hello again, Travellers
I have a prologue to share and characters to introduce. Mainly, Maria Vandalease, the captain of Her Majesty.
As I write, I may share Maria’s story with you, half a chapter at a time (depending on the length).
It’s action and adventure, set in a fictional world, following the life of a pirate and her crew. The tale has betrayal, treasure hunts, intrigue and lots of sword fighting throughout. It should entertain.
Prologue: A Plea
The boy hung limply between the two burly men, his head he held high and his eyes looking defiantly back at my father. He said nothing.
My sister, however, was a mess – sobbing and crying and begging my father to ‘please save him’. She was never this emotional. Scratch that- she cared too much about her looks to cry in public. Both my father and I were slightly taken aback by her behaviour; as was the crew.
We stared at the sixteen-year-old girl, with straight, golden hair, and watched as she threw herself at the Captain’s feet, begging for mercy.
I was disgusted by her behaviour.
“You know him, Annabel?” asks my father, his cold voice cutting through her incessant pleading. She straightened, her blue eyes now a dull green and her face red from crying.
“Yes,” she answered with a meek nod.
I cringe. Since when does she say yes? We all say ‘aye’.
My father walked around the boy slowly, his eyes staying on Annabel. “And pray tell, how did you meet this young man?”
Her eyes widened as she realised her mistake, but she doesn’t back down. “I met him in town.”
I clench my teeth as she admits it.
‘In town’ would refer to the biweekly… visit we pay the little, isolated city of Crownsonford, and she could only have met him regularly if I had vouched for her whereabouts.
My father knows this and swings around to face me. I have to put a little extra effort into making myself look bored and expressionless.
“Even I did not know, Captain,” I tell him, swinging my unsheathed sword around to emphasize my words. He raises an eyebrow and I grin. “And if I had known, why would I have had to put an end to such youthful rebellion? You tell many a tale of your escapades as a youth. Especially those concerning our mother.” I wriggle my eyebrows, drawing laughs from the crew.
Amusement and approval are briefly shown in his grey eyes before they resume their cold quality. He turns back to my sister. “Annabel, how well do you know this man?”
I narrow my eyes. He was not a man– he was a boy. A foolish one at that. I don’t really understand why she wanted to sneak away to see him, but Annabel’s always been soft.
My sister looks at the captive. “Very well.”
She’s actually being honest.
I roll my eyes. At least they’ll die together. How romantic.
“I see,” says the Captain, stopping his slow walk and standing next to me. His boot taps the end of my sword that’s resting on the wooden floor of the ship. I take the hint and sheathe my blade, the metal sliding into the scabbard. It’s the only sound, besides the waves lapping at the sides of the ship.
Father evaluates Annabel quietly and then looks at the burly sailors holding the boy. He half chuckles, half scoffs, before saying, “We’ll have him walk the plank. It’s about time some old traditions were honoured.”
The assent of the crew is loud, some laughing, some hollering; “Aye, Capt’n!” and “Let ’tis be a lesson fer that lass ‘o yours!”
I tense up, while Annabel deflates. I may be digusted at her honesty and emotional behaviour, but she was my sister.
“Captain.” I raise my voice, which cuts through the clamour of the crew. My father looks at me and nods for me to continue. “Can the boy not be useful? He has the looks of someone who’s seen hard work in his short lifespan.” I grin. “And why not prolong the punishment? A walk of the plank would be too easy.”
It has been a long time since someone challenged the command of our Captain, and I can see the approval in his eyes as he thinks my request over. “How about this; I will give you a ship and with the help of Annabel and her man, you begin your crew.”
My smile becomes real. “I assume we will be a part of your fleet?”
“No. You will be allied with me, but you will be independent.” The wind whips a strand of black hair across his face. “The only thing I require is that we meet in Crownsonsford every second week.”
“And which ship will you give me?” I ask straightening up and propping my hands on my hips. My heart is full of pride and gratitude, but I only allow determination to show in my expression.
He gestures me to follow him, and I do. We walk towards the back of the ship, climbing the few stairs to the quarterdeck and then onto the poop deck.
“Do not underestimate me,” he says as he gestures to the water. I know already what I am to find – my first love.
She’s a dark ebony colour, with black accents. Plain and sturdy, but sleek and fast, she’s a perfect breed of ship. The pitch black sails and the perfect wood attest to one fact; she is untried and untested, very new and the latest model.
Much like me.
“You are giving me Her Majesty?” I ask, the awe and happiness evident in my voice. My father chuckles.
“Yes, I am now. I was going to take her for myself, but I noticed the longing in you.” He leans forward against the railing. “I would have killed the boy and banished Annabel, had you not intervened. She betrayed us, seeking love of all things, and the boy openly defied me.”
“I barely intervened,” I protest, copying his movement. We stay like that, side by side, watching the- my ship for a while.
“She reminded me of my sister.” He confides, glancing at me. “And you reminded me of my younger self. So I will spare them both, unlike what my father had done. You will get your ship, but promise me just one more thing.”
I watch the sun fall behind the edge of the horizon, it’s light and colour rapidly fading from this world. “Yes, Father?”
“If they are disloyal to me, or you, you will bring them both to me.”
I sigh. “Of course.”
He hugs me in a rare moment of fatherly love, care and emotion. “Thank you, Maria. You will make me proud.”
And that’s all I’ve ever wanted.
© KLARA SOFE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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