(since it has been awhile here is a link to the prior chapter: @handofzara/chapter-45-homeward-bound )
Chapter 46 - Frisco
The men of Frisco busied themselves cutting the storm sails to patch over the large red Spanish cross upon the mainsail of the treasure ship. Captain Henry, or so the men of Frisco now called Jack, dared not enter British waters off the coast of the Carolinas with such an obvious sign of any enemy vessel.
While the crew busied themselves with the task at hand, they began to talk of all their new found wealth, an entire ship loaded with silver. The talk eventually turned to the value of the ship herself, truly a great prize. The crew seemed almost giddy imagining the price they would share for such a prize.
Their joy ended abruptly as Jack Henry stepped forward to remind them all that they had been pirates.
"This ship shall not be sold for a prize. Nay no one shall ever even know of her. Lads, ye are pirates in the eyes of the law. Worse ye are thieves in the eyes of the Campbells. Do ye not remember the choice ye made that fateful day when Captain Bonnie seized the Fortune from the Campbells? He said to each of ye, as he threw the Captain overboard? "Join yar captain or join me crew?" That day each of ye joined his crew. From that day til the day ye part this world ye shall be known as a pirate. Ye shall be hunted by the Law and worse ye shall be hunted by the Campbells. Unless ye can convince everyone that ye had no part in any treachory."
The crew became silent as only the sound of the wind and the waves. Jack stared out over the horizon as the treasure ship slowed plied the waves ever northward towards the Isle of Okracoke and the Village of Frisco.
The thought of being hunted men raced through the minds of the men of Frisco, who no longer laughed nor bragged of their riches. How could they ever return to their lives as simple fishermen. Finally, the man who had laughed the loudest and bragged the most spoke out.
"Mr. Henry, if what ye say is true, then why do we head north towards our homes? Shall we ever see our wives and children again?"
"Aye for I would not take ye home if there be no way for ye to stay. So gather round lads, listen very closely and I shall tell ye a tale, a tale ye shall remember each of ye and swear never to waiver. See when Captain Bonnie seized the Frisco ye refused to join his crew. Do ye understand?"
The men nodded.
"For this reason ye were placed in the brig and there ye remained when Captain Bonnie raided Charles Towne. After the raid ye were taken to Nassau, where Captain Bonnie sold ye into bondage. Ye were kept in a stockade at night and forced to work during the day. Do ye understand lads?"
The men again nodded.
"And this was yar fate for months on end. The entire island was controlled by the worst sort of pirates that ever sailed the seas. Ye had abandoned all hope of ever returning to Frisco. One night while ye were in the stockade, ye overheard the guards talking of a different pirate who had just arrived in Nassau, his name was Iaian MacDonald. Can ye remember that name lads, Iaian MacDoanld?"
In one voice the men answered: "Aye, Iaian MacDonald."
"It is important that ye always tell of Iaian MacDonald, for he is the sworn enemy of the Campbells. At the mere mention of his name the Campbells should no longer care of yer role in any of this affair, so remember his name and never fail to mention it. Do ye understand?"
The men again nodded.
"The arrival of Iaian MacDonald had caused a great stir among Captain Bonnie's crew for there was bad blood between the two. One night while ye were in the stockade ye heard a commotion. First the loud sound of men shouting, then ye heard the sound of muskets firing and swords clashing. The men who were guarding the stockade abandoned thier posts and headed towards the sounds of battle. It was then that ye seized yar chance. Ye all scurried over the stockade and made yar way to the beach. All of ye escaped with the exception of the lad, John Smithfield. One of the guards must have seen yar escape and fired a single shot striking and killing the lad. Do ye understand?"
The men stared at the lad who stood next to Jack Henry, just as alive as any of them.
"Do ye understand?"
None dare spoke a word, all bewildered except for the man who had laughed the loudest.
"Aye, during our escape the guard killed John Smithfield, and he is no more."
The men of Frisco nodded in agreement for it was then understood that the lad would not be returning with them, his death would be his birth into a new life.
"Ye seized two longboats, those longboats there." Jack told them pointing at the two longboats lashed to the deck of the treasure ship.
"Ye were not certain which way to sail but ye kept a course ever northward and ever eastward. Being fishermen, ye set yar course by the Sun and the stars til ye spied the coast. Then ye followed the coastline homeward to Frisco. And this is the tale that ye shall tell, and never not even among yarselves shall ye tell another. Do ye understand?"
The men nodded in agreement.
The treasure ship sailed ever northward, ever closer to home for the men of Frisco. After three days the men began to see familiar sights along the coast of the Carolinas. Jack carefully plotted a course towards the north side of Okracoke Isle. In the dark of night, the treasure ship lay anchor of the north shore but a few miles from the Village of Frisco. Throughout the night, the men of Frisco unloaded the vast treasure of silver onto the beach. When the last of the silver had been offloaded, Jack and the lad prepared the Captain's skiff with their share of the treasure.
On the shore of the Isle of Frisco Jack bade farewell to his select men with these words of warning.
"Lads, if any man believe that ye have anything of worth in this world then know there shall be men ready to take it. What ye do with yar wealth is yar business, but if ye want to live long in this world let no man know of what ye have. Spend yar silver sparingly and tell not even yar wives of what ye have."
The men of Frisco nodded in a silent farewell.
The man who had laughed the loudest and four other men returned Jack and the lad to the treasure ship. The men struggled to weigh anchor, but at long last the treasure ship was once again headed out to sea with only Jack and the lad onboard.
Jack prepared several casks of gunpowder next to the hull of the ship. When the ship was several miles off the coast Jack and the lad lowered the Captain's skiff into the ocean. The lad scurried onboard as Jack lit a trail of gunpowder that led to the casks.
Safely in the Captain's skiff, Jack and the lad watched the treasure ship sail against the night sky. It was but a moment, when a large blast was heard from deep within the ship.
The Captain's skiff bobbed up and down upon the ocean waves as Jack and the lad watched the treasure ship slowly sink beneath the waves.
"Where we headed to now, Mr. Henry?" the lad inquired as the last visage of the ship slipped below the water.
"Have ye ever been to Bath Towne?"