7th Sea: Far From Home

Festival
Isabel's Diary

Isabel’s Diary

We have arrived safely at Don Ramon’s home, just in time for El Fiesta de Adiestramiento. After all the worries of the last weeks, a few days of carefree celebration was just what we all needed and I enjoyed myself immensely. It has ben far too long since Javier and I danced with each other and we made good use of the opportunity. As did Alba, who thoroughly enjoyed the attention. Javier needs some time to get used to the fact that his little girl is old enough to be courted and to marry. I am not entirely used to it myself, but at least I watched her grow up. When he last saw her, she was only ten years old. It took every ounce of self control he has to just sit and watch and not say anything, but he did just that and let he have her fun.

The long distance race was a much awaited part of the festival and Alba was eager to participate. She did not have much convincing to do on either Javier’s or my part, but we could not get a word in before she had finished to make her case. Lucia let her ride her mare and no-one seems to be quite certain where Lucia got the black stallion she rode in the race. The race was decided between Lucia, Esmeralda and Alba and Alba won. Javier, who taught her to ride as soon as she could walk, was more than proud of her and he did not even mind that it got her even more attention.

I have been reading about all those people for years now and it is strange to finally meet them. I could not resist asking Don Ramon what he had been thinking, getting Javier into all this trouble? I know of course that Javier does this perfectly well just by himself and I am the last person who should say anything, I have gotten him into trouble more times than I can count. Don Ramon’s rather dismayed expression was priceless, before it dawned on him that I was winding him up. He got a small revenge by asking me if it was not rather unbeseeming to embarrass my husband’s friends like this. But women of my age – I think embarrassing young men is our privilege.

Regardless of my age, I can very well understand why women everywhere seem to fall for Don Ramon. Old I may be, but blind I am not. He does rather well in the role of head of the household, too – his father is in ill health and people quite naturally expect Don Ramon to take over. He’s not entirely comfortable with it, that much is obvious, but I think that is more because he is not quite ready to give up his freedom to travel and do as he likes with his time.

I have not had much opportunity to talk to the others, but I intend to do so.

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Between Life and Death
a letter from Don Gabriel

Dear Andres,

You will find enclosed my report on the latest activities of Los Vagos. They have gotten even more daring lately and have attacked openly twice in the last few days. I have lost some men, as has the Inquisition. On a personal note, you would find me grateful if you would alert your people to look for any sign of Javier. After he escaped with the help of Los Vagos, we have unfortunately been unable to locate him or his friends.

He did have the nerve to attack my home – he has always been brazen and it seems that five years on the run have done nothing to change that. I am told that he had not only his friends with him but also a troop of Eisen mercenaries. The mercenaries have stolen my best horses and have escaped across the river into their homeland before we could find them. The Eisen embassy has heard about this, but seems disinclined to do anything about it. I doubt that this surprises you any more than me.

Javier and his band of miscreants overpowered my guards and slaughtered di Dionna, attacking from an ambush, as I am told. I doubt they would have stood a chance in a honest fight. My son fought bravely and was then shot in the back when he tried to sound the alarm. Both he and di Dionna are on the verge of death and I cannot yet tell you if they will live.

I had been content to leave Javier to the Inquisition. But now I will kill him myself and he will wish that the Inquisition had caught him first.
As far as I know, he still is in Castille. At least I have not heard of his arrival in Paix. Please be so kind and let me know if any of your sources have news.

Respectfully, your friend
Don Gabriel Luiz Montoya de Vasquez

OOC commentary is here

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Reunion

Dear Marisol,

I still owe you the rest of the story how we found your mother and sister – we had so much to talk about, I’m sorry.
After we had found the empty cave, we called down the others and investigated further. Logan found some kind of mechanism that he believed to be of Syrneth origin or at least constructed using Syrneth technology. He wanted to search some more before simply trying out the mechanism. I tried my best to be patient and held back Ramon who had already reached out to pull the lever. Alain did pull it, to Logan’s dismay, and opened a portal that showed us a tunnel leading further into the ground. Logan punched Alain for his, as he thought, foolishness. The technology used in the mechanism usually sets free uncontrollable amounts of energy, Logan has seen it destroy entire ships, and Alain had probably been lucky that he had just been mildly stunned.

I have to admit I did not pay much attention to their quarrel, I had better things to do. Alain stayed behind, feeling that he could not be asked to stay in Logan’s company any longer until an apology had been given. While he had a shouting match with Logan, Ramon and I pressed on, overpowering two guards on the way. We found a system of tunnels, many of them closed by heavy iron doors or caved in. And we found another portal, so we turned back to get the others. In the meantime, Logan had found a tool to activate the mechanism without danger and had brought Lucia to our side of the portal.

