Tin Man: Pirates of the Nonestic

Chapter Twenty-six

Repair work seemed to settle Spencer's nerves, and DG could drive a nail with two blows. Cain focused his attention on the stairs. Luckily, both cannonballs had missed the stove.

DG passed him a riser board. "How did you not get hit, honey?"

He raised his eyebrow at the term of endearment. "I was in the cold storage. Still knocked me off my feet."

Jenkins' head popped in the hatch above. "We all got knocked off our feet, the smug bastard. How bad?"

Cain finished hammering. "This is the last. Spencer and Sprite are putting pitch on the hull."

The older man inspected the two empty risers left before reaching the deck. "We'll start the service for the five we lost as soon as you're done." He heaved himself away before Cain could ask what you did to a body when you were surrounded by water.

DG passed the next pre-cut board. "I'll tell Spencer and Sprite." Cain grunted an assent before hammering. She was back in time to hand him the last board.

They all emerged to find most of the crew on deck. Betsy and three sailors guided a net filled with the uniformed bodies and wrapped with chains over the rail of the ship while four more held the other end of the rope. Five human-sized cocoons of sail canvas laid out on the deck in a row. Hodges and Jones placed a cannonball in the bottom of each without unwrapping the contents.

The rest crowded around Jenkins, who took notes in a battered book. "I'm telling you," Laffite insisted, "Bellamy wanted his booty sent to his woman in Boboland."

"Bellamy had a woman in every port," Dampier protested.

"But the Boboland woman was the one with his kid."

"Alright, booty goes to children as next of kin," Jenkins declared. "Who else had any?"

They released the net over the side of the ship. Betsy saw their group and joined them. Cain was glad to see she had changed and washed off the blood.

She stopped in front of Spencer. "Are you alright?"

The boy nodded. "We got the repairs done too."

She smiled and hugged Sprite. "How 'bout you, Fuzzy?"

"Sad."

"It's okay to be sad." Betsy looked at DG and Cain.

"We're fine," DG answered before Betsy could ask.

"I think we're ready to begin." Jenkins and Drake stood next to the rail. Four men gathered around the first shrouded body while the rest of the crew made a semi-circle around the deck.

"Fire Maringo" by the Bilge Pumps
Download the Tin Man: Pirates of the Nonestic Soundtrack here

"Lift him up and carry him along," Drake called out in a sing-song voice.

"Fire Maringo, fire him away," the crew replied as they started keeping rhythm with foot stomps.

"Put him down where he belongs." The four pallbearers picked up the first corpse.

"Fire Maringo, fire him away!" They reached the railing before Jenkins and Drake, and paused holding the corpse over the rail.

Jenkins's voice stayed in the cadence of the song. "Bart Roberts, dead in battle."

"Fire Maringo, fire him away!" The pallbearers dropped Robert's corpse into the water below. The cannonball sank the canvas-shrouded body out of sight.

Drake picked up the next verse of the song. "The deck is awash with blood so red."

"Fire Maringo, fire him away!" The pallbearers reached the next corpse.

"Pooled up all around the dead."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"The enemy's ship is alive with fire."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"There's no plunder in that funeral pyre."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"

"Edward Teach, dead in battle."

"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"Those navy dogs, they had no fear."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"That King's Man O' War, she cost us dear."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
The pallbearers paused at the railing with the third corpse.

"William Benavides, dead in battle."

"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"The captain lays wrapped in his shroud."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"With ten men killed, he did us proud."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"

"Charles King, dead in battle."

"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"Send him overboard and let him lay."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"Wrapped up in chains so there he'll stay."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"The ocean floor is filled with bones."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"Pirates who never will see home."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"

"Gustavus Bellamy, dead in battle."

"Fire Maringo, fire him away!" The last shrouded body slid under the water.

"Let's fill her sails and make her go."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"
"There's more ships afloat for us to lay low."
"Fire Maringo, fire him away!"

Betsy sighed. "I hope you can get a supper together to cheer morale."

Cain glanced at the setting suns ahead of them. "I'll try." DG headed down with him. "You okay?"

