The pirate queen stood at the sternum of her great ship, the Devil’s Claw, a warship of epic proportions, behind it were all the ships of her fleet, rightly nicknamed the Fleet from the Undersea. Each ship had blood red sails with hulls as black as night. The Pirate Queen’s flag upon each mast of this navy. She was probably the most powerful person upon the East sea. Second only to her ex husband the Pirate King of the West, but don’t ever say that to her. They say her sword could cut through the storm with a single slash, her cold stare could petrify anyone who dare’s cross her, yes she was easily the most feared person upon the open sea.
As for me, I just stared at her for the longest time whilst I tended to her ship, it was a task that many cabin boys before me had tried, but no one had lasted as long as me. Though I stayed silent throughout my days upon the ship, I had big dreams within my heart and mind. One day I would leave this fleet, become a true sailor of the sea and become a legend just like her, just… not as bloodthirsty.
“There!”She pointed directly at a nearby ship, it looked to be a simple merchant ship, But if there is one thing you should know about The Great “Ruthless Redblade” . Not only was she a ruthless killer, she was known far and wide as the ruler of the great eastern oceans of Bramble. Man did she make a great legend. The ships started to turn towards the poor merchant ship. I kept my head down as always though, ever since I had been brought onto the ship, that’s what I had to do.
It was 7 years ago, I was only 5 when they found me in a dinghy floating in the great expanse of the sea, or so they told me. I don't remember much, only my name, that I had nowhere else to go. Plus, due to the fact that the last cabin boy was thrown overboard for being too slow, they took me onto the ship instead of leaving me to die baking in the sun. Maybe it would have been better that way…
The cannons fired off over to the other ship, the whole mast came crashing down in an instant, I truly hoped that whoever was on that ship had taken their supplies and left. Nothing would stand between Captain Ruth (another nickname) and her crew. “Cabin Boy!”
I turned to face Redblade herself, staring at me as if I was nothing but a cockroach. If it weren't for the scowl and the cold, red, eyes of bloody murder, I would have thought she was quite kind of pretty. At the rumored age of 62, she did not look half bad. Her hair was scarlet red and the dimples in her chin would have made even the most cutthroat of men swoon. Everyone had to wonder how she looked so young after all this time. Not me however, I happened to look beneath the looks of the outside, and let me just say, her soul was a black as the Kraken’s Abyss.
“I want you to go down to that ship and scope out what you find, if there is anything of worth you report back to me! If you sneak anything from that ship for yourself”, She drew her blood red saber and brought it close to my neck,“You get the gist right?”
I nodded. This wasn’t my first scouting mission, I knew what would happen. Public execution, but today was the last time I would be doing these suicide missons for that sea witch. This time, I had a foolproof plan.
In no time I was in a dingy with a couple of burly, cutthroat pirates heading for the ship. It wasn’t the best of conditions, might I add, apparently when you live on the sea almost all of the time, a shower is a luxury only for the most important people. Like the captain for example…
Come to think of it, how does anyone even shower on the ship to begin with?
Never mind it doesn’t matter, the salt water was good enough for me. To clarify, I wasn’t of any worth to anyone on even one of these ships. Worthless cabin boy you know. In fact for the last 7 years no one had even bothered to ask my name! Pretty sad. Even for pirates!
When we got to the merchant ship, I was happy to see no one was around on deck. That either meant they went and left the ship or they were down in the poop deck. I silently prayed they got out of here before we climbed aboard. Naturally, as the little guy I had to go down first to see if anyone was there, if I wasn’t back in 5 minutes, they would think of me as dead and tell the captain to blow any survivors out of the water, ship and all. Kind of wasteful but, Redblade wasn’t exactly known as one who liked to drag a fight. I was grateful to find no one down below, but the place seemed ransacked. Good, they got away, no need for any unnecessary bloodshed today. It was time to put my escape plan into action.
I had been given a bowie knife when I got erm, “volunteered” to go down into the depths of the ship. So I now had something of worth to bring with me. I used it to pry open a piece of wood from the floor as soon as I knew the other couldn’t hear me. I had been planning this escape for as long as I had been a part of that bloody crew. Ever since I came aboard I had observed their every move, from fighting styles, patrols, even bad habits (The Captain had a nasty habit of laughing whenever she beheaded someone she didn’t like). Due to this ability, I knew that the men aiming the cannon would aim for the front of the ship's hull , so I headed to the one spot I knew would be the least bit damaged from the attack. The very back of the ship, I would have to be fast, if I got caught it would be over, if that cannonball hits me, it would be over then as well.
