Chapter eighteen

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Clara took the time above deck to familiarize herself with the ship

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Clara took the time above deck to familiarize herself with the ship. The ship looked like it took a beating from whatever last encounter it had. She doubted a ship this size could hold more than fifty men.

Their losses must have been great to impress twenty new men. Obviously, they were in port for repairs, none of which have started. It would seem the Lieutenant's priority was to find men first and then to tend to the ship.

The Voyager would be no match for the Whispering Wind as they only had twelve guns. Two 9 pounders on traversing carriages, one on the bow and one in the stern and ten – 18 pounder carronades on the broadsides but she knew Commander Redgrave would not engage, not with a warship of His Majesty's Navy.

Her best bet would be to keep her head down low, do whatever they requested, and bide her time until she could figure out a way to get the men off the ship.

"You there!"

When Clara, "Did not respond one of the marines had spun her around, yelling in her face "What are you deaf?"

"No, he is mute!"

Clara turned to see someone she never expected to see again. Commander Redgrave stood on the Main Deck. "And I suggest you unhand him."

The marine laughed. "And you are?"

"Someone who is not going to waste time speaking with you." Redgrave cocked his gun. "I am Commander Redgrave of the Whispering Wind. Where is your Lieutenant?"

The marine stepped away. Someone obviously had informed the Lieutenant of Redgrave's presence. She recognized him from his interview in the house, in town.

"What business brings you to MY ship?"

"The business of your press gang stealing MY crew and injuring MY passenger?"

"Your passenger?"

"Yes, Lord Fitton has returned to my ship after your thugs relieved him of his valet and beaten him nearly unconscious for telling them the truth."

Clara's eyes locked with Redgrave's. She did not know that had happened to Lord Fitton. She assumed once her and Richards were taken they would let him leave. She prayed he was not severely injured as he only spoke up on her behalf.

The Lieutenant knew of which two prisoners he spoke. So, the mute boy was a servant but he knew the other man was a carpenter and therefore too valuable to lose.

"The boy works for His Majesty's navy now. He signed this morning. I do not know this Lord Fitton of which you speak, and although his circumstance sounds unfortunate it has nothing to do with me or my men."

"I want my men returned to me, Lieutenant. All of them, or I will be taking this to a higher authority and with Lord Fitton's account of what has occurred you stand to lose quite a bit, as Lord Fitton is on a special mission for Her Majesty the Queen."

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