The Uninvited
by Marijke

Part 9

With hard hands Horatio was pushed into their old cell. As soon as he stepped into the stuffy room, they had closed the door behind him. Hornblower moaned, his back hurt like hell, but the real pain was more mental. ‘Where was Archie? What were they doing with him?’. The worries made the physical pain he felt forget.

Horatio walked with some difficulty to the small window. He grabbed the iron bars. He could see the sky. Blue and clear, it was a hot day. He could see some guards standing on a wall, probably facing the ocean. But he saw no clues, about the presence of the crew or his friend. Horatio laid his head against the rusty old bars.

A sudden flicker of pain, made him flinch. He knew he should be doing something with the wounds. But he needed a other being to clean the wounds and there was no-one there. Horatio gasped, the best thing he could do, he reasoned was to lay on his bed. He carefully tried to lay down, it hurts like hell, but after some efforts he was laying on his belly. A single tear escaped, the pain was almost to much.

He remembered that Archie’s back was much, much worse and that thought helped somewhat to conceal the pain. ‘But where was his friend?’ Horatio wanted to see if he was alright. It had been a terrible sight, when they had unchained Archie so that his friend fell onto the ground. Thank God, Pellew had taken care of him.

Hornblower tried to close his eyes to sleep. Sleep would be preferable than the agony of his back. But the pain and more importantly the worries for Archie made him stay awake. 

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Pellew, together with Bowles and Bracegirdle were brought back to their cell. The stern captain could  see at the looks of his officer that the drama what just had unfolded before their eyes, hadn’t left their minds. They both seemed dazed and in shock. Pellew could see remains of tears on the face of his sailing master. Bracegirdle settled himself down on a chair and buried his head in his hands. For a moment no-one spoke, Pellew felt his own emotions dangerous coming close to the surface and walked to the barred window to hide them.

He grabbed the bars and watched the sky before him. Although the walls of their cell were thick and so the cell itself was quite cool, he could feel the heat from outdoors. He looked upwards, to the sky. He missed his ship and the wonderful feeling, of standing on the quarterdeck, battling the elements. Creating an challenge, on every mile. He loved being at sea, so being prisoned here, depressed him.

Pellew closed his eyes for a moment. His mind brought him back to the horrible events on the plaza. The heat, his sullen crew, the signs of torture on Kennedy’s body, the flogging, Hornblower’s sacrifice. It was just to much. Pellew felt himself sway and would have fallen, but a pair of strong hands reached out for him and made sure that he stay up straight.

“Easy captain” Bracegirdle gently guided his captain to one of the remaining chairs and made sure that his captain wouldn’t hurt himself. “Do you want some water sir?” Bracegirdle’s voice was tense, unlikely for him.

“No, thank you” Pellew murmured. “I’m fine” he took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself down. He brought his right hand to his face and wiped his face. His cheeks felt warm, perhaps some water was a good idea after all. He nodded slightly.


“A cup of water would do nicely sir” Pellew answered with a soft voice. He felt a cup brought to his hand and eagerly he drank most of it. The water felt good.

For a moment he gazed at the small cup in his hand. He could clearly see it was an old one. He could see a vague mark illuminating both sides of it.

“Are you all right sir?” it was Bowles who asked the question. He had seen his captain sway, but the first lieutenant had reacted much quicker and as such had prevented their captain of a painful fall.

“No, I’m not all right and especially not after that horrible display we just saw.” Pellew had put the cup aside on the floor and faced his men. “It disgusts me and I’m frankly at a loss how we should prevent the damage those monsters are probably doing to our men at this very moment.”

Pellew paused for a moment. Seeing in Bracegirdle the same horror he felt himself.

“Those filthy bastards, just look what they have done to Kennedy” Bowles said with despair in his voice. Tears were flowing “And when you look at the lad, his body broken, but his spirit just as brave as a lion.” Bowles wiped the tears away with his hand. “I’m sorry sir” he sniffled.

Pellew nodded, he felt his own tears coming to the surface again. But with great effort pushed them away. “I’m afraid Mr Kennedy has been chosen to give  information to our captives.”

“Information sir?” Bracegirdle was at a loss. “They torture him for information?”

“Aye” Pellew softly confirmed. “But you’re right about the lion Mr Bowles. Mr Kennedy informed me, that he hadn’t told them anything. And when you look at the spectacle they had made for us and the crew, I would say that they are searching for other means to break the lad.”

“What do you mean sir?” Bowles settled himself down on the same chair.

“I mean Mr Bowles, that we could see at the sight of Mr Kennedy’s body that the lad doesn’t mind for his own comfort. He wouldn’t betray his county, no way, what those ‘gentlemen’ would do to him, he will tell nothing. I think our captives have realised that and changed their course. They will try to break Mr Kennedy by harming other people.”

“The crew” Bracegirdle whispered

“Yes the crew, but we could see that Mr Kennedy knows his duty and wouldn’t give in as you would expect of a officer of his calibre. He would still defy his captives and as a result of that he was again punished.”

“It was horrible to watch, if Mr Hornblower hadn’t stepped in, I think they would have killed Kennedy.” Bracegirdle murmured. Again the shouts and sobs came to his mind.

