Author Topic: EL LOBO DEL MAR  (Read 3361543 times)

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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2008, 05:02:20 PM »
Honour reached the docks, Lucas in tow with two other men carrying her trunks.
"Missy, which ship is the one?"
She pointed to the largest one. "That one there. El Lobo del Mar."
She reached down and petted her companion since she was a young girl. "Muir, look! Are you ready for an adventure?"
The wolf-dog barked and she laughed.
"Alright. I get to introduce you to Jack. And you had better be on your best behaviour or I shall leave you with Amos. Not that you wouldn't mind. He spoils you rotten anyways."

Honour walked across the gangplank, the three men following her. As she led them down the companionway and towards the captain's Great Cabin, she paused. She heard voices.
All of a sudden, Honour felt out of place. Like a guest on her husband's ship. Quietly she knocked on the door.
"Come in."
She opened it and saw Jack and Briggs poring over huge sheets of papers and maps. Briggs looked up, his finger still on the map and pointing to a spit of land.
" if we come in on this side, we can..."
Jack had left Briggs in mid-thought as he crossed over to Honour, putting his arms around her and kissing her.
"*AHEM* Briggs was clearly annoyed. Jack looked over his shoulder and said, "Hold that thought, Josiah."
To Honour he asked, "Did you get everything you need?"
She smiled and said, "I surely did. I picked up only a few things and the seamstress had some dresses she had used as samples that fit me perfectly so I struck a good bargain with her."
She did not want to reveal she had the dresses from her previous marriage. And if she had her way, Jack would never know about the past. Or who she really was.
A tavern wench named Honour Bright suited her just fine.

She disengaged herself from his embrace and said quietly, "I think your Mr. Briggs is eager to get back to your maps. I'll just unpack."
She turned to Lucas and paid him in coins.
"Thank you, Lucas. And thanks to Sam and Henry for helping."
Lucas gave her a grin and tipped his hat. "Aye, Missy. Barbados just ain't gonna be the same without ye."
After they had left, she opened the trunk and then opened the chest drawers. Jack's things were already in there. She asked, "Dear, are you using these drawers?"
He smiled up at her and said, "Not at all. Just move my things over there."
Briggs was incredulous. No one was ever allowed to touch anything that belonged to Captain Jack Wolfe.

Briggs said tightly, "Now, as I was saying, Jack---this harbor is shielded on this side by----"
"Honour, darling, do you have enough space?"
She said, "I think so."
She walked over to the armoire and flung open the doors. Opening up one trunk, she began to shake out the clothes and hang them up. Jack watched her.
"CAPTAIN!" he said forcefully. Jack tore his eyes away from his wife.
"Oh! Sorry, Briggs. Where were we?"
"As I said BEFORE WE WERE INTERRUPTED, is that the harbour is secluded enough for Cade Jennings to--"
"Honour? Did you get anything to eat in port?"
She shook her head no. "I wanted to eat dinner with you."
He reached over to the wine rack. "I have a nice Madeira here for dinner and---"
Josiah rolled up the maps and forcefully picked up the plans. "Another time, perhaps, Captain."

Briggs slammed the door as he walked out. All he heard as the door closed was Jack whispering and a woman's soft laughter.
Josiah stomped back to his quarters, maps and plans under his arm and breathing fire.
'Damn, Captain Jack Wolfe. She's done bewitched you, she has.'
Briggs was fit to be tied as he closed the door to his cabin. "Damn it all," he muttered. "An operation this important, and he couldn't care less about the sodding details. Bewitched for certain, he is.
Briggs was used to Jack's exasperating style of playing things fast and loose to the end, but never like this. He looked at the stack of charts on his desk and sighed heavily. Reaching into his sea chest, he pulled out an onion bottle filled with rum and set about settling his nerves.

Jack poured the Madeira as Honour began putting away her things. "Briggs seemed mightily angry with you, Jack. I interrupted an important meeting, didn't I?" she asked.

He smiled and served Honour her drink. "No, darling. I interrupted a briefing Josiah's been sweating over. He'll get over it."
"What was it about, if you don't mind my asking?"
"No, not at all! We are in the process of setting up the most elaborate smuggling operation ever seen. And we're going to do it right under the Spanish Empire's nose."
Honour nearly choked on her wine. "You- you're going to what?!"
"It's really quite simple, as I've tried to convince Josiah four times already. The Spanish have spread themselves far too thin to even feed or protect their colonies. Trinidad is a prime example. We establish a base on Tobago, since Spain can't even be bothered to establish a garrison there. There's a cove called Castara I rather fancy. We make our services known to the right people. The good citizens of Trinidad come to our base and buy our goods at a reduced price, and it's their problem as to how to get it back home past all the Queen's men."
Honour sipped her wine as she listened intently.
"And just how are you planning to obtain the goods to sell to the fine colonists of Trinidad?"

Jack smiled slyly. "It's a big ocean, love. And lots of shipping traffic on the Galleon's Run between Tobago and Barbados. I'm sure we'll find something."
Honour's eyes widened. "Jack, you don't expect to do any piracy when we are on our honeymoon cruise to Tobago, do you?"
"Certainly not!" he lied.
"That's good. I've seen enough of piracy and what it can do to a man to last a lifetime."
"How so?" he said in reply.
She didn't want to tell him the whole sordid business of what transpired two years previously. It was in the past. Best to leave it there. A memory to take out and wrap yourself around when the nights are long and cold. She hoped that a life with Jack would erase the memory. Or at least dull the pain of a memory pushed far down.

She took a deep breath and forged ahead. "Working in a tavern in a port town in Barbados, I have seen men in search of fortune and what it can do to them. A fortune found, a fortune lost with the toss of the dice or the turn of a card."
Jack poured her another glass of Madeira. "Love, I know what I am doing. After all, I have those twenty-seven chests of guilders. And that is just one encounter."
Before she could protest, there was a knock at the door. Jack crossed the room to answer. The cook, a man named Jameson, came in with a tray, setting it on the desk. On it was a roast piglet with potatoes and greens.
"Thank you and that will be all, Jameson."
Jameson barely glanced at Honour. After all, what was one more doxy? She wasn't the first overnight guest the Captain had. And wouldn't be the last. This one was really young, though. Not rode-hard like most of the wharf trollops. He touched his fingers to his cap and backed out.
Honour sat back on the bed. She had changed into a deep crimson silk gown that showed every curve of her body. Her feet were barefoot and her hair in a braid down her back. Jack kicked off his boots and pulled the table to the edge of the bed. He handed her a plate of Connemara marble heaped with food on it.
She protested, "Jack, I am not one of those dock workers who eat everything in sight!"
He took in the sight of his wife. Around her neck was a delicate silver chain.
"Been meaning to ask you, love, about the chain on your neck."
He gently touched her neck and lifted the chain. "I know my metals, darling, and that is Brittania silver. A gift from an admirer?"
She took his hand and removed it from her chain. "Maybe. Does it bother you?"
Jack shrugged. "I'm not crazy about you wearing a chain given to you by a former lover but it is becoming to you. In time, I shall replace it."
She blushed. How could she tell him that it belonged to her mother? She told him her mother was a housemaid. There would be no way she would have had a chain like that. Jack must never know what her past really was.

As they sated their appetites, Jack gathered the dishes and put them outside the door to the cabin. He offered Honour some fresh fruit of grapes and apples. He poured her another glass of wine.
"Jack, enough of the wine. My head is starting to spin."
She leaned back against the pillows, the goblet of Murano crystal in her hand. The red colour of the Madeira refracted through the crystal and cast a warm glow onto her face.
Jack stretched out next to her and produced something from underneath the pillows. He took her left hand in his and gently slipped a ring on her finger. She gasped.
It was a band of the finest Spanish gold. A large emerald was centered, flanked by two smaller ones. The brilliance of the green was spellbinding.
"Oh, Jack! It's so beautiful!"
She extended her hand to admire it. The delicacy of her hand and the exquisiteness of the jewels were astounding. He took her hand and kissed it.
"Does that make up for the brass key I tried to give you?"
She threw her arms around his neck and drew him to her. "More than makes up for it!"
She then frowned. "But, Jack, I have nothing to give you."
He laughed softly and said, "My dear, you have given me more than you know. Tell you what I will do..."
He took the ruby ring on his right hand and transferred it to his left hand. "This shall be my wedding ring. Every time I look at it, it will be a reminder of that wild night."
She blushed. He reached up to her braid and took the ribbon from her hair. The braid fell apart and her hair cascaded down around her shoulders. She caught her breath as he buried his face in the waves of her hair.
And at that moment, all others were far, far from her mind. If they even existed at all.
Save for the memory of one she buried deep in her heart.
She pushed that memory deep down to revel in the moment.

The morning sun streamed in through the gallery windows and illuminated the slumbering couple. Jack's eyes opened abruptly, and he tried to gently extract himself from his bride. She stirred, her brilliant blue eyes locked onto his.
"Where are you off to, darling?" she inquired.
"We're setting sail for Tobago, love. Briggs is already on deck, cracking the whip. It's terribly bad form for the captain to not be on deck as we set out. Do you care to see what it takes to get a ship under way?" Jack posed.
Honour's face lit up like a lantern. "Of course I'd want to see our ship get under way! Give me a moment to make myself ready."

Jack pulled on his clothes as Honour fussed about her appearance. How does one improve upon the exquisite?
After several minutes, Honour turned from the mirror.
"What do you think? Too much?"
"No, of course not, love," Jack offered. His eyes narrowed as he heard the anchor cable being reeled in. "Come with me ,darling. There's work to be done."

They came upon the weather deck to find it abuzz with activity. Jack strode with authority up the stairs to the holy ground of the quarterdeck, with Honour in tow.

"Master Briggs! To what do I owe the honour of my ship being taken out without so much as my say so?" Jack queried.
"Ummm.. .well, sir... Ye did say we were to set out at first light. And it bein' dawn and all, I figgered that I'd carry out your orders despite your disposition, as it were."
Jack squirmed a bit, tossing a glance back at Honour, then to Briggs.
"Aye! You supposed correctly. You know the heading and destination, aye?"
It was Josiah's turn to squirm. "Not exactly, sir. You didn't bother to share the specifics with me when we last met."
Jack rolled his eyes in disgust.
"Right where you were pointing on the map, Josiah. Castara. Jennings is already established there, ready to put our smuggling operation into action. All we need is inventory. Or have you become too thick to suss it out on your own?" Jack replied acidly.
Honour shot a puzzled look at her husband. She didn't care much for Briggs, but she was troubled by her husband's condescending tone.
Briggs' face reddened. "Of course not, Captain sir. You're right, as always. Castara be our destination, and we'll make her shores in record time."
"As I expected, Master Briggs. Carry on, my friend. The ship is yours."
Jack clapped his trusted friend on the shoulder, and turned to walk away. Briggs tipped his hat and said "Always an honour, Mrs. Wolfe."
Honour smiled as best she could, and followed after Jack.

