Sunday, June 12, 2016

Bloody Jenny - Mutiny

Jenny stood at the ship's wheel. Sailing south for warmer weather and fatter hauls was nothing new to her ship and crew. The weather was always mercurial at sea, but especially at this time of the year. She manned the wheel as much as her husband had when he was captain, more so than she did when she'd been the Captain's wife. The nights were her favorite time to do so. Clouds were back from the sliver of a moon and a fair wind blew at their backs. She hummed an ancient tune, lost in thoughts of the baby floating in her belly and what she'd do about that.

A bright flash of blue-white light drew her attention. It wasn't lightning. As she watched the rigging, set to take full advantage of the steady wind, she saw blue traceries work their way down the sheets. Faerie fire was nothing new to a sailor with her experience. It had many names, and by its nature was no more magical than the other phenomena they would encounter during long weeks at sea. That didn't mean the men on the ship would react with reasoned responses. Thankfully most of them were below deck.

If she were honest with herself, she would admit to some superstition when it came to the faerie lights. Every time she'd seen it, it was generally a good omen. She prayed to God if it were, that the goodness was about the son or daughter she'd have just after their wintering.

A board creaked nearby, one which had nothing to do with the movement of the ship. The breeze carried scents of acrid tobacco and unwashed body. That didn't narrow it down, but someone on deck without announcing themselves could be dangerous. There were men in the crew less than happy to be serving a woman.

She put her hand on the hilt of the short cutlass she wore. "Good evening, sailor."

"Evenin' captain." The voice was low and gravelly. It spoke through a set of lips which lent a muffled quality to the words. That would be Cooper. He'd taken a few shards of wood to the face when grapeshot splintered a mast two years ago. It left part of his mouth immobile.

"What brings you above deck, mister?" She kept her eyes on the sea and stars, navigating by the latter. Certain his presence meant nothing good, she tightened her grip on the sword.

"Seems some of the men aren't pleased with your leadership after all, captain." The title was said with an audible sneer.

She hooked a loop of rope over one of the hand holds and turned, leaving her weapon hand where it was. "And you've come to let me know this out of the goodness of your heart?"

He had a cudgel in one hand and a brace of pistols at his waist. "I've been asked to relieve you of your duty."

The office of captain was filled by a majority vote. She'd been brought in by her crew, proudly. If something were to happen to her this late at night, with the only witness being the murderer, there would likely be no consequences other than electing a new captain. Her first officer and a few other loyal men would raise a stink, but the consequences of saying anything could be just as deadly for them. "You think you can do that?" She drew her cutlass free an inch or two.

"Aye. I can." He stepped forward and swung the length of wood with more force than finesse.

Art Source: R by Pheberoni on DeviantArt
Story and Characters (c)/by Scott Roche

#Pirates, #ScottRoche, #History, #1800s


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