Beginning of a Legend: Part Five
“Give it to ‘em!” Bloodhook shouted as he leapt aboard the Black Pawkeet. His crew jumped aboard with a menacing roar. Garin took a swing at the first one who jumped aboard, and slashed him across the arm. Jacques watched briefly in horror as one fell to the deck in front of him, but then shook his head to wake himself up and remembered what Garin said about the pirates, that they would show no mercy, so they should also show them none. Jacques twirled his two swords and locked blades with two oncoming pirates and then, driving his swords into the deck, launched himself in the air and kicked them in the face. Garin spun and blocked an attack from a Pirate Krawk. He and Jacques stood back-to-back.
“Hey Garin,” said Jacques.
“What?” Garin asked. Jacques hit another pirate in the face.
“I think I’m getting the hang of this,” he replied. Suddenly,
Bloodhook hit Jacques aside. Jacques hit the deck hard and groaned in pain. He looked up to see Bloodhook standing over him, with his cutlass to his chest. Bloodhook laughed evilly.
“I told your mate I’d kill you,” he said. He raised his cutlass. “And I always keep me word.”
“NO!!!” Garin blocked Bloodhook’s strike with his sword. Then he shoved him over with a good ram of his shoulder. He planted himself between his enemy and his best friend. He pointed his cutlass at Bloodhook. “You’ll have to go through me first, Bloodhook!”
“Very well.” Bloodhook stood up. “You’ve made a grave mistake, boy.”
“No. You made the mistake when you decided to mess with the wrong pirates!!” Garin swung at Bloodhook, who stepped back.
“Pirates?” he asked. “You? Ha! Don’t make me laugh. You’re nothing but a worthless bilge rat and a bad captain!”
Garin growled viciously. He tried to shake off the words Bloodhook had just thrown at him and concentrate on the battle, but it didn’t do much good. Ever since he met Bloodhook, his spirits seemed to have dropped into nothingness, and worst of all, what Bloodhook said could be true about him. He blocked another attack from Bloodhook. There had to be some way to beat him, but how? Garin felt his arm scream with each strike and block. Bloodhook was strong and a lot older than him. Not to mention bigger. Bloodhook struck at Garin once more, but Garin jumped aside and Bloodhook’s cutlass hit the deck. Garin dodged yet another attack rapidly. Then suddenly, it hit him. Bloodhook was huge, and he was small.
Garin remembered that once in his childhood he had seen a Miamouse being chased by a large Gathow, and the Miamouse had gotten away because it slipped into a tight place where the Gathow could not reach, and it had managed to dodge the Gathow’s many pounces. The Miamouse was FASTER than the Gathow. Garin grinned. He jumped aside as Bloodhook attacked him again, then swung his sword and cut Bloodhook in the back of the leg. Bloodhook yowled.
“Ha!” Garin shouted triumphantly. “How does cold steel feel on your flesh, you old scoundrel?”
“You’ll find out soon enough when I run you through!” Bloodhook snarled. Garin ducked as he lashed out at him.
“Give it your best try!” Garin taunted. He dodged another attack and another and another. “C’mon, you call that an attack? You missed me by a mile!” Bloodhook growled angrily. He swung at Garin, who found an advantage to punch him in the face. He dropped and rolled to the side, then stood up again. “Ha! See? I’m just too fast for you!”
“Wise guy!! I’ll show you!!”
“Well then what are you waiting for? I’m right here.” Garin shrugged at Bloodhook. Bloodhook roared and charged Garin, who suddenly ducked, rolled through Bloodhook’s legs, came up behind him, and hit him with all his might. Bloodhook yelled out in pain and then turned on Garin, filled with rage.
“I’m gonna teach you a lesson, you whelp!” he growled.
“Bring it on!” Garin shouted.
“With great pleasure!” Bloodhook ran at Garin, who jumped aside and then threw himself against Bloodhook and swung both his fists into his face. Bloodhook stumbled against the rail of the Black Pawkeet and coughed up at least two of his own teeth. Everyone by now was watching this intense battle while still fighting each other.
Bloodhook looked up at Garin.