As they reached the weather deck, Jack turned to face his lovely bride. "You think me quite the martinet, don't you?"
Honour stammered for a moment.
"Umm, well, I don't know how things work on a ship, of course. But you were quite hard on Master Briggs. Unreasonably so, I think."
Jack smiled.
"I'm hard on my dear friend Josiah because he's better than he thinks he is. I don't get to skate, so why should he?"
"So, you really like him?" Honour asked. "Your tone was so harsh!"
"This is a pyrate ship, my love. I have no idea what vessels you're used to, but all these men are individuals. They act as a crew by my force of will alone. If I show softness to one, then all is lost."
Honour looked deep into Jack's eyes, and she understood. Harshness was a necessary evil in his world. She just hoped he never turned that harshness toward her.

"Keep a weather eye out for sail, Master Briggs! Our holds be far too light of swag for my liking! "
"Aye, Cap'n!" Briggs called.
Honour gave Jack a worried look.
"So, we're to go a-pyrating? Surely you're not serious!"
"Honour, my darling, you married a pyrate. What were you expecting? Welcome to our little den of thieves, love. And you're their Queen," Jack pronounced as he swept his arm toward the bow of the ship.

Honour took a few moments to drink it all in. She looked on as Jack gave a seemingly endless stream of instructions to the crew, who quickly set about their assignments. Within minutes, the rigging was in place, the sails filled with the morning wind, and the ship began to gracefully glide toward the mouth of the harbour.
Once satisfied that his crew were settled and the ship well in hand, Jack turned his attention back to his bride.
"You must have a million questions in your pretty head," he said softly. "What would you like to know?"
He was right. Her head was buzzing with questions, but she decided that she'd best start learning about her husband's enterprise and the men he trusted with their fortunes... and his life. "Tell me more about this Jennings fellow we're going to meet. Is he a fellow captain?"
"A captain?" Jack smiled. "No, darling. Cade Jennings is, you might say, my apprentice. We met ten years  ago in Port Royal. I was leaving the pub late one night on the way back my ship, and I heard someone behind me draw a sword. I turned to find a snot-nosed boy of 13 standing there, rusty sword in hand, trembling like a leaf. I drew my sword, expecting him to run, but he stood his ground. Claimed he wanted to become a pyrate, or die by the hand of one. Being that I'm rarely in the mood to snuff a perfectly good powder monkey, I brought him aboard. Quite the little thief, young Cade. A pyrate's pyrate in the end. And the best smuggler I've ever seen."
Honour burst out laughing. "A powder...monkey, did you say?"
Jack smiled at her and pushed the hair out of her eyes. "A powder monkey is the lad that brings gunpowder to the gunners. Cade was quick and he was agile. Never saw a kid climb ropes like he did. Took to the sea right off."
"What of his family?"
"Father died when he was seven. His mother remarried and had died six months previous to our meeting. His stepfather used to beat him so he took to the streets. They were originally from Suffolk and he ran away to Devonshire. That is where he learned his street-smarts. Hanging around the ports and pick-pocketing drunken sailors. He was good. But he wanted adventure. So....I took him on."
She linked her arm with Jack's and walked with him to the quarterdeck.
"And he became the son you never had."
Jack laughed, "Hey, I'm not so old I can be put out to pasture, you know. He's only eleven years younger than me. I may have been a hell-raiser but...."
She silenced him with a kiss. "He sounds like a very interesting person. But about this pyracy, Jack. I am not comfortable with this. I promise me you won't kill anyone."

Jack was beginning to realize that even though Honour was a tavern wench, she didn't really have the grip on what the pirates were all about. There was something about her that belied the savvy the rest of the port doxies had. Aside from the fact that she had a cultured air about her.
He drew her into a kiss and said, "My love, I shall do my best to ensure that the vessel we encounter will surrender peacefully."
"But, Jack, don't you feel any regrets? I mean, after all, you are STEALING."
"Honour, just WHAT do you think I DO for a living?"
She shrugged. "I never really thought it through, I guess. I thought you were a privateer. I thought you took on opposing vessels for the glory of England."
He looked off in the distance and gazed at the horizon. "I'm the only 'glory' I am interested in. This here is a pirate ship and you had better get used to it."
She was taken back by the steely tone of his voice. She had nothing to say.
"Excuse me, Jack. I'm going back to the quarters. I will leave you to your....occupation, then."
She strode off the deck purposefully and entered the Captain's quarters.

He couldn't be sure...but could it be that the door slammed?
Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....

Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2008, 05:03:48 PM »
Jack watched her march off below and felt... confused. Apparently he'd said something wrong, but what it might have been escaped him. "Master Briggs?"
"Aye, Cap'n?" Briggs could hardly contain his amusement.
"Did she just... was that... she's in a bit of a snit, isn't she?"
"Ye may have been a bit blunt with the lass, Cap'n. Perhaps a softer tone is in order, her bein' new to this life and all."
"Ah, I see. Sage advice, Josiah. Thank you. I'll look after things while you talk to her," Jack replied.
Briggs stared at his friend.
"Jack, I meant you should talk to her. Seeing as how ye married her, remember?"
"Oh. That's right. The ship is yours, then. I need to see if my cabin still has a working door."

Jack made his way aft to the great cabin. The door was shut, but still on it's hinges. He knocked softly, then entered. Honour was sitting on the bed, staring at her wedding ring.
"Honour, I seem to have upset you, and for that, I, um, apologize. I took it for granted that you knew my stock and trade. We are a nation unto ourselves, and our fortunes and freedom are our own."
"I had thought that you served a nobler purpose that your own greed. I was mistaken," Honour said quietly.
Her answer rankled him, but he help his temper.
"And what 'nobler purpose' should I be serving? The Crown? Risk my neck so King William can grow fat while I starve and my ship belongs to the prats of the Admiralty? No thank you, love. This arrangement suits me fine. Even you had heard of my reputation in Glenlivet, no? What do you think happens to the heart of a captain of an overloaded, undergunned merchant ship when they see my flag? They'd rather give up than risk the wrath of pyrates. More often than not our prizes are taken without a shot fired from either side. We do the same work as the privateers, darling. We simply do it better, and for better pay. Without the annoying diplomatic and bureaucratic entanglements."

Jack sat beside her and took her hand in his, and met her eyes. "Darling, why would I want to risk putting you in harms way? Or our ship and crew?"
Honour looked up at Jack with her blue eyes, trying to will the tears away that threatened to spill over. She took a deep breath and said in a halting voice, "I didn't think that far in advance, Jack. I--I just didn't really think beyond...beyond..."
Jack stroked her cheek gently and said, "Yeah. I know. Regrets?"
She broke out in a smile and shook her head. "Not so far, darling. But I do have issue with being known as Queen of the pyrates!"
He laughed and said, "Well, let's just say you are the Captain's woman and therefore you are 'untouchable' as far as the crew is concerned."
She traced her finger on his lips and whispered in his ear, "Is the crew taken care of and the ship underway?"
He breathed softly, "Aye, Briggs has the ship."
She smiled wickedly, locked the door and said, "Aye, my Captain! Your wish is my command."

Briggs stood on the prow of the ship, taking a deep draw on his pipe. He gazed out over the horizon, his face a mixture of shock and amusement to see his friend and captain so completely taken in by a tart.
At least that was what Briggs perceived her as. She worked in a port town in a lively tavern. He and Jack had observed her. She was light on her feet as regards the advances of the men who frequented it and savvy in a way that showed she knew how to handle them. What else would she be? No lady of quality ever would be seen in such an establishment.
And the method she used to obtain a ring on her finger...well, Briggs certainly took his hat off to her on that one. He bet that was one Captain Jack Wolfe never saw coming.

A clearing of the throat was heard behind Briggs. He turned and said, "Something on your mind, Davis?"
Jacob Davis, a gunner's mate, stood next to Briggs.
"Me and some of the crew are wondering what is up with the Cap'n? Bringing a woman--and a young one at that!--onto the ship? T'ain't right. T'ain't right, at all."
Briggs looked back over the sea. "He's the captain. It is his ship. What he says is the way it is."
Davis exploded, "But t'bring a woman on the ship be courtin' disaster for the crew and the well-being of the ship! We be takin' a vote and--"
Briggs tapped his pipe on the rail and sighed heavily. "There will be no votes taken on this vessel. Captain Jack Wolfe is not only captain of El Lobo del Mar, he is the owner. Lock, stock and barrel."
Jack arrived on the quarterdeck just in time to hear Davis' outburst and Briggs' reply. "Take his advice, Mr. Davis. If you can't abide with that, you may still be able to swim to shore. Doubtful, but you're a young man. Feel free to step off any time." He stood smiling at the anxious young man.
Davis looked in stunned silence at Jack, and then to Briggs. The quartermaster stepped to one side and motioned to the briny deep with a sweeping gesture of his arm. He stammered, "Beggin' your pardon, Cap'n Wolfe. I wasn't knowin' that you were the lord and master of this ship..."
"Now you find yourself better educated, don't you?" Jack interrupted. "Back to you station, Davis. No sense overtaxing your brain anymore this evening." Davis smiled nervously and beat a hasty retreat to the weather deck.

