So there we were, wounded, tails tucked, racing across the atlantic to meet Napoleon head on; minus a General; minus all morale.
The Americans had rallied at North Point, a little late if you ask me, but still, they weren’t chuffed that we’d burnt down their headquarters…we thought the fighting was over.
Poor ol’ Bobby Ross had his balls blasted off. That left the troops dismayed. Lack of active reconnaissance had left us a little flat-footed.
The lads were “sir”-ing Claric. It seemed in my absence he had been elevated from the humble rank of court jester.
Admiral Claric, they confirmed, ordered us straight through the night and on to Fort M’ Henry, the last and most formidable gateway. A statement true in more ways than one.
There it seemed the true American resistance awaited. They claimed the battle. The empire was sent scurrying.
Claric, it seemed, had fallen. I refuse to believe he was slain. I almost refused to board the last Ship before it left the mortar pocked harbour. Almost, but truth is I didn’t have much choice. We were chased off by bullet and mortar fire.
The topic of immortality never actually came up between us, me and Claric, believe it or not, but I knew that he was at least 300 years to the good. Somehow I suspected he was much, much older. Perversely, I found myself wondering where his hip flask lay. Wondering if it too had fallen to the icy depths of the harbour..perhaps some poor soul would find it one day and drink in the sweet cursed beor. Maybe that someone would be me. I would be so lucky.
The HMS Endymion quickly mutinied into a festering barge of egos. We had practically evolved into pirates! The crew needed a leader, a new general, a king – no, not a king, a President! God knows I hate the crown. Yes, the word President had a good ring to it. After all, they brought me back for one job, did they not? One order of business: to kill. And if anybody was going to be president of the killing business it would be me surely? Henry fucking Game.
I emerged from the thin shadow of my cabin, the wet cutting across the steel of my purpose.
The chief bully was a marine known as Spike. He had taken the captain’s quarters for his war-room. He had guards by his door. Smart man. They eyed me as I wandered close.
I nodded to them as I paused to peer out across the waters; not another vessel in sight…Our original orders, as given by Rear Admiral Claric, or whatever they called him, were to return to London, gather fresh supplies and then topple the nuisance of Napoleon. The crew had voiced other ideas shortly after Claric didn’t arrive on board…
I was happy to hold my tongue, keep to the shadows, but nothing stirs a mans stomach like the harsh Atlantic. I was owed a debt, a payment of French blood.
The ‘Americans’ were not my enemy. I realised this as soon as I set eyes on one. They were no Iroquios, shit, they were basically us! Fucking colonised English, Irish and Europeans!
That war was a war of merchant captilasm.
Meanwhile I seeked revenge against those that had stolen the centuries from me. Gold was a soft and relatively useless artifact when weighed against the ledger of vengance.
The only way I could see the slate wiped clean was through this Bonaparte fellow, this little Beehive fucker who’d run amok in Francais, bleeding beneath my cold hard steel. The old way. You know I like to see a man’s light snuffed with my own eyes. Bullets are too efficient, too detached. Bullets are for cowards.
I straightened up from the rail and grebbed deep over the side. Cracking my neck both ways I turned to the marines and smiled.
Fingers twitched toward holstered weapons. A moment was all the chance they would get.
All I needed to do was line up the biggest of them, Spike the marine. The others would fall like dominos, they always do.