ABRAXAS the LOVESICK SEA DRAKE
Without anything else to do, Scarlett curled up on a coil of hemp and stared up at the sliver of moon, smirking at her from his 'watch' in the sky. Even with her sharp eyesight, she could see nothing beyond the ship's lamps fore and aft. “It's silly to WATCH for anything when it's too dark to see . . . The helmsman on the tiller below deck is awake anyway . . . why do they even need me . . . yawn!” The creak and moan of timbers and tackle were like lullabyes under the still of night, and the ship kept rolling like a cradle on the ocean swells. Soon, the bored vixen drifted off into a very sound slumber.
An hour or more passed before the gaunt moon faded under a blanket of clouds. Perhaps it saw what was lurking on the horizon, something blacker than the black of night. It crept ever closer to the Grey, gliding over the brine in stealth, with soaring tentacles of spars and shrouds lurching from a moaning hull.
Scarlett's nose twitched. The salt air turned rank. By the time her ears perked at the sound of oars, it was too late.
Honos was up even before the first grappling hook rattled the gunwale and took hold. It was the hauntingly familiar sound of rain falling—'iron rain'. “BOS'UN—IT'S TIME!” Cutlass in hand, Honos burst from his cabin into the passageway. Gus was on his feet in a heartbeat, rousing the crew to quarters.
The Corsairs had begun their assault by lobbing caltrops onto Greyway's deck. 'Crowsfeet', as they were known, were barbed chunks of scrap iron. The intent was to cripple the blurry-eyed and barefooted sailors as they stormed from the hold onto the dark planking littered with these spikes. However, alert to such tactics from their previous encounter, and prepared for action in hostile waters, Gus had his men sleeping 'in the ready'. Each one hit the deck fully suited and armed—and ripe for a fight.
With their own craft now tied alongside, gangs of Corsairs clambered over the Grey's wales, and rambled across the waist deck yammering like apes, wild-eyed and swinging boarding axes, both glowering yellow in the lamplight. Their charge came to a screeching halt, when Honos and a company of sailors sprang from the forecastle, blocking any further advance. At the same time, Gus rushed onto the quarterdeck leading the remaining ship's company intent on splitting heads. There was a debt to pay for their fallen mates, and tonight they would collect.