I used the board I had pried from the floor and raised it up in front of me as a shield, any splinter that rocketed towards me would hopefully hit the board instead of me,that is, if my luck hasn’t run out yet.
As I waited, I cut a piece of cloth from my shirt, then tied it around my left shoulder, you see, when I got taken onto the ship, the captain had me get a blood red tattoo of a skull being pierced through the eye socket by a blood red blade. Don’t ask me who gave it to me, I was unconscious at the time from heat exhaustion.
When I got to shore, the first thing I was going to do was cut that tattoo to shreds, then bandage that thing up until it heals, and repeat. I wasn’t going to leave any trace of my past on that ship visible to anyone. I was leaving every last shred of this cursed life behind. I winced at the thought of cutting myself, but the very thought of freedom would be worth it.
I heard a boom circulate through the air. This was it.
Crash! The ship’s hull was blown into two pieces, if I hadn’t held that board in front of me I would have probably died right then and there from all the splinters. Boy did that sting, my ears were ringing, but I knew I had to be ready for the next step. I put the knife in between my teeth, and with the ship going under, I dove my head straight down into the water.
When my eyes adjusted, I saw two Ridgestone sharks coming straight at me.They had gray stone jutting out from their backs, their teeth were like porcelain white daggers ready to shred some meat. Hopefully that wasn’t me.Thing is about Ridgestone sharks, they always stick close to ships they know are going to feed them. By stick I mean they use the stone on their back to grip hold of the wood. As annoying as it was to fix, we as pirates had to keep some of these sharks alive to deal with any survivors.
I had noticed that these sharks tend to go towards blood just as well as sound, so of course I knew I would have to get past these things. I am so grateful that I studied the captain the most, thanks to her wrestling a few of these I knew that Ridgeback sharks were incredibly sensitive when it came to their noses. I had planned every little detail, no way was I going to die as fish bait!
As soon as the first swam right up to me, jaw wide open, I grabbed the knife from my mouth, and using the sinking ship behind me as a backboard,I hopped upward, where I would have a clean shot. The shark ran straight into the wood where I had been a second before, now was my chance.
I made a clean cut right across that monster’s nose, as soon as my blade had struck home though, the other shark was right on top of me. I almost didn’t have enough time to react, all the breath in my lungs had nearly gone out of me when the murderous fish dove straight for me. I am rather glad I had that knife with me, because on instinct I ducked and while raising my knife just above me at an angle, I gutted that fish from the jaw all the way to its tail. Looking back at the other shark, I could see that it was turning tail, good. This shark was finished, as soon as another shark had caught its scent of fresh blood, who knows what would happen to it. Man, I hate cannibals.
My lungs felt like they were about to burst, it was now or never. With adrenaline coursing through my veins I raced towards the ship. I must admit, I almost passed out when I had made it, but in the knick of time I burst out of the water, took a deep breath, and went back under. I needed to get close to the back of the ship. There I would be able to find a good place to jam my knife into the hull where I could hold on until we would get to the mainland. I had to thank those ridgebacks for the idea, I don’t think anyone would suspect I would take a page out of a giant fish’s book.
Luckily my plan worked without a hitch, no one saw me swimming under the water, in fact, no one even guessed that I was even alive now. At least I hope.Now I sure am glad those sharks came along, because their blood gave me the perfect cover. If they didn’t come I would have had to cut myself a bit to give the illusion that I was dead, which is not ideal when trying to make an escape from both pirates and sharks.
Now all I had to do was wait and hope no one else would see me for the rest of the journey. We were three hours from the mainland. I knew my arms could handle it, after dragging my heavy mop around, and climbing through the railings like a monkey every day, I had a decent amount of muscle on me. Of course I was still rather skinny though, the rations for us cabin boys aren’t exactly filling if you know what I mean.
There it was, I could see it on the horizon, the mainland. I grinned in anticipation, careful not to inhale any sea water. I knew my plan would work, the ships in back were too far away to see me unless they were purposefully trying to look for me at the back of their captain’s ship. Highly unlikely, none of them would possibly look there, besides, the Devil’s Claw was huge! Anyway, there wasn’t anything I could do now, it was in the hands of the sea and the winds now. I just hoped they would steer me all the way to freedom.