The Uninvited
by Marijke

Part 7

Archie waked up, he was surprised that he had slept at all. His body hurts like hell. He had found it difficult to lay quiet, because his back and his stomach stitched. But he couldn’t move to much. Horatio would find out, what happened if he did.

Archie sighted, he was afraid for this evening. But it was no use to tell his friend. Horatio would be even more worried. So he wouldn’t tell a thing, but it was hard. He turned around and he shocked when he saw that Horatio was watching him with worrying eyes.

Horatio saw his friend flinch. “Good morning Archie.” He tried to smile, but found it difficult. The whole night he had been at Archie’s bed. The young man had been so afraid in his dreams, moaning and tossing. Muttering words Horatio couldn’t catch and when he had tried to reassure Archie, he had flinched away. It was horrible to watch. Horatio had sit there all night, feeling sad for his frightened friend, but also feeling very angry.

 “Morning Horatio” Archie answered, he tried to sit, but the pain was to great. He softly moaned. “Archie!” Horatio stood up.

“Everything all right?”

He saw that there was a sudden panic on Archie’s face. ‘Why?!’

“I’m fine Horatio” Archie lied, he tried to get up.
He bites his lip and reached for his jacket. “How was dinner Archie?” Horatio asked, while he kept a close look on Archie’s face. He suddenly saw the fear in his eyes.

“Archie?” Horatio stepped closer and laid a hand on his friend’s back. He was shocked when Archie flinched and moved away from him.

“I’m sorry Horatio” Archie whispered to the wall “You… you… startled me.”

But Horatio was thinking, alarm bells ringing in his head. Archie had keep his shirt on for the last couple of nights. He thought at the nightmares and his own suspicions and came to a conclusion. “Archie let me see you back.” He asked softly.

There was no answer. Archie just stood there, frozen.


“Let… let.. it go Horatio” it was just a whisper

“No, let me see your back” Horatio insisted. “Please Archie let not make me order you.”

Kennedy turned around, his face pale. Horatio was shocked to see the horror. “Very well sir” Kennedy turned again and put his shirt up.

Hornblower gazed at Archie’s back in shock.

The back was full with scars. Horatio knew about the old scars. He had seen them in Spain. When Archie was brought to the sickroom, Horatio had washed him. He had then see the scars and had realised what Archie had been trough. But know..

Horatio looked with tears in his eyes. The back was red, swollen, with marks of a cane and it looked incredible painful. ‘No wonder Archie flinched after I touched him.’ Horatio thought sad. He was amazed by his friend’s courage. It all looked very painful and still Archie hadn’t uttered a sound.

Suddenly Archie’s shoulder moved and soft sobs came from him. Archie was crying. In a instant Horatio was with his friend and carefully laid a hand around his neck. Kennedy swayed and Horatio could just catch him. He carefully pushed Kennedy onto the bed. Archie was really crying now. It was awful to watch.

“It’s ok Archie” Horatio swallowed to keep the tears out. He was not sure if he succeed, but didn’t care. “I’m here.” He comforted Archie, by brushing Archie’s hair. He knew from past experience it would sooth his friend.

It was helping, Kennedy laid his head against Horatio shoulder. And Hornblower couldn’t help himself he smiled. He was somewhat proud, that Archie had such trust in him. He remained brushing and talked softly to his best friend.

“Who did this Archie?” he asked, already suspecting the answer, but wanted to hear it from Archie’s lips. “Massey” it came out like a sob. Horatio felt an enormous rage in him. ‘Massey! That incredible basterd.’

“When? When did this happened Archie?”

“On…on the ship, after a day or so” it was whispered. Horatio felt his hart stop. ‘No, not on the ship’ he thought desperate. “He.. punched me in my stomach.” Archie continued still sobbing.

“May I see it Archie?”

Archie nodded, Horatio knew so much already. He tried not to flinch, but it was hard when Hornblower raced the shirt. He heard his friend curse. Horatio knew that tears where coming, somewhat angrily he wiped them away. The back was awful, seeing Archie’s chest and stomach, was even more horrible. There were a lot of dark blue coloured bruises on his stomach and red stripes across his chest.

He remembered when he had looked for Archie, the last night on the ship, Massey was near. He had suspected that something was going on. But this… this was prove. The basterd had beaten Archie and had came back to give him some more ‘punishments’. Thank god he had arrived and got Archie out of there. With horror Horatio remembered that Archie had kept his shirt on. Saying that he had trouble with his lungs..

“What happened yesterday Archie?” Horatio felt himself tremble.

“There… there was no… no.. diner” Archie’s breathing was getting difficult. Horatio pinched him reassuring. “It’s all right Archie, you can tell me.” He could feel the young man trembling.

“They.. they took me down.. Massey was there.. with… with other men.. they wanted… they wanted.. to know information. I.. I didn’t gave them.. made… made.. them angry.” Horatio could feel the terror.

“Why didn’t you tell me Archie?” Horatio asked softy. “I wanted to, but on.. on the ship.. it was difficult. They.. they threaten..” Archie stopped. “What Archie? Please tell me.”

“They threaten to.. to..hurt… you..if.. I would… I ..would..say.. anything” Archie’s voice was breaking. “I’m sorry Horatio.”

Horatio had never felt so horrified. This man had sacrificed himself to keep him save. For a moment Horatio didn’t knew what to say.

“Archie” he started with emotion in his voice. “Did I ever told you, that you are the bravest man I ever know.” Archie head came up. “Please Horatio” he started. “No, I mean it Archie” Horatio looked his friend in the eyes. “But there is one more thing I wanted to know from you. “ Archie shocked and looked away.

Horatio carefully brushed his friend’s shoulder. “How should we kill them?” he continued sternly. Archie smiled a little. “Fast I hope”

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It was after noon when the guards came again. There were more this time. The Indefatigables were wary and observed them with great care. One of the French officers stepped forward and commanded that they needed workforce for repair. “Are there any volunteers?” Foure looked around. No one answered.

Foure nodded to the guards. “Very well. Take two groups of twenty!”

The Indefatigables saw that muskets were aimed at them. One of the guards stepped forward and pointed at the seamen. “You! Step over there” he pointed at Scarlet. Scarlet hesitated.

But before he could make up his mind, the officer was with him and slammed him in the face. “If you are given an order seaman, you obey!” Styles grunted, but he kept himself quiet. It was dangerous to intervene. “Stand up!” Foure gestured to Scarlet.