“Aye, Mr Hornblower, was very brave and probably saved the life of his friend.” Pellew confirmed. “But even badly wounded Kennedy knows what the consequence will be of this brave act.”

“Sir?” Bowles was genially confused. “Kennedy knew what?”

Pellew faced his officer and his face clearly showed the disgust and the worries.

“Because of this great display of friendship. Thorne and Massey have realised how to break Kennedy or Hornblower and make them talk.”

Realisation crept into the eyes of Bracegirdle. “Oh my God sir, they will use their friendship to try to break them. That is.. that is..” he lowered in despair his head unable to continue.

“Aye” Pellew nodded in anger. “That’s why we must get out of here and reach our ship, before it’s to late.

“Yes sir” Bowles added seriously “but how?”

But Pellew didn’t answer that question, because he had no answer.

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Salvin was disgusted and tried to hide it for his superiors.  He had joined this group in Bayonne, to damage the English Navy and make so a positive influence on the war. The loss of his brother had shamed him and he had wanted desperately to take revenge. It always seemed to him, that by battling the English, his brother would be proud of him. Axel was a couple of years older then he and was always a strong believer in the revolution. He had served the French army for a couple of years, until he was killed in battle, against the English.

When the news of his brother death had reached him, Salvin was heartbroken and out of revenge he had joined Randolphe. He had enjoyed the action. That he could act against his brother’s killers, made him powerful. But after the capture of the Interceptor and the treatment of it’s crew, he became to realise that by hurting these people, he didn’t get his brother back.

These thoughts had haunt him and he tried to fight against them. It was not only dangerous, there were also folly. He wanted to defend his own country, he wanted to harm the English. Then why did their treatment in the fortress made him feel sick?


The sharp voice of Massey reprieved them out of his melancholy.

“Oui Monsieur” his attention fully focused to his superior. 

“Take this English swine” Massey nodded at the laying body on the ground “ to one of the empty cells. He will stay there until I’m ready for him.”

“Monsieur?” Salvin was confused

“Is there a problem Salvin?” Massey glanced at the French officer

“Non Monsieur. No problem.“ Salvin hastily answered. “I was just wondering why Kennedy should not be brought back to his own cell.”

Massey stepped a step closer. “Because we no longer need that trash. So please obey my orders and remove him of this plaza.

“Oui monsieur” Salvin saluted smartly. He turned around and pointed at some of his men. “Bien ici” he commanded. The three guards obeyed and Salvin explained them where they had to put Kennedy.

When he saw that the picked the unconscious young man up and walked away with him, into the fortress, he followed the men. He wanted to make sure, that the guards treated the officer with respect. And that they didn’t cause the lad more injuries.

Salvin was relieved to be out of the hot plaza. The heat combined with the horrible spectacle made him nauseous. While he walked trough the small corridors and keeping a close eye on the men before him, his mind was thinking. Thinking very fast. He had to stop this. His brother has always been a good officer. Sure he killed enough people, that was his job after all. But mistreating prisoners. Non, that was not right. And how Massey and Thompson treated the English prisoners and especially this young man, made Salvin want to throw up.

The only crime of Kennedy, was to stand up for his country and Salvin respected that. And know… ‘What was Massey intend to do with him, why couldn’t he be locked up with Hornblower?’ The questions came back to him.

Finally they reached a small door. They were in an isolated part of the fortress. The walls and the entire structure were old. Perhaps a little bit to old for these modern times. And it was this reason that this part, wasn’t used to often. But there were still small cells in it. And you could say anything of their ancestors, but not that they couldn’t build solid cells. Nearby where the cells of the other English prisoners. The so-called guests from the Interceptor. The ones who would be relished, when the ransom money arrived.

Salvin doubt that Randolphe would indeed release them, if they would receive the money. But until this day, the men were treated with decency, unlike the crew and this officer. Salvin stared at the young English officer. When they had opened the door, the men had with not much feelings and had throw the officer in it. After a nod of Salvin they had left.

Which left Salvin alone

He stood there for a moment and was about to close the door and walk away, when he heard a small cry.

The cell was dark. There was only a small opening in the thick wall. It was so small, that there weren’t any bars. Salvin thought that in ancient time, the opening was used by archers. But it gave little light in the cell. And Salvin could make out Kennedy’s face. Because of the soft grunts, Salvin made up, that Kennedy was getting back to his conscious.

But instead of opening his eyes, the grunts became louder and frequently. Salvin wanted to leave, but instead remained frozen. He could clearly see the blood on the Englishman uniform and dreaded it.

He remembered Massey’s words. We no longer need that trash. He will stay there until I’m ready for him.

‘What were they going to do with this wounded man?’ It was clear that he wouldn’t speak. He wouldn’t betray his country, unlike the other officers of the Interceptor. This man wouldn’t be broken.


A sudden horrified thought crept into Salvin’s mind.

Christ, they were using the life of this man, to force the other lieutenant, that Hornblower, to talk and if he refused…

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It became evening and the shadows in the great cell, where the men were held captive became darker and larger. When the crew was brought back, they had remain quiet en withdrawn. The crew was sullen, sullen and angry. But there was no way out for their anger.

And they just sat their, with their backs against the wall. Others who were not so fortunate, had found a place in the middle of the room. They had not the comfort of something solid against their back. But they were in such a state, that they didn’t complain. They just sat their. Sat and seeing the dead of the five seamen and the flogging of their officers before their eyes. Again and again.