We stepped through the second portal and found us in the upper storey of a tavern, unnoticed by the people drinking at the bar. A quick investigation turned up nothing of interest – except for the fact that the tavern was in Marcina. Normally I would have been eager to explore, but we had been following the noise from the tavern and had ignored a couple of tunnels. And in one of them we finally found Isabel and Alba, alive and unharmed. I was so relieved, I felt faint and it was a while before I was ready to let go of the two.

We took prisoner one man who stepped through the door, shouting at people and slamming the door behind him. Logan punched him right after that and he didn’t have any time for a warning, so we had no problems leaving as quietly as we had come.

I had been travelling alone for so long – having almost my complete family with me was overwhelming. I think I was very quiet that night, I apologise if I seemed distant. I was just enjoying seeing you all together. It made Juan‘s absence only more conspicuous, but I have the feeling that he may be lost to us or at least to me. I could have forgiven him anything he did to me, but risking the life of his mother and sister, I don’t know if I can forgive that. It may be better if we did not meet again.

Alba…well. She is angry at me and I can understand that. Her life has not exactly been easy, with a heretic for a father. She says she knows that Isabel and I wanted the best for her, but still. She asked to give her time and I certainly do not expect her to come around immediately, but I do hope she will, eventually. As for me, I will need some time to get used to the fact that she’s almost a woman now. I missed so much of her life.

You will hear from me again once we reach Paix. Please give my regards to Frederico and Constanza. I promise that it won’t be five years until we see each other again.

Marcello

click here for some OOC commentary

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Family

Dear Isabel,

the journey to Castille went smoothly enough. Well. Esmeralda had decided to follow us and we finally decided to take her with us because the only way we could have gotten her to go back probably would have been unconscious or in chains. When we reached the river, Logan persuaded a Vodacce captain to take us to Castille and we landed a few miles west of Altamira.

But if I had ever really thought that this would be the simple there and back again jaunt the others had tried to convince me it would be, I was quickly brought back to reality when Esmeralda froze in her tracks on the small hilltop she had just climbed. Moments later a group of about thirty horsemen appeared, many of them well-armed with muskets, and led by Don Gabriel.

I cannot say I was exactly surprised to see him. He has always had this knack of being where you least want him to be. The sight of Juan next to him, wearing an Inquisitor’s robes, was a much nastier shock, I felt like my breath had been knocked out of me. You had told me that he had become more and more fanatical, but this I did not expect. I ignored him, concentrating on Gabriel – because Gabriel clearly was the leader in this ambush and because I honestly had no idea what to say to Juan. Not that we found it easy to talk to each other at the best of times, but now? What do I say to my son who apparently hates me so much that he wants to see me dead?

But the Inquisition is nothing if not methodical so we were lock up in cages and taken away, further west. Gabriel took a few men and, as he told me, went to pay his compliments to you. At least, I told myself, he had not captured you yet. It did not do much to put my mind at rest. Juan and his men stayed with us. Locked up with us was Lucani, posing as a Vodacce sailor and Logan’s personal servant (to Logan’s delight) – he has his own agenda in this. No-one but Logan knew exactly who he was at the time and I certainly was not paying much attention. Juan had ridden close enough to speak to me and he said that he intended to end the curse that I had brought over the family with my crimes. A curse that had already claimed his wife and son, who had died in a fire. I was shocked to hear this, I had had no idea Constanza and Juanito were dead. But before I could say anything, a shot rang out and the horse drawing the wagon Lucia and Esmeralda were transported on collapsed – as did several of the guards.

All this the work of none other than El Vago who fled, pursued by Juan and his men. Or rather who lured them away. Alain had used the confusion to open the lock of our cage and we made quick work of the guards that were left. El Vago’s men took us with them, to their hiding place in a small, well-hidden canyon. It seems to be a permanent camp and a place where people can stay who have need to disappear for a while. And here I had the next surprise of this long night: Marisol. I would have rather expected to see her cheering Juan on, but apparently she has had a change of heart. I had not thought that I would ever see her again, much less hold her while she cried and apologised. I had my own apologies to make and and was some time until we felt we could let go of each other.

I got to meet her daughters – the last time I had seen Carmen, she was still a baby and Elisa I only knew from your letters. Marisol and I talked long into the night. When I asked her about you and about Constanza, she said I should wait for El Vago to return. Which I did, with less than my usual patience.

When El Vago returned, Logan had joined us, the others had gone to bed to get at least a few hours of sleep. As it turned out, this incarnation of El Vago was Constanza. At the time, I felt a it too overwhelmed by everything that had happened to muster any real surprise at this. Constanza has always been a headstrong woman who did what she wanted, so the role of El Vago fits her well.

Juan had alienated her with his fanaticism, up to a point where she feared for her live and for that of Juanito. So she had faked her own death to escape – I cannot say I blame her, although this seems to be what has pushed Juan finally into the arms of the Inquisition. But I think he would have ended there in any case.

