Pirate Festival > Port of Call

EL LOBO DEL MAR

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Welsh Wench:
This was a collaberative writing between Black-Hearted Pearl, Queen Bonnie, Ice Mage, Mad Jack Wolfe and myself (Welsh Wench).  The posts were lost in the forum highjacking but Mad Jack saved it in post form and I had put it in narrative form way back when.  So...we shall post the narrative to the point where the postings take over.

Since it started out loosely, it was named Bilge Pump Pub by BHP. Queen Bonnie and Ice Mage posted a few times. Pearl hung in longer and then opted out after a bit .
Jack and I took it over. 


The title will change to El Lobo del Mar since we only were in the pub for one bright sunny day~


For those that are curious...this is a prequel to Dead Man's Tavern. 

I also wish to point out that even though the post are from me, Welsh Wench, the story is half Jack's and alot from Black Hearted Pearl...this was the only way we could post it.
 
© 2008 by the respective authors.  All Rights Reserved.



Captain Pearl walked into the pub and looked around. There seemed to be several people milling about, drinking and carousing. It's the early part of the evening. Not all ships have released their crews for shore leave yet. I figured no time like the present. As the more experienced crews come in, I will have less of chance of convincing the young ones to take a chance on a female captain. I gathered up my nerve and stride to the the center of the room. Deep breath.

"Ahoy, I'm Captain of the Scorpion and am looking for some young green crew to learn the ropes. It's a small schooner, about a 75 meters in length. I prefer young strapping lads, but am willing to take on strong lasses as long as their strong wills do not get in the way. So what say you, who here wants to learn to sail the seven seas?"

She  looked around with squinted eyes, and waited for a response.
 
Captain Vardus strolled  into the pub,  looking to grab a pint before The Knight Hammer departed.
"Barkeep, an ale if ye please."
He sat down, and put his feet up on the chair next to him.
 
Pearl watcheed as another captain entered the pub. 'Bugger, now how I am to acquire crew with a male captain admists. What I need is a cute wench to distract the captain and not just any wench. The most beautiful in the town.' Until then, Pearl realized there is another opportunity here. Pearl wandered over to the captain.

"Good day, sir. What brings ye to port? Do ye have anything ye liked to trade?"  she asked, eyeing the captain who appeared to be eyeing not her eyes but rather lower.
"Nothing to trade as of yet, Milady. We simply stopped in to take on provisions."
The captain took a swig from his tankard.
"However, when we return our hull should be busting with goods from all over the world. If ye be abouts when we return to sell our Priz...... i mean our cargo, iI might be inclined to reach some sort of a bargain. In the mean time, how about a drink?"
The captain  motions towards a chair on the other side of the table.
 
Pearl eyed the captain. She doesn't want to get drinking with the man. She needs a crew. Her source has indicated the Spaniards are due to set sail with an armada of treasure from the new world. The Spaniards know nothing of the summer storms. It is a bad time to be sailing east. One shipwreck and Pearl will have it made for the rest of her life. She needs that crew. Perhaps she can acquire some from this captain. Mutiny, as long as it isn't against oneself, could be profitable.
"Aye, I'll join ye for a drink. That is,"  as she smiles sweetly and winks, "if yer buying."
 
"Certainly Milady. Take a seat. Oh I am amiss.  Let me introduce myself. I am Captain Daemon Vardus of The Knight Hammer. May I have the pleasure of your name?  I would hate to share a drink with one as lovely as yourself, and not catch your name."
"Aye, ye can have the pleasure of my name. It is Pearl and I'll take a rum."

Pearl sat down in the chair next to Captain Vardus and eyed him through lowered eyes. She placed down her pewter mug to be filled. On the mug is an engraving of a scorpion; It matches the one she wears on her finger.

"So Captain, what flag do you sail under?"
The door opened and another captain swaggered- or is it staggered in!
"Yarrr! Rum for me and my First Mate, Barkeep!- and a Rum all around for all here! Ye can Thank Capt Black Bonnie Macfearsom- of the Scurvy Cat . We have had some good sailin!!! Yo Ho!"
Capt Bonnie looks around to see who she is treating. " Ahoy Vardus!!! We have not seen ye in ages! "
 
Captain Vardus looked up at his table guest.
"Our own officially, we are a freelance vessel. But if we were to call a place home, it would be in Glenlivet. We usually fly The RF Flag of Glenlivet underneath our own. But some circumstances warrant us to lower it, in the interests of peace that is. How about y........"

Captain Black Bonnie entered the room, ordered drinks around the house. Without even a breath she spotted Captain Vardus sitting at the table, and started over to him.
"Captain why don't you join us?  We were just discussing our home port, and the flags we sail under."
 
Pearl looked at both Captain Black Bonnie and then at Captain Vardus. Can she trust these folks? Do they work for the Spaniards? She'll just have to test the waters.
"I sail under a letter of Marque from the Governor of Port Royal. Most me crew is tailors and such. We are always in the market for cloth, particularly from the china seas."

The 'such' being a cutthroats will ne'er a thought to slicing a throat for gold.
 
 Jack strolled  in and took a long look around at the patrons. His left hand seemed to be tallying numbers of some sort, while his right hand danced off the hilt of his cutlass. His eyes darted suspiciously about the pub, when he spied a table that gave him full view of his surroundings. He took  a seat at the table, careful to ensure that none have made a move in his direction.
"Barkeep! Rum! And... more rum, if you please."

 
 Bonnie  McFearsome  explained,  "We are sailing also under the Royal Flag of Glenlivet. No doubt you have heard of my Sister the Queen? We are under her protection.  Seafarin' tailors, eh?"
Bonnie raised one eyebrow in amusement as she gulped her rum.
"Must be handy when yer sails need mendin!"
She laughed heartily, as did Capt.Vardus. Capt Bonnie gave thought to her own scurvy crew of Elves, Fae and adventurers. She hoped they were keeping a weather eye on the valuable cargo she had in the hold. She took note of the pirate sitting alone and looking about nervously.
"Ahoy lad! The rum is on me this day! Drink up!"
She flashed a smile at the newcomer. In the business of piracy and pillaging one could never have too many friends!
 
:Jack thought quickly. "Well! If we have royals in this fine place, then I might ply Her Majesty for a Letter of Marque?"
 He approached the most bonificent Queen of this fine realm.
"Mind you, I don't usually stoop to such things, but an empty belly can go far in changing one's mind, yeah? So, what say you, Your Majesty? Game for another privateer in your ranks? What say you to a Letter of Marque for a daring soul such as meself?"
 
Pearl watched  with interest the exchange between the new comer and Captain Bonnie Black. The newcomer had yet to identify himself and already he was asking for a letter of Marque. How bold, thought Pearl. Perhaps a deal could be made with him on the sly. All crew that sailed under her had the protection of a Marque, be it only through the Governor of Port Royal.
 
Wench entered the tavern, her eyes trying to adjust quickly to the darkness. She sat at a table and looked over the crowd. Scurvy lot, she thought.
She signaled the barkeep and he ambled over.
"What it be, miss?"
"A pint of ale, please." She slid a coin across the table. He nodded and said, "Be right back wit' the ale."
In a few minutes, he came back and set it down.
She looked up at him and said, "I didn't just come into this port green, you know. I'm looking for someone and willing to pay for information. But I'm savvy and when I pay for information, I expect it. Even if it is an 'I don't know' I expect a name of someone who might."
He said, "So. Be ye a lady or a wench?"
She looked him steadily in the eye and said cooly, "What makes you think I cannot be both?"
The barkeep grew embarrassed and said, "Well, ye dress and talk proper like but ye has the coolness an' experience o' a wench."
She folded her hands under her chin and looked him steadily in the eyes. "Let's just forget the social commentary and get down to brass tacks, as they say. I am seeking someone who frequents this port."

She looked over and swore under her breath. At the table drinking an ale with a captain--a female captain at that!--was her very own Captain Daemon Vardus!
She looked over. What?? Captain Jack Wolfe--with an 'e' no less!
Thought he was long gone!
Wench thought to herself, 'Forget the information!'
She drank the ale in one long gulp, and then she dropped quietly to her hands and knees and tried to crawl out the door without being noticed.

