Mudcat Café message #213364 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20395   Message #213364
Posted By: Amos
17-Apr-00 - 07:17 PM
Thread Name: TAVERN STEAMBOAT Albert Hansell - Part 4
Subject: RE: TAVERN STEAMBOAT Albert Hansell - Part 4
Jeremy, worn from the wild ride on a stolen stallion, flushed with his success at regaining the deck of the Albert Hansell (which for some reason he could not explain had been a goal of almost obsessive importance to him since the night he was shot) strode up to the manacled and wary-looking riverrat on the quarterdeck. He seized him by the collar, and boldly made him stand; and he stared deep into his eyes with outrage and fury and hurt curiousity battling for dominance in his angry stare.

"You short-backed spineless no-good spawn of a snappin' turtle, if I had half a brain Ah'd throw you right into that wheel! What the hail you thik yore doin' shootin me like that! Ya tried to kill me, you goldern polecat! "

Leej, taken aback by the bright unabated fury of the younger man, nevertheless maintained his composure.

"Wouldn't do to go murdering a manacled man, Piedmont. What I did, I had to do; and if you'd known what I know, youda done the same, willy or nilly. I bore you no anger, but there was more at stake than you an' me. An' there is still, Mister Fontaine Neufchat Piedmont. There is still. P'raps you would be willing to listen before you lash outin your righteous anger."

The youth, his angry arm still tensed with adrenalin, started at the sound of his full name and drew his prisoner closer with an sudden twist of his muscled wrist.

"Mister, you better talk, an' talk fast; I still have half a mind to make mudcat food outta yew, but I'll give you wore one chance; no-one kin say Ah'm not fair. "

"With any luck, you will make Mudcat fare out of me soon enough, young man. ANd here is what you don't know about your gracious cousin and your ancestors on the Neufchat side of the family. "

He lowered his head in a conspiratorial whisper and spoe softly to the young man for several minutes. The youth's arm relaxed and he let go of Leej's collar and stared, his mouth agape, asking bewildered questions and listening intently. FInally, he nodded, as though he finally understood and accepted what he was being told there in the shadows of the quarterdeck, and he seemed to sigh, and straighten. He held out his hand, and Leej fumbled under his sweat-stained shirt and with a grimace of regret and profound relief, dropped into his hand the burden he had carried too long. Jeremey stared, trembling with awe, as he watched the late afternoon sun bring raw fiery highlights across the shiny, bejewelled face of the Last Medallion.

He turned, leaving Leej in his manacles and ran down the quarterdeck and up the companionway, looking for a riverboat gambler, and a Louisiana belle on whom pivoted more historythan his poor head could imagine.