I am a patient man ... except when I am impatient ...
This was a time for patience ... no matter how impatient I was tending to become ... with each tick of an unseen clock ...
I had my orders ... or rather my agreement to the offer that was made ... with that all too familiar air of secrecy ... that comes with such propositions ...
Casually I strolled about the deck of the ship ... drawing no more notice than necessary ... locating a comfortable position behind the catapult on the quarterdeck ...
I might as well enjoy the fresh air ... while I have these few moments of tranquility ... which seem so fleeting ... with the intrusion of business ...
I listen to the voices ... I watch the mysterious shadows ... watching ... waiting ... anticipating the sign of our agreement ...
Then I hear the sound of the musket shot ... hear the groan of the victim in the distance ... watch the shadowy figure fall to the ground ... but I wait patiently for further drama to unfold ...
More voices ... I watch the bold challenge ... caressing Ol Betsy by my side ... anticipating ... the thrill of the hunt pounding in my brain ... I both see ... and hear ... the defiant response ... as I lift Ol Betsy so she can have a better view ... there is no mistaking the outcome ...
I watch as one with Ol Betsy ... giving her neck a soft ... tender ... kiss ... then I hear the song of the swords ... the belch of the pistol fired point blank ... the thud of failed flesh upon stone ...
I give Ol Betsy a gentle squeeze ... and she responds ... with her familiar sweet song ... that whispers ... so softly ... on the wind ...
Ah ... the sweet sound of Bolts imbedding in flesh ... Ol Betsy has worked her charm ... playing with her prey ... first she strikes the captain’s arm ... hinders his ability to swing a weapon ... second bolt finds the leg of a soldier ... makes it difficult for him to run ... or pursue an intended victim ...
Ol Betsy must be getting soft ... or she is just a cat ... playing with a mouse ... bolts three ... and four ... merely disperse the attackers ... without finding flesh to feed upon ...
But that fifth bolt ... Ol Betsy is such a tease ... imbeds itself in the captain’s waist ... such a deadly dancer she makes ... allowing the captain to live ... it is his choice for how long ...
I gently caress her ... and reload her with another five ... while I watch ... and wait to see ... how the pursuers ... and their intended prey ... choose to respond ... and to react ... while I give Ol Betsy another kiss ... as I lift her once again ... to get a better view ...
Just waiting to see how the other players react and how the soldiers respond as they either choose to advance the attack or retreat from the scene!
She was the moment of calm surrounded by a sea of chaos; gulls called out in warning above, and the deck shook witth thundering reverberations of feet pounding. The sun gleamed off metal swords, reflected back into the skies above. In this moment, as she watched the back of a soldier's head explode from Shaben's shot, she tasted the salt spray on the breeze. In this moment, life moved at a pace that was a fraction of its actuality. In this moment, she sighed deeply, feeling herself tap into the slow motion mayhem surrounding them. And in this stillness, she heard the distinctive twang of a crossbow and the his as it sliced through the air.
The moment passed.
Thought was absent; she became again a creature of instinct and moved, graceful and without trepidation, without hesitation. As she pushed Septimus aside, her slender frame angled left and she raised her weapon. Drawing a line of sight along the length of her arm, she fired at her nearest foe as he closed in on her. The man fell upon the dock in a crumpled heap. He bled, though she could see from the color that it was not life-threatening.
Evani wernched herself from her position and stood defiant against the oncoming onslaught. Salt air cooled the fire of her flesh, the freshness of the wind tarnished by blood and screaming. The pistol was sheathed; she withdrew Septimus' dagger almost lovingly, daringly.
It was the scent of blood in the air, she would later believe, that drove her so mad. She could taste it, feel it on her clothing. The warmth of her olive eyes fell away beneath the weight of the tragic, slavering beast called Bloodlust. And where the light within her heart, a light fostered and nourished by the love of people long dead, should have cooled her heels and stayed her hand, she looked within and saw only darkness. Primitive, passionate, terrifying darkness.