"I'm trying not to be morbid, but the last one was after the Battle of the Eclipse and it wasn't much of a funeral. They are both so different from what I grew up with." She bit her bottom lip.

"You're wondering what normal funerals are like?" He gathered ingredients for sandwiches. "Depends. The different guilds have their own practices. The funeral for Tin Men was similar to the Royal Army's. The Royal Family, it depends on who died."

"I've studied that. What about everyone else?"

"Depends on their religious preferences."

She nodded as she sliced the bread. "Thanks."

"You don't have to thank me for explaining what you don't know." He dropped a kiss on the top of her head.

"I suppose I shouldn't thank you for being you, but I'm thankful you are."

"I'm thankful for you too."

They knocked off the flirting as the crew headed into the mess. They didn't need orders to straighten the furniture. By the time the food was ready, they had cleared all the broken wood from the room.

Hodges reached the stove first. "I'll feed the prisoner. I have no mood for company." Cain fixed two plates without comment. The man deserved some sympathy. He had lost his three lackeys, after all.

Betsy sank into one of the remaining barrel chairs. The rest of the crew silently filled their plates. Jenkins had carried in his guitar, but set it aside as he sat at the table. Sprite hovered around Spencer and set food in front of the boy, who didn't appear to notice it.

DG took a deep breath as the crew picked at their bread and meat selections. "I didn't know them very well, but I'd like to sing for them, if that's alright."

Betsy looked up from her tankard, ignoring the startled crew. "I don't think it would cause any harm."

DG nodded. The crew's faces mixed between affronted and curious. She focused on the far wooden wall.

"Into the West" by Annie Lennox
Download the Tin Man: Pirates of the Nonestic Soundtrack here

Lay down,
Your sweet and weary head
The night is falling
You have come to journey's end
Sleep now
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across the distant shore

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms
You're only sleeping

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
All Souls pass

This lament connected with the audience in the way DG's other songs hadn't, Cain noticed. The affronted crew members' expressions cracked into tearless sorrow. The curious shifted to sympathetic. She was winning over a crew of reprobates by being herself. And singing a song equating the after-life with sailing.

Hope fades
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
Don't say
We have come now to the end
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again
And you'll be here in my arms
Just sleeping

Betsy's voice unexpectedly joined DG's. What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
Grey ships pass
Into the West

Betsy inhaled before draining her tankard. "King always enjoyed Whiskey in the Jar. Let's have a go at that."

Jenkins pushed back from the table to play his guitar. The crew loosened with the tune from the strings before he began to sing.

"Whiskey in the Jar" by the Bedlam Bards
Download the Tin Man: Pirates of the Nonestic Soundtrack here

As I was going over the far famed Kerry Mountains
I met with Captain Farrell and his money he was counting.
I first produced me pistol, and then produced me rapier.
Sayin' stand and deliver, for I am your bold deceiver,

The crew joined in the chorus.
Musha ringm darram adar, They clapped three times.
whack for the daddy 'ol They clapped twice.
Whack for the daddy 'ol,
there's whiskey in the jar.
They clapped once.

Betsy sang the second verse solo. I counted out his money, and it made a pretty penny.
I put it in my pocket and I took it home to Jenny.
She smiled and she swore, that she never would deceive me,
But the devil take the women, for they never can be easy

Musha ringm darram adar, They clapped three times.
whack for the daddy 'ol They clapped twice.
Whack for the daddy 'ol,
there's whiskey in the jar.
They clapped once.

Jenkins sang the third verse. I went into me chamber, for to take a slumber,
I dreamt of gold and jewels and sure it was no wonder.
For Jenny took my charges and she filled them up with water,
And sent for captain Farrell to be ready for the slaughter.

Cain stowed the food away for the night. He was certain his grandfather had sung this song with slightly different lyrics. He remembered the woman being named Molly.

Musha ringm darram adar, They clapped three times.
whack for the daddy 'ol They clapped twice.
Whack for the daddy 'ol,
there's whiskey in the jar.
They clapped once.

DG joined Cain at the stove. "I think your toes are tapping," she smirked.

It was early in the morning, before I rose to travel,
The guards were all around me and likewise captain Farrell.
I first produced me pistol, for she stole away me rapier,
I couldn't shoot the water so a prisoner I was taken.

