Hench (wo)man for Hire (Part 2) by Esperanza Devereaux
I Join a Guild ( Maybe )
Before returning to Skull Island to put my plan in motion, I sent most of my crew back to my house, Rake’s Lagoon. I left Subodai and Bonnie Anne in charge. I kept only Sarah, Birgus, and Ratbeard to be with me for this venture.
Skull Island, although a haven for pirates, has many denizens who earn a living besides piracy. If there’s anything you want or need, someone on Skull Island can provide it.
A case in point and the reason for my being here, a group of experienced pirates are offering their services to pirates who need the extra firepower to aid in their ventures- The Henchmen. I thought I would try this as a job. How hard could it be?
I entered the Kraken Skulls tavern, found a table and sat down; then placed my cutlass and dagger on the table in front of me ( as a sign that I was willing to sell my services ) and waited. It wasn’t long before I was approached, but not by a prospective employer. Two Henchmen ( buccaneer types ) sat down at the table.
“A word with you, Devereaux.”
The larger of the two addressed me. His words were curt and unfriendly, he glanced at my companions.
“In private.” he added.
I nodded and sent my companions across the room.
“You can just put up your weapons and leave now,” he demanded, “We can’t afford independent operators to cut into our business. Ignore me and your ship won’t be the only thing damaged.”
They both got up and left, leaving me steaming mad. Ratbeard, Sarah and Birgus returned to the table.
“We was talkin’ to Skinny Pete, Cap’n. Ye can still serve as a Henchman, ye just need to join the guild and pay a fee,” Ratbeard told me. “Mordekai is in charge of the guild.”
“But those two said nothing about that!” I said.
“Well o’ course not, Cap’n, thar afraid o’ yer reputation. When someone can hire the famous Cap’n Devereaux, why hire ‘em?”
I burst out laughing, “Ratbeard, that’s an outrageous piece of flattery!”
“Don’t mean it ain’t true.”
We all laughed. So I left the tavern, entered Avery’s Court, found the Buccaneer’s Den then entered.
Mordekai, The Hammerhead, was in the middle of training a new buccaneer. The novice was half his size and maybe a third of his weight, but she was blocking some of the heavy blows raining down on her body; now and then a blow would connect, even with armor, it looked painful.
Finally, with a roundhouse swing, the trainee penetrated Mordekai’s defense and smacked him in the chest.
“Hah! Well done, Cecily! You are making improvements, but you need to work on your defense and vengeance strike, both are too slow, maybe some sessions with LaFitte will increase your speed.”
After his student left I approached him. I explained why I was there and the reason why I wanted to be a Henchmen.
He looked at me with his golden eyes, which situated on the ends of the hammer shaped skull gave him an almost 360 degree vision. He was nearly impossible to sneak attack.
“You want to be a hired sword? I wonder if you are suited to the life. I”ve noticed you have a strong and independent spirit. You prefer to go alone into battles where others are more willing to team up.”
He continued, “Do you realize what it means to be a Henchman? You won’t be the captain anymore, you will have to follow the orders of another. Even risk your life for their success. And you will not have your companions with you. You will be 'the outsider' on a strange ship with stangers. Knowing this, are you still willing to be a Henchman?”
Put to me this way, the prospect was not appealing, but what choice did I have? I would have to do this, and swallow my pride. Without a ship I wasn’t a captain anyway. I indicated that I was still willing to join the Henchmen.
“Very well, but it’s not just a matter of saying 'I want to be a Henchman,' then joining. You must pass a test first. Meet me in the Spar Room in two hours, alone.”
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