Scarlet stood up, but with hot eyes. “Stow that rebellious look away! I taken your officers wouldn’t approve this attitude.” Scarlet’s face changed. He had taken the warning and nodded. He walked to the door and disappeared.

The guard continued with pointing at men. There was no resistance, the men who were chosen, stood up and walked calmly at the door. When they had forty men, the guards and the officer left and closed the door again. Matthews looked around. He didn’t knew if he should be happy not be chosen or not. Styles was chosen, just like Davies. Matthews knew that his friend would manage, he hoped that the young lad from Mr Kennedy’s division would manage too.

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The afternoon went on and Archie became more withdrawn. Horatio saw it plainly. He knew the reason, but knowing didn’t help. On the contrary.

It was making Horatio angry, angry and desperate at the same time. “Archie” Horatio started. Kennedy looked at him. Horatio already saw the mask of indifference coming. It was Archie’s way of protecting himself, just like he did on so number of occasions on the Justinian. Horatio admired him for that courage.

“Yes?” the reply came softly.

“Archie, there must be something we could do.”

There came no answer

“Archie? Perhaps I should go. I could volunteer.”

“No!” the reply was there in an instant. “No Horatio, that wouldn’t work.” Archie pitched his voice down. “It will only result… that you are being.. hurt.” Kennedy looked away.

Horatio stood up and settled himself down next to his friend. “I can’t let them hurt you Archie.” He was surprised at the emotion in his voice. He carefully touched his friend’s arm. He felt the muscles tense.

“And I can’t let you go in my place” Archie’s voice was calm, it surprised himself. “What good will it do Horatio?” he faced his friend. “Please Horatio, it.. helps… thinking that I… that I protect you.” He continued whispering. “Besides you can stay focused to find a way to escape.”

Horatio looked at the floor. He realised that Archie was right, but it felt so wrong. “Archie” he began, but stopped suddenly, he heard footsteps coming this way. Kennedy heard them to and became pale. The door opened and the officer of yesterday stood in the opening of the door.

Hornblower noticed that expression of Salvin was different. It seemed that Salvin didn’t liked what he had to do. Whatever was visible in his face, it was however not so clear in his voice. “Mr Kennedy, you are being invited for diner.”

Kennedy stood up, gave a warning shot to his friend. He saw that Horatio was having problems with staying quiet. Of course his friend would love to do something noble. Archie smiled slightly. But sadly their was no time to do that.

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Matthews heard that the doors were opened. Everybody seized their talking and gazed at the door. A sight of relief could be heard. Their shipmates were entering their cell. They looked tired, behind them, were the same guards. But the guards brought food and water. Matthews counted the men. He was somewhat upset when he counted thirty-five. He waited until the guards left, before he would talk.

“Where are the other five?” he asked at Styles, who had settled down next to him. “Their gone mate.” Styles said, his voice had no emotion. “Gone?” Oldroyd asked “Where to?” Styles shacked his head. “They’re dead”

“Dead!?” the other men were upset. “How? What happened with you?”

Styles sighted, he didn’t want to tell the story. He was tired and was hungry. Matthews saw it and replied. “Please men, we are all wanting to know that, but its better after we have eaten.” The other men nodded, it was the most prudent thing to do.

After they had eaten, Styles started the story. “Those buggers needn’t men to do their filthy work, you know repairing old walls and loading their ships.” Scarlet nodded. “We were surprised when we saw other men, doing the same work. It seemed they were men from the Interceptor.” He told with a calm  voice.

“Yes” Styles continued “A British ship what was captured some months ago. The lads of that ship didn’t looked to fresh anymore. There were just a few of them left, the others had been killed.” Everybody was listening to the story. Styles saw some men shack their head. “I know it’s not a pretty story to tell.” He murmured.

“Anyway, there was little option for us. We worked or we were shot.” “So you worked?” Matthews replied. “Aye we did” Scarlet answered. “We worked the whole bloody afternoon loading their ships. It was hard work, but we are strong men so we could sometimes talk to the other lads. To gain information.” Scarlet smiled. “It was difficult, those Interceptors were scared, they didn’t want to tell us anything, but eventually they did. It was most interesting” Scarlet added.

“What did they say and why are the other lads died?” Parker wanted to know.
“Well, that Massey fellow and the one who fetched us, his name is Foure are the bad ones. They like to torture and they will do it.” Styles spoke soft. The words of the Interceptors still in his head.

Your in hell mate, you don't know half of what they are capable of.

“They will kill lads who don’t obey them quick enough. That happened with our dead mates.” Styles voice was full of pain. He had seen the execution happening, but there was nothing he could do. Their fell a silence. The men looked down and prayed for their dead friends.

“There is something else” Scarlet interrupted their thoughts. “The Interceptors think that this whole plan is to gather information.” “Information, what sort of information?” it was Davies. Matthews looked at the lad and was shocked when he spotted him. The lad looked like hell.

“Navy secrets that sort of stuff.” Styles replied, his thoughts elsewhere. “But we don’t know any of those so-called secrets!” Oldroyd exclaimed. “Aye” Scarlet answered, his face a mask of anger “But our officers do know them.”

Those filthy basterds!” Matthews stood up. Everybody was in shock, Matthews had never reacted like that. “Easy mate” Styles reached for his friend. “There is nothing we could do.” Matthews settled down again, but Styles could feel his friend tremble. “What more do you know?” he asked facing Scarlet.

Everybody was watching Scarlet now. “Well” Scarlet paused. “Those Interceptors said that they had tried to get information from their officers. They… they.. tortured their officers.” Scarlet gazed at the wall. He barely heard the loud grunts of terror around him.

“Did they talk?” Styles voice was a mere whisper. “The men thought they had. They suspect that we are the result of that talking. Otherwise how was it possible that Thorne and Massey knew so much about the Navy. Those officers must have talked.” Scarlet voice failed away.

“Who could blame those poor sods.” Parker replied.

“What about our officers Scarlet?” Davies voice was panicking. “I don’t know lad” Scarlet answered truthfully. Perhaps we know tomorrow more.” The red haired man looked away.

“One thing is for sure. They don’t torture our captain or our high officer. They will…” Scarlet voice broke. “Only the other lieutenants?” Matthews asked . He saw Scarlet nod and felt his hart stop. It could only be Kennedy or Hornblower.
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Kennedy felt numb. Everything around him, felt like a dream. Massey shouting to him, then the severe beating. First he had cried out. They had punched him on his back and the wounds had opened again. But after several punches he had not the strength to cry out. He remained quiet, but sometimes soft sobs would escape him.