"I know this song." He smirked when her eyes grew larger. "My grandfather used to sing it while working in his garden. Doesn't mean I'm gonna."

Musha ringm darram adar, They clapped three times.
whack for the daddy 'ol They clapped twice.
Whack for the daddy 'ol,
there's whiskey in the jar.
They clapped once.

"Now that sounds like a challenge." She cleared the dishes, now that the crew was cheered enough to eat the contents.

Jenkins started on the next verse. If anyone can aid me, it's me brother in the army,
I think that he is stationed in Cork or in Killarney.
And if he'll come and join me, we'll go roving in Kilkenny,
And I swear he'll treat me better than me darling sporting Jenny

Musha ringm darram adar, They clapped three times.
whack for the daddy 'ol They clapped twice.
Whack for the daddy 'ol,
there's whiskey in the jar.
They clapped once.

Betsy started the last verse, but Jenkins sang the second line of it. They continued alternating until the song reached the chorus again. Now some take delight in the hurlin' and the bowling,
Others take delight in the carriages a rollin'.
But I take delight in the juice of the barley,
And courting ren faire wenches in the morning oh so early

Musha ringm darram adar, They clapped three times.
whack for the daddy 'ol They clapped twice.
Whack for the daddy 'ol,
there's whiskey in the jar.
They clapped once.

The crew lingered around the table longer than usual, but no one stopped Cain and DG from leaving once they were done.

Cain pushed DG against the wall after they shut the door. "You did good tonight, darlin' girl. Made those men feel better."

Her blue eyes looked at him through her thick lashes. "I did?"

"Your special gift." His lips hovered over hers until her arms snaked around his neck and pulled them together. He nibbled at her bottom lip, sucking on it as his hands left the wall to stroke her sides. She moaned and arched into his body. Cain growled.

A tentative knock on their door broke them apart. They both looked disbelievingly at the door, and the knock repeated. Cain growled differently under his breath as he released DG.

Spencer tugged a grey blanket tighter around his shoulders in the hallway. His gaze dropped to the floor. "I'm sorry, Mr. Cain. I know you and your wife don't want to be bothered with me." His body shook. "I just can't be alone right now!"

Cain winced at the boy's rigid body fighting against the shakes. He glanced at DG's worried face before drawing Spencer into their room. "How long has it been, son?"

His brown eyes darted to the closed door before returning to Cain. "About a cycle. Sprite usually helps me but there's been too much today. I can't ask her."

"Course not," DG said. "And don't you dare think you can't come to us. If anyone on this boat thinks you can get over what you went through in a month, they're idiots."

Cain smothered the smile that the dumbfounded expression on Spencer's face caused. DG's tirades tended to have that effect. He drew Spencer further into the room. "Thea's right. Don't worry 'bout it."

"It's usually not so bad, but when I hear the cannons." He trembled harder and Cain tightened his hold. "I'm back in the well, waiting for a cannonball to hit me." All three of them ended up in the bed; DG tucked under Cain's right arm and Spencer tucked under his left. Spencer continued to spill out details of his story. "The crew knows what I survived. The Captain and Mr. Jenkins can't understand why I'm not happy to be alive." His haunted eyes pleaded for answers, betraying that he didn't know either.

DG's hand tightened into a fist on Cain's chest. "They've never felt responsible for pain others suffered."

"What do you know about what the O.Z. has been going through in the past ten annuals?" Cain asked.

Spencer's expression didn't change. "The Sorceress overthrew the Queen and she just got overthrown. What does that have to do with me?"

"We lived through it," Cain said. "That's how we know what you feel." DG tensed. They couldn't share her feelings without explaining who she really was, but he could share his. "I was a police officer in Central City and spent four annuals guarding the Mystic Man before the Sorceress took control of the Zone. The Mystic Man gathered people he trusted and organized a resistance to the Sorceress' rule. I was one of those he trusted, me and my first wife, Adora. The Sorceress left Central City alone for two annuals before she found out the resistance was headquartered there. But she hadn't counted on the law being on the resistance's side when her army started terrorizing the citizens."

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