The Battle At Sea
Cape Bonavista, June 1715
The ship rocked dangerously as the rain thundered around them. The crew scrambled about the deck, attempting the secure the rigging that threatened to pull mast and all into the writhing depths of the ocean. Thomas snarled as the ropes, saturated in rain and sea water, slipped out of his hands yet again.
Beside them, an enemy ship alighted with cannon fire, their crew racing against their opponents as to who could fire, reload, and fire again the quickest.
Heavy shots thundered into the ship, assisted by the brutal storm. Debris, scattered by the assault, fell like hail stones on the crew, some slicing into them as if it were swords sent from the heavens. It wasn't just the ship and the storm the crew were fighting, it was their fear.
"Hold, men!" The captain roared over the noise. "Today will not be the day we-"
Another dose of cannon fire struck the ship and the captain was lost in the flurry. As the smoke cleared, all who could, searched for their only hope of survival. But that hope was dead.
As the salty spray bit at his face and the wind whipped at his hair, Thomas ducked from the cannon fire, watching a sailor beside him crash through the deck, his still carcass buried beneath the cannonball. But, he didn't bat an eyelid. He'd seen worse.
'I'd rather be facing one hundred British soldiers than spend another minute on this rotten tub,' the assassin thought as he resumed his work and tugged on the rope, tightening it. Thomas wasn't afraid. He was just inconvenienced.
He glanced around, noting the expressions of the surviving crew members. Lit up with panic and abject terror, they scrambled about the ship, hearts thudding as loud as the storm and the war that surrounded them. Thomas looked on with a calm disposition. While sea battles were relatively new to him, violence, war and bloodshed was not.
Lighting flashed, illuminating the scene, temporarily blinding the men as they ran about, knowing any step could be their last. Heavy shot and thunder took turns in deafening the crew, their senses dulling as the storm and the battle worked together to weaken the forces. The crew stumbled about, half attempting to save the ship, all attempting to save themselves. It was up to fate whether they lived or died and it seemed fate looked upon them cruelly that night, as many fell to either the assault of the enemy or the onslaught of the storm.
He turned to see the man he'd been following, Duncan Walpole, step onto a beam that jutted out from the side of the ship, ominously facing the enemy ship. Their fleet, mainly gunboats, chased down the ship. And Thomas watched on as their opponent sunk every last one.
Thomas' attention was taken back to the cloaked figure ready to board the ship, his weapon drawn. Walpole was an assassin from the English order, as was Thomas, but for some time, suspicions had arose of Walpole's loyalty. As he set to sail to Havana, Thomas was ordered to follow him and report back on his findings, posing as just another crew member.
"Look out!" A voice cried as a flurry of heavy shot sliced through the remaining ship, splitting it down the middle.
With a mournful creak, the ship shuddered, collapsing. Screams pierced the air as some sailors jumped, some fell, into the sea, swiftly followed by the ship itself. Thomas tumbled down into the fathoming depths and a moment of panic shot through him.
Which way was up?
It was so calm in the silence, the roar of the storm and the thundering gunshot were so distant here. Thomas watched the still forms float around him, giving no indication as to which way the surface or the sea bed were. He breathed out, praying this wasn't wasting valuable breath, and watched the bubbles climb up to the surface, showing him the way to go. He kicked his legs, pulling his body through the dark waters until he burst to the surface.
Thomas was greeted by the crackle of fire and the rumble of the storm, corpses floating around him. He threw himself into a chunk of wood, pulling his body up onto his as he panted, breathlessly trying to hang onto life. He looked up, risking a look at the enemy ship.
Two figures faced each other, panicked crew members racing around. One was a rugged looking sailor, the other was Walpole.
Suddenly, the ship exploded, the figures thrown like ragdolls into the sea. As Thomas lay there, he made a mental note to report of the death of Duncan Walpole, darkness overcoming him, and silence following.