Jack walked to the forward rail of the quarterdeck and rang the watch bell four times. He waited patiently as the crew assembled. Finally, he addressed them.
"Gentlemen, no doubt you're wondering about my gentle lady guest and why she's set sail with us."
The throng grumbled in the affirmative. One voice rang out "That, and 'ow much's she's costin' ye!"
Jack smiled as the men laughed. "Quite a dear penny, I can assure you! She's my new wife."
The men stared at their captain as if struck dumb. "You heard right. And you'll afford my bride every possible courtesy. Am I understood?"
The crew reluctantly acquiesced.
"Wonderful! Extra rum, all around! We're celebrating!" Jack proclaimed. The men's faces lit up as they cheered, and the fiddler struck up a tune. He turned back to face the skeptical Briggs. "See, they're good with it! No worries."
"Aye, until the rum's finished..."
"Oh, cluck-cluck, Josiah. You're always seeing the bleak side of things. Why do you think we laid in more rum before we left? I'll be below..."
Honour emerged from the Captain's quarters. Three days without seeing the sun was beginning to get on her nerves. Never mind the fact that she was on her honeymoon. Jack had gone to the navigator's quarters to go over some charts so she took the opportunity to walk around the ship.
Briggs looked over and shook his head to himself. Soft-looking. Not cut out for a pirate's life. How long before she would rope Captain Jack into a life of domesticity? What if she decided babies was what she wanted? Birthing and squalling brats had no place on a pirate ship! But then, neither did a woman.
"Something I can help you with...Mrs. Wolfe?"
"Hmm..? Oh! I'm sorry, I have a hard time getting used to that name.
'Uh huh,' Briggs said to himself.
He looked over at her. 'That's no tavern wench, or my name ain't Briggs. Looks and walks too high-class for a common trollop.'
Honour bent down. "Oooh, what a cute little kitty!"
Kitty? L'il Puddin' was a fighting machine!
She picked up the ship's cat, turned him on his back and cuddled him like a baby.
Briggs rushed forward and cautioned, "Mrs.'am..I wouldn't do that if I were you. That there cat becomes a wildcat when he is laid on his..."
The cat started to purr.
She crooned to the cat, "Ooh, what a sweet little puddy! Is you momma's widdle bay-bee? Of course you are!"
The cat looked at Briggs through squinted eyes as if to say, 'YOU never did this to me!'
She hugged the cat close to her and...
"Ma'am! Please! He will scratch...."
The cat licked Honour's cheek and she giggled.
"...your eyes out."
Briggs spat his tobacco and glared at the cat. Honour gently put the cat down and Briggs hissed under his breath at the cat, "TRAITOR!"
The cat entwined and rubbed against Honour's skirt.
"Mr. Briggs! If I may have a request?"
He just stared at her.
"Could you have the cook make up a picnic basket lunch for the Captain and me? I'd like to surprise him with a picnic on the upper deck. Maybe a lobster with drawn butter? Oh! And strawberries in champagne. Some chocolate for dessert, too! Ta!"
He muttered darkly, 'You want the ship moved a little to the left, too, Miss Prissy?'
She looked back. "I'm sorry, did you say something?"
He said, "Did you want to set any mood with the light that is left, Mrs. Wolfe?"
She grinned and said, "No, Mr. Briggs. Just see that we aren't disturbed!"
He watched her go towards the cabin, a self-confident sway in her walk. He shook his head and said to himself, 'Lady? Tobago is gonna eat you up alive! Especially when SHE finds out Jack took a bride...'

Jack finished confirming their course and went topside to take his pipe. He leaned on the gunwale and savoured the taste of the the fine American tobacco he'd acquired from that red-faced English captain off Hispaniola. He felt his muscles unwind as he stared out over the miraculously blue water of the Caribbean, and contemplated his new station in life as a husband.  His reverie was shattered by the sound of familiar footsteps behind him.
"Aye, Josiah? What nigh-on Biblical calamity has you vexed, my friend?" Jack sighed.
"Jack, ordinarily I'd never bring a problem like this to you..."
Jack caught himself before he bit through the stem of his pipe.
"... but it's about that wom- I mean, your new bride, lovely as she is." Briggs fidgeted as his captain and friend took one last long draw on his pipe, then tapped out the rest of his bowl on the gunwale.
"The ship is still afloat, I haven't heard any explosions in the past 2 hours, and no slimy monsters have tried to drag us down to the proverbial Locker, so what can she have possibly done that distresses you so?"
"It's... it's the cat, Cap'n."
Jack blinked, started to speak, then blinked again. "Excuse me, Josiah. Did you say 'the cat'? Did she skin him and make earmuffs?"
"No, no, worse than that, Jack. She..." Briggs' voice dropped to a hissed whisper, "...she tamed him!"

Jack regarded his longtime friend with a look that is usually reserved for doctors in loony bins.
"What do you mean, 'she tamed the cat'?  Josiah, you've made it painfully clear that you don't care for Honour, but really! To invent such nonsense that she tamed an already docile cat? What'd she do? Make him purr louder? Did he show kindness to a rat? Shed a tad less on anything dark blue or black?"
"Cap'n! Ye know I'd never invent anything against your fair bride! That bloody cat's insane!"
"Josiah, that peaceful little moggie has only two natural enemies in his entire world; rats, and you! Have you ever noticed that the only time he ever shows you any affection at all is after he's rolled in fish guts?"
"Um, now that you mention it..."
"Josiah, let it go. We'll be moored at Castara morning after next, and you can stop worrying about Honour for a few days. I'll need you to concentrate on the new operation there. Concentrate on the particulars you need to work out with Cade. Let me worry about the bloody cat, yeah? And my wife?" Jack requested.
"Aye, Jack. If ye don't mind terribly, I'll retire a bit early.
"Fine idea, Josiah. Sleep well. And you owe me a fresh pouch of tobacco!"

Josiah shuffled off to his cabin. "The whole bloody world's gone mad. First the Cap'n, then the cat. Who's next? Cade? Lord knows that witch woman's off her twig already..."
The rest of the sail to Tobago went without incident. Briggs was confounded by one thing. He leaned over the rail and said to Davis, "Can't understand it! That cat from hell follows the Captain's---" the words stuck in his throat but he got them out, "---wife all over the ship. Ne'er seen nothing like it. Bewitched the cat, too, she has!"
Davis laughed, "She's not so bad, Josiah. You just don't like the idea of Captain Jack taking his attention elsewhere. When you two were in port, didn't bother you how many women the Captain took up with. You accepted it. What's changed?"
"This one. He's SERIOUS about her. She's lasted a week now."
Davis clapped him on the shoulder. "There's always hope, Josiah."
"How do you mean?"
As Davis turned to go, he said, "Maybe she'll be gone by the time the moon is full again."
Josiah said darkly to himself, "Then life can get back to the way it's supposed to be. Next thing you know, Captain Wolfe will be knitting little booties!"

As Honour laid in Jack's arms, she yawned and asked, "What time shall we reach Tobago tomorrow?"
Jack kissed the top of her head and said, "Around the ninth hour. It's a grand place, Honour. You will like it. Honour...? Darling....?"
All he could hear is the rhythmic breathing of her. He kissed her again and soon he fell asleep.

She sat up in the bed, the sheet clutched around her. The tears were streaming down her face.
Jack immediately jumped up and scrambled for his sword before he realized his bride was in the throes of a night terror.
He reached over and grabbed her shoulders.
"Honour! HONOUR! Snap out of it!"
She slowly began to come out of it, her body shaking.
Jack looked at her and tenderly cupped her face.
"Honour...?" he said softly.
She got her breathing under control and the shaking began to subside. She said in a halting voice, "I--I guess I had a nightmare."
He gathered her into his arms and stroked her hair.
He quietly asked, "Honour, who is Madoc?"
She drew away from him, and laid back on the bed. She whispered, "I don't know. It was a--a bad dream. That's all it was."
He held her tenderly as he felt her body begin to relax again. Before he knew it, she had drifted back to sleep.
But Jack laid there awake, staring at the ceiling.
Who was Madoc? And who was he asked to spare?

He began to realize that maybe he didn't know his wife at all.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2008, 05:12:13 PM by Welsh Wench »
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« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2008, 05:11:30 PM »
El Lobo del Mar made port just as Jack had said it would, in a timely fashion. He saw to the docking and then came back in to get his bride. The crew was given shore leave, Briggs volunteering to stay with the ship with a minimal crew.

Jack and Honour stepped off the ship at a little village on Castara Bay. It was a typical port town.
Jack took her hand and they made their way to the outskirts of the little port.
"Here is where we need to meet Cade," he said.
She looked up. It was a timbered-and stuccoed tavern. A sign swinging up overhead said, "Le Lupe".
She said, "The Wolf."
He laughed and said, "Precisely. This office of sorts is fronted by a tavern."

He held the door open. As they entered, Honour's eyes tried to adjust to the dimness inside. Jack went up to the bar and smiled broadly at a dark-skinned woman whose head was swathed in a tignon.
"Bonita! Comment allez-vous, chéri?"
The woman ran from behind the bar and said, "Ola, Captain Jacques! It has been a while, oui?"
Jack returned her embrace. The woman skeptically looked over at Honour and gave her a glance that made Honour uncomfortable.
"And who is this?" she said coolly with a tinge of malice.
"Ah, Bonita, this is Honour."
The woman extended her hand in greeting but there was no warmth in her eyes.
"Welcome to Castara."
Honour attempted a smile all the while giving a questioning look to Jack.
He turned to Bonita and said, "Two tankards of ale, please, Bonita."

As he led her to a table in the back, Bonita drew two tankards and put them down. She gave Jack a slight squeeze on his neck and moved on.
"What did I ever do to HER?" Honour asked.
Jack chuckled, "Bonita is a bit---proprietary, shall we say? After all, this is my tavern even though she runs it like it is hers."
"And why didn't you introduce me as your wife? I could understand on the ship but this is dry land, Jack."
"Bonita is a"
"In love with you?"
Jack snapped his fingers. "That's it! And I don't fancy her fashioning a voodoo doll in your likeness, love."
Honour looked dubiously into the tankard, not liking the feelings of jealousy that the situation arose in her.
She saw a door in the dark corner. Bonita had disappeared behind it. Within a few minutes, a man came out.
He was of medium height, in his early twenty's. His hair was tied back with a silk ribbon and his shirt sleeves were rolled up.
He deftly crept up behind Jack and put his finger to his lips, cautioning Honour to silence.
In a low voice, he said to Jack with his hand clamped on his shoulder, "You're under arrest!"
Jack jumped up, cutlass in hand. The man jumped back and laughed.
"You're slowing down, old man!"
Jack grinned and embraced the man.
"Cade, someday you will lose. And I will feel so bad. For about ten seconds!"
Honour looked quizzically at the two of them.

Jack leaned over and kissed Honor on the cheek. "Darling, I'd like you to meet Cade Jennings, my right hand man on shore. Cade, please meet Honour Bright."
Honour was startled by the use of her maiden name but said nothing. But inside she was furious. Just wait till I get him alone, she thought.
Cade laughed and said, "Jack is flattering me with praise so I won't give away any secrets."
Cade was what would be called--dashing. No other word for it. His hair was light brown streaked with gold and his eyes were a deep grey-green colour.

Honour extended her hand. She felt an almost electrical charge between the two of them. Cade took her hand and kissed it, saying, "Welcome to Castara Bay, Miss Bright."
Jack grinned and put his arm possessively around Honour. "Cade is the son I never had."
Cade threw his head back and laughed.
"Aye! Provided ye started at ten, Jack!"
Jack laughed ribaldly, "And who says I didn't!"

