A Penchant For Pirates

Chapter 1

Captain’s entry-

We’ve been at sea too long.  I thank the Lord for the prevailing winds that will speed our entry to our port of Devon in one day.

Fortune has shined down on us and we have only had to ride out two bad gales.  Our hold is bursting of fine spices, silk, indigo, and rum, courtesy of two wise strikes with affiliations to Spain.  A small merchant vessel was not to Sir Alex’s liking.  We let it pass with similar colors flying high.  He informed us that he wanted to wait, he could smell a turn in our luck in the sea air. There was better bounty to be had and not far off.  Shrugging, I walked away. The only thing you could smell at this time was the raunchy stench of the crew.  There are days that I am blessed to be a Captain, for a bath relieves not only my offending odor but the tension that seems to have over-taken me on this voyage.

Within a day, we struck our intended target.  “I knew I smelled it,” A.J. danced a slight jig; the man is full of himself some days.  We boarded the Corsair easily for their Captain turned yellow.  A few gems were found deep in the Captain’s Cutlass scabbard.  It seemed the man did not understand the division of wealth with his crew.  Five stones were found in the man’s possession.  “Keep them,” he whispered to me.  “For yourself.”

I laughed as I sheathed my cutlass.   “I’m an honorable man, I share with my crew.”  I held the stones up for all of my men, as well as his, to see. For in my hand sat, a Ruby, an Emerald, a Sapphire, a Pearl, and an Amethyst.

I watched the eyes of his crew as they turned on him.  They were now cold and hard,  “I believe Sir, you have a mutiny on your hands.”  We cut the Corsair free from our tethers, less weaponry of course.  The Foremast was crippled to aid us in an easy escape after she was divested of her luxuries.

The following day we happened onto a schooner.  Young Nickolas spotted the wayward vessel on the horizon from the Quarterdeck. 

My Quartermaster, Alexander, as well my First Mate, Howard, joined us on the Quarterdeck.  Sir Howard noted that the ship was riding low in the waters. 

Alex’s cackle could be heard, “I knew it, I could feel it.  It’s the one,  She has many riches for us.”

The men were easily readied to board yet another craft; still elated from the strike the day before.  Sir Alex had the ability, as well as myself, to whip them into a frenzy.  To say that my men were blindly loyal would be over-stepping my bounds.

This boarding was not as tidy as the one from the previous day.  Bloodshed abound on the deck and the Quarterdeck.  The men fought fierce and hard for their booty. 

Between the merchandise that will be sold and the silver and gold taken from the second vessel, we are more than ready to take on new cargo of untold wealth.  It would be senseless to sail back with an empty hold.

I purchased the jewels from my crew.  I gave each one of my Officers one of the valuable stones.  Alexander seemed untouched by my offer, then I understood why.  Sir Alex had struck twice and was rewarded with his efforts.  It wasn’t riches he had searched the ship for but a bonnie lass to keep him company.  “I’m a lousy pirate,” I heard him grumbled.

With a wry grin on my face I turned to him.  “Soon my friend, we will find someone to warm your bed.  Women can be bought and sold.  You now have the means.”

The glint formed in his eye rather quickly as my words seemed to sink into his skull.  “Aye, Aye, Cap’n I do.” he laughed as he returned to securing our prizes.

To Nick, my cook, I bestowed the Sapphire for the clear blue oceans.  It would represent him well.  To Sir Howard, my First Mate and second in charge, the ruby for his passionate loyalty to all of humanity.  To Brian, our Surgeon and my cousin, I gave the Pearl, since he seems to always have wisdom.

Once I rid myself of this cargo, my crew and I will split all profits accordingly.  If I were an honorable man, I would sign over the goods for auction as promised in my Letter of Marque. However, seeing as the man who has drafted this document is one in the same that has caused my family name to fall into the bowels of hell along with any income, receipts, and property that we owned.  He may rot in hell before he will receive so much as a shilling for our work. 

I am an admirable man, I will take care of my crew, my family, and restore our name and properties all in the same.  Sir Louis will get his just rewards when his time comes.  The profits from this voyage will be paid in wages to my men.  We again will outfit our ship and sail towards home.  I’m hoping that the return trip will be as profitable as this might prove to be.  Sir Howard thinks I’m insane for sailing just outside of London, but I will go to the market and sell my goods for the highest profit.  I need to restore my finances.

Things have been dully slow on board our vessel.  The crew, as well as it’s officers, are up to mischief.  It seems that Nickolas had been deemed the most recent candidate to amuse the crew.  It is difficult to handle the Officers as well as a crew of one hundred men.

Young Cook Nickolas has been dogged about his cooking skills or the lack of.  Two days ago was the last straw for Sir Alexander.  He could no longer look at such grub.  “Hardtack and smoked pork again?” as his eyes glazed over.  For a mere second, I was afraid they were going to cook my Cook.

“Tomorrow, with the consent of two, you will be responsible for the bilge Nickolas.”  Sir Alex pushed his salver away.

“The bilge?”  Nickolas cocked his head to the side.  “That is the filthy part of this ship.  All of the bad water lays dormant and rots in there.”

I lowered my own eyes to my plate and was repulsed by the food as it lay un-tantalizing before me.  “Aye, I agree.”

