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The Reaper of the Sea

Chapter One

Another Sentencing

I decided in that cage that the worst part about being imprisoned wasn’t the sentencing. It was the carrying out of the sentencing. And it wasn’t even the guards who spat in your face and bullied you for getting caught. The worst part about being imprisoned was waiting.

For example, as I sat in my metal cage which hung in the large room of many other cages, I had nothing to do but sit and talk to the parrots. Most of the men who hung near me had gone mad from the swaying of their cage in the wind, the constant rattling of chains, and the lack of nourishment and drink.

The good thing for me was that I was smart enough to hide food in my uniform. The guns and weapons they would look for, but not the food.

Waiting in that cage took forever though. The sun was brutal too. My skin turned a bright red after only an hour and I felt like I was on fire for days afterward. Granted, I also did catch on fire later causing it to hurt worse, but that’s irrelevant at this point.

My guards were in no rush to sentence me either. They knew I was guilty. I knew I was guilty. There was just the minor inconvenience of making it all official. I wish they would have hurried up though. I couldn’t attempt to make my dashing escape until I was down from the cage.

I peered down at the ground well below my cage. Hard stone. A jump would surely end up in my demise, which was beginning to sound like an even better idea by the minute.

After a day of hanging in the sun, I was beginning to grow frustrated. I had killed multiple guards and injured several civilians while trying to steal the gem. I would at least think that would earn me a little bit of respect, and maybe even a quick sentencing. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t looking forward to the rope and blowing in the wind from my neck. But it would be nice to get it over with.

Plus, my men knew not to attack until I was up on that platform. Luckily for me, I was almost guaranteed to be executed right after my trial. Not many of us seafaring thieves were granted a privilege such as that. Usually, they tortured us for more information about our fellow seamen.

Now, you must understand. These were the days before I was a respectable seaman. Nearly everyone underestimated me. They didn’t realize that losing the first fight was all a part of the plan and ended up leaving me richer than before.

But our dearest friends in the military and navy hadn’t quite figured that out yet. So, I was left in nice prison cells like the hanging cage. Free to communicate however I wished with whomever I wished.

But I was still bored.

I had already sent my parrot off with a note to my second in command. He would be getting ready to rig the explosives about now if the parrot had done its damned job. It had flown off screeching something about eating eyeballs. Don’t know where he got that from, but it wasn’t me.

It was on the third day when they finally let me down from the cage. I was put in shackles, and they threw a sack over my head. They knew that I was clever enough to memorize where I was going at least.

I was led through winding hallways along stone cobble ways. The salt air blew against my neck, sending a chill down my back. The sea was still close, I could feel it. The hanging cages had still been hung low enough that I couldn’t see over the walls, and since I had been knocked out before being thrown in prison, I had no recollection of the outside of the walls or how I came to them.

To put it simply, I had no idea where I was.

I heard a door open with the hinges giving a loud creak, and I was shoved forcefully inside. I heard the door lock behind us, and my mask was removed, rather roughly I must add, and I took in the dim surroundings around me.

The room was chilly, with a fire burning in the stone fireplace across the hall. There was a large desk seated high above the floor so that anyone talking to the judge sitting above would have to crane their neck upwards to look at them. It was probably meant to strike fear in the hearts of those being sentenced, but if I’m being completely honest, it was more annoying than anything else.

My guards escorted me forcefully to a seat at a table directly across from the judge’s desk. They sat me down on the wooden chair and chained me to it. I was finally getting the respect I deserved as a sea thief. It had taken them way too damn long to realize how good I was.

The judge walked in from a door that I hadn’t seen in the wall. It was well disguised. He was wearing a white powdered wig, probably because he didn’t have as great hair as I did. Tough on him. It looked rather disgusting, but thankfully, he had the hood of his black robe up.

Everyone else in the room stood up when he entered. I would have, but there was the minor issue of being chained to my chair. So I remained seated.

The judge banged his gavel against the desk and called for everyone to be seated. They all sat down, and the judge stared me down.

I didn’t waste a moment and I flashed a toothy grin at him. Well, I was missing a couple of teeth from a few of the bar fights I’d been in, but you get the picture.

“Everton Arnes, you have been accused of the attempt acquisition of one of the last remaining Anyatite gemstones. And, in your attempted theft, you murdered several civilians and soldiers.”

The judge paused, I assumed for dramatic effect once again. I always hated how they would always do that. Made things take longer when they could take shorter.

“You are charged as guilty,” the judge said with a smile on his face. “You will hang at dusk. Any final statements?”

I thought about what I was going to say for several long minutes, before finally deciding on the most scathing response.

“My corpse will only hang after yours has rotted in the earth next to the dogs you will be buried with.”

I flashed another one of my famous smiles and the Judge glared down at me.

“You may take him out now,” the judge said with the wave of his hand. “Another meaningless man to hang. You would think they would give me more cases of value.”

I almost protested that I was valuable. It seemed like the chaining was only a precaution and didn’t mean I was dangerous in their eyes. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.

But it would make things easier.

All of the pieces were about to fall into place. If Wade had done his damn job I would be out of here soon. Well, hopefully soon. If the stupid guards got lazy and decided to wait a few days before hanging me, then we would have issues. But, it did seem to me that these soldiers did love a good hanging. I guess it made them feel powerful or something.

Well, blowing up things always made me feel powerful, so I guess I could see their enthusiasm.

The guards put the bag over my head again and led me back to my cage. They used the lever and raised me back into the sky so I could blow in the wind.

Just another day in the life of an honest sea thief.

Copyright © 2021 Titus Watson All rights reserved.

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