It was night. The sea was calm and it was impossible to hear the waves hitting the wooden vessel that sailed within a mile of the Japanese southern coast. On the crow’s nest, a small open compartment at the top of the ship’s mainmast, a young man stood vigilant during the cold hours with a couple of blankets around his shoulders.
It was unusual to encounter any ships during the night so near the coastline, but One-Eyed Bruce, an infamous pirate, and the ship’s captain, was not one to take any chances during his travels. With contacts all over the world, Bruce and other notorious pirates were hired to harass Japanese coastal villages in order to weaken their economy but also to slow down their advancement and therefore, slowing down an imminent invasion of China. The current era of peace would soon force the Japanese to mobilize the clans and orchestrate a unified force before they could turn on each other again. Once they could settle that, China would certainly be their primary target. Before they could do so, however, China resorted to pirates to distress their possible enemies and therefore prevent an invasion on its shores.
The night was peaceful as were the many others before it. The Japanese navy was focused on defending their ports with the recent increase in pirates’ numbers on their waters, thus leaving many of their fishing villages and most of their coastal areas completely unprotected.
A couple of heavy knocks on the mainmast startled the young man who stood vigil atop of it. “William! Yer better not be damn sleepin’ while on the lookout!” The young man shoved the blankets to his side and stood up immediately to look down. Metal rattled while William moved. Although the sky was clear, the night was not that bright to allow William to see perfectly below the mast. “There’s nothing in sight! Both in land and sea!”The other pirate grunted and went back inside the ship’s quarters. Back to rum until he could no longer withstand its weight added to his head. William let out a brief sigh and enveloped himself in the blankets. Again the rattling sound of metal accompanied his movements. A remembrance of his current status within the ship.
William considered himself a pirate, but the truth was far from that. In the past, he had a couple of problems that he had to run away from. To avoid certain punishment, William infiltrated a pirate ship by mere coincidence with hope to get out of his homeland as fast as possible. While he managed to flee from his judgment, he was ultimately caught stealing food from the pirates, thus ending in having to serve them. As such, the ship now had a new cook, a new cleaner, and a new lookout all at once. On the brighter side, after seven months aboard the Ocean’s Revenge, William was now a prominent cook and an expert regarding firearms and the pieces that make them whole through various cleaning and assembling sessions of pistols, rifles, and cannons.
The young man had been through some battles now and he even had to fight for his life, thus having to end others. But despite his experience in battle, William knew very well that the Japanese were way too far just to chase his ship off, which gave him a sense of security and tranquility. He kept thinking of his journey so far until he fell asleep.
At dawn, awaken by the seagulls, William stood slowly only to see another village in sight. He knew what the pirates would do to whoever lived in that village and he never warned his crewmates nor is captain about villages in sight. He descended from the Crow’s nest through a cord and went into the kitchen, which was next to the storage room on the main deck. There wasn’t a single soul in sight. It was the beginning of a new day, but the crew of the Ocean’s Revenge was still recovering from the alcohol’s effects of the last night. Perhaps the inhabitants of the nearby village would be spared if the crew took more half an hour in their sleep.
On his way to the kitchen, William tried to be as silent as one could possibly be while in his current condition. Two pairs of shackles, each bound by a chain, restricted his arms and legs’ movement, preventing him from running and even to wield a sword properly, thus making sure that he would not run away or attack any of the pirates. William wore a red squared skirt and a tattered white shirt, the same clothes he was wearing when he boarded the Ocean’s Revenge six months ago.