A look of passive aggression took over the young man’s face as he stared back at me.  He had just been sentenced to the most repugnant duty aboard this ship.  The boy needed to learn to stand on his own.  If he were commanding this crew, he would have not served such a meal to the Officers.  A feeling of regret washed over me, as I watched him storm off.  The truth of the matter was that I was partially responsible.  I thought I had stocked the ship well according to Old George’s past requests.  It was a foolish man’s folly.  I will consult Nick on our return voyage since many times he complained that there wasn’t enough of something that he required or something was missing.  The one item that I will strike from his list of wares and needs will be raisins.  The boy puts raisins and molasses in everything. 

I clasped my hands together deep in thought as I leaned back in my chair and listened to the Officers harp.  They may be angry at the moment, but it would pass.  They had seen Nick grow over the last few months.  Sir Howard trained him well on the Sexton.  Nick became superb at navigating with the stars as well.  Spotting the first storm that we encountered, I quietly watched him.  The galley was stowed and he reported for extra duty when the all hands on deck had been called.  He directed the crew to tack the sails beautifully, with not much effort.

Nickolas shadowed Sir Alexander whenever possible after that, learning from the man what he could.  It did not seem natural that Sir Alex knew as much about the sea as he should have.  Someone has taught him well.  Of course, I did not know much about Sir Alex either.  This was a man who could be loud and boisterous one moment and quiet as a cat the next.

My cousin Brian and Nick seem to be getting rather close.  At first, it humored me and I welcomed the break. Then it made me curious and finally I will admit somewhat jealous.  I missed the young man charging at me like an ox and asking simple questions and requests.

The boy or man as he is now, is one with the sea; it is where he will always be.  I’ve put a fortnight of thought into my final directive.  Upon arrival back to our beloved homeland, I will gift this ship to Nickolas.  I took on this voyage as well as the ones before to rebuild my fortunes and lands.  If I am successful, Nick will have possession of the only lady that has ever loved me but never left me. 

I do not see my young charge going back to the dreaded home that he came from.  To this day, I have not, and will not, utter one word to the young man that I bought and paid for his servitude for seven years.  I gave him the apprenticeship the day he boarded.  I made him sign the papers before a full crew so that they understood then, as they do now, that he is under my direct command unless I saw otherwise.  I am a man who does not believe in indentured service or the selling of humans.  The is the one lone secret I have kept from this boy. 

Nickolas has been into trouble as well lately.  After spending all day tending to the bilge water, I demanded my supper as befit any Captain and his Officers.  The young pup had tainted our drinking water with the delicious taste of fine rum.  He waited after several pourings before he served us another supper of smoked meat and hardtack.  What was humorous to him at the time was that none of us seemed to complain.  Nick served us plenty of ale that night.  I should know, I tossed in the bed for what seemed like hours as the ship listed from side to side, along with my stomach.

Upon awaking the next day, it was Sir Alex who turned his duties over to our young charge.  His head was pounding so loudly that he couldn’t get a thought or a word out of his head.  I joined Nickolas on the Quarterdeck for the better half of the day.  It felt good to have him by my side once again.

Nickolas has one love and her deep pools of blue, her white wispy waves, and her call are only for him.  The dolphins dance next to the ship but only when he is at the helm.  Nickolas will only have one ladylove of his life and that would be the sea. 

I ease back in my chair for a break in my writing, it’s been awhile since I have thought about her, my lady, my wife.   I must be grieving less and less each day for her.  For so long I blamed myself. It took this voyage, a hogshead of ale, and many nights in the company of my associates to see that I was not to blame.  I did not bring the sickness onto Isabella.  She was always so frail and ill.  To think that she had succumbed to consumption plagued me for many years.  I always thought transporting her to the mountains and away from the sea would cure her.  How wrong I was.  Many a night I toss and turn in my bed wishing to change many things that I had done back then.  I would be home more to take care of her and be her protector.  Such an innocent child she was when we married and she blossomed into a beautiful woman.  I miss her....  I miss all of them, my mother, my brothers, and what I would not do for a plate of my loving mother’s biscuits and gravy.

For when we dock, I will be seeking a soft bed and a warm woman before the men on this ship look more inviting than they presently do.  I must be recovering from my own thoughts since the thought of a woman in my bed makes my member grow hard.

On the morrow and I will seek out the company of a woman that I had met before.  The fair Jocelyn.  To call her a lady would be a miss, for she is nothing more than a tavern wench.  A few coisn pressed into her palm will buy me satisfaction, as well as silence.  There is a bolt of cloth deep in the hold that I will present to her.  She deserves more than that of her station in life.  I will have to search her out for she moves often with the crowds.  If there is a coin to be made, she’ll be not far.  Jocelyn brings to me the one thing that I need, relief.  To take care of my baser needs as a man without courting, foolishness, or the coquetry that charming a woman brings.  I don’t want to play games and make idle chit-chat just to fulfill what one woman can do with the slip of a coin.  Jocelyn is the opposite of my fair Isabella.  Where Isabella was soft spoken and prone to little thought; Jocelyn was loud, garish, and bossy.  For she is a woman who will tumble with any man for the right price.  Call her what you must, a whore, a wench, a barmaid, for she is a person I call a friend.  Her lust is satisfied as well as mine when we lay exhausted from our couplings.  We talk about the sea and not much else. 

I must close my entry now.  It seems young Nick is banging at the door wanting some type of resolution to his current dilemma or just my company.  His dominos in one hand and ale in the other.  The boy again seeks to ply with me spirits and loosen my tongue perhaps.  All is well, I will enjoy his company for now.  The young whelp needs to see the wrong end of a cat-o-nine tails to turn his disposition in the proper direction.  Getting the entire Crew and Officers drunk could have brought on disastrous results.

Captain Kevin S. Richardson

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