She held the blade ready, the tip pointing outward, at her foes, while her hand hovered, steady, just below the swell of breath and breast.
Let them try, she thought madly, and I will slaughter them all... She spared a thought for Shaben, who had saved her, and for Septimus, who would have saved himself. By the sounds of the melee around her, they were doing admirably, as she expected.
Posted on 2008-04-16 at 21:00:35.
Edited on 2008-04-16 at 22:31:58 by Glory of Gallifrey
Uncertainty. He tilted his head, listening, no readable emotion in his mannerisms. His eyes, chilling and cold softened momentarily, almost reluctantly.
He paused, frozen by his own assumptions, of a fear half-imagined, entirely unlikely, an enemy in the dark.
He allowed the musical tones of Evani’s voice to wash over him, to calm him. The rigidity of his shoulders lightened and he nodded, once, curtly. All formality now, he smiled tersely at Shaben, knowing,the memories of a thousand betrayals flickering through his mind like points of shaded glass. Not by him, no, never him, but others…mutinies, blood for shine, all in the name of that dubious slavery, friendship.
The calm, unmoved expression on the face of his old friend, shifted, changed.
A soft noise, of cloth against earth, shocked him instantly out of morbid wanderings.
Reacting entirely on instinct, he stiffened and sprang to the side, twisting towards the direction of the sound. His pistol was brought up, aimed directly towards the phantom attacker, only to have his prey stolen from him. Another bullet careened through the air, burying itself deeply in the man’s skull. He blinked, cheated. Whirling on his heel, he watched in astonishment as Shaben serenely lowered his weapon.
Guilt flooded through him, tempering his utter surprise. He dipped his head in acknowledgement, humbled. Tears stood in his eyes as he turned to faced Evani, who had narrowly escaped death, knowing that his reaction would not have been quick enough, that he had been hampered by suspicion. He longed to draw her to him, to apologise, to show his regret, his disgust at his own blindness. Wounded eyes glanced quickly to her and then away. He was not worthy to speak to her.
Forsaking his distractions, he turned to face the next wave of opponents, a wave of pearl grey and blue, the same uniforms he himself had despised…and worn. They rushed them. Alarmed by the threat of no escape, he felt Evani push him from her path and grabbed her hand, gently pulling her away from them, as far out of harms way as possible.
He put away his pistol, sensing that it would be little use in close combat and drew his cutlass, He stepped forward, watching them closely, gaze trained on the captain. He flinched at Shaben`s denial, his misguided loyalty. “You fool”, he murmured softly, almost to himself, sadness overtaking the fierceness in his eyes.
“You poor, sanctimonious fool”.
He would later recall nothing of the battle, a hurricane of soft blue and gaudy crimson...
A soldier buckled to his knees by Shaben`s capable shot, and Septimus launched himself forward in a whirlwind of ferocity. Shots exploded around him, they threatened, he snarled. A soldier brandished his weapon at the raging pirate lord, and met with him with drawn sword. Blades clashed, faded blue met baleful emerald. They danced together, locked in combat. The larger man pushed Septimus from him, and he fell. Angling the sword to impale him, he thrust, and Septimus rolled nimbly out of the way. He almost impossibly regained his feet, the soldier’s blade scathing along his ribs.
Pain caused blindness, and he hissed. His eyes blazed murder and the soldier hesitated a moment too long, drawn by the hypnotising hate in those eyes. The dark man, the legend, was upon him like death itself. A single step, an angled sword, and the soldier was impaled beneath the softness of his chin, the blade shearing through thick skull into open air.
Septimus lifted his head and howled in triumph, a chilling, primal sound of the time before civilisation, a sound far from human, close to madness. He hovered over the freshly slaughtered enemy, a savage war-king poised over his kill. Blood trickled down his side, his sable hair matted with it, his robes drenched with it, that of his enemy and his own. Shots were fired at him and he pulled away from the dead soldier, rejoicing. His wounded side was agony, and burned with each gasping breath, but it was superficial, unimportant.