Honour finished her tankard and said, "I should leave the two of you to your business."
Jack handed her a key and said, "Here, love. My rooms are first door on the right. I'll be up in a bit."
She only nodded, hurt that Jack still didn't want to own up to the fact that he now had a wife.
She took the key without a word. But as she left, she felt someone watching her. As she looked over her shoulder, she saw Cade Jennings staring at her.
She quickly mounted the stairs.
'Why didn't I stay in Barbados?' she thought.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2008, 05:12:56 PM by Welsh Wench »
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« Reply #33 on: May 14, 2008, 05:14:25 PM »
Jack stole a dark look at Cade, then at Honour. She ducked her head and continued up the stairs. Cade's gaze lingered. Jack elbowed his protegee hard in the gut! "Oi! What are you about, ye young pup? Staring after my wife like that?"
Cade looked hard at his mentor. "She, she's your what?"
Bonita's head snapped around and she gave Jack a look that straddled heartbreak and hatred.
"Um, yeah," Jack stammered. "Honour Bright, is indeed, Mrs. Jack Wolfe."
He cleared his voice, and took his place atop a table. "Everyone, please take note! Miss Honour Bright is indeed my wife, Mrs., um, Captain Jack Wolfe! Give her all due honour, and whatnot. Now, dangnubbit, Cade, close your mouth and help me down! That's it!"
Jack looked around and announced triumphantly "Drinks all around! Cade's buying!" He leaned into his student and asked quietly, "That's all right, isn't it?"
Cade clapped Jack on the shoulder.
"You're a lucky, and most unlucky man. Lucky for what retired upstairs, and unlucky for what is staring at you at this moment."

Jack grinned at Cade, then looked over at the bar, and Bonita. Her dark, haunting eyes pierced him with an anger that he'd never known.
"Cade, tell me true. Given the omission of the delightful Bonita, how many of you wish me dead?"
"Now, Jack..You know whiskey makes you morose. Make your peace, and have a chat with Bonita."
Jack turned and looked hard at Cade. "Make my peace? You intend to kill me?"
Within the blink of an eye, Jack's pistol was cocked and leveled at Cade's head.
"Answer my question!"

Suddenly, he felt Bonita's unearthly quieting hand on his shoulder. "Now, quiet, child. Dere bein' no need for no violence now, understand? Young Cade, he got too much livin' for you! You be givin' dat pistol to me, lest Bonita be flexin' her ways in manners you not like too much... you know what I say. Much better I flex them ways what make you feel like..."
Jack spun, and found Bonita's succulent lips scarce millimetres from his, and his pistol was gone from his hand. "Bonita, darling. I'm... I'm a married man now. Flex as you may..."
"I'll flex as I like, witty Jack!  How quick you forget, when a younger woman pass by?" Bonita snaked her hands behind Jack's neck.
"Um, exactly how old are you, darling?" Jack inquired.
"Dat ne'er been no concern of yours, 'til now. You ask Bonita now, why?"
"Um, well, it never came up. I always thought you ageless..."
"Ah, Bonita know why. You got you a new, beautiful young bride. You think Bonita just gonna step aside and let dis happen?"
"Well, I was hoping..."
"Guess again, Jack. Dis not gonna pass easy. You and I, we share too much, too often, too deep. Go. Enjoy dat new bride you bring to us. But carry dis wit' you before you go..."
Bonita shoved Jack away, and produced a handful of sheep's knuckles. She cast them upon the bar, and drew a long, unnatural breath.

"I see darkness ahead for you, Jack. Two will betray you. Two, so dear to your dark heart. Dey will cut you to de quick, and cause you such joy and pain. Your heart will break three times. One, you will kill, but in de strangest of ways. De other will bring you joy and riches, but only after much strife. One will break my heart, and end Bonita's time here. Dat will wound you deepest. You go upstairs, and pay attention to dat new bride you took so quick, so out of fashion. You bring her to us, and expect her to take up de life we enjoy! Shame be upon you, Jack! We accept anyone what take up de Account on they own accord. But to force her among us! Has she taste battle? Has she taste death? Do she know what she need to know to be de wife of a pyrate? You gave her none of dat! Shame be upon you! Look at what I cast, and know you bring it upon you own head!"
Bonita took a final look at the sheep's knuckles, spat upon them, then stalked off. Jack's blood chilled.

"Oi! I'll take it under advisement, love!" he called, nervously. He couldn't shake the chill from his bones. He knew all too well that Bonita's visions were chillingly accurate. He'd relied on them too many times for the many successful prizes and sackings he'd taken over the years. Now, she predicts crushing failure and soaring success. At what cost?
Jack looked back at his favourite son. Cade raised his cup to his mentor and yelled, "What are you dallying here for? Give that new bride of yours a rousing Tobago welcome!!"
Heartened, Jack smiled and ran up the stairs to his room where Honour awaited.

"Two will betray you."
Bonita's voice echoed from nowhere as Jack's hand touched the doorknob.
"Piffle. Utter nonsense," he whispered, as he opened the door.
Honour sitting was by the window, gazing out at the quiet harbor town below. There was a sadness in her eyes as she looked his way. "What's nonsense, darling?"
"Ah, nothing. Just talking to myself."
Jack slipped in and locked the door behind him.
"Settling in all right, love?" he said nervously. He started cautiously rummaging about the knickknacks on the shelves as if one of them might spring on him like a mousetrap. "I... I, ah, corrected my previous misstep..." he picked up a silver comb and used it to slowly open the lid of a small snuff box. "... Told them all about our marriage and how you should be treated with every due respect."
He turned and tried to smile as if he weren't scared of finding one of Bonita's poppets tucked into a dark cranny.
Honour walked over to Jack and laid her hand on his arm. He jumped a mile.
"Jack, you are acting awfully nervous. What is going on?"
He put the snuff back and looked for something stronger. His stash of khat had to be there somewhere....
He turned to her and said, "Just trying to lose my sea legs, that is all. Always jumpy the first day on shore."
"You look like you are expecting the Devil himself."
He looked at her hard and retorted, "What is that supposed to mean?"
She was taken back by his harshness of tone. "No-nothing."
He softened and put his arms around her, drawing her close.
"Sorry, darling...just got alot on my mind. But it is good to see Cade. What did you think of him?"
She took a deep breath and said evenly, "He seems like a very nice man."
Jack searched her face for any sign of.....anything.
'Two will betray you. Two so dear to your dark heart.' The words echoed in his mind.
He tilted her face towards his and said, "I love you, Honour. Never forget that. I am also not a man to be trifled with. Never forget that, either."
She encircled his wrist with her hand and said, "Jack. You-you're hurting me."
He said, "I'm sorry, love. You were looking out the window and looked so wistful. Care to share your secrets with me?"

How could she tell him that the view from the window reminded her of a time she was with....him?
She put a smile on her face and said, "I was thinking of how I would like to explore the bay. It looks beautiful. Do you think we could?"
Jack drew her to him. "A wonderful idea, love. Why didn't I think of that?"
Her smile dimpled as she said, "It will be nice, just the two of us. No Briggs with his disapproval. No crew hovering around. I swear, it was really hard to relax knowing they were just outside the door. Now we really CAN have our 'honeymoon.' "

« Last Edit: June 27, 2008, 08:22:48 PM by Welsh Wench »
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« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2008, 05:18:33 PM »
Cade stared at the sheep's knuckles on the bar and looked over at Bonita who sat in the corner. He walked over to her.
"Bonita? Care to explain that little drama you played out for Jack?"
She looked at him and her eyes glittered with bitterness. "Dat be for me to know and you to find out, young Cade. You be the son he ne'er had. He be taking a bride of tender years. Mebbe ye be replaced? Jack have sons of his own, beget dem on dat woman he take. Pay heed, Cade Jennings. Ye play a dangerous game dere. Jack not one to be fooled. He know. He know what you capable of. Dat woman off-limits to you. Best ye remember dat."
Cade felt his face colour. "Now you are talking nonsense, Bonita. That voodoo mumbo-jumbo may work on Jack, but not on me. I have no interest or designs on his wife. And I'll thank you not to be putting any wild notions in his head."
She grasped him by the arm and hissed, "You know it be true. I see the look you be giving dat woman. Dat...dat CHILD! She no woman for Jack. Jack needs lusty woman."

Cade sat down at the table where Bonita sat. "Bonita, you are just as surprised as I am that Jack showed up with a wife. Your sheep's knuckles could read anything you want it to and..."
She jumped up and put her face close to his. "NO! Ye not know the ways. My tia she taught me. An' she taught me tres bien, she did! Bones no lie. You see. BONES NO LIE! Ye watch where ye be steppin, young Cade. And where ye be sleepin'. Dat all I say to YOU!"

Jack and Honour walked arm in arm along the sands until they came to a smal cove. Honour sat down and took her boots off, then hiked her skirt up and waded into the water.
"Jack, the water is so warm!"
"Aye, usually is this time of year."
The cove was surrounded by high cliffs. There were palm trees lining the beach. Honour breathed deeply the salt air.
"This must truly be paradise!" she said.
Jack looked over the horizon. He said softly, "It truly is, my love."
She looked back at Jack and grinned. She came back to shore and began to unlace her bodice. She flung it off. Jack raised his eyebrow.
"Dare I ask what you are doing, my love?"
She dropped her skirt and said, "I am going swimming."
"Swimming. Now?"
The chemise dropped next and she looked over her shoulder and winked.
"I surely am."

She dove into the surf, then surfaced, her hair streaming down her back and her face glistening with the drops from the sea.
She smiled at him and beckoned him with her finger.
He grinned and stood up to remove his shirt.
"Well, when in Rome. Or Tobago. Or..wherever.."

They never heard the twig snapped as they were observed from the darkness of the shade. A hand reached out to the pile of shed clothes and cautiously removed a small article of clothing from the pile.
A small article that could prove very useful....
As the two lovers laughed and splashed about in the warm sea water, they were oblivious to the eyes that watched them. The slender hand reached out from the underbrush once again and stole one more small piece of clothing. At that very moment, Honour looked back toward the beach.
"Jack," she said hesitantly. "What's that over there by our clothes?"
He wiped the salt water from his eyes and looked to where she was pointing. All he saw was some movement in the brush.
"What did you see, love? Someone trying to catch a peek?" he joked.
She splashed water at him. "No, silly! It looked like a huge cat, with spots all over it."
"Oh? You've never seen a jaguar before?"
"No! It was so beautiful! But it was almost as if it were watching us."
"You've seen a rare sight, darling. Jaguars are very elusive. I wonder what brought her down here?"
"Why did you call it 'her'?" Honour asked. "In fact you call so very many things 'her' or 'she'."
"I hadn't thought much about it. Force of habit, I suppose. I'm so used to referring to ships in the feminine, it spills over to other things."
"That's something I've always wanted to know; why do sailors do that? Say things like 'she's a fast ship.' Why not call it 'he'?"
"Because, my love," Jack smiled, "A ship, like a beautiful woman, costs a fortune to keep in paint and powder!"
"Oh, you devil!! Take it back!" she laughed.

