And now for the final episode we visit Sue Vincent
Mutt had barely reached the Ropewalk before he met Nail and Tolsin. Nail was tall for his age, lanky and could run faster than anybody else Mutt could afford. Tolsin was short, even for an eight year old and was still chubby in spite of living on the streets. Mutt regarded him as an apprentice. He could see the boy’s potential but realised he had a lot of learning to do if he was going to become as streetwise as Mutt, or even Nail.
Mutt turned first to Nail. “Good you’re here. Get back to Tallis; tell him ‘the women is on the boat Flower of Partann and Benor is going to need help rescuing them. Tell Tallis to tell Old Vortac.” He looked at Nail, “Got it?”
Nail repeated it back word perfect, turned and ran back towards Fellmonger’s Wharf. Benor looked at Tolsin. “You stick with me; I might have a job for you later.”
Together the two boys made their way across Rapscallion’s Wharf towards the Flower of Partann. They were running along the top of a pile of crates when Mutt saw Benor knocked unconscious. Quickly Mutt dropped off the crates and made his way towards the barrels where the thug holding Benor’s body was talking to a man and a woman. Mutt glanced behind at Tolsin. “You watch my back; shout if anybody sneaks up on me. Got it?”
Tolsin nodded and Mutt moved silently along the side of the barrels. The man holding Benor was saying, “Yeah, well Salat Wheelstrain would have come, but he’s knackered.”
The woman, Minny, asked, “Knackered? What’s up with him?”
“He were hit by a runaway dray, broke a leg and an arm. That’s why he never got the kid, but he wanted you to know he were still on wi’ the job.”
“Good. When is he going to do it?”
“When are you going to pay him?”
“Why should I pay him until he delivers?”
The man’s voice dropped to a growl. “Salat is always paid in advance. You got a special favour because of the past. Don’t cross him, he is a bad person to cross.”
There was a silence, and then the woman said, “I brought the money, I was going to pay Salat and Ardal Jorrocks together. If he needs the money he can have it.”
Mutt saw the woman pass the man a purse. “But it’s not me he’s crossing. Ulgar-Zare is the one paying out the money.”
The man glanced in the bag. “So you’re working for the pirate lord of Upper Pronghorn Keep. I thought you were Partannese by your accent.”
Ardal Jorrocks, who had been listening to the exchange with interest commented, “You’re well informed?”
“For a thick bruiser,” the man asked. “Got to be, Salat wants sharp lads who know what’s going on.” Then with one hand he lifted up Benor’s unconscious form. “So what do you want doing with this one?”
Minny glanced at Benor. “Just tie him up and stick him in the hold, he can go down with the rest.”
The three walked towards the boat, leaving Mutt crouched behind the barrels. He turned to Tolsin. “Go to the barge; tell Tallis I’m going to have to go onto the boat to rescue Benor.” He thought briefly. “Tell Shena as well, make sure she knows. We wants a proper grown-up dealing with this lot.”
Benor opened his eyes. Everything was dark. He tried to move and his hands and feet wouldn’t obey him. Fuzzily he raised his hands and brought them close to his face. They appeared to be tied together. Something moved his foot and he kicked out.
A voice said, “Oi, stop that.”
Benor asked, “Mutt?”
“Yeah, I’m cutting the rope.”
“What the hell’s going on?”
“You let yer sel’ be jumped. They’ve dumped you in the hold of the Flower of Partann.” There was a flurry of activity and suddenly Benor found he could move his feet. Mutt then appeared in front of his face. “I’m rescuing you.”
There was a pause as he started cutting the ropes tying Benor’s wrists, then the boy added, “Sort of.”
His hands now free, Benor gently felt the side of his head. “Aea, but that hurts.” Then as Mutt’s comment sank in he asked, “What do you mean, ‘sort of.’”
“We’re sailing, so we’ll both need rescuing.”
Benor got onto his hands and knees. His eyes were becoming accustomed to the darkness and he could see the light coming in from around the hatch cover.
“We’ve got to get off, and get the two women off.”
Mutt pointed up at the deck, “Listen.”
“There’s nothing to hear.”
“Ten minutes ago there were men sticking sails up and stamping about. Now there’s nothing.”
Benor glanced at the back of the boat, he couldn’t see if the drogue had been deployed or not. “We got to get onto the deck.”
He looked round and could just about make out the ladder in the gloom. He climbed quietly up it. Mutt said, “What’s that noise?”
Benor stopped. There was the sound of a lot of canvas moving. “I think they are deploying the drogue.” Hastily he climbed up to the hatch and with both hands pushed upwards. The hatch cover moved relatively easily and he pushed it to one side. Outside it was a bright, starlight night. He could see nobody on the deck.
“Follow me Mutt.” He climbed out and looked round. The Flower of Partann seemed to be carrying all the canvas her mast would take. Mutt scrambled out beside him. “Now what.”
“I’ll wake the ladies.”
With that Benor went to the stern and hammered on the door of the cabin below the poop deck.
Benor recognised the voice, it was the Chevaleresse.
“Benor Dorfinngil, the cartographer you paid to find your husband.”
This was met by silence. So Benor added, “This boat is about to sink.”
There was the sound of a bolt being drawn and the door opened slightly.
“What do you mean, about to sink?”
“It’s a trap, any minute now the hull will be torn open and we’ll go down.”
“What about the crew?”
“They’re the ones who’re sinking it.”
Mutt added, “They’re in two small boats, probably to kill you if you don’t drown.”
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5 thoughts on “Everything going swimmingly”
Awesome story Jim and it was so interesting to read. Thanks for the beautiful share.
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Amazing the lengths I’ll go to , just to lure somebody into buying the book 😉
Yes but that is a writer.
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too true 🙂
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