After closing the door to the kitchen, there were only two small windows that allowed for the scarce sunlight outside to illuminate the room. “Yer up early Willy!” William turned around quickly, surprised by the voice that came from a dark corner of the kitchen. The man walked closer to William, his steps grew intentionally louder on the wooden floor. He stopped when his face had become barely visible. The scarred face, the eye patch and the three-pointed buccaneer hat were all distinctive traits of the ship’s captain, One Eyed Bruce. “Captain! You scared me…” One Eyed Bruce grinned. “Up to get the food ready are ye?” Captain Bruce studied the young man. “Aye, sir!” Evidently threatened by the captain’s presence, William could not hide his uneasiness when alone with the captain. “Ye were atop the mast on the lookout, were ye not Willy boy?” William became concerned. “Aye captain, as usual…” Bruce stepped forward and reached out to William’s smooth face. “Then why didn’t ye warn the boys about the village that we’re passing by? Uh?!” The young man’s face turned pale and before he could answer anything, his captain gestured a sign to silence him beforehand. “Ye’ve grown Willy boy. But ye still have a lot more to go through… Ye won’t be rid of those shackles anytime soon if ye won’t change lad.” The captain then made his way out of the kitchen, shouting and firing his firearm twice. William had his legs shaking and he had to sit down for a little. In the meanwhile, the ship’s crew had awakened and prepared to drop the rowboats so that they could invade the nearby village. William tried to omit the existence of the village, but now there was nothing more that he could do to protect it. He had to prepare food for the pirates, they would be hungry after a night of heavy drinking and even hungrier now since they know that there’s a village to raid, loot to pillage and women to capture.
Once the pirates ate their fill, they manned the rowboats and sailed to shore. One Eyed Bruce led them into yet another raid while a quarter of the crew remained by the Ocean’s Revenge, thus ensuring their means to escape but also to prevent any undesired surprises. As the ship’s servant, William had other duties to attend to, like every other day.
Smoke raised from several places within the fishing village and William could only wonder if the villagers had seen the pirate ship in time to grab some essential belongings before running away. It was perhaps a couple of hours after noon and a shout from one of the pirates aboard the ship alerted William, who was in the kitchen, that the Captain and the rest of his crew were on their way back to the Ocean’s Revenge. He came to the outside and looked at the calm sea. More than a dozen rowboats were now directed to the pirate ship. Some of the pirates on those boats were already eating and drinking while they forced the women that they’ve captured to row the boats back to the ship. With dismay, William prepared himself to transport the stolen goods into the ship’s storage. The pirates arrived by the starboard and with the help of ropes and sheaves, they pulled the rowboats out of the water and into the Ocean’s Revenge one by one.
Once everything was accounted, there were food provisions from all sorts. Fruit, fish, meat, water, and ale. Several types of clothes, although many of them would be torn apart since the pirates did not enjoy the traditional clothes that the Japanese wore. Tools for craftsmanship such as hammers, nails and wooden planks. A pair of jewels in the form of earrings and a single katana. And to top it all off, the most coveted prize, eight fair women to satiate the lust of the pirates on the cold nights at sea.
The women were thrown into a cell below the main deck where they were given proper underwear outfits to wear later that night. William was always disgusted by the atrocities that the pirates did to them and he struggled to shake his head out of those thoughts. After preparing dinner for the ship’s crew, he was instructed to cook something decent for the women, as One Eyed Bruce told him, “They would need a decent meal for the long night ahead of them…”
Now at dusk and after serving the pirate crew with an epic dinner to celebrate the success of today’s raid, William did his best to at least grant the imprisoned women a decent meal. Unlike the pirates who eat without tableware, these women would certainly appreciate William’s gesture even in their current state. As such, he brought to the cellar below the main deck a couple of steel pots, clay plates and some silverware, all previously stolen on a past raid. They were not enough for all of the women, but it would have to do.
One pirate stood guard by the cell. One of the most sleazy scumbags of the crew, Ivor. With both hands on the cell’s bars, Ivor could not stop staring at the women just a couple of meters away from him. The red-haired brute reeked like rotten fish and the frightened women stood away from him as much as possible. “Ivor! So ye were the unlucky one to guard the women ey?!” The broad man turned around with despise. “What’s a rat like you doing here? Eh, Willy boy?!” William waved his busy arms a little. “The captain ordered me to feed the women, wouldn’t want them to be hungry for the night would ye?” Ivor grunted and turned around to face the women once again. “I’d fuck’em even if they were dead…” William felt something change within him at that moment. After neglecting the atrocities committed by the pirates for so long, he had now understood that he could no longer withstand what happened around him. He was a good man at heart and there was only so much one could overlook without going mad. On this fast change of heart, however, William was still able to play along without revealing any of his new intentions. “Aye, that’s what I’d do, if only the captain would let me!” William studied the brute’s physique by the faint light that two torches provided. Without an answer from Ivor, William continued. “Now would ye mind opening the cell so that I can serve them and be done with this? If ye’re hungry why don’t you go upstairs while I get them served? It’s not like they can escape anyway…” Ivor glanced back a little. “Uh. I guess yer right…” The brute walked up to William and pointed at his chest, ultimately touching the young man with his finger. “Don’t ye dare to try anything funny Willy, or you’ll be replacin one of those dolls tonight…” William became static while Ivor stared into his eyes. He then walked past the young man while dropping the cell keys on the floor and went on his way to the main deck.