Bonita emerged from the heavy foliage behind the tavern. In her hand she carried Honour's hair ribbon and one of the leather lanyards Jack used as a makeshift garter for his breeches. She made sure no one had seen her, and she slipped through the tavern's back door.
She went to a shelf and moved a couple of wine casks aside. Reaching into the space, she retrieved two small poppets; one representing Honour, and the other, Jack. Placing the dolls back to back, she began to wind the ribbon and lanyard about them.

"Wit' dese cords, I bind toget'er dey spirits, and hold apart dey hearts. Dey lives, dey be forever entwine, forever connected, but never share as man and woman." She clutched the dolls and touched them to her forehead, then spat on them. "Too much Bonita gave you, Jack Wolfe. Now we see how de great man do wit'out her!"
"Mmmm, that was nice!" Honour stretched out in the warm sand and closed her eyes.
Jack pulled her back to him and kissed her deeply.
"Jack, no! We really need to be getting back. The sun is starting to set and if there are jaguars around..."
He caressed her cheek and said, "Jaguars rarely, if ever, attack humans."
She sat up and reached for her chemise. "I don't intend to put that to the test."
She threw his shirt at him. "I suggest you get dressed."
She stepped into her chemise and skirt, then looked for her bodice.
"How did it get over THERE?"
Jack laughed. "Well, when you flung it off, it hit me in the face and I guess I just kind of threw it in that direction."
She looked around. "That's strange. I thought I had my hair tied back in a ribbon."
"I thought you did, too. I remember you taking it out ever so slowly and then tossing your hair..."
She held her finger up. "Hush. Don't get your blood up. We've had enough romance for one afternoon."
He searched around. "I seem to be missing a lanyard. This IS odd."
Honour looked up. "Oh, look! A scarlet tanager. I will wager if you look in his--or her--nest, you will find my ribbon and your lacing!"
He pulled his boots on and then put his hands on her shoulders. She smiled and leaned back into him.
He buried his face in her sea-scented hair and whispered, "Then let's consider it gone for a good cause!"

Jack suddenly pulled away. "Ow!"
Honour asked, "What happened? Did you step on a shell?"
"No. Just a tightness in my chest. Ah, seems to have gone away. Let's go back to the tavern. I'm sure you must be hungry by now. I know I am."

They walked into the tavern. It seemed a whole new crew of buccaneers, swashbucklers and pirates had entered since Honour and Jack took some time out for themselves. Jack seemed to know them all. Cade Jennings was deep in conversation with another man. Jack said to Honour, "Excuse me, love. That is Captain James Blake and I must talk to him."
Honour looked over and did a double take. James? HERE? She looked around for a corner to disappear into. If James thinks we are going to take up where we left off, he is sadly mistaken.

Jack walked over to the two men. Honour sat at a corner table hoping to be inconspicuous. Bonita came over with a tankard of ale for herself and sat down uninvited.
Honour wished she would go away. She got a very uncomfortable feeling around the dark woman. It was as if she could see right through to her very soul.
Bonita eyed the young woman and said coolly, "You marry Captain Wolfe sudden. You not know him long. How you do dat? What juju you use?"
Honour paled. "I didn't use any juju."
Bonita appraised her over her mug. "I feel strong force wit' you. You have power. Dat why you have husband so fast. You use charms?"
Honour said, "I have no idea what you are talking about, Bonita."
Bonita laughed in a way that made Honour uncomfortable. "You not what you seem. You bind Jack wit' spells. He not thinkin' clear. That not be our Jack Wolfe."
Honour tried to keep her voice steady. There was no way that Bonita could know about her Druid training.
"Bonita, the plain and simple fact is that Jack Wolfe fell in love with me. We got married. And I would appreciate it if you could accept the fact and not cause any trouble."
As she turned to go, Bonita whispered, "You bind to him but you not be one. You NEVER be one. You see. Bones no lie..."

A chill ran down Honour's spine but just then Jack came over with Cade and James Blake.
James Blake had a startled look on his face but before he could say anything, Jack said, "Honour, darling, I would like you to meet Captain Blake. James, this is my wife Honour."
Honour stood very quickly and held out her hand. Before James could say anything, she said, "How do you do, Captain....Blake, is it?"
James raised his eyebrow at her and said in return, "Very nice to meet you."
To Jack, he said, "Married! YOU? You old sea dog! She reminds me of a woman I knew from Beaumaris. Miss--I mean, Mrs--Wolfe, I don't suppose you have a sister there, do you?"
Honour's face coloured and she said, "I'm afraid not, Captain. My family is from the Shetland Islands in Scotland."
James tried to keep a straight face as he kissed her hand. "A thousand pardons, Mrs. Wolfe."
He whispered as he let her hand go, "Shetland Islands, my arse!"

Honour turned to Jack and said, "Darling, I have a headache and I think I am going to retire to our room."
Jack kissed her cheek and said, "Aye. I won't be long, darlin'. Keep the bed warm!"
She heard their robust laughter as she ran up the stairs. Slamming the door shut, she sat on the bed and began breathing hard.
Maybe this whole Tobago thing wasn't such a good idea. Maybe this whole wedding thing wasn't such a good idea either.......
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« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2008, 05:19:40 PM »
Jack watched his lovely young bride climb the stairs once again with uncomfortable haste. He turned and shot a look at Bonita, who almost met his eyes, then went about clearing tables. His attention turned to Blake.
"How about you explain yourself? You caused my bride quite the unwarranted fluster. What's in your head?"
Blake was taken aback as he felt a pistol rammed hard up against his ribs.
"Um, wait! Have a care, Jack! I was mistaken, I swear!"
"Let's keeps it that way, mate. This port attracts far too many doxies to slake even your thirst, my friend. Turn your attentions once more to my wife, and your crew will be electing a new captain. Savvy?"
"You're a hard man, Jack. And luckier that you realize. I'll give you that. Aye. I was out of line. Pardon my foolishness." Blake withdrew, and Jack returned his pistol to his belt.

"Well then, gentlemen, and captains all! Time to get down to business, yeah? Here's how our operation works." Jack announced.
Cade shot him a confused look, and nodded hard in the negative. Jack smiled back at him with a grin that said "Shut up and learn, boy."
"Here's how we intend to serve the hungry populace of Trinidad, since the Spaniard seems incapable of caring for his own. I've secured a most friendly relationship with the English governor of Barbados, so anyone sailing under my commission may take fair harbour there. Think about it, brothers. Between this good place and Barbados, those what choose to in my fleet own the Galleon Run. We can throttle all commerce from Spain and the United Provinces, and exact a high price from a hungry populace of Trinidad. All I ask is that, in deference to Our Friend, the Governor of Barbados, we let most every English ship pass."

The muttering of those gathered changed from approval to noncommittal. "Aye, I understand your concerns. Rest assured, I've not turned Loyalist on you. But If we do not let most, and I repeat for those too dim to get it the first two times, most of the Crown's traffic to pass, we lose our position and protection here from the good Governor of Barbados. Is everyone tracking now?"
The mood of the room changed. Honour heard the hubbub downstairs, and cracked open the door just enough to hear better.

"Fine! Very well, then! This is how things will work. Any prizes taken by those who chose to sign on will be brought here to Castara, and condemned by our Court of Admiralty, headed by Captain Cade Jennings." Cade's head whipped around, and he stared dumbstruck at his mentor. Jack winked at him. "Once their value have been assessed, they'll be auctioned off on these very grounds."
"Yeah? And just who's here to buy said goods?" a voice yelled out.
"A very good question!" Jack replied. "Our buyers will land at the port of Scarborough, roughly 30 miles to our south. They'll pay a fee of 2 reals a head to travel the road to Castara. Once they've made their purchases, they'll pay 8 reals per mule, and 12 reals per mule cart to haul their merchandise back to Scarborough. We stay clear of the Spanish port authority, and our customers get a fair price, as established by them. And we all get a fair profit off the lot of it. Transport fees, less overhead will be fantastically profitable for all of us. The monies will go into a common pool and be shared out equally."
"What are the terms, Admiral Wolfe?" a voice jeered.
"Aye! Admiral! I like that! Do I get a bigger hat?"

The crowd laugh, but quickly settled down. Briggs gave his captain a very unsettled look. They were supposed to work all this out on the trip over, but Jack had been too busy with his new bride. What on earth would he say?
"Fair enough. The Company's share is twenty-five percent, with fifteen percent going to the captain and crew of each respective vessel. The rest goes to overhead and 'gratuities' to the Governor of Barbados to allow our operation to continue. Whatever is left at the end of the month will be put in a common fund and shared out equally, man for man."
"Twenty-five percent?! You're mad! I'd get better margins turning privateer!" a voice yelled.
"Let's examine that, shall we? As a privateer to the Crown, you don't own your own ship. You'll owe fifteen percent to the Crown, ten percent to the Admiralty, and another fifteen percent to the syndicate what owns your vessel. Admiralty Court fees will run you another twelve percent plus legal fees for the legal condemnation of your prizes. The your get to share out whatever pitiful pittance is let to your hungry and mightily pissed off crew, who will most likely jump ship at their next opportunity, and blacken your name as a poor and worthless captain. That's if they don't mutiny and cut your throat in the middle of the night. Besides, how can you rely on a privateer's commission, since we are mostly English subjects and we're not presently at war with anyone? Or is starvation your goal in life?"

The rabbles voices moderated, and turned more to the affirmative.
"So, my brothers, who'll sign on? I'll even forgo the bigger hat!"
Laughter erupted from the congregation, and they lined up at a small table Briggs had set up as a clerk's desk. They eagerly and greedily signed on for their chance to further decimate the economies of the Dutch and Spaniards.

Honour closed the door and crossed the room to lay across the bed. She flung her arm over her eyes and took a deep shuddering breath.
James! What is James Blake doing in Tobago, of all places? And why of all people did he have to be friends with Captain Jack Wolfe?
Her mind drifted back to another time, another place. She had managed to make her way to the King's Falcon in Barbados and secured a job as a tavern wench.
Tavern wench! If her father only knew. But then, she reasoned, he threw me to the wolves to begin with. Otherwise, I would never have ended up there, she thought.

