AN: Hello fellow writers of Fanfictionville!
I'm sorry for not updating my other story, Death and Love. I know it's a lame excuse, but... homework.
Anyhoo, hope you enjoy!
The waves lapped against a lightly waxed cedar hull. Ropes hung down almost touching the Atlantic. A storm brewed in the distance, but for the moment all was well. A light May breeze blew Northeast and laughing could be heard from the mess hall. The Spanish galleon sailed towards the shore of Spain as the sun set and the men ate.
But not Ethan.
Ethan was a scrawny indecisive 15-year-old. Before his father Inigo died six years ago, Ethan was taught how to handle a short sword and practiced every night with his father. He had dreams of becoming a knight like his ancestors or a noble swordsman like his father, but right now he was stuck on a ship with the cruelest Shipmaster known to man.
Ethan had been ordered to wax the crow's nest. He had to take a couple pounds of wax and apply it onto the tallest part of the ship, while the ship rocked from the waves. Ethan hated this job, but it was another task ordered by the Shipmaster for Ethan to do. In the past, Ethan would be ordered from the Shipmaster to do very trivial tasks and most often all he got was a half portion of dinner and sent to sleep in the crow's nest which was both very uncomfortable and cold.
All the other men on the ship were cruel friends of Shipmaster Curzio, but Ethan was a very distant cousin of Isabella, the former Queen of Spain. The current king hated Ethan in fear that one day he might inherit the throne, so he sent him off with the harshest Shipmaster he could find, which happened to be Curzio.
Curzio was a tall, thin man who looked regal, but inside he was greedy, cold, and very cruel. He imposed all his authority on Ethan caring far more about his ship than Ethan. Ethan had overheard men talking one day saying how Curzio had been stealing from the king. It might have been idle talk, but it always burned in Ethan's head that maybe it was true. Maybe there was some treasure hidden somewhere. Right now there was no way to find out. Right now all Ethan could do was wax this tall mast.
Curzio called up to Ethan, "Since you're doing a fabulous job, why don't you stay up there for the night. I don't want to see your ugly face. Don't worry, my dog will enjoy your dinner."
Ethan fumed. He had just about enough of this nonsense. Even though he had been treated unfairly in the past, this was too much. He yelled down to Curzio, "Will you shut up!?" He immediately realized his mistake.
Emotionlessly, the Shipmaster turned to him and said, "Come down here. Now."
In fear, Ethan silently climbed down the ladder but a rope lashed around his ankle.
Curzio sneered. "If you don't want to sleep in the crow's nest, you can sleep from the crow's nest."
Ethan realized that the rope lashed around his ankle was connected to the crow's nest. At that moment, a couple of men pulled on the rope and Ethan was flipped upside down. He tried to hold onto the ladder, but the jerk was too sudden and he let go. The men pulled him up and tied the rope tightly to the deck of the ship. Ethan was left dangling, stunned by the current state of things. As the blood rushed to his head, he remained silent, anger simmering inside. He knew that this was the last straw.
Curzio walked in to his private Shipmaster's quarters. "Have a nice night."
Curzio locked the door and muttered, "Stupid Isabella. At least I make his life hell." He tossed a piece of mutton to a chained Rottweiler in a corner of the room, then sat down at his desk and let out a heavy sigh. He looked over his papers and drew his quill. Deep into the night he toiled, writing a letter to the king saying that he had delivered the treasure to Horta, Portugal. He was actually thinking about where to put the treasure which he had kept for himself below in the hold.
Ethan thought and thought until the night was pitch black, then eventually he fell into a restless sleep; it's hard to sleep upside down. His last thought was, 'I've had enough of this blasted ship.'
Ethan woke up to jeering coming from below him. He groggily opened his eyes, and then remembered that he was lashed to the crow's nest. Pain from his ankles came throbbing to his suddenly aching head when he tried to move. A throwing dagger pierced the rope. He fell from quite a height, but fell on some wet net which broke his fall. From there he clambered down slowly. His body hurt. He found it very hard to get upright again, but he was livid and refused to show weakness, so worked hard just to get on his feet.
Without saying a word, Ethan climbed down a ladder into the hull. He headed for his belongings, opened a bag with all his things inside and took out his prized sword. This sword belonged to this father. It was the last thing he had been given by his father before he went off to war, never to return.
