My Kingdom for a Ship, Part 3
After a few days at sea, more is learned about the various crew members. For all his boasting, Gaspar Durand is a gifted musician. He has brought a lute with him, and spends some time entertaining the crew with several humorous (and often baudy) songs. Aleksandr Yegorovich proves to be an expert carpenter. His skills will go a long way toward keeping the ship in good repair. Verenzio Cosentino is a brilliant cook, and manages to surprise the crew on several occasions with creative recipes using the fairly basic foodstuffs that were packed for their excursion. Cyprian Tokarski demonstrates his skill with traversing the rigging, and gives some basic instruction to the rest of the crew in managing the sails. Germund Tiedemann, being a veteran of the War of the Cross, is put in charge of the armory. He and Enzo have the only keys.
Signe organizes the crew into very strict rotation for maximum efficiency. After setting out from Vendel, they head west. After passing through Hoppe Channel, Hjalmar points them directly into The Maw rather than hugging the coast. It is a somewhat dangerous move considering they have no maps or charts, but it pays off when it ends up cutting at least a day from their travel time. In the evening of Day 3, they pass by the lights of Thorshofn, at which time Hjalmar steers them out into the open waters of the Trade Sea.
On Day 5, the ship is heading due west, and everyone is keeping an eye out for the Golden Falcon with spyglasses. They have completely lost sight of land at this point. Patrick begins to voice concerns that they’ve missed the ship. At Signe’s instruction, Enzo puts him to work on cataloging their stores. This gets him off the deck and away from the other men.
However, it’s not long before his sentiments are beginning to be echoed by the others. Gaspar is put on fishing detail for complaining. Even Hjalmar has to concede that they may have miscalculated, and there is a distinct possibility that they have already passed the Golden Falcon. He points out that they have gone through about half their stores, so if there was ever a time to turn back, it’s now. Signe remains unconvinced that they have made an error, and instructs everyone to keep looking, promising a three Guilder bonus to the man who sets eyes on the ship first.
In the evening on Day 6, Abul is in the crows nest with Eric. Just as even Eric’s high spirits are beginning to flag, Abul spots a glint in the distance. Eric confirms it, and concedes that Abul was in fact the first one to spot the ship, and the news is very quickly spread. Not long afterward, a ship can clearly be seen off to port. Signe quietly informs Abul that next time, she will specify that bonuses are meant for the general crew.
Signe dons a disguise and climbs up into the crow’s nest with a rifle and several rounds of ammunition. Hjalmar sets the ship on an intercept course. Those watching the Golden Falcon with spyglasses can see that the opposing crew is also watching them and attempting to determine their intent. The captain can be seen deliberating with his lieutenant. Before long, the lieutenant gets out a megaphone and hails the Magpie, advising them to back off or they will be forced to open fire. Signe knows it’s a bluff, as the Golden Falcon is a fluyt like the Magpie, and thus have no cannon on board. She tells them to maintain course and speed. Enzo responds by identifying himself and the ship (he is careful to not call himself the captain), and that they are there to confiscate stolen goods currently being transported by the Golden Falcon. The lieutenant’s warning is issued several more times in tones of ever increasing urgency and desperation. When it becomes clear that their bluff has been called, the Falcon’s crew begin to scramble.
After the Magpie crosses the Falcon’s path, Hjalmar brings the ship around hard, and Abul assists Giermund and Enzo with targeting the Falcon’s sails and rigging with deck guns. This hampers the Falcon significantly in both speed and maneuverability, and at least one crew member was caught in the volley, falling to the deck with a wet smack. The Magpie comes alongside the Falcon, and grappling hooks are employed. When the hulls of the two ships thud together, Enzo leads the charge over the bulwark and onto the opposing ship.
Signe is up in the crow’s nest scouting out the other ship when she spots a sniper in their crow’s nest. Fortunately, they haven’t seen her, as they are taking aim at the fray down below. She is able to line up a shot at the sniper, and catches them in the shoulder. This causes them to drop their rifle and take cover below the railing.
Christof and Enzo are fighting side by side against the Falcon’s crew when they spot the captain and the lieutenant. They cut their way across the deck to pin the two officers against the mainmast, and Enzo reiterates that they are there to retrieve the stolen goods from the Falcon’s hold. The Falcon’s captain maintains their innocence, but orders his men to stand down. When the crew sees that their captain has been captured, they drop their weapons and surrender.
Once order is restored, Abul’s first priority is to see to the man that fell from the rigging, but he is too late to help. He gets to work treating the rest of the wounded on both sides. Fortunately, Enzo’s quick thinking brought the battle to a close early enough to avoid any serious casualties.
The cargo (which consists mostly, but not entirely, of barrels carrying the Mist of the Moor) is transferred to the Magpie along with a couple of days worth of food and water. After another volley of grapeshot ensures that the Golden Falcon will be forced to make at least a day’s repairs before they can get under way, the crew of the Magpie take their leave. The crew of the Falcon is rather perplexed that they are being let go, but the Captain, Mathias Isaksen, fixes Enzo with a look of understanding. He says that he will inform his employers of what happened here, and that they won’t be able to pull the same trick again.
The Magpie sails northeast, bound for Klorhulg. Hjalmar shows Signe what he liberated from Captain Isaksen’s cabin: The Golden Falcon’s maps and charts.
That evening, Signe calls everyone to attention on deck. She cedes the floor to Abul, who addresses the assembled crew regarding the work they did, and opens one of the barrels. The Mist of the Moor is sampled by the crew, and by all accounts, it is exquisite. The only dissenter is Gaspar, who is partial to red Montaigne wine, but even he has to concede that while it isn’t to his taste, the whiskey is of excellent quality.# NotPirates