She had only been working there a few weeks when a handsome captain came into the tavern.
She walked up to him as he sat down at the corner table, his back to the wall.
"Something I can get for you?" she asked.
He looked up at her with deep brown eyes and grinned. "An start out with." He constantly looked out the window.
"Are you expecting company?" she asked.
"Company?" he laughed. "You are new here, are ye not?"
She blushed and retorted, "Something amusing about that?"
He shook his head and said, "Nay. I never heard it put quite that way. But yes, I am expecting company."
"Shall I tell him you are here if and when I see this individual?"
He looked at her and blinked. "Such high-class words for a tavern wench."
She glared at him. "What makes you think a tavern wench has to speak in one-syllable words?"
He laughed and said, "Point well-taken. I am waiting for a man named Captain Wolfe but I don't see him. His ship has not ported."
She came back with his ale and he beckoned to her. "Not much business yet, and I'm in need of company."
She opened her mouth to retort a reply and he held up his hand.
"Nay, I am not taking ye for a doxy. Just some intelligent conversation."
She suddenly smiled and held out her hand to him. "My name is Honour Bright."
He kissed her hand and said, "And I am Captain James Blake of the 'Dark Vexation', just ported this morning."
"Where are you from, Captain Blake?"
"Please, call me James. Ireland. Wicklow, to be precise. And you?"
"Originally from Wales. A town near Beaumaris."
"Very pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Bright...."

Honour got up out of the bed and poured a basin of water from the pitcher. She washed her face and then peered into the mirror.
'You sure know how to arrange things,' she whispered to her reflection.
She opened the casement window and breathed deeply the salt air, trying to clear her mind. The sea breeze wafted through the window, her silk nightdress swirling around her body. She could see the palms swaying in the moonlight.
Nervously she ran her fingers through her hair. I can handle this, she thought. After what happened in Beaumaris, I can handle anything.

It lasted two weeks. She remembered their last night together. They had spent the night in her room above the tavern. He held her close and kissed her.
"If you're ever back in Barbados...." she whispered.
"Aye. I know..."
Before the morning dawned, he was gone.

She pulled the coverlet down and slid into the bed.
'It was before we ever met', she thought. 'Jack need never know.'
Out loud she whispered softly, 'God willing....'
Jack smiled as Cade, still looking dumbfounded, made his way through the busting tavern crowd. "Captain Jennings! Are you forgetting something? New captain buys the house a round!"

A loud cheer went up, and the party shifted into high gear. Jack used the opportunity to slip off to the side and approach the brooding figure of Bonita. "Since when did you become allergic to celebrations, love? You've been the proverbial wet blanket all evening."
"You never learn, never once in all the time I know you. So many changes in a time so small? What be chasing you so hard that you must turn the world upside down?"
"Nothing wrong with a bit of change. I think the smuggling operation will be a great success, and Cade has earned his station."
Bonita smiled knowingly. "Always the businessman, and always so careful to talk about only what he want to talk. You know the changes I speak of. That woman. You do not know her, Jack."
"Well, that's what this little honeymoon is for..."
"Hear me, Jack Wolfe!" she hissed. "Dat woman who share your name and your bed, she is not what you think! She is strong in the Old Ways, but she will not admit to it."
Jack gave Bonita an incredulous look. "So, you're telling me that my new bride is, ah, what's the word... oh, yes! A witch? Honestly, Bonita!"
"I feel it in her, Jack. I tell you so you know that she tricks you!"
He looked upon his old and trusted friend with a look of disbelief tinged with pity. "Why are you doing this? Wait, never mind. I may be daft, but I'm far from stupid. It pains me that you chose this time to play me for a fool."
He turned on his heel and started up the stairs. "Cade! See to it our new partners have another round. This one's on me!"

Jack climbed the stairs and quietly entered his and Honour's room. Honour stirred, and smiled at him. "Is the party over already?" she asked.
"No, no, it's still going strong. I merely lost interest. Too many things on my mind, I suppose. Too many strange conversations for one evening. Most I can easily dismiss, but one in particular has me puzzled."
"Oh? What was it about?" she asked. Please, please, please do not let it be about James...
"I can hardly believe I even listened to such foolishness."
Her stomach tightened, but she hid it as best she could. "What has you in such state, Jack? You know you can tell me."
"Believe it or not, darling," he laughed, "Bonita says you're a witch."
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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2008, 05:22:53 PM »

Honour drew the sheet closer to her and gave a brittle laugh.
"A witch. ME?"
Jack took off his shirt and threw it over the chair.
"Aye. You. I personally think she has gone 'round the bend."
"But----but what reason did she give for that outrageous observation?"
Jack sat on the edge of the bed and pulled his boots off, kicking them under the bed.
"Some nonsense about 'old ways' and tricks. Bonita thinks you tricked me into marrying you. Can you believe it?"
He dropped his breeches and flung them in the corner.

Honour was bewildered. It had been three years since she ran away from the Order of St Brigid's. No one but Marvos and her father knew that she was there. Not even Madoc or Rhys. And the only thing she had ever learned was how to raise the mist.
She thought back to the leather-bound book she had buried deep in one of the trunks she brought onboard El Lobo del Mar. No doubt Gwydion was still looking for the book. And her.
Could that be what Bonita had sensed? The book?

She tried to give off a casual air.
"Bonita has very strange ideas, love. I sensed that in her as soon as you introduced us."
Jack pulled the sheet down and slid into bed.
"Well, it was the way she was brought up. Her tia--aunt--was a very powerful priestess and taught Bonita everything she knew."

Jack punched up his pillow and put his arm around Honour. She pressed her body closer to him as if for protection.
Jack kissed the top of her head and said, "You're trembling, darling. Are you cold?"
The curtains were blowing into the room. She said, "Just a bit. The night air is chilly."
He held her close and said, "Always is once the sun goes down. And don't worry about Bonita. She has uncanny powers of observation but this time I know she is wrong."
Honour tried to toss off the notion of being a witch. "I have never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life, Jack! A witch, of all things!"
"Although she may have something there...."
Honour jerked back from Jack. "What do you mean?"
He pulled her back to him, kissing her neck as his hands caressed her. "You certainly have bewitched me."
She whispered into his ear, "I have been found out as that was my plan from the beginning. And you are under my spell."
She looked him in the eyes and said, "And I do so love this island for a honeymoon, my love."
He kissed her passionately, and said, "Welcome to Tobago, love...."

The morning sun streamed into the room. A gentle breeze carried in the perfume of a myriad tropical flowers. Jack stirred and woke to find that he and Honour had barely moved from the way they'd held each other after making love. He smiled and gently brushed a strand of golden hair from her face. She drew in a soft waking breath and smiled, her eyes fluttering open to meet his.

"You've got that look in your eyes again, Jack Wolfe." she whispered.
"And what look is that, darling?"
"That look of wanting to lie abed with me, but knowing that duty calls."
"Oh, that look! Am I that transparent?"
"As Italian crystal," she smiled, and kissed him softly. "Go. Play captain, and I'll join you later. I still need a bit of rest after last night."
"As you wish, my wife. But mind you; if I come back and find you still in bed, I'll be obliged to join you."
Honour pushed him away playfully. "Keep dreaming, you tarry sailor! Out of my bed! Go, go and make us rich!"

They laughed and talked as he dressed. They kissed once more, and he opened the door to leave.
"Oh, Honour, did I mention that there are scorpions on this island?"
"No, you never did. I think I'd remember such a thing," she replied worriedly.
"Yeah, well, just the same. Be careful. I'd hate for one to crawl into bed with you."
Honour yelped and threw the covers off, and stood up on the bed looking for any possible unwanted guests.
"Ah, now that's a sight that will carry me through," Jack laughed.
Her eyes grew wide as she realized he'd played a prank on her. "Oh!! That's it! Out with you!!" she laughed, and threw a pillow at his head. Jack ducked out and closed the door, smiling happily.

As he walked down the stairs, he saw Cade and Briggs sitting at a table looking over some charts and papers.
"Well, well! The last time I saw him smiling like that, we had a galleon's worth of swag in our hold and a burning Spaniard to our rudder! What brings you down from Heaven, Admiral?" Cade joked.
"I wanted to make sure your new commission hadn't gone to you're head, Captain, sir!" Jack quipped. He looked around the room, and noticed something was amiss. "Oi, where's Bonita? I'm starved."
"I saw her walking down by the shore early this morning," Josiah replied. "Damned if I know what that wild woman be up to, nor where she intends to do it."
"Fine. She's been right moody of late. No matter. Cade, fetch me that bowl of apples, if you please."
"Pulling rank, are we?" Cade asked.
"Damned right, and step quickly! Honestly, Josiah, why did I ever promote him?"
"What, like ye ever ask anyone before ye go and do it?"
"Good point. Ah, thanks, mate." Jack bit into a juicy red apple before continuing. "Now, gentlemen. Down to business..."

Honour laid in the bed, smiling inexplicably. Well, alright, so she knew why she was smiling but she couldn't quite figure out why she should be feeling so exceptionally--content.
She closed her eyes and stretched her arms above her head, yawning.
She leaned over the side of the bed, looking under it.
No scorpions!
She put her feet down on the floor and got up. Grabbing her dressing gown of silk, she walked over to the French doors and opened them.

The view of the azure sea and the palm trees framing the yellow sand was breath-taking. While she had gone back to sleep, Jack must have brought a bowl of fruit up and left it on the dresser.
Taking a mango, she bit into it, deep in thought.

She had only been married to Captain Wolfe a week. A week! Her first marriage had lasted six months. Six long, tedious months.
She felt she knew Jack better than she did Madoc. She shuddered at the thought of him. If it hadn't been for Rhys keeping her sane...
She pushed the thought of the other far down into her soul. This is not the time nor the place to be bringing that memory up from the depths, she thought.
I'll think about that later.
Some day.
Some day when it doesn't hurt so much.

She inhaled deeply the blossomed air with the underlying sea breeze. Just a glorious day to be alive and
Was she in love?
She wondered. It felt..different than it did with Rhys.
Maybe because I am older, she reasoned. After all, I AM nineteen now.

She threw on a chemise and quickly laced a waist cincher. No need to bother with a skirt. She tied her hair up in a ribbon and headed down the stairs.