Suddenly the beating stopped. Archie felt that someone moved towards him, when he felt a hand touching his face, his eyes flew open in alarm. “Please Mr Kennedy, you are not doing yourself a favour.” Massey whispered. Again the touch. Archie couldn’t help himself he flinched. The memories were to bad. “Please” he whimpered. “Leave me alone.”

“We will leave you alone.” Massey grinned. At last he would brake this boy. “But we want to know where the ships of your Navy are stationed. Tell us that and you don’t have to feel pain anymore. He pressed on Kennedy’s back. A soft cry escaped the young officer.

“No, I will.. I will.. not tell you anything” Kennedy tried to frame an answer.

“Very well” Massey voice sounded cold. “Turn him around!” The two men took Kennedy and turned him on his back. Archie couldn’t help it, he yelled. It hurt to much.

He had trouble to stay consciousness. He heard vague Massey commanding that they would give him five lashes with the whip on his belly.

Suddenly he felt such pain on his stomach, he could hardly breath. He cried out. It hurt to much. “Noooooooo!”

“Tell us Mr Kennedy. Where are the ships?”

Again the lash.

Archie could hear himself yell, but he didn’t said anything. After the fourth lash, he felt nothing. The fifth lash made him sob, he had no strength to cry out.

“I can see that you’re a tough boy. But what would happen, when someone else is punished for you silence.” This warning made the mist disappear. Archie listened carefully. Massey saw the change and smiled slightly.

“I thought as much. You seems to me a caring officer.”

Massey nodded and continued. “ If you don’t talk, I will execute five of your men, tomorrow at noon. You can consider this whole night. I will hear your answer tomorrow.” He patted Kennedy on the shoulder He felt the boy flinch and was pleased. “Take him away!”

Archie felt the two men grabbed him. Suddenly he was outside the room. He hadn’t even noticed it. When they were in the corridor he saw the French officer. He looked at him, with disgust. “I can take it from here. You men are excused” he said. The men left, the officer guided him to his cell. Before the door opened, the officer looked at his prisoner and whispered. “I sorry this have to happen to you, Massey is a pig.”

Kennedy had no strength left to reply and only nodded. But even that hurt. “Why don’t you speak to Massey?” the officer was genially confused. “I’m loyal.. to my… country monsieur” Archie answered with pain in his voice. The officer nodded, respect growing in his eyes. He opened the door and whispered again “I’m sorry”

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Horatio jumped up when he heard the door open. He saw that the French officer talked to Archie. But his attention was fully focused on his friend. He saw that Archie was having trouble to stay straight. As soon as the door closed, Kennedy felt down on the floor.

“Archie!” Horatio run to his friend.

He fell on his knees. “Archie?” he whispered.

But Archie didn’t react. Horatio touched with great care Archie’s face, but there was no reply. Kennedy was unconsciousness. Horatio cursed. What had those bastereds done to his friend? He curiously raised Archie’s shirt. When he saw Archie’s belly, he saw his hand tremble.

Horatio felt the tears coming. He angrily wiped them away.

“Archie” he whispered. “Please wake up Archie.”

But nothing happened. Horatio set their for sometime. His eyes fixed on the wounds. He reached for the bucket with fresh water and a cloth. He carefully dipped the cloth in bucket and laid the cloth on Archie’s belly. If nothing else, he could at least clean the wounds.

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Massey walked angrily to the hall. The stupid officer still hadn’t said anything. He was obstinate and that frustrated Massey. So far he didn’t had any information to tell his mates. And that had never happened before. Massey cursed. The boy wouldn’t speak for his own sake, but perhaps he would, if others were concerned.

Just before he opened the door to the great hall, he heard someone calling his name. He turned around to see the speaker. It was Thompson. “How is the inquisition faring Guy?” Thompson asked smiling.

“He won’t speak” Massey murmured angry. “Ah, are you giving enough pressure?” Thompson looked his friend in the eyes. “Of course Richard. The boy’s back and stomach are almost open.” Massey growled. “But this basterd won’t speak to me.”

Thompson smile disappeared. “That is disappointing” he answered thoughtfully. “We need the information Massey.” “Yes, I’m aware of that” Massey reply sounded like a snarl.

“But I found a solution.” Massey continued. His face expressed the face of a wolf. “Oh, what’s that?” Thompson asked curious. “A demonstration around noon, to teach those Indefatigables who’s in charge and learn that insolent puppy, what would happy if he refuse me.” Massey grinned. “I’m sure he will speak. If not, I will kill five of his men. Those Indefatigables are so damned loyal, he will speak.”

Thompson looked at his friend, then laughed. “It’s an excellent plan Guy.” He tabbed his friend on the shoulder. “Excellent! But we can’t take Indefatigables.”
“Why not?” Massey frowned. “We need them Guy, They are still fresh. They can do a lot of work. After that, well, you can do with them what you want..” Thompson answered.

“But who are we going to execute? Massey asked confused.”  Thompson thought for a moment. “I know it” he replied. “Why don’t we kill some Interceptors. They have done their job, besides dead they are more valuable that alive.”

“That’s true” Massey grinned. “Kennedy is a sort of officer, who would protect every man. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t from their ship.”

“Yes” Thompson laughed. “He would give us the information. Besides if this plan won’t work, I have thought of another one…”

“What is that?” Massey observed his friend. Although Massey would carry out the cruelties. It was Thompson who made the planes. “We could ask Kennedy’s friend some questions.. I’m sure Kennedy would talk then.”

“You mean that brat Hornblower?”

“Aye” Thompson nodded “But we wait until our demonstration is finished. Kennedy certainly must have taken your meaning.”

Massey nodded. “yes he had”

“Splendid” Thompson nodded. “I’m going to talk with Randolphe about this. We want of course that everybody is present at this demonstration?”

“Of course, otherwise what would be the fun?” Massey replied
Thompson grinned “You’re right mate, well I’ll speak to him.” He patted Massey again on the shoulder and walked away. Massey considered what he should do. Eat, he thought. That beating made him hungry.

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“Archie, ssshhh. It’s alright Archie. I’m here” Horatio tried to sooth his friend, but it was difficult. After the long unconsciousness, Archie had moaned a little and had moved. Horatio had been pleased, but his joy soon had disappeared. The moving had increased, just like the trembling. He had tried to stop it, but it hadn’t work. A soft cry escaped Kennedy.

“Archie, please” Horatio brushed Archie’s hair. But it only increased the flinching. “Archie, wake up” Horatio tried to keep his voice even. But his friend didn’t wake up, The tossing increased. It would probably hurt like hell. And then it happened, Horatio was so afraid for it.