They had agreed that when they would receive diner, they would charge the guards. It was in all likely hood, a folly attempt. But they were to desperate, to care. They wanted to get out, before they would be next victims of the executionpeloton.  And they wanted to save their officers, before it was to late.

So the men sat their, sat and were prepared to act.

But they food wasn’t coming. And when the shadows were so thick, they could hardly see each other, the door hadn’t been opened. It became later and later and the door remained closed. And the feelings of the crew where getting stronger and even more desperate. Because the uncertainty crept in. They didn’t get a choice. They couldn’t intervene, they just sat.

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In a much smaller and more comfortable room, the three officers were also thinking. An hour ago, they had received diner, but the compliment of guards who where accompany the food, was to large. And so the three officers had eaten their dinner in silence. And had tried to think at some way to get out.
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In a other cell, unlike the other officers, this man hadn’t received any food. And even if he did, he was sure that he couldn’t eat it. His mind was clouded by pain and worries. He had laid on his belly for a long time. He could see that it went dark and still there was no news of his best friend.
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In the old stuffy cell, Salvin felt desperate. The young officer was still tossing and wouldn’t wake up. He knew that it was dangerous to care, to get involved. But knew in an instant that he couldn’t help himself. He didn’t remember when he had reached out for this tortured man. When he had tried to comfort the young man. His touch hadn’t helped, instead..

He knew that he should get help, or at least some water to clean the wounds and to give the man some water. But there was no water in this cell. With a last look on the stricken officer, Salvin hurried to the corridor and left in his anxiety the door of the cell open.

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“So we agree on the plan of action” Massey glanced at his friend. Thompson nodded. “Aye, I think it will work and if not” he made a gesture and Massey nodded.

“Who do you bring with you?” Thompson asked matter of fact. “Farnsworth and I think Peckham” Massey replied, the promise of violence made his eyes gleam.

“Excellent, they are good men.” Thompson added. “You have your orders sir” he mocked “Carry on”
Massey laughed. “Aye aye sir” he gave a sloppy salute and left the room.
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Hands, their were hands on him


The hands hurt

Not again

It was dark, he didn’t liked the darkness.

Reminded him of the oubliette and


Oh God, not Justinian

He’s coming, no, not again!



With a shock Archie flew his eyes open. It took some time, to get the horrible thoughts out of his head. He was not on Justinian, but where was he? Where was Horatio? He took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself. It hurt like hell. But the pain, made him awake and aware of his surrounding.

He could see that he was in a cell. But he didn’t recognised it. He had no idea how he got here. The last memory, was with the captain. Captain had talked to him. And then? Suddenly Archie remembered, Pellew was called away to see how they would punish Horatio. After that everything was blank.


His brave friend had saved him. But to what costs?

Why was he not in the same cell with him? What had happened at the plaza?

Carefully Archie tried to stand up. It was painful, but he pressed on. When he finally stood, he saw in a shock that the door of his cell was open. Without a second thought, Archie took the opportunity and slipped through the small opening. He knew exactly who he must find.


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Horatio heard footsteps and his heart jumped a inch. Archie. It must be. Carefully he tried to sit and with some effort he made it. He heard the key in the lock, but when the door was opened, he felt himself tense completely.

“Ah Mr Hornblower, well rested I trust” Massey smiled amiable. Behind him Farnsworth and Peckham entered the small cell.

‘Damn’ Horatio looked at the greedy faces and knew that he was trapped. Calm, he must feigned calm. He wanted to gave a poiseness reply, that man had hurt Archie, but didn’t trust his voice, so instead gave Massey a deadly glare.

“Stow that rebellious look away boy, it won’t serve you” Massey said and gave a nod to Peckham. Hornblower saw that both he as Farnsworth were walking towards him.

“What do you want Massey?” he asked, trying to keep the panic out of his voice.

He  was surprised that Massey start laughing. “Mr Hornblower, you amaze me, I thought you are smarter than this. I’m sure, your little pale told you everything. Your reaction this afternoon proved that.”

At the reference of Kennedy, Hornblower forgot his own panic, he stared at this hated man.

“We wanted to know some information” Massey continued “Sadly Mr Kennedy was not cooperating, so I was forced to” again the smile “put some pressure on him, shall we say.”

“You filthy..” before Hornblower could finish the sentence he felt two strong arms grab his body. Because of the contact with his back, he cried out.

He was pushed against the wall. The pain in his back was almost unbearable.

“Please Mr Hornblower, no name calling, please.” The smile was wiped by Massey’s face and was replaced by anger.

“We want you to listen boy” Farnsworth whispered in Horatio’s ear.

“Listen very well” Peckham added with a grim smile

“You see” Massey said looking Hornblower straight in the eyes. “You can save your friend. You can make sure that he will not be hurt anymore.”

“How?” Horatio couldn’t help himself, he trembled.

“By giving the information we want to.” Massey continued.

Horatio thought for a moment. “And if I refuse?”

Massey shacked his head, but his eyes were hard “If that’s the case, I’m afraid, there will be another little gathering tomorrow morning. And this time, you can’t intervene.”

“It seems I have no choice.” Horatio whispered. The three men were watching the lieutenant intensely.

