How I learned to fight

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So, Aye’ve been working as a Powder Monkey for some tyme now, Aye really couldn’t tell ye how long because d’ days and nights kinda blend tegetter when yer workin’ below dem decks. Aye did get to scrub above decks ever so oft’n, but dem sharks kept coming around. Aye never saw dem sharks, cuz ay’m always being yelled at to reload ye cannons and der be a lot of really big cannons on dis ‘ere ship. Lukily, ay’m not dee only powder monkey on board. Dere were fore of us ‘til we foundst out dat one was a lassie and she got relocated to der mop room. Dee odder two, well one’s always in d’ crows’ nest and die odder’s always cleannin’ out dee bildge or bein’ asked to shoot arrows at dem big sharks. Dus, Ay’m dee only one whom ever gits any work dun round ‘ere.

As aye be sayin; One day as aye was workin’ above deck and the Cap’n approached me. ‘E placed his hand on my shoulder to get me attention and said, “Jamie. You’ve been working here for a while now and you have been doing a good job.” I nodded as ‘e kept talkin.’ “But I need more from you if I’m going to keep you on board as a member of this crew. I need to see how good you are at fightin.” Aye smiled and reminded him about my role in the bar fight that led to me bein’ on dis here ship. ‘E den said, “Aye don’t care about your ability to fight with your fists, I’m talking about your ability to fight with a sword.” Aye told him that aye was using a broadsword to help dem escape and that I’m really good using one and ay’ll gladly show him as soon as aye can find where aye placed me sword (it’s been missing for awhile now).

The Cap’n yelled at the first mate, “Quintin, get your broadsword and another one for Jamie and git your arse here on the double!” Quintin arrived with two broadswords and handed one to the Cap’n. “Quintin here is a master fighter and ‘e’s very good with a broadsword.” The Cap’n den handed me the sword ‘e was holdin’, “Aye want to see you fight him. Not to the death, but to the yield!”

So Aye took me stance that aye had learned growin up in d’ Highlands and started to circle Quintin. ‘E and aye matched movements and stances. After minutes of us circling had passed by, Aye decided to take an advance and try to slash at his arm. ‘E blocked it, but aye did scratch up ‘is arm a bit. We continued to circle each other and aye repeated the same move and scratched his other arm. Quintin did not like dis, so ‘e make a few slashes that I simply blocked with my sword. Aye was really startin to enjoy the fact dat ‘e was holdin up pretty well against me.

We kept fightin and blockin and fightin and blockin’ when the Cap’n suddenly stopped us. “Let’s shake things up a bit, I’m getting bored here. Quintin, Jamie, come ‘ere and grab these bucklers! Jamie, you fight well with just a broadsword, but can you fight and defend as well when both arms are not controlling one sword or when your opponent here has the same arms as you. Let’s see how well you can do!”

So we start circling again and ‘e thrusted and aye blocked wit me buckler and den aye slashed at him and ‘e blocked wit his buckler and slashed at me and aye blocked with me sword and den tried to slash at ‘em and ‘e blocked wit his sword and tried to slash at me and aye simply blocked him again and again. We kept on fightin like this for who knows how long and aye saw him make a slash at me and expose a side of his body. Aye moved out of d’ way of his sword and aye slashed at his buckler and aye broke his buckler and ‘e dropped his hand wincing in pain. Aye stood back and smiled.

[Editor’s Note: Once again, Jamie’s memory may be fuzzy. Probably, due to large amounts of homemade whiskey, or as Jamie likes to call it “Me Drink”. While it is fact, Quintin did receive many cuts and scrapes to his arms, most of them came from Jamie’s teeth, and not his sword. And, though Jamie did fare quite well against Quintin that day, the quartermaster had been under strict instructions not to actually kill a useful shiphand. Hence, he restorted to buckler punching Jamie repeatedly. The last one, to Jamie’s forehead, was what shattered the buckler. Jamie remained…..unfazed.]

“Well met, Jamie.” D’ Cap’n said, “But, we do not use those kinds of swords on this ship. They are way too slow for taking on a shark or a pirate ship that’s tryin’ to board us. See if you can defend against me! Engarde!” Suddenly d’ Cap’n pulled out his thin pointy sword dat ‘e’s always wearin’ around d’ ship when e’s busy doin’ important things. Aye simply smiled and took me guard. ‘E couldn’t hurt me with that small little thing, one strong blow from me sword and ‘e’d be done.

We circled a bit and aye then went to make a slash at ‘em. To my surprise, ‘e merely stepped out of the way and poked a hole through me shirt. “As I said, that sword is too slow to use on this ship!” Aye was not happy wit dis because d’ broadsword is d’ only sword! Aye den turned and feigned and upper slash and came at ‘em from d’ midsection. ‘E took the bait, but used ‘is free hand to push me sword into ‘is boot as d’ pommel of ‘is sword connected wit me head.

Aye fell backwards and landed on d’ deck. Quintin then pulled the broadsword out of d’ Cap’n’s boot and kept d’ sword. “Well, you’re a good candidate, Jamie. You fight well, but you need some training and you need to learn how to use a rapier. Would you like to learn?” Aye nodded, because aye could not seem to get ‘d word “Aye” out of me throat. Afterall, fightin’ lessons means more time on deck and not swabbin it or climbin’ up to d’ crows’ nest to give food to Guido since ‘e can never get ‘is butt down to d’ mess area. “Good, I like that in my sailors. Mordecai! Get yer butt over ‘ere!” Mordecai came runnin’ out of his map room area. Ay’m not quite sure who was stirrin’ d’ ship, but aye know better den to ask. [Again, proof of Jamie’s failed memory, Mordechai never runs anywhere.]

“Mordecai, Jamie here has shown some promise in his fightin’ abilities and I want you and Quintin to train him properly on how we fight aboard this ship. If he does considerably well, he might make a good fourth.” [Actually the Captain said, “He’ll make a good one to send forth….first.”]

“Aye, sir.” Mordecai said to d’ Cap’n, “Jamie! We’ll start your training after I get some sleep. I believe Quintin has some work for you in the meanwhile.”

“Aye,” Aye said in response, knowing very well that Quintin was already planning on how ‘e was gonna get back at me for whoopin ‘em.”

“Very well,” the Cap’n said. “Make sure you learn to fight well, Jamie. I might promote you if you do well.” Aye smiled at his remark. “Now, everyone get back to work before I have Quintin release the cat-of-nine-tails on the lot of you!”

Aye immediately got back to work and thus began me training in d’ art of rapier combat.