A fit. Archie’s body collided against the floor. Soft moans escaped Archie’s lips. His head banged against the floor. Horatio took it in his hands. He didn’t want his friend being more insured then he already was. He spoke with a soft voice and hold his friend in his arms.

The fit took ages and Horatio saw that the wounds on Archie’s belly opened. Blood was running down. Hornblower took the cloth again and laid it on Archie’s belly. The contact made the young man flinch, but Horatio knew that it had to be done.

At last the fit was subsiding. Horatio felt his arm hurt. He had hold Archie very long and he could feel the effects. With a different cloth he wiped the sweat of Archie’s head.

“Ho..Horatio?” a small voice reached Horatio.

“Yes Archie, I’m here.” Horatio grabbed Archie’s hands. “I’m here”

“We are in the cell?” Archie’s voice sounded so weak.

“Yes Archie, we are in the cell” Horatio confirmed the answer. “I ..don’t …remember…. Remember.. going back.”

“That French officer Salvin brought you back.” Horatio answered softly. His friend just look awful and Horatio felt a incredible anger. But he was also desperate. He knew what would happen to Archie, but he couldn’t do anything. It hurt .. it hurt like hell.

“Oh” The reply was short. Hornblower could see that talking cost Kennedy a lot of energy. “Archie, let me help you, It’s better when you lay on your bed.”

“I.. I.. will not make it Horatio” Archie voice was becoming weaker. “Yes, you will Archie, I will help you.” Horatio tried to pull Archie upwards. But a horrible cry stopped him.

“Christ Archie!” he saw that the trembling came back. “It’s… It’s not… working Horatio, let… let me be.”

Horatio thought for a moment. It was plane that he couldn’t get Archie to his bed. It would hurt to much. The cry was still in Horatio’s head. Suddenly he got an idea. He grabbed the pillow, mattress and blanket of Archie’s bed. He trough the mattress and pillow on the ground. “Archie, could you move somewhat to the right, you can lay on your mattress.”

His friend tried and it worked, although Horatio had to help him. Horatio sooth his friend “very well Archie!”

When Archie laid on his side on the mattress, Horatio took the cloth and raised Archie’s shirt. “No please Horatio” Archie’s voice was a mere whisper.

“Archie, I’ve seen the wounds. They have to be cleaned.” Horatio felt the emotion in his voice. He brushed Archie’s hair. “It’s all right Archie.” He spoke softly.

He reached for the cloth and carefully put in on Archie’s back. His hart stopped, when he heard the sobs. “No, please don’t touch me” Archie’s voice was so soft and full of pain. A tear escaped.

Very carefully, Horatio cleaned the wounds. But he was shocked to see the number of them. What the hell had they done with him? He felt Archie tremble and he brushed Archie’s hair to comfort his frightened friend. But he could feel that the touch made his friend flinch, so he stopped.

“Archie, the wounds have to be cleaned.” Horatio talked softly. “Why, why do you care Horatio?” a sobbing voice was the answer.

“Because you’re my friend Archie” Hornblower voice was full of emotion. He was surprised, he hadn’t planned that. “I care for you Archie”

He saw Archie taking large breaths, to calm himself. “I know… you care… and I thank you for it Horatio, but..” “But what Archie?” The broken voice continued. “You, don’t know but… I… I.”

The emotion overwhelmed Archie and tears fell on the mattress. Horatio saw it and he winched. “Ssshht Archie, It’s all right, You are the bravest man I know.”

“No, Horatio.”

“Yes Archie, you are! But you are tired and we will speak tomorrow. Your wounds need rest Archie.” Horatio said calmly.

He saw that Archie nodded. “you’re right Horatio, as always.” Horatio smiled and carefully laid the blanket on Archie. He set next to his friend until Archie had fall asleep. He wondered what Archie had wanted to say to him, but he would find that out tomorrow.

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End of part 7

The Uninvited
Part 8

Matthews waked up, he could see by the light that it was long after sunrise. When he looked around, he could see that most of the men were still asleep. Especially the men who had worked yesterday. Matthews glanced at his friend. Styles was still sleeping. After the horrible story, they had told, the men had been silent and not long after everybody had fall asleep.

The old seaman stretched. He felt stiff, he was no used to sit whole days on the floor and doing nothing. He hoped that they didn’t have to wait long for breakfast, he was hungry. After some time, he could hear a key in the door.

‘At last’ Matthews thought. Several men waked up. He could hear Styles grunting. “ Morning mate” Styles tried to smile, but he back hurt to much, to make it a confident one.

The door opened and the Indefatigables expected breakfast, but they were amazed when a whole compliment of guards stepped in. “What, what is this?” Matthews said with surprise in his voice. Surely they would first give them food, before the chosen men had to work again.

“You!” a large guard shouted “Shut up!”

Matthews held his tongue. It was stupid to continue. He glanced at his friend, but saw him stiffen. Matthews looked up, to see the reason and saw that an officer had stepped into their cell. It was the same as yesterday. “Foure” Styles whispered between glanced teeth. Matthews remembered that this was a dangerous man. Quickly he glanced around, he saw that everybody was silent and was watching the officer. Scarlet’s muscles were tense, Matthews could just feel the tension. ‘What was going on?’

Listen carefully, you scum. I’m not going to repeat myself!” Foure commanded. “In a moment you men, will be escorted to the plaza. Their you will stay until we say you’re done.”

“For what?” Davies asked curious as ever, but Matthews cursed. This was not the time to ask anything. But he was surprised that the young man was not hit or shot. Instead..

Foure smiled at the young man. But it was a smile which made you shiver.

“Their will be a performance and you men have the honour to see it.” Foure grinned. “It will be fun.” He observed the men and continued more sternly. “I will not tolerate bad behaviour and I leave it to you to consider what bad behaviour is. Such persons will be punished.”

There fell a silence, everybody took the meaning. They had all heard yesterday the stories of their mates who had not listen quickly enough.

Foure nodded and the guards rushed forward. They pointed at men and escorted little groups away. Matthews and Styles were in the last group. There was no time to say anything to each other. But Matthews felt the worries coming from his friend. He had seen what that Foure was capable of and dreaded what the man was up to.

The guards were efficient and after a short walk they had reached the plaza. It was surrounded by large walls. The walls were old, just like the rest of the fortress, but they were in good condition. Matthews wanted to look around, but for that effort he received a punch in his back. “Eyes to yourself old man!” Matthews heard Styles curse, but a swift glance stopped it.