William sighed and started to tremble just by remembering the brute’s words. “I can’t think about it now. These women are probably starving, I have to feed them.” He placed the pots and dishes on the ground, picked the keys and opened the cell just long enough for him to deliver what he had brought to those poor women. The captives did not try anything. They feared for their own safety if they attempted to escape. But once William closed the cell, the women quickly inspected what he left for them. They split the clay plates in between each other and organized the respective silverware in the best way possible and they shared the meal on their knees, just as William was told on how the Japanese usually eat.
“I’m not in a position where I can do much, but I assure ye all slant eyes that I’ll be getting the lot of you out of this place. With your dignity intact…” The women did not stop eating while William talked. They paid attention to him especially because he had shackles on both wrists and ankles, but they couldn’t understand what he was mumbling about. At least he thought as much. The young man then withdrew himself from the cell room, thinking what he should do to relieve these poor women of their dire fate.
An hour had passed. The women in the cell had eaten everything that William had brought and even complimented the pirate’s cooking skills. They were not oblivious to what was supposed to happen to them. But as the night sank deeper into the skies, they began to wonder why the pirates haven’t come for them yet. What was even stranger was that everything went silent all of a sudden. The sounds of revelry had ceased from the floor above them and only the snapping sound of the wood vessel traveling through the sea had become impregnated within the women’s ears. They found it weird, but they prepared themselves for what was almost certain to happen to them nonetheless. The time went by and in the end, every woman succumbed to fatigue and gave in to a good night of sleep.
Another day was coming. The sun began to show its first rays of light. The sea was calm as it had been for more than four days now. There was a gentle breeze in the air and William had released the ship’s sails in order to advance faster. Now above the main deck, William grabbed one of the various pistols that he possessed tied to a belt and shot to the air twice. “A village in sight boys! Time to get yer lousy asses ready for lootin ya whoresons!” One Eyed Bruce and some of the pirates slowly regained their senses. One pirated woke up faster than the others and mumbled while still drowsy “That seems a whole lot like the village we raided yesterday…” And then, upon realizing it his jaw dropped in surprise. “Ei! Wake up! The ship turned away! We’re off course!” The waves slowly clashed against the Ocean’s Revenge, but to the pirates’ surprise and upon seeing what was around them, the pirates were now tied in rope, all clustered within half a dozen of the rowboats tied together as well, ready to be dropped from the ship’s sheaves at any time.
The rumbling and shouts of rage were spat right away, as they sought to find the culprit of such an act. “Who da hell is responsible for this mockery?! I’ll throw ye to the sharks once I get mi hands on you!” One Eyed Bruce managed to sit upon another pirate as he spat senseless threats on an already desperate situation. Another pistol then fired. “Calm down captain… There are no sharks in these cold waters aye.” Unformed with what was happening, anger quickly rose up to the captain’s only eye while he struggled to untie himself. “William! You half-wit son of a whore! Ye trespass onto my ship and I gave ye shelter and food and this is the way you repay me? I’ll fucking gouge your eyes and use them as replacements for my own!” Despite the superiority of his position, William shivered once just by imagining what his former captain described. “Aye don’t get so angry captain, your heart might explode or somethin. I’m the captain now if you can’t see it properly.” The young man had stolen his captain’s three-pointed buccaneer hat and was now in possession of several pistols around his waist. “Yer days as a pirate are over. The women ye captured are being returned to their homes, as are their abductors.” A voice from another rowboat made itself heard. “For a cunt?! Ye’ve doomed yer worthless life for a cunt?! I should’ve fucked your ass yesterday when I had the chance!” Ivor, one of the most disgusting pirates within One Eyed Bruce’s crew screamed from his lungs in an attempt to sate his frustration while he tried to break the rope that bound him with his muscles alone. “Ivor. Yer a disgrace to our kind. A blight that needs to be eradicated. But enough chattering already, I have a surprise to ye bastards. A surprise that will make ye live if you just follow what yer told.”
