X Marks the Spot/C3 Chapter 1-3
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X Marks the Spot/C3 Chapter 1-3
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C3 Chapter 1-3

Candlelight flickered across the aged parchment as a hardened finger paced across the dotted markers, slowly tracking the narrow trail. Where are you? The sullen captain withdrew a compass from his pocket and placed it upon the vellum page, his gaze still locked on the faded lines.

“Cap’n! You’re gonna want to see this!”

With a grumble, the captain rose from his seat. “What is it this time?” he muttered with a scowl before making his way to the door.

A grim, musty scent of scorched wood greeted the man before he had completed his journey. He stopped his advance mid-step, twirling on his heels to peer out the cabin window behind him. A blanket of thick black smoke had settled atop the churning sea, engulfing the air around the ship. How did I not notice this?

The captain spun back around and flew to the exit, flinging the door two and thrusting himself into the chaos that had erupted aboard the ship. His crew scuttled about the deck in a frenzy, screaming of ominous omens and bad luck. A group of the men had splinted off from the rest, hoisting themselves over the side of the hull to pull what soot covered trinkets they could reach from the wreckage below.

“Shipwreck cap’n!” A squat man proclaimed, sprinting towards his leader. “Mighty big ‘un too. Looks like they took down a small fleet. There are at least two sloops down there. A frigate, too. Blew ’em right ta pieces, they did.”

Three ships? The bewildered captain stood motionless, observing the wreck in awe.

“The crew is getting nervous, sir. Who’ver blew up these vessels can’t be far. The smoke is still fresh. If they can take down these vessels, what’s stopping them from takin’ down ours?”

Who could have caused this wreckage?

“What do we do, captain?”

“What we do...” A dark figure floating atop the nearby debris caught the captain’s gaze. He rushed to the side of the hull, peering out into the darkness of the hanging cloud. “Benson! My glass!”

“Aye!” the squat man jumped to action, spinning about and darting off to the cabin door. A moment passed before the man leaped back onto the deck, huffing and puffing to catch his breath. “Your glass, sir,” he wheezed, handing the captain a brass spyglass, patinated from years’ worth of work in the harsh environment.

“Man overboard!” A voice wailed from atop the crow’s nest. “Cap’n! I think he’s breathing!”

“Sir, do we take him aboard?” The squat man gasped as the captain extended the metal contraption and brought it to his eye.

The captain quickly searched out his target, locking his sight on a damp mass of cloth, hair, and skin clinging to the charred debris. The mass was relatively still. Only the closest observation could discern a slight bob of the husk inhaling and expelling air.

“Sir?” Benson repeated, looking to his captain for an answer.

“Ay, Benson,” the captain firmly replied, lowering the glass from his eye and snapping it shut. “Bring him aboard. He’ll have our answers...”

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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