Finally they reached the place where they had to stand. A large number of Indy’s were already standing in lines. Faces straight ahead, just like when their was division inspection on their ship. Matthews and Styles stood in front of the row. It gave Matthews an excellent opportunity to examine the plaza and the rest of the fortress.

Like he had seen when he had reached the plaza, this fortress was old, but in an excellent condition. The walls were repaired. Matthews sighted, he suspected that the prisoners had a great deal in that repairing. On the walls stood a large compliment of guards. Overlooking the plaza and of course the prisoners.

Matthews could feel the heat of the sun. he liked the light, after such time in prison, but he dreaded the heat. He suspected that they had to stand here for some time and because of the sand on the ground, this was an uncomfortable place to stand. It was just to hot. To keep his mind of the warmth, Matthews looked around and saw that their were three gates. All the gates were closed. The first gate, they had just passed. The smaller one, brought you into the fortress and the large wooden gate would bring you to the harbour.

They had passed that gate two days ago, when they had imprisoned them.
Matthews sighted. Everything had gone wrong, most of his mates were dead.

Their officers captured and who knows how they were treated. It was so much worse then the Spanish prison, he thought gloomy. They could still dream of their ship, but know, know he could just see the topmast sticking out over the wall. It hurt like hell. Mathews couldn’t stand it and looked away.

Styles saw the moving and asked softly “Everything all right Matty?” “Yes, I’m fine” Matthews replied. Styles nodded “What the hell are we doing here? What are those buggers up to Matty?”  Matthews shrugged “Only the lord knows Styles. We just have to wait and see.

At that moment the gate to the prison’s opened and the Indefatigables glanced to see who were coming out. It was a group of men, walking slowly and with their faces down. All the signs of defeat. “The Interceptors” he heard Scarlet behind him. Matthews nodded, he had suspected they were them. Matthews winched. The men look awful. Most of them had wounds and looked sick. It wasn’t likely they would survive very long.

When the Interceptors stood next to them. The guards came to them and picked five of them. Matthews could see, that it were young, but also wounded men. They had to stand on a separate place. Not so for from their shipmates, but isolated. Matthews felt his stomach sink, he was afraid was would happed to them. After the Interceptors were placed nothing happened for a long time. The men just stood there.

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Kennedy had waken up. He felt stiff, but he felt that a night sleep had done his body well. But when he moved, he could hardly suppress a grunt. His back and belly hurt like hell. Archie glanced up to his friend. Horatio was still sleeping. Archie smiled slightly. He had felt that Horatio was watching over him, for most of the night. Archie felt very comforted that anyone would care. Although it was dangerous for Horatio to know what was going on, it would make Archie feeling save.

Horatio was the best friend he would ever have. Archie trusted the man, more than anything in this world. He swore a oath that someday he would repay that friendship.

Archie carefully tried to turn, it was very difficult. But while he was trying he heard footsteps in the corridor. Surely it was nothing, he considered. But then he remembered the warning Massey had given him and he started to tremble.

“Damn” he whispered hotly. He had forgotten it. He remembered that he wanted to tell Horatio yesterday about it. But the pain had been to much, so he hadn’t pressed, when Horatio had told him to sleep. ‘But he had to tell him know!’

The footsteps stopped before the door. “Horatio” Archie voice was soft. He tried to make it louder, but it was to late. The door was already opening. Archie tried to see who it was and when he saw the man he felt cold. It was Massey.

“Ah, it’s cosy in here Mr Kennedy.” Massey smiled. He stepped into the small cell. Kennedy tried to get up, but it hurt to much. “Painful isn’t it?” Massey smiled as in sympathy, but both men knew that is was false. “Let me see it!” The smile disappeared and Massey stepped forward.

“No, leave me alone” Archie tried to get away, but because of the wounds it was impossible. Besides where must he go. Archie became frantic. “Go away.”

“Just one look.” Massey bended over the younger man and reached for the shirt.

“Nooo” Archie felt himself trembling, the memories of a man bending over him, where just to horrible. He felt a strong hand grabbing his shirt. Archie closed his eyes.

“Leave him alone!”

“Ah Hornblower” Massey smiled, but the smile wasn’t reflected in the eyes. And he didn’t let the shirt go.

Kennedy could feel that his friend stood up and walked towards them. He opened his eyes and saw that his friend’s face was full of anger. “You heard me sir” Horatio said hotly. “Stand back, or else!”

“Or else?” Massey mocked, but he let go of the shirt. “You have no command here Mr Hornblower.”

“You will leave Mr Kennedy alone!” Horatio’s eyes were full of fire. He didn’t care what would happen to him as long as that man leave his friend alone. He saw that Massey took a few step backwards. Hornblower made advantage of the space and moved himself between that monster and Kennedy.

Massey observed him for a moment. There was no reaction that he had lost this small battle. It reminded Hornblower of the night of the Papillion.

When he had entered the door to their berth, he had seen Simpson cornering the younger man. The room had been full of tension. Because Horatio had stepped into the room, the attack stopped and Simpson had to stand back, but it was a temporary defeat. Horatio knew very well what happened after that ‘conversation’. Both he and Archie almost died…

“Very well, Mr Kennedy, Mr Hornblower” Massey’s confidence was back. “You have thirty minutes to make yourself ready. I suggest you will appear in your full navy costume.” The grin appeared again. “Make up your mind Mr Kennedy. We are all dying for an answer.” Horatio bolted his fists at that statement, Massey saw it and laughed. “Thirty minutes” and he left.

As soon as the door closed, Hornblower turned around and looked at his friend. 
He noticed that Kennedy’s hands were trembling. “Everything all right Archie?”

“Mmm? Yes I’m fine. Have been better though.” Archie grimaced. “Thank.. Thank you for… your…your.. assistance.” He murmured. Horatio settled himself down on the mattress on the floor. “It’s nothing Archie” he replied earnestly. “You’re my friend, I would always protect you.”

“Yes, I know you would” Archie paused. “But that’s not always possible.” Kennedy gazed in space. Horatio knew that his mind was elsewhere and tried to frame an answer. “I know Archie, but I can bloody well try.” He saw that Archie was nodding, just to gather all of his courage.

“Why have we to be ready in thirty minutes Archie?” The question hadn’t left Horatio’s mind. He knew that he was missing something. There was a sort of a bargain between Massey and Kennedy. “What was Massey talking about?”

“I’m not sure, you wanted to know Horatio.” Kennedy looked at him. His face was pale, but controlled. “I suppose, we will be summoned outside.” His voice trailed of. “For what Archie?” Hornblower was genially confused.

