Monday, February 13, 2012

Prisoners and hostages, taking the ship, the beast fights death

            ...Captain Burke ordered seven guns to be fired, which was the signal agreed upon with me to give me notice of his success, which you may be sure I was very glad to hear. Having thus heard the signal, I did head away from the shore to my castle for sleep, it having been a day of great fatigue to me.  Yet I had not cover'd half the distance when one stepped from the trees to confront me with a drawn broad sword, or cutlass, and made me set my hand upon my own. 
            At first, I bethought myself this was one of the four pirates lost in the shadow'd valley.  And then the quarter moon did come from behind a cloud and cast some light upon the shore, and I saw the Moor Slaader before me.  An awful wound marr'd his features, and show'd the skull and teeth below his flesh, for Burke's weapon had ruin'd much of his face.  Indeed, it had kill'd him, of this I would be sure even if the beast did not assure me of it from beneath my skin with furious snarls.  Yet before me he stood, and many of the dark symbols ink'd in his skin did burn and gleam like lamp light.
            "Robin Crusoe," said Slaader, and his voice was that of the grave, "there you are."  His brow did wrinkle in anger, tho' he was beyond all such feeling, and he point'd a stern finger at me.  "You shall not leave, Robin Crusoe!  Your soul will feed the Great Dreamer!  You shall not leave!!"
            At this he lunged at me with his cutlass.  I drew my own sword and leapt aside.  The boatswain follow'd, swinging his great weapon.  The blades met, but I was no swords man, and Slaader had a furious strength upon him.  Our swords met twice, high and low, and twice again, side to side, and then the pirate knock'd my blade from my hand and it flew far from my grasp.  Now from his mouth came the words, the awful words of Poll and the savages and Walla-Kay, Friday's father.  The dark prayers of Kathooloo.  The ink of his skin did flicker and flare with his words, like a lantern being brush'd with a breeze. 
            Within my skin the beast did howl for freedom, for the words of Slaader anger'd it, as the like words of Poll had years and years ago, as I have said.
            I dodged a swipe of his cutlass and felt a great freedom come across me, as a man must when he sees the door of his prison open'd after many, many years, yet the feeling was not mine but that of the beast.  The moon was of no consequence, for the years alone had made us too close for such things to matter, and like in the stories I had heard of my father's father, I call'd to the beast and set it free.
            The mantle of the beast fell upon me, and through the smok'd lens did I see the look of surprise come across the face of Slaader.  I felt the beast's displeasure at my cloathes, and its hunger for flesh, and its rage at the dead boatswain...

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