 
Jack caught  a hint of hesitation in the Regent's eyes. He leaned close and played  his hand in a rough whisper.
"Look, dearie. Word around these parts is that you're in thick with my kind, so formalities can be tossed aside, savvy? I'm offering you the service of a well kept 32-gun pyrate frigate, with a very hungry crew. You get 15% of our take, before expenses. No one else need know our arrangement, or else the deal's off. Now, what say you to putting pen to paper, and issuing that Letter of Marque? Make it out to one Captain Jack Wolfe, with an "e". No sense running afoul of the Rules of Admiralty, eh? Payment upon delivery of said goods, and all that rot."
Jack smiled, and looked expectantly at dear Bonnie. ::
 
Capt Bonnie laughed, "Ye are mistaking me for my twin sister, Queen Bonnie??? We look alike, but I am younger and much prettier, don't you think? For yer letter o' marque- you need to see Her Majesty! I have my own crew- Magical folks! Why our luck in pillaging be so good! Now, how can I help you, Capt Jack? Have another tot o' rum?" Capt Bonnie batted her long lashes at Jack.
 
Jack took a good, long, incredibly puzzled look at Bonnie. ::
"So, you are in fact not your sister, who is in fact the Queen? Well, that's different then, ain't it? I think I'll be havin' that rum you mentioned...."
 
The barkeep approaches the four sea dogs sitting at the table. Soon all mugs are filled. Each looked at each other, curious and expectant. Who will be the next one to speak? Pearl took the lead and raised her tankard.
"Well then my new mates, let us raise our rum to honor the seas! The sea!"
 
"Aye! To the Sea!"
Jack paused and cocked his head. 'I know that dragging sound!'  He stood with his hand over the butt of his pistol, and faced the noise he'd just heard.

"You there! In the shadows! That's right, mates, step up into the light where we can get a fair look at you! Exactly who is it that's keeping me from my rum?! And explain to me, in ten words or less, why I shouldn't kill you?"
 
Wench looked up from the floor where she attempted to crawl out inconspicuously.
"Oh! Hi!, Captain Jack. Um..guess my skirt was dragging on the floor. That's thirteen words... would you let me slide by with the extra three ones?"
 
 
 Jack tried mightly to quash his laughter, and barely succeeded.  He walked over to the lovely Wench, and extended his hand.
"Nah, love, you needn't be dodging Ol' Jack! Here! On your feet, deary! That's it! Now, tell us why you went to all the trouble of trying to escape this rat's nest and avoid my less than honourable intentions?"
 It didn't help matters that when he pulled Wench to her feet, his face was not but an inch from hers, their mouths dangerously close.
 
Wench took a step back and tried to put some distance between the two of them.
She whispered, "I always knew someday you'd come walking back through my door...."
"It's a smaller world than they'd have you imagine, love. Smaller that I'd ever imagined, that's for sure. But, here we are. "
Jack stepped  forward and caressed her cheek. "We can still catch up on old times, yeah? Did you honestly think I'd quit burning for you?"
 
Wench took another step back.
"I'd have thought you would have put that fire out a long time ago. I know I did."
 
Without closing distance, Jack smiled disarmingly.
"Some fires never die, love. No matter how much we'd like them to."
Jack chuckled ruefully, "No matter how far and wide I've sailed, you always manage to find your way into my dreams. And what fine dreams they be! Short of what we've known of each other, but fine dreams nonetheless. A poor substitute for your exquisite touch, I'll grant that."
Jack's cheeks flushed, knowing he's once again said too much.
"So, dear heart... you'd have be believe that you feel nothing for me, despite your attempt to scurry out on hands and knees? Such extravagant measures for one who no longer yearns for my attention!"
 
Pearl watched intently. It had been a long time since she had a man. It stirred longings in her she didn't want to remember. The sea was her mate now. It had never let her down and always provided for her. She didn't want to be an audience to this any longer.
"Hmmmm, excuse me. Miss, would you care to join us or perhaps you and this fine captain like to be alone?"
 
With her eyes never leaving Captain Jack Wolfe's face, Wench said to Pearl,
"No, that is quite alright. But I do owe him this.."
And her hand raised to slap the Captain across the face.
 
 Jack caught her hand gently at the wrist, and felt the anger drain from her strike.
"Now, now, love. Such rash action! Hardly the kind of greeting one would expect from his wife, after all this time! Or had you forgotten that small fact, dearest? So, shall ye try once again to slap me face from me skull, as ye seem want to do?"
Jack stepped back with arms wide open.
"What's it to be, love? A tender embrace, of a decapitation? Your choice! You know I've no fear of death, with good reason. What's your answer?"
Jack tossed a strange gold coin into the air as he awaited an answer.
 
Wench took a step towards him and enfolded herself in his embrace. As his arms closed around her and his face buried into her neck, she took the dagger out of the sheath from the back of his belt She stepped back, drawing it and holding it in front of her.
"It's over, Jack. It's been over for quite a while....."
"So, tell me love... After you're done killing me, what have ye planned next? Your move, deary. Make it count!"
 
She reached around and put the blade back in the sheath. With a steady look, she said, "You just are not worth killing, Jack. And when I die, if anyone tries to send me to hell, I can honestly say I've done my time. With you."
 
Jack beamed at her.
"I thought you'd come around, love. We're much more destructive together than apart, yeah? Now, all we need is that Letter of Marque, and we're back on the Account. And this time, I need ye with me. At my side, as it were. What say you, love? Can you serve as Quartermaster aboard a pyrate ship?"
 
She leaned into Jack, gently touching his cheek. As they drew close together, just before their lips touched, Wench whispered to him, "And what makes you think you haven't been replaced?"
She drew away and the smile on her face was one he didn't expect to see.
"In all aspects of my life, love. All aspects! You have been gone a long time..."
 
Jack smirked at his beloved, and drew up a seat on the nearest table. "'Substituted', deary... But never replaced." Jacks eyes narrowed, and his smile grew feral. "It's true, I've been gone far too long; but to be replaced? You remember that month on the sands of Barbados, sweetness? The delicious oaths you made? How on earth can you say I've been replaced after all that? And the Dutch Merchantman we took? How her Captain soiled himself as you held your cutlass against his throat? You can't tell me that wasn't as thrilling as you made it out to be. We can have all that again, love. A letter of Marque, and we sail. Pure and free, living the life of Kings. Yes, or no?"
 
Her face coloured. "You can hardly hold oaths uttered in the throes of passion against me, Jack. I've grown up. I'm not that impressionable young lass you took on as your wife. I've shoved all that behind me. And that is what you need to do, Jack. Shove it. I'll not be your pawn again."
 
Pearl, tired of this banter, spied a bucket on the floor filled with liquid. Should she throw it? What would be the consequences? Aww, they bloody need it, that's fer sure. Pearl grabbed the bucket and tossed the contents on both Captain Jack and the Wench.
"Oh bugger! I didn't know that was tobacco swill."
Pearl dashed toward the door, tankard in hand, and tossed a matching gold coin to Captain Jack's at the barkeep.

"Here's for yer troubles", she shouted as she did a somersault through the door; nearly knocking down the marines entering. She quickly regained her composure and slyly averted her eyes.
"Good day, sirs", she murmured demurely and quickly walked away, bowing her head.


Welsh Wench:
 
Wench stood there gasping and dripping. EWWWW!!
"THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" she screamed at Jack. She yelled at Black-hearted Pearl, "If I didn't feel so icky, I'd thank you!"

 
Jack leveled his pistol at Pearl's deparing form. His finger tightened on the trigger, and the hammer slammed against the frizzen. No spark. The metal was so wet from the goo flung by Pearl that no spark could be had. In frustration, Jack hurled his pistol at the door, hitting one of the marines squarely in the forehead. The marine collapsed like a house of cards. Jack winced, and looked back at his petulant bride.
"I'm supposing that's my fault, too? Honestly, shall it always be this way between us? I was looking forward to a truce with you, love. I really was. But since it's come to this, so be it."
Jack drew his dagger, and held it against his beloved's throat, using her body as a shield against the intruding marines.
"You see, love? Whether or not you wish it, you're terribly useful in keeping me alive. Gentlemen! Step aside, and shoulder your weapons! That's right! Keep the lady breathing, and all's right with the world! Thanks, mates... We'll just make our way to the door, nice and easy."