“Well?” Massey was impatient. “What will it be Mr Hornblower. Will you save the life of your friend, or not?”
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Archie was walking swiftly trough the corridors. He remembered where the crew was held captive. Captain Pellew had asked it . The northern tower captain. We are being captured at the starboard side of it. Where the captain himself was tainted, Archie didn’t knew, but they would find out. He realised that he should try to free the crew first, but first he had to find Horatio.

He was fortunate that they should lock him in this part of the fortress. Kennedy guessed that it was the oldest part, perhaps some remains of a Medieval castle. Some parts of the ancients wall, were damaged. Bricks were laying on the floor. He was thankful that the corridors were enlightened by torches. Otherwise it would be to dark to see. It was still very dark, but at least he could see the way before him. Sometimes he heard footsteps. When he heard, he jumped into a hidden alcove. Thank god, they have build those things.

The footsteps came closer. Archie pressed himself in the alcove, as far as he could and held his breath. The sounds were louder, passed him and went eventually away.

Kennedy sighted gratefully, he was about to move forwards, when he felt something at his feet. His bended over and reached for it. It was a sword and by looking at it, a rather old one. There was some rust at it, but it would do perfectly to defend himself. Archie held the sword in his right hand and continued his way.

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Horatio felt the press of the Farnsworth and Peckham. He wanted to lash out, but knew that he couldn’t do that. He was no match against these two. Besides you still had Massey to deal with.

Massey was watching him, waiting for a an answer. Horatio considered. He knew that he couldn’t betray his country, not even to save his friend? No, the answer came swift. Archie wouldn’t expect him to. Horatio knew in an instant that Archie wouldn’t want him to became a traitor. Besides even if he did told them, he had no guarantee, that they would actually leave Archie alone. These men had no honour.

No, Horatio couldn’t trust them. But to see Archie die, would be horrible.

“Well, Mr Hornblower, I’m waiting for an answer.”

“No” Horatio shock of his own answer.

“No?” Massey was amazed. “You mean, you will stand tomorrow on the plaza and watch your friend die a horrible death.

“It would be an honourable death” Horatio hissed. “He didn’t betray his country and nor will I.”

Massey was taken aback by this. “Very well Mr Hornblower, if this is your choice. Peckham, please inform Mr Kennedy, what will happen tomorrow with him.”

Peckham smiled and left the room. Horatio saw him leave and closed his eyes. Poor Archie, what will he think. A sudden touch on his cheek, made his eyes flew open.

“We’re not finished with you boy” Farnsworth grinned. “If you don’t want to tell us something, you are no longer valuable to us.” Horatio looked at Massey in shock. But the man was watching Farnsworth with a expected look on his face.

“Very well Farnsworth. I’m going to see Thompson and Randolphe, to tell them that we failed. I can see that you will manage from here.”

“Yes it will do Massey, you can go, leave the door unlocked please.” Farnsworth smiled wolfishly. Hornblower saw Massey leave, he had closed the door, but Horatio couldn’t hear the lock.

“You’re mine now.” Farnsworth whispered again.

“You can leave me alone sir” Horatio commanded and tried to push the man away. He didn’t understand why this man would stay behind. Farnsworth didn’t seemed to feel the push, instead he pushed Hornblower further against the wall. A sharp cry escaped Horatio. The man came closer, Horatio started to panic. The man was a lot taller and more strongly build than he. The last man who had dominated at this way, was Simpson. Sudden realisation made him wanted to vomit.

‘My God, no’

Again the touch of the man’s hand. Hornblower slammed the hand away, his reward was a severe punch in his face. He stammered against the wall. “I wouldn’t do that, if I were you” Farnsworth hissed.

Hands, hands on him.

Horatio couldn’t get away, the man was to strong.

“Go away” he could barely say the words

“No, please” oh my god he was pleading.

The hands hurt, suddenly they turned him around, his face was slammed at the wall and remained at the wall, staring to the bricks. Horatio closed his eyes.

Leave him alone!”

The unexpected voice, made Horatio eyes open. He could turn his head slightly and he could see who had uttered those words.


“I warn you, if you want to live, stand back!” Kennedy shouted, his face full of anger, white hot anger. “Stand back!”

‘Archie was there, saving him’ the sight made tears coming. He was so frightened and now his best friend was saving him.

Farnsworth hadn’t reacted, was still holding Hornblower.  Kennedy was stepping forward. Farnsworth hadn’t seen the sword and when he did see it, it was to late. Kennedy struck the man in his back. Farnsworth fell onto his knees and when Kennedy kicked him in his side, the man felt on the ground, dead.

Horatio didn’t saw it, he was only looking at Archie. Tears were falling on his uniform. He wanted to say something, but somehow there were no words. He suddenly felt dizzy and before Archie could grab him, Horatio felt onto the ground.

“Horatio. Are you all right?”

Hands on him, but this time he knew the hands.

Hands who comforted him.

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Salvin was frantic. After what seemed a century he had found some water. He had searched for some cloths, so he could stop the bleeding. When he had finally re-entered the cell again. It was completely dark in it. He had cursed and had walked back to take a torch with him. When he had enlighten the cell, he was in a shock. Kennedy was gone.

