Captain Duncan Moran: The Aurora
|Subject: Captain Duncan Moran: The Aurora Sun Nov 11, 2007 6:25 pm|| |
((this is a story I've been writing about how Duncan gets the Aurora, it's probably going to end up being close to a novel the way I write, but takes place before he joins the HC. Now this isn't my usual writing topic, my usual is sci-fi/fantasy, but feel free to critique, this is still a rough draft and is always changing. Enjoy))
Duncan paced the deck, back and forth over and over again. He looked up and gazed at the red dragon on the field of black, a sight that both the Spanish and British learned to hate and fear. Duncan and his crew had hit a few smaller trade convoys since they had come to this new land; they had been smart enough to avoid the military convoys. The last thing they needed was the British and Spanish navies gunning for them. Most of their living was made smuggling; there was always someone who wanted something someone else said they couldn’t have. And that meant those people needed people like Duncan and his crew. In the hold was a combination of dyes from a Spanish colony and some rum. The Burning Sea was lawless, contrary to what the governments would have people believe. If you knew the right people, laws were nothing more than a temporary setback.
Duncan couldn’t wait to set foot on land again. He loved the sea but they’d been out to sea for almost three weeks, if you didn’t count the few days at the Spanish colony, and he didn’t. Tortuga would be home for a week or two, enough time to let the crew spend their wages and blow off some steam and more importantly, some time to line up another job. He could see land on the horizon; they would make it to Tortuga before nightfall if the winds cooperated.
Duncan made his way into his cabin and sat down in a wooden chair next to a table covered in maps and bits of parchment. He started working out the prices for the rum and how much for the dyes. The man who hired him has said four hundred for each crate of the dyes and three hundred for each barrel of rum. Duncan couldn’t understand why people loved rum so much, it wasn’t bad, but it was far from single malt whiskey. He had barely started working on the numbers when a sound echoed throughout the ship as it shuddered. He heard the crew yelling as he ran out the door and onto the deck, his belt in hand, his sword and dagger sheathed securely to it. As he looked around the deck he saw it, a ship with the white ensign flying. The English navy had finally taken an interest in them. Allan called out “captain looks like they don’t want us makin’ port!” Duncan sized up his opponent.
She was fast, a medium schooner, a bit smaller than the Wolf but not by much. The cannons echoed around Duncan as the Wolf returned fire. The broadside of the other ship erupted in explosions of shrapnel, a mix of metal and wood screaming through the air causing the crew to find cover. “Prepare to board!” Duncan’s voice rang out across the deck. Seconds later the ship turned hard to starboard and came along side the unknown vessel. Duncan didn’t care what the vessel was called; they attacked his vessel and his crew, that was all that mattered. The crew of the wolf began boarding the other ship. The sound of swords clashing cut through the air as he heard the captain of the other vessel scream “attack! Show them no quarter!” That was what Duncan had hoped to hear “you heard the enemy! Show them no quarter!” The English captain locked eyes with Duncan, as he looked over Duncan a slight smile spread a cross his face, as if this was were giving him some perverse pleasure.
One of the English sailors ran at Duncan, his blade drawn. Before he could react the blade swung and cut Duncan’s arm, blood swept across the deck as Duncan drew his sword. The sword he had used for years was actually a French blade; the blade was perfectly balanced for his style. The hilt was inlaid with gold, making it look almost as if the hilt had a small serpent wrapped around it. Before the sailor could recover Duncan countered with a thrust of his own. His blade cut the man across the chest, causing his shirt to stain crimson red a second before Duncan plunged his blade into the sailor’s chest. Duncan walked across the boarding plank and set foot on the English vessel, something its captain certainly didn’t appreciate.
Duncan drew his dagger and made his way to the captain. A young man slashed at Duncan but missed, he brought his dagger up and plunged it into the man’s gut. The young man groaned in pain as he sunk to the deck. He wanted the captain to pay; he wouldn’t kill him, that would be too easy and too quick. He wanted to shame the captain. Leave a nice visible scar to show the world that the captain had met defeat. The sound of gunfire and swords rang out; the sound was almost intoxicating, Duncan’s blood pumped harder and harder as he stood across from the captain, his blades raised. The captain of the vessel drew his sword and thrust forward. Duncan parried the blade with his dagger and moved to the side as he waited for the perfect moment to strike. Duncan jumped back slightly as the blade slashed across the air where his chest was just moments before. Duncan thrust forward with his sword and the blade cut through the captain’s jacket and cut through the flesh beneath it. The captain lunged again, this time connecting with Duncan’s ribs, the blade didn’t sink in very far, but Duncan grimaced in pain none the less. The English captain smiled “So you like dispensing pain?” the English captain laughed almost maniacally as he grabbed a rope and swung across the ship.