Jack made his way to the door, with the lovely Wench positioned between him and the marines.
"Gentlemen! And my dearest love... She's all yours!"
With that, Jack shoved his bride forward into the marines, and ran at breakneck speed for the port.
 
Fizzel, snap! Pearl stayed low. That was close call, thought Pearl. Good thing that slime was all over Captain Jack's flintlock.
Still, Pearl was without crew and had better check on her sloop. It was tied up on the edge of town, in a growth of swamp and seaweed. If she wasn't careful, it would certainly foul the rutter. It wasn't a large ship, one that could be easily be crewed by six. Five of which she still didn't have.
What's this? Pearl spied Captain Jack running for the port, marines chasing him. "Better him than me", thought Pearl as she sauntered toward the edge of town.
 
Capt Bonnie looked at Capt Vardus!
"Well what do ye think of that?"
They both broke out in hysterical laughter!
"Shall we depart to my vessel for more and better libations?"
 
 
As Jack made his run for the port, he tossed a sheaf of paper into the air in such a way that the pursuing marines could not help but notice. On the few pages was information about a sloop making berth near the town, mastered by one 'Black Hearted' Pearl, carrying several tonnes of contraband. Jack grinned as he heard the footfalls of the marines pull up to gather the documents. As he rounded the corner, he could see the masts of "El Lobo del Mar" in the harbour, and his jollyboat at the end of the pier. ::
 
As Pearl walked down the street, she heard a flutter in the wind. Slowly a piece of parchment floated down to her. Pearl was not from a wealthy family, but she does know how to read. The parchment stated, "A sloop is perched on the edge of town {giving location} and commanded by one "Black Hearted" Pearl."
Pearl seethed with anger. "It's a schooner, not a sloop! Damn you, Captain Jack. I'll get my revenge before the week is out."
Pearl made haste to her schooner. Luckily the tide was with her and she pulled anchor. The seaweed as mysteriously moved away and the schooner floated free, further down the coast. Pearl spied an inlet tucked further in. She hoisted her jib and used it to gently guide the schooner into the inlet. It's not the best, but it'll have to do for now.
 
Wench went back to her room and cleaned herself up. Damn that Captain Jack Wolfe! Always screwing up my life!
She changed her clothes and opened a small box. She took out a piece of paper that had been ripped and taped, ripped and taped.
Grabbing her cloak, she walked down to the business offices just outside the docks on the main street.
She looked up at the building. Yes, this is the place...
She walked in and went up to the magistrate.
Slapping the paper down, she said in a determined voice, "I want this marriage dissolved. And if it is stricken from the records, even better!"
 
Back safely aboard "El Lobo del Mar", Jack tried desperately to relax. He'd bathed off the wretched spew tossed upon him by Black Hearted Pearl... Tossed upon him, and his wife... His wife...
Jack pondered upon this at length. My wife, hmmmmm. That carries a fair portion of responsibility. A responsibility that I've not lived up to. Have I a child from this union?!
Damn it all!
"To the braces, lads!! Concentrate your fire agaist the waterfront! Fire now! And fire again! No survivors! Only at the waterfront, lads. I want no trade to or from this town. I want to find, if they exist, my child...."
 
The magistrate looked at the paper that had been ripped and patched together. He laughed, "Been in a snit-fit often? License looks to be torn and patched several different times."
He squinted at the paper. "What does it say for the year? I can't make it out. How long you and this--John Michael Wolfe, is it?---been married?
"Eighteen months."
"Can you come back in an hour? I have a wedding to perform and then I can look at it more closely."
Wench said, "Eigthteen months, another hour won't matter."
She walked out in the sunshine and saw her friend Kate.
Kate said, "I've been looking for you all over. Vardus wants to sail out of here tonight. He didn't have a chance to speak to you in the pub. And what are you doing coming out of the magistrate's office?"
Wench looked at her and said, "Trying to get rid of a problem that seemed to have been spawned during a rum-fueled weekend. But no worries, Kate. In about an hour, it will have been resolved."
 
Given a fresh shift of gear, Jack strode purposefully along the pier. He saw the Magistrate's office on his left, with two women outside the door. Cannonfire rained destruction on the waterfront, yet these two lasses seemed locked in dialogue. Jack quickened his pace, only to see the two women scurrued away. Too late, he recognized the taller one as his wife. He slammed open the Magistrates door.
"What did she want?"
"Sirrah?" pled the Magistrate.
"What did my wife want?!" Jack leveled his refreshed pistol at the Magistrate's head."Um...uh...Sir, I cannot say!"
Jack's pistol went from half-cocked to fully cocked.
"I beg your pardon, sir. You will say."
"She pleads release from your wedding vows! Do not kill me, I beg of you!! I have a wedding to perform!"
"A wedding? How ironic that is! You seek to dissolve one marriage, only to consecrate another? Surely even you can see the contradiction in this! I'll make you a bargain, my quivering minister. Refuse the dissolution of my marriage, and you can go on to soil yourself before the young lovebirds waiting in yon chapel, savvy? Surely, that cannot be as ignominiuos as your brains spattered against the chapel wall? So, what say you?"
 
 
'Oh Bugger, look at the time!' thought Pearl. "I must change quickly." Pearl grabbed a gown from a chest located on deck. She quickly slipped it. Pearl dashed down the gang plank, getting the edge of gown wet as she sprinted the extra way to shore. Why did she agree to marry that old man? Oh that's right, he promised to spend his money on her lavishly.
Behind, she didn't notice that the stern anchor had worked free and the ship had begun to shift in the water. As Pearl entered town, she quieted her gait and kept her head hung low. Back at the ship, a crunch sound is heard as the keel of the ship dragged against the coral.
Pearl made her way to the magistrate's office. 'How long could he possibly live?' She wondered. "Not for long." as she fingered the scorpion pin on bodice.
 
Jack's eyes narrowed as he stared at the shaking magistrate over the barrel of his pistol. The wigged official was obviously too frightened to be of any use.
Jack laughed and tucked his sidearm away. "On second thought, Your Honour, why should I care to see this fine young couple get off any easier than I did, yeah? Go on, perform your litte ceremony! Till death or whimsy do they part, and all that rubbish."
The magistrate could scarcely catch his breath. "Thank you, Captain! Thank you for sparing me..."
Jack gave the man an icey stare. "We're not done here, brother. Not at all."

Jack left the magistrate's office and faced the docks. He waved his arms over his head, signalling the lookout to cease fire. He looked around, remembering the direction his reluctant wife had departed in. "Ah, yes. This way. We need to chat, you and I!"
 
Kate and Wench entered the Shattered Blessings Tavern. Wench signaled for two ales.
"Wench, what is this about a rum-fueled weekend that requires the services of a magistrate?"
Wench sighed and traced her finger around the rim of her ale. "Kate, you know me better than anyone---well, maybe except one other person and he has sailed off too--so what I am telling you is in strictest confidence.
There are things I haven't told anyone and don't intend to. But on my way to Glenlivet I stopped in a seaport town for a week. And long story short, I ended up married."
"Married? You said your husband was dead!"
Wench waved her hand like the notion was an annoying fly. "No, this is another one. Lasted a month. He went off to sea and I took the opportunity to get out of there and run to Glenlivet. Still looking for Captain Spleen."
"I heard the Crude Organ Donor was in port. Obviously you didn't make contact as you are still here."
"No, I didn't. I literally ran into him and didn't even know it."
"So....what of this other marriage?"
She took a deep drink of her ale and said, "I need to deep-six it and pretend it never happened."
"How do you intend to do that?"
"Well, if it can't be dissolved legally, there is a loop-hole."
"Which is---?"
Wench laughed. "The marriage license is under the name of Captain John Michael Wolfe and Honor Bright."
"And---?"
Wench laughed and said, "Who's Honor Bright?"
They both laughed and Kate said, "I have to hand it to you, Wench. Always thinking ahead!"
Wench turned serious. "And no telling Daemon about it. He hates messes. By tonight, this will all be over and it's out to sea again for us."
They clinked their tankards and resumed their talk on the latest boot-fashions.
 