No-one knew where you and Alba had gone, so I made a guess: the old Numian tower where we used to meet when we needed time away from our families and did not want anyone to find us. So that is where we went, accompanied by Esmeralda and Lucani. Constanza and the rest of Los Vagos had their own matters to attend to.
I did guess right, but we were a few hours too late. Logan could tell me as much by the time we had climb halfway up the hill to the tower by the tracks he found on the ground: hooves and the tracks of people forced to walk against their will. I ran the rest of the way, hoping that Logan was wrong, but all I found in the tower were signs of a fight and a huge bloodstain on the floor.

I felt like someone had stabbed me as well, my knees gave way and I had to fight just to breathe. Logan roughly reminded me that if I gave up hope now, you were certainly lost and he was right, of course. But in that moment, it simply went over my strength to keep believing that I would find you and Alba. Logan’s observation that the bloodstain was right at the entrance, where someone defending themselves would meet an attacker, did a lot to get me back on my feet again. You always had a way with knives.
So we left the tower, joined our friends again and set out to hunt.

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Spy Games

Dear Isabel,

I’m not going to send this letter, hopefully we will see each other soon. But writing to you has become an important part of my day, so I’ll continue with it and give you the letter in person.

We had a few rather uneventful days before the Montaigne embassy celebrated L’Empereur’s birthday with a three day festival. We all did well during the festival, I think. At least there were no more éclats and no-one had to fight a duel. The second day of the festival was devoted to an elaborate game that involved spotting the ‘traitors’ in a given group – or remain undetected if you happened to be a traitor. Which I was rather often, not that I did not enjoy it. I managed to stay in the game until the very last round, to the displeasure of several noblemen and -women who did not take kindly to losing to a commoner. Raphael Nunez also remained in the game. Either he is much more cunning than he seems or someone had done a lot of work to get him there. I’m still not sure about him. In any case, I was one of the traitors and Raphael played for the loyal group. Since it was obviously important to someone that Raphael wins, I made a few crucial mistakes, although I am reasonably sure that it could not easily be traced back to me. And now Raphael and his group have won, among other things, an audience with L’Empereur. It might have been the wrong decision, since I do not know who protects Raphael and what his purpose is, but there is no way to play spy games without risk.

On the evening before, Ramon and Alain received letters from Eisen and it seems that both Alain’s wife and Ramon’s fiancée Maike will join us in Paix. Ramon is less then enthusiastic about this and I can see why. His little dalliance with Esmeralda has unleashed a flurry of rumours and those will be awkward to explain, to say the least. He also fears that Maike will become a liability. I don’t know her enough to really judge that, but if he continues to keep her ignorant about what he is doing, it is bound to happen, I am sure. Rumours and intrigues are the preferred weapons in Paix, even more so in Charouse, and I certainly would consider using Maike against Ramon, if I intended to harm him. Which would become that much harder if they trust each other, but I am not sure they do.

But it will be a while yet before they arrive, we should already be back from Castille by then. I keep myself busy with preparations and with building friendships or rather alliances with certain people here in Paix, but I much rather would simply leave right now.

Love
Marcello

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Complications

Dear Isabel,

you were right. I did lecture Ramon, I could not help myself. At least that went better than any of such talks I ever had with Juan. I hope I learned something since then about agreeing to disagree and of course it is easier when I am not talking to my own son. But not all that much.
I am probably a bit idealistic when it comes to marriage. After all, we never spent much time apart and when we did, we never hid what we were doing from each other, even the more questionable things. We fought more times than I can count, but at least there are no big secrets. Well. I hope Ramon’s secret does not come back to haunt him.

Especially since it already seems to be common knowledge in the Labyrinth. Alain and Ramon attended a small party at the Montaigne embassy and Ramon was challenged to a duel by Antonio Rios de Nunez, Esmeralda‘s would be-lover, a young man who seems to be a good deal more rash than is healthy for him. At the same time, Alain made a Musketeer the target of his sharp tongue – or rather a man who wore the uniform without actually being a Musketeer. And since Alain is not a member of the Swordman’s Guild, Ramon agreed to fight for him once he had finished his own quarrel. Logan was called in as Ramon’s second. Insulted by the false Musketeer’s second, Jerome Sices du Sice, he joined the ranks of the duellists.

I missed all this because I was at the Eisen embassy to meet with Javier. He did warn me that, to quote the note he passed me, my ‘friends are attracting attention’, but I would have been surprised if it had been otherwise. So I did not worry too much and met with Javier at the agreed time. And it’s a good thing I did because he told me that one of the duellists has a tendency to solve his problems with poison. He gave me a small bottle with some liquid as a precaution. Before I left for the Montaigne embassy, I arranged a meeting between Ramon and Javier and we agreed that I would meet with Javier’s mistress, Donna de la Noche, once I had found out who the real spy for occupied Castille is – we both agree that Raphael is only a distraction, although a very effective one. He also asked me to find out what made Alain insult the false Musketeer. I’m definitely interested in that, but if I will tell Javier about it, I am not sure.