The short sword was beautifully crafted from silver steel. It had a pommel with images of heroism carefully etched on it. Its hilt was wrapped in leather and it had a curved connected knuckle guard and cross guard. It was incredibly well balanced and the blade incredibly sharp. Ethan's father told him that it was a rapier. Ethan put the weapon on his belt then put on his cloak. He looked like he was going ashore, but he had other things in mind.
Ethan walked to the Shipmaster's quarters, but his arm was grabbed by the shipmaster's first mate. "Where d'ya thig yer goin' wid dat swerd?"
Ethan tried to still appear brave. "I'm going to have a word with the shipmaster."
The shipmaster appeared behind Ethan. "What have we here? Looks an awful lot like treason." Guffaws were heard from the crew. "Cast him off the ship."
Ethan struggled but to no avail. He was soon put into a wooden raft and cast off the ship with only his sword and his cloak. It was certain death.
He sat in his raft for hours and hours on end. He had a constant dull pain in his stomach from starvation, his throat felt like sandpaper, and his ankles still hurt. He wished he had eaten something but he knew he had made the right choice. At around 4'o clock, he was just losing hope of survival when he saw a long, narrow ship slowly gliding towards him.
Ethan sighed. It was probably just another Spanish galleon. But as it neared the raft, Ethan saw the French flag. Ethan thought it was strange that the French would dare come this far south. But the ship was too narrow to be a battleship. No, this was one of the dreaded privateer ships.
"Help, help!" Ethan was starving, parched, and very tired. He didn't care if they gutted him; he just wanted eat, drink, and rest.
Apparently the privateers noticed him and decided to swing a knotted rope down; Ethan bravely grabbed on with all of his remaining strength. He was gracefully pulled on deck then gracelessly fell.
"You look familiar, boy. What is your name?", a grizzled crew member asked in French. Luckily, Ethan had learned French from his father and spoke almost-fluently.
"E-Eth-Etha-Ethan. Ethan Montoya, sir."
"Montoya! Why, are you related to Inigo Montoya, the war hero?", another questioned.
"Yes, I am, he is my father."
"If someone like him is your father, then why were you floating on a raft?" The first man inquired.
So Ethan told him everything. The first man's name was Captain Ergon, and he was the leader of the privateers. Ethan asked for food, so the second man got him some soft biscuits and some grog, which was very welcome.
When Ethan was finished, Ergon said that it was very interesting. He said that Ethan and his father are his distant relatives. They had gone to the military academy together and became fast friends. However, Inigo moved to Spain when Ethan was two and they rarely communicated across the long distance after that. He asked Ethan if he would like to join his privateers. Ethan was taken aback by this sudden offer, but saw that the conditions on the privateer ship were much better than the Spanish galleon.
"Yes, I would love to, Captain Ergon."
"Wonderful! I see you have a sword there. Good, you'll need that."
"Yes, I will. This sword was my father's.", Ethan said while pulling out his sword.
The crew and the captain stared in awe. "That silver steel sword is very valuable and famous. It is the sword that your father wielded during the battle of Florin and Guilder where he gutted Count Rugen. He was a true patriot and a hero. We are honoured to work alongside his son." Said a crew member.
Ethan was surprised. "I knew he was a hero, but I didn't think he was that famous."
Later that night, the captain put out a few ideas on who they might raid next. Ethan put in the idea of the Spanish galleon and so they decided that this would bring both revenge and booty. The crew liked it when Ethan suggested Curzio might be stealing from the king and that he might be ladened with treasure! Ethan was glad to have an opportunity to pay Curzio back for what he'd done. Ethan told Ergon that the galleon was to get some supplies at the port of Azores so their ship set sail immediately.
When it was time to sleep, Ethan was relieved to have a space within the hull to himself. He found it much more comfortable, and warmer, than the crow's nest. He quickly fell into a deep long overdue sleep.
Captain Ergon promptly woke up the crew in the very early morning. He explained to Ethan that in order to launch a successful attack on people that outnumber you, one needs the element of surprise. Also, since the crew on the galleon do not know the pirates while the pirates could know the galleon, the chances are even better. He had Ethan explain, to the smallest detail, every inch of the ship, every crew member by name and description, where the weapons were, what the weakest part of the ship was – anything that would help them win.