First Salvin didn’t knew what he should do. His duty told him, that he should warn the guards and the officers. But he felt sorry for Kennedy. When they would catch him, he was certainly a dead man.

He stood there for some time, considering his next step. He had a instinct feeling that Kennedy would first go to Hornblower. How fast could he reach it? Pretty fast, he considered. Probably he was there already. What should the officer do next. Free their crew or their captain?
It didn’t really matter, he thought. Perhaps he should raise the alarm. Duty told him so, but still Salvin hesitated. It felt wrong, to do so. It was better to let them escape, their would be no more torture. No more horrific displays at the plaza. But let the English go? It was a dilemma and Salvin hadn’t the answer.

He heard footsteps coming his way. He could close the door, he could. But Salvin was frozen and just stood there. He could identify Peckham, one of Massey’s men. Cruel, vicious, just like Massey himself.

“What are you doing here?” Peckham grunted. Salvin stared at the man, couldn’t frame an answer. “Is Kennedy in here?” Peckham gestured. “I have a interesting message for him.”

“Really” Salvin muttered. “What’s that?”

“His buddy Hornblower isn’t talking, so this English pig is no longer useful. Tomorrow we will make an end to his life. I let him know, so he can prepare himself.” Peckham snickered.

“Well” Salvin shacked his head. “I’m afraid there’s one problem.”

“What’s that?” Peckham grunted. “He’s gone.” Salvin answered.

“Gone?” Peckham looked at Salvin with eyes as big as saucers. “Do you mean he escaped? It’s your duty to keep him here.” Peckham became angry and reached for his knife.

“Oui he escaped.” Salvin said, a small smile escaped his lips.
“I hope he will make it out of here” he added. It would be justice for these brave men. They..”

Salvin stopped, he felt a flash of pain in his chest. Not knowing where the pain would come from, he looked down and saw blood. At first he didn’t realised, but when he touched the blood he knew, it was his own.

“Your filthy French traitor” Peckham hissed. He stabbed again. Salvin fell onto the ground, he saw that Peckham spat onto the floor and walked away. He heard the footsteps, but soon  he didn’t hear anything anymore, never.

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Kennedy sat next to Horatio. His arm around his friend’s shoulder. He had never seen Horatio so upset. He was trembling and crying, it was awful to watch. But Archie didn’t retreat, instead comforted his friend, never thinking, he would do this for Horatio.

He had heard the voices, the treats and knew that he must act soon, or all was lost. When he saw the man and what he wanted to do. No, it was just to horrible. Thank god, he was just in time, to save his friend.

This stricken reaction, was horrible, but Kennedy knew well, that is was also a reaction out of relief. The tension had to come out, one way or another.
He patted Horatio’s shoulder.

“Horatio? Everything all right?”

Hornblower raised his head en faced his friend.  “You saved me Archie” he stammered hoarsely.

“You would do the same from me” Archie replied. “ We have to be going Horatio.” He added. “They will soon find out, that I’m not in my cell and then they will raise the alarm.”

“Horatio?” Kennedy calmly laid a hand on his friend arm.

“We now have a change to get out of here.” He added

Hornblower looked at him, still dazed.

“Horatio? I know where they held the crew, we should get them out first. Then we can search for captain Pellew and the others.”

Hornblower took a deep breath. The panic was slowly disappearing. “You’re right Archie. Let’s go.” With trembling hands he took the knife out of Farnsworth belt. Archie picked up his sword and they both left the cell, closing the door behind them.

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End of part 9

The Uninvited
Part 10


Horatio still felt himself trembling, but the presence of Archie calmed him down. He glanced at his friend. He could see clearly that Kennedy was troubled by his wounds, but Archie was holding his sword with such an iron determination, that Hornblower had the impression that Archie didn’t noticed the pain. Well at least didn’t paid to much attention to it, he mused. There were more important things to think about.

They hadn’t spoken, instead walked very carefully through the small corridors of the fortress. So far they hadn’t seen any guards, luck seemed with them. It was dark in the passage. Thanks to the several torches who where placed at every thirty foot, Horatio could orientate where they were. They passed several alcoves. They were hard to distinct, but as Kennedy muttered softly “Damned useful.”

When they reached a crossroad, they both stopped. They held their breath for some moment, to try to hear sounds of guards or other enemies. But it was all quiet.

“Do you know where the captain is being held?” Horatio frowned, Archie was leaning against the wall and was clearly in a great deal of pain.

“No, I have no idea” Archie gasped “But I do know where the crew is being held. We have to reach the northern tower. The crew is.. is being held at the starboard side of it.” He added with a soft groan.

“Everything all right Archie?”

A small pause “I’ve been better Horatio, but we have to get moving.” Kennedy took the corridor to the right and Hornblower followed, amazed by his friend’s courage.

It took some time to reach the northern tower. At every crossroad they had to stop and made sure that the passage was save. One time they heard footsteps and they both hid in one of the useful alcoves. It was an tension moment, when the footsteps had passed them, but there were no cries of surprised guards or the sounds of swords. So they were not seen, or at least not yet.


Horatio felt worried. He had no idea where the men or the captain were held captive. Archie knew were the crew was, the problem was that Archie hadn’t spoke to him for some minutes. Only directed with a nod with his head which way they should go. Probably to save his strength, yet Horatio know that their little journey was killing his friend. He should be laying down, someone should care for his wounds. But there was no time for that, so they moved on. Horatio could clearly see the blood was soaking Archie’s shirt and it worried him.