He faced the remainder of the stragglers, head bowed, weapon raised, waiting patiently, expectantly.
Let them come.
Posted on 2008-04-16 at 21:43:58.
Edited on 2008-04-17 at 14:43:38 by Septimus Sandalwood
The bolt sliced through the air and buried itself in her side, taking away all breath and thought. All that existed for her, in this moment, was pain. Blinding, burning, consuming pain. She sucked in air and stared at the wound, the point extending through her and jutting out only inches above her hip. Already the blood pumped and flowed; she felt the end of it behind her, out of the way from any mortal danger or incapacitation.
Time stopped, eliminating all sound. Evani turned, watching the silent flurry of action around her, and felt a ripple of air spread. turning back to her own fight, she leaned back, crying out. the blade of a sword swung wildly. Had she not leaned, it would have cleaved her in two.
It had seemed that his mercenary had arrived, and was waiting in the eaves, a master tactician. The soldier that was blocking the way had been felled, by who he didn't notice as a sword had cut into his arm, it was only a graze but it was still distracting.
He quickly stooped, leaving himself open to attack, and scoped up his musket before running up the gangplank, his rash action to save Evani had attracted these men, and undoubtedly more were coming. The sooner they got away the better.
Ol Betsy yearns to finish the job ... she lashes her fury against the captain with her first bolt ... and he falls to the ground lifeless before the sudden impact ... a just reward for his burying a bolt from his own crossbow ... in the side of the woman being pursued ...
In her excitement ... the second bolt merely causes the prey to scatter unharmed ... ah but that third and fourth bolt ... find their mark in the first soldier’s arm ... and his side ...
I seem to hear Ol Betsy gently weep ... her fifth bolt bounced uselessly off the armor of another soldier ... and she has no more bolts to continue firing ...
Drawing her close to my side ... I reassure her with a kiss and a sweet caress ... that she has done well ... that she must rest now ... there will be another opportunity for her ... on another more important day ... when I need her assistance ... so I set her gently against the catapult ... and watch with interest the outcome of the battle below ...
The two men are hard pressed by the attackers ... the woman manages to dodge further blows ... I can no longer contain my fury ... they need an equalizer ... and they need one quickly ...
I hear his grunts for action ... clearly in the wind ... Ol Betsy will be just fine where she is ... as it is now time for The Equalizer to join the fray ... seeking to turn the tide of battle ... as only The Equalizer can do ...
Together, as if communicating by a silent signal the soldiers charged forward, all fierce battle cries and empty promises of destruction. He held his ground, admiring their intelligence and courage, their swiftness and their strength. He stood a bit straighter and tilted his head in acknowledgment, eyes fervently probing their ranks for the wounded, the stragglers. They hesitated in reply, confused, the scent of his blood stinging their nostrils. Weakness.
Recklessly, one broke from his fellows, sword raised a gleaming slice against the sun. Septimus feinted, his body moving in perfect coordination, long graceful movements as if in a ball-room dance. The young soldier swung desperately at his enemy’s tall limber frame, discouraged. Septimus batted at him, almost playfully. The man struck wildly, Septimus calmly stepped from range. They shifted closer, their private battle intensifying, intimate. Close enough to hear his whistling breathing, to see the sheen of sweat on his skin, to smell the sweet carrion smell of the blood smeared on his robes. The wolf’s eyes of his enemy flickered up to him, eyes flecked with gold in a vast sea of slumbering green.
Their bodies tangled and the young man lost his balance. Instantly Septimus reacted, this was what he had been waiting for. What the law of nature dictated. The strong eat and the weak become the meat. The dark man lunged for him, knocking the novice’s weapon from his hand with one practised sweep of his cutlass. He paused, staring down at him, guilt making lead of his heart.
He was so young…
And then the novice shifted without warning, and instinct quickly overwhelmed his good nature. Septimus angled his weapon and brought it down on the young man with vicious speed, intending to cleave him in two. It jolted against steel. Astonished, he gazed down at his determined young enemy. As if by a miracle he had managed to regain his sword. Septimus stumbled back at the defiance in his eyes.
