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VOYAGE OF REPRISAL

by Kevin Glynn

Cast of Characters

The Officers aboard the English galleon, Elanor Rose of Deptford:

RICHARD HAWTHORNE - Sea-Captain and Master (also Admiral of the Syndicate). Veteran sea captain with many armed trading ventures and raids against the Spanish under his belt. Burning hatred for the Spanish. Seeks personal glory and has dreams of being the second Englishman to sail the Pacific; whatever the toll it takes on his ships and men.

CHARLES STANFIELD - First Mate. His third transatlantic voyage. His financier father gained Charles’ position, despite Charles’ surprising dearth of basic seamanship skills. Charles is insecure in his position yet ambitious and arrogant; a combustible combination given the nature of the crew and the competition he faces for the Captain’s favor from a more capable Second Mate (see below).

ROBERT LAWTON - Second Mate. An experienced and adept young sea officer nearing his prime, with past familial ties to Hawthorne. Second only to Hawthorne in practical seamanship. Initially loath to become a ‘corsair’ but seeks vengeance for a sneak attack against his former crew by the Spanish. His first transatlantic voyage. Haunted by memories of pirate attacks against his father’s ship in the English Channel; he now faces becoming what he has loathed; risking his very soul for plunder, loot and revenge.

DANIEL KNOWLES - Ship’s Pilot. Well-educated but lacking in confidence and practical navigational experience. His feelings of professional inadequacy drive him into discreet alliances to bolster his position.

MARTIN GERHARDT - Captain of the men-at-arms; landsknecht mercenary from Germany. Nearing middle age, he has grown world weary and melancholy about his war-filled past. Expert in all manner of fighting with edged weapons and infantry tactics. Looking for adventure. Recruited by Lawton after saving him during a sword brawl in London. Can a mercenary’s loyalty be trusted, especially one so dangerous as he?

WALTER RIGGS - Ship's Boatswain. Responsible for discipline and ship’s upkeep; he is a charlatan and a bane to the common crew. Loyal to Lawton from previous voyages; he will be a target for the crew’s wrath should they ever get out of control during the difficult voyage ahead.

ANDREW COLBY - Master Gunner; one of the best sea gunners afloat. A Puritan zealot from the Isle of Wight; veteran of many sea battles and highly skilled in directing broadsides into Spanish hulls. Will his zealous religious convictions sap his loyalty from conflicts with the Captain’s less-reformed chaplain?

RIELLY - Chief Boatswains Mate, one of Riggs’ assistants. He must do Riggs’ dirty work and face the consequences.

MOORE - Ship’s Chaplain. A not-very-reformed Protestant but he nevertheless exemplifies a patriotic and practical English naval chaplain. He faces a dilemma - can he support a Captain whose hatred, pride and avarice are contrary to the Good Book?

PHILBY - Ship’s Surgeon. He is responsible for the well-being of the crew; but his effectiveness is marginal given recurrent bouts of seasickness.

PARKER - Ship’s Carpenter recruited by Lawton. Given the wooden ship they sail upon, his work is cut out for him. Despite his girth and old age, this veteran of past sea battles and former prisoner of the Spanish should be counted on; unless the ship under his care is physically threatened - from any quarter; within or without.

Some of the crewmen of the Elanor Rose:

TOMPKINS - ‘Captain of the top’ of a mainmast watch section. Loyal to Lawton from past sailing ventures, he supervises a collection of malcontents and cutthroats and must earn their respect.

BOGGS - Ordinary sailor and maintopman. Former swindler, beggar and thief on the streets of London. Veteran sailor. Comrade of Stavely (see below). Recruited by Lawton. Afflicted with disfiguring skin disease, he nevertheless is a confident, colorful, crafty character and a natural leader. His questionable loyalties will perplex many on the voyage.

STAVELY - Ordinary sailor, sometime boatswains mate; a giant of a man. A former circus bear wrestler, highway robber, beggar and thief. Veteran sailor. As boatswains mate, he has a bad habit of assaulting crewmembers over infractions of ship’s discipline. This leads to dangerous conflicts with his boss, the feared Boatswain, and a list of enemies waiting for a chance to slip a knife into his broad back.

WILLIE LAWRENCE - Ship’s boy, former riverboat rower escaping an abusive family. His first sea voyage; one he has always dreamed of. He is recruited by Lawton and is eager to see the world, but the realities of life at sea almost break him. If he wants to become a seaman, he must overcome seasickness, fear of heights, and the dangers of being drawn into the wrong alliance.

