Lord of the Winds

 

Chapter 10

The Lords of the Wind

 

We set our course west. The directions we had were as I have previously explained incomplete until the captain noticed some numbers on the only key yet unused. We added the number and lo and behold; We had our destination! We were heading far into the Rainsbirths Sea. In addition to that I had also figured out who the fourth heir might be. Despite Ebenezers distorted face and cripled body he did vaguely remind me of someone; Cecilie – the girl we had talked to at the Almohadish Nights. She had really sent us off course on our quest! But I had to admit; she didn’t lack spirit and she surely rightly deserved a part of the inheritance. I had by then settled with my fourth, as the Captain, and Jean-Luc as well, seemed determined to be completely fair and lawabiding and cut my inheritance into four bits. ‘Less for them is more to us’ didn’t seem to sit well with them, and since their cooperation was most nessecary to my quest I had to give in.

 

Emily was on board with us. We had to take her with us into the unknown, since it would take us way off course to find a safe harbour for her first. She was a quiet one. I could find absolutely nothing to talk to her about; she had no interest what so ever in ships, sailing, the ocean and other worthwhile things, and since we shared my cabin I was soon found on deck at most hours. Jean-Luc offered me his bed (when he was not sleeping in it himself, off course!) and I found that to be the better solution. I could get my cabin back soone enough. Besides; there is nothing better that crawling into a bed still warm by somebody elses bodyheat, especially when that somebody bathes regularly and generally has a quite pleasant bodyodor. After the Captain had had a chat with Emily, she opened up a bit, got up on deck and a few days later she spent most of her time in the sterne chatting away with Gaston. I still let her have the cabin pretty much to herself though, as she seemed to need more private life than me.

 

One day just before dawn I was on deck with Hawk, when something great and white showed up in the sky coming our way. Hawk called it an angel at first, that old romantic, untill it got close enough and we could properly see what it was; the largest bird I had ever seen landed on our deck. It was an albatross – a lord of the wind! (Did I feel like smacking my head when I saw it – everybody knows that albatrosses are called lords of the wind!). We were getting close to our destination, and as the morning dawned upon us a rock island was observed in the horizon. A great big rock rising straight out of the ocean, unhospitable as heck and almost completely white from hundreds of years of guano. Thousands and thousands of birds nested here; sea gulls, albatrosses, puffins, every sea bird you can think of! And each and every one of them had shat on the island! This big pile of pooh we had to climb on to! Personally I changed into my oldest clothes and got on with it. The rock was slippery and smelly, but as all adventoures know; adventure is not all rosepetals and sweet wine; and a treasure you haven’t walk through hell for, is hardly worth having!

 

There were several cave mouthes on the side of the island, and we went into the largest one of them. But before we climbed into the cave we spotted sail on the horizon! Someone was chasing us. It would take hours for them to reach us, and most likely they could not even see us yet. I could think of only one ship it could be; the Hyena.

 

But first things firt; we climbed into the cave and inside a stalagmite dripped drops of water into a small limegreen pond on the cave floor. The water or whatever in the pond was unclear, so we poured the liquid from the AIR bottle into the pond and the water turned clear at once. A cylinder was visible at the bottom. But smoke rose from the water as well, and it must have been poisonous for soon Hawk and I, who was closest at the time, was pretty much lost from the worlde. I can’t remember what happened until I found myself in the cavemouth, Jean-Lucs arm tightly around my waist while he held the cylinder in the other hand. Apparently both Hawk and I had had halucinations and had staggered around blind to our surroundings. The fresh air cleared our minds, and everyone was in a hurry to get of this slimy and smelly island. We climbed back down the cliffside, some of us took a involuntary dip into the ocean (let’s calle it a bath!) and we sailed back to the Fortuna to looke at our find.

 

Once seated in the Captains cabin we looked closer at the cylinder. It consisted of seven rings closely connected but movable. Five of the rings had letters written on them, that could be turned to spell different words. It would make sense if it should spell WATER, since that was the element we had yet to use. It had a keyhole on the top, so the Captain turned the rings, spelled out ‘water’, stuck in the key and turned it. The cylinder came apart in his hands and spilled it’s contents; a small vial of acid that would have destroyed the contents and caused damage to the person who had not opened it properly and a document reading: “Water. The most distant land, under golden water, under the siren’s gaze, hold your breath and look. BL. HY’S inheritance”. So far so good – the third clue was found, yet not solved. We had other things on our minds just then…”

 

Here I pause in Fiona’s narration. I have several accounts of the battle between the Fortuna and the Hyena, and since Fiona despite all her talents can’t be everywhere at once, I feel that a more complete picture is given, if the other stories are added too. Amongst those I have talked to are the cabinboy Gaston who stayed close by Fiona (heeding the rumour that she brought luck in fights) and the very observant crewman Theodore ‘Crookseye’ Lafite, who though crosseyed didn’t seem to miss much. It is he, amongst others, who claims to have wittnessed Fiona and Jean-Luc in compromising situations. Hence commences the story:

 

Jacko was chasing the Fortuna. A powerful wind was blowing in from the side, bringing the Hyena to a pronounced slant. The Fortuna laid out a drag anchor and struck some sails to appear slow and badly manoeuvrable. The Captain wanted to give the Hyena a chance to catch up. He wanted to be the one to set time and place for the battle, and it would be to no advantage to wait. The slanting Hyena was unable to use her port side canons and Captain Velasques decided to use that to his advantage. Captain Velasquez may be young, but he had at good head on his shoulders along with nerves of steel! He put Hawk in charge of the starbord side canons, Jean-Luc of the port side and Fiona was set to repell their boarders.