Jack was talking with Briggs and Cade. They had maps and charts unfurled. Briggs was pointing to an area. "Now, if we port over on this side..."
Cade replied with, "Yes, but there are shoals over here..."
Jack queried with, "What about over...."
The three of them looked up as Honour reached the bottom stair.
Briggs said stiffly, "Good morning, Mrs. Wolfe."
Cade smiled and nodded.
Jack walked over to her and kissed her cheek as he touched her ribbon.
"Dressed rather informally, are we, love? Not fitting the station of a pirate queen."
She laughed and said, "I intend to go to the cove and maybe pick some of the fruit there. Or catch myself a macaw!"
Jack laughed uproariously at that. "And what do you intend to put him in? Your chemise?"
She coloured at that. "Alright, so I will forego the parrot. But I intend for you to catch one for me before we leave."

She waved and walked out. Looking back just once, she saw the men resume their consultation on the charts.
All but one.
Cade Jennings was watching her leave. As she caught his eye, he turned to the charts on the table.
Odd, she thought.
Very odd.

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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2008, 05:26:09 PM »
"Mister Jennings!!" Jack repeated. "I'll agree, my wife is quite fetching, but I'll kindly thank you to get your head off a swivel where she's concerned! Kindly turn your attention back to the business at hand, or, by God, I'll discharge this pistol under the table into your inattentive guts. Are we square, boy?"
Cade fought to swallow his panic and embarrassment. "Aye, Jack! I'm sorry. I couldn't- I didn't..."
"Best ye shut yer stammerin' gob, ye horned up fool," Josiah advised. "There be two pistols trained again' ye. I know where me bread be buttered."
Jennings drew a deep, faltering breath. "I meant no offense, Jack. Please know that."
Jack fixed Cade with a withering eye. "Appreciation of my wife, I'll allow. Take it much farther, and I'll carve your heart out. Remember that."
"Aye, Jack. That I will." Cade offered.
"Fair enough. Josiah, stow your piece. We've more important work to accomplish here. Now, a blind man could see we've taken hold of the Galleon Run. As long as our ships keep sweeping between here and Barbados, we own riches beyond belief. In 2 days, I'll set out for Barbados the settle our agreement with Governor Wheatherby Mings. His letter of marque will cover all our ships and their aggressions against the Spaniard."
"But what of the runours of peace?" Cade asked.
"Rumours suit me not, boy. Show me a signed treaty, and I'll consider a different tack. Even then, I'd most likely ignore it. We're not but simple pyrates, eh, Josiah?! What do we know of treaties?" Jack laughed.
"But you spoke of a letter of marque from Governor Mings! I'm confused, Jack!" Cade protested.
"Let me spell it out for you, Cade." Jack growled. "You obviously haven't been following. That's why I've asked you politely to keep your eyes off my bride. I'll ask you keep your mind off her as well! Now, Governor Mings will issue a letter of marque to me, which will cover any ships what's signed on under my flag. As much as I despise it, that makes us privateers. Mings gets his cut, English interests are served, and the citizens of Trinidad get their goods, and possibly, a bit of gold. Not likely, but we'll leave that out there as a tease. Still confused, mate?"
Cade thought hard bout the plan laid about before him. "No. You've made it crystal clear. I just never though I'd be selling out to the Crown."
"That's the glory of it," Jack offered. "The Crown thinks they own us, but we get to do as we please. Their ambassadors get to plead ignorance to the Spaniards about our actions, and it all gets tied up in bureaucratic mayhem. I figure we can ride it out for a good 5 to 7 years until they crack down on us good and proper. By then, we'll be too rich to care."
Briggs and Jennings agreed to Jack's proposition, and smuggling operation's plan was finalized.

Jack finished off his tankard of rum. "Excellent, gentlemen! Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be chasing after my darling bride, wherever she may be off to. Oh, and Cade; show a bit of attention to Bonita. Perhaps your young bones might provide her with some diversion. She does know some interesting... well, never you mind. You'll find out soon enough." With that, he meandered out the door.
Cade looked quizzically at Briggs.
"I'll not confess to a thing," Josiah smiled.

Captain James Blake looked around.
A coconut bounced onto the ground and rolled at his feet.
"HEY!" he shouted.
He looked up.
"What are you doing up THERE?"
"I'm stuck, what do you think?"
He chuckled and shielded his eyes.
"Honour Bright, you get yourself into the most unusual predicaments!"
The voice from up the tree yelled, "IT'S MRS. WOLFE! AND HELP ME GET DOWN!"
"Wait right there, I'll be up to help."
"Where am I going to go?"

James defty shimmied up the tree. When he got to the palm fronds, he burst out laughing.
"HOW on God's green earth did you manage THAT?"
Honour was hanging there by her waist cincher lacings which had caught on the back of two fronds and she was swinging free.
She said tightly, "Just get me down without dropping me on my...."
"Alright, alright. Let's see....just move this lace that way...and that lace this hold onto the fronds so you don't drop....oh, dear!"

Honour was thrown to the ground and landed on a pile of the fronds.
James climbed down and jumped the last ten feet.
He swept into a bow and said, "I trust you had a soft landing!"
He helped her up and asked, "No broken bones?"
She checked all over and said, "No, I seem to be in one piece."
James said quietly, "Good. Your husband would not be pleased and would probably run someone through out of temper."
"Surely you jest, James. He's very loving and wonderful to me."
James stopped in his tracks and looked at her incredulously. "And have you ever wondered why he is the foremost revered pirate in the Caribbean?"
She shrugged and said, "I didn't know that he was."
"He's absolutely brilliant. His campaigns are a success and his pillaged holdings are beyond belief. Some say he gets inside information and is blessed by unconventional means."
"What do you mean?"
"Word around the ports is he has help of a supernatural kind."
"James, will you PLEASE stop speaking in riddles?"
He sighed and said, "Some people say Bonita is a witch. A voodoo practitioner and Jack is the recipient of her wisdom."
She burst out laughing. "Voodoo? Bonita is nothing but smoke and mirrors!"
James shrugged, "Just repeating what I hear."

They walked on the shore in silence, Honour picking up a few shells.
James broke the silence and said, "Why did you go off with him? Why not wait for me?"
"You never asked, James. And we didn't know each other long enough."
"How long did you know Captain Jack Wolfe?"
Honour's head was down and she whispered something.
"What, Honour? I didn't hear you."
She brought her face up and her face was blushed. "I said, 'five hours.' "
"Five hours? Am I hearing right or did you say 'days'?"
She said hotly, "I couldn't help it. It's something that I--we----can't explain!"
James smiled wryly, "I must say you held out for the top dog, as it were. Tell me, Honour---is the reason you married him measured in millions?"
She raised her hand to slap him but he caught her hand and raised his eyebrow.
"Did I touch a nerve, love?"
She jerked her hand away. "I told you. I can't explain it. And I shouldn't have to."
She looked up and saw the darkening sky.
"Looks like rain. I'm heading back. You can walk with me if you want to but no more chastising. This is now a closed subject."
He said, "As you wish, Mrs. Wolfe."

"By the powers, what are these men thinking of when they named their ships?" Jack asked out loud to no one as he reviewed a list of the captains and ships that had signed the roster. "I mean, really! The Victorious Secret!? Disarm them with laughter, I suppose. Oh! There you are!" he called as he spied Honour and James walking together. "James! Have you seen the names of some of these ships? Wait a moment... what be the name of your vessel?" He looked through the list. "Ah! The Dark Vexation! Much more better."

"Aye, Jack. If I may ask, what has you in such a cheery mood today?" Blake asked.

"She's stand right next to you, mate. Or have you fallen suddenly blind? Hello, Honour, dear. My, you have a lovely pair of coconuts!"

"Oh!" she gasped, and realized he was speaking of the two coconuts she'd knocked from the tree. "I found them lying on the ground and I thought they looked interesting." she offered, with a slight blush to her cheeks.

"That they do. But I digress. James, how much does your ship draft?"
"About 85 tonnes."
"With ballast, or without?"
"If you're agreeable to carrying no more than 2 months food and water, I'd like you to take a lead role in the operation. You're a fine captain, and I trust you have a fine ship and solid crew. What say you?"
"Just like that?"
"You have a problem with me trusting you, James? Where's your head?"
"Nowhere! I mean... yes! Aye! We're ship shape and Bristol fashion, ready to sail!"
"That's more like it." Jack smiled. "Now, if you don't mind, I'll escort my wife the rest of the way. That is, if you don't mind terribly."

Blake looked at Jack as if he'd suddenly grown two heads and six parrots. "No, not at all," he nearly stammered. "Mrs. Wolfe, I've enjoyed our conversation. Thank you for your company. Captain Wolfe, I'll tend to my ship." James walked off down the path to the wharf, shaking his head and mumbling to himself.

"Honour, I have a question for you."
"Yes, Jack?" Secretly, she worried he was about to start asking hard questions about her being with James.
"You're the wife of a pyrate now. There may come a time, forbidding all, that you may need to defend yourself. I'd like to teach you how to handle a blade, if you'd like. To tell the truth, I'd sleep easier if you did."
Jack's honesty surprised her. "I would love for you to teach me, my husband. But I need to change!" Honour looked at the sky. "It looks like rain. Do we have time?"
He looked up at the clouds. "Aye, we've all the time in the world."

They walked back to the tavern, chatting about everything and nothing. "I'll be right back down. Please take care of these for me?" She handed the coconuts over to Jack. "I promise I'll only be a moment!"

Honour started up the stairs, and Jack called after her, "I'll happily take care of your coconuts, whenever you ask!"
"You're a bad man, Jack Wolfe!" she laughed. In a moment, she disappeared into their room.

"She have no idea what truth she say, Jack Wolfe!" a voice snapped harshly behind him, accompanied by the slam of a pick being driven into one of the coconuts.
"Bonita! I didn't notice you appearing out of nowhere, like that." He gazed uneasily at the coconut she'd stabbed all the way to the handle of the pick.
"Milk dese I will, like you milk everyone you touch."
"I sense a touch of bitterness on your part, dear."
Bonita drew the pick from the coconut and had the point scarcely an inch from Jack's eye in a flash. "You de one what have no idea now." She slammed the pick on the countertop and stalked off.

Jack drew a heavy breath and tries to shake off her threat. He crossed the room to an innocuous looking door and, after digging for a key, unlocked it. He opened it to reveal an impressive arsenal.