SCOTT MEEKS - Page boy/aspiring apprentice seaman. His third sea voyage. Scott takes Willie under his wing. He hopes to curry favor with Stanfield to accelerate his promotion to apprentice sailor, whatever the cost.

TULLY - Ordinary sailor; known as “the Butcher”ashore for his predilection for knife brawls. Anti-authority and a natural rallying point for those of like mind. He is ever alert for fractures among the crew he can exploit to his own advantage.

HARRY MULLINS- Unskilled landman, a simple, middle-aged man suffering from an early onset of arthritis. His first sea voyage. Poverty awaits if he doesn’t cut it. He befriends Willie.

CLARK - Section mate and sycophant of Boggs and Stavely.

OXBOW - Experienced seaman bearing the scars of a past fight with the Spanish. His loyalty is only to the Second Mate.

Some of the gentlemen-adventurers aboard the Elanor Rose:

SIR GORDON WINTHROP - A high-ranking lord; a veteran of wars of the Low Countries but his gentry status has always determined his rank. He has designs on the position of Land Captain of the men-at-arms and wants to wield more influence over Hawthorne than the mercenary, Gerhardt. Winthrop is the leader of the other gentlemen; they will look to him for decisions on how far their loyalty to the Captain will stretch if their honor is at stake.

THORNDIKE - Young gentleman. First voyage. Adverse to labor or mixing with common crew.

ARMOND - Young gentleman. First voyage. Shares Thorndike’s attitudes and level of experience. A hothead.

Officers from other ships belonging to the Syndicate:

PRESCOT WINSLOW - Captain-General of the Syndicate’s fleet. He is rigid in his authority and interpretation of the voyage’s goals as set forth in England. He will brook no undermining of his authority, especially from his own Admiral.

IRWIN GWYNNE - Welsh master of a greatship. He discreetly favors Hawthorne’s vision of the voyage but will bide his time awaiting developments in the power struggle brewing between the fleet’s two highest officers.

IVES FOURNIER - French Protestant master of a shallow-drafted, nimble pinnace. Such a vessel is invaluable to any fleet seeking to raid coastal settlements and shipping. Anyone considering breaking off from the fleet and going their own way would want his ship and crew; but can a Frenchman’s loyalty be trusted by an Englishman, be he Protestant or not?

Characters of other nationalities - on the “other side”:

LOISELLE - A French corsair encountered on the way. He claims friendship and alliance against a common foe, but can he be trusted when his ships block the harbor exits and he suspects a treasure lies within your hold?

ALVARADO-MONTARRO - Warden of a Spanish fortress on an island outpost in the Atlantic Ocean. He is a self-made man who married into status on his windswept paradise; which just happens to be astride trade routes haunted by English interlopers. He has staked his future on the physical defenses of the town against a seaward attack; but what are such defenses worth when a belligerent English landing force has suddenly entrenched athwart your town’s flanks, demanding a ransom you can’t afford?

PEDRO RENGIFO DE ANGULO - Mayor of Puerto Plata. His town had done fine by English interlopers before; just trade with them for their coveted goods, sell them supplies and let them go their way without telling the Crown. This amenable relationship is shattered when an angry and bitter English force storms ashore and uses arson as a bargaining chip. The richest residents have fled with their valuables; how will he pay the ransom?

FRANCESCO INEZ IBARRA - Mayor of a newfound colony so far off the beaten track that the thought of English corsairs coming to his door never entered his mind; despite widespread rumors that a fortune in silver was being secretly funneled through his town. Does a corrupt official share his secret with the enemies of his country? Either answer could mean a noose placed around his neck by his enemies or his own people.

ROSALITA - She thought her secret affair with the caretaker of an incomplete fortress was safe enough; there was no one around the isolated position to take notice, at least not until a troop of English corsairs blew open the portcullis in the middle of the night before she could get her clothes on. Then she saw him, an Englishman who was the embodiment of her fantasies. She wanted him to take her away; despite her being an ex-slave married to a Spanish landowner and he a pirate and a heretic. He had other plans; to chivalrously return her to her husband’s plantation, then to plunder it for all it’s worth.

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©copyright 2000, 2001 by Kevin Glynn. All rights reserved

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