“Lay on sail. Give it all we’ve got, lads. The sooner we make mainland, the sooner we be rid of the waif among us.” Hercule called out orders to the crew on the main deck, which sent men scurrying to their posts. Some manned ropes, some climbed to the spars, others saw to escorting the ‘waif among them’, Loris, to the brig below. Two of the crew wrestled with Loris to walk her down the stairs to the lower decks. The crewmen were dressed in average sailer garb sleeveless off white shirts, boots, canvas pants cut off at whatever length seemed appropriate to each man.
Hercule left his post at the bannister overlooking the deck and dashed down the stairs and over to his prisoner. Loris shot him a hateful glance through pure white bangs that fell in front of her brown eyes. Her bangs were cut at an angle that Hercule felt made her face look smaller and straighter; something about the asymmetry accentuated the perfection of tanned complexion and smooth features. Hercule had always liked that hair cut, it was perhaps his favorite aesthetic of this woman. But he knew better than to fall for her beauty again: still, didn’t hurt look.
He smiled in return to her murderous glare, half in spite, half in pure enjoyment of the moment of power over his nemesis. “I have a lovely room prepared special for you, dearest.” Hercule mocked as he walked sidelong of the Loris and her rough guards that more drug than escorted her to the ladder that led down to the lower deck.
“I hope you didn’t put yourself out too much.” Loris spat back, her vivacity was stunning. Like a caged beast, there was a sadness about her being caught, but also an overwhelming feeling of safety.
“Only the best for our honored guest.” Hercule smiled as he gestured for her to go before himself down the ladder and into the ship. It was a token gesture, as Loris had no control over when or where she went, the unbreakable grip of the thugs confirmed this.
The first of the thugs left her in the strong arms of the larger sailer and descended the ladder first. Hercule drew his cutlass, not his favorite cutlass mind you, this was his everyday, non-occasion cutlass. He had several, and in fact several favorites, but they all served a purpose and were for specific applications. If he had known they would be taking on prisoners he would have armed his formal cutlass. As it was, the everyday would have to serve for now.
“Go on down, Borg.” Hercule ordered/offered for the sailer that held Loris captive to head down the ladder first, implying he would watch the prisoner until both he and her followed Borg down. At first the mate seemed to question the captain, but after a stern look from Hercule, Borg shrugged and let go Loris to head after the other sailer into the heart of the ship.
“I’m a desperate and dangerous woman, Hercule Savoor. Are you sure you don’t need assistance watching me.” Loris slyly moved toward Hercule, slinking as she walked in slow, calculated steps.
When she was near enough to reach out and touch Hercule, without even seeing that he had moved his arm which held the cutlass, she felt its pointed tip at her throat.
“Desperate, yes. But dangerous…? I’m afraid round two of this game of ours goes to me.” Hercule stated, he was not a gullible or ill-informed this time around as he had been before. They both knew the obvious, she was helpless and at the mercy of these pirates. Still, if Loris Grishnault was anything, she was proud. This facade of composure was one thing she would never surrender, certainly not to the likes of a common pirate.
But then again, Hercule Savoor was not common. Removing the tip of his blade from her throat, the captain of The Lady Brilliant walked to the side of Loris and moved the cutlass behind her so as to guide her in the direction he desired her to go. Loris took the hint and started down the ladder to once again be roughly grabbed by the arms by her sailer escorts and drug down the hall of the ship to the brig.
Hercule called down to Loris from the main deck as he leaned over the ladder passage down to the lowest level of The Lady Brilliant. “I hope you enjoy your stay, my lady.”
Hercule lingered by the opening in the floor going down to what the crew called, ‘the pit’, and stared downward as if waiting for Loris to reappear. Kareve noticed his captain’s odd behavior and walked up behind him.
“This ought to be an interesting jaunt, eh?” The first mate remarked, “having a woman aboard and all, and her of all women.” Kareve made an uncertain face, but he felt more indifference than he showed outwardly. “Yes sir, it ought to be a very interesting jaunt.”
“Ay.” The captain spoke absently, his mind on other things as his gaze drifted up from the ladder passage to the pit. “It ought that.”
It was not odd behavior for the captain’s mind to be on other things, or nowhere at all. The crew at large had come to terms with the fact that their captain was entirely insane, but that did not effect their loyalty to him in the least. Rather, there was never a band of men more willing to give their all for a captain than the crew of The Lady Brilliant. However, that did not mean any of them understood there captain, not really. Kareve knew him best and even he did not know the man very well. Hercule Savoor was a mystery to all, including himself.
Down in the brig, Loris wrestled with the bars of the door to her wooden and iron cage as Borg and his sailer buddy left her in the darkness and stench of the pit and made their way topside. She hadn’t been in the brig more than a minute, and already Loris craved fresh air, the wind in her hair and the smell of the sea, or really any smell that didn’t reek of mildew and rot.
“Curse you!” She yelled in frustration, hammer her palms against the iron bars of the cell. The small room gave a dull clang in response. The room in which she stood was small, she could reach out and touch all four walls with her hands palms when standing in the center. It was not complete square but was as close as it could be with one wall sloping outward, the hull of the ship. The floor was strawed, strewn about with hay as if for some manner of livestock. “What kind of a pigsty schlep is this?”
Loris hated being caged: bound in bars, bound to a cause, to a kingdom, to a man. Being bound to men was possibly the worst of bondages to Loris, having been bartered away by her father to a man she did not love. Of course men would reason morals of war and bloodshed; how it was a lesser evil to treat one woman as less than human, selling her off to settle disputes, rather than condemning the greed of men, which sought the bloodshed in the first place. Loris had never been able to recover from this, and such a hatred for men festered within her that it consumed her very being.
As she leaned back defiantly on one of the four walls of the small cell, she plotted her escape and how she would complete her mission. The first step was obvious, she needed to escape this prison cell and hide somewhere on the ship. Perhaps pondering on this would reveal some method by which she might escape these bars. The successive steps were far easier to accomplish, the cell was the biggest hurdle. Once freed, she needed only to wait until nightfall, climb up to the top deck, procure a weapon of some kind, preferably a knife, sneak into the captain’s quarters, and kill Hercule Savoor.