“They need information Horatio. I.. I did not gave it to them. So they tried to get it in a different way.”

Horatio felt numb “How?” he could only whisper.

“If I don’t give the information they wanted. They will kill five of our men.” Kennedy lowered his head.

Horatio cursed. “You wanted to tell me yesterday was it not?” he asked, remembering Archie’s mood at that time. Kennedy nodded. “What now Horatio? I would gladly give my live for the men, but I will not give up my loyalty. Many people wanted to know secrets from me.” Kennedy’s voice sounded unnaturally calm. “ First Si..” he stopped with such pain in his eyes, that Horatio felt the urge to look away. He didn’t, he wouldn’t abandon his friend. “When I was captured the French and the Spaniards wanted to know information…”

“Is that why you get all of your scars?”

Kennedy looked up. “How do you know about them?” there was a shock in his voice. “You.. you must have seen them yesterday, haven’t you?” he whispered.

“No” Horatio answered softly. “I know about them, since prison. After you.. I brought you to the sickroom and I changed your shirt.. I.. I saw them then. Archie, I’m sorry.”

 “What for. You didn’t cause them.” Kennedy answered bitterly. “But I must have known you know about it.” The pain in his voice was almost touchable. “Why.. why didn’t you confront me with it? Why didn’t you want to know how I got them. Everybody else would..” tears were falling. Horatio wanted to lay his arm around his friend, but knew that a touch at this moment was not a good idea. But he moved towards his stricken friend.

“I..“ he started “You were in such a state Archie, I didn’t wanted to upset you. Besides.. I thought.. that if you wanted me to know about them. You.. you would tell me.”

“I.. I have never told anyone about it Horatio.” Archie voice was so soft, Hornblower had trouble to catch it. “Not even under duress. I have never told anyone, what I didn’t want to tell. Not to the French, not to the Spaniards, not even to…”

“Simpson?” Horatio finished the sentence.

He saw at the stricken reaction that his suspicions were right.

“Don’t… don’t make me… speak about him Horatio, don’t.” Hornblower laid his hand on Archie’s arm. He felt his friend flinch, but held his hand in place. “I would never Archie.” He said with a calmness he didn’t fell. He had always suspected what that man had done to his friend.

He had suspected it after he had interrupted Simpson before the Papillion mission. The terror on Archie’s face, he would never forget it, nor the smugness coming from Simpson. And after that, the murder attempt on both his as Archie’s life. Later when he considered the actions of Simpson is became clear. Why did he wanted to kill them? He had leapt into the terrible and inevitable conclusion. The suspicions had been confirmed when they had found Archie in prison. The nightmares, the withdrawals even the fits and the scars… They were not only from the prison.. Horatio knew enough.

“Archie“ he started. Kennedy looked up. Horatio was shocked to see the terror in the blue eyes. It was so close to the surface now.

“What ever happens, I will always stand with you” Hornblower smiled slightly.

“Thank you Horatio. You will never know how much your friendship means to me.”
Kennedy stood up and reached for his cloths. Horatio stood also up, but looked with great care into the eyes of his friend. “You will never loose it Archie. Please remember that.”

“I will Horatio” Kennedy looked around to spot his jacket, he wiped his tears away. “But please hurry. We have to get dressed.” It cost them some time to get fully dressed. Especially Kennedy needed a lot of time. Horatio even needed to help him. Horatio suspected that Archie was in a lot of pain, but his friend didn’t cried out, not even ones. Hornblower marvelled the courage.

They were just in time ready, when they heard the footsteps. “Archie!” Horatio reached for his friend. “What ever happens there. Please, say nothing. We must stay loyal to our country.”

“But what about the men Horatio?” Kennedy looked carefully at his friend. “You’re not suggesting to let them be killed.”

“They will be killed anyway Archie. Remember the massacre aboard the ship. However painful there’s nothing we could do to prevent that. What do you think will happen if you have spoken. They will be killed anyway, I’m sure of it. These men have no honour Archie.”

Kennedy heard the key in the lock. “You’re right Horatio” he whispered. “But it will be hard.

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Matthews was finding it difficult to stand still and do nothing. He wanted to tear the guards to shreds. They stood there just for hours. The young lads of the Indefatigable found that hard, they hadn’t learned yet to stand still on watch for a couple of hours. But it was dangerous to move.

When the first one moved some steps, immediately one of the guards on the walls had fired. The poor man was dead in an instant. Other guards had reached forward to deposed the body. It was very hard, but the lesson was learned. Nobody moved a muscle for a long time. But the heat made it difficult, Matthews could see that the Interceptors had trouble.

At that very moment one of the separate five fell down. A shot sounded. A last movement and then it was all quiet. Matthews heard Styles cursing, but they could do nothing. The poor lad, was laying with his eyes facing the heaven. He was efficiency cleared. One of the guards walked to the group of interceptor and chose another young man. He was forced to stand with the small group.

Suddenly their was movement at one of the gates. Matthews spotted officers coats, but he couldn’t really see, who they were. The mystery was soon gone, because Styles muttered “There you have them Matty.” Matthews peered at the officers and know he could identify them. It was Mr Hornblower and Mr Kennedy. To see them alive made Matthews smile, but the smile soon faded when he saw Kennedy walk. The lad tried to walk straight, but Matthews could see the pain it must cause him.

Scarlet saw it too. “Those filthy bastereds. Look at him, what have they done with him!” he said a little to loud. “Ssst, keep your voice down mate” Styles replied softly. “And please don’t move, whatever they are up to.” He added with a frown.

Kennedy and Hornblower stood opposite the men. They were in shock to see how small the number of men was. “Where are the others?” Archie asked in shock. “I think these are the others.” Horatio answered softly. He counted the men and recognised with some joy most of his division. Kennedy was facing the group of five men who stood separately. “Look at them Horatio” he pointed carefully with his head. “As sheep to the slaughter.”

“I’ve seen them Archie. But I don’t recognise them, they must Interceptors.” He whispered. “Not that it doesn’t make a difference.” He added quickly. “Have you seen their number?” Archie whispered hoarsely. “Yes” Horatio nodded. “The others must be dead. It will happen to our crew too. We..”

Their was a movement at the gate and Horatio stopped mid sentence. More guards were appearing on the plaza. Between them there was Navy blue. “It’s the captain” Horatio was relieved to see the older man. He feared that they had treated his captain badly. But Pellew as well as Bowles and Bracegirdle were walking normally. Their face in a mask of control, but Hornblower could see the anxiety in their eyes.

