Monday, May 20, 2013

Scout's Oath - Chapter 33

< Chapter 32                                                                                                   Chapter 34 >
With Nist and Martin wounded and the Pauline's controls unmanned, our hero will soon be at the mercy of Raoul!

"Do something, David!" Martin gasped.  "Get them off of us for a minute and we can outrun them."

I looked about the moonlit deck for something -- anything -- I could use for a distraction.  Nothing sparked an idea.

Spark!  That was it!

"Martin," I said, "can you light a lantern one-handed?"

"And make us easier to shoot?" Martin asked.

The latest volley struck.  Dashing from cover, I grabbed the airships's stern lantern, snagging a mooring line as I dove for cover.  Three quarrels struck where I'd been just a second ago.

"Light it!" I said.  "Trust me!"

Holding the mooring line, I jumped off the airship's side and swung around toward the bow.  The Pauline blocked Raoul's men from shooting me.  I snatched the bow lantern and was swinging back before they could target me.

The stern lantern was burning when I ducked behind the crates again.

"Thanks, Martin!" I said.  "Light this one while I'm gone."

"Gone where?" Martin asked.

The latest volley struck.  Taking the lit lantern, I charged toward the stern.  The pursuing airship loomed no more than eighty feet behind us.

At the rail, I flung the lantern.  It arched into the night as I ran back for the second lantern.  Shouts erupted behind me as I dove behind the crates, took the second lantern, and ran back to the stern.  The dry wood of the airship's hull had caught quickly, spreading fast as the crew tried to fight a fire they couldn't reach.

The second lantern crashed into the middle of the crewmen.  Rope, wood, and clothing blazed and panic spread.

I rushed back to the helm and shoved the throttle to full.  With a roar, we sped away into the night.

Can our hero finally relax and take time to unravel the web of conspiracies against the Mordanian royal family?  Find out in Chapter 34, coming Wednesday!