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Thread: Corrected Chapters 12 & 13

  1. #1
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    Red face Corrected Chapters 12 & 13

    My apologies to everyone for this confusion. After posting chapter 13, knowing what was coming in chapters 14 and 15, it became obvious that I had the timeline all screwed up. The only way I could correct it, was to make some changes in chapter 12, and significantly alter chapter 13. For those that care to read much of it again, I offer the corrected chapters here. Again - I'm truly sorry for the confusion.
    Continued below.
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  2. #2
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    Continued below

    Chapter 12
    Senta was getting the boys dressed, and Mariska was just starting to cook breakfast when they heard a knock at the door, and the sound of Dover's voice.
    "Senta," Mariska said. "Would you let Dover in? I meant to unlatch the door when I first got up, but then I forgot."
    When Senta unlatched and opened the door, Dover said. "Thank you Ma'am, and a good morning to you."
    "Good morning to you too Dover."
    "Good morning Dover," called out Mariska as he stepped inside the cabin. It's going to be a few minutes before the coffee will be ready. I'm just now starting breakfast.
    "That's just fine Ma'am. While you are doing that, I'll take the animals down to the stream for water. If young Chance Dover is ready, why don't you let him come along? Do him good to get away from the women for awhile. Besides, when I was his age...."
    "Yes Dover," the voices of Mariska and Senta blended together as one. No more needed to be said. Dover quickly understood that they were telling him that they were well versed in his tales of his accomplishments at Chance's age.
    Dover reached down and took Chance by the hand. "Come on with me Chance Dover, women folk are sometimes just naturally evil, and this seems to be one of those days. Best you come along with your uncle Dover, where you'll be safe."
    As he led the first three horses out of the stable, he threw young Chance on the back of the roan mare. Then he carefully took them down to the stream. As the animals drank from the stream he looked at Chance. "Feel that wind this morning young'un? There's more of a bite to it than there has been lately. That's a pretty good sign that old man winter is going to come calling real soon."
    Chance didn't seem to be particularly concerned, but Dover continued explaining. "I've seen more than one man die out here because he wasn't prepared when winter hit earlier than usual. I'm thinking it's time for me to move down to the cabin and to make sure everything is ready. That sound like a good idea young'un? Seeing that Chance was busy watching the horses drink, Dover said. "Kid, I'm pretty sure that your silence is an indication that you agree with me. Always knew you were pretty bright. Come on now. Let's get this finished and have some breakfast. I can smell it cooking all the way down here."