The guards with their prisoners passed them and walked ten metres further, where they stopped. Hornblower cursed, he had hoped that he could speak to his captain. But there was no change. He saw that Pellew had looked at them, when they had passed by. But that was all the contact there was. Hornblower could see that the captain observed his crew. The face of Pellew loosed somewhat of the control, instead his face expressed anger.

Suddenly the gate to the fortress opened and Hornblower felt himself stiffen. There were the bastereds. He could see Thompson and Massey and a compliment of others, whom he didn’t recognised. Behind the small group walked Salvin. Horatio remembered the words this officer had spoken to Archie and wondered what the man had said. He should ask Archie when they were brought back. If they brought them back. Because as soon as the gate had opened the atmosphere changed abruptly. Nobody spoke, everybody was watching the officers with fierce concentration.

“Well, well.” Thompson stepped forward, so that everyone had a clear view of him. “It’s a lovely gathering. I must say.” He turned to face the Interceptors. “I’m afraid to inform you that your captain as well as your officers are unable to come. They have fulfilled their purpose and are no longer needed.” He smiled slightly and continued not minding the murmurs of the upset crew.

“The guests you had aboard your ship are fine. They will be set free as soon as the ransom money arrive. I’m sure you are glad to hear it.” He turned and faced Pellew. “After all we don’t want to have a argument with your King nor the Admiral, wouldn’t we?”

“I’m sure you don’t” Pellew said sternly.

“So I’m sure that everybody is curious what the reason is for this gathering. All thought I suspect that the lovely crew of the Interceptor already knows what is coming.” Thompson continued.  Hornblower was looking at the crew of the Interceptor. There were all the signs of defeat. The loss of their captain and officers made them flightless.

They were broken men. Hornblower felt for them. He saw in the corner of his eyes that some of the guards were bringing a post with shackles attached and he didn’t liked the sign of it. But his attention was swiftly back to Thompson, because the man was starting to speak again.

“This gathering is the fault of one man alone.” Thompson was facing the crew. “All of you discomfort, seamen, was not necessarily.” Hornblower knew what was coming and dreaded it. He saw that Archie was taking deep breaths of air and suddenly Horatio feared a fit. ‘Surely the gods were not that cruel’ he thought desperately. He also noticed that Matthews was watching him in concern.

“But let we speak no longer in riddles. Those brave men here have the right to know who is responsible for this tragedy.” Thompson turned and pointed at Kennedy. “Please step forward Mr Kennedy and see how your crew is thinking of you.”

Archie stepped forward and looked at Thompson. “Please Mr Thompson. There is no need of doing this kind of dramatic speech. I’m sure it will do better in a theatre.”

Hornblower couldn’t help himself, he smiled. He heard the crew laughing, saw that Pellew was looking at his officer with mild astonishment, but Hornblower could also see the concern.

Thompson was surprised, but recovered quickly. “Really Mr Kennedy. I thought that you have learned some manners by now. I see that you still need some lessons.” Kennedy became somewhat pale, but remained composed. “I afraid I’m a poor pupil Mr Thompson, because I will not want to learn your lessons.”

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Pellew was watching with amazement at this battle with words. But felt very worried. There was only one way this could end. “The lad has courage, hasn’t he” Bracegirdle murmured. “yes he had Mr Bracegirdle” Pellew replied. He watched his officer in concern, but there’s something wrong. Look at his movements, they are stiff and…”

“Sir..” It was Bowles. “Look at his belly, he is wounded, look there is blood!” Both Bracegirdle as Pellew peered to Kennedy. “My god, Mr Bowles, you’re right. They have indeed tortured him.” Pellew was furious. He glanced at Hornblower to see how his protégé was faring.

Hornblower was smiling for the remarks of his fellow officer, but his eyes were dead serious and were shining with concern. Pellew had the impression that the lad knew what was coming. Knew it and dreading it.

Mr Kennedy!” Thompson spoke with venom and Pellew’s attention was drown back to the middle of the plaza. “You have been given a choice. Tell us what we want to know or face the consequences of your denial!” Thompson looked at the crew behind him and smiled. “You know what will happen if you refuse.”

There felt a heavy silence. All men were looking at their officer. Kennedy looked down, at the sand and sighted hearable. “I know what will happen Mr Thompson. And my heart hurts for these men. But I have no other choice.” Archie took a deep breath. “I will not betray my country to the likes of you! And I’m certain that these loyal men think the same. They would rather die that betray their king!”

A wave of cheers were the answer of this defiant answer. Hornblower felt tears in his eyes. He had never been so proud of his friend.

“Very well.” Thompson nodded “Guards!”

A dozen of guards stepped forward and brought the group of five Interceptors with them. They stopped at the wall. One of the guards asked them if they wanted a blindfold, but they refused. The guards took ten large steps backwards and aimed their muskets on the men.

“For the last time Mr Kennedy. Should these men die, just to keep your honour?” Thompson looked at the officer. Archie was facing the Interceptors with pain clearly visible in his face. He nodded.


We would follow you everywhere Mr Kennedy!” one of the five shouted.


*Bang* *Bang* *Bang* *Bang *

The silence what followed after the shots was devastating. Kennedy looked at the dead seamen and silently wept for these brave men.

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Matthews was looking with tears in eyes at the scene unfolded before him. The young seamen were dead. One of them had moved, but a final shot, finished a promising life. He heard Scarlet behind him muttering and cursing. The old seaman knew that Scarlet wanted to take action, but it was a very unwise thing to do. Especially when their were dozens of muskets aimed at you.

He saw that Thompson was watching young Kennedy and Matthews felt an uneasiness growing.

“I take it, you’re happy now Mr Kennedy” Thompson said smoothly. He saw that Kennedy was stricken by the dramatic event and tried to overpower the young man.

“How could one be happy, by such senseless bloodshed” Kennedy answered softly. “I take it, you must be human to understand this tragedy.” He added with some venom. He turned and faced Thompson.

Thompson smile disappeared. “You will pay for that boy.”

Guards! Take him to the post!”

Horatio heard it and started to move forward, but the command from Pellew stopped him. “Stand were you are Mr Hornblower!” Pellew had seen the muskets aimed at his officer and feared the consequences of this rush action. He saw how guards stripped Kennedy’s jacket and shirt from him. When he saw the back and the belly of his officer, Pellew stared at this young man. “Unbelievable” he whispered. He heard Bowles and Bracegirdle curs.

They bound Kennedy with the shackles to the post.

