Author Topic: ZARA  (Read 1723433 times)

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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #45 on: March 01, 2015, 09:05:34 AM »
Bonita beckoned Zara closer.
"I toss bones for you. Den you see your future."
As Zara ventured closer, Phillip pulled her back.
"Don't believe anything she has to say. It's all a trick."
"You stay out of this, Master Briggs. De young one, she want to see her future."

Bonita reached into her black velvet bag and pulled out half a dozen bones. She closed her eyes and chanted, rubbing the bones. Then expertly she tossed the bones on the table and peered closely at them. Muttering to herself, she tossed them again. Frowning, she tossed them a third time.
"Ah! Dere it be--look!"
Zara and Phillip peered closely.
"See dat? De bones here near the edge of de table. It mean a problem wit' El Lobo del Mar. Edge of table mean disaster. Like when de ancients thought a ship would fall off de edge of de earth when de people thought de earth was flat."

Phillip frowned. "A problem? What kind of problem?"
"What do YOU think? What be de biggest threat to de ship?"

She fixed him with a stare. Then she turned back to the bones and tossed again. She looked closely and pointed.
"Dat dere---Dat de breast bone."
With that she turned her attention on Zara.
"De breast bone is in trouble. See de bones over here? Lots of dem. And one bone over here. De bone near de edge of de table. Dat bone mean too far away to help de breast bone."
Zara looked at the bones as if mesmerized.
"Wh-who is the breast bone?"
Bonita snapped, "Who you t'ink? De Captain Briggs, do he have breasts?  Only one person on El Lobo have breasts and dat mean big trouble for you." She pointed at Zara.

Phillip reached over and swept the bones off the table in anger.
"Stop it, Bonita. Stop it right now. You think it is nice to try to frighten Zara? She never did anything to you."
Bonita folded her arms across her chest defiantly.
"No--but her father use Bonita for his own selfish gains. Did him ever share with Bonita? No! And him bring him golden-haired bride to show off. De smuggling operation was a good t'ing until de golden-hair child turn Jack Wolfe's head around."
She pointed at Zara again.
"And de apple not fall far from de tree!"

Bonita drew herself up and glared at Phillip.
"You should know bones no lie. 'Member when you with dat Cade Jennings and Bonita knew who you were before him even say the name. 'Member dat?"

Phillip put his cavalier hat on and said tightly, "The rum and wine have been delivered to your back door, Bonita. Jack Wolfe still has an interest in this tavern."
"Only so him can't give ownership to Bonita. He not have a fortune if not for me."
Phillip grabbed Zara's hand and hurried her out of the tavern.
She glanced back at Bonita just as the door closed.

As soon as Zara and Phillip left the tavern, Bonita threw the bones against the wall.
Drusilla folded her arms and said, "Why you tell dem dat rubbish? I know better. De bones not tell you dat. De bones didn't do a t'ing"
Bonita fumed, "Because always de same wit' dat man.  De clouds surround him and I never see anything. Dat now extends to him little girl."
Drusilla shook her head. "So you make dem t'ink danger is lurking. Why?"
Bonita snapped, "Why should dey be happy?"

Drusilla followed Phillip and Zara out the door.
She pressed an amulet into Zara's hand. It was a round disc with squiggles carved into it.
"Here--you take dis. It ward off evil loas. I like you and Captain Phillip. You be nice to Drusilla."
She turned to Phillip.
"Be very careful or she lay a curse on you and you not be able know. And her such a pretty t'ing, too."
She gave them each a quick hug.
"Don't believe everything that Bonita say. Bones no lie. But Bonita do sometimes."

With that she scampered off.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 09:23:27 AM by Welsh Wench »
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« Reply #46 on: April 01, 2015, 02:35:06 PM »
Phillip grabbed Zara's hand and hurried her towards the harbor, all the while muttering expletives under his breath.
"Phillip, what on earth is your hurry?"
"The sooner I get away from that witch woman, the better I will like it," he fumed. "She is always trying to stir up trouble."
"Do you believe her?"
"Of course I don't. I just don't like the way she tries to play games with people."

Zara tossed her hair. "Well, I don't believe her. And I have never been to Castara Bay.."
She looked around. "It's beautiful here and the sky is so blue, just like in Barbados. My parents spent their honeymoon here and I could very well have gotten my start here."
"Well, it's true. Oh, don't blush, Phillip. Certainly you know where babies come from," she teased. "Besides, I want to see the tree that Mama decimated."

"Zara, we really don't have the time. We need to leave with the first tide at dawn."
She put her hands on her hips and squinted towards the sun.
"From what I can see, it is just past noon. So we have plenty of time."
She locked her arm with Phillip's.
"Please? It won't take long."
"Well, alright. But remember---it's our secret. Your father would be far from pleased if he heard I let you step foot on this island."

As they walked down the path towards the bay, she asked, "What do you think the witch woman's predictions mean?"
"Who knows? Bonita can be vague enough to mean anything."
"And what about her cousin?"
"Drusilla? They broke the mold when they made her! But she has a kind heart even though her head is somewhere in the clouds."

They walked down a path behind the tavern. There in the clearing stood a tree with a twisted trunk. Deep hash marks were seen along the bark near the ground.
"My goodness, Mama really gave it all she had!"
"And from what I understand, your father, if he had not been quick, would have had his head removed. She was alot more savvy at swordplay than she let on."
Zara ran her hand over the tree trunk. "Poor thing."
"Cade Jennings was supposed to replace it but I guess he never got around to it."
"I'm glad he didn't. It is kind of like a remembrance of their time here. Please, can we walk a little more? We will be on that ship for the next three weeks and I just want to spend some time here on the beach. Can we stay till sunset?"
"Absolutely not! The place takes on a life of its own after dark. Jaguars are said to frequent it along with other nocturnal nasties."

They walked along in companionable silence till they came to the beach at Castara Bay.
"This is absolutely beautiful! Look at the beautiful flowers." She bent over and plucked a plumeria and put it behind her ear.
"How does it look?" She raised her head to show off the flower.
"Cookie, if you had a mermaid's tail, Poseidon would never give you up!"
She plucked a few and wove them together, stringing them around her neck. "Mama showed me how to make a daisy necklace when I was little."
He smiled at her enthusiasm. "That is one thing I love about you, Zara. Your zest for life. And you never fail to surprise me."
"And now I feel an urge to go swimming."
"Zara, no. We don't have time."
"Make time, Phillip. Be spontaneous! Life is not built around schedules."

Zara slipped her shirt over her head and loosened the drawstring on her skirt. It cascaded onto the sand. She took off her boots and stockings, stepping into the water.
"Ooh, that feels nice! Come on, Phillip! At least walk along with me. And look! A starfish!"
As she bent down to pick it up, Phillip scooped her up in his arms.
"You want spontaneity?"
She squealed with laughter.
"Phillip! Don't you dare!"
"Don't I dare...what?"
"Drop me!"
"Don't even think of that!"

