Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Father Paolo, pt. 2, 431 words

Paolo strode calmly out of the cabin, and went to the steep, short set of stairs that led up to deck. The same winds that blew the pirate ship their way, descending like a raptor out of the Sky above, whipped across the deck. The priest folded his arms against the chill, and waited, watching aft as the pirates closed. Their ship was swift, sleek compared to the overladen tub that was the Lily.

Crewmen and women took up guns and manned the cannons. A couple rangefinding shots fell well short, ball plummeting to the distant Blue below. They waited nervously, priming the cannons once more as the pirates approached inexorably.

Tentatively, the priest raised a hand and tested out his Gift. He was a little rusty from lack of use, but the familiar power came to him, and he fought the wind with his will. The Thunderbird wasn't with him, that day, however, or perhaps the winds were just too strong against them. The pirate ship closed no matter how he fought to take the wind out of their sails. Nor was there much he could do to push the Lily any faster; its sails already strained near to breaking in the gusty winds.

And then the pirates were upon them. Chainshot clipped the Lily's mainmast, tearing the sail down with it. Men in wingcloaks flitted out from the other ship, most flipping and swooping on the breezes to dodge the hail of musket fire that met them. While the wingmen stooped down upon the Lily, the pirate ship drew up and fired off grapples. Between one breath and the next, the Lily was boarded.

The crew formed a fighting front line, but were pushed back as the pirates swarmed over. The pirate ship must have been overloaded with men, many only half-trained thugs there to soak up the losses yet leave the pirates still able to fly after the fight. The fighting was too close, too many men packed together for the priest to safely use the other aspects of his Gift, so he helped pull wounded men back and tie strips of fabric over the worst of their wounds, offering a small prayer before sending them back into the fight.

But the line could not hold. There were simply too many of the foe, too few of their own. The concerted effort became a series of skirmishes across the deck, and the priest retreated. He felt more than a little shame at such, but a rout was a rout. No matter where he turned, men fought and died.

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