“Twenty-five lashes if you please Monsieur Foure!” Thompson grinned. “That will teach this insolent puppy a lesson.” He looked at the seamen, who stood behind him. He saw a flicker of movement and he raised his hand. “One movement lads, and your officer will pay for it.”

Hornblower was staring at his best friend. Twenty-five lashes, Archie would never survive. Archie must have felt his gaze, because at that moment he turned his face and looked at Horatio. Horatio saw a number a things in his eyes: terror, anger, pain and courage. The eyes pleaded for help, but also warned them away.

When the first lash of the flogging started, Horatio could see that the wounds opened again. Blood was straining and fell down onto the sand. Archie cried out, but after the third lash, there were only soft sobs coming from him.

Matthews watched with tears in his eyes. He heard Davies behind him crying. “They will kill him, somebody should stop them. Just look at those wounds!” Styles said between clenched teeth. “We can’t do anything Styles” Mathews answered. The old seaman saw that Mr Bracegirdle had closed his eyes and that their were tears on Bowles’s face.

The ninth lash and Kennedy’s face felt against the post, he was clearly out of commission. “Carry on Monsieur Foure, this puppy would have the whole sentence.”


Matthews just saw how Mr Hornblower run forward. “Stop it, you’ll kill him!”
He placed himself between Foure and the young unconscious officer. “You have to pass me, before you can lay another hand on this man!” he yelled.

“Tempting Mr Hornblower.” Thompson stepped forward. “But I’m afraid you can’t intervene. We still have fifteen lashes left and they have to be carried out. So please stand aside, otherwise I’ll be forced to remove you.”

But Hornblower remained where he was.

“I will take Mr Kennedy’s punishment freely.” He said with an emotional voice.

Thompson seemed to think about it, but then he smiled. “Very well, Mr Hornblower” he nodded at the two guards. “Let them change places.”

The guards relished Mr Kennedy, who felt onto the ground. Horatio swiftly knelt besides his friend. He touched his friend head. “Don’t… don’t do this Ho..Horatio” it was so softly whispered that only Hornblower heard it.

“Everything will be fine Archie.. I..” but than the guards pulled him away and he couldn’t say anything else. The guards stripped his jacket and shirt off him. Pellew was watching this display of friendship with a thickness in his throat. He was glad that they hadn’t touched Hornblower. The skin was untainted, but Pellew was more worried about Kennedy. The lad was bleeding and laid on the burning sand.

The captain stepped forward. “Can we get Mr Kennedy out of the sun please?”
“Are you asking any favours captain Pellew?” Thompson laughed. “I never thought I would live long enough to see that. But you may do as your fit. He..” Thompson kicked at the wounded man “is occupying our needed room, so carry him away.”

Pellew nodded and walked to the post. “Styles, Matthews, Scarlet” he commanded. The three men run forward. When they reached the wounded young man, they carefully lifted him and brought him to the shadows of the large wall. “Stay with him” Pellew barked. The seamen nodded and comforted their officer.

Pellew looked around to find some water. He saw a bucket standing at a group of guards. He walked towards them. He suspected that they would refuse him the bucket, but he was surprised that no-one stopped him. He took the bucket and walked hurriedly back to his fallen officer, while glancing at Hornblower. They had just bound him to the post.

When he reached Kennedy, he saw that the lad had opened his eyes. “Take it easy Mr Kennedy. You did all you could lad.” Worry made his stern voice gone soft. Matthews took the bucket and throw some of the water onto Kennedy’s back. A soft cry escaped Kennedy’s lips. “Easy sir, the water will clean the wounds.” Matthews softly talked to his officer.

Kennedy fought the unconscious, but it was hard. One thought kept him awake. “Horatio” he murmured. “He’ll be fine sir” Styles added, glancing a look at Mr Hornblower. They hadn’t started yet. Archie sighted. “He.. he shouldn’t do this.” He replied softly. “It’s madness.”

“Yes it is” Pellew agreed. “But I could say the same of you Mr Kennedy. You’re display of courage is heartening us all sir.” Pellew laid a hand on Kennedy’s shoulder and was shocked that his contact made the young man flinch. “I… I have never told.. them.. them.. anything sir.” Kennedy had trouble to speak.

“I know you didn’t lad. Please relax, they can’t hurt you now” Pellew replied. He looked at the seamen. He glanced around. “Where are you being captured?” he asked. “Do you see the northern tower captain” Matthews answered. “Yes I can see it.” Pellew glanced up. “We are being captured at the starboard side of it, sir” Styles added. “Right” Pellew looked at Kennedy. “We have to get out of here, otherwise they would kill us all.”

“Right sir. We will think of a plan” Scarlet replied hotly. “Careful sir” Matthews warned. “Someone is coming.”

Captain Pellew, I would suggest you would leave this man alone and take your old position again. We are ready for the next flogging sir. Massey grinned.
“Very well” Pellew stood up. “Could my men, bring Mr Kennedy back to their cell?” he asked.

“No, they can not” Massey licked his lips. “I have my own men who would carry out that task. You men are excused.” Pellew paused for a moment, but decided if he would intervene, it would be dangerous for his men. He nodded and the three men walked to their old places in the row of his crew. Pellew glanced a last look on his officer. “Brave lad” he whispered and walked away with pain in his heart.

He passed Hornblower and their eyes met. He didn’t say anything, but he gave a small nod. Hornblower saw it and smiled slightly. He saw that Thompson approached him and faced this hated man.

“Are you ready Mr Hornblower, are you sure you want do to this?” Thompson smiled. “It’s a honour to take Mr Kennedy’s place sir!” Horatio remarked. He was more occupied with his tortured friend, than with the coming punishment.

He never had experienced a flogging. He seen one before. But seeing or experience one, were two completely different things. He kept thinking: Archie had and he hadn’t talked. Besides he had survived much worse than this. These thoughts and the knowledge that Archie would have died, if he didn’t step into his place, kept Horatio trough the flogging for the first eight lashes.

But after that, there was no reasoning left. The pain was to awful. Horatio bites his lips, he didn’t want to cry out. Didn’t want to give that Thompson any satisfaction. He wasn’t sure if he succeed. But finally they had reached twenty-five lashes and the chains were relished.

He could stay straight, but with difficulty. He felt that two men, brought him through the gate, back to his cell. He looked back. ‘Where was Archie?’

“Where is Mr Kennedy?” he asked.

“Shut up!” a punch in his back made him shout. But still Horatio opened his mouth. “Where is he?”

“You will see..” the smaller guard answered viscously
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End of part 8


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