Duncan grabbed a rope and prepared to follow the captain as he saw Allan fighting a pair of English soldiers, his first mate called out “their captain’s quite the character ain’t he cap’n?” Duncan breathed out heavily “the man’s a nutter Allan!” Duncan sheathed his dagger and grabbed the rope with one hand, his sword in the other. He swung across the length of the ship above the battles below. It was hard to tell exactly who was winning but that was beside the point. As Duncan landed on the deck not far from the English captain he drew his dagger again, the captain smiled then said in an almost cold voice “you’ve attacked enough English convoys, now you die for your crimes!” Duncan was taken aback; he almost thought the captain was incapable of speech. Duncan saw it, that split second opening he was waiting for, he lunged forward, his sword piercing the thin material of the captain’s jacket and the captain’s heart right behind that. The captain collapsed to the deck as Duncan pulled his sword free of the corpse.
The fighting was dying down slowly as the crew of the Wolf took control of the ship they’d since learned was the HMS Dolphin. It was a nice ship; well it would’ve been if there weren’t large holes in her hull. Duncan stood next to Allan; both had bandages on their arms as they inspected the cargo manifest. Unfortunately the Dolphin was a military vessel and as such didn’t carry much in the way of goods besides what the crew needed. Duncan pursed his lips as he thought for a second then yelled “split the crew, we’re taking her with us to Tortuga, maybe we can get something for this wreck there!” the crew began splitting up as Duncan looked at the wolf “you take her Allan, she’s your command until we get to Tortuga.” Allan smiled then said “aye cap’n. See ya in Tortuga.” Duncan boarded the wolf once again and tried to ignore the pain in his arm. A feat which was far from working, he wondered if some whiskey in Tortuga might help the process.
|Subject: Re: Captain Duncan Moran: The Aurora Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:31 pm|| |
When they arrived in Tortuga, the crew began securing the schooner to the dock as Duncan called out orders. The crew responded instantly. Duncan looked at Tortuga, from the dock a well worn cobblestone street wound through town. The street was fairly empty, which was no surprise considering the time of day. Along the sides of the street several young women stood near doorways, each of them trying to grab the attention of sailors passing through town with fresh gold in their pockets. Duncan knew they’d probably get a fair amount from his crew. The crew had finished securing the ship, Duncan shook his head slightly then said “good, now then spend what you have left from last port and tomorrow we’ll sell what we have in the hold!” the crew cheered as they made their way off the ship into town. Duncan wondered if there would be any town left when they left port.
Allan walked down the street; a young woman caught his eye causing him to head towards her. She smiled at him then took his hand. Allan smiled back and walked down the street with her. The two of them were a stark comparison, her face so youthful with delicate features framed by blonde hair. Allan’s face was weathered from his time at sea, his features gruff and chiseled. His long red hair was pulled back into a ponytail that stopped just above his shoulders.
Duncan smiled as Allan walked off with the young woman, Duncan headed down to the hold as the sun began to sink below the horizon. The sky was a brilliant orange and pink streaked by grey clouds. As he did a final check on the cargo he listened to the waves slapping against the hull, it was almost hypnotic in a strange way. The hull creaked and groaned as Duncan finished checking the cargo, it wasn’t that he didn’t trust his crew; it was that he trusted himself more when it came to making sure the cargo was secured. When he emerged from the hold the sun had set and the sky was now a blanket of pure black with pin pricks of light shining through it. The moon was full that night and cast strange reflections upon the water. Duncan grabbed his belt with his swords sheathed; he’d learned long ago never to go into a port unarmed. Anything could happen after a few drinks, and most of the other privateers wouldn’t hesitate to draw their own weapon in the heat of the moment. He walked slowly off the ship, the inn wasn’t going anywhere, and the men shouldn’t have finished every drop of rum and whiskey in the place yet, or so he hoped.
As he made his way from the ship to the inn, the streets were filled with eerie shadows from the flickering lights inside the buildings. A voice echoed throughout the street “Duncan Moran!” Duncan looked around quickly and spotted a figure at the end of the street. He stopped and waited for the figure to continue, it was hard to tell but it looked like the figure was moving closer. “My employer sends his regards.” Duncan cocked his head to
the right “and he would be?” the figure stepped into the light, the face meant nothing to Duncan “Senior Mendoza.” He knew the name right away; Mendoza had attempted to board the Wolf the first week they had arrived. He quickly found that the wolf, while a large schooner, was crewed by a very able crew when it came to blades. Duncan had defeated him and taken Mendoza’s fencing foil as a trophy as Mendoza ran away like a scared pup. “So Mendoza can’t even face me in person. Well after the beating my crew gave his men last time I’d be afraid to show my face in public too.” The figure lurched forward, his hand clearly on a sword. “He says return his blade and all debts will be forgotten. Otherwise he will hunt you down.” Duncan nodded then said “aye…well the thing is if he wants his blade back then he’ll have to take that up with Davey Jones himself. I threw the blade overboard. I refuse to keep cheap weaponry on my
ship.” The figure moved forward quickly as he drew his sword.
