Apparent Defeat

"Get those sails up!" Emily bellowed, standing by the wheel of her ship. All hands were ready for movement; the ship was finally back in order. Anxious to catch up to the Bellmist, Emily had ordered immediate sailing. The wind was in perfect shape and they had the advantage: Bellmist did have a lead, but the Claymore was, by far, the fleetest ship on the seas. Besides, Bellmist would have to put up anchor for the night: the waters around the islands were treacherous by day and indefinitely deadly by night. Not to Emily, though: she knew the waters almost better than she knew her own ship.

Hands on hips, Emily watched as the sails billowed up and out, the wind pulling them taunt. She placed her hands on the wheel as she ship moved forward, smiling in satisfaction.

It was only a matter of time before Claymore gained on Bellmist—it seemed like a miniature eternity to Emily, but she handled it well enough. A few well-placed scowls and complaints held her frustration at bay.

"We almost have her!" a voice shouted towards Emily, who turned to smile at her first mate. Carrie's blond hair was disheveled by the wind about her face, many of the strands pulled from the leather that attempted to bind it. "Give it ten minutes, Captain!"

Emily nodded, watching the Bellmist closely as she steadily gained on it. The merchantship was sluggish in the water compared to the brisk Claymore, which was built to be able to catch other ships—it was, after all, a pirate ship if ever there was one. Emily turned towards Carrie, motioning towards the back of the ship. "Put out the flag."

"Aye, aye, Captain," Carrie replied, grinning wildly. A black flag was unfurled—the mark of a pirate ship. It brought a smile to Emily.

"Get the cannons ready! All hands that aren't occupied with the cannons, be ready to board!" Emily ordered, voice carrying clearly.

On the Bellmist, much frenzied activity was taking place: the crew and captain had realized her intent. The ship was larger than the Claymore; in height, berth, and length. Emily knew very well, however, she had the power to take it. She had never attempted anything as large as the Bellmist, but her last conquest was near the size.

As the Claymore pulled up next to the Bellmist, Emily heard the shout of "fire!" from the other ship. Cannons, in quick succession, erupted with noise and deadly aim. They fell short.

A smirk forgotten, Emily shouted, "Fire!" to her own men. Like the cannons of the Bellmist, her own fell short. She thought she heard a crack of wood, but she wasn't certain. Her crew had the range, though: next volley would strike the ship with incapacitating strength.

The volley never came. The mechantship re-fired. Their cannon-men, what few they had, were obviously talented. Emily heard the sharp crack of wood before she knew what had happened—the forward mast had been struck and was towards starboard. She let out a curse as the ship angled with it, throwing them off course with the Bellmist.

Another volley erupted from the Bellmist, all but one cannon missing the veering ship. It ripped through the wood of the forecastle and Emily fell forward with the impact. She threw all her weight onto the wheel, aiming the ship to starboard. She grit her teeth, knowing they wouldn't be able to take the Bellmist at this rate.

The Claymore slowly drifted away from the Bellmist, limping along like a wounded she-wolf—still dangerous, but without most of its bite. The Bellmist continued on its course, seemingly undaunted by the attack. Emily turned her gaze away from it, intend on finding safe harbor for her aching ship.


With a grumbling sigh, Emily swept the straggling locks of her hair behind her ears. She stared intently ahead, legs twined on the railing of the bow of the ship. She looked almost like a figurehead, expression so determined as she stared forward that she appeared to be carved from immobile wood. The illusion was destroyed when she puckered her face up, sticking her tongue out in a distasteful comment toward society in general—life stunk, literally and figuratively, however you looked at it.

A ship glided further away from her, slowly dipping behind the black blur of yet another island—the area was riddled with them. She knew the ship well—the Bellmist. Her goal, slipping away like a piece of lint with the wind. A few improper invectives drifted across her mind as she swung her legs over the railing and onto the planks of the ship.

Around her, men toiled among the sails, working hard at repairing the Claymore. In the boarding of the Bellmist, the ship's masts had been damaged and she had been required to seek harbor on a small island. None of her men—for they were all her crewmembers—paid her any real attention. They knew the drill: get the work done, skip the pleasantries. Somewhere up the main mast, she could hear one good-naturedly singing a bawdy sea chantey.

Emily forgot that she was supposed to be scowling. A smile twitched across her features at the sound: a lovely bass voice, even if he was partially tone deaf. She cocked her head to one side as Carrie sidled up next to her, cautious smile in place on the first mate's features. "She's gone… Again," she sighed.

"Aye…" Carrie agreed. "You do realize something though, don't you?"

"Mmm. No. What?" her captain asked, slightly puzzled.

"She has a hole in her keel, Captain. I do believe she'll be seeking harbor…" She smirked, brushing stray strands of hair behind her ear only for it to whip back into her face. "That's a might debilitating hit she took. I rather think another go and we'll have her…"

Emily stared at the first mate, surprised. "I…hadn't noticed."

"Ah. That would explain the sulking," Carrie replied cheekily. "So. What are you going to do about it?"

Playing with the hilt of her cutlass, Emily smiled—this time she was truly happy. "Why. We'll just have to take her, won't we?"

"Aye, aye, Captain!"

Aye, aye, Captain, Emily mused, glancing back over her shoulder to the island where her prey rested. Enjoy your freedom, ship.

Author's Note: This was actually written as a gift to a friend. So, yes.

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