    Dover wasn't a big fan of cabins, but he had to admit that he liked this one about as much as any he had run across. The smell of recently cooked breakfast, and the aroma of fresh brewed coffee hung in the air. There was something nice about relaxing over a cup of hot coffee, listening to those two young'uns and watching those two women going about their business, that set well on a man. He turned and looked out the window, as if somehow if he looked hard enough, he could see Sean. He smiled and told himself. 'Sean lad, you're a right lucky man. I just wish I was there covering your back. It's a fearful task you have taken upon yourself, and I worry more than I let on to the women."
    Turning back to face the table, Dover slid his just empty breakfast plate over to his left to make room for the coffee cup that Mariska had just refilled. "Ran across three Pawnee on my way down here from the cave this morning. For a bit there, I was afraid they were going to run right smack dab into the spot I had chosen to hide in. Lucky for me, they swung off to the east just about ten or twelve feet before they got there. Guess they are busy hunting for meat with winter coming on. They probably ain't the only ones, so keep your eyes open, and don't go too far from the cabin."
    "When do you plan on moving out of the cave?" asked Senta.
    "Well Ma'am, I decided before breakfast that this is the day. Winter is going to bite us on the .... Well, winter's going to be here real soon Ma'am. Sooner than we expect, you can sure count on that.
    Mariska looked at Senta, and as if she could read her mind, Senta nodded 'yes'. "Dover," Mariska replied. Why don't you let one of us take care of the children and the cabin, while the other goes and helps you move everything down here?"
    "Aw, now I'd sure enjoy the company, but no. You two have plenty to do right here. I ain't got that much up there, and I'm an old hand and picking up and moving. I'll get it done all right. If Chance and Patrick there, were just a couple of years older, I'd just sit down by the stream and drink coffee while they brought it all down. Anyway, ya''ll just keep your eyes and ears peeled while I'm gone.
    By the end of the day, Dover had moved all of his gear and belongings from the cave to the cabin. He hated sleeping under a roof, but there would be no choice this year. Stubbornly, he chose to spread his blanket as close to the door as possible, giving no more quarter than he had to.
    As he had made each trip from the cave to the cabin, he had made it a point to double check the various caches of food and emergency items that Sean had scattered around the area in case of trouble. With all that done, Dover would continue hunting for meat for as long as the weather allowed. In his experience, there was no such thing has having too much food for the winter season.
    That evening while Senta and Mariska made supper, Dover made a close inspection of the outside of the cabin in case any repairs needed to be made before winter hit. After supper, when the sun had gone down, and the temperatures dropped dramatically, he went along each wall, inch by inch, searching for any spot that might allow the winter winds and temperatures to penetrate. He only found two spots, and both were patched quickly.
    Like Dover, Mariska and Senta were in tune with the changing of the weather. They had been making their own changes in the cabin. Realizing that the bitter winter would keep them penned up inside the cabin for long stretches of time, they each took turns going for walks close to the cabin, always with a rifle at hand. Keeping their conditioning up was important, but most of all, they needed to taste the fresh air, soak in the sunshine, and feel the wind on their faces as often as possible before those pleasures were taken away by the harsh winter conditions.
    That night, after the boys were put to bed, the three of them sat by the fire, and talked of the coming winter. Dover told stories from his early years on the frontier. Mariska and Senta told of life in their respective villages. Beneath all the conversation, each of their thoughts were focused on Sean, wondering if he was all right.


    Back in Boston, the morning after meeting getting Ruppert to sign the damning document, I met with Captain Gage in Cohen's pub. "Captain, I have need of a fast ship, and a good captain to sail her. I now have ownership of the Galway. I would like very much to have you back in command of her. Before you answer, I need to explain what it will involve for you."
    I motioned for Gage to follow me, and we went up the stairs into Cohen's residence, where there would be no prying ears to listen. After sitting at the kitchen table, I spoke. "What I am about to tell you is for your ears only. It is information you may need to know in order to perform your job as Captain, otherwise, I would not burden you with it. I left Ireland a hunted boy. There is a rich and powerful nobleman that wants me dead because I dared defy him. Recently I found out that he had my cousin murdered because he helped me escape. It is my intention to return to Ireland and settle this once and for all. Should I be successful, I will need you and the Galway to bring me home. If I am killed, it will be your job to see that my family is notified."

    CONTINUED BELOW
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  3. #3
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    continued