“You were saying something about a lesson?” Garin asked, crossing his arms. Bloodhook’s lips curled into a snarl.
“Who do you think you are?!?” he literally screamed at Garin in complete rage. Garin smiled.
“Captain Garin of the Black Pawkeet, and I am not going to let you take MY ship!!” he said. Bloodhook roared angrily and yanked a pistol out of his belt. Garin pulled out his pistol, aimed, and fired. Both guns went off at the same time. Garin heard the bullet whiz by his cheek and then he heard a scream of pain. Bloodhook was on his knees on the deck, both hands covering his face. And when he removed them, Garin took a horrified step back, as did everyone else when they saw what had happened to Bloodhook. The bullet had streaked across Bloodhook’s left cheek from the corner of his mouth all the way to the ear and left a gaping cut behind it. Bloodhook snarled, leapt up, and jumped onto the rail of the Black Pawkeet.
“Retreat! We’re getting out of here! There are better things to do,” he shouted to his men, who quickly obeyed their captain and leapt aboard their ship. Bloodhook turned to Garin. “I’ll be back!”
“And we’ll be ready,” Garin said through bared teeth. Bloodhook shot him a death glare and then leapt aboard his ship. The crew of the Black Pawkeet cheered in victory.
“We did it!” Sam yelled.
“Aye!” Jacques laughed and scuffed Sam’s shoulder. He looked at Garin. “How about that, Garin?” Garin did not reply.
“Bloodhook is right, Jacques,” Garin said.
“About what?” Jacques asked. Garin looked at him, then handed him his cutlass.
“It’s time for you all to vote. For a captain.”
“What are you talking about? YOU are our captain!” Jacques exclaimed.
“No, Jacques. I’m not a good captain. It was an unjust choice, and you all need to vote for a captain. It’s fair that way. Bloodhook was right. I’m sorry.” Garin placed his red leather handled cutlass in Jacques’ hands. Jacques looked at Garin and saw he really meant what he said. Jacques took the cutlass unsurely and turned to the crew.
“Over there, everyone,” he said. The crew walked over to the other side of the ship and began to whisper amongst themselves. Garin leaned against the rail of the ship with a sigh. He wasn’t sure if he was ready anyway, and Bloodhook was right. Garin just wasn’t a good enough captain. He couldn’t even protect his own best friend. Jacques lived, yes, but still. Garin just felt… incomplete. The conversation went on for about another minute and then Jacques stood up.
“So we’re all agreed then?” he asked. The crew nodded with murmurs of agreement. Jacques smiled and walked over to Garin. “The vote is unanimous.” He held the cutlass out to Garin. Garin took a startled step back.
“What- Me?!” he asked. “Jacques, I told you-”
“Garin, you led us through that battle like any real captain would,” Jacques said.
“Yeah. And you brought us all together as a crew,” Talak pointed out. “I can’t think of a better person aboard this vessel who would make a better captain than you, mate.”
“Me neither,” said Jacques.
Garin smiled and looked at Jacques, who held the cutlass out to him. Garin wrapped his fingers around the red leather hilt and held it in his hand. He looked at his reflection in the metal… and saw a pirate. He smiled and sheathed the cutlass and then looked at his crew.
“Alright, mates! Aloft with ya and make sail! We’ve got things to do and stuff to steal!”
“Aye, aye captain!” The crew scrambled to their stations. Jacques walked with Garin to the helm.
“So where are we going?” he asked.
“Mystery Island. I hear tourists crowd there double around this time of year. Rich pickings for us, eh?”
“Sure sounds like it.” Jacques laughed. He started to walk off. “Oh, and, Garin.”
“Aye?” Garin asked. Jacques looked at him.
“Thanks for saving my life back there, mate. I owe you one.”
“You owe me six, but who’s counting?” Garin said with a clever wink.
Jacques laughed. He walked off into the cabin to get a map, and Garin steered the ship away from Krawk Island, feeling the cool sea breeze running through his hair. He sighed. It felt good to be home. He began thinking of a simple tune he had heard many times before, and he fully agreed with it. He grinned to himself and said with a sigh,
“A pirate’s life for me.”