Brotherhood

 

Chapter 13

Brotherhood of the Coast

 

Truth is that Goldmouthe’s reputation never quite recovered that flight. The remains of his men where hung, that is those who actually survived and didn’t manage to flee into the jungle. The rumor where soon spread that Goldmouthe had fled from a personal fight with Fiona Blackwell; that she had no quarrel with his men, she had merely taken something back that he had stolen from her.

 

The wounded including Jean Luc and Hawk were tended to. Cecilie as well, before she was taken to the Fortuna and locked up, until it could be determined in what manner she had aided Goldmouthe. Four days after that historic fight the Fortuna was under sail again and on her way. The puzzle with the wooden globe had not yet been solved and they had no clear destination. But that seemed to be the least of their problems; two sloops were now chasing them; a brig (two masts) and a sloop (singlemasted). They both carried the orange rebel flag from the St. Thomas rebels and the brig carried a codorian flag as well! The two fast little ships crossed forth and back and clearly had one intend in mind; to sink or capture the Fortuna. The Captain Velasques decided to take them on, but preferably one at a time. He picked his moment and while the sloop was way ahead, the Fortuna maimed the brig fatally with a full broadside. Fiona was once again in charge of the starbord side and Jean Luc of the port side. The brig’s foremast fell and greatly intervened with their maneuvrebility, and as fire spread across the ship they seemed put out of the game. Then the sloop returned to the starbord side and an extremely lucky shot beneath the waterline soon sent them to Davy Jones’ Locker. Against Fiona’s advice the captain Velasques picked up 20 survivors from the sea. They seemed a mottley crue of islanders, former slaves and Brothers of the Coast (The Brotherhood of the Coast are the codorian settlers that were left behind by the Codorian State, when the Island Kingdom took power of the Westerne Isles. They rebelled against the Island Kingdom, but to no awail, and begun pirating and generally making trouble where they could. But few in numbers as they always where, they were no real threat. Ed.).

 

The captain Velasques decided to negotiate with the Brothers, to find out what the codorian flag was doing on rebel ships. They were less than willing to talk, but once the highest ranking officer; the boatswain, who was a really tough fellow, was offered unconditional leave for him and his men (he didn’t care about the islanders or the rebel slaves), he told the captain this; The codorian ship El Mirador had contacted the Brotherhood and suggested they should join forces with the rebel slaves of St. Thomas. El Mirador carried silver to hire locals to rebel against the Island Kingdom. It was now headed for New Davinshire with hundreds of rebel slaves that were paid to wreck havoc in Jamesport and the uplands… El Mirador was clearly sent to cause as much trouble as possible while the Island navy was away. No one fights succesfully on two fronts, and even the Island Kingdom could not fight the Codorian navy while quelling a rebellion on the home front as well.

 

The survivors of the sloop were set on shore to Fiona’s great chagrin; she had preferred killing the Brothers at least. But the captain Velasques word was true, and they reached the shore unscathed. Then the Fortuna headed for Jamesport. While the Fortuna could not make much of a difference in a fight against hundreds of rebel slaves, they could at least warn the guvenor, though they carried no great love for him, and the landowners of New Davinshire, including off course the captain’s fiancée, Phoebe. They practically had to threaten the govenor to take action; ‘do this or we will give a really bad report of you in Georgetown!’, but the landowners received the warning with thanks, and having now done what they could, the Fortuna set out to sea again. While Fiona tried to convince Cecilie of the wisdom of going on shore, Cecilie had no intention of leaving those who was going after the treasure of which she had part. She trusted no one, had never had reason to, so why should she trust this woman pirate, just because she claimed to be related. Asked about the connection with Goldmouthe Cecilie explained she had asked advice of someone, who had betrayed her to Goldmouthe. He came and tooke her and her key, and seemed only to keep her alive, because she was Blackwell blooded. Fiona saw no reason after that to keep Cecile locked up. So Cecilie was bid welcome, though reluctantly at first, to Fiona’s cabin. Fiona held on to the key. She tried to get Cecilie to think of what to do with the money, once they had them, but to Cecilie the idea alone of being free and independent was unreal. Fiona brought her up upon the deck in the small hours, where few sailors were on board. They talked at length, but Fiona was more frustrated with the unimaginative girl, than she cared to admit. Fiona was always somewhat at odds with most people of her own sex, having spent most of her life in male company, and while she liked Cecile, she had no idea how to handle her. But soon Cecilie seemed to take a liking to the sea, and often she was seen as a second figurehead on the bow of the ship.

 

They pondered long over the next clue. Fiona thought that maybe ‘the siren’s gaze’ referred to the ship ‘The Siren’ that sank about 20 years ago on a tradingroute in Mare Solaris near the Misty Isles where the sea is rumored to be golden. Rumors had it that William Blackwell had something to do with the sinking of it, but no one know for sure. So the Fortuna set a course to reach the most distant island of the Misty Isles. Then it suddenly occurred to them that Black Harry inheritance (the wooden globe) and the knife that William Blackwell had asked him to hold for Fiona should be combined. True it was that a blade could fit in the slits of the globe. And since ‘water’ was the last element not yet used, they put the blade in where the mermaid was depicted; and the globe fell apart! Had it been any other knife, or had the knife been put into any other slit, a capsule of acid would have broken and destroyed the piece of paper within. The paper read: The Hunter (+ some numbers), The Eye of Mephenor (+ some numbers) and The Chalice of Caltea (+some numbers). The captain Velasques figured out the meaning of this; the hunter, the eye and the chalice are all starconstellations and the numbers were coordinates to a position in Mare Solaris. The captain carried with him a mythical book that could aid him figuring out his position merely on the position of the stars. Such a book had never been seen, and while Fiona insists this is so, that he had this book, it has never been verified. The course now set, there seemed little more to do than sail until the destination was reached.

 

Fiona claim to have slept badly once they reached the Mare Solaris. Tales of ghostcaptains and ships lost at sea kept her tossing and turning until she gave in, got up and merely stayed awake until she fell over from exhaustion.

 

As they reached the Misty Isles every thing seemed gloomy and creepy. Mist covered the ocean there and tales of sea serpents haunted the imagination. And sure enough; one misty and dark night something was spotted in the water, something big! All officers were on deck at the time, and everyone gazed into the haze, when suddenly a cry sounded: SEA SERPENT! A huge body made the surface of the ocean ripple. Something darker than the ocean loomed under them. The captain ordered guns ready, and everyone was ready to take on this mighty beast. Suddenly a loud bang startled everyone (Fiona told me she was so startled that she sprang into the arms of the man next to her – wittnesses tell me, that the man just happened to be Jean Luc…). But it was merely a canon that went off, ignited by an overly eager gunner. The explosion also seemed to alert the beast that now surfaced behind the sterne of the ship; it was nearly as wide as the ship itselfe; 6 meters across, dark and scaly skin, A Sea serpent for sure! But the ruccus must also have frightened it, for it sank beneath the surface then, and they saw nothing further of it that night.

 

The morning after that a rocky island green with jungle came into sight. Before noon they reached the rocky shores.