Meanwhile, Lucia had arrived at the Montaigne embassy together with Esmeralda just in time for Ramon’s first duel with Antonio Rios. Esmeralda clearly showed whom she would prefer to win and Ramon did indeed have little trouble with that duel. I made my way to the garden when the second duel was to begin and saw Ramon’s opponent collapse, poisoned by the wine he had just drunk and coughing up a great deal of blood. His second began to shout about Castillian murderers and cowards and for a moment the mood turned against us. I put all my trust in Javier at that moment and gave the man the, I hoped, antidote. I think only Logan, who kneeled next to me noticed the bottle (that probably did nothing to further Logan’s trust in me). I managed to explain away the incident, saying that it was just an ulcer that caused the bleeding and the Montaigne doctor who had been called agreed with me. The poison had caused heavy bleeding and kept the blood flowing, but so far, no-one except us and the poisoner knows about this.

Jerome Sices du Sices had used the confusion caused by his accusations to vanish into the crowd. Lucia and Esmeralda tried to follow him and only just saw him stepping through a portal created by Porté sorcery. We later found out that there is no Jerome Sices du Sice and so the true identity of the man is unknown.

A Musketeer offered to stand in for his poisoned comrade and so Ramon did fight his second duel. He lost, but against an opponent like Jean Paul Gaulle dul Motte that is no great shame. I do wonder what dul Motte and his friends will say when they find out that he fought to defend the honour of a fraud.

Esmeralda’s father has chosen Lucia as her new best friend – he practically ordered Lucia to befriend her. So far, this actually seems to be working, although I am not sure if the ambassador will be happy with the results. In any case, he wants Esmeralda to travel into Castille for a while, so it seems that I will see more of it than I have for some time. But our plans to travel to Ramon’s home have not changed, so we will see each other in a few weeks. I wish time would go by faster…although the last days have been exciting enough.

Love
Marcello

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Garden Party

Dear Isabel,

I remember that inn and I think we can arrange for an escort from there. I wish you hadn’t told Alba – judging from her letter, she’s too excited to get any sleep until you are finally leaving. Not that I feel much different.

The garden party in honour of the Jubilee of Queen Elaine was last night and gave us all a first taste of the parties at the Labyrinth. It was a lavish affair, lasting from midday until late into the night.

Logan got drafted into a competition in the honour of the Queen and fought in three trials against a Vendel who had, rather embarrassingly easy, defeated the Avalon champion last year. Looking at the man, I wasn’t surprised. There’s more than a bit of the Vesten in him. Nonetheless, we wagered some money on Logan’s victory. He did win the tug of war, but lost the caber toss – no surprise there. The fistfight was again more suited to his talents and after a couple of bloody rounds, the Vendel forfeited the fight while he still could.

We were not the only people to bet on the competition and huge sums were won and lost. Not least by the Vodacce delegation who had actually betted trade rights with the Vendel. If I had to guess, I’d say that the Vendel lost a five-figure sum in that bet and they are not happy about it. It puts Logan in the Vodacce’s good book and he intends to use that fact.

I spent a good deal of time with Raphael Nunez. I did wonder if the man only acted stupid, but no-one is that good an actor. And his master or rather mistress does not seem too happy with his ridiculous behaviour. Still, I cannot help but think that he is employed for a purpose. A conjuring trick maybe. Everyone looks at the idiot and no-one at the real spy. But if it is a trick, I have not discovered the truth so far.

However, I did deliver the information Javier gave me to Raphael and he was more than delighted to hear about them. I met Javier not much later and I have hopes that I will be introduced to his mistress, Donna de la Noche.

Ramon, as usual, attracted much attention from the young women present at the party and received an invitation in form of a dropped handkerchief from the daughter of the ambassador of the occupied part of Castille, Esmeralda Constanza de Montoya de Ochoa. The handkerchief contained a small stone with a sort of code engraved into it, a map to a certain room in the (occupied) Castille part of the Labyrinth. I do wonder what her motives are, she has to know that Ramon is loyal to Castille. And I have to admit, I do wonder about Ramon. He’s going a bit far for a man with a fiancée, I think. But it is not my place to lecture him about it.

In any case, I spent the rest of the party in Logan’s company, drinking and talking. We both mistrust the ambassador’s daughter and Logan asked me to find out more about her. It seems that my talents to come in handy even for him at times. I just wish that I had not tried to keep up with Logan’s drinking. And I wish that the others will sleep a bit longer so that I can suffer in silence. Please stop laughing at me – I know you do. You always did.

I think I will go back to bed. I will post this letter later, when I can stand the thought of going outside.

Love
Marcello

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A Long Night
A tale of an earlier adventure that just might have repercussions even now

„Land“ the man in the Crow’s Nest cried, and down on the Quarterdeck Captain Richard Logan looked at his 1st Officer.