    Looking hard into his eyes, I continued. "Before you answer, you must consider this. The Earl has ordered that anyone found aiding me, is to be killed. This much is to be shared with the crew. I'll not have anyone going on this voyage that does not understand that their life is at risk."
    Gage smiled. "Everytime a captain or his crew heads out to sea, they put their life at risk. At least it seems that this time, it would be for a good reason. I'll take command of the Galway if you wish."
    We shook hands, then I told him the rest of the deal. "If we are successful Captain Gage, when I return, I will turn over ownership of the Galway to you to do with as you please. Whatever cargo you can find to take to Ireland, and another to be brought back to Boston, will be sold, and the money to be divided. One quarter goes to you, the rest to be divided equally among the crew. Are those acceptable terms to you?"
    "More than acceptable," he answered. "I am stunned sir. When do you propose to set sail?"
    "Just as soon as you can find some sort of cargo for Ireland, let me know. I want to get underway as quickly as possible."
    Rising to his feet, he shook my hand again, and said, "In that case, I best be about my business. You shall hear from me in short order."
    It was over lunch with Chet, that I broke the news that Captain Gage had been hired to command the Galway. "That's great news," he answered. "How soon do we sail?"
    A sad task it was indeed to give him the news that I knew he did not want to hear. "Chet, you won't be going. I'm sorry."
    "But why,?" he pleaded. "You will need someone to cover your back, someone you can count on."
    Grabbing him by the shoulder, I looked into his eyes and answered. "The truth is, you would be a danger to me in Ireland. Every time you opened your mouth, you would be identified as a stranger, and that would draw attention my way. If I'm caught, it's a death sentence waiting for me. My head, and most likely, yours too, will be on a post in the town square, just as it was for my cousin, who dared help me escape when I left Ireland."
    I saw a protest building inside him, so I held up my hand. "No. I have no wish to have you involved in this, but what I can tell you, is that I have nothing more than a small chance of getting out of Ireland alive. Having a stranger along would make it almost impossible. Otherwise, I'd be glad to have you covering my back."
    The disappointment was deep in his eyes, but he nodded his head in acceptance.
    "Besides, I have need of your services here while I'm gone. I have a job for a man I can trust, and I hope you will take care of it for me."
    His eyes brightened, as he replied, "Of course. Whatever it is, I will handle it for you."
    I handed him an envelope. "Slip that inside your shirt before anyone notices it. Inside is five hundred dollars. While I'm gone, I want you to go to the country of the Mohegan tribe. There I want you to find a rancher or merchant that will take two or three cows out to the Mohegan people each week during the winter, to insure there is no starvation in the village this year. I'm counting on your finding someone reliable, that will be fair with the Indians. Make sure he understands that we will be following up with the Mohegans to be sure he has done what he has agreed to do. It will be your duty to ride out there once a month and talk to the Mohegan leaders to make sure everything is as we wished."
    Before he could speak, I gripped his shoulder harder and said. "This you should know. My first wife came from this tribe. They fed and protected me my first winter in America. This is a solemn duty I give. I would only give it to someone I feel I can trust. My wife's father is a man named Tiganche. He's an important man in the tribe. Tell him that we live in Colorado, and that Mariska is well and happy. Tell him also that he has a grandson and that we hope to return for a visit in the next year or two."
    Hearing those words of trust, swept away the darkness of disappointment. "Yes!," he exclaimed. "I shall not let you down. I will see that they are taken care of."
    "Good. "I shall not worry then. The five hundred dollars will be more than you need, but spend what you must, to be sure the Mohegans are fed. Whatever money is left, you may use to for your own needs as required. I don't want it to be wasted, but I shall trust you to handle it responsibly."
    Chet shook my hand repeatedly, until I finally forced it free of his grip. "Now, get on over to Blaine Thomas's office. He has a job for you that you can do in between your trips. It's a hard and dirty job, but it's a start in a trade. I shall expect you to do it well."
    He fairly ran out the front door, yelling back over his shoulder, "And that I will. Count on it!"
    Two days later, we set sail as I stood on the desk of the Galway and watched Boston disappear in the distance.
    What lay at the end of this voyage? Would I ever see my wives and sons again?
    Little did I know that thirty hours later, we would be sailing back to Boston.
    I had been napping below decks when a runner found me and shook me awake. "Sir, the Ships Doctor sent me to get you. He says you are to report to the Captain's cabin at once." I questioned him as to what I was wanted for, but he only knew that he had been ordered to find me and give me the message.

