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Response #1: Mikal

Raising her hand, Captain Shannon “the Cannon” O’Connor shielded her eyes from the sun, gazing off in the distance. She was as deadly as she was beautiful–her smooth red hair billowing behind her in the wind, her hand resting on the rapier at her side.

“Merchant ship ahead, Cap’n,” the lookout called down. “Hails from Caldaria, by her colors. She’s floating low, and looks heavy in the water.”

“Aye, just where ‘e said she’d be,” she muttered. Raising her voice, she called to the helmsman, “Adjust course to head ‘er off. We’re gettin’ paid today, boys!”

“Aye-aye, captain!” The ship’s crew sprang into motion, the sails billowing as the crew expertly captured the wind to propel the ship to its full speed.

The ship was called the Iron Feather, so named for its seemingly impenetrable hull and lightning speed. Running light on the water, the ship would have little trouble catching up to the heavily laden merchant.

O’Connor took her place in a specially constructed platform. As the Iron Feather got closer to their intended target, the platform began to float away from the rest of the ship. This would allow O’Connor to move quickly to an ideal location for guiding the battle below.

Speaking into an amulet she always wore, O’Connor gave the command to fire the cannons. The crew steered the ship parallel to the merchant ship, wooden planks creaking in protest. Cannons exploded. Chains and hooks flew, tearing the sails of the merchant ship and slowing the heavy ship still farther.

The merchant ship returned fire, but the Iron Feather was already out of range by the time the cannon balls reached where she had been.

“Clear the decks!” O’Connor called into the amulet.

Cannons fired again, again with the chained ammo, targeting the lower decks. Men unlucky enough to be above decks were caught and swept over the side, into the ocean. Again the merchant ship tried futilely to return fire, but the pirate ship was simply too fast.

O’Connor paused for a moment, considering her next move as her men loaded the cannons again. She knew their next step would be to continue taking men off the decks, but eventually, they’d have to take care of those men running the merchant’s cannons. Usually that was done with swords, but she’d been trying to preserve the men on her crew, and hand to hand combat usually meant several lives lost. It was better to get the merchant to surrender.

Almost in response to her thoughts, she saw the telltale white flag starting to run up the pole. Smiling, she said to herself, “That was almost too easy.” To the amulet, she spoke louder, “Hold yer fire, men…they be surrenderin’!”

Turning her head slightly, an indication to the amulet that only her second-in-command should hear, she said, “Bring the ship around and prepare a boarding crew…let’s relieve them of some of their burden.”

“Aye-aye, captain!” she heard faintly from below.

As the Iron Feather neared the captive merchant ship, Shannon steered her platform to rejoin her crew. Another battle, almost too easily won, she thought, as her ship got close enough for her crew to start boarding the merchant.

Taking a rope from one of her crewmen, Shannon swung across to the enemy ship, eager to meet the man who gave up so early in the fight.

As she landed, the other crew, clearly having boarded before, was already knelt down on the deck, weapons lain in a pile and out of reach. The sole exception was the captain, his head turned down, under a large brimmed hat.

As she approached the captain, she was astonished to see the grotesque face, as if the man’s face were being eaten away. His face turned into a grimace, more than a smile, as he slowly struck a match, then dropped it into a hole in the deck.

Too late, Shannon realized her mistake. There was no time to correct it–the ship was loaded not with goods and gold, but gunpowder. The men on the ship were inches from being dead anyway. The tip she’d received of treasure had been a trap. She growled in defiant frustration, and cursed the man who had fed her the lie.

The ship responded with a much larger growl, the explosion blasting apart the merchant ship. Shrapnel pelted the deck of the Iron Feather, and the concussion wave from the explosion tipped her over. Water flowed into the ship, and she slowly sank beneath the sea.


Admiral Cain watched his magical map as the two small ships disappeared. He smiled, and turned to his apprentice. “Now, that,” he said, “is the right way to deal with a pirate. Let their greed get the best of them.”

The admiral hefted a large bag of gold, and tossed it to his apprentice. “See to it that the family of the crew we sent gets their promised gold. Find some more who are willing, and we’ll go fishing for our next pirate.”

3 Responses to “Response #1: Mikal”

  1. […] Responses are displayed here in the order posted. Response #1:  Mikal […]

  2. GMc says:

    Mikal, This is far and away my favorite of all the things you have written. Is there another chapter to this story? A Prequel? A sequel? A Series? Sign me up!

  3. Mikal says:

    No additional chapters yet! This was composed especially for this week’s writing prompt.

    As I wrote it, I found myself becoming more tied to the idea…it may turn into something more. I’ll let you know!

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