Welsh Wench:
Jack turned the corner near the magistrate's office, cursing himself for dallying overlong. "Where would she have hidden herself, I wonder?" he thought. The church? No, too predictable. And too many row-houses to search. Just then, he spotted the "Shattered Blessings" tavern. "Sounds like my kind of establishment. And if I can't get any information, libation will have to suffice."

He walked into the darkened tavern, and blinked as his eyes strained to adjust from the bright sunlight. Spying a familiar face at one of the tables, he smiled and sauntered over to chat with his bonnie lass. "Please be wearing it, please be wearing that damned pendant!" he muttered.
 
"..but I seem to prefer the ones which lace up the front. The fit is better and slimming to the leg so you-----"
A shadow fell over the table where Wench and Kate were sitting. They both looked up and Kate scooted her chair over to the shadows, a look of concern across her face.
Wench looked up into the intense eyes of a man who was actively her husband for all of one month. Four weeks. Thirty-one days. Thirty-one long days. And nights. Why couldn't it have been February?
She took a quick glance down to make sure her bodice dagger was effectively in place--and well hidden.
She said cooly, "Well, well.....I thought you would have sailed off into the sunset by now. Looks like you got the spewage off. I must say, I had to throw that dress out. So....what have I done to earn this attention from you, Captain? Aside from being your human shield."
 
With his best disarming smile, he took a seat at the table. Oddly enough, he felt like the pig at a luau... "Love, we haven't exactly gotten off on the best foot regarding our reunion, yeah? A bit stormy, what with the Redcoats and the bombardment, and all. I assure you, nothing over a 4-pounder was used, and no carronades. Strictly for effect, it was! Um... would you do us a favour and look upward, toward the ceiling? I do so admire your striking cheekbones, and ...Damn!"
WW locked eyes with Jack. "WHAT?!"
"Oh, nothing! Just that expected to see a wee trinket I gave you on our... *Jack bats his eyes* wedding night. Any idea where that bit o' shine might be hiding, lover? Out of innocent curiousity, mind you. Say you didn't sell it! Sorry! Sorry, please forgive me.... You know what?! I need to dwell on this, as me Indian Swami instructed me."

Jack affected a meditative state, all the while keeping his bride and her friend in full view. "Let this confuse them for at least the next 30 seconds while I come up with another plan!" Jack thought. "That pendant is somewhere, and I have to find it!"

"Jack burst from his swami state, and gazed bonificently at Kate and ... and... what the hell is her name? 'Think! This scam won't work if you don't recognize her name!' ...
"Oh, love, you surely jest!"
'Honour Brite'? That's it! "The laws of Admiralty are on my side! You cannot marry me, nor I, you, under an alias! So, my bonnie 'Honour Bright', you owe me that pendant I gave you as a betrothal gift... You know, the one you tought too spiney and pokey to be comfortable? Where is it now, my sweet? You make a fine and beautiful human shield, to be sure. There is a critical shortage of perfect breasts in this world, and I would hate to see yours damaged. But you also supplied the Admiralty with a false name. That goes far in dissolving our marriage, but brings me no closer to that damned pendant! Where is it? Tell me!"
 
Wench burst out laughing. "You always were SO transparent. Even in that long, tedious month I spent as Mrs. Captain Jack Wolfe. So....that hideous pendant you gave me still interests you! Family heirloom?"
She looked up and tapped her finger to her lips. "Something tells me no. Something tells me this is more important than you are letting on."
She took her foot and propped it on the seat that Jack was sitting on, barely missing the REAL jewels he so prized.
She pushed back and crossed her arms across her chest. "I don't know why you want it back. It was too large. And the back of it scratched. And since it was a non-betrothal gift, it now becomes just a gift. In my possession. And possession is nine-tenths of the law. Now where could it be? What could I possibly have done with it? Sold it? Threw it into the sea in a fit of ill temper? Gave it to a lover?"
Jack made a motion and she cooly said, "Damage these breasts, Jack, and the male population in this port will never forgive you..."
 
"Damage those? I'd sooner cut off..." Jack looked about the room and found an anonymous mark. "His feet. Yeah, those would do. Look, love... you don't want to stay married to me anymore that I want to stay married to you. As I see it, it's a win-win situation, yeah? We both get our freedon, and you get rid of an uncomfortable bit of jewelry that wasn't that impressive in the first place! So, given that splendid bit of logic, where is it, dear heart? Hand it over to ol' Jack, I sign the papers, and you're off doing whatever it is you do. Are we square?"
 
Kate began to look nervous. "Wench, really, just hand over whatever it is he wants and let's get OUT of here."
Wench looked steadily at Jack. "My, my...for a piece of jewelry that wasn't impressive in the first place, you seem to want it pretty badly. Wait! I've got it! You plan on getting married again and this is the be-all-end-all of betrothal gifts! And the way I see it, I've GOT my freedom. You yourself said that using an alias voids the marriage. So. What makes you think I even have it? And if I did, why would I, in a fit of generosity, turn it back to you? I consider it a trophy--a skin of a leopard, as it were--for having to put up with you for that month I so foolishly said, 'oh yeah' when the magistrate said 'do you?' And here is another piece of news--because of that night, I haven't been able to touch a drop of rum since."
Kate stood and began to pull on Wench's arm. "Let's go, dear...like NOW!"
Wench stood her ground and gave Jack a sweet smile. "I certainly wish I could remember what happened to it. It was so long ago. Over a year. Why, it could be anywhere. In my room. At the bottom of the ocean. On the bosom of a noblewoman in England."
Wench stood there with a slight frown on her face. "Of course, it would have to be a very large woman. And kind of homely too..."

 
Jack feigned a defeated posture for a moment, then smiled scardonically. "Well, good for you, love. You've bested ol' Jack at his own game. Nicely played." He paused for a couple of seconds. "Too bad you'll be missing out on your share, eh?"
 
Wench smiled politely and said, "Yes, it really IS too bad I shall miss out on my share. But I daresay YOU shall miss out on YOURS too."
She sighed. "If you REALLY must know what happened to it, I gave it to a captain. He in turn sold it for me and gave me the profit. Didn't ask a percentage, either. Just did it as a favor to a friend. Well, if you want to find it, I daresay it could be on the chest of any high-classed noblewoman. I'd start looking in the Caribbean. Failing that, I'd start in Cornwall and work my way across the continent. So it looks like we are BOTH out of luck. Ta, love---see you around--NOT!"

Wench and Kate left the tavern. As they stood outside the door, Kate said, "Whatever it is he wants, he surely wants it badly. Who fenced it for you?"
Wench grabbed Kate's arm and laughed softly, "Whatever makes you think I did that? Nay, it is in a place that is secure. And he shall never find it. Now...we just need to figure out why it is so damned important!"
 
Jack watched the two women depart. "No doubt she believes I've given up looking as much as I believe she gave it away. She's still got it, and I know she'll find where she's stashed it," he thought. He stood up and noticed that one of the mugs still had some ale in it. He downed the brew in two gulps. "Aye, this day's looking up!"
 
Pearl continued walking toward the magistrate's office. She glanced across the road and saw the wench from the Bilge Pump Pub coming out with another wench. Should she duck? Would that Captain Jack be with her. Pearl couldn't take the chance that he would fire his flintlock at her again. She quickly dashed into the magistrate's office where her betrothed was awaiting, Sir James H. Marshall.
 