He bared his teeth at him, cheated.
A low cry echoed through the battle-field, coasting over the moans of the dying.
Septimus whipped his head around to find the source of the sound. His heart stopped. She was blocked from his sight, but he knew without seeing that it could only be her. Careless towards himself he felt a deep primal fury build up, obliterating all other emotions. He turned to run to her, in his haste forgetting the novice who had long since rolled to his feet, who stood before him now. His feral eyes blazed and he leapt on him like a panther, towards his throat, longing to sink his teeth into the youngster’s vulnerable white flesh.
He felt the impact as their bodies collided with the earth, his weapon of no use to him now. Through the haze of anger he felt a terribly biting warmth as the terrified soldier swung at his back, opening a gaping wound. He bled. Agony was quickly eclipsed by dire loathing. He grabbed for his sword and sliced at the young soldier mercilessly, watching deep wounds appear with glee, soaking his periwinkle cloak crimson.
He observed the horror emerging in his deer-like soft eyes and raised his blade for a final, crushing blow.
Torturous pain, not to be borne.
He cried out in agony, and twisted his head to look down at himself, puzzled. A blade was buried deeply in his right thigh like a strange growth. He stared at it, uncomprehending, eyes slowly travelling up to a hard, determined face that looked vaguely familiar.
A jerk as the blade raggedly slid from his flesh.
He shuddered violently, watching bright red arterial blood spurt from the wound. A low moan escaped his throat and he felt himself being pushed off the young soldier. He buckled to his knees, entire body vibrating in shock from the blood loss. He felt strong hands roll him onto his back, on his already existing wound, and he groaned. The blood continued to flow in copious amounts. Frightening amounts.
The hard-faced soldier approached him and in spite of his injuries Septimus attempted to curl himself away from him, to make himself as small a target as possible. The soldier knelt next to him and brushed Septimus’ dark hair from his eyes. His eyes held no malice. “I had to stop you. Don’t worry, it won’t be fatal…I just need to…”, he murmured regretfully.
Suddenly Septimus recognised him. “Lucas”, he whispered, and coughed.
The soldier smiled faintly. “Ben”.
Septimus shook his head. “Septimus”, he replied softly. He closed his eyes.“Septimus”.
Listlessly he heard his former first mate draw his blade and felt a sudden jolt of fear as it brushed his skin. It dived, cutting not flesh but fabric. Lucas started to remove his old friend’s shirt but paused as Septimus caught his wrist. “What are you doing”, he demanded. Lucas pushed him back and removed the worthless fabric. He took his blade and cut it neatly into wide strips. “I’m making a tourniquet”, he replied calmly.
A ghost of a smile touched the pirate lord’s lips. “I see…that you work… for the government”, he whispered, with a touch of wry humour. “And I see that you don’t”, Lucas pointed out. Septimus opened his eyes, glazed as they were from the pain. “Not…anymore…”. He shivered, acutely aware of his vulnerability. Having cut the strips he wrapped them and tied them tightly around Septimus’ thigh, cutting off blood supply to the wound. The pirate was eerily silent through his ministrations, deep in thought.
“Get…out…of…here”, Septimus muttered. He gritted his teeth and Lucas stubbornly ignored him. “I’m not leaving”.
The pirate smiled humourlessly. “Meaningless…heroics…”. A shot sounded near him and Lucas hesitated, eyes wide. Septimus motioned to him and said something, his voice too faint to hear. He moved closer to his former captain and Septimus whispered in his ear.
“I…don’t…hear you running…”
As his friend left his side, deserting his fellows, Septimus staggered to his feet, blinking salt-tasting blood from his eyes. Another soldier watched him, musket in hand, waiting with shining eyes. The pirate had seen Evani injured and would not rest until he had come to her aid, even at the expense of his own life.