As he went to throw her in the water, she grabbed onto his shirt and jerked him into the water with her.

They both emerged dripping wet.
"Oh...YOU!" She splashed his face as she surfaced.
"Look at me! I am a total mess!"

Zara stood there with her chemise clinging to her curves. She picked seaweed out of her hair and laughed.
"Well, you wanted to see Castara Bay so I thought this would be the best way."
She laughed as she lunged towards him, dragging him down into the water with her.

As they surfaced, they stood dangerously close to each other.They stared at each other and Zara put her arms around Philip's neck, drawing him towards her and into a deep, searching kiss. He responded, pressing her body close to his, his fingers gliding down the side of her curves.
Suddenly he gently disengaged Zara's arms from his neck.
", Zara."

Zara looked at him as he turned to walk the few yards to shore, hurt and bewilderment written on her face.
"Zara, you are still a child.  Somewhat."
"I see," she said frostily as she gathered her dry clothes. Her wet chemise clinging to her left no doubt in Phillip's mind that he was dead wrong about her level of maturity. She pushed past him but not before she retorted back, "You know she's all wrong for you."
"What? Who?"
"Lenore Culley. I hear the crew talk. She's stuffy. And cold. Prim and proper. But if that is what you are looking for, then you made the right choice. For you. But ask yourself, Phillip--how long before you go out to search for more exciting and greener pastures?"

"I don't know what you are talking about."
"Oh....I think you do. But that is your business, Phillip."
She put her arms around his neck, dangerously close to him.

He gently took her arms and put them down to her side.
"Zara, I have known you since you were a tot. Practically family we are."
"Phillip, are you afraid of my father?"
He shook his head. "No. Jack is a man I look up to. And he is my father's best friend. But afraid of Jack? No, I am not. I'm not one of those clumsy beaus that call on you. I know what Jack expects out of me. And I intend to honour that trust. Zara, you are an answer to a dreamer's dream."
She started towards him but he put his hand up. "But I am grounded in reality and my duty to your parents."
"Understood, Mister Briggs. Shall we go back to the ship now?"
He squinted up toward the sun. "Perhaps that would be best."

He walked up the slope of the beach, Zara dutifully following him.
'An answer to a dreamer's dream, huh? Well, Mister Briggs, your reality is about to become your dream. Or is it the other way around? Regardless, by the time we reach Virginia, you won't be able to get me out of your mind,' she said under her breath.
"Did you say something, Zara?"
"Me? No, nothing. Nothing at all."
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 09:23:06 AM by Welsh Wench »
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« Reply #47 on: June 20, 2015, 09:17:31 PM »
The walk back to the ship was quiet, both Phillip and Zara not saying much.
And when evening came, Zara said she had a headache and opted to eat dinner in her  room.
She needed the time to process Phillip's rejection.
But also to decide the best way to capture Phillip's heart.

Phillip sat with the crew and half-heartedly listened to the crew's talk and wondering what Zara was doing. The other half of the time he spent wondering what he was going to do with Lenore.
Settle into a sedentary life and maybe become a governor like her father? If he married her, the despicable Tristan would become his brother in law. And how would he handle his duplicitous part in the scheme to kidnap Zara--and bilk Tristan out of the reales he extorted from him? Not to mention the cloak and the sword.

Phillip rubbed his temples, finding a headache coming on.
"You alright, Phillip?" Davis looked over at him.
"Hmm? Oh...yes. Just a headache. I'll be in my cabin."

  Phillip paused.
"Can I talk to you in confidence?"
Davis smiled, "I thought we were way past that point, Phillip. You know you can always talk to me and it goes no further."

Phillip pulled on his collar.
"What do I do about....her?"
"Her? As in Lenore Culley or Zara Wolfe?"
"Lenore. I mean Zara. Oh, hell...both. I don't know."
Phillip took a deep breath.
"Lenore is beautiful. Settled. Mature. Sophisticated. Educated. Connected."
"And the other?"
"Zara moves around like a wayward summer breeze. Uninhibited, delightful to be around. She's beautiful. And young. And...."
"The daughter of Mad Jack Wolfe."

He took a deep breath. "When we were in Castara, we know...close."
Davis suppressed a smile.  Phillip hurriedly said, "I mean..oh hell, I don't know what I mean. And I don't  mean close in that sense so get your mind out of the taverns of Tortuga."
Davis leaned against the railing.
"I've known Zara since she was a toddler. Hell, I knew her father even before her mother entered Jack's life. Jack loves all his children unconditionally and equally. Save one."

"Maybe he is trying to make up for the way he treated Honour. Or maybe for not being there when she was born and the first year of her life. Hell, then again, what do I know?"
Phillip looked off into the sun setting on the horizon.
"I thought my life was all settled. Marriage to Lenore. The occasional run to the Colonies so I don't get too domesticated."
"Are you forgetting one other person?"
"What do you mean?"
"Stella Maris."
"Stella Maris doesn't fit into this equation. She knows the way things are between us. I've known Stella since I made my first run with my father when I was fourteen. Strictly...physical."
"She's a woman. She will be an issue, mark my words."

Phillip sighed. "It just gets more and more complicated, doesn't it?"
Davis lit his cigar. "Funny but I thought you and Stella would end up sailing off into the sunset together."
Phillip shrugged. "Stella isn't the sort of woman you bring home to your mother."
"Renee would understand."
"Understand, yes. Be happy about it? No."

"Trouble is, Davis, I just can't get Zara out of my mind. Maybe it's because she is here. But I find myself wanting her company all the time. She's interested in everything I am."
"Is that so bad?"
"She's a kid."
"Not really. You are using that as a defense instead of seeing her as a young woman. Most girls---young ladies, pardon me--are married by her age. My advice is this--if you can't get your 'Cookie' out of your system by the time we leave Virginia, you just may have your answer then."
"What about Lenore then?"
"I don't think she ever really was in here," said Davis as he pointed to his heart. "Now I am going to give  you some straightforward advice, pirate to pirate."
"What's that?"
"Quit your whining."

He put his hands in his pockets, strolling off and whistling a tune.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 09:22:39 AM by Welsh Wench »
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« Reply #48 on: June 20, 2015, 09:19:11 PM »
"...and the constellation over there is Orion."
Zara nodded.  "And the stars in the middle are Reigel and Betelgeuse."
"So you remembered."
"Of course. You are a good teacher, Phillip."
"Well, you are an excellent pupil."

Zara glanced over at Phillip. The fences were mended between them when Zara found a large pink seashell. A strand of pink pearls was draped over it.
 A brief note said,

'Begging forgiveness for misunderstandings.'