Welsh Wench:
Kate looked worried. "I don't know, Wench. He looks like the kind of man who plays for keeps."
Wench reached down to relace her boot. "Well, if he did, why did he wait eighteen months to hunt me down? As soon as he left for sea, I bolted."
"How on earth did you ever end up married? It's not your style."
Wench sighed. "We both had too much to drink. We were in a pub in Cardiff. I don't remember a thing. I woke up the next morning with a man next to me and a marriage license on the dresser."
"You always were impetuous."
"A little too much so."
"So..what happened next?"
"Well, I sailed to Barbados with him and after a month, he went back to sea. That afternoon I booked passage back to Cardiff. I had Taliesin stabled and left Muir with the innkeeper so I picked them up and headed for Glenlivet where Rhys told me Captain Spleen would be."
"Didn't you ever think about that husband?"
"Guess I kind of pushed it out of my mind. You know--that messy business with husband #1 kind of overshadowed it."
"So, you are stuck."
"Not necessarily. The marriage license has the name 'Honor Bright'. As she doesn't exist, neither does the marriage. So the license isn't even worth the paper it is written on. I just want to see the magistrate and get it stricken off the records."
"And this item the man-who-would-be-your-husband is looking for? What exactly is it?"
"The most god-awful pendant you can imagine. It was like a sun. The rays were like all spiny. If you wore it for any length of time, you looked like you came out the loser in a catfight. It was gold and had a hideous face carved into the sun. The chain was a bit heavy. I mean, look at me! Something like that around my neck? May as well drag a ball and chain around."
"So, just give it back to him and be done."
"Kate, the fact that he mentioned it and wants it back leads me to believe there is something there. Otherwiise if it was a worthless trinket, he could care less."
All of a sudden, Wench reached out and pulled Kate back.
"Wench, watch it! This is a new skirt!"
Wench looked through the glass into the magistrate's office.
"I don't believe it! It's that captain that baptized me and Jack with tobacco ick. And...looks like she is getting married!"
Kate looked through the window. "Wow, looks like he can hardly stand up! Bet he's going to be a real live wire!"
Wench shrugged. "Better her than me! Let's just wait out here for the eulogy--I mean ceremony!--to finish. Then I can be as free as a bird!"

 
Jack sat at the table Wench and Kate had occupied minutes earlier. With his feet propped up, he finished a second cup of rum. The innkeeper, with a deeply puzzled look on his face, approached Jack to try and satisfy his curiosty.
"Beggin' your pardon, gov'ner, but this is a terrible small room. I couldn't help but overhear that little dust-up with the lady..."
"And might you be helpful enough to be letting me know her name?" Jack interrupted.
"Eh? But, I thought you called her your wife!"]
"Very estute of you, mate! Your hearing's impeccable. That fair lass is indeed my bride. And I'm guessing that your perfect ears overheard, at some point, her name? I mean, her real name? The one I know's as genuine as that swill you call rum. Now, about that name that you may or may not have overheard..." Jack spread 5 shillings on the table, fanned in a neat arc.
"Honest, sir, I don't know. Everyone speaks of her as 'the Wench', or just 'Wench', if you please. Not at all flatterin', if you ask me. But she seems to pay it no mind." the inkeeper offered, his eyes never leaving the coins.
Jack smiled. "'Wench', is it then? Fair enough. That gives me something to work with, at least. Another rum, mate."
The innkeeper's puzzled look remained. "Gov'ner, I've never seen a man get in a public row with the missus and be as chipper as you! Then again, everyone I know what's married knows their wife's name... Aren't you going after her, to try and set things right?"
"All in good time," replied Jack. "Where's the sport in denying her a head start? No doubt, she's pleading her case this very moment to have our marriage anulled. And the longer the string I give her, the closer she brings me to what I want."
The innkeeper collected the empty mug to fetch Jack's refill. "You, my friend, are a strange one."
Jack winked, "You have no idea, mate."
 
Wench and Kate sat at the pub across the street from the magistrate's office.
"Let's give that wedding another fifteen minutes and then I am on my way to total freedom," Wench said.
Kate took a sip of her ale. "So, you can't touch rum anymore?"
Wench folded her hands under her chin and said, "No, I can't. I drank so much that night I didn't even remember my own name!"
Kate laughed, "So, what IS your name? You won't even tell ME. Your best friend!"
Wench shook her head no. "There was only one person--a captain--that I would ever trust. I told him once I would tell him my name and only under the right circumstances. But there never WERE any 'right circumstances' . And after that little incident carving my initials in his sails, I doubt that will ever come about. Or that I can trust him again. Kate, I just can't tell you. Out of safety."
"Why not? You've been in Glenlivet for almost a year when you signed on with Captain Vardus."
"It's for everyone's safety, especially mine. Old Vinegar Vein's family is looking for me. His sons have bounty hunters that showed up at Dead Man's Tavern the night before we left. I had to climb out onto the rose trellis to leave. Almost broke my neck when I jumped. If I told you the name and they came looking for me, well, with your face you'd give it away. Don't give me that look! You know you don't have a lying face."
"So..why did you go off to Barbados with this Captain Jack Wolfe?"
"Well, I WAS technically his wife or so he thought. Hey, I needed a vacation! And who can beat the sands of the Caribbean? Don't forget, I'd been on the run for a month or two. I needed to put distance between me and the hounds, as it were. And how better than to go incognito as a pirate's bride? The station in life I held, no one would ever suspect it."
"Then why didn't you stay in Barbados and wait for him to come back?"
"Me? Wait? Hell, no! I had to look for Captain Spleen. He has the information I needed. Just can't find him yet."
"So why did you pick the name 'Honor Bright?' "
Wench motioned her closer. "All I will say is that old Vinegar Veins sat on the House of Lords. 'Honor Bright' is an assurance of truth or fidelity."
Kate giggled, "You are so bad!"
Wench smiled, "You knew I had a twisted sense of humor!"
"You stayed a whole month with Captain Jack. Why didn't you get an annulment the next day? Certainly both of you must have known you made a mistake!"
A small smile played upon Wench's lips. "Well......he WAS fun!"
Kate raised her eyebrow and said, "Oh. That."
Wench laughed and finiished her ale. "Yeah. That."
"Come on, let's go! I have an annulment to get and a ship to board."
And with that, they walked over to the magistrate's office.
 
The magistrate was acting nervously. Couldn't he just get on with the eulogy...hmmm ceremony?
"Do you Sir James Howard Marshall, take thee Lady June Pearl Whelan, to be your awful, I mean lawful, wedded wife?" asked the magistrate. The feeble Sir Howard crocked, "I do." The magistrate repeated himself to Pearl. She responded sweetly, batting her eyelashes, "Certainly."
'Finally!', thought Pearl. 'Now we just needed to sign the paper.'
A few more days, and she would have the money she needed and be free to sail the seven seas again."
Pearl glanced through the window to see the wench from the Bilge Pump Pub headed toward the magistrate's office. "Oh bugger, I hope she doesn't have any tobacco swill with her.", thought Pearl. "Doesn't anyone ever get drunk and pass out in this town?"
Pearl tried to hastily move the magistrate along, but he keep dropping books and then couldn't find the writing utensil. Pearl was becoming so frustrated, she almost pulled her small flintlock from under her gown to move the magistrate along. That would go over as well as her tossing the tobacco swill on the two love birds. She had just gotten Sir Howard to sign before the door was tossed open by the wench.
 
His attitude properly adjusted, Jack emerged from the pub and squinted into the light. As he looked down the street, he saw Wench and Kate cross the street to the magistrate's office. "Ah! A shackle undone, and a prize to gain. I'm beginning to like this town."
He crossed the street and stopped to check his pistol. And old woman paused to give him a questioning look. Jack looked up at her.
"A bit of privacy, if you don't mind? We're having a moment here." he mocked.
The old woman turned her head sharply, obviously insulted. "A pirate if I ever saw one!" she huffed.
Jack shrugged, and walked toward the magistrate's office. Taking up a position just outside an opened window, he eavesdropped on the proceedings within. "Well, this should be interesting" he thought.
 
Pearl quickly turned and grabbed the wench by the shoulders, "Dear Sister, I'm so glad you were able to make it!", cried Pearl. Leaning in closer, she whispered fiercly into the wench's ear, "Please, don't make a scene. Help out a woman in need, and you will be rewarded.". Pearl stepped back from the wench and turned to her new husband. "Darling, I would like to introduce my sister, Honor Bright."
 