    After shaking the sleep from my brain, I headed at a face pace to Captain Gage's cabin. When I knocked on the door, I heard Doctor Chambers yell out, "Come in!" Stepping inside, I saw Captain Gage in his bed, obviously in some sort of distress.
    Turning to the doctor, I said. "What is the problem?"
    "The problem," answered the doctor, "is that our Captain has got himself shot. They were running a drill for the sharpshooters in case we should run into pirates. One of the men was preparing to fire, and failed to notice a boom coming around. When it struck him, he went sailing off the quarter deck, and somehow, he pulled the trigger on his weapon. As luck would have it, that one bullet went into our Captain's chest, narrowly missing his heart."
    "Will he be all right," I asked.
    The doctor sighed deeply. "Not unless that bullet is removed. Even then, he could die, but if the bullet doesn't come out, he will be dead in a matter of days."
    Of all the things I had tried to anticipate, this was one that had not crossed my mind. "Doctor, can you remove the bullet?"
    "Back on land,? Yes." He reached out and touched my shoulder. "Mr. Eaton, if we were several days from either shore, I'd have no choice but to operate. The ugly truth is that if that happened, his chances of living would be remote. The bullet would no longer be a threat, but infection would probably kill him. A sailing ship, no matter how well run, abounds with germs and disease. Infection that close to the heart? Well, the outcome is pretty obvious. My recommendation is that we turn back to Boston so that he can be operated on in the best of conditions."
    I could find no fault with his reasoning, so I ordered that the ship be turned back for Boston with all haste.
    Once we were back in Boston, the doctors operated on Captain Gage within an hour after getting back on land. It was touch and go for several days as to whether or not he would make it. Finally, he turned the corner, and Doctor Chambers said that we could relax. Still, it was another three weeks before the Doctor would allow him to return to duty.
    I had just left the Captain after finalizing our sailing plans for the next day and walked up to the door of Cohen's with my mind too full of plans, and with too little awareness of what was around me. As I reached for the front door, two men stepped around the corner of the building, and each fired a pistol at me from point blank range. A cuss word came to mind, but before I could get it out, things went black.
    As I was later told, the same doctors that operated on Captain Gage, operated on me. Unfortunately for them, I was not as cooperative as the good Captain had been. It was a good two weeks before I was pronounced 'out of danger'. That was followed by a frustrating six weeks before the doctor felt satisfied that I was capable of making the voyage.

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  4. #4
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    Chapter 13 continued

    Despite my desire to get our voyage underway again, only I knew the kind of physical challenge that lay ahead of me once I was back on Irish soil. This was not a mission where failure would allow a second chance. Should I fail, I would be dead. It was for that reason that I delayed our sailing date for another three weeks while I improved my conditioning to an acceptable level.