 

The Fortuna waited until the Hyena had caught up with them on the Fortuna’s starbord side. They fired simultaneously. The Hyenas slant affected that the two full hits the Fortuna gave her would be well below the waterline as soon as the Hyena was back on even keel. The Hyena hit back with chainshots and tore down the Fortunas main sail. Soon captain Velasquez’ men were busy cutting away fallen sail. They then cut the drag anchor and the Fortuna quickly crossed over to the Hyenas starbord side and gave her another broadside this time almost straight into her deck. The Hyena was somewhat damaged at that time, but undauntedly Jacko ordered his men to board. Jean-Lucs men fired at the boarders with swivelguns and the rest of the crew fired with all that they had. In the short moments before the boarders crossed over the canonboy Winston Jones sprang to a deserted canon, lit the fuse and fired a full hit into the boarding crowd. Secondes later he was cut down. The captain dragged him out of the fight, but it did not looke well. Their first wave of boarders was badly disabled at the time and was soon repelled. Jackos men started throwing firebottles at the Fortunas deck, and secured boardinghooks into the Fortunas side once more. Soon the Fortuna and the Hyena was locked into eachother and Jacko himself led the second wave of boarders. As soon as he set foot on the deck he cryed out; “Fiona! I’m here! Come and fight me, if you dare!”. Fiona sprang to yelling in return: “I will find you and end your days!”. A path between them seemed to open and soon they were in close combat. Everyone seemed to know not to budge into that fight uninvited. The captain Velasquez showed up at Fiona’s side and called out to her that he was there should she need him.

 

It was a fierce fight as fights of hate allways is. Jacko was not just an enemy, but someone Fiona truly loathed, and Jackos feelings for her were cooler than ice. He stood much taller than she, his golden earrings glinting against his brown skin. Fiona managed to strike him hard in the arm before he started slashing away on her. She was down on the deck within a minute, unhurt but at a disadvantage, when she called out and Captain Velasquez cut in on the fight. While he kept Jacko busy and wounded him in the shoulder, Fiona reached up with her knife and cut the tendon in Jacko’s right knee. He fell over with a scream and Fiona cut him in the stomach for good measure. She was up in a second, kicked away his weapons, planted a bootheel on his throat, and called out “Stop fighting, men! I have your captain under foot!”. Jackos men started retreating from their individual fights and started lowering their arms. The boatswain, a tall bald man, was the highest ranking officer still standing of Jacko’s men and as he threw down his arms, so did the rest of them. “Fiona, allow me to parley our surrender” he beckoned. “Parley with the captain” said she. A flicker of confusion crossed his face as he said “I thought you were the captain”. Fiona merely smiled at that and said: “May I introduce to you the Captain Enrique Velasques” and indicated the captain with a broad gesture without ever letting the pressure off her heel.

 

They surrendered without termes. Captain Velasquez let them bring their dead and wounded back to the Hyena. They would leave with only half the standing number they had come with. And Jacko stayed on the Fortuna. Before he as the last left the Fortuna the boatswain handed over the papers that proved they sailed for Goldmouthe and the Harold Brothers. He warned Fiona and the Captain that Goldmouthe was waiting for them in Port Royal. When Fiona asked him why they had followed, he said: “The Blackwell treasure”. Somehow the word had spread and it now seemed to be common knowledge that the Fortuna was treasurehunting. True; they had not been too discreet, but someone with a big mouthe had spilled the beans… Jacko had been ordered by Goldmouthe to make the Fortuna’s journey difficult. When asked how they had found the Fortunas whereabouts, the boatswain said that Jackos voodoopriest had told him. Mojaboema, whom Fiona had met before was on board the Hyena! Fiona called out to him “Hey priest! Tell me my fortune!”. He called back to her: “Fortune and danger, Fiona”. She merely barked a laugh at that “I knew that, priest, my life in a nutshell!”

 

Winston Jones died during the night and was the fifth of the Fortuna’s crew to die after the fight. There were wounded too, but they were nowhere as disabled as the Hyena. Captain Velasquez hung the already dying Jacko from the mast at dawn, and his beheaded body was thrown overboard without ceremony. It was decided to keep his head so they could collect the prize on it. Fiona was a bit disgusted by that – not about the fact that they had cut his head off, but the whole hanging and collecting prizething. It was a common enough way for a pirate to die, and it could just as well have been Fiona herself hung and beheaded for her crimes. She had often enough told me that the only truly proper way for at pirate to die is in a fight. When asked if she did not wish to grow old and die of old age in a beloved’s arms, she has smiled and said: “But then I would be a retired pirate – a different matter all together!”