Zara had smiled to herself, knowing that it bothered Phillip enough to make amends. She had greeted Phillip with a smile and nothing more was said.

She reached over and popped a strawberry in her mouth. When she leaned over, she afforded a view for Phillip that got his blood racing.
"Oh, I love to learn. But we've been studying for over an hour. The oil lamp looks like it has about an hour left. Can we please put the books away now?"

Zara walked over to the rail and looked up at the sky.
"Is that not the most beautiful sight you have ever seen?"

The sea breeze ruffled Zara's hair as she leaned against the rail, the wind fluttering the ties on her blouse.
She turned around and pulled a wicker basket from under some canvas.
"Surprise! I had the cook pack us a hamper for dinner. I didn't realize how late it was."
She pulled out a loaf of bread and cheese with some fruit.
"I'm glad the ship was restocked when we left Castara. Care for an orange?"
"You think of everything, Cookie."
"I also brought a bottle of merlot."
"Just like your mother. That's her favorite wine."
"Also some lemonade. The merlot is for after we eat."
She looked over the water. El Lobo was sailing at a good clip, the bow breaking through the inky sea. The heavens were holding a full moon.
"Mmm, now this is paradise. Will you be sorry to get to Virginia? We will be there in three weeks."
"Yes and no. It will be good to see what Virginia has to offer but I love the solitude that only the sea can offer."
He resisted the urge to brush the hair back and kiss her neck.
"Phillip, are you staying with the ship in Virginia?"
"No, Will extended his hospitality to me as well. I will be staying in the manor. Most likely to keep an eye on you."
She started to protest but caught the twinkle in his eye.
She laughed, "Well, you are doing a splendid job so far!"

They sat cross-legged next to each other on the deck. Zara leaned against the rail and gathered her hair up in one hand, fanning her neck.
"Lord, it's hot!"
"We're coming up on the Gulf Stream so we should get a good wind by tomorrow."
She sighed contentedly. "I could stay here forever."

He poured her a small glass of merlot.
"What do you want out of life, Zara?"
"What do I want?"
She refrained from saying, "Just you, Phillip. I want you."
Instead she said, "I guess I want what every woman wants. A home. Children. Most of all, a man who loves me. I want what Mama has with Da."
"They didn't always get along, you know."
"I know Da wasn't there when I was born. He was absent for almost the first year of my life. I think he always tried to make it up to me."

They were silent for a moment.
"What do you want, Phillip Briggs?"
"Me? I hadn't really thought about it. When you live a life on the sea, you just take it day by day."
She bit into an apple. Phillip began to realize how Adam must have felt when he was with Eve. That there was no one in the world but them and the deck was their own Eden.
"That's not an answer, Phillip."
"Alright then. I want happiness and a sense of contentment."
"You don't have that now?"
She resisted the urge to say, 'With Lenore?'

He shrugged. "I guess I do. But I still feel unsettled."
"Maybe the direction you are heading is not the one you are supposed to go. There's someone out there, Phillip, that is willing to make you her whole world. Someday you will realize that."
"I suppose." He held out his hand and helped her up.
She walked over to the railing. "Look here, Phillip!"
Zara had cupped her hands together and held them up to the sky. The full moon seemed to rest in her hands.
"Da always said that I have the world, and he would give me the moon. It looks like he did."

"So what are you looking for in a woman, Phillip?"
"Me? I hadn't thought about it. I like all kinds of women."
"I know but what would be your ideal mate?"
He poured another glass of merlot and leaned back, closing his eyes.
"Oh...she'd have to be smart. Very smart. Not just book-smart but intuitive. Reading people is very important. And she would have to have a sense of humour. Kind of devilish but with the heart of an angel. Always quick to laugh and a smile that is meant for only me. A sense of adventure. Doing things on the spur of the moment. But tempered with common sense."

Zara laughed softly. "You don't want much, do you?"
"She'd know how to run a house. And she would love children."
"How many children do you want, Phillip?"
"Oh, I don't know. As many as the Lord sees fit, I guess. Don't forget, I am an only child. It's a lonely way to grow up."
"So you are looking for a loving woman."
"Pretty much, yeah."
"And looks?"
"Oh hell yes. I have no preference as long as the sum total of all parts equal to a good-looking woman. And she wouldn't mind making love in a field of daisies or by a waterfall."

Phillip found himself colouring at the last remark. Whether it was the merlot or the moonlight or the company of Zara, he never spoke so freely of his expectations.
Zara smiled. "Pleasure comes at any time, Phillip. Love should not be bound by the hands of a clock."

He looked over at her and then smiled.
"Enough of me. What do YOU want in a man, Zara?"

"Oh, I want it all. But I want a man who will consider my needs and wants. I want a man who can smile readily. A man who when I gaze at him across a room , he knows exactly what I am thinking. He has to be brave but not afraid to let me see his tender side when we are alone.

She looked dreamily over the ocean. "And he has to treat me like I have a brain. He can be willing to discuss anything with me. I short, I want a man who would set the world on fire for me.
She turned to Phillip.
"He's out there and he has found me. He just doesn't now it yet."
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 07:38:01 PM by Welsh Wench »
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« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2015, 09:39:23 PM »
The next few days went by smoothly. Zara and Phillip spent the evenings on the top deck going over the constellations and navigation charts with Phillip quizzing her.
"You've got it down now, Zara."
"Well, you are an excellent teacher, Phillip."

He poured her a small glass of merlot.
"And that string of pearls looks wonderful on you."
She touched them gently.
"I had just the right dress to show it off."
It was a light summer dress in a peach pink.
"It never ceases to amaze me the number of frocks you have."
"Mother always said the clothes make the woman."
"In this case, I think the woman makes the clothes."
She noticed in this case Phillip did not refer to her as a 'girl' or 'young lady.'

"How long before we land in Tortuga?"
"Do you see the faint glow of lights over there?"
She squinted her eyes. "I can barely make them out. But yes, I do."
"That, Cookie, is Tortuga.  We will sail in at first light and then lay in for supplies and sail out the next day or the day after if we don't get it all done."
"I can't wait."
"For what?"
"To go shopping."
"Hold on--no one said anything about you going into town."
"What? You aren't making me stay on the ship, are you?"
"Zara, the town is no place for a young girl."
There it was again. The phrase 'young girl'.

She went nose to nose with him.
"That is what you think."
"That is what I know."
She picked up her books and frostily said, "Goodnight, Captain Briggs."
"Wait, Zara...."
But Zara was already down the companionway. Her only reply was a slammed door.
Phillip sighed, 'Here we go again....'

The next morning, El Lobo sailed into Tortuga with no problems. Jack had a standing order with the dock master and for an under-the-table consideration, all dock fees were waived.
'Cuts down on time and paperwork,' he always said.
As the gangplank was laid down, Davis said in a low voice, "Uh have trouble."