    What a strange mix of emotions filled me as America once again disappeared over the horizon of the Atlantic. Naturally, I missed and worried about my family back in Colorado. Another part of me was excited about having the chance to see Ireland once again. That joy of the prospect of returning home was dampened by the reason for this trip, that being the brutal murder of my cousin Grady.
    My voyage from Ireland to America had been far from enjoyable. I had been ordered flogged by an evil Captain when I tried to protect a sick sailor from that same punishment. Later, we had run into a terrible storm that was so bad, that I ended up with such a terrible case of sea sickness, that I lay helpless on the floor below decks. That experience had caused me to swear that I would never set foot on a ship again. It was a vow that probably would have been kept had it not been for my cousin Grady's murder.
    This much I knew as our voyage began. The Galway was a faster ship than the one that brought me to America. Captain Gage was known to be one of the best ship commanders on the sea. With that combination, few, if any pirate ships would be able to catch us. We had two stops to make before reaching Ireland. We had cargo to deliver in Norway, and Scotland along the way.
    As the days passed, Captain Gage and I met repeatedly to go over my plan of action, such as it was. My own course of action once I was back on Irish soil was impossible to predict. My decisions would have to be made depending upon the conditions I encountered on my return.
    Once I left the ship, I would be totally on my own. While help might be forthcoming from someone I had known as a child, it could not be counted on. Captain Gage and the crew of the Galway would have to first unload the cargo we were carrying, then make visits up and down the coast in search of cargo for the return voyage. Once that was done, they would lay off the coast at a distance taking them out of sight from those on land. Each night, they would move in closer to be in a position to see my signal fire from the cave in which I had taken refuge before leaving Ireland. Even that could not be counted on. What if the Earl's men had located that cave by now? What if smugglers, of which there were many, were now using it? I would have no way of getting word to Captain Gage. Quite simply, it was a very uncertain task that lay ahead of me.
    Perhaps the ancient Irish Gods had taken a liking to me, for we encountered no storms in our crossing. It was a grateful man I was to lay eyes on the distant coast line of Ireland again, without having suffered even a day of sea sickness.
    The Earl had men everywhere, so I could not chance leaving the ship when it arrived in port. A chance meeting with someone I knew, possibly in full view of agents working for the Earl, could be a disaster. We would lay offshore during the day, then move in closer after the sun went down. A small boat would be lowered, and I would be taken to land under the cover of darkness.
    I spent much of the day, mentally going over the places I would need to go, and trying to anticipate all the things that could possibly go wrong. Repeated visits to the galley were made to ensure that I went ashore as well fed as possible. At best, I could count on infrequent meals once ashore.
    As luck would have it, after the sun went down, and Captain Gage took the Galway to the place I would leave the ship, a rainstorm blew up. Before I climbed down into the rowboat to be taken to shore, I left two letters with Captain Gage. "In the event that I'm killed, I would like for you to take these letters back with you. One is to Chet Wilson. If he does not meet you at the docks, you should be able to find him either at the newspaper office, or at Cohen's pub. My letter gives him instructions on how to find my family in Colorado, and asks him to deliver the letter that I have written to them."
    Captain Gage took the letters, and slipped them inside his slicker. "Sean, you have my word that your family will get your letter. If for some reason Chet is unable to deliver it, I'll make sure it's done."

    "Thank you Captain," I said as we shook hands. Then I went down the rigging and into the boat waiting below.
    The rain storm was not a bad one, but even tho I was wearing a rain slicker, when the crew left to return to the Galway, I was more rain soaked than dry. I had hoped for a moon lit night to aid me in finding the cave I had used before. It took a bit of exploring the area before I was able to get my bearings. Still, no more than an hour after landing ashore, I stood at the entrance to the cave. I stood in the dark by the entrance for fifteen minutes or more, listening for any sounds that might indicate someone might be inside. Finally, I slipped inside, moving silently, trusting to my knowledge of the cave learned from the many times it had been my playground as a child.
    The cave was empty. Because finding dry wood in the dark and rain would be difficult ashore, when I left the ship, I had put enough dry wood in my pack to start a small fire. Thus it wasn't long before the warmth of a fire was drying out my wet clothing and I started feeling the chill beginning to leave my bones.
    Picking up one of the torches that had been used in times past, I set it afire, then walked to the entrance of the cave. I waved the torch slowly, three times, the signal that Captain Gage and I had agreed on to indicate that everything had gone well. To simplify matters, the same signal would be used to indicate that I was ready to be picked up, if I managed to complete my mission and stay alive long enough to get back to the cave.
    When I woke up just before sunrise, the rain had stopped. My breakfast, such as it was, consisted of some bread and cold rations from the ship, along with a bit of water from the bottle I had brought along. As eager as I was to get moving, I decided to wait. While there were less people about this early in the morning, it also drew more attention to the few people moving about. My instincts told me that I would be better off entering the town when the streets were busy, and I could hopefully fade into the crowd.
    Two more hours and a half more I waited. Then following the almost hidden trail, I went up the side of the cliff, past the old church, and then inland toward the town. By the time I got there, there should be plenty of activity on the streets to hopefully allow me to reach Grady's house without being recognized. The unknown factor that I had to deal with this. Would Grady's widow Maura, still be living in that house? She might well have moved in with some of the many family members she had in the area.
    If she lived there no longer, then who might answer the door? Someone I knew and could trust? A complete stranger? Or might it be someone who recognized me, and saw the chance to earn some easy money from the Earl?
    There were no easy answers to be had. I must go and deal with whatever happened.
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