“The Kraken is port quarter!” Shouted the man with the glass, high upon the mast.
Captain Nicholas stared hard at Ashton. “King James fought him with a two-handed sword and nearly lost his life. Were you not afraid?”
Ashton stared back. “Yes sir, a little, but It is a man who bothers me more. I half know what to expect from a creature. I will say I got a little tremor when he reached for my biscuits!”
The crew laughed. They begrudgingly liked his brazen courage and his sharp tongue when tempered with a little maturity.
It was not every day a man tried to feed a Kraken, and it was worthy of song.
Captain Nicholas was not so enthused.
“Son, I applaud your courage in the face of beasts. I have killed the dreaded pequin and know the satisfaction it brought to wear the hide. However, as you have stated, we will face the treachery of men any day and there will be bloodshed requiring a steady hand to sew us shut. You had your day, and I have allowed you on deck, but your safety is what will make this voyage legendary.”
There was another shout from the crow’s nest.
There was silence aboard. All eyes were above, waiting.
“It is the Grasshopper! Flying skull and bones crossed!”
“All hands on deck! Weapons at the ready! There will be no quarter given!” Captain Nicholas roared.
Two large creatures circled overhead, hard to make out, but likely dragons by the outline.
“What of the dragons?” Yelled Lulach.
Baldwin Mailer proclaimed, “Boo tha dragon, I will have a chat with flyin scoundrel.
Lower a boat, and with it an ale cask!”
From below, a barrel of the devil’s own Screaming Peaches was rolled above deck.
Nicholas and his mates knew what he was to do. A distraction would be provided by Baldwin as they closed the gap on Captain Gryll.
As Baldwin was lowered, he sang,
“Na try an stop me,
I have an itch to scratch with evil.
Cindy my girl, goodbye and stay civil.
I loved you, my lady, to you I was true,
But I’d rather fight dragons
than grow old with you.”
With a flourish, he blew a kiss at no one particular and shouted,
As he rowed off in the direction of the dragons, they asked amongst themselves who Cindy was. In all the time spent together in war, they had never heard him speak of a lass he was sweet on.
Ashton hastily gathered his instruments, knowing battle would ensue. The sail of the Grasshopper grew ever closer. He would be sawing limbs and stitching skin before night’s end and the thought sickened him.
Looking back, all was a blur. It seemed yesterday he was a boy scrounging about for squirrel and today he was esteemed as a surgeon. Inside he was afraid and he resisted the urge to fidget with his dagger.