Phillip turned around and there stood Zara.
She was wearing black breeches that fit her snugly. A white silk shirt kept slipping off one shoulder and a large cavalier hat sat perched on her head jauntily, three white and one peacock feather caressing her cheek. Black boots completed her outfit.
"I'm ready," she said as she adjusted the black lace gloves on her hands.
"What, are the gloves too much?" She glanced down and smoothed the black breeches over her butt.
"I told you no."
"And I told YOU 'that is what I know'. And I do mean K-N-O-W and not N-O. That is not in my vocabulary."
Phillip took his hat off and threw it on the deck.
"A temper tantrum won't do you any good, Phillip. You may as well save yourself some aggravation and acquiesce."
"That means give in without a fight."
"I know what it means."

They both stood there with their hands on their hips, staring each other down.
Phillip sighed, "I give up."
He picked up his hat and then said, "But don't think you are going to be strolling this port by yourself. Davis--you will escort Miss Wolfe on her shopping excursion."
"Me? ME?" Davis squeaked out.
"And stay with Davis all the time. Am I clear?"
"Crystal, mon capitan."
Phillip turned to go with Davis following behind, "Me? Why ME? What did I ever do to you?"
 "You are the only one I can really trust, Davis."
And then he turned to Zara.
"And don't think you are getting carte blanche in port. Davis will be controlling the purse strings."

Phillip once again turned to Davis. Zara stuck her tongue out behind his back.
As he turned back to her, he raised an eyebrow and said, "Something wrong?"
"Yes--I seem to have some sort of cat hair in my mouth. Ack ack!"
She made a grand performance of taking a cat hair off her tongue.
"PHFFFT PHFFFTT! Alright, that is better." She smiled sweetly.
Phillip sighed. "Alright. She's all yours, Davis."

Davis said darkly, "I'll remember this, Captain."
"Oh, I have no doubt you will."
Zara took Davis by the arm.
"Don't look so glum, Davis. Come on--I'll buy you an ale."
"A dark one?"
"But of course!"
"Good. It will match my mood."
"Let's go, Davis. Shopping awaits! Ta, Captain!"

« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 09:40:22 PM by Welsh Wench »
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« Reply #50 on: August 04, 2015, 08:15:36 PM »
Phillp pulled on a clean silk shirt and headed for the deck. He took a spy glass and aimed it towards the port.
"And...there she goes."
He ran his finger over the brim of his cavalier hat.
"Sullivan, the ship is yours till Davis gets back. If he is not back in three hours, turn the watch over to Brody. You need a break, too."
Sullivan shook his head. "Davis---poor bastard!"
Phillip grinned, "It is what it is."
"Think he will get even?"
"No. As much as he protests, secretly he will enjoy the excursion."
"So...where are you going all dappered up?"
Phillip straightened out his collar and said casually, "Oh....I have business to attend to in port."
"Boots shined and silk shirt, I'd say the business involves a lady."
"A lady with a celestial body, Sullivan."
"Or what she has. Redhead?"
"You know it. A taste my father and I share."
"Oh, yes, the ravishing beauty known as Stella Maris."
"Zara is safe on the arm of Davis. Far away to the bazaars and street vendors."
He winked to Sullivan, "Don't wait up."


"Oooh, Davis, what do you think of this lavender silk?"
Davis held it up. "Too sheer for a lass."
She grabbed it back. "It will make for a marvelous gown."
He grabbed it back again. "Only if you plan on spending your days in a sultan's harem."
He firmly put it down. The vendor was not about to give up.
"Hey, mon, de lady have good taste. You wait here, young missy, I find colour for you."
He went to the back and fetched a rose-coloured silk.
"Very nice silk. You see. Spun by hand from silkworms demselves."
She held it up to her face.
"What do you think of this one, Davis?"
He exhaled loudly, "I'm not a fashion consultant, Miss Zara."
"I want a man's opinion."
"As a man? I'd love to see any woman in it....."
"That settles it then."
"...any woman except you. Phillip would not approve of your purchase, let alone your father.
"Then we'd best not tell them, shall we?"
Davis turned his head and muttered, "I didn't see a thing."
"Of course, you didn't."
To the vendor, she said, "I'll take it..." and whispered, "...and put the lavender silk in a bag too."
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« Reply #51 on: September 01, 2015, 08:28:05 PM »
Zara continued to buy silks and lace. Davis continued to fork over the coins with a deep sigh.
"What do you think of the black lace, Davis?"
"Like you are going to a funeral. Or up to no good."
She sighed. "Davis, you have no sense of style."
"Maybe not but I think I have an idea what is appropriate for a lady of your age."
"That's the problem. I'm not a lady. I'm just...Zara. With a capital Z," she laughed. "It's so easy to carve your initials on...things."
"That was what landed you in the situation you are in, Zara. Or contributed to it. I need to head over to the tobacconist. He always has a fine stock of English and Virginia tobacco. I'll be back in five minutes--FIVE--so don't you wander off. I want you to stay right here at this booth. Select what you want and I will pay for it when I get back."
"No arguing?"
"No criticism?"
"Not at all."
"Do you like the white lace instead?"
He shook his head as she called out, "Maybe I will buy both!"

Zara wandered over to the next booth that had fanciful hats. She gazed out at the harbor.
"Blatherscype....Neptune's Trident....Golden Phoenix, what a large ship that is!--Bonnie Lady...."
And that is when she saw him.

Phillip was strolling down the other side of the lane, dressed definitely not for purchasing supplies for a ship but more as a man going courting. He had on a white silk shirt, his hat perched rakishly with the new feathers he picked up in Castara. In his hand was a bouquet of flowers.

"What on earth is he up to?"

She followed Phillip at a discreet distance, making sure she stayed in the shadows. She watched as he turned down a lane and approached a cottage with a well-kept garden. He rapped on the door and when it opened, that was when she saw her.

She was a tall, voluptuous woman with curves in all the right places. Her red hair hung around her shoulders. She was dressed simply, in a dressing gown of emerald green which Zara was sure matched her eyes.

Phillip made a grand gesture of bowing, sweeping off his hat as he offered her the bouquet.The woman was smiling and laughing. Then she wrapped her arms around Phillip's neck and drew him into a kiss that was anything but casual.

Zara stood there for a moment, absolutely bewildered by what she saw and confused by the mixed signals she had been getting from Phillip the last few days.

Hot tears filled her eyes and she reached up to yank the string of pink pearls from her neck, then remembered they were locked away safely in a velvet pouch in her dresser drawer.
The one person who she thought she could always count on had now let her down and played her for a fool.
All thoughts of Davis looking for her fled her mind. She stood forlornly on the corner staring at the cottage door and wishing it would open and Phillip would walk through it. Hastily she wiped the tears from her face.