„Hold position, we wouldn’t want them to spot us now, would we Mr. Byrne?“

Byrne turned to his captain, who was still looking out to see trying to spot the land ahead himself

„ No Sir, I’ll see to it immediately“

Byrne made his way to the Deck to give the necessary orders.
Meanwhile Logan turned to the two men who were still with him.

„ So, what do you think?“

„ The Map we found in Puerto Grande seems to be correct, but that Monataigne Bastard will know that we have it“ Edelbert Ambrosius von Immenhofen, Logan’s Eisen Partner answered.

„Si, Senores, we shouldn’t have let him escape, damn those Montaignos and their bloody Hole Magic“ , the third man, Don Salvador Gallegos de Orduno added.

Logan turned toward their Castilian companion, „ If I may remind you, there was a boarding cannon between us and him at the time, and I prefer stopping it from going of in our faces over getting him, we will have another chance at that soon. And I was asking for your opinion on our strategy, personally I think we should wait till nightfall and then make our approach.“

Edelbert nodded „Yes, we have to few men aboard to deal with almost anything head-on, I told you we should have asked the Governor for one of those Galleons“

Logan chuckled „Yeah, and wait a week for them to be ready, by then the Gold would be long gone“

Don Salvador leaned against the rail, making himself comfortable „Si, and the Governor wouldn’t like that, right now she likes you, but if you fail in this that might change“

Edelbert sighed „If we fail in this we will most likely be dead“

Logan rubbed his hands eagerly „ So it’s settled, noble sir’s we wait till night fall“

„Fine with me“

„Si, they will most likely be drunk by then“

- – -

Later, after nightfall, the Donna Bianca closed in on the Island and the Pirate Hideout, the officers training their spyglasses on the natural harbour and the faint light that could be seen there.

Logan set down his spyglass and turned towards his 1st officer
„Mr., Byrne, any word from the Crow’s Nest? „

„Not yet captain, it’s to dark to make out anything at this distance“

„ Remind the men, no lights and as little noise as possible“

„ Aye Sir.“

A short time the first details of the harbour could be seen.

„ Damn, Logan they have three ships in there, not just one“

„ And a pretty big one at that, look the one on the right seems to be the Rosé Noir, and the one in the middle is just a sloop, but the one on the left, that’s a Warship, 4th rate I think, it’s hard to make out even with the bonfire they lit on the Island.“

„Could be right, now that changes everything, we can’t attack three ships with barely a hundred men“

„ Who says we can’t, most of them will be drunk, and I have just the Idea how to even the odds a little“

„And what kind of plan would that be?
Oh no you don’t mean to board that thing do you?“

„That’s exactly what I plan, we will take half the Crew to the Warship, take out the Crew and use it’s guns to take out the sloop, meanwhile Byrne can take the Bianca in and handle the Rose!“

„That’s crazy, we will not have enough men for the guns on either ship“

„That’s why we have to make every shot count, loading the guns is no Problem, it s running them out that will be hard, we will make two teams of the strongest men we have, they will have to run from gun to gun to make this work, Hein would be a good one for that, the man is as thick-headed as a mule, but just as strong“

„Maybe, and who else will we take, I mean we need the best fighters in the boarding team, but we should also take a few experienced gunners;“

„Si, but I say we leave Angel here, the fight with the Rose will be much harder“

„Yes we need our best gunner here“

„ Any other suggestions, Edelbert, Don?“

„Ah Senores, I would hate to miss this little adventure, I’ll accompany you if you don’t mind?“

„By all means, might get hot over there, you’re welcome“

„Hot?, Ah yes muchas gracias, I will gladly come“

„ Shall we take Alain? „

„ Yes, he has an amazing talent for stealth, and he doesn’t like his noble countrymen one bit, I bet he would like a chance at that bastard again.“

„Then it’s settled, Edelbert, pick the men, please, and Don, talk to Alonzo about issuing the weapons will you, I will talk to Byrne and Angel, give them their orders“

- – -

Half an hour later the boarding team was ready to leave and Logan gave a few last orders to the remaining Officers.

„Mr. Byrne, I expect you to have my ship waiting for me in one piece when I return, understood?

„Yes sir, and good luck over there, wish I could be with you“

„ Well, I need a good man over here“

„Thank you Sir“

The boats, packed with men, left the ship and disappeared into the night, making their way to the harbour, Byrne looked after them for a while, and then turned to Angel, who was waiting nearby.

„Well, we better get ready, are the guns loaded?

„Yes Sir, loaded and run out, I have had the men ready Grapeshot for the second volley, I had them load the port guns too, just in case.“

„Good work, get ready:“

„I just hope the captain knows what he’s doing, there could be hundreds of men on that Warship.“

„Not bloody likely, considering that bonfire over there.“

With that, Angel made her way to the Gun deck, and Byrne continued to stare at the dark silhouettes of the ships in the harbour, waiting for the signal to start his approach.

