NNI - The Jaws of Death

NNI - The Jaws of Death

A Chapter by BL

'Four banners became united in as many years against the might of Italia'


Up ahead a patrol boat was tracking diagonally into the course of the Serpent. At its current rate it would be cutting across its bows in a matter of minutes. On board its men were preparing to engage and one of them was shouting through a loud hailer. It was obvious the slow but steady moving patrol boat wanted the unknown vessel to stop and find out its business and then more than likely take it to a Gallic port. Enda steered the tiller taking the Serpent as far away as possible, leaning it hard into the wind and the dark blue sail blew out to its fullest extent, lurching the vessel on and giving it a slight edge. The patrol boat adjusted its angle accordingly as it lost headway, slipping slightly behind.

'Come to' a far off voice called, but no response was given. The Sea Serpent ploughed on crashing through the waves, edging on. Bezon faced the approaching boat on the port side, not showing any reaction. He could see the men on the other ship quite clearly now, they were only tens of yards away. Some of them were preparing to fire with bows and arrows and a couple had lighted bows. They aimed for the easy target of the large sail. Some of the arrows flew over the hull, some undershot, dropping into the choppy water and some landed on the deck. They thwanged around, ricocheting off of the railings and some driving into the wood. A couple hit the mast and one lighted one set it alight.

"Get that fire out," Enda shouted from the tiller and within seconds a couple of men, one the ship's cook, who was carrying pots and pans, each threw a bucket of sea water on the quickly growing flames and luckily they sizzled to a smokey stop. A hole was left in the bottom corner where the fire had been. In an act of stupidity the cook then attached his bucket to a rope and lowered it over the side to get more water and as he did an arrow struck him in the back of the neck. He slumped down holding the arrow that had blood spurting from it. He rolled to the floor and was soon dead. He was the first casualty of the war that would be.

"Can we go any faster Enda?" Bezon shouted, going to cook's aide.

"Not really, but we're losing them anyway" he replied, looking at patrol boat falling behind, but still giving fire. But Bezon was looking up ahead and without paying the captain any regard started barking orders.

"Get this man below" he said pointing to the bloodied and dead cook. "Archers to the port side-stern and return fire. Enda get someone to get that front sail up," and before his commands were ended, sailors were rushing around to get them done, their actions instinctive and smooth.

The patrol boat was well behind them now, but was not still giving chase, instead it had turned so it's port side was across the Serpent's wake. It stopped returning fire and started signalling in the rough sea to what was ahead of both ships. At the top of the mast in its crows nest a man opened and closed the door of a large brass lantern, flashing the light of its raging fire across the salty air. Ahead were two more patrol boats and having seen the signal turned broadside to form a blockade across the Serpent's path. The Serpent roared forward picking up speed from its two sails, leaving the patrol boat in its wake. As it approached the two other ships, they locked together with lashed rope.

"Archers to the front and put the ramming plates down" Bezon bellowed striding forward to the bow to watch the men clamp the brass plates to the boat's front giving it a shield of solid metal. The front smaller front sail, was a dull red and flapped about noisily before finally filling, but as it did there was a greater pull beneath feet and the men had to steady themselves as the boat sped along. All to soon the blockade of boats was upon them and the Serpent surged on at top speed aiming for the narrow gap between. "Oarsman make ready and keep the tiller straight" he said lying down over the bow with his sword drawn ready to cut the ropes. Then the arrows flew in, some of them lighted, but this time they were ready and returned fire, taking on the men of Italia.

"Stop" a voice shouted. "Bring your vessel to" another called, but the Serpent sped on and smashed into the ropes binding the two boats. As they impacted Bezon slashed away at the ropes, cutting them through one by one. The Serpent's sails fluttered to a stop ending the momentum and Bezon shouted for the oarsman to row through. As the boats were together in a cluster a group of Italian sailors boarded and started hand to hand fighting, some were intercepted by the men at arms that formed Bezon's bodyguard, some attacked the crew. All the time the boat they had originally encountered caught them up. They were temporarily trapped and surrounded and were quickly becoming overrun. Bezon knew they had to fight their way free no matter what and as he slashed through the last thick rope a swordsman was on him, lunging down in full swing. Bezon managed to turn on the deck and parried the blow, knocking the man off balance. The armoured man staggered sideways re-drawing his sword as another joined him from behind. The Serpents bow slid through a few feet more and Bezon got up to face him with the point of his sword.

"Archers" he cried and they directed their fire at the two armoured men, some arrows bounced off of their armour, but some stuck in. The Serpent pressed through more, but the first patrol boat they had left behind had now caught them up, trapping them. The dark blue mainsail was fully ablaze now and temporarily unattended. "Row harder oarsman, our progress is too slow" he said backing away protecting the territory of the boat. The water churned up wildly at the rear driving the Serpent through and as it did they pushed the other boats aside narrowly making their escape. Again the mainsail was put out, but this time it was almost burnt through and in rags it smouldered with pieces of material burning in the air. They picked up speed with the small red front sail billowing out in front and the sleek hull sliding forward, but still on them was the first boat. The archers went to the rear and opened fire, trying to slow the patrol boat down, while below all oars rowed at maximum speed. From the patrol boats bow a man shouted.

"Wherever you are heading you wont get far?" he said threateningly from behind his large red and gold inlayed rectangular shield. He casually deflected arrows as the distance got greater and his voice more distant.

"Cease fire" Bezon commanded to the archers. "Were going to Rome to see the Emperor" he shouted and could hear the man laughing in response.

"You'll never make it, the whole navy will be after you now" he shouted loudly, his voice distant as the gap widened. Gradually they pulled away, leaving Enda and Bezon to count the dead. There were eight in all, including three from Italia. That night they weighed anchor in the port of Vannes, which is on the south side of the north west peninsula of Gaul. It was a safe port not occupied by Italia, yet and there in a drinking house they made plans for their navigation through the Strait of Gibraltar, otherwise known as The Jaws of Death.

© 2018 BL

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Some paragraphs are very vivid and the character of Bezon I liked the most. Nice write. :)

Posted 5 Years Ago


5 Years Ago

That's good, he is the hero - thank you very much

5 Years Ago

Good description of the battle at sea. Liked it, B. Keep writing, you're story has a lot of capacities. Glad you shared this. :) Rudi

Ps: Please return the favour, when you have time.

Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

thanks Rudi, writing that scene was different and a challenge, which I ended up enjoying. I have and.. read more
Good chapter, it's nice to see it get back to the action!

Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

There will be a lot more action , some will live, some will die, can't say who, haven't quite decide.. read more
this is certainly a great chapter my friend,enjoyed the journey

Posted 6 Years Ago


6 Years Ago

That's Magic to hear thank you

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4 Reviews
Added on February 2, 2015
Last Updated on December 4, 2018
Tags: kingdom, battle, empire, war, romance, hope, power, Memory, luck, fear, peace, army, spy, dust, adventure, fantasy, fiction, mystery



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