Besides of his concerns of Archie, the whole situation was uncomfortable. Here he was with a fellow wounded officer in a hostile fortress, trying to save his crew. And then what? They had to find his captain. Hornblower had no idea where he was and he feared that after liberate the men, they didn’t had much time left for a search.

Surely some of them had seen that Kennedy was missing. Was Peckham not being send to talk to Archie? Or was it just a bluff? For some reason Horatio didn’t count it as bluff. And what about Farnsworth. Perhaps someone was missing him. The thought of Farnsworth made him shiver. ‘If Archie hadn’t stepped in, if..,’ No the thought hurt to much.

“Horatio?” the soft voice hailed him back to the presence.

“Yes Archie?” he asked, cursing himself for not paying more attention.

“I think we are near the northern tower. We should probably see the stairs any moment.”

“Stairs?” Horatio was confused

“Aye” Archie answered. “If my knowledge of old castles serves me right, they will be held under the castle in the old dungeons.” A pause “We should descend the stairs and there.. we will find them.”

Horatio looked closely at his friend, he didn’t want to ask how Archie knew so much about the interior of castles and especially about dungeons. Probably from his time in prison. Archie hadn’t told him much about those days and Horatio knew why. They were not cheerful tales to tell.

“Archie?” a sudden thought occurred to him. “Perhaps you should stay here. “I can find out how many guards there are and maybe..”

“No Horatio” Kennedy interrupted him.

“I know what you wanted to do, but I’m going with you” Archie looked at him with a stubborn expression on his face. “You do not leave without me.”

Hornblower surrendered. “Very well Archie” he smiled slightly. “We go together, you first… and Archie?”


“Please be careful”

They walked further and soon they saw indeed a large staircase. There was no-one there and with the weapons in their hands and every muscle tensed, they went down the stairs.

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Peckham was walking fast, he hadn’t looked back at the laying form of Salvin. He knew that the man was dead. He didn’t felt any remorse. The man had betrayed their group. Peckham didn’t knew if Salvin had set Kennedy free, or that he hadn’t paid to much attention to his duties. It didn’t matter. Salvin was dead and Kennedy was walking freely through the castle.

“Damn!” Peckham cursed.
He knew he should raise the alarm, but then he should confess he had killed Salvin. Thompson and Massey wouldn’t bother, but Randolphe would be a different story. No, before he should race the alarm he could try to deal with the situation himself.

Kennedy was wounded. So the man wouldn’t get very far. But where should he go? Peckham stopped for a moment and considered the options. The officer was to weak to free his men or his officers. Besides Kennedy didn’t knew where they were held captive. No, that was not an option.

Then a sudden thought occurred to him. Well, rather a memory. This afternoon, the flogging on the plaza. Peckham had observed the Indefatigables, they were all disgusted by the act of violence. But there was one man, who seemed to had more difficulties than the others. A man who had stepped in, tried to stop the flogging.

Peckham had seen the compassion and the friendship at once.


Kennedy was going to find Hornblower.

Peckham smiled. Farnsworth was there. Together they would stop Kennedy. They would throw him back in that sticking cell. He could tell to Randolphe that Kennedy killed Salvin, after making sure that Kennedy wouldn’t say a thing. Peckham knew some tricks they could try on that stubborn Englishman.

Problem solved. Yes it was a excellent idea. Peckham grinned and resumed his pacing.

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Very carefully they reached the end of the stairs. Archie felt perspiration on his forehead. With his hand he whipped it away. Horatio was standing three meters before him, glancing around the corner, Kennedy held his breath. Thank God, it was so dark. He could hardly see Horatio’s face.

Suddenly Horatio stood next to him. Archie startled, he hadn’t noticed it and it worried him. It was no a good sigh for a combat situation. He tried to clear his head, by shacking it slightly.

“Archie, there are two men guarding a large wooden door.” Horatio whispered. “I think we reached our crew.”

“Are there only two?” Kennedy was amazed

“Aye” Horatio confirmed. “Are you sure you can fight” he frowned. He hadn’t missed the startled reaction of his friend some minutes ago.

“I must” Archie replied “You’re wounded yourself Horatio. You can’t handle them on your own” he whispered.

“Very well, you take the one on the right. Ready?”

Archie nodded and grabbed his sword even tighter

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Peckham swiftly reached the door of Hornblower’s cell. He didn’t heard any sounds form within, but didn’t found that disturbing. Massey must have left and Farnsworth didn’t made a lot of noise when he was expressing his hobby. Peckham grinned, perhaps he could assist his mate.

The door was unlocked. Peckham opened it and when he could see what was behind it, his mouth fell open.

On the floor


Peckham walked to the sad remains of his friend. He saw that he was struck in the back. Hornblower couldn’t have done it. Farnsworth would never shown his back to Hornblower. Besides the man had no weapon.

It must have been….


Oh my god, Kennedy must have seen what was going on here and stopped it. Peckham cursed. He knew that he had to raise the alarm, there were now two instead of one officer on the loose. And they had to be stopped. Right now. And that puppy should pay for what he did to Farnsworth!