When the figure stopped he found the tip of Duncan’s blade next to his jugular vein “with a slight flick of my wrist you’ll be dead before you can make a sound. And I really don’t want to do that. Because if I do that I have to find a new messenger to give my response to your master.” The man growled in frustration as the blade at his throat glimmered in the flickering light “the message is simple, I can be a very bad man to make an enemy of, and one more of you Spaniards run through on my blade won’t cost me any sleep.” The man nodded nervously “and for you, if you ever cross me again, I will finish what you started. Now go before I decide to give your master the message personally.” The man gulped, fear gripped his heart and squeezed hard. Mendoza had told him of this pirate, but staring into his eyes was like staring into the abyss itself.
Duncan moved his blade down slowly then jerked his head to the side as the man ran as fast as he could. He’d heard of Mendoza after they pulled into the port, Mendoza was actually part of the Spanish fleet, but he also did some trading on the side, usually on goods he seized but ‘forgot’ to log. From what he gathered Mendoza was nothing more than a lieutenant, but had command of a small coastal patrol. He was obviously being groomed for a captaincy in the future. He actually looked forward to crossing blades with Mendoza again. And he knew he would in time, but that time wasn’t now. Right now the only thing he wanted was a mug of whiskey and some meat on a plate, he’d even settle for rum if he had to.
As he pushed open the door the sound of sailors echoed against the walls, music was played as men played cards, drank and hit on anything that moved. Duncan smiled and grabbed a seat with a few of his crew members. A young man with blonde hair and a youthful grin looked over in surprise, Duncan recognized him, they had picked him up just a few weeks back in some port or another “Cap’n you’re sitting with the crew?” Duncan grabbed a mug of some mysterious alcohol as he said “and why shouldn’t I? This is my crew after all!” the crew members around the inn raised their glasses and roared a cheer together. Duncan gulped down a large mouthful of the drink then slammed the metal mug onto the wooden table with a loud thud as the crew went back about their business.
The young man smiled then said in a happy tone “no disrespect intended cap’n, just don’t know many officers that sit with their men on leave.” Duncan grabbed another mug of the mysterious alcohol and put it in front of the young man “your name boy, it’s timothy right?” the young man nodded as he took a sip from the mug “well Tim, let me tell ya a little secret. It’s the secret to a successful captain. Those men that treat their men like they ain’t worth a spit, they find that men can only be treated that way for so long. Then ‘fore long those captains end up either dead or without their ship, or both. But me, my crew is the best around! And I treat them as such!” the men roared a cheer again “I’d put them up against the finest the English have any day! But that would be unfair, a group of men fighting the boys the English let captain their ships!” the men’s laughter roared as several fell off their stools and other perches around the inn. Timothy smiled as Duncan imparted his wisdom on the new member of the crew. “You stick with us lad and we’ll make sure you can out sail anyone in the British or Spanish Navy. Not that it’s hard to out sail the Spanish navy. I’m betting old Edward over there could out sail the Spaniards, and he’s lost his left eye. He’s still more accurate than half the Spanish navy!” the men roared with laughter once again as Duncan gulped down another drink “now some might say this is just talk!” a few of the men murmured in the background as Duncan continued “but it ain’t talk when you have the crew to back it up! And I have the crew to back it up!” Timothy smiled then gulped down his drink.
The morning air seemed stale as the light filtered through the windows. Duncan’s eyes opened slowly as he groaned. His muscles were stiff after fallen asleep at the table, sleeping hunched over a table was never good for one’s back. He looked over at the rest of his crew and smiled, his hangover wasn’t too bad, some fresh air and some sunlight would clear it right up. Normally the owner of the tavern wouldn’t have let sailors sleep in the tavern but Duncan’s crew was a special case. They brought in rum and also provided meats to the tavern at discounted rates. Duncan stretched and groaned as his muscles loosened. “All right you loafers!” he called out causing the sailors to stir “it’s past daybreak! Time to work!” the men groaned as they began moving “I know, I know I don’t like it anymore than any of you, but it’s how we make a living.” The men filed out of the building and down toward the dock. Allan stopped next to Duncan as Timothy walked past into the bright morning light. Allan stared at Duncan for a moment then said “you can be a right arsehole you know that right?” Duncan clasped him on the shoulder as he led his first mate out into the street “Aye. I know but this ain’t a pleasure cruise.”
Allan opened his mouth to say something then shut it and nodded in an exhausted way. Allan knew that today he’d have to sell the cargo, well whatever might be left over from the deal. Most times the buyers were ecstatic to get anything they could, but sometimes there was more than they could afford so Allan had to drum up sales with local merchants, he had good relations with a lot of the townsfolk and Duncan owning a couple
small shops here and there always helped. The main business was importing meats from the mainland, Duncan owned a hunting lodge on the mainland and the ship would make the occasional run for some of the finer shops he worked with. Shops were opening as Duncan walked down to the docks;
the smell of fresh baked bread filled the air as the sound of a hammer hitting steel echoed off the buildings.
Captain Duncan Moran: The Aurora