DAMEN/LAURENT AGE OF SAIL AU, LAURENT: BLOODTHIRSTY GENTLEMAN PIRATE KING, DAMEN: HIS CAPTIVE-TURNED-CONFIDANT, SECRETLY ALSO A PIRATE KING????
This section of the hold reeks of salt, rotting ropes and stale piss. Crammed as they are into a space much too small for six adult men, Damen and his crew alternately grit their teeth and curse through the battle. Damen meets the grim eyes of every one of his men in turn, silently sharing with them the feeling of being so helplessly, infuriatingly passive, unable to do anything to affect the ship’s movements or the fight’s outcome. Unable to do anything at all except wonder if the next ball to splinter its way through the hull will take one of them with it, or allow seawater to come flooding into the cage of the brig.
When it’s finally over, Damen feels weak and almost sick from the endless wash of it over his nerves, like a high note just off-key, held and held and never allowed to sag back into tune. Physically, they came through it well. Pallas has a jagged scratch on his arm and Damen’s own ankle aches from one of the more sudden rolls, but that’s the worst of it. The din of sea battle is stripped back to the normal wooden groans of a ship and the faint slosh of waves, and the tense quiet in place of huzzahs indicates that His Majesty’s vessel the Charity has come off second best in this engagement.
“What will happen to us?” asks Pallas. Of them all, he’s newest to the life; he’s never been taken prisoner before.
“That depends who it is, doesn’t it?” says Nikandros shortly.