The ocean was tranquil. Martin was inappropriately picking dirt out of his fingernails and flicking it below from the crow’s nest. He kept his telescope ready at his side, however, just in case a member of the the S.S. Dissonance’s crew came up to the deck. Or if he just got bored of boredeom.
Captain Ferril started yelling from below. Martin lifted his telescope to his eye and scaled the horizon in front of him. Ferril stormed up the stairs from the cabin, three of his deckhands following behind him. All of them rushed to the sails and dropped them for a change in course.
“I want to head north to the port of Marseilles,” he said. “I received a report that new cannons are in stock at the shipyard and I want to replace our old, cracking ones.”
Ferril scratched his eyebrow and some dry skin fell onto the deck. He was a young captain; he acquired the job when his former captain, Morris, was killed in a Holkani pirate invasion of his old ship. Ferril was thrown overboard into the sea in battle, but was luckily rescued after a few hours afloat, grasping for life on some flotsam from his ship’s wreckage.
He was an angry man. His emotions from life’s traumas wore away at him daily. He hated the fact he lost his former captain and best friend. And why shouldn’t he? They knew each other from growing up together down the road as children. Morris was always a great advisor to Ferril; he helped him strategize battles, develop confidence for the girls, and even taught him the sword.
Moreso, however, Ferril hated those fucking pirates. They were unpredictable. The Holkani scouted the seas in unpredictable routes during unpredictable hours, starting fights and duels for the sake of instigating fights and duels. They rarely plundered gold or goods, but if they were victorious, they always kept a dread of every man’s hair as memento.
A flock of seagulls flew overhead, squawking signals for sneaking on their next kill. Martin rolled his eyes at the noise as he continued to daydream. Down below, the deckhands rushed to adjust the sails in the proper angle. Maybe no one would notice him. They were all busy keeping Captain Ferril happy. He wondered if he was like a ghost from the crow’s nest. If he tried to spit into the sea, would anyone notice or hear him?
Suddenly, a cannon fired nearby. Everyone on board jumped in the direction of the boom. A Holkani warship was approaching fast in attack position. Martin looked at their deck through his telescope and saw their warriors drawing their swords.
“All hands on deck,” Ferril shouted.
Martin jumped off of the crow’s nest and climbed all the way down, standing before Captain Ferril.
“Where did they come from?” Ferril inquired, tempering his rage in his throat.
Martin swallowed. “I thought they were a merchant vessel,” he lied.
“Get down below and tell the others to prepare the cannons.”
As Martin fled into the cabin, Ferril ran to his supply of swords and tossed one to each member of his crew. He shot his eyes over toward the enemy ship, which was closing in fast. “We will not abandon our loved ones,” he said. “They will not survive the day! They will not butcher our hair!”
As the Holkani approached, Ferril thought of his aging cannons. He remembered the hate that plagued his life because of what they did. He didn’t want this fight, but nor did he have a choice. He was going to exact his revenge for the murder of his best friend and former crew.
The roar of a cannon echoed about the air, and with it, the sound of ship parts crashing into the water below.