Read Forever Young The Beginning Online

Authors: Gerald Simpkins

Tags: #paranormal romance, #historical romance, #vampire romance, #vampire action, #paranormal adventure, #paranormal action, #vampire paranormal, #vampire adventure, #romantic historical fiction, #romantic paranormal action, #romantic vampire action adventure, #vampire historical romance

Forever Young The Beginning

Forever Young The
Beginning...

Published by Gerald
Simpkins at Smashwords 2012

Copyright © 2012
Gerald Simpkins

ISBN 13:
978-0-9665434-2-1

Contents

Chapters 1 –
115

Glossary of
characters

Glossary of
terminology

Disclaimer

All characters in this story
are purely fictional, the product of the author’s imagination. The
only exceptions are the three Kings, a Queen, a Duchess, and the
Marquis de Sade who are all historical figures who lived in the
18
th
century in Europe. Any quotes or activities attributed to them
in this novel are fictional and are only the product of the
author’s imagination.

Chapter 1

August 1767 Marseille,
France

The area had many two-story buildings
on both sides of the dark street. Ian heard a clatter from the
direction of an alley. It sounded like a roof tile falling onto the
pavement. They looked about and Ian again felt the warm prickly
feeling on the back of his neck. He glanced back and could see no
one so they kept walking south in the darkness.

Suddenly the warm prickly feeling
changed to one of icy dread that extended down his spine. It
chilled him to his core, and he exclaimed to his companion “Li,
something’s wrong!” Drawing his dagger he whirled around just in
time to barely see a black form leap from the roof of a two story
building. He thought he heard a distant voice shout his name, even
as the creature landed running at an unbelievable speed and was on
him like a whirlwind. He stabbed straight into its belly as it hit,
nearly knocking him breathless. While falling he felt a sharp bite
on his neck even as he drove the long blade of his knife to its
hilt in the creature, twisting and pulling it upwards. There was a
scream from it as they hit the cobblestones together, Ian landing
on his back under the thing.

The blade of his knife felt as if it
was caught in some tough clothing because he was having trouble
ripping and cutting flesh where it should have been easy. He
smelled the foul, fetid odor of its breath as it screamed again
while grabbing his knife hand in a grip of iron. Li had stepped
forward and was stabbing the creature in its’ back repeatedly. It
turned and half-rose in the blink of an eye to reach out and
backhand Li, knocking him against the side of a building with such
force that he slumped, dazed. Scarcely three seconds had elapsed,
so quickly had everything happened.

Before the creature could renew its’
attack on Ian though, he had plunged his knife into its belly again
and was ripping upwards. He was certain that his knife was once
again stuck through heavy cloth since it still didn’t cut as it
should. The creature screamed and like lightning, pinned both of
his arms in its iron grip. Even as its’ head began to dart toward
his throat a dark figure bowled into the creature, toppling it. Ian
rolled to his feet and saw two figures fighting, the newest arrival
wielding a large knife. Their movements were so fast as to be
barely seen as a blur. Unearthly screams erupted again as he ran to
the two and began to help the latecomer stab the creature. Ian
stabbed it furiously with his now-diminishing strength, realizing
that the newcomer was doing more damage than he, as a creeping
numbness began to spread throughout his body. Li had recovered and
had joined in stabbing it with his knife. The creature separated
from the stranger, howling as it hurtled away in the blink of an
eye.

Ian was tottering now, and
was certain that it was circling back to attack again. He tried to
speak, but a growing numbness seized him and he could suddenly no
longer even hold the knife. As he sank to his knees he
thought
is
this
what it’s like to die?
He thought then of
his uncle and how he came to be in this land. As he collapsed his
mind drifted back to a day at sea scarcely three weeks ago, just
before dawn……

Chapter 2

July 1767, 70 miles east of
Gibraltar, Mediterranean sea


Sail ho... astern!” came
the cry from the crow’s nest. The lookout’s cry electrified the
entire crew of
Elsie’s
Cloud
. Captain Angus McCloud, himself at
the helm since midnight, gave over the helm to Ian McCloud, his
nephew. He turned and quickly took a collapsible spyglass from his
breast pocket and opened it, peering back into the pre-dawn misty
air.


Only one, Uncle
Angus?”


Nah laddie, I see two.” As
if to confirm it a second cry from the crow’s nest “Two sails
astern!”


To battle stations, Ian”
Ian repeated the command in a shout, repeating the command three
times while ringing the ship’s bell to punctuate it each
time.


Spanish?”


Nah, laddie…..pirates,
Moroccans likely.” A short hesitation, then “Two Xebets…. look to
be riding high….full sails.” Then after a few seconds, “Belay that,
Ian. One riding lower in the water than the other……mmmm both
Xebets, close to the same size…both with two masts. What do ye make
of that?” he said, handing the glass to Ian.

Ian studied the pursuing vessels for a
bit and then said “Lower in the water to be sure. Has it taken on
water, or is it carrying cargo?” he asked as he handed the glass
back to his uncle.


Cargo is my bet. Why chase
us in a leaky ship?”


Likely celebrating a kill
late into the night and spied us before making it back
home?”


Could be. That second
ship…her sails are ragged looking on the aft mast. Likely she is a
prize they took recently. No matter though, we have to get ready to
fight.”

They had just traded scotch whiskey
for ivory in West Africa near the equator, and heading homeward,
had slipped through the Strait of Gibraltar overnight, heading due
east. A fair westerly wind and no moon had seemed to be a good omen
to Angus McCloud. Britain held Gibraltar and had a small fleet
there to assure the safety of British merchant ships.