And Peckham ran

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Matthews was leaning with his back to the wall. “We should give it up lads” he said with regret. “They are not coming anymore and we could use the rest. There will be an opportunity tomorrow.” It was completely dark in their cell, but he could sense that the men agreed with them.

“You’re right Matty” Styles said with anger in his voice. “You’re right.”

“Wait a moment lads” Scarlet voice was clearly recognisable. “I thought I heard something”

The reaction was feeble. Men who had hung against the wall, where straighten up. Hands grabbed for self-made weapons;  stones, pieces of brick and even some smuggled carpenter tools of the workplace like nails and sharp wooden sticks.

After Scarlet’s cry, everybody was silent. All the seamen tried to hear more sounds. For a moment none could be heard, but then there it was. A sound of a key being put in a lock.

“All right lads” Matthews whispered “We all know what to do. Styles, Scarlet and Jones, you will get them first. We follow.”

In the deathly silence, the click of the lock was enormous.

The Indefatigables hold their breath.

They could hear that the door was opening and after some time they could see it.  A small beam of light could be seen. The door opened further and the light increased although it was still very week. Like that outside their cell, there wasn’t much light either.

Matthews could see a figure standing in the light, another one was appearing. Now was the time.

“Come on men!” he shouted.

He could vaguely see that Styles and Scarlet together with Jones grab the men and held them down.

A terrible scream came out the fighting group of men.

Matthews shocked “Jesus, what is happing there” he called, but no-one answered him. They were all to shocked. In the dim light, the men could see that the fighting had stopped.

“God damn it, you’re killing him” a sharp voice cried out.

Styles froze, but held the man tight, he knew that voice. But he knew that he had to be certain. “Davies, see if other men are coming and if not, grab a torch.”
“Right away, Scarlet could see a small figure in the door opening and looked at the men who they held captive.

Styles had one of them, the other one, the one had cried out so viciously laid on the floor.

More light suddenly appeared in the room. It was Davies who had found a torch . “I saw no-one” he yelled. Excitement had the better of him.

“Bring the light here lad” Matthews said.

“Matthews is that you?” a familiar voice asked quizzically.

“Mr Hornblower?” Matthews grabbed the torch and walked towards the group of men. The light shined on the faces of Scarlet, Jones and the figure who was being held by Styles.

“Praise the lord, it is you sir!” Matthews exclaimed happily.

“You can let me go Styles” Hornblower commanded.

“Yes sir, sorry sir” Styles stammered.

“But that means, my god..” Scarlet swiftly knelt down by the still laying man on the floor. “I’m sorry sir, I didn’t knew it was you” he said with emotion.

Sudden realisation struck Davies, the earlier excitement vanishing in an instant. “No, it isn’t…” he felt on his knees

“Well, I’m glad I trained you well, in battling the enemies.” A soft voice was heard. Hornblower was in one step with his friend. “Archie.. I..” he stopped. Kennedy’s body was coffered with blood. 

“Sir” Scarlet raised with a great care Kennedy’s head a bit. “Is that your blood sir?”

“I think it is” a faint whisper was the answer

“We have to do something” Davies stood up. “Sir” he turned to Hornblower, “we have to bind his wounds”

Hornblower stared at the pale face of his friend. There was no reaction, he just stared. “We could do that sir.” Matthews answered. The old sailor gave some commands to the men. “You there!” he exclaimed “Get some more light in here.”

Hornblower swallowed and looked around. “I need five men who will stand watch at the stairs. Two groups of ten men who will try to find weapons.” He paused. “I should go with them” he added softly. “They will manage sir” Styles smiled. “You’ll see.”

Hornblower nodded “Very well” he said louder so that everyone could hear him. “I’m glad we found you men. After the chosen groups have found weapons, we will free our captain and the other officers and make for the Indefatigable.

A chorus of “aye, aye sir” were the response

He saw that both Styles as Jones were forming groups. He wasn’t needed with that, so his attention was fully focused on Matthews, who was together with Davies tearing clothes into bandages.

Oldroyd had made himself useful and had found a bucket with water and some rags. “His shirt has to come of sir” he said seriously. “I will help you sir” Scarlet said. “It’s my fault that he’s in this state” he said with remorse.

“I doubt that” Hornblower said sadly “But your help is appreciated.” He bended to Kennedy. Scarlet raised the officer’s head and together they removed Kennedy’s jacket. “Now his shirt”

The shirt gave more problems, because of the blood, the shirt was stuck to Archie’s body and to get it of, you had to tear it from the wounds. Archie’s flinched a lot of times and his cries of pain where awful to hear. The Indefatigables who were excited by the new developments felt silence and most of the men came by to see how their officer was fairing. When they saw the wounds, they were cursing and their eyes were gleaming for revenge.

By the time they had removed the shirt Kennedy was unconscious. Hornblower tried to wake him, but a shaky hand of Scarlet stopped him. “No sir, wait until we’re ready.”

Hornblower nodded it was indeed the best thing he could do. But it was hard to watch helplessly. Davies washed with all the care in the world Kennedy’s belly and later his back. Scarlet and Matthews were bandaging the wounds and Horatio could see the tears in the men’s eyes. Finally they were ready. “We have no other shirt for him sir.” Matthews said. “Very well, his own shirt will do.” Hornblower replied. The men wrestled the shirt and the jacket on again. “He’ll be soon on the mend again sir” Matthews added with care.

