Posted on Thu May 24th, 2012 @ 5:32am by Lieutenant Iride Coriolix Mr
Chapter 5: Into the Fire
Location: The Sky Tiger Brig
Timeline: the lead up to the Steamhawke and Sky Tiger battle
Tags: Iride Coriolix, Jack Stallion, Sky Tiger
Sky Tiger's cannon blasts made a curt sound, and brilliant points of scarlet light with each issue.
Iride did not turn to look at the Captain behind him. He did not want to see the Master of The Lady At Speed at a moment where there could only be dread in his expression. The Sky Tiger was going to rip them apart.
The Lady's Master, Rielien, had seen the Lady through innumerable storms, and been the absolute scourge of the Old West Union ships. But having traversed the area of the great Ocean almost three times, destroyed enemy and suspect traders to a value over six times that which the Lady cost to build; seizing goods twice the value, and bonding vessels four times the value -the Lady had more than done her duty to her nation. But it just seemed a shame for her to meet her end on such terms at these. The powder for the guns: it had decayed. Their own cannon-fire gouted immense clouds of sooty black, and the flame was mingled red with an ugly green.
Iride took off his hat. His face was drawn -but not out of fear. Just sadness. It was in fact Rielien's excellence at sea that ultimately cost them this moment of bad luck; because they had been at sea for almost two and a half years. The Master had not set foot on land since the ship departed the shipyard. They had managed to run every blockade, and had evaded every ship sent in their pursuit. So having never ported at home, they had never had the opportunity to purchase new magazines.
It was a matter of time before the Lady was forced onto the surface of the sea, where she listed piteously. Her boiler touched water and exploded in steaming smoke, her timbers groaned with a mournful sound.
They took down the colours -the sign of their surrender- and waited for the Sky Tiger to bear down upon them.
Jack Stallion stood behind his Quartermaster; content to leave matters, while the prisoners of the Lady at Speed were written into a manifest and pressed into the brig, in the hands of his officers. But seeing Iride his brows knitted, and he eased forward.
Putting his signature on the Manifest of the Lady Iride shuffled away, finding Stallion had moved to bar his way. "I will take this one." He said, and moved away, expecting Iride to follow. He was shown to a seperate brig adjoining the Great Cabin. Stallion did not press him, yet: being gentleman enough -it seemed- to allow Iride a time to himself; having lost his commanding officer, one whom even Stallion perhaps had to admire, for all that he had been a bane. Iride's brig-space was windowless, and without lamp or light. He settled on the narrow cot and felt his body shiver and shake with the aftermath of the affray. He thought of Captain Rielien, and the thought was heavy with grief.
He wondered if, and when, Stallion would turn him out into a gaol in some port somewhere, or if he would be placed on a bonded craft that Stallion took -but didn't see the need to sink. He wondered why he had been pulled aside.