The Logs of the TDFS Tindome
Chapter 11: "He can sew!"
Eïr and Eric unlock, pause, and then enter the captain's room. It's the room of a pirate captain, all right. There's a sea chest, a semi-filled weapons' rack, and the usual stuff. The diminutive Eïr looks over the weapons, while Eric aims for the clothes, to replace his blood-soaked shirt and pants. He finds a large, but serviceable shirt for himself, a jacket for Sam, and a pair of boots that will actually fit him. Eïr is disappointed that most of the valuable stuff is conspicuously large, although there is one small, gem-incrusted box. She does find a bag suitable for holding "loot." She puts in the gold candlesticks, the box, all the daggers with sheathes, etc.
Captain Ciryandil tends to Mandorak's wounds.
Eïr pokes her head back into the first room. The three damsels are still dressing – or at least trying on clothes. She says, "Uh, you can take your time, but we're going over there." They seem to understand a little bit of what she was getting at.
They report back to the Captain. Jakar Toka, and her grandfather are not around. Eïr says that they found three women, and hands Finwë one large sack and one small bag of loot. She notices Mandorak, and remarks that he does not look well. She works on him a bit, and he starts looking better.
The search continues. They find one orc who is not yet dead, and fix that. Eïr goes outside to look for J.T. Mandorak slowly and cautiously explores "our" new building.
Sam, now conscious, explains that, after she fell through the roof, she found herself facing a classic pirate. "He had a nasty laugh." Then he aimed his pistol at her, fired, and that was the last she remembered. She does have a lot of blood in her hair. Bay doesn't even dare touch her head.
Jakar Toka and her grandfather are discovered at the foot of the hill we descended, directing people back up it. Some of the more burly people are being firm with those who have celebrated their new freedom too enthusiastically. "I am very thanks to you," he says to her. "And sister's daughter, Jakar Toka, is return."
Eïr explains. "We didn't find our friends. A pirate-man is coming tomorrow to buy this place. We will wait here, and see if they have our friends. We may need help. If our friends are not there, they may be in that town." She points.
"Oh, very bad town. No one live there long."
"Has anyone ever come back from there?"
"When Jakar Toka was small, one come back. But not after."
"What do they do there, to your people?"
He can't express it. "Man not say much that the people know. Not well in heart after return he. He talk much; we hear little. Heart be much … clouded."
Eïr turns to Jakar Toka and says, "Good fighting."
The damsel flashes a smile and replies, "Much good fight, you."
Eïr hands over the nicest of the daggers she kept. "Good dagger for good fighter."
J.T. manages to find a gap in her belt into which to stick the weapon.
Eïr explains that we're looking for the brother and sister of the tall woman, the one on the building. Jakar Toka talks with her grandfather, and turns back. "We must help you."
Eïr explains the situation, again, to her. "Small boat comes tomorrow. People come, buy houses, plantation. We wait. We take boat."
"Ah. Go in boat to town. Maybe can. All fight." She holds up her hand, showing all five digits.
Inside, we've located the kitchen, and the front door (leading to the beach). Finally, Mannie realizes that there's an entire section of house that we haven't gotten to. He finally spots what should be a door. It doesn't work. Eric makes a pry bar out of paper, and they soon pop the door open. Beyond it is the pantry, with three people. Two women are cowering in the corner, and the third one, a very large woman with coal-black skin holds a cast iron skillet at the ready.
"We mean you no harm?" says Eric.
She looks skeptical, and says something that we take to mean that we had better be telling the truth. Eric puts down his lever.
"We freed Jakar Toka and the other slaves."
She doesn't seem to understand exactly what he says, but she moves forward cautiously. She steps out of her pantry, and inspects the area beyond it. She seems to decide that this is (at least) not all bad.
"You're free to go," he adds. She ignores him, and talks sternly to the two girls.
Eric grabs an apple, and leaves, hoping to indicate that he was "just passing through." He takes his lever with him.
Outside, Mannie finds the powder store, a brick building with a flimsy tin roof. Eïr goes down onto the beach and onto the dock there, and looks back at the main house. In the sand, she notices large footprints, widely spaced. She calls over Eric, who agrees with her that they are of people who were running very fast. He traces the prints. They head toward the dock, then turn left at the beach, and run the entire length of the beach. Perhaps these people are headed for the pirate town. Mandorak follows them.
Eric goes back to tell the others. The captain examines the beach area. He decides that two people came to the dock, and took the only boat. The others ran toward the dock, realized the sole boat was gone, and headed down the beach. Mannie reports that the tracks disappear in the jungle. Finwë asks him to scan the water off on the left. Mandorak reports that there is a small boat there, with two men, one bearded.
Smee had said there were six pirates. We found those. So that makes more than six. Eric marches back to the house, grabs up the biggest, sharpest knife he can find, and confronts Smee. (Smee is still bound into his chair, but the chair has moved.) He allows as how that there used to be eight or nine, and there are six now. Eïr is sure that he is telling the truth now.
Bavör, who hasn't moved much, asks Eric for a summary, and gets it. We realize that we don't know if the footprints on the beach are those of orcs or [ex-]slaves. Smee says that the two sailors would have deserted – or gone to the town, Port Rouge, to get the captain's other people, who are with his ship. His ship, it turns out, is a three-master that they took on the high seas, and which is being repaired. At least it is not Sam's boat. Smee hasn't taken a sloop like that in years. The people coming the next day are someone to buy the plantation, and someone to buy the town slaves.
The people of the town are mostly humans. The slaves are the Indians, who indeed do not live long. There are some orcs. Two of the captains who visit Port Rouge from time to time are elvish. They are, at best, privateers. The ship that will be arriving will have some cannon, and the plantation does not have much in the way of defenses. (The pirates have been in possession for some months, and their ship will be repaired in several more weeks.) And his name is "Jocko," not "Smee." Finwë ascertains that he can sew. (We still don't have uniforms yet.) Hmmm.
It will take two to three dozen to sail the incoming ship, plus another dozen because the purchasers won't trust the pirate captain, plus the two buyers themselves, and a few helpers, making about sixty men. It is a merchantman, and is armed, but lightly armed. The ship is large enough so that it can't dock.
We are facing several uncomfortable choices. We can't imagine taking on the merchantman and winning. We consider selling the plantation to the prospective purchaser. Alternatively, we could head back into the jungle. We could wrangle passage on the merchantman back to Port Rouge. We could sail the Tindomë into port, and try to buy Sam's brother and sister. We could trade the plantation for a sloop, and sail the sloop into port.
Basically, we dither.
©2002, 2006 Ann Broomhead. All Rights Reserved.