Kate started to open her mouth, "But this isn't your...OW!"
Wench had subtly pinched Kate's arm. She raised her eyebrow and said, "Why, dear sister, there is no way on God's green earth I would miss your nuptials! Marriage vows are not something I take lightly!"
Kate snorted and could hardly contain her laughter. She whispered, "Oh, sure! Tell your 'sister' why you are REALLY here..OW! Will you quit doing that?"
Pearl turned to her new husband and said, "This is my little sister. Honor, this is Sir James Marshall. My new husband and the light of my life."
Sir James extended a cold, clammy hand-which was more like a claw--to his new 'sister-in-law' and said, "Very pleased to meet you."

Wench reluctantly took his hand and mentally went 'EWWW!!!' She turned to Pearl and she could barely contain a smile. "I'm sorry to be so late, sister. But I had an altercation with a substance and had to change my clothes."
She turned to Sir James and said, "Why, my dear sister practically raised me after Mother died and...what was that noise? Did you hear something outside the window?"

Pearl looked toward the window. She didn't see a thing. "Wait, what was that?" There in the corner, she could just make out the edge of a hat. "Who could it be?", thought Pearl. Just then, Sir Howard grasped her hand in his cold one, "Come dear, we have to get started on our Honeymoon.", he said in a weathered gravelly voice. Pearl had no choice but to follow Sir Howard to the door.

"It was pleasure meeting you, Miss Bright, but if you don't mind, your sister and I have to get down to business. Perhaps you can come to dinner some night soon?" He parlayed.
Pearl jumped at the chance, "Oh Darling, I haven't seen my sister in so long, perhaps she and her traveling companion can join us for dinner tonight?" Pearl batted her eyes at Sir James. He scowled in return. Pearl let the water works begin to moisten her eyelashes. Sir James sighed in compliance and turned to Honor Bright, "My dear, it seems my new bride wishes to hold me in anticipation. Will you and your lovely traveling companion join us for a celebratory dinner tonight at my home? It seems it would please my new wife very much."
 
Kate raised her hands and said, "No, thank you! I have a prior engagement for the evening!"
Wench looked at Pearl's face. Oh, I should SO get even with her for the tobacco swill.
She hesitated, "I'm not sure...I think I had something to do myself. I really would hate to come between the tender moments of a man and his bride..."
She caught Pearl's eye and then softened. I wouldn't wish that fossil on my worst enemy. Good Lord knows I had to put up with old Vinegar Veins...
She put on her sweetest face and said, "I think I can cancel my plans and I haven't seen my sister in such a long time. Why, I would be delighted to share your nuptial dinner. But only for a little while. I know how...um..anxious you must be to cement your relationship."
She hugged Pearl and air-kissed her cheek. She whispered, "You owe me BIG-TIME now.."

After getting the directions to the manor, Wench realized just what a gold-mine this woman fell into.
"I'll be there by 7 PM," she said and fake-waved an enthusiastic good-bye.
 
Pearl hugged 'Honor Bright' back and whispered, "You have no idea." "We'll see you tonight then, dear sister, at 7pm." called Pearl. She grabbed ole what's his name's cold clammy hand and lead him to the door. "Come, dear, we have to prepare for our guests." Pearl said. Sir James Howard Marshall did not look pleased, but sighed in defeat. Pearl's lips turned up into a sweet, but somewhat menacing smile.

Her eyes darted to the movement by the window. There was a shadow now of a person.
 
 
 
Kate said, "Wench, I have to go now. I'll catch up with you later. Remember what I said about Daemon."
Wench said, "Yeah, I know, I know."

The magistrate came out of the chapel and mopped his face. He seems extremely nervous, Wench thought.
"So..what is the good word on this annulment? Where do I sign?"
He coughed and said, "I am afraid you have a slight problem."
He was still reeling from the near-death threats from Captain Jack.
"And what might that be? I gave a made-up name. So therefore it can't be legal. Jack Wolfe married a woman who doesn't exist."
He averted his eyes, "Well, technically. You see, your name may be fake but your body isn't. What I mean is, YOU were there. At the marriage. So he didn't marry your name, he married your body. What I mean is he married the person standing in front of him. She could have given her name as the Queen and it would still be legal."
Wench paled, "Are you trying to tell me I am married all legal-like to Captain Jack Wolfe?"
He looked down at the license. "I am afraid so. Miss--Bright, is it? You are lawfully wedded to Captain John Michael Wolfe. Until death do you part."
She snatched the license out of his hands. "No, no, no, no, no...there is NO WAY I am married."
"But I am afraid so...."
"You tell me you are 'afraid' one more time and you WILL have something to be afraid of. You had better be ready to scratch this out for all eternity. I need to find out how to get un-manacled."

She walked out of the magistrate's office into the sunlight.
What a fine kettle of fish THIS is! Married...MARRIED? STILL?
Some mistakes you never stop paying for....
 
Jack shook his head and tried not to laugh out loud. He returned his pistol to half-cocked, and shoved it into the sash about his waist. Rounding the corner and stepping into the magistrate's office, Jack looked about at the comical scene before him.
"Pearl! You seem to have traded up since we last met in Tobago!"
Jack strode forward and shook the cadaver's hand as strongly as he dared. Leaning close to the old man, he whispered "I hear she's a bit of a tiger, mate! I'm sure you're up to it, with all your experience, yeah? There's a good man! Off you go!"
Jack paused to smirk at Pearl as her new prize weakly dragged her toward their wedding bed. "He'll be dead before the morning, well played..." he mouthed.
Jack whirled, and shot a whithering look at the Magistrate, who quickly found papers to shuffle. Turning to Wench and Kate, shook his head slowly.
"Crashing a wedding? And they insist upon calling me a pyrate? Well, that's as may be..." Jack sneered. Taking Wench by the arm, he drew her close. "I possess the Moon, love. And you, the Sun. Both must be joined in union for the treasure to be unlocked. Much like us and ecstacy, yeah? Ah, you still remember! Good! I'll be needing that trinket you claim not to possess."
Jack's dagger maked its point at Wench's ribcage. "Do we have an accord, love? What say you?"
 
Jack shoved his pistol into his sash. "Sweetness, the one thing I've come to learn about you is that the more you protest, the less believable you are. I'll admit, we both felt the thunder. But that bit of gold I gave you is far too large and ornate for you to have merely pawned off somewhere. What I'm offering, since you have called for the privilege of parley, is that there are two keys to the chest in my possession. I have one of them. I, in a moment of indescretion, gave the other to you. Given the gravity of the item, you would have been loathe to discard said item. Now, if you'd kindly accompany me aboard my ship, I'll tell you how I came upon the chest after our matrimony."
Jack extended his hand to Wench. "Ale and rum abound upon 'El Lobo del Mar'"
 
"Jack, how stupid do you think I am? I board your ship, what is to stop you from pulling up anchor and I will be your bounded prisoner? Let's say I have the Sun pendant and I hand it over to you in a moment of...what shall we call it? Unbridled passion? What would stop you from pitching me overboard? Nay, I unloaded that amulet as soon as I could. I'll tell you the truth. If you really want it, it is in the coffers of St. Armand's church. In exchange for a confession well-done. Can't remember the name of the town but it is between Barbados and Glenlivet. THAT should give you something to occupy your time. Think of it as a treasure hunt! I know how you loved them!"
She crossed her arms and gave him that look of defiance he had come to know all too well during their brief one-month encounter.
"So you see--I am of no further use to you. I suggest we both go see the magistrate and end this travesty of a marriage. Then you can buy me that ale AT THE TAVERN and regale me with your little fairytale of how you came in possession of this so-called chest. IF you even have it!"
 
Pearl sneered at Captain Jack as the crypt keeper lead her away. If that Jack wasn't so handsome, she could easily run in him through without a thought. But a goodlooking man is hard to find these days, especially one with all his teeth. The fact he was a successful pirate made him all that more appealing.
"Come deary", Sir Marshall said drooling. "We may have time to consumate our vows before your beautiful sister arrives to join us."
 