- – -

About an hour later the boats reached the entrance to the harbour, the Warship was only a few hundred meters away, Logan signalled the men and then he and those of his men who could swim silently slipped into the water and began their approach to the ship, Don Salvador waited in the lead boat with the rest of the men for the signal to approach.

The men swam to the port side of the anchored warship, which was looming over them like a sleeping beast, when they reached it, Logan himself prepared to be the first to climb aboard, using the Anchor chain, while a few others prepared to climb the aft section to reach the Quarterdeck.

He slipped out of the water and climbed the chain, carefully and slowly, to minimize any noise, when he reached the Deck, he carefully raised his head so that he could look over the bow of the ship, there was none near, but he could see a men standing close to the port side at the height of the second mast, two more were on the starboard side a little further back, and a small group stood near a lantern below the quarterdeck, he could not see the front part of the main deck, but he heard Voices that seemed to originate from somewhere close to the Ladder leading to the foredeck.

„Strange,“ He wondered, „There should be more of them here, even with those celebrations going on, this is just to easy“

He slipped on deck, crouching and motioned for the next men to come up, then he silently crept to the edge of the foredeck, looking down, where he could see two men, who stood together, talking softly, he could also see the Main deck Clearly for the first time, and he noticed that the ship had apparently been damaged recently.

„… told you, you shouldn’t have wagered that the damn Vendel would hold out for more then three broadsides, now we have to stay here and guard those damn Vendel when we could be over on the island celebrating.“

„And how was I to know what the captain had planned? I still don’t know how he did it, I mean, suddenly the damn rudder doesn’t work and they sit there unable to move.“

„I bet it had something to do with that Magic of his..:“

Logan had heard enough, he crawled back, to where there where now five more of his men waiting.

„ Captain, the others are ready too, just give the signal“

„Good, now all we have to do is take out those guards, we need to be fast, if there is one cry we are busted, I will take out the one on starboard, you too, take the Port man, and the rest of you take out those two down there, I just hope the others are ready.“

With that he turned and slipped to one o the lines that led up into the rigging and began to climb it, slowly making his way to where his target was standing, from up there he could see Edelbert and his group on the Quarterdeck, getting ready to attack the group close to them.

He prepared himself and then gave the signal, a short low whistle, and at the same time jumped his enemy.

The men looked up to see where the sound came from and only saw Logan’s Boot coming for his head, he didn’t see the rapier following it, or anything else for that matter.

The fight was over in a second, only the man on the port side had nearly managed to brake the hold his attackers had on him, only to be silenced by a thrown Knife, that Georgia, Logan’s Paymaster had thrown, after Climbing the Port side of the ship.

Logan quickly motioned for the signal to the boats being given and then called his men together.

„ People we are lucky today, this is not one of the Pirate Vessels, it’s a Vendel ship they somehow managed to capture, and it seems some of the crew are still aboard, search the lower decks as soon as the others are here, but be quit, sound carries far here, and we wouldn’t want to raise suspicion to early would we?“
A few Minutes later Alonzo Vincente returned from the lower Decks, with three men in Vendel Clothing in tow.

„Captain, this men is the captain of this ship, the other two are his officers.“

„Thank you Mr. Vincente“

„Greetings Sirs, my name is Richard Logan, Captain of the Donna Bianca, with whom do I have the pleasure?“

„My Name is Harold Magnus, Captain of this Ship, and these are my Officers, Ingwald Svenson, and Olaf Cole, we hear you are here to fight the pirates?“

„Yes, we are, where is your Crew?

„Nearly half of them joined the Pirates, the Scum couldn’t wait, Mr. Svenson told me the rest are being held on the Island, in that Stone Building over there, close to the beach.“

Logan looked over to the Coast, and the buildings that he could see in the shine of the bonfire.

„You mean the one on the left?“

„Yes, that’s the one:“

„How many of your Crew are there, and is there anyone else still aboard?“

„There should be about a hundred of our men there, the only ones still here are the Eisen.“

Edelbert, who had just joined the group looked up at the mentioning of his Countrymen.

„Eisen? „

„Yes a band of Mercenaries I hired to protect my ship, much good it did me with the ship unable to manoeuvre.“

„ And where are they now?“

„ In the forward hold, the Pirates wanted them separate from my Crew.“

„I’ll look into it, if You’ll excuse me, Logan , Gentlemen?“

„Sure, look into it, Captain Magnus, will you send one of your Officers to show my comrade the way?“

- – -

With that Edelbert left and made his way into the bowels of the Ship, accompanied by the Olaf Cole, they soon reached a door in the front part of the lower deck.

“Here it is Sir, I don’t have the key, the pirates have it.“

„I assumed so Mr. Cole:, stand aside.“

Edelbert knocked on the door and called out in Eisen.