He dragged himself along, falling multiple times. The soldier would lift his weapon every time Septimus collapsed, knowing with the innate sense of weakness that the pirate lord would not go down easy. Every time he fell, the soldier was certain he would never rise again. But no matter how finite his fall, he always managed to roll to his feet. A long silent struggle, broken only occasionally by a soft cry. Blood ran down his pale, broad back, his eyes stared dully ahead. He almost reached her and in a final lurch he made it to her side and collapsed at her feet, slipping blissfully into unconsciousness.
Posted on 2008-04-18 at 21:58:00.
Edited on 2008-04-19 at 00:12:07 by Septimus Sandalwood
The mysterious mercenary hoisted his Greatclub and bellowed out a blood curdling war cry as the berserker rage boiled ever more fervently in his veins.
Not even the sight of his employer Shaben running past him at the top of the gangplank could refrain the mercenary from engaging in further conflict as he leapt into the fray, swinging his Greatclub at the nearest attacker.
Afterall, there was the lady, plus the other man to assist and since they were in the company of Shaben, they were probably important participants and needed to be preserved for the coming task at hand.
The mercenary managed to knock the wind out of one of the attackers, giving Shaben’s companions the opportunity to board the ship, while the mercenary looked around wild-eyed, swinging his Greatclub to hold the remaining attackers at bay, seemingly oblivious to what had befallen the lady and the man!
He continued swinging his Greatclub wildly about as The Equalizer shifted the momentum of battle in their favor, until a calming sea breeze wafted its way to caress the senses of the berserker mercenary.
Looking about, he saw the wounded lady struggling with the burden of helping her bleeding companion to safety up the seemingly long gangplank.
Without further hesitation, the mercenary turned his back on the battered attackers and rushed to assist the lady with her burden, as the three made their way aboard the ship to join Shaben.
Posted on 2008-04-19 at 07:30:15.
Edited on 2008-04-19 at 08:06:29 by Hammer
It really was not amusing in the least, and she understood this. Yet as she faced off against her enemies, the tortured bard simply laughed into the face of overwhelming odds.
Life spun, gaining momentum so that all that transpired was simply a blur. She saw, as if oustide of herself, Septimus fall at her feet. She saw the club-wielding lunatic, whom she prayed was on their side, and heard Shaben's feet upon the gangplank to the ship.
Evani sobered a little and stared down at Septimus, who bled unconscious. her breath caught in her through. Surely he had not been killed, not like this. Images of what might have been flooded her hind, causing her to shiver.
And then, curiously, she became angry. Enraged, Livid. furious that something, someone, dear to her might have been taken away again, she groared at the foes before her, startling them with her ferocity and venomus glare. As they hesitated, uncertain, she found strength she had not know and lifted his body. She turned, carrying him, and fled to the ship where she hoped they could find a little peace. As she found footing on the deck of the vessel, her knees buckled.
Evani sank to her knees, releasing her hold on the pirate, and she swayed slightly, as if blown by sinister breezes. The crossbow bolt remained in her side. for a moment, she stared at it, blinking, uncomprehending, before looking up at Shaben, at his bloodied arm. Thoughts of herself vanished.
"Is it bad?" She asked, motioning with a nod to his arm.
He had begun to start shouting orders to the captain even when he was halfway up the gangplank and the other 3 wouldn't have made it if they had left it any longer. As Evani dragged Septimus onboard Shaben was already there, not to help though, there was the more pressing matter of the gangplank and so with his hand clutching at the side rail he kicked it off, almost going with it if it wasn’t for his hand being there.
Even then he didn't answer Evani and instead loaded his musket, focusing intently on the job as his arm was so painful and preying to whatever gods there were that the soldiers coming down to the port wouldn't try to jump onto the cargo netting on the back of the ship.
As for the ship it's massive paddles turned as it's funnel churned out heat and smoke, they were moving slowly for now but soon they would be going faster, that was why he picked a paddle steamer, it could go when the wind didn't let others sail, and just as the navigational chief had told him today was completely calm, not a single wind to sail on, and so they were safe. With his musket loaded he made his way to the back of the boat where he saw, to his horror, two men climbing the cargo netting. A quick shot clipped the first mans hand causing him to let go completely from shock and pain, he could do little with the second.
