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DV Fic - The Reckoning


All the usual suspects ...


All assembled on the beach were cognisant of the gravity of the event they were about to witness. The gentlemen stood to one side, the mariners to the other, all solemn and subdued, each reflecting on their own part in this drama. Thoughts of justice warred with thoughts of expediency in their minds.

Would Elizabeth, their Queen, approve of this most drastic measure to check one of her favoured courtiers? This was certainly not lawful in England – but they were far from England’s shores and if something were not done to resolve the rancour between these two proud and stubborn men then it was doubtful if any of them would see their homeland again.

Drake and Doughtie had commenced this daring voyage as firm friends, but that friendship had quickly descended into acrimony with accusations of sorcery, treachery and deceit. Jealousy, envy and pride had taken their toll, and the whole company was now divided in their loyalties; the gentlemen siding with Doughtie, the mariners with Drake. The tension between the two men was palpable, corrosive; if there were to be a reckoning before passing through the Straits of Magellan, then Port San Julian was where it should be made; it was a commander’s last chance.

Doughtie’s gentlemen lawyers spoke well to his case, but this was no English court convened in the stately halls of Westminster; this was a court martial instigated by a slighted Captain General in a barren, godless land. Drake was determined to have his way, and those who had sailed with him before knew that a determined Drake was a force not to be resisted. He threatened; he bullied; he cajoled, until finally, the jury he had empanelled, gentlemen and mariners, friends and foe alike, had reluctantly but unanimously agreed that this most extreme course of action was inevitable and for the best.

Doughtie had accepted the verdict with dignity. He would face his fate like a gentleman; there would be no begging or bargaining. And Drake had pledged that he would execute the sentence with all due honour and respect for the gentleman’s station. And so, the day was set.

As Doughtie emerged from the tent the onlookers gasped and whispered. The gentleman was dressed in his finest. Silk hose graced his slender thighs; his most elegant brocade doublet displayed his fine figure. He wore a freshly starched, white ruffle around his neck, and his black fur cloak tied with precision and style across one shoulder. His fingers were adorned with a massive emerald and the simple silver Pegasus ring of the Inner Temple, and in his right ear he wore an earring, a pearl of incredible lustre and beauty – none could doubt his pedigree as he stood proud and impassive before his adversary.

The Captain, too, had donned his finest garb, though he wore it with far less comfort and ease. He looked not at all as composed as the gentleman who was about to be sacrificed.

Drake knew that Doughtie would play the role of martyr to the hilt. Well, the Captain General would let him have his moment of drama, the gentleman did so love to be the centre of attention, and Drake was solaced by the fact that, come the end of the day, it was his sword that would prevail.

The two men stood facing each other – eye to eye – neither flinching under the other’s impassioned gaze.

The preacher, having a greater fear of Drake than of his God, had spent the previous night in prayer seeking divine guidance, and perhaps absolution for his part in this travesty. Bible in hand, he stepped forward – the company hushed. Fighting to have his voice heard above the pounding surf and the chilling wind, Francis Fletcher took a deep, steadying breath,

“Do you, Thomas Doughtie, gentleman of the Inner Temple, London, take this man ….


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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
entropy_house
Mar. 23rd, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
Awwwwww. *hugz the boyz*

And the penguins all wore their tuxedos to the event.
nautile26
Mar. 24th, 2009 08:39 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, penguins know how to dress with style. Although, I rather suspect that they may have been 'dressed' for the table rather than the ceremony on this occasion. :(
entropy_house
Mar. 24th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
EEe, waddle, penguins! Waddle! :^)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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