She suddenly felt the need for an ale even though she hardly drank any. In her pocket were coins that Davis didn't know about.
And the sign on the corner read

                                                          DIABLO DEL MAR
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« Reply #52 on: October 07, 2015, 07:37:30 PM »
Zara brushed her hair back and straightened her hat. As she approached the door, she kicked it open.
All eyes were on her as she strode up to the tavern bar.
"An ale, please. And be sure it is cold."
The barkeep grinned and poured her a drink. She held it up to the light.
"What is this, a typhoid breeding ground? Now you pour this one out and give me a glass that I can see the other side out of."

He handed it to her with a smile. "That look better, little lady?"
She held it up. "If that is your best, I guess it will have to do."
She stared at the opposite wall while she downed it quickly.
"Another one, please."
"Either you are thirsty or are trying to forget someone, honey."  She turned and the voice belonged to a pirate, not totally unattractive. Rough but clean.
She said cooly, "Maybe one or the other. Maybe both. Maybe none. Why?"
"Just that we don't see women of your caliber in here."
"There a law against it?"
"None that I know of"
She held her glass up and yelled, "Another one, barkeep!"
The barkeep ambled over and Zara reached into her pocket for the coin.
"No, no...allow me."

She gave him a sideways glance.
"Thank you."
"You aren't from around here. Newly settled or just passing through?"
"On what?"
She tossed her head. "On what the night brings. What's going on over there?"
"Just a friendly game of chance. A few captains from the other ships get together when we are in port."
"You are a captain?"
"My manners must be lacking." He swept off his hat and bowed.
"Captain Benjamin Horton, at your service. And you are....?"
"Let's just say Zara and let it go at that."
She turned back to the barkeep and yelled, "Another ale, keeper of the bar!"
Captain Horton slipped the coins to the barkeep and said, "Whatever the little lady wants, keep them coming. I think she is trying to drown out the memory of a man."

Zara glanced over again.
"So...what game are they playing?"
"A game of One and Thirty.".
"You don't say!"

Zara was glad she still had on her cavalier hat and the boots she wore earlier. It gave her an edge to look like one of them. Or so she thought.
She took off her hat and her hair cascaded down her back.
She walked over and the men at the table stopped and stared. She leaned over, affording them a glimpse of what lie beneath her blouse.
"Gentlemen? I have the feel of fortune. Deal me in."


Davis--what's wrong?"
"I lost her."
"You WHAT?"
"I told her to wait at the silk shop. I went over to the tobacconist right across the booth. I swear I was only gone for five minutes and she was gone."
"Did you ask around?"
"I did. The silk vendor said something caught her attention. She said she would be right back and headed down Chauncey Lane. And she never came back."

A flood of guilt washed over Phillip.
"Alright. We split up. You go over by the vendors and I'll head south towards the harbor."
"And Davis?"
"Don't panic. This is not unusual for her. We will find her. But one thing is where Zara Wolfe goes, trouble usually follows. So don't overlook the taverns."
Davis rushed out.
Phillip headed towards the water.
'Zara Wolfe, what have you done now?' he said to himself.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 09:21:04 AM by Welsh Wench »
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« Reply #53 on: November 01, 2015, 09:18:45 AM »
They scrambled to make room for her. She took her place next to the two least disgusting ones. At least they had their eyes, their teeth and from what she gathered, all their appendages.
Zara gave them a dimpled, demure smile and asked, "What are we playing, gentlemen?"

She made a point of making sure her coin pouch made a great deal of clinking noise.

"Why, little lady, we are playing One-and-Thirty. Ye familiar wit' it?"
She frowned. "One-and-Thirty? Is it anything like Ruff and Honours?"
The men burst out laughing.
The one to her left, Zechiel, yelled, "Hey, Bartholomew! Deal her in!"

The cards were dealt and Zara exclaimed, "Ooh! What pretty cards!"
Smitty, the pirate on her right, asked, "And what ye be a-drinkin', little lassie?"
She frowned as she concentrated on her cards. "Oh, I don't know....something light, I guess. I'm not thrilled with the ale here. Does this place have rum?"
The men guffawed and Smitty yelled out, "Hey! Murphy! Get this little lass a tankard of your finest 'light' rum!"

The game progressed for the better part of two hours. Zara was losing money right and left. The more she was losing, the more rum the men were buying her.
Finally, she was down to her last few coins.

One of the pirates, who filled her tankard up again, said, "Well, little lady, looks like Lady Luck didn't smile on ye after all."

She stood up, swayed over the table and then said, "Gentlemen, I have something much more valuable than a few mere gold coins. And I'll just bet you would like to know what it is. Ask yourselves, 'Do I feel lucky?' you, gentlemen?"

The pirates looked at her with expectation and anticipation. She placed her booted foot on the chair and resting her arms on her bent knee, she leaned forward and whispered, "I have access to a prime piece of property."
Smitty snorted, "We don't be needin' some piece o' land, lady. We be seamen. Saltwater be in our veins, not sod."

She smiled slowly and said, "Not all property is land. I happen to have in my possession a light frigate, three-masted and square rigged. Done in a basic black with burgundy red trim. The masthead is a snarling wolf. She has thirty-two guns and an arsenal to rival the Royal Navy's. Spanish-built and sleek, the Captain's great cabin is to die for. Or will be when it gets a bit of revamping. Even has a walk-in closet.
And best of all, it comes complete with a crew. Ready, willing and able."
"And just where ye be acquiring this vessel, Missy?"
She stood up and took a deep drink of ale and looked at them with glazed eyes. "Ever hear of a ship named El Lobo del Mar?"

The men were enraptured. Zara reached into her bodice and pulled out documents.
Not really proof of ownership. More like the receipt for some silk and a letter she had started to her parents.

"In my hand, gentlemen, are the proof of ownership papers."
Zechiel made a grab for it and she drew it back quickly.
"Ah ah ah....hands off, you reprobate. I am willing to lay the title to this vessel down on the next hand. So what do you say? Does anyone have anything of value that will be worthy of this?"

Ferguson, a powerfully built pirate with a gold tooth in front, said, "Aye. I was left three hundred acres in the Colonies. I'll lay the deed down for the chance to own the famed El Lobo Del Mar."
Someone piped up, "And how did ye be acquiring the title to said vessel, Miss...?"
Zara smiled sweetly and said, "Let's just say it's a family heirloom.

"Best, two out of three?" Ferguson grinned.
Zara tried to focus her eyes. "Sounds good to me. My, that---whatever it was--is delicious! Please, may I have some more?"
The gentlemen grinned and Bartholomew came over with a full tankard. She downed it and laughed, "It certainly goes down easily, doesn't it? But do you mind if we take a five minute break? I want to be sharp as a cookie for this."
Smitty yelled, "Five minutes! Then back to the table!"

