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Hannibal's Elephant Girl
Liada and the slave girl, Tin Tin Ban Sunia, sail away from Carthage with Hannibal, on their way to Iberia. Also on board is Obolus, Hannibal’s prized war elephant. Not only do they have to deal with pirates and Roman galleys, Sulobo the slave master and Sukal the javelineer are on the ship, too, just waiting for a chance to exact vengeance on the two girls.
Excerpt from Chapter Five
With no control at her stern, the Elissa turned sideways to the oncoming wave. We were lifted higher and higher, tilting farther to the right side. When it seemed we must surely roll over and capsize, the top of the wave broke and washed over us.
The entire deck was under water for a brief period, then the Elissa was on top of the wave and the deck cleared itself of water. I looked back, toward the stern; we were sliding down the other side of the wave, backwards.
The shipbuilders at Carthage must have built a wooden heart into the belly of Elissa, because she carried herself like a living creature, fighting for her life. With no human at the helm, and indeed no rudders for Beetle Head to use if he were at his station, the brave craft seemed to know how best to fight the towering waves.
With her stern leading the way, she seemed to ride higher in the sea. If the bow had been foremost, it would plow into the oncoming waves, digging the craft deeper into the water.
On top of the wave, our ship tilted forward as a stroke of lightning struck the sea just a bowshot away. The heart-stopping thunder came right away, shaking me to my inner core.
Obolus released his grip on the rail and let out a mighty roar, almost as loud as the thunder. I wrapped my left arm around the rail and reached for his trunk with my right hand. Grasping it tight, I pulled his trunk back to the rail, and he gripped it as he stared wide-eyed at the raging sea.