“Thank you Matthews.” Horatio replied. “Sir? You looks like you could use some bandages as well” Matthews had a perceptive look and had seen the blood on Hornblower’s back. In the light he had also noticed some bruises on Hornblower’s face and wondered how the lad had achieved it. There was not a mark on him after the flogging. “No, we don’t have time for that” Hornblower said more briskly that he had intended.

“How did you escaped sir?” Scarlet wanted to know. The other seamen looked at Hornblower. “Yeah sir, how did you get out?” Oldroyd added with a smile. “Mr Kennedy saved me” Horatio started, looking at the face of Archie “After the.. the flogging.. we where separated. Apparently Mr Kennedy managed to get out and then went for me.” Horatio couldn’t say more.

“Where there no guards sir?” Matthews was looking at his officer in concern. He knew the lad a couple of years and knew that there’s something the man was not telling. It had to do with the bruises. “Well there.. there was a.. a guard, but..”

“He was standing at the wrong place at the wrong time, so I killed him.”  A soft, but steady voice interrupted the conversation.

“Mr Kennedy, how do you feel sir.” Davies was smiling. Matthews hadn’t keep his eyes of his lieutenant and by the looks Kennedy and Hornblower where giving each other he suspected what really had happened. “Well done sir!” Scarlet said with pride, he too hadn’t missed the looks and had made the same conclusions.

At that moment the two groups of both Styles as Jones came in. They had found indeed weapons, mostly swords and knifes, but also some muskets. “It’s quite easy sir” Styles told them. “We had to kill six guards to achieve them, so I think our presence has been notified.” The weapons were passed. Most of the nearly two hundred seamen had something to defend themselves with.

Hornblower looked at Kennedy “Are you ready for it Archie?” Kennedy smiled. “I’m more ready than I ever will be”
“Listen to me men” Hornblower had put his commanding voice up and all men where looking at their officer with expected looks on their faces. “We will be attacking by three groups. The first group will be commanded by my division. Matthews, you are in charge. Your objective will be the ship. You will hold her, so that we can escape. Your group is the largest and must be at least hundred men.

“Aye, aye sir” Matthews saluted

“The second group, around fifty men, will be commanded by the division of Mr Kennedy, Scarlet you will have the command, your task is, to save the remaining crew of the Interceptors, including the guest who where aboard the ship. We couldn’t leave them behind.”

“Yes sir!” Scarlet said briskly.

The last group will be with me and Mr Kennedy. We will find the captain and the other officers and free them. Our rendezvous point will be the Indefatigable.”
Hornblower looked at the loyal men before him “These monsters have killed our shipmates and treated us at an inhumanly way. We will now take our revenge! We’ll win back our freedom! I’m counting on you men!”

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Peckham knocked with some fierce on the wooden oaken door. “Open this door!” he shouted “let me in!” At last the door opened a French guard appeared. “Oui?” he asked, somewhat annoyed. ‘Damn, Peckham remembered that this particularly guard didn’t speak much English. “Je voudrais parlez avec monsieur Randolphe” he gasped, a little bit out of breath in his best French.

“Un moment s’il vous plaît” the guard disappeared.

“Come on, come on” Peckham became very agitated another ten seconds and he would burst in, when the door reopened. “Entre Monsieur” the guard nodded and made a welcoming sign with his hand. Peckham didn’t respond, instead strode past the guard into the room.

“What is it Peckham?” a visible irritated Randolphe looked at him. “I’ve just heard of Massey here, that Hornblower isn’t telling us the needed information.”

“It is possible, that he will change his mind Jean, when he sees Kennedy in the shackles again.” Thompson interrupted. “This time it will be an even more dramatic sight, surely he will intervene.”

“C’est possible” Randolphe nodded

“Monsieur, we have a problem” Peckham could no longer wait “I’ve just been at the cell of Kennedy. And it was empty.”


Peckham nodded, “I’ve checked the cell of Hornblower, and.. and”

“And what man, speak sense!” Thompson shouted

“Hornblower is gone sir.”

“What about Farnsworth, he was still there, where I Left him” Massey answered smartly. “He’s dead” Peckham said sadly, grieving for his mate’s death.

“Yes, dead!” Peckham became irritated, emotions got the better of him. “That troublemaker Kennedy must have killed him, Farnsworth was stricken in the back.”
“Very well, I’ve heard enough” Randolphe took command again. “We raise the guards. If you find any of those Indefatigables, kill them!”

“Oui monsieur” Massey nodded

A sudden thought occurred to him “Does Kennedy or Hornblower know where we capture their captain or crew?” he asked. “I don’t think so” Massey replied

“Don’t underestimate them, they are both very smart and very capable” Thompson added. “It’s possible Kennedy knows, his men and his captain took care of him this afternoon even it was for a moment. They could have told him something.

“Nom de Dieu” Randolphe cursed. “Thompson, you guard their ship, it is possible that they reach it. We have to prevent that from happening. Massey you send a group of men to the northern tower. We have to check in the prisoners are still in their cell. If not, they have to inform me straight away.”

“Oui monsieur” Massey confirmed. “What do you want me to do?”

“Get after these bastards, now idiot!”

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End of part 10


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