The skies were brooding all around them; a storm was coming. And a nasty one at that. The Lord Commander gave his orders to his officers and without hesitation they set about relaying the information to all sailors. Within moments they were in the mast, at the stern or anywhere they were assigned, to face the upcoming assault.
The drop in temperature was unmistakable, they were in for a serious onslaught of water, from both the sea and skies. Still Lord Worthington remained calm; the storms they encountered in the straits between the islands were the worst he had even seen. Here, he knew every type of gale, every wave. Although water was always unpredictable. The ocean could be ruthless. He had lost too many men to it to ever forget. Still, his attitude in the face of danger would influence his men’s; so poised and calm he would be.
The lightning came, sudden and surprising before everything turned dark. Rain started pouring and in a few moments all men were soaked to the bone. Still, every single one of his men had gone to the islands and returned. Their experience was unmatched in the country, maybe even the world. They showed it then. Every movement on deck would have looked to a novice like a choreographed ballet, each man to his place. He spared a moment to be proud before he claimed the helm from the steersman, and wheeled it starboard.
The man held onto a rope for dear life. Until the commander returned the helm.
“My Lord how did you see that rock?”
He’d only glimpsed the contour and he hadn’t been sure; but two decades at sea had taught him to trust his instincts.
“You just saved all our lives Sir.”
He waved it away before moving down to the deck and ensure that all men were still aboard, their lifelines still secured at the main mast.
Underneath them, the sea coiled and uncoiled itself like some serpent ready to strike. He felt it in the movement of the vessel, the waves were pushing them this way and that. They must be close enough to the coastline, which could have catastrophic consequences should they be thrown onto the rocks that were sure to surround the local cliffs. None of them would survive. They needed to get farther. He turned to signal the helmsman to direct the ship starboard again, when for the first time since he felt the storm coming fear overwhelmed him.
She was standing on the deck, trembling in the cold rain. It seemed his stomach lurched at the sight of her. What the…! As he yelled to the steersman to pull away from the coast, he strode towards her.
“My Lady you need to get down.”
She still looked so frail. She hadn’t entirely recovered from her misfortune in the islands. He found himself glancing at the emerald on her finger.
“I couldn’t… I…”
“You have to get down.”
“But the men.”
“Abigail for Heaven’s sake. They have gone through hell and high water to save you once. Trust us to get you home. We won’t fail so close.”
She watched him shocked still. He’d never used her name. Not once. Never had he allowed himself this familiarity. They evolved in different spheres of society. But he was past politeness; losing her terrified him. He couldn’t handle it. Not after everything.
“Go back down. Please. We can’t protect you and steer the ship. HOLLOM!!”
The boy ran towards him; the youngest of his crew and a good sailor. Soon a man though.
“Bring her Ladyship back to my cabin. Please ensure she stays in.”
He interrupted her with a look. She looked properly chastened, almost ready to cry. He took her hand and pressed it gently.
“I will come see you when we get out of this mess.”
“Thank you… my Lord.”
He heard the hesitation. What to make of it though? That must wait for the storm to pass.
In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s prompt Wordle #129
1. Boy, 2. Brood, 3. Localize, 4. Coil, 5. Dark, 6. Tremble, 7. Sphere, 8. Unmistakable, 9. Ruthless, 10. Stomach, 11. Contour, 12. Coastline