Welsh Wench:
Jack smiled condescendingly as Pearl passed by with her walking carrion. "It's a shame our paths have crossed in such dissonant ways," Jack thought to himself. "Perhaps, perhaps..."
He turned his attention back to the petulantly defiant Wench, and smiled. "You know what, love? I almost believed you for a moment. But knowing that your heart is at least as black as mine, you're hoping I'll divulge more. Well, my sweet, I've learned a lesson or two since our last pairing. Foremost, I should never tell you too much. Secondly, you're better off not thinking that every single word out of my mouth is a lie. Only every other word. Every third word on a Sunday. So, when I tell you I have the chest in question, and the Moon key, I'm actually being honest with you. You, however, have been less than honest with me! I may not know your name, but I know you. You still have the Sun key, as you recognise it's value. Nothing that ugly and that substantial can be worthless, eh? I only wish I'd known about the chest's contents before I gave you that key..."
Jack sat wearily upon a wooden bench near the from of the magistrate's office. "I've tried breaking it, shooting it, and hauling it to pieces. I need that key I gave you. It's a fair offer, love. Half the contents of the chest."
He rose from his seat and looked Wench square in the eye. "If you have gotten rid of the Sun key, as your lovely lips protest, then the chest is no use to me. I'll just sail out into deep waters, and chuck it over the side. My time would be better spent chasing the Spanish treasure fleet, quite frankly! So, what is it to be, my love? Truth or consequenses time, 'Honor Bright'!"
 
Wench leaned against the wall of the magistrate building and ran her fingers through her hair, twisting the ends as was her manner when she was deep in thought. Unfortunately, Jack knew this in their brief month together that this was a tell-tale sign that the wheels were turning in her mind.
He grinned and took a step closer to her. She quickly whipped out her bodice dagger and said calmly, "Back off, Jack. Or I'll match that scar I put on your chest the last time we were together."
He deftly took the dagger out her hand and flipped it over his shoulder.
Well, that didn't work out like I thought it would, she mentally noted.
She took a step back. "You won't throw that chest out. You're bluffing. And that's alright. I can respect it. Now let us say for the sake of argument I DO have that hideous key. You say you have the moon. Well, since you once promised me the moon...."
Jack reached out to her and she went to pull a bodice dagger out. But she realized too late that he already took hers. DAMN!
She pushed him back. "I prefer to deal with you for the moment on the grounds of mutual respect, not...never mind. I have no assurance you won't pull that pistol on me once you have what you want. I haven't seen you in eighteen months and in the last two hours you pulled it on me once and your knife twice. I must say, 'Hello, honey, I'm back!' sure takes on a new meaning. I sure would have loved to have seen the look on your face when you pulled into port and your wife was gone. Along with a few other things you left in my possession.
So....what assurance do I have that I will be alive once the chest opens? And make it fast because I have to go to my 'sister's ' for dinner."

Pearl and Sir Marshall arrived at the Manor. Sir Marhshall was beginning to look very worn and gray, not that he didn't already look gray. It was just grayer than normal.
The butler came to take their outer wear, "Sir, I have your room ready." and while turning to Pearl, "and yours too, Mistress."
"She won't be needing her own room." snapped Sir Marshall. "She'll be in mine." Pearl smiled apologitically to the butler. Sir Marshall headed for the stairs on a somewhat stooped gate. "Pearl, come, let us retire a bit before dinner with your beautiful sister."
Pearl began to follow Sir Marshall to the stairs, but turned to the butler before proceeding up. "Sir, would it be possible for us to have some tea brought up to the room. I'm so parched from all the dust." Her crystal blue eyes pleaded gently to Sir Marshall. The butler looked to Sir Marshall for approval. "Yes. Bring us some tea, but tea only, no cakes." barked Sir Marshall.
Pearl and Sir Marshall continued up the stairs. The turned into the first room on the left at the top of the stairs. The room was lavishly dressed in gold and cream. Heavy curtains hung from the windows that overlooked the front courtyard and out onto the harbor down below. The room was dominated by large canopied bed that required stairs to enter it. Heavy cream drapes hung from the canopy enveloping the bed. Although the room was bright, there was a musty, sort of deathly smell about it.
Pearl began to remove her gown. "God, how she hated wearing such heavy clothing.", she thought. Sir Marshall was turned to look at her. A sneering smile played about his lips which grew wider when Pearl let down her blonde waves.
"Oh bugger!" thought Pearl. She had forgotten to remove her small flintlock from her bloomers when she had thrown upon her gown. Pearl turned away from Sir Marshall and slowly removed her underskirt leaving her bloomers. "I want to watch!" growled Sir Marshall. Pearl looked sultrly over her shoulder at Sir Marshall. "Anticipation, my darling, is such sweet pleasure. Don't you agree?" Sir Marshall's sneering smile returned. "Continue, my darling"
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
"Your tea." called out the butler.
Sir Marshall snarled while Pearl grabbed the robe laying over the bed. "Oh I'm so parched." she exclaimed as she went to the door to retrieve the tea.
"Oh, Thank you, Benjamin" Pearl said quickly as took the tea from the butler. "I can serve Sir Marshall, Benjamin. You don't need to stay." Pearl stated.
"Yes, leave, now." snarled Sir Marshall.
"Calm down, dear" soothed Pearl. "We don't want to get you too excited too soon." said Pearl as she set the tray down on a gold gilt table.
"Why don't you wash up a bit before we have some tea?" Pearl gently suggested.
"Hmmph" replied Sir Marshall as to wobbled to the bathing chamber located just off the bedroom.
Pearl watched as Sir Marshall began to wash his face. She quickly unlatched a secret compartment on her scorpion pin and a fine white powder fell into her open hand. Pearl quickly placed in the white powder into one of the teacups and poured tea into it.=
"Here you, dear." said Pearl as she handed the now less pale Sir Marshall the teacup. "Let us have a toast to our union." as Pearl raised her own teacup and tapped Sir Marshall's. They both took a sip. Pearl eyed Sir Marshall over the rim of her cup.
"Come join me on the bed." said Pearl as she took the cup from Sir Marshall. He followed her to the bed, his eyes starting to droop.
"I feel so...." his voice began to slur. "This will be a night you'll remember, dear" said Pearl intently as she gently laid Sir Marshall down. Soon, he was sound asleep.
"Finally!" thought Pearl as began to poke about the room. "Where is that secret compartment?" Pearl knew she only had a short time before it would be dinner and the sleeping potion would wear off. She had to find it.
 
 Jack smiled. "Love, I left nothing with you that I minded losing. I have to say the the 'Sweet Trade' has been very good to me. And yes, I promised you the Moon. But the Sun was all I had to give at the moment, much to my later dismay. Thank you for confirming that you still have it! I was beginning to get worried. You're quite the bluffer, dear. You always have been."
He leaned close, his cheek nearly brushing Wench's. "You need assurances that I'll keep you alive? What words can I say, my lovely, that will reassure you? None that I can think of! But from what I'm told," Jack paused as he traced his finger along Wench's equisite cheek, "there's riches that would embarass Christ himself. I'm more than willing to go halvsies with you. And even if this chest is empty, no harm nor foul. I keep the chest, and you go on about doing whatever it is you do best. You'll never hear from me again. So, do we have an accord?"
 
Wench tried to catch her breath at his touch. A familiar sense of heat starting at her very core began to spread. Damn him! He always knew what buttons to push.
She tried to break the physical contact and felt powerless as always. She said softly, "Why did I ever marry a scoundrel as you is beyond me..."
But she then recovered and said, "You have no assurances. I would need to think this over. I don't really feel like being one with the fishes. I've seen you in action, Jack. You are ruthless and I am a disposable commodity. I am not that foolish girl you married. I'm twenty-one now! And I have a new..."
Jack raised his eyebrow.
She continued, "Never mind. I'd have to see this chest before I make any decisions. Grant you, I am NOT saying I have the key. Or even where it is.. Maybe I have a few connections to people who MAY know where it is. It would go through a few channels."
She pointed to a place behind Jack. " Now---a gentleman would retrieve my bodice dagger for me. There's a good husband that you are!"

