Hench (wo)man for Hire (Part 3) by Esperanza Devereaux
After my discussion with Mordekai, I headed back to the rooms I was renting. I would have to explain to my companions that I had to send them away. I wasn’t looking forward to the ensuing argument.
They looked at me in open-mouthed astonishment and began talking at the same time.
“Your parents would want me to watch over you,” began Birgus.
Sarah cut in with, “You can’t go alone, that’s crazy!”
Ratbeard bellowed, “A cap’n ain’t a cap’n without a crew!”
“Stop this! Stop it right NOW!” I yelled. As I hardly ever yell at them, this silenced them at once.
I turned to Ratbeard and held up a finger, “One: a captain isn’t a captain without a ship, either.”
I looked at Sarah, “Two: those are the terms that all henchmen agree to; I know what I’m doing.”
I faced Birgus last; I knew the guilt he felt, that he had survived when my parents died.
“The same obedience you gave my parents I want from you. Three: because those are my orders.”
I handed him the bottle containing Dauntless Traveler.
“You’re going to Jonah Town, have Mr. Jenkins begin the work. Here’s a down payment of five thousand gold; tell him the rest is coming.”
“But Captain, that’s the rest of your gold!” he protested.
“I have enough for rent and meals for three more days. Hopefully, I’ll be able to join the Henchmen, then my room and board will be taken care of.”
The Spar Room is located behind the Kraken Skulls tavern; like the Brawlin’ Hall it is there for pirates to test their skills against others. Yet unlike the Hall it is usually quiet.
Mordekai was waiting for me at the door.
“Are you ready? Keep in mind that many of the Henchmen resent the fact that you are an outsider; they won’t be pulling their punches.”
“Let’s do this.”
I entered the room. It was filled with a crowd of Henchmen, they all turned toward me when I entered, it became silent very quickly. They stood still, glaring at me. As an intimidation tactic, it wasn’t half bad, but I’ve faced worse.
“Blue Team assemble!” ordered Mordekai.
A team of four wearing blue sashes stepped forward. A privateer, buccaneer, swashbuckler and witchdoctor, as I identified them by weapons and gear.
“Red Team assemble!”
Three Henchmen wearing red sashes came forward. One of them was the buccaneer who threatened me earlier today. The other two were a musketeer and a witchdoctor.
“here’s your sash,” Mordekai said, “Join your team.”
The rest of the crowd of Henchmen separated and went to the walls to witness our bout.
I tied on my sash and went over to my team.
The buccaneer nodded to me curtly, I still didn’t know his name. It was obvious that he was to be the leader of our team.
“Let’s get into position.” he growled.
“Wait, aren’t we going to discuss strategy?” I asked.
He sneered and looked at his teammates.
“Don’t know what you’re doing here? We,” he pointed to himself and the witchdoctor, “are going to engage. Quickshot is going to snipe at them from a distance. You will stay by him and protect him. You will not move from that position; is that clear?”
Yes Sir, you big oaf, I thought, you keep your most mobile team member nailed to one spot. We’ll be slaughtered.
Mordekai flipped a coin and we lost the toss, Blue Team would go first.
The opening round began exactly as I expected. Blue Team used their round to apply buffs and defenses. Then it was our turn, our leader used Whale’s Might and the witchdoctor used Raven’s Cry on him. our musketeer was holding his fire, for now. I went last and used Juju to boost my and the musketeer’s agility.
The second round began and the privateer used Enduring Discipline, their buccaneer had begun to advance, the witchdoctor chose to hit our leader with Mournsong and the swashbuckler was halfway across the room. I could see that the musketeer and I were his intended targets.
It was now our turn, our leader was by now near enough to attack the privateer and witchdoctor; he decided to use Reckless Frenzy. He succeeded in taking down the privateer, but missed the witchdoctor. Our witchdoctor threw Mournsong at the opposing witchdoctor, now badly injured by the Frenzy. Our Musketeer hailed down some torpedoes directly in the swashbuckler’s path. I waited impatiently to show my skill.
The next round their witchdoctor was defeated by the Mournsong and so was our leader. The buccaneer on Blue Team cast refresh. This brought their witchdoctor and privateer back into the bout, though still weak.
“Use your cannonballs on them.” I suggested to the musketeer.
“Aye.” BOOM! They were out of commission again.
I was tired of waiting for the enemy to approach; on my turn I advanced and attacked Blue Team’s swashbuckler with Assassin’s Strike. He responded with Assassin’s Shroud. Our witchdoctor was attacking their Buccaneer with Mojo Reaver. But he responded with Vicious Charge and our witchdoctor succumbed to the attack.
Two against two, now the bout could be ours to win. I would show them, I would be an asset to their guild!
Then Blue Team’s buccaneer advanced and hit the musketeer and me with his own Reckless Frenzy. He defeated the musketeer and nearly wiped me out before I could dodge. Then the Swashbuckler finished me with his own Assassin’s Strike.
The match was over and we had lost.
We returned to Mordekai’s side where he had been monitoring the match. The Leader of Red Team rushed up to me, his face red with anger.
“Why didn’t you follow my orders? Weren’t they clear enough for you?” he snarled.
“Give me orders that make sense, and I’ll have no problems following them!”
Oops! I realized what I just said.
Mordekai shook his head, “As I said, you have too much of the spirit of a lone wolf. A Henchman can’t be a loner. Regretfully, we can’t accept you as a Henchman.”
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