  He had never cleaned it.  Never cared about it, in fact.  He saw the blood as celebrating his victories, and if he lived and it didn’t, it was a victory.  James had been in dock for a week before he joined him, the ship taking on supplies and new crew.  James was now the base of the rebellion against the Harvest, and a mobile base meant much more of a chance.

James had been trying to trace Irian by his unique aether signature, but he was having little luck.  Either Irian was dead, or he was in a place the Link couldn’t operate.  The latter seemed more likely than the former.  Thor was along to prove that James was there to help.  Also, he was almost as strong as Irian, and he could be useful aboard a ship.  Never ignore a person’s strengths.  Especially when they could be used to hoist a sail.

With all hands on deck, every position manned, James gave the order to run down all of the ship’s systems.  Six different languages rang out across the planking of the ship as crews signaled the readiness to launch.  Thor, ever ready to help, grabbed a line and helped to haul the main sail into place.  An old song, picked up by most of the crew in whatever disparate language they spoke, echoed across the docks and quays.

“What shall we do with a drunken sailor, what shall we do with a drunken sailor, what shall we do with a drunken sailor earl-eye in th’ mornin’?”

With the signal given, all men in place pulled as one.  The chorus rang out in answer-“Way, hey, up she rises, way, hey, up she rises, way, hey, upshe rises earl-eye in th’ mornin’!”

As the men scrambled back to their places, calloused hands clambering to take up the slack in the ropes, the shantyman called, “Throw ‘im in a bunk wi’ th’ captain’s daughter, throw ‘im in th’ bunk wi’ th’ captain’s daughter, LOCK ‘im in th’ bunk wi’ th’ captain’s daughter earl-eye in th’ mornin!”

All backs groaned as one as the next chain of pulls began.  Thor surprised himself by shouting along with the men as they pulled.  The next scramble repeated the crew’s call for punishments-inviting another man to think up something to inflict his fellow sailor with.

The sails inched up further, and when it was time for the next punishment, Thor supplied the next, and final call.

“Toss all to the Harvest, and let us fight free!”

James, from his post at the helm, nodded assent to the final call.

“To arms, me hearties!”

Published in: on September 26, 2010 at 3:58 am  Leave a Comment  

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