„Stand back everybody, we are going to get you out of there now, and I don’t expect to be attacked once I come in, otherwise the one doing it will get himself a bloody nose, understood?“

Without waiting for a reply he drew his Broadsword, and rammed it between the Door and the Chain holding down the bar, and then, with one mighty heave he broke the chain.
He Sheathed his Sword, and then lifted the bar and opened the Door.

Inside there were a number of men in Uniform, looking somewhat dishevelled after being locked up for three days, at first they seemed ready to spring Edelbert, but only a moment passed before they recognized his Dracheneisen Armor, immediately a man stepped forward, and with a slight bow he saluted Edelbert.

„My Lord, we thank you for our rescue, my name is Karl Meisner, and those are my men the Golden Fists“.

„Are you ready for action men, there are still Pirates out there and you can show your gratitude by helping us to defeat them.“

„Gladly Sir, all we need are some Weapons, although we’ll fight without them if necessary, we’ll look around, maybe some of our stuff is still here, hey you Vendel, get me to that secret compartment of Yours, I bet you didn’t show that to those Pirates.“

The men began to move, nodding in respect to Edelbert as they moved by, he himself returned to the main Deck, where Logan was waiting for him.

„And what do you think Edelbert?“

„We might have found ourselves a real Fighting Force there, 30 men, all trained soldiers if I’m not mistaken“

„We could use that, the Signal has been given, the Bianca should be here in less then half an hour, the men are working on the Guns already.“

„Good, with those Eisen we might be able to free the Vendel sailors, that might be enough to turn the table in our favour.“

„My thinking exactly“

A few minutes later the Eisen came up to the deck, all of them now armed with Broadswords, Golden painted Panzerhands and Muskets.. Their Leader marched up to the Group of Officers standing near the Quarterdeck, he gave an short nod to Edelbert and Logan and then turned to captain Magnus, he looked him straight in the Eye and then struck him across the face.

„Our contract with you is over, we don’t work for men who lock us up before we even see the enemy, just be glad you didn’t tell those Pirates where our replacement Weapons were kept“

He turned to Edelbert and saluted.

„My Lord, my men and I would be glad to enter your Service, we are ready to get back at those Pirates.“

“Terms to be negotiated after I see you in action, well that’s acceptable.“

„Thank you Sir“

Only Minutes later Logan and Edelbert along with the Eisen where ready to use the boats to get to the Island and take the fight there, they waited until the lookout reported the Bianca about to enter the harbour and then began to row ashore, when they where halfway there the Mayhem started.

- – -

Aboard the Donna Bianca Shawn Byrne watched the entrance to the harbour pass, he could now see the look on the face of the men aboard the enemy frigate, one of whom had just looked dup and seen them, in that very Moment the cannons aboard the Vendel Warship fired a full Broadside into the Sloop in the middle of the harbour, immediately clouds of smoke began to fill the small harbour.
Byrne saw his men take down the rest of the sails and then scramble down the Rigging and into the waiting Gun Deck, only 5 men remained on the Main deck with him, crewing the only boarding cannon the Donna Bianca had, and just now firing it out over the Enemy Foredeck, sending the pirates there into a run.
The Bianca began to pass the Pirate Vessel and immediately her Guns began a rolling Broadside, timed exactly with the Movement of the Ship, so that the shots all hit a rather small section of the Rose’s bow, tearing a large hole into the enemy Gun deck.

The Bianca came to a halt directly across the Rose, and now her Port cannons fired, delivering a full Broadside into the already damaged Sloop.
By now the smoke in the harbour was so thick that visibility was impaired, he could only hear the Warships Guns beginning to fire again, now one after the other.
He looked out to the enemy ship, and had to dive for cover as he saw Jean Marie du Lac, the Pirate Captain, stepping out of a Porté hole, closely followed by some of his men, and aiming a gun at his head.

- – -

Logan and his men reached the shore across from the Prison building, he took Hein and 10 of the Eisen and ran for the door, while Edelbert and Meisner organized the other 20 into a line of Battle keeping the Pirates from the Doors of the prison.
Logan ran through the door coming face to face with an astonished Pirate and cut him down, then he rolled for cover as the other 4 occupants of the room trained their guns on him, he heard a curse in Eisen, and then Hein and the Mercenaries where on the Pirates, it only took seconds.
Immediately afterward Hein and 5 of the men ran up the stairs to the second level, intending to get to the cannons on the roof.
Logan himself had two of the Eisen watch the door while he and the others began to search the Pirates for the Prison keys.

- – -

Edelbert looked to his left and right, seeing the precision of his countrymen, as they formed a line of battle, but he had to focus his intention on the enemy, for now the Pirates came running for them en Masse´, the first where taken out by a volley of musket shots, but he knew there wouldn’t be time for a second volley, grimly he strengthened the grip on his Zweihander, hearing twenty broadswords being drawn in unison.

„Let them come“ he thought.

And they came.

