“Do you see the sail?” the Dutchman yelled down from his place clinging to the mast. His arm was outstretched in the direction of the ship he saw.
“Aye!” Elias shouted back. It was a French ship. And a worthier vessel than what they had.
He turned to András. “What do you think?”
“We have only one gun, and that a mite rusty and low on shot. We could never take her with that.”
Elias considered the words. He was right. They could never take the French ship that way. But there were other methods.
“We do have a French flag aboard.” The Hungarian seemed to have read his mind.
A glance into the man’s face told Elias they were thinking the same thing. They could trick the other vessel into taking them aboard — with their boat resting so low in the water, it would not be difficult to convince her they were in distress. Once on board it would be only a matter of a well carried-out plan to take over the ship.
But becoming pirates?
Elias wasn’t certain if he could convince himself that step was necessary.
“I know,” András said, lowering his voice so only Elias could hear. “But are we not already men without a country? And France, Barát… I think you will find your men willing.”
Elias shook his head and ran his hand over his scraggly beard. His thoughts drifted to Jaime for a moment. Would she see his decision as an acceptable means to keep his promise to her?
No matter what it takes.
Finally, he nodded resolutely and cleared his throat.
“She is French,” he announced to his unlikely crew. “And from the looks of her, running prisoners to the islands. We’re taking water, as you know. We need a worthier vessel. However, an action against her would make us pirates—”
He meant to explain what their options were, to put it to a vote amongst them, but he was cut off by the sudden cry as every last man, in unison, called out, “Take her! Death to France!” Every last man, save one, who stood at the helm, his face completely drained of color — the French sailor. He trembled where he stood, and Elias knew where his loyalty lay. He was French. For him it was not just abandoning one ship for one that wasn’t sinking. It was treason.
~ Pirate's Ransom (in progress)