Fear The Dawn: Chapter 3

He was in such a hurry that he wasn't paying any attention to his surroundings, and it was a simple matter for his assailants to grab him and pull him into the dark alleyway. There was a brief gasp, but no one was close enough to hear it, and a moment later, there was nothing to suggest anyone had ever been there.

The unfortunate traveller awoke to find himself on the deck of a ship, restrained by two enormously burly men. He tried to struggle, but they were far too strong for him. One of them drove his knee into his back to force him to be still, and he yelped in pain. “What do you want with me?” he demanded.
You have some information we need”. In front of him stood a man wearing a dark jacket and a black hat. It only took one look to know he was bad news.
I won't tell you anything!”, he declared bravely, earning a backhanded slap across the face for his trouble.
I'm certain you'll tell us everything we want to know”, the man said, putting a knife to his throat and staring straight into his eyes, his forehead barely an inch away. His yellow eyes showed only pure ruthlessness, and he knew the man would stop at nothing to get what he wanted. One of the goons holding him tightened his grasp, and he let out a pained gasp as the man held the blade of his knife against his skin.

Where are they headed?” the black-garbed man demanded.
I... I don't know!”
The man pressed the knife into his skin enough to draw blood, staining the blade a dark red. “I know you know”, he insisted.
He felt like he would soon pass out, and that would be the end of him. He had no choice, and he mentally apologized to the others. “They're heading to the cave hidden beneath the northern waterfall.”
The man in the long, dark coat removed the knife from his throat. “Excellent!”, he proclaimed triumphantly, walking away from him. “We can head them off!”
But the men holding him prisoner did not release him. “You have what you want!” he insisted. “Now let me go!”
The man with the yellow eyes turned back to him, and he would never forget the cruel smile on his face. “You heard our guest”, he told his goons, “let him go”.
Without so much as a word, they heaved him overboard. He landed in the water with an undignified splash.
I wonder if he'll make it back to shore?” the leader mused, taking the wheel of his ship in his hands. “There are an awful lot of sharks out there.”
The unfortunate man gawked at the ship, his eyes as wide as plates. Absent-mindlessly, he touched his sore neck, and his hand came back stained red with blood. Then he panicked, and he frantically began to swim away from the ship, but he never had a chance. Something grabbed his leg from below and dragged him under.
I guess not”, the captain remarked idly.
The last thing the poor man saw before losing consciousness were the black sails of the pirate ship as it sailed away.

Load the cannons!” the man in the dark coat barked. “I want us to be ready to hit them hard before they know we're here!”
Aye!” his lackeys shouted back. That was about all they could say, but it didn't matter. They did what he told them to do, so they were much more useful than the white one was. They set about loading the cannons, and he stepped away from the wheel, wrapping his fingers around the sail rope and leaning out over the sea.
It was a glorious day. The wind was strong, his ship was fast, and his prey was unprepared. He would blow them to pieces, then he would claim that treasure they coveted. Or perhaps he would just let it sink into the sea. It really didn't make much difference, the hunt was everything.

The northern waterfall lay a ways inland, accessible by a channel that wound and snaked around a mountain. They would already be inside the channel, he knew. The path split around the mountain, and they would be taking the western path, it was shorter and less treacherous, but if he came upon them from behind, he would lose the element of surprise and he would have a hard time hitting them. No, his ship was smaller and more nimble than theirs, he would take the eastern path around the mountain and strike when the channels joined again. They would never see it coming.

It truly was a perilous route. Several times he scraped the hull against the rocks as the ship wove to and fro, and his worried crew came up to the helm several times to check that everything was all right. “Man the cannons!” he yelled at them, not even bothering to look away from the wheel. The current was fast here, and it was all he could do to maintain control. A big piece of rock jutted up in front of him, and he spun the wheel hard to port to go around it. The ship lurched and he heard things tipping over below deck, but they avoided the rock. The sound of rushing water became louder, and then he caught sight of the others. They were already descending into their longboats to raid the cave behind the waterfall.
Prepare to fire!” he yelled, pulling hard to port to swing his cannons around. The cannons rung out , and a stream of cannonballs tore into the other ship, knocking the poor fools who were still loading into the longboats into the water. But one boat was already away and nearing the waterfall. The other ship fired back, but in their haste they had not lead his ship properly, and he was already well out of the way. Loading the lone cannon he kept on the deck for situations like this, he took aim at the single longboat still on the water and lit the fuse.
I win”.
The cannonball struck the longboat and everything faded away into darkness.


There was no treasure, and the other ship was gone as well, but the black-furred hunter was satisfied enough with the day's work. He had particularly enjoyed terrorizing that poor sailor. “Let him go”, he remembered, laughing at the ridiculous look on the man's face as they tossed him overboard. He was just sorry he couldn't have been the shark that got him, sinking his teeth into the terrified man's flesh. Next time perhaps. There was always another hunt, every time the dawn came upon them.

His revelry was interrupted by the quiet tapping of his companion's footsteps. The white one stared out over the sea, her scraggly white fur blowing about in the wind. Her tail perked up, and she turned to face him, looking right into him with her big blue eyes, her blank expression revealing nothing.
What?”, he demanded of her, but she just tilted her head and went back to the ocean as though she hadn't heard him.

Her called her Banshee, because it amused him. She called him nothing, because she never spoke at all. At least, not at night. On rare occasions she joined him during the day, and she sometimes spoke then, but she was never really any help. Sometimes she got in the way, but she was basically just there, and he ignored her for the most part. He didn't need anyone's help, anyway, and he certainly didn't need anyone's company. Whatever she did most mornings, it was no concern of his.

He looked up towards the sky, but there were few stars out tonight. Having nothing else to guide his way, he turned the ship hard towards starboard, where had seen the other ship, perhaps that would allow him to find them again. He looked back to see if Banshee would have lost her balance or perhaps toppled over when the ship turned so sharply, but she barely seemed to notice, she just stood there with her paws on the railing, paying him no attention. With nothing else to do above deck, he retired to his cabin, smiling to himself as he relived that last cannon shot. He could almost picture the scene from the cannonball's perspective as the terrified inhabitants of that longboat stared down the fateful shot that brought the night back. Such was the fate of all who dared to go against the hunter.

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