- – -

Byrne came to his feet and watched as more and more Pirates appeared through the bloody hole in reality the Montaigne was still holding open, he cried orders to his men to aim the boarding cannon at the men, but before he was through they already fired, but they only hit some of the Pirates as du Lac ducked behind some of his men.

„Damn there are to many of them, Angel fire those Guns“ he thought.

He could see the Gun ports of the Rose opening, just as the Bianca began to fire again, one of the shots tore right into an opening Gun port, and he could hear the rumbling of a cannon freed of it’s ropes, but that was not enough to keep the rose from firing back, the world exploded into splinters as a shot hit immediately below him, and he could feel the blood running down his arm and face.

- – -

Hein ran up the stairs, closely followed by his men, only to suddenly be confronted by a men pointing two pistols straight at him, he leaped, hoping to avoid the shots, but was to late, as he struck the man down with his axe, he could feel the burning pain of a hit in his side.

He fell over the dead Pirate and his men scrambled over him and engaged the remaining pirates, when he got to his feet one of his men was lying on the ground, holding his side, but the Pirates where all down.

He got to his feet and looked around, trying to figure out what to do next, his men turned to him and waited for new orders when suddenly a loud thundering noise was to be heard from above.

Hein looked around, still not quite sure what was going on, when one of the soldiers pointed to a ladder in the far corner of the roof, “ Sir, there must be a cannon up there, we have to take it out!”

Hein looked at him slightly puzzled, the soldiers beginning to get restless “Sir, the roof?”

Hein slowly nodded, he began to understand now,
„The roof? The roof, yes . To the roof!“

- – -

Down on the Battlefield Edelbert heard a cannon going off overhead, but could not really divert his attention from the men he was fighting, they just kept on coming, and he had seen at least one of his men fall. Grimly he fought on.
„ Hurry Logan, free those men, we need them here“. He said to himself as he ducked another blow and immediately pressed forward again swinging his mighty Zweihander.

- – -

Logan had just found the keys, and began to unlock the cells, shouting to the men inside to get outside, grab a weapon from a fallen pirate and fight.
“ Go you fools, fight them of or we are all going down, now hurry!”
The Vendel Sailors eagerly rushed out, new hope and determination in their eyes.

„That were all Sir“, one of the Eisen told him, when he turned away from the last cell.

„Good two of you look what’s happening above, the others follow me, there is a Battle going on out there“.

With that he drew his rapier and with a laugh ran for the door to join the fighting outside.

- – -

Byrne saw the sails of the Rosé beginning to rise, already the ship had begun to move.

„Damn they are going to get away again“ he thought, he drew his Pistol and aimed, hoping to yet get du Lac, but the shot went wide, due to his injuries.
The two ships traded one last broadside, and then the Rosé was out of reached, already Sails where up almost completely, and the Bianca was in no condition to follow.

„I’m just glad they didn’t decide to board us“ he thought.

- – -

When Hein reached the roof where he saw the two large cannons placed there, one pointing at sea, and the other just being moved to point at the battlefield below.
Hein stared for a moment and watched the Gun Crew working feverishly to reload and move the big cannon all at once, behind him his men scrambled up the ladder.
One of them tapped his shoulder “Sir, the cannon?”

He looked at the man and then back at the cannon, it was nearly in place and it also seemed as if it was loaded now, just then one of the men working on it looked up and saw Hein and his men, he shouted a warning, and this roused the big Eisen to action.
He roared and charged, the poorly armed Gun Crews where no match for him and his men, and only seconds later he leaned on the Gun pointing into the Village when one of the soldiers asked him

„Now that they have moved this thing so conveniently for us Sir , what do you say we use it?“

- – -

When Logan and his men joined the Fighting outside the tide of the battle had already turned, the Eisen where slowly advancing, their ranks bolstered by the Vendel Sailors, just then the cannon on the roof fired again, but this time right into the Pirates, that broke their Morale completely, and the survivors surrendered.

- – -

As the morning sun slowly rose over the harbour, Logan and Byrne stood on the Quarterdeck of the Donna Bianca , both men looked out over the wreckage that the Battle of the previous night had left, the Sloop was so badly damaged, it was unclear if she was salvageable, the Vendel Ship lacked it’s Bowsprit, which the only shot from the land based cannon had torn off, and the Bianca, while still seaworthy was once again in dire need of repairs.

„It’s a shame the Rose escaped, Sir“

„Yes, but at least we have the Gold, it’s good they had already transferred it to the Vendel Ship, and I have a feeling we will meet that Montaigne again“

„You’re probably right, I’d much rather do it after we managed to find the reason for these accidents though, without that we might have gotten him, this time the spare shots for the boarding cannon just rolled straight into the path of an incoming shot, the explosion nearly tore off my arm, and we lost two of our men.“

„Maybe, but I have a feeling that won’t be easy either, but right now, go down there and join the men, you’ve earned it.!“

„Thank you Sir, it’s been a long night.“

„Yes, a long night“

The end

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