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« Reply #54 on: December 01, 2015, 07:27:41 PM »
Ferguson sat with Smitty and they laughed at what they thought was a sure thing.
Smitty asked, "What you reckon to do about the crew on board El Lobo?"
Ferguson struck a match on his boot and took a long draw on his black cigar. "Either they join up or I dump them over the side when we get out of port."
Zara walked outside and stood in the night air. 'Oh, they've really underestimated me,' she thought. She laughed to herself and took a few deep breaths. If all goes right, I'll be the owner of a three hundred acres in the Colonies. All I have to do is play this final hand....

She walked back into the tavern, affecting a sway in her walk.
Ferguson came over with another tankard of rum and said, "Here. Allow me."
He pulled out a chair for her and she sat down gingerly. She hiccuped.
"Are you ready to play, Miss...? I be apologizing, we ne'er did hear your name.."
"Zara. Zara...Bright, at your service." She slurred her words. Then she giggled.
"I think I can play now. Yes, I am sure. Mr. Ferguson, are you ready?"

The deed to the land and the papers were laid on the table. The cards were drawn and One-and-Thirty commenced.
Ferguson won.
A cheer went up.

Round two.
Zara won.
Time for round three.

Zara now realized it was time to play her hand. She sat there and snapped herself out of her so-called alcoholic stupor. Silly men, she thought. She learned early how to look sociable without drinking half the alcohol offered. She was as sober as a nun at Easter services.

She remembered a lesson she had learned and learned well. And it was about to come in handy.
Her father had taught her how to read a marked deck.
And this deck had marks that would make a cheetah look like a connect-the-dot game.

"Gentlemen? I do believe this game will be the deciding factor."
The men looked to each other and were puzzled.
Where was the slurring?
Where was the unfocused eyes?

Before them sat a self-assured, totally in control woman.
And she wasn't the least bit drunk.

The cards were dealt and as the final cards were laid down, Zara let out a slow breath and said, "Thirty-one."
Bartholomew raised his hand and said, "Game over."
There was a silence from Ferguson as he couldn't believe what had just happened to him.
Zara scooped up the deed to the land in the Colonies and slipped it into her bodice, along with the receipt that was the pretend deed to El Lobo del Mar.

"Well, wasn't that a pleasant way to spend an evening, gentlemen?"


"Uh oh...busted."

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« Reply #55 on: January 01, 2016, 07:09:43 PM »

He strode over to her.
"Just what in HELL do you think you are doing?"
"Winning. What does it look like to you?"
"Time to go."
"But I'm on a streak. Look! I just won three hundred acres of land in the Colonies!"
"And with what collateral?"
"It were a ship called El Lobo del Mar," one of the pirates volunteered.
"Don't worry, Phillip. I didn't lose it. Look! I won land!"

He took the deed and asked, "Who does this belong to?"
A depressed pirate raised his hand.

"Here--take it back. It is a fraudulent bet. She has no right to a ship that is not hers."
"You means he was playing with property that isn't even hers?"
He jumped up ready to grab Zara.
Phillip whipped out his pistol and said evenly, "We are going now. No harm done. She's underage anyways. And if you go for your gun, I will burn you. I will burn the very heart out of you."'
Zara crossed her arms. "Underage, you say. A woman, says I, who knows her mind and thinks she is staying around."
Phillip scooped her up and threw her over his shoulder.
As she was being bounced out the door, she waved enthusiastically and said, "Nice playing cards with you gentlemen. Oh and by the way.....that is a marked deck. 'Ta!"

Phillip set Zara down firmly on the ground about a block from the tavern. The rain was just starting.
"Oh, great!" Phillip groaned. "A storm is moving in."
Just then Davis ran up, out of breath.
"Thank God you found her."
It started to rain harder.
"Where the hell did you find her?"
Phillip glared at Zara. "She was in the Diablo del Mar in the middle of a card game. I'll explain later. Go on back to the ship and I will be there in a few minutes.
"I'm sorry if I caused you any worries, Davis," Zara called after him.
Davis turned around. "We'll talk later--and about the heart attack you almost gave me."

Phillip waited until he was out of earshot.
"Just what the HELL were you doing, betting your father's ship?"
She shrugged. "The cards were marked. I saw it as an opportunity to win some land. Da would have been proud."
"Do you always have to start trouble no matter where you go?"
From down the street came the sound of a window breaking. A pirate sailed through it and landed in the street.
She looked back and said, "Yeah...pretty much."

Phillip took her roughly by the arm. "We're headed back to the ship before they find you."
She shook off his arm and said haughtily, "I can manage to make it back to the ship under my own steam. I will thank you not to manhandle me."
She stood there with the rain coming off the brim of her hat, the feathers drooping and her shirt plastered to her body.

The two stared at each other, the rain pouring off Phillip's hat in torrents.
"We'll talk about this once we get back to the ship and into dry clothes," he said tightly.
"Fine," she retorted.

As they walked up the gangplank and onto the ship, the crew that was standing nearby parted silently like the Red Sea as they walked to the quarterdeck.
Zara left a trail of raindrop drips and her boots squished as she walked. Phillip wrung out his shirt tails.
"I suggest we both get into dry clothes and we can talk--"
"No. No need to talk, Captain Briggs. What you do on your own time is your business. What I do on mine, is my own."
"Oh, really? I seem to remember that what you did on your own time is the reason you are here on the ship. And having the audacity to put up your father's ship in a card game--I don't care if the cards were marked or not--was the height of recklessness. Have you no forethought at all as to what you put poor Davis through?"
"My apologies to Davis. Although you could hardly wait to pawn me off on him."
"What do you mean?"

She swept her cavalier hat off in a grand imitation of his greeting to the woman at the cottage and bowed deeply. She presented him with a rope and said quietly, "Go hang yourself."
The only reply she gave was her boot heels stomping on the companionway deck and a slam of the door for emphasis.

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« Reply #56 on: February 01, 2016, 08:17:21 PM »
The next morning....

Davis stood on the upper deck and looked over the sea. Zara walked quietly up the stairs.
"Permission to join you?" she said meekly.
He nodded.
They stood there in silence for a few minutes.
"Who is she, Davis?" Zara said softly.
"Who is...who?"
"The woman with red hair who lives in the cottage down the lane from the port."
"Oh...that woman. Just a friend of Captain Briggs."
"Obviously. I...saw them."
"Phillip had flowers and he bowed and handed them to her. She seemed very pleased. They kissed and he went inside."
"How long did you hang around outside?"
"Not long. I kept hoping he would come right out. But he didn't. It didn't take a genius to figure out what was going on inside."
"He's a normal, single man, Zara. These situations happen."
"But, Davis, I don't understand. He kissed me on the beach at Castara. He left me a beautiful seashell with pink pearls draped over it. Is he just playing a game with me?"

