Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dismasted

The lightning had struck the mainmast, which had seemed to explode from the deck plates and then fallen into the foremast. Working in the driving rain, the crew was able to hack the shrouds of both masts and jettison their shattered remains. With neither the mainsail nor storm jib flying, though, the ship was at the mercy of the storm. Tumbling over the waves and rolling chaotically, the strain on the ship became terrific, too much for the remaining mizzenmast, which let go less than an hour later.

The ship now bobbed like a cork through the storm, pitching and rolling throughout the rest of the night. Captain Correteaux, with only the single curse "Putain, la mer," spat through his sodden moustaches, sent the off-watch crew back below, but remained on the weather deck with the helmsman and lookouts through the rest of the night.

By mid-morning, the storm had eased into a steady rain as the gales died down to a steady southerly wind. Cardinal Maximilian and his attendants ventured onto deck as the rains finally ended around noon, as much to fight the nausea which persisted as to inspect the damage to the ship, which they were powerless to redress. As the sailors laboured to clear the remnants of the old shrouds and jury rig a block and tackle to raise a replacement mainmast prepared by the ship's carpenter, the clerics recovered themselves in the fresh air above decks.

As the sailors eased the new mast into postition, and prepared to winch it vertical, the stern lookout cried out, "Sail two points to port quarter!"

3 comments:

Bluebear Jeff said...

Pirates perhaps?


-- Jeff

Herzog Ignaz said...

Skulking about, shadowing crippled vessels?

I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Frankfurter said...

Time for a miracle!
:)

I'll drink to that ...