[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.“Before you do, will you have someone find the ship’s log so it can be sent back to the owner? And bring out our cat.She doesn’t deserve to die like that.”The other sailors around him nodded.The governor’s eyebrows lifted in surprise.Of all the arguments or demands he expected to hear, he hadn’t guessed that one.“You have my word,” he promised.The troop wheeled their horses and continued along the darkened streets down to the southern pier, where the Whydah was tied up.City Guards stood watch on the pier to keep the curious, the looters, and the irrepressible kender away.The governor and his troop dismounted.The news of the burning had already reached the ears of many of the citizens, and a large group gathered at the foot of the pier to watch.They moved aside to make room for the Governor’s Guards, then closed in quickly behind them.A captain of the City Guard saluted the governor as the soldiers approached the Whydah.“Sir, preparations are nearly complete.We have placed the dead on board and have prepared the ship to be fired.We are awaiting the arrival of the rowboats to tow this one out into the bay.”“Good.We have one more body to add,” Lord Bight informed him.“The missing sailor was found.” When he turned to gesture to the guard leading the burdened horse, his gaze caught Linsha in the middle of a yawn.“Squire Lynn,” he demanded.“You need some activity to help you stay awake.See if you can locate the ship’s log and the cat before the towboats get here.”Linsha’s face grew hot at being singled out in such a way.She gave a rueful salute before walking to the gangplank that led to the Whydah.She was not enthusiastic about going on board a ship whose crew had lost members to an unknown contagious disease, but the thought came to her that this could be a test of her willingness to obey the lord governor, so she squared her shoulders and marched on board.Two men carried on the shrouded body of the young sailor behind her, stowed it on deck beside a row of other wrapped bodies, and hurried off, leaving Linsha alone on the silent ship.The ship’s log was easy to find.It sat in a niche in the captain’s sea desk in his cabin, leather-bound and well cared for.She thumbed through it and noted that the last entry had been made that afternoon:Kiren and Jornd died this noon.Three more are ill.Orders to abandon the ship.Whydah is to be burned.May the High God keep our souls.Neat.Concise.Full of sadness.The captain’s last words echoed through her mind.May the High God keep our souls.She wondered if the dying captain of the merchantman had time to write a last prayer.She lapsed into thought.In fact, the ship’s log from the Palanthian ship might hold some clues that could shed some light on the origin of this plague.The log would list the ports the ship had visited and should contain notes about the onset of the crew’s symptoms and deaths.Perhaps Lord Bight would let her read it.With the book tucked under her arm, Linsha searched the cabin for the cat.There was no sign of it in there or in any of the small cabins under the aft deck.She looked through the crew’s quarters, the sail locker, and the galley to no avail.Finally she took a small hand lamp and climbed down the ladder into the hold, where the cargo of sheep and cattle had been contained in two rows of pens.The pens had been cleaned and washed down after the animals were unloaded, which held the odor down to a tolerable level.Thick, hot darkness filled the hold and hid a myriad of places a cat could hide.In the aisle that divided the two rows of pens, a few bales of straw gleamed pale gold in her lamplight.Barrels of oil, ready for the fire that would consume the Whydah, sat close to the curving wooden sides of the ship.Linsha walked several paces down the aisle and shone her lamp around.There was no cat in sight Something moved in the darkness behind her, a small pattering something that dived into the bales of straw.A furry form flew after it.“There you are,” Linsha said under her breath.She turned around, and suddenly a heavy weight slammed into her back.She lost her balance, and she fell heavily to the planked walkway.Her lamp smashed into the floor and went out.Hard and heavy, the weight pressed into the small of her hack.A blade nicked her throat.“What in the name of Reorx are you doing down here?” growled a voice in her ear.ChapterSevenLinsha considered her options for a moment, then decided to He quietly and try to placate the opponent on her back.If that knife hadn’t been there, she could have flipped him off and kept him at bay, but an armed enemy she couldn’t see in the intense darkness, who had a sharp blade so close to her jugular, was too great a risk.“I said, what are you doing down here?” he repeated fiercely.“I am with the Governor’s Guards.I’m looking for the cat,” she said as calmly as she could.The voice snorted behind her.“You’re wearing a City Guard’s uniform, and a stinking one at that [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]