 
Pearl continued to rattle about the paneled walls, tapping on the wood. Tap, tap. Tap, tap. Pearl sighed in frustration, "Hmmrph!" Tap, tap. Pearl was losing her patience which was never a virtue of hers to begin with. Tap, tap. Pearl's patience's snapped. She rushed to the bed and grabbed Sir Marshall about the shoulders. "Where is the compartment, you smelly old toad!" Sir Marshall slowly opened his eyes, "Pearl, darling, come let us a finish what we started." he slurred. "The compartment, you toad, then I'll finish what I started." snarled Pearl.
Sir Marhsall mumbled, "The oil lamp" and his eyes rolled back and his head fell to the side. "Out like a lamp." thought Pearl.
Pearl looked about the room. "The oil lamp" he had said. There were several beatiful oil lamps about the room, but which one could it be? The two beside the bed were tall brass with milky white globes on top. The brass was made to look like grecian columns. There was one the desk next to the window. This looked more ulitarian and clearly could not lead one to a compartment. Lastly, there were two oil lamps on red cherry bureau. These looked to be made of brass as well, but were not the grecian columns of bedside lamps. These were ornately decorated. One was a male merman of striking stature with curly hair about his shoulders. The other was a beatiful mermaid with long flowing wavy hair. The lamps were exquisite.
"This has to be it" Pearl grinned.
 
"Retrive your dagger? But of course!" Jack bowed , swept, and produced Wench's blade. "I see you've kept it as sharp as I taught you to. Well done. Now, about that chest.."
He gently returned the dagger to it's scabbard, slipping it between her ample breasts into it's sheath. Meeting her eye to eye, he continued. "So, you wish to see the chest? You know where it is, love. In my cabin, aboard 'El Lobo.'" Jack's lips nearly brushed Wench's. "My crew remember you, so no nocturnal boarding, eh? Jamb my rudder chain, and I take your life. I'm trying desperately to be above board with you, love. 12 hours. I'll meet you on the docks, and you bring the Sun. We open the chest together, in my cabin. And we share whatever wealth is contained within."
Jack smiled broadly, and stole a kiss from Wench. "Twelve hours, love! And all this will be behind us! You know where to find me. And I'll be waiting for you."
And with a flourish, he left the magistrates office, never offering to nullify their marriage.
 
Wench called out to him, "Wait! You forgot our----"
Her trailed off, "---annulment!"
Damn! She stormed off in the direction of her lodgings. What a day!
Checking behind her frequently to make sure she wasn't followed, she unlocked her door.
What do you wear to a dinner with your un-sis? And why did Black-Hearted Pearl all of a sudden want a familial relationship? Granted, if I had that cadaver pawing at me, I'd pick ANYONE--even Jack Wolfe--to delay the inevitable. I put up with that crap with Old Vinegar Veins for three months. He did wear that bodice dagger quite well though. Served him right, the old fossil.
Wench was pulled out of her reverie. What was that noise? Take a deep breath, Wench! You are just jumpy.
She looked through her clothes and picked out a peacock blue dress. Shedding her clothes, she slipped the blue dress over her head. It cascaded down her body as it headed toward the floor, skimming her hips and legs.
She reached over and put on her new boots. White leather. Acquired by unconventional means. What a lovely captain he was, too.....
She brushed out her blonde hair and caught it at the nape of her neck, twisting it up.
Pinching her cheeks and biting her lips to redden them, she grabbed her new suede cloak.
She headed out the door but turned back. She put on her scabbarded rapier. Was that on my right hip or my left hip? If I am right-handed...oh, who cares? Probably never use it anyways but just to be sure......

She headed over to the mansion where Pearl was now mistress of the house.
Mistress. Wench laughed to herself. Been there, done that. Damn Vinegar Veins anyhow.
Deserved that dagger!
Now to see what Pearl has in mind. I'm mildly curious, you understand....
But thoughts of Captain Jack Wolfe kept crossing her mind.
She didn't need to pinch her cheeks.
They were blushed enough.
 
Pearl walked over to the two beautifully adorned lamps. She felt about them. Nothing. She looked behind the bureau. Nothing. Pearl was starting to get very angry. She swatted at the merman's lamp, but only managed to tip it slightly before it fell back into place with jolt as if something was holding it in place.
As Pearl started to look at it more closely, a panel next to the bureau slide open slightly and seem to stick. Pearl's eyes lite up with a smile. "Aha, I've found it." Pearl leaned the merman lamp again, this time noticing the cord that ran beneath it. The panel slide open wider still until it was completely open.
Sir Marshall stirred on the bed. "Oh darling, this is wonderful!" he murmured.
 Pearl raised her eyebrows at this. "What exactly did that vodoo witch give me?" she wondered. Pearl turned her attention back to the open panel. Inside, she could see a small wooden box, ornately carved with the images of slaves.
"Oh, how she hated this part of 'proper' society", she thought. '
The box did not lock. The owner must have thought if you could find the box, one deserved to open it. She pulled the box from the wall and wiped her hand across the dust on top of the box. Her hand, now dirty, she then whiped across her bloomers, not realizing the smear of dirt left behind.
Pearl was sweating with anticipation as she opened the lid to the box. What would she find? Gold, Rubies, Saphires? Inside was a velvet pouch and nothing else. Pearl's heart sank. Pearl decided not to leave empty handed and pulled the velvet pouch from the box. Inside was an old brass key, inlaid with black pearls. Pearl's eyes began to burn. She had heard of a key inlaid with black pearls. It was said to open a chest of magnificent treasure.
Suddenly, voices could be heard coming from the courtyard below. Was it dinner time already? Pearl put the key between her breasts and put the velvet pouch back into the box. She quickly put the box into the panelled compartment. "Oh bugger, now how to close it?"
Sir Marshall stirred again. "hmmmmm" he murmured.
Pearl tipped the merman lamp. Nothing. Pearl yanked the merman lamp back and forth. Nothing. Pearl pulled the merman lamp up and down. Nothing!
"Oh, bugger! Oh, bugger! Oh, bugger!"
Pearl heard the front door open and Benjamin saying "Welcome to the Manor, miss. May I take your coat for you?" Pearl didn't hear the reply. She was too busy looking behind and under the red cherry bureau.
Sir Marshall stirred again and started to rise from the bed. "Oh, I smell dinner." he said as he fell back on the pillow and seemed to fall back asleep.
"Oh, bugger! Oh, bugger! Oh, bugger!" thought Pearl again.
Pearl swept her hand across the the top of the bureau. Her hand hit the mermaid lamp, knocking it asckew. The panel began to slide close and stopped. "Of, course!" thought Pearl. "Leave it to a woman to finish a job!"
Pearl quickly ran to the bath chamber and splashed cold water on her face. Straightened herself, still not noticing the dirt smear on her bloomers and quickly jumped into bed next to Sir Marshall.
Knock, Knock.
"Pardon me" called the butler from behind the door.
"Come in" replied Pearl.
"Your guest has arrived." said the butler as he opened the door to see Pearl lying next to Sir Marshall who appeared to be waking up.
"Poor dear" said Pearl "I think I wore the poor devil himself out."
The butler looked embarrassed. "Sir, do you need my assistance?" He asked.
"No, No, I'm fine." Sir Marshall snapped "See about our lovely guest."
Pearl hopped out of the bed. "I must get dressed. Where are my manners?"
Sir Marshall stumbled out of bed and grabbed her by the shoulders
"I want a kiss!" he snarled, but as he turned her around, Sir Marhsall noticed the dirt smear on her bloomers.
"What is that from?" he look puzzled. ]
"Oh, dear, I didn't realise they had a smear when I put them on." exclaimed Pearl.
 Pearl turned her crestfallen crystal blue eyes toward Sir Marshall. A tear trembled at the corner, "I had so wanted our first time together to be perfect and I have ruined it with my carelessness." The tear fell gently from down her fair cheek that was blushed from all the previous excitement.
Sir Marshall reached up a finger and caught the tear on the tip. His eyes softened as did his voice, "It's alright my dear, we shall buy you a whole new wardrobe of beautiful gowns and under dressings."
"Gowns" thought Pearl. "Gowns were nothing more than chains that men used to inprison woman." Pearl smiled sweetly at Sir Marshall and blinked away the rest of her tears. "Shall we join my sister for dinner?" She asked.
"Certainly" replied Sir Marshall.
They both gathered themselves and walked out the door to the grand staircase where the wench in a beautiful peacock gown looked up at them.


 

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