The pirates ceased talking. For a moment, only the breeze in the wind, the movement of the sails and the water crashing on the ship could be heard. “The cannons are ready and loaded. The fuse is already lit…” Several gasps were heard in between the pirate crew. “So when I drop you down to the sea, make sure to grab the rows that I kindly placed next to you…” William then picked another pistol and shot the rope that was holding the agglomeration of boats, leaving it to fall into the ocean. He approached the ledge and looked down. “If ye don’t leave my ship I’ll shoot ye all in the face! There’s plenty of ammunition for all of ye, yer whore mothers and drunk fathers too!” The new proclaimed captain of the Ocean’s Revenge vanished from the ledge and left the tied pirates on their own.
“I’ll castrate that tiny little rat!” One of the pirates shouted. “Once I get my hands on him, I’ll chop off his limbs and roast them in a fire!” Another pirate proclaimed laughing maniacally. “Then I’ll eat those sweet legs of ye lad!” The same pirate complemented. “Hang on boys. Try to get around these ropes… if ye can, I have a couple of knives in me back. We can use them to get back on the ship.” But before anyone could do anything about it, William opened the six hatches of the gun deck almost instantly. Upon hearing the noise, the pirates looked up only to glance at William already looking down at them. “Ye’re still here? Not much of a hurry are you? Ye’ll be once I aim these lil pups to shoot at your asses…” In a couple of seconds, all six cannons were brought in line, one of them at an angle that the pirates thought impossible to achieve. It was aimed directly at them.
Now noticing that William was not bluffing, the pirates hurried as best as they could to find the rows and get them in place to get to the nearest shore. “Row faster ye whoresons! In three, two, one…” The cannon fired. Its thundering sound only less frightening than the cannonball that scrapped off a corner of one of the rowboats. Luckily no one was hit. “He’s talking the truth!” A shivering pirate managed to say. “That young lad has gone mad! He’s going ta drown us!” Another one despaired. “Row faster, damn you! I don’t wanna be fish food.” And in the middle of the confusion, One Eyed Bruce tried to keep his crew in control if they were to get out of there alive.
“Eh… I missed… Good thing ye bastards started rowing! Now keep at it or I’ll blow ye pieces of shite to the bottom of the sea!” Another cannon fired. And another. The balls barely missed their targets. It was as if William was doing it on purpose rather than on pure coincidence. Then he picked on a rifle and he aimed it carefully to the fleeing pirates. The shackles on his wrists made it difficult to handle the weapon, but with some effort, William managed to get a proper grip on the rifle.”Now now. I don’t want you to get away without a decent souvenir from my esteemed person.” William pulled the trigger, the bullet flew and it passed right through Ivor’s crotch and another pirate’s shoulder. Even from where William was, he was able to hear the brute’s pain echoing above the sea. “Ah ha! I want to see ye fuck anything now! Ye squared idiot!” In a hurry, William ran to the other cannons and prepared them for another round.
The stunt took about half an hour and after such an apparatus, the people of the nearby village had noticed what was occurring. They picked what they could and they awaited the pirates at the shoreline. What they would do to the pirates was of no concern to William. As he saw it, they deserved any punishment that the villagers deemed fit.
Once sure that the pirates could not turn back, William went below the main deck and released the Japanese women. With a pistol in hand to make sure that no one of them misunderstood the situation. The new captain of the Ocean’s Revenge led the group of women to a couple of rowboats and dropped them into the sea. “Off ye go ladies. Ye wouldn’t be safe with a man as dangerous as meself…”
Now with a ship all to himself, William was not sure of what he would do. For now, he adjusted the course of the ship away from the Japanese ports and got himself a feast decent of a captain. Then, with his belly full of food and ale, he would decide what waters to scour, as the newly appointed Captain of the Ocean’s Revenge.
(PS: As always, the images found within Orient in Turmoil are just to give you an idea of the scenarios and characters that take part in the story. They do not belong to me and they aren’t precise representations of the characters and scenarios that you read about here.)