"It's not Phillip's style, Zara. He's always been pretty straighforward. Like his da."
"It took Uncle Josiah long enough to figure out he wanted Aunt Renee."
"Cautiousness, Zara. They are cautious men. That is what made your da and Josiah such good friends. They balanced each other. Your da had crazy schemes but Josiah was always the voice of reason. Even though he did go along with it."
Davis chuckled, "I remember a time in Antigua...." He caught himself and cleared  his throat. "Well, it was a long time ago..."

Phillip mounted the stairs.
"Zara, we need to talk. Davis, would you excuse us?"
Zara gathered up her hat and said frostily, "Don't bother, Davis. There is nothing to be said. Captain Briggs, you stay to your side of the ship and I will stay on mine. Shall I get some sort of tape to mark it off?"
"Now you are being a brat."

The first words were muffled but the last few were very clear.
"...and the horse you rode in on."

As Zara ran down the stairs, Phillip turned to Davis.
"Guess she is still mad."
"Guess so."
Davis took a long draw on his black cigarette. "You don't know too much about women, do you, Phillip?"
"I know what goes where."
"A piece of advice. Leave her alone for now. She's hurt."
"I know."
"She saw."
"I know that too."
"She told you?"
He smiled wryly, "More like she gave me a demonstration."
"Ah well....this too shall pass. Can I ask a favor of you?"
"Can you make this ship go a bit faster? The two of you are driving me crazy."
With that, Davis threw his cigarette over the gunwale and walked off, waving goodnight over his shoulder.

Phillip sighed. "Yeah. That makes two of us, mate."

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« Reply #57 on: March 04, 2016, 08:54:42 PM »
The next morning--
Phillip strode up to the quarterdeck as Davis was taking a few measurements and adjusting the ship's wheel.
"Doesn't Harris usually do that?"
"Aye, but he's hung over."
"Still? We left Tortuga two days ago."
Davis grinned, "Well, he had a good time. Came back with nary a coin in his pocket. I gave him the hair o' the dog that bit him and he will be as right as rain come evening."
"Some navigator he is!"
"Aye, well, when he is sober he is the best."
Phillip walked over to the binnacle and put a healthy dose of rum into his coffee.
Davis frowned. "I take it the little lady has not made an appearance?"
Phillip shook his head.
"I thought I saw a flash of blue silk as I approached the galley but I heard a door slam. Quite loudly. Cook said she snuck down and fixed a plate and disappeared. An hour later, the plate was in the kitchen except it was clean."
Davis laughed, "She's pretty quick. But she can't stay in that room forever."
"Don't be too sure. Jack said when she gets her nose in a book, she forgets about everything."
He walked over and unfurled the navigational charts, his finger tracing the route.
"This is the route I want you to take, Phillip," said Jack. He took a long draw on his pipe before continuing. "It's not the swiftest, but it's the safest in the end. Any ship's master who has a lick of sense and any experience at all in these waters will recognise El Lobo's silhouette and give you a wide berth."
He pointed along a path on the map he had drawn in red ink. "Stay east of the Windwards until you reach Barbuda. Then bear hard west and slightly south, keeping St. Barthelemy to starboard and St. Eustatius larboard. Bring her to due west when St. Croix comes into view. Once you're beyond Puerto Rico, go north through the Mona Passage then follow the coast of Hispaniola until you reach Tortuga."
"Simple enough, but that's well away from the main shipping lanes. Wouldn't pirates be more of concern on this route?"
"Lad, just who do you think would give El Lobo the respect, and distance, she deserves? Pirates love shipping routes. I'm taking you out of them. Be sure to tip your hat as you sail on by. It costs nothing to pay courtesy to someone who knows better than to try to blow you out of the water."

??Phillip tipped his hat many times that day. And just as Jack had said, ship after probable pirate ship had begun to pace El Lobo, then casually veered away.
All, save one.

"Our position?" called Phillip.
"Nearly to the mouth of the Mona Passage, Cap'n," replied Davis.
"We'll make our turn as we pass Isla de Mona, due north, then take us west."
"North, then bear westerly, aye," replied Davis.

As they skirted the coast of Isla de Mona Davis pointed towards the horizon behind them.
"Phillip, ye might want to clap eye to our wake.
Phillip picked up the spyglass and looked out towards the southeast.
"Our shadow is still with us," Davis murmured. "The one we picked up as we passed St. Croix."
"Has he gained on us?"
"No. He's a patient devil. Hanging just at the edge of our sights, matching us turn for turn."
"Are you sure it's not some reflection or another trick of the light?"
"I'm positive. The masts are all wrong, for one thing. Two to our three. Best I can tell, he's a brig. Maybe bigger, but it's hard to say at this distance. We won't know more until he shows his hand."
"If he shows his hand. He may just be curious, waiting to see if we mistake him for a merchant and turn to engage. He can earn his reputation on someone else. Steady on, Davis. We'll bore him to death."
"Aye, Cap'n. Steady on it is. But the sooner we're rid of this ghost, the better, I say." He paused for a moment. "All the same, perhaps it would wise to put the gun crew on alert?"
"I'm not one to jump at shadows. I'm surprised you are. No, not until he moves to overtake us. We'll have time enough to make ready if that time comes at all."
"Aye, then. But you won't mind if I have two sets of eyes on that ship over the next few watches?"
Phillip thought for a moment. "Yes. I'll defer to your considerable wisdom. Make it so."
"And Phillip?"
"This is your command, and the quarterdeck is your hallowed ground. But I don't give a damn what Cade Jennings taught you. It's a long fall from such a high horse. What he got was coming to him. This ship might be a wooden world, but it's no empire."
Phillip shook his head. "I did it again, didn't I?"
"That you did, Cap'n Phillip Briggs. Shoulder braids and quilled hats don't suit you much. We're all but simple folk, same as you. Same as your da Josiah, and same as Jack Wolfe himself. Now if you don't mind, Cap'n sir, I'll check on our shadow before the light fades."
"Davis, I'm sorry. Things have been going so smoothly; I guess it's gone to my head."
"Apology accepted. I'll be here, next time you need taking down a peg or two! And the time after that."

Davis walked to ??the aft gunwale of the quarterdeck and peered into to distance. "Just who the hell are you, pacing us so? Find another bone to chew, wee pup. You'll find no meat here. Only teeth."
Yo ho ho! Or does nobody actually say that?

Offline Captain Jack Wolfe

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« Reply #58 on: April 03, 2016, 08:30:29 PM »
On the quarterdeck of the pursuing ship, second in command Hector Alvarez lowered his spyglass and smiled.
"They have not changed course or speed. Your orders?"
The captain took a deep breath before stepping forward. He eyed his prey before saying quietly, "No change in speed? This is too easy. Increase ours. Make ready the forward guns. But take your time, Alvarez. I wish to savour this."