The plan would be to fly the Spanish flag to make an approach. They would claim to be a small supply ship sent by the king with a new mission for the crew along with fresh supplies for the voyage. Ethan and most of the men would hide in the barrels, weapons ready. Captain Ergon himself would make the contact and speak. Once all the barrels were on board, Ergon would give the word and they would strike hard at the crew. No need to fire cannons. The ship could be taken by sword and pistol!
The crew readied the ploy as the ship sailed full speed toward the Spanish galleon. It was fortunate that Captain Ergon was raised in Spain. Not only could he speak Spanish, but he had no accent either. He had used this ruse before and kept uniforms of officers on board for just this occasion. He put on the uniform of a Spanish Captain and waited until his ship closed in on the galleon.
It wasn't long before there was a cry from the lookout, "Ship in the distance, Captain!"
Captain Ergon used his telescope to see. It was a Spanish galleon, no doubt the one they were looking for. The plan was set and the ruse ready. The men were ordered to get into the barrels. All but two of them because they would be needed to load the barrels onto the galleon.
Shipmaster Curzio was aboard the galleon when his men alerted him to the privateer's ship, which was flying a Spanish flag. He ordered his men to lower the sails to allow the other ship to catch up.
Once the smaller ship was a little closer, Curzio used his telescope to look at the crew. He could see Captain Ergon, clearly standing on the bow wearing a Spanish Shipmaster's uniform. His guard was down and he only wondered what the other ship wanted.
Once the galleon was directly beside the pirate ship, Captain Ergon waved and made the hand signal asking to board the galleon. Satisfied, Curzio ordered his men to extend the gangplank to allow Ergon to walk on board. Ergon strolled on board and, after some military formality and salutes, handed Curzio a forged letter from the King with a new mission. He was to go to Portugal to get a shipment of gun powder and other weapons then head off to New Spain where a shipment of gold and silver would be waiting for him to bring back to Spain. The privateer ship was to restock them with supplies for the journey.
Curzio liked this very much. He agreed immediately and asked that the supplies be brought on board. Captain Ergon smiled and ordered his men to roll the barrels onto the ship across the gangplank. Ergon explained that he only had a very small crew for this journey so Curzio got his men to help bring the barrels on board. The men complained that the barrels were heavy which only made Curzio all the happier, thinking that this was more he could steal for himself.
Once the barrels were all lined up on the deck of the ship Captain Ergon gave the signal. He said in a loud voice for all the crew to hear (including his own), "May all of your men have a safe and productive journey!" as he looked around at all the crew.
With that, the men jumped out of the barrels, drew their guns and started firing at the unprepared Spaniards. They fell one by one. Some were able to grab swords and the men fought hard. Ergon took the opportunity to draw his sword and fight.
Curzio, ever quick on his feet, moved away and tried to escape but was cut off by Ethan. Curzio thrust his sword at Ethan who easily parried it with his sword. Ethan swung but Curzio ducked and tried to sweep the legs out from under Ethan. Ethan jumped and stabbed twice at Curzio who was able to roll out of the way. Their swords repeatedly met with a dissonant clang. Curzio tried unsuccessfully to tackle Ethan, but Ethan sidestepped and grazed Curzio's shoulder. Curzio swiped again at Ethan, but Ethan caught it on his hilt only to slam the hilt into Curzio's head.
Dazed, Curzio stabbed sloppily at Ethan, but Ethan simply side-stepped out of the way. He followed up a pushing kick to make Curzio fall over the edge of the ship. A splash was heard, but Curzio was never seen again.
Seeing Curzio defeated, the few crew that were left dropped their weapons and stopped fighting, surrendering. The captain congratulated his crew for their efforts. He lost no men and would be able to seize this galleon for France. He put the remaining crew in the hold of his ship and had a few of this trusted men remain on board for the journey home.
Meanwhile, Ethan took the time to look in Curzio's quarters. He found Curzio's gun and kept it for himself. He also found some gold and a strange letter. The letter told of a stockpile of gold being kept somewhere called the Cat's Eye Tavern in Florin.
As they set sail back to France, Ethan showed the letter to Ergon who said, "Sounds like an adventure! Let us find this place."
Ethan grinned. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
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