The woman was fearless in the heat of battle and amazingly she was possessed with a tremendous strength as she carried the load of her companion up the gangplank with seeming ease. This allowed the mercenary to guard their retreat as the three quickly boarded the ship in the nick of time, as the man with the musket kicked the gangplank away from the ship to prevent their pursuers from following, while the woman sank to the deck with her burden.
Moments before she had spoken to the man with the musket, but he seemed oblivious to everything except the task at hand, as he ran to the back of the ship with musket in hand and a sense of urgency that there may yet be danger lurking nearby.
The mercenary started to follow, but took pause as the woman held her fallen companion in her arms. There was no mistake from the look in her eyes and the expression on her face that the man meant more to her at that moment than anything else, even the bolt shaft protruding from the wound in her body.
He froze in his tracks momentarily, deciding which course of action to take, then swiftly knelt beside the woman and her stricken companion, tossing The Equalizer towards the rear of the ship with his right hand, while grasping a hidden holy symbol with his left hand.
The mercenary breathed a quick prayer to his God and then gently laid his hands upon the fallen man, imparting a small gift of life to his battle ravaged body. Now satisfied that his action had imparted the desired effect, the mercenary turned from the lady and her man to locate The Equalizer, as the sound of a musket ripped the calm sea air.
He felt himself being pulled deeper into the clinging mists, sensing rather than seeing sacred, forgotten colours. His life drifted before his blind eyes, pitifully short and in the darkness he attempted to grasp at its fleeting beauty.
She carried him in her arms, summoning a heroic desperate strength that only quailed when they had reached safety. She buckled to her knees and distantly he felt an inexorably terrible sensation as his body collided with the hard wood of the deck. Torturous pain rose with a vengeance, slicing through the dark, tangled layers of his psyche. He groaned. The sun beat down upon his fallen, broken body, preparing him as a sacrifice. He lay as one dead, thin chest rising shallowly, dark hair clinging to his pallid brow, eyes shut against the light. His cloak stretched out beneath him, soaked with sweat and blood.
Through the spiraling pain he suddenly realised someone was near. He felt the presence looming there, the moment stretching out to eternity - or was it only a few seconds? Then slow, soft steps toward him, coming closer, too close, bringing the smell of burnt hair, blood and powder. He struggled against the bonds of his weakness, fighting for each painful breath. Her soft voice echoed, illuminated and he turned his head towards the sound of that voice, sightless and wordless. His eyes remained tightly closed, other senses heightened, and he could tell that something was wrong with her.
“You’re hurt”, he whispered faintly, his voice hardly auditable. Desperately, he waited for a reply, frightened in the silence. He tried to gauge her reaction, but he could only hear distant gunfire and discordant ringing from afar; she was all silence, black and numb. A force of stillness, making time stretch - stretch - and then finally he heard her take a deeper breath. He felt relief, she was there, she had not left him, and then the tension eased as his groan of pain and relief shifted into a low helpless sob.
He was in hell.
A heavier sound reached his ear, a man’s footsteps and he curled himself away from that hateful noise in spite of his weakness. The deep wound on his thigh that had slowed to a trickle on account of the tourniquet opened again. He gasped. Panic turned his bones to fragile ice and joined the spiral of spinning pain. Something tearing, he couldn't make out what the noise was. Closer. The man came closer. Next to him. Close again, but everything was still spinning, spinning faster. Too much, it was too much, a circle, a vortex of pain, pressing into his leg - searing - electrifying –
A murmur. A prayer. He flinched as the man touched him gently, and then drew away. Even that soft a touch sent a bolt of pain through his head. For a moment he waited helplessly for the man to kill him, feeling a burning anger, a burning fear, while all he could do was cling to his awareness, and struggle to keep the black infinity at bay.
Surprised, he opened his eyes, sight registering as blank white nothingness as his eyes adjusted to the light. They shifted to his unlikely friend, glassy. The pain lessened slightly and the bleeding slowed, nearly stopping.
