The Maiden, and the Mob Below

  1. Chapter 6: The Owl and the Snake
  2. Men Not Afraid
  3. Chapter 8: The Spoils of War
The first to spot the enemy wins!

Sam’s sword clashed against the Spanish captain’s cutlass. No more of her crew boarded, as the Sleeping Dragon now veered away from the Athena’s Horn.

“Ramera!” cried the captain in anger. “La mujer rencoroso del diablo!”

Neither his wit nor his sword were any match for the Captain of the Athena’s Horn. Sam twisted her sword, and the Spaniard’s weapon flew into the air and over the side of the ship.

“Señor, vuestra gentileza está rivalizar con vuestra esgrima.”

Her sword moved to his throat.


His crew was already either shot or at the sword. Those who didn’t lie naked and unconscious or dead, fought half-heartedly, naked, demoralized. He trembled, and lowered his eyes to the woman.

“Sí… señorita.”

He ordered his men to surrender. Sam sheathed her sword.

“All right, take them into the hold and tie them up.”

After leaving the Sleeping Dragon, the Horn, under Daltrey’s command, sailed down to the sea battle below. Captain Harding and the Liberty’s Maiden had held their reputation below. Of the nine ships with which we last saw them contending against, six remained, the other three having fell beneath the combined fire of the Maiden and the Spanish ship commandeered by the crew from the John Paul Jones, or having been lured into the fire of the batteries on the shore.

At the moment that the Athena’s Horn joined the battle, the crew of the Jones were once again bailing out—their new ship was now also sinking. The Jones crew were not familiar with the workings of the Spanish ship. And of course, their captain was neither of the caliber of the captain of the Horn, nor of the Maiden. To their credit, the crew did their best to save the sleeping Spaniards—kept dreaming by Laura’s magic—for death under the sea while asleep was an unquiet death. Sailors the world over feared waking beneath the waves. Better to die in battle than to die unknowing.

Daltrey surveyed all of this, and sailed above the battle. Three ships crowded around the Maiden, which could not hold out much longer. The other three enemy ships awaited their own opportunity, trying to avoid the battery from the shore, and the man in the crows’ nest cried that some cannon from those ships were swiveling upwards towards the Horn.

“Into the Spanish ships around the Maiden,” Daltrey said into the hornpipe, and the Athena’s Horn dipped even closer to the sea.

It is dangerous to ignore a flying ship, as the enemy attacking the Maiden discovered to their doom. Not having to worry about the cannon of ships ignoring it, the Horn swooped down and into the sails of the Spanish ships. Mastpoles cracked, and rigging fell to the deck and into the sea. Three ships stood dead in the water as the Liberty’s Maiden sailed lithely away. But rather than sailing into port to recoup, as would have been his due, Captain Harding sailed his ship to the attack again; now, the Liberty’s Maiden—limping, perhaps, but armed and ready—joined the Athena’s Horn. The odds were now two against three, and one of the two was a flying ship.

One white flag went up slowly; two others went up quickly as they realized their compatriots were surrendering. The first battle of the Spanish-American War was over.

  1. Chapter 6: The Owl and the Snake
  2. Men Not Afraid
  3. Chapter 8: The Spoils of War