Created: 2005-11-19 07:19:26
The ship cruised through the darkness, another featureless day and night cycle at sea. Only two guards stalked the deck now, the others demoralized by dysentery and lack of provisions. The poor conditions had men looking at each other with nervous eyes, the guards quick to anger, quicker to enforce the little authority they retained with violence.
Things were looking bleak, if the weather didn’t kill them, the pending mutiny was sure to cost lives, the prisoners were just as weak if not worse than the guards, sickness had spread to almost every rower, and the price of not keeping pace was a sound beating and probably a missed ration, but then anything was an excuse to miss rations as the food was thin and the guards hungry.
Reality rushed in and Duncan gasped as shrieking filled the deck, cold seawater splashed his face, and rowers clambered to their feet shouting.
The shrieking sound was replaced by a dull cracking noise the roar of seawater. Out of the corner of his eye Duncan spied his brother Marshall wrench his chains free and leapt towards the top deck after the guard, the rest of the convicts wrestled with their bonds, as the ship began to take an unhealthy angle. Looking around swiftly Duncan noticed his chains had gone loose, gathering up the shackles he stood and began to walk towards the upper decks, he could hear yelling from above. He could see some of the other convicts leaping into the cold sea through the hole in the bow, but he knew cold death awaited as the shackles and the faltering swimmers would bring each other down. As Marshall crested the stairs, a booted foot hit him in the jaw, the blow stung and he dropped to a knee, he sensed the heavy wooden cudgel whistling towards him and instinctively rolled to the side, as the blow missed and the guard stumbled. Marshall sprung up with as much force as possible cracking heads with the guard, and as the man staggered he looped his chains around his neck and pulled the guard close butting him few more times. The man slumped to the floor and with a sigh Marshall swept up the cudgel and keys and began to free himself.
Wiping the blood from his eyes Marshall looked over the chaos on deck guards were attempting to ready the lifeboats and were rolling what supplies were left onto the rapidly filling boats. Marshall strode over to the nearest boat, pushing a guard struggling with a box off the side and cracking another across the face with the cudgel causing a satisfying crunch. Stepping into the lifeboat, he kicked a barrel of food over and hammered the pulley with the palm of his hand to release it feeling the short drop to freedom he sat back watching people leaping into the sea as the ship slowly toppled off the reef, and back into the deep.
Back on deck Duncan sprinted towards the last remaining boat, the guard inside kicked out desperately as Duncan slid on the wet deck tumbling into the boat, the guard grabbed as his ragged shirt trying to get some leverage to tip him out as the pulley creaked and the boat tilted dangerously. In desperation Duncan punched at the man knocking him back, then with a smile he grabbed the rope holding the boat and looped it around the guards outstretched arm, cracking the lever quickly with his forearm and sitting down heavily in the boat.
The guard screamed in agony as the rope spun tight, his wrist splintering under the mounting pressure, a moment later the boat dropped sharply almost tipping Duncan into the sea. The guard rolled about in agony in the bottom of the boat, with a sigh Duncan calmly picked up the oar and began to pummel the guard with the edge ‘til he lay still, looking the man over his clothes looked a better state and he wasn’t much smaller than Duncan, rowing towards the reef Duncan spied swimmers and boats heading in a similar direction, some stopping to pick up stragglers, others making straight for the shoreline.
Turning the boat slightly Duncan headed for the reef, he had to make it to shore unnoticed, he had work to do in the morning.
As dawn struck its first light Duncan walked barefoot on the beach, spying a guard groaning on the sand he wandered over and struck him with the oar he’d brought along. By 10am, the sand was littered with bodies, washed up by the tide and some that Duncan had found hiding or simply wandering around. Most were dead, but a selection of guards and prisoners remained, looking sullen and battered as Duncan chained them all together.
Duncan stood surveying his handiwork, "first things first" he paused for effect and to let the men before him focus. "I have dained to give some of you your freedom, if we are to survive here, we are going to have to work together, and as your ruler...." he paused hearing a soft footfall behind him, he turned as the world tilted and fire rushed through his head.
Marshall cursed loudly, what in gods name was his brother doing dressed like a guard and standing before pile of chained up people.... The concussion made his head ache relentlessly. He bent over and pulled the piece of wood from his brother’s face, looked like it had punctured the eyeball. He slapped Duncan hard across the face watching him groan and tenderly feel his face "wha?"
"Wake up little brother" Marshall shook him again hoping there was not too much permanent damage, Duncan rolled to his knees and vomited. "My eye you son of a pig, I can’t see anything" his face was on fire and a sticky blood and sand mix coated his neck and face. "We’ll worry about your face later, we’ve got to find shelter, doesn’t look like we’re the only people here!" He glanced at the chained up men, "We’ll release a few of the trust worthy lads, and kill the rest, safer" Marshall walked over to the men.
"Stop" Duncan took his brother by the arm, "we’ll keep the others alive, they’ll make cheap labour for now" Marshall smiled and nodded "work em like slaves", he kicked a former guard time to start walking to find a place to shelter.
The train of ragged survivors struggled inland looking for place to settle leaving a couple of men behind to pick at the wreckage for salvage, by nightfall the brothers had a fire piled high and began to discuss their plans.
"I never want to be a captive again, we’ve been given a new start we can really make something of this" Duncan looked at Marshall "if we can keep from killing each other that is, I still owe you for this eye"
Marshall grinned "you deserved it, I was always better looking anyway. We’ll get the slaves to build for us, figure out those we can trust and set em free eventually, they’ll soon get the idea whose boss."
Duncan nodded slowly "Its good to finally be Free"
GM: The Masters
AGM: The Slaves
A return perhaps
The code of the Free
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