Alvarez nodded to his commander. He walked to the forward railing of the quarterdeck and cleared his throat.
"Gentlemen! Our time is now. Get aloft, and bring us to full sail! Master Orencia, have your forward gunners ready with chain shot. We do this for the pride of Spain, and the pride of our Captain Mendoza!"

Phillip jogged up the stairs to El Lobo's quarterdeck.
"And change, Davis?"
"Plenty. They just clapped on full sail. Time to play captain for real, Mister Briggs."
Phillips' eyes went wide. "Full sail!!" he shouted. "Every last bit of canvas we have, show it to the wind! Double time!"
The crew leapt to life, scrambling up the ratlines and untying the sailcloth as fast as they could.
"Recommendations, Mister Davis?"
"Well, we could run like hell on our current course and get overtaken. We're too heavy with molasses barrels to try and outrun them. We could dump cargo, but not fast enough to make a difference."
"I'm hoping you're just getting the bad news out of the way early? What else is there?"
"That bank of thick fog, twenty points off to starboard. We'll lose speed making for it, but we stand a good chance of losing our unwanted company once we're in."
Phillip bit his lip. "Do it. It's our best chance."
He looked behind and cursed himself as he saw the pursuing ship gain on his own with every passing second.

Alvarez looked to his captain. "We are within range. But they are making for that fog bank. If they go in there, we'll lose them."
Tranquillo Mendoza's eyes went hard. "Then we should explain it to them, don't you think, Hector?"
With a predatory smile, Alvarez raised his hand high in the air, then quickly made a fist.
A moment later, the forward guns of the Mercedez III spoke their authority.

The men on the quarterdeck of El Lobo instinctively ducked when they heard the other ship's guns fire. High above, chain shot tore through the sails, dramatically reducing their ability to carry the wind they so desperately needed to flee.
"Aft guns, fire!!" yelled Phillip. The guns blazed but went wide of their mark.
"Damn it all!" said Davis. "That's it. We'll never outrun them now."
Phillip just stared at the pursuing ship.
"Your orders, Captain?"
Phillip shook his head. "What? My what?"
"Do we run and get chased down like dogs, or do we stand and fight?" asked Davis. "Your orders, Captain Briggs?"
Phillip stared at the deck. "Order the men to heave to and take in sail. Signal to the commander of the enemy vessel..."
He took a deep, shuddering breath. "We surrender."

Davis' mouth dropped open. "Are you out of your mind?! This is Jack' Wolfe's ship! He would never give up without a fight, and you know it!"
"And he isn't here now! But his daughter is. And I'll not have her life put at risk over some damned molasses and a few coins. If you have a problem with that, Mister Davis, you can enquire about employment with whoever just fired on us. Am I understood?"
Davis stared at Phillip for a moment, then spat upon the deck. "Clearly. I hope to God you're right. 'Cause we're all dead if you're not."
« Last Edit: April 03, 2016, 08:32:11 PM by Captain Jack Wolfe »
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Offline Captain Jack Wolfe

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« Reply #59 on: May 01, 2016, 07:33:20 PM »
"Look, I'm thinking of everyone's safety. We're too slow and we're undermanned for battle. If it's all the same to you, I'd rather talk our way out of this than shoot."
"Aye," said Davis with a resigned shrug. "I guess my pride got the best of me. I'll give the orders and strike our colours. Hopefully, this Spaniard won't fire on a flag of parlay."
"One more order," said Phillip. "Have the men arm themselves. Pistols and blades stowed in easy reach. I want them ready in case things go any more against us."
"Now that's the Phillip Briggs I know. Consider it done, captain."
"Good man. I'll be below trying to explain our situation to Zara."
"And trying to convince her not to do anything Wolfe-like?"
"From your mouth to God's ear. Carry on, Davis."

As Phillip made his way to the great cabin, he could hear Davis issuing the bitter orders no captain ever wants to hear being carried out on his own ship. The very thought of surrender galled him, but no other alternative was available. He hoped that this was all some terrible misunderstanding, or at the very least something he could talk his way out of. But first things first. He had to convince Zara Wolfe to stay out of sight and out of trouble. Two things she was not known for doing easily. Never mind the fact he was offering up her father's prized ship for surrender.

He opened the cabin's door to find Zara reading the ship's log.
"What are you doing with that?" he asked.
"Don't you knock?" she fired back.
"This is my cabin. Why should I knock?"
"I could have been in an indecent state."
"My day might have had a bright spot, then. Zara, we need to talk."
"About the log book? It's boring."
"No, not about that. There's a—"
"Your penmanship is awful, too. Not only is it boring, it's hard to read. Double boring."

Phillip walked over to the desk where Zara was seated and slammed the log book closed. Zara sat back, startled, but quickly regained her air of ennui.
"Now that I have your attention," he said sternly, "Did you hear cannon fire?"
"It wasn't me if that's what you're getting at."
"I'll take that as a yes. We've been fired on by a Spanish ship. By the way they've pursued us, they mean to board."
"Outrun them, then," Zara sniffed.
"Impossible. We're too heavy. El Lobo is a freighter now, remember?"
She pushed the log book at him. "You can start by throwing this overboard. That should lighten us up nicely."

"Zara, I can see you don't grasp how serious that is. And that's fine. You're only a child after all."
Her fists balled in anger at his words, but she stayed put.
"When the Spaniard boards," he continued, "I will do my best to talk out way out of this. Give him a measure of our cargo, anything that will prevent him searching the ship. Anything that will keep you safe. But I need your cooperation. I need you to stay below and keep silent."
Zara was flattered by Phillip's desire to keep her safe. But to keep below and not make a sound when her father's ship is being boarded by Spaniards?
"I will agree to your terms, Mister Briggs," she said. "but on one condition."
"And what might that be?"
"If this is an act of piracy, you send that Spaniard to hell. I will not have my father's ship taken while I draw a breath."
"And what of me, Miss Wolfe?" asked Phillip.
"You're part of the crew. That makes you part of the ship, doesn't it?"
"Aye, it does."
"Then get your arse back here in one piece. I daresay I've become fond of it."

"So we have a bargain? You stay below and quiet whilst I take care of the Spaniard?"
"Yeah, I guess we do."
Phillip breathed a sigh of relief as he turned towards the door. Despite Zara's bratty protests, he felt confident she would stick to their agreement.

As he put his hand on the door handle, a loud bang came from behind him.
Zara had taken the log book from the desk and dropped it flat against the deck.
"Oopsie! Butterfingers me. Was that too loud?" she demurred.
"Zara, I thought you understood—"
Three loud thuds came from above, a signal from Davis that Phillip needed to return to the quarterdeck.
"We'll talk about this later," he said.
As he closed the door, he heard Zara reply in an odd sing-song, "No we won't!"
Yo ho ho! Or does nobody actually say that?


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