There was no current war with Spain,
but there were some heightened political tensions between them and
Britain, especially around Gibraltar. That was a rumor they had
picked up from a Dutch trader while in Africa. It would be a lot
less expensive to buy the wine he wanted at Marseille than if
bought from the French along the Atlantic coast. The wine would top
them off for the trip home, a truly rich cargo for their maiden
voyage no less, when added to what they had brought back from
China. Now though they had a life or death fight on their
hands.


We have the sunrise in our
favor, Uncle Angus.”

McCloud eyed his nephew. “Aye laddie,
the sunrise will help us, and I have an idea. Tell Gunny to load
port guns one, five, and ten with half charges. Get MacCarr and one
other man stationed at the port side bow rudder.” Ian raised both
eyebrows at that. The bow rudder was simply unlatched and dropped
into place. It caused the same effect as a giant oar being thrust
into the water at one side or the other of the bow, causing a rapid
turn. In all of their travel so far, they had not had occasion to
use either of the pair. No other ship that he had ever seen even
had a pair of them.


Aye-aye” said Ian and
leaped down from the high aft deck, sprinting towards old Leon
McLamb. McLamb had been a gunner’s mate in the Scottish navy and
had served in the British navy as well, where he had learned the
science of maritime artillery warfare. He was a small, dour looking
man, of few words, and was a master at aiming and hitting a target
from a moving vessel. Upon hearing the commands, he raised his
eyebrows, and then he gave his characteristic but rare crooked
smile. The gunnery crew smartly loaded the guns as ordered even as
MacCarr got his orders and ran to get a helper and both of them
went to the port bow station.

Back at the helm Angus peered intently
through his telescope at the approaching pirates. He gauged the
wind in Elsie’s sails as the distance between the pursuers and
pursued grew less by the minute.


Will they use bow cannon
and try to knock out our rudder then?”


Aye, they will if they have
‘em.”

A universal naval warfare tactic of
the time was to stay behind a ship and bombard it with cannon fire
hoping to knock out the rudder so as to easily take it for a prize.
To that end both war ships and pirate craft had bow cannon. Elsie
only had two light 4 lb. swivel cannons fore and two aft, but she
had ten guns on each side, all of them sixteen-pound
cannon.


Gunny smiled just now when
I gave him your orders.”


Hah! He knows a trap when
it is being laid………..a crafty one and a better shot with cannon
never sailed either.” Periodic practice with cannon while at sea
was a part of the crew’s routine. Although the cannon weren’t
fired, they were handled and readied at battle speed twice a week
under Gunny’s watchful eyes. Live fire practice with muskets and
reloading stressing speed was done once a week as well. This had
come in handy in two skirmishes with pirates near China. No
merchant’s ship could come close to the combat readiness of this
crew.


Tell gunny to fire number
10 first. Order Macgregor to get men aloft and stand by to furl all
top-gallants and the mizzens. Make sure MacCarr knows not to drop
the bow rudder this time but to be ready to drop it the next time
we turn.”

After doing that, Ian rejoined his
uncle at the helm.


Take the helm and stand
ready.” said Angus while watching MacGregor’s men move to their
positions aloft and on the mizzen masts. Minutes dragged by as the
pirates drew nearer. The lead ship had separated herself from her
mate by a little distance now. Gauging the wind and the position of
the pirates for yet another minute he suddenly shouted “Furl all
top-gallants and mizzens! Gunny, prepare to fire number ten!” Then
he handed the helm to Ian and said “Hard aport lad.”

Elsie’s Cloud
tipped to the left and began her turn, appearing
as if she was turning, dropping sails and slowing radically to
engage, using her heavy cannon. The seconds ticked by, and then
“Fire number ten, gunny” hollered Angus. The rearmost cannon fired,
not even close to aiming correctly. A thick cloud of smoke obscured
the view of the port side of Elsie. The two other cannon fired
maybe nearly 30 seconds later. The lead ship had already dropped
some sail by then and started to also turn to port. They were
maneuvering to avoid a broadside from Elsie. The combination of
gunpowder smoke and the blinding sunrise behind Elsie served to
hide armaments and size of crew from the pirates. The three shots
had just made it a little over halfway to the lead craft, badly off
target. This made it appear that Elsie was simply a fat merchant
ship, poorly commanded, and manned by sailors who were terrified
and poor gunners to boot. The true number of cannon was concealed
by the smoke from the first shot fired as well. The bait was on the
hook.


Resume course Ian, and
unfurl all sails! Unfurl flank sails on all cargo booms now!” Elsie
tilted to her starboard and began to pick up speed, then
straightened up as she resumed her easterly course, under full
sail, looking as if she was running away. The three rounds falling
short had done the trick. Ian saw that the lead ship had again
unfurled all sails to pursue. Soon Elsie had four added sails, two
on each flank mounted to the cargo booms. She looked like she was
running for all she was worth. Taking the helm, Angus said “Tell
Gunny all guns full charges and stand by. Station two more men on
the foredeck for the swivel guns there, and have him send two more
for these two behind us as well. Ian, be sure MacCarr is ready with
that port bow rudder. I want light fireball loads in the bow guns
and grapeshot in these two. And tell Gunny to ready the grapple
mortars.”

The fireballs were a specialty that
Gunny had devised strictly for starting a fire on an enemy ship. He
made them while in port somewhere from time to time. After finding
the proper kind of clay he would make a thickish round clay bottle
of sorts with no neck. He would score each one deeply with a knife
before baking it to make it easier to burst on contact. Lamp oil,
phosphorous, and an additive which he kept secret were contained in
each one. They would burst into flame on contact as long as the
vessel was broken.

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