Legless Carlos

 

Chapter 29

Getting back at Legless Carlos

 

Back at Cagliano – the only official harbour now safe to them – the crew was paid and given shore leave. Jean Luc went to sell some of the cocoa beans to his shipping company and received quite a good price for them – enough to pay every crewmember what was due him and to buy provisions for the coming journey. Fiona and her officers had decided now was the time to get back at Legless Carlos, who had once held them prisoners with the intentions of selling them as slaves. For that they needed a few more men. Despite everything they had gone through on board the Ienne the past weeks, not a single crewmember jumped ship - except for Michael. While he had never made much of a fuss about it, he had never come to terms with his punishment, though he had recovered quickly from it. In his stead they picked up Drunken Killeck, a middleaged sailor who had previously sailed with the Harrow Brothers and not thought much of them, and a couple of other men, so they now had a total of 98 men on board (well, 96 men and two women).

 

Fiona had some trouble with crewmembers thrown into jail for disorderly conduct. It turned out the rather overzealous cityguards made an extra profit hitting drunk sailors over the head – disorderly or no – and dragging them to jail, so that their captains would have to pay to get them out. Fiona was very displeased with that, but as it was common practice in many harbours, there was little she could do about it. She got extra displeased however, when it was Dominique and Ernest she had to pay to have released.

 

According to the innkeeper of Le Coq Rouge the officers of the Ienne held a grand party before leaving Cagliano, eating fine food and – not least – drinking lots of fine wine. Several of the officers (Dominique and Ernest amongst others) rented rooms and frolicked there with newly acquired ladyfriends. When asked, however, whether Jean Luc and Fiona had rented a room together (I’ve never seized to attempt to prove their relationship), he clammed up, and I suspect bribes.

 

The next day they left for Legless Carlos’ island with not much of a plan other than to take him out. They went north of the island to take a look into the harbour, and when they were spotted, they decided to attack right away. To their great joy the ‘Penelope’ was in the harbour. You might remember that the ‘Penelope’ was the ship which ‘rescued’ them from the deserted island and sold them to Legless Carlos. The crew of ‘Penelope’ would soon regret that though; the Ienne completely cleared the deck with a single broadside. Those who were not dead jumped ship.

 

Ernest stayed on board the Ienne and continued firing upon the settlement, while Fiona, Jean Luc, N’Gote, Hawk and Dominique went ashore along with a dozen crewmembers. It was slaughter – plain and simple… Jean Luc shot and killed One Ear Jack, the captain of the ‘Penelope’, who had ordered him flogged, when they were captured. He also fought the Nordic giant Svend, who had done the flogging. Dominique killed Legless Carlos, who didn’t really put up much of a fight. Apparently he was not used to his former slaves coming back to fight. The battle might not have lasted more than a quarter of an hour, and the Ienne’s victory was unquestioned. They freed 31 male slaves and 13 women, including the voudou mamba who had saved them the last time they had been there, and who knew they would come back for her.

 

They took everything of value they could find on Legless Carlo’s island and on board the ‘Penelope’ – money, rum, gunpowder, weapons and provisions. The mamba, whose name Fiona never learned, blessed them all, except for Ernest, who’s past she apparently held against him. The former slaves were put ashore near Cagliano, and the Ienne went to collect the prize for ‘Penelope’. Quite a nice little outcome altogether – as Fiona put it: Revenge does pay off – in more than one way.