He looked to Evani, finally seeing the cause. He winced at the sight of the bolt, worried now as the pain drifted at low tide. He was able to think of others. “Love”, he murmured softly, feeling tears begin to congeal into a lump at his throat. Fear that he would lose her stole all eloquence. He longed to reach her, to comfort her, but his body refused to obey.
A thought occurred to him.
“In my cloak…I have…something….that might help….a packet of herbs…anserke…bloodkeep….to stop the bleeding…use it on yourself…and use it on Shaben…there should be…enough”, he whispered quietly. A swelling of emotion overcame his resolve and he reached for her hand, holding it tightly in his.
“You… saved my life…”.
It was done. They had made it. Images of freedom overwhelmed him; he almost smiled at the familiar shifting of the vessel, like the steady breathing of a magnificent animal. They were safe. He gazed up to the cerulean, cloud-less sky, a sense of peace washing over him in spite of his wounds.
She head nothing, spoke less, and could not find voice had she been able to; the pain was radiating fiercely from the wound, spreading out and around and though her. Vision dipped and swam; she felt the wold tilt and darken and she growled low in her throat, fearsome, feral and terrified, to clear herself.
She saw, though the haze, the mercenary approah and assist. She saw, though her haze, Shaben raise his musket. But she saw nothing to indicate why.
Evani felt helpless to defend. She fumbled with her pistol, strugglled to load it with fingers that trembled and shook. She raised her arms, fighting for breath, fighting to aim, and lowered it again. No, she knew better than blind firing. Too great a chance of hitting one of her allies. She wept frustrated tears at her inablility to help.
And then she heard again. Sound came rushing back in a defening howl, and through the din she heard a thin small voice, and her fingers gripped the hem of Septimus' cloak. Her vision blurred again; the loss of blood was wreaking havok with her body. She pawed through the cloak, growling with disappointment when fold after fold of cloth proved secretless. At last she found it, and she wavered, swaying forward as if about to pitch over.
Evani looked imploringly at the mercenary. "Please, she whispered, and handed him the herbs. She could not help her friend if she could not help herself, and what she had in mind would take all concentration. "Use them on Shaben first."
With tremendous effort, she turned aside so that she was kneeling before the wall of the ship, though she was blocked by a row of large wooden casks. Gripping the bolt with both hands, she leaned against the casks as she pushed on the bolt, forcing it slowly back out of her body.
Evani, howling like a wounded animal, panted and gasped for breath not covered in pain. The weapon moved only an inch or two. Again she pushed and screamed, and hot tears burned tracks down her face. She dared not look, dared not see howl ittle progress she had made, and each time she forced the bolt, the more blood gurgled and oozed from the wound.
Evani lifted her head, closed her eyes, and grit her teeth against the iminent pain. With one last effort, she tried again.
The mercenary was about to retrieve The Equalizer and follow the sound of the musket shot when the wounded lady called out to him. The look on her face and in her eyes as she handed him the herbs would have haunted his dreams had he chosen to ignore her plea:
"Please," she whispered as she handed him the herbs. "Use them on Shaben first."
She motioned towards the back of the boat and the mercenary responded without any questions or hesitation. As he hurried to find the man she called Shaben, the mercenary clutched the herbs securely in his left hand as if he were gently holding a little kitten. In mere moments he had quickly scooped up The Equalizer with a fluid motion of his battle ready right hand, quickening his pace to close the distance between himself and the man called Shaben as if it were a matter of life or death.
How much time had elapsed since the musket was fired was not clear to the mercenary, but he was ready to either administer aid to the one named Shaben; whether it be by the healing power of the herbs he carried in his left hand, or be it by the swift justice of The Equalizer that thirsted for the crunching sound of combat that he gripped firmly in his right hand.
"Shaben!" the mercenary shouted to the man with the musket as he drew near to the back of the ship, "The lady has given me some herbs to tend to your wounds!"