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Fleet Captain Loog placed one arm over Captain Donoto's shoulder to gain the man's attention. As the men and women of the first crew rowed, Loog almost always had time to think or discuss matters with his officers. It was different to have another captain aboard, though not unheard of. Captains before Donoto had lost their ships. "One thing I've learned by our mistake is that we need to change our ways," Loog said.
"In what way and why?" Donoto asked. Any awkwardness he felt over sharing the command bench had mostly disappeared. It was almost as if the rhythmic beating of the oars in the water had dulled any pain he felt from his physical and mental wounds.
"I'm not certain. However, in Gulfport, we might have received justice for Phuto had their weapon master been permitted to question your crew. We don't have anything like that in Mangara. If anyone is murdered there, no one does a thing about it."
"You want us to have weapon masters in Mangara?"
"I want us to have a system of justice in Mangara. If we must hire weapon masters to enforce our laws, then so be it."
"Limid! Limid!" shouted the woman on the lookout's mast. She pointed to the giant beast. Everyone knew it would have to be large for it to be so far out in deep water.
The first ship's master saw Fleet Captain Loog's nod and hollered, "Match the tiller. Maintain the drum without change." Only the ship's course would change. There would be no alteration in the sound or vibrations from their rowing to alarm their prey.
"Second crew to your positions. Ready the snags. Stand by to throw," the second ship's master shouted as the long ship neared their quarry."Throw! Throw!"
"I've got him!"
"Secure the line!" the second ship's master yelled.
"Oars up!" the first ship's master screamed, realizing that the boat was in for a slay-ride.
Most of the oars flew up. One oar snapped from the increased water pressure when it wasn't lifted quickly enough. The oars, including the broken one, went into standing slots to await their next need. Unless the line broke or until the beast tired, the men and women could only hang on for dear life. With only one boat in tow, it would be awhile before the beast tired. In the wake of the Loog One , men and women in the other boats retrieved their missed throws.
• • •
Captain Shon approached the throne in as humble a manner as possible, despite the fact that his cousin was the king. After all, other cousins had found out too late that it wasn't wise to cross the king. As with most royal possessions in the Kog Empire, the throne was white. Shon knew a gold image of the king adorned the center of the throne's back. It was said that the king always saw everything in his kingdom. One thing was certain; one of his agents usually could be found near anything with his image upon it.
"I understand you have important news," King D'oro said.
"Sire, the rowers are finally fighting Aluria. They've attacked Gulfport with the intention of destroying it completely."
"Excellent. War master! I want my war master!"
"Sire?" Shon said, brows raised.
"Don't question me," D'oro said with a glare.
An old man in a white, gold-braided uniform entered. "Yes, Sire?"
"Find out what my spies have to say about the fighting between Mangara and Aluria. I want to know when the time is ripe for an attack on Aluria. Then send someone to view the results of this attack upon Gulfport. I want to know who won their first battle."
"Yes, Sire, at once. I'll send Captain Myxoma."
"So, Captain Shon," the king said, returning his attention to his cousin, "how much did my royal treasury make during your voyage?"
Copyright © 2007 David L. Kuzminski.