He started looking for a suitable sword when he felt a tap on his shoulder. "What the blue blazes...!" he yelped, and spun around to find a surprised Honour standing before him.
"What's gotten into you?" she asked?
"You've got the cat-like quietness, don't you! You caught me lost in thought, looking for a suitable blade. That's all," he lied.
"Oh, my lord, look at all this!" she marveled. "Can I pick my own, please?"
"Do you know the first thing about swords, love?"
"I know what I like! And I like... this one!" She grabbed an intricately wrought rapier with a gold inlaid basket.
"Oh, you don't want that. Too long and too unwieldy on the deck of a ship."
"But, I like it!" she pouted. "It's impressive, and I think it looks good on me."
"Oh, all right. When you put it that way," Jack laughed. He fitted her with a belt and a frog for the scabbard. He helped her on with the belt and got the sword hung neatly on the left hip. As he slung on his halberd and cutlass, he caught her switching her blade to her right hip.
"Here, now! What are you on about? Put that back!"
"But I like it over here! It looks better."
"Are you left handed?"
"Um... no. Why?"
"How do you intend to quickly draw your sword when it's on the wrong hip?"
"Oh. Fine." she acquiesced, and shifted the rapier back to the correct hip.
"Follow me, you dangerous fashion plate, you," he teased.

They went out the back of the tavern to a groomed area that resembled a fighting ring. He stepped behind her, and placed his hands on her hips.
"Is this entirely proper?" she teased.
"We're husband and wife, love. It's all proper!" he whispered in her ear. "Now," he said softly, "draw your sword."
She drew the rapier and held it tight.
"No, love, not like that. It's not a meat cleaver. Oh, fine, it is, but a bit more refined. Here, hook your forefinger through that section there - that's it! See how it feels more balanced? That's my love!" He stepped around in from of her and drew his sword. "Now, I want you to forget about your hand. The sword is your arm. Focus on the tip. The tip is everything. Your enemy gets inside the first 8 inches of your blade, you've lost the advantage. Now, slowly, deflect my blade."
He moved his sword about, slowly encroaching on her blade. She focused intently and, to his surprise, deftly defended herself.
"Excellent! You're a near natural to this. Now, I presume you can dance, yeah?"
"Of course I can dance!" she chided. "Why, can you? I though we were here to learn about swords, not waltzing."
"Now here comes the real elegance of swordplay. Your foot work. If you can dance, you've got the proverbial fighting chance. Keep in mind what I said about the tip. You seem to understand defending yourself, now let's see if you can attack with the same aplomb!"

Jack fell into a defensive posture, and teased her forward. "Come on! I can dodge your best! Attack the tip of my blade.."
Honour took a few tentative strikes, then, feeling a bit of confidence, she struck his sword with a resounding ring. Suddenly, Jack found himself truly on the defensive. She seemed to lose sense of time and place when astonishingly, she closed her eyes and swung even harder.

"Honour! Wait! Oi! Open you eyes, if you please! Stop!!"
Her blade never slowed, and Jack set himself to disarm her. He drove her blade into the sand, and stepped aside as she yanked it back and swung with lethal force straight into the bark of a palmetto tree. She struck the tree four more times when finally, on the fifth stroke, the rapier lodged fast in the tree.

She jerked hard, but the blade wouldn't budge. Jack slipped in behind her and slid his arms long hers. "Honour! Calm down! Easy, easy, love! That's it! You're fine, you're all right. Just... stop killing my tree, yeah? What happened to you?"

Honour opened her eyes, and her breathing slowed. "Oh, my God, what have I done? Are you all right, Jack?" she exclaimed.
"I'm fine, love. The tree, I'm afraid, is mortally stricken." He walked up to the wounded tree and tried to pull the rapier out. It was stuck fast. "Here, grab hold of the hilt and pull when I tell you."

Hounour grabbed the hilt and set herself to pull hard. Jack set his shoulder against the tree and pushed hard. "Now! Pull!" he grunted.

She dug in and yanked with all her might, and the sword popped free. She went splaying backward in the sand. Jack ducked out from under the wounded tree, and stared as it sagged, heaved, then made a sickening popping sound. Within moments, it toppled over.

He turned to his prone wife and helped her to her feet. "Congratulations, darling. Your first kill." Jack looked into her eyes with mock disapproval, then burst out laughing. "Apparently, this sword suits you, Mrs. Wolfe! It's yours!" He hugged her tight. "Here. Scabbard this before we lose any more foliage."

Honour looked at the fallen tree, and her eyes began to well. "Jack, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to do that! What have I done?"
"I'd say you're off to a fine career as a woodcutter, love. Hey, it's a tree! No worries, darling. We've plenty more."

Honour's eyes grew wide, and she burst into laughter. "I did that? Can you forgive me? You are all right, aren't you?" She fell into Jack's arms, dissolved into a case of the giggles.
"Everything's still attached, sweetheart. The tree, not so good." Jack couldn't help but lose himself in her laughter.

As they embraced, a crack of thunder rumbled across the island, and the skies opened up in a torrential downpour. Honour squealed and ran for the tavern. "Oi!" Jack yelled over the rain. "You're sweet, but you won't melt! Wait for me!"

They entered the tavern, both soaking wet and leaving a trail of water on the floor. Honour shivered as they walked across the floor. To her relief, Bonita was nowhere in sight.
"So...where is Miss Gloom-and-Doom? Looking for an eye of newt?"
Jack grew serious. "Darling, Bonita's ways are not to be made light of."
Exasperated, Honour replied, "Jack, are you serious? You honestly believe that she is magical and all-knowing?"
He was uneasy. He glanced over to the countertop and saw the two coconuts slashed and hacked to pieces.
"Let's forget about Bonita, shall we, for the moment and get into some dry clothes."

In their room, Honour wrung out her hair over a basin and Jack had taken off his wet clothes and had put some dry breeches on. His muscular chest never failed to send a shiver of delight through Honour. Even the few scars he had, he wore well.

He opened a cabinet and pulled out a bottle. Pulling the stopper, he filled two glasses with the amber liquid.
"What is this?"
"It's brandy. A little something to take the chill off you and relax you. I must say, your swordplay was superb for one so new to it. One would think you had been doing this for years."
She gratefully took the glass.
"Maybe you are an excellent teacher."

She willed her hand to stop shaking. She had been hoping to appear as a novice. How could she ever tell him she had been trained in swordplay since she was thirteen? Marvos, her mentor at the Order of St Brigid, had patiently taught her. To explain how she learned would bring up a time she was trying to put behind her. Gwydion was foremost in the past she was trying to forget.
She was taken aback by the ferocity of her 'attack' when she slashed the palmetto to death. The sword in her hand had taken her back to that night two years ago. The night that set her on the course that ended with her arrival in Barbados that dark night.

Jack smiled at her as he unlaced her bodice and threw it in the corner. He deftly tugged at her drawstring skirt and in one fell swoop, it dropped. He took the empty glass out of her hand and set it down on the dresser.
She began to shiver, not so much from cold but from anticipation.
Jack put his arms around her and drew her close.
"Cold, darling?"
She whispered, "Just a little..."
He kissed her and picked her up. "No mind. I know plenty of ways to keep you warm..."

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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2008, 05:29:41 PM »
Honour laid there contentedly, her arms around Jack and her blonde hair trailing over his chest. Jack said, "If only one of my friends could see me now. He never would believe it!"
She raised her head. "What do you mean?"
He pushed her hair back from her face and said, "One of my drinking comrades in Port Royal. We both vowed we would never be tamed and domesticated by a woman, be it doxy or damsel, wench or lady!"
She propped herself up on her elbow. "This sounds like an interesting tale, Captain Wolfe. Care to enlighten me?

"He was a good friend. Surpassed by none in his daring and he was second only to me in his holdings. Shame about what happened to him."
"What do you mean? Is he in gaol? He give up the account?"
"No, he's dead."
"I'm sorry, my darling. It's hard to lose friends. Taken out by the Spanish? Smallpox? A mutiny?"
Jack shook his head ruefully. "None of those. It was senseless."
"Don't leave me in suspense. What happened to him?"
"He was murdered."
Honour put her hand to her lips and said, "How terrible! In a duel?"
"Not exactly. He never had the chance."
"What do you mean?"
"He wasn't weaponed."
"It hardly seems fair, Jack. A man should have a fighting chance."
Jack chuckled a bit. "Well, he wasn't wearing his clothes either."
Honour pulled back and asked, "What...?"
Jack drew her back to him and held her. "No, he was run through for the simple crime of being in the arms of another man's wife. A lord, no less!"

Honour could feel the blood leave her face and she fought to keep her voice even. "A--and what was the name of this friend of yours?"
"Rhys Morgan of the Neptune----Honour! Are you alright?"
She had jumped up and ran to the privy closet.
He got up and knocked on the door. "Honour! Are you sick?"
She came out, looking pale and tried to give him a smile.
"I'm sorry...I must have gotten sick from drinking the brandy on an empty stomach."

He guided her back to the bed, covering her up with the quilt and putting his arms around her, he said softly, "Rhys Morgan is never far from my mind."
Honour mustered up all the courage she could to forge ahead. "And--and what of the woman?"
Jack sighed. "No one knows. When the man's son came home, he found his father dead against the wall with a bodice dagger in his heart where it would be if he had one. Rhys was in the bed, stabbed through. The safe was emptied of the jewelry and gold coins. The woman herself was gone. It was as if she vanished into thin air."
Jack kissed her again and as his hand started to caress her, she said, "Jack, I'm really tired from the long day."
He said, "I guess you have had a full day. Goodnight, love."
She barely whispered, "Goodnight."
Moving over to face the French doors, the tears began to trace down her face. She buried her face in the pillow, hoping her body wouldn't be wracked with sobs.

A wound she thought was healing had been torn open again.
She prayed that Jack would never find out the truth.
That she was the woman to blame.

The next morning was cool and overcast. Jack awoke to find Honour still in a fetal position, clutching the covers. He was concerned over her taking ill so suddenly. Something was amiss, but no simple answer presented itself. Quietly, he rose and closed the window to keep the chill from her. The gentle click of the latch was enough to wake her. She opened her eyes, and immediately noticed the look of concern on his face.

"Good morning, darling. How do you feel?" he asked.
She put on a cheery smile, trying not to think about Rhys or Jack's friendship with him. "I'm feeling much better today. Really. It was silly of me to go without eating like that."
"All the same, I's just as soon have you rest today. We'll be setting sail for Barbados tomorrow, and you'll need your strength for the passage. It wouldn't do for the captain's wife to be weak from the vapours, now would it? I'd hate for you to be off your game when the opportunity to irritate Briggs presents itself," he smiled.
"Jack, really. I'm fine. The last thing I want to do spend the day on a beautiful island cooped up inside! You know how I love the sand and the salt air. Please?" she pouted.
"As usual, I can deny you nothing," he sighed, as he began pulling on his clothes. "But grant me this; take your time getting up. I have business with the ship that should take no more than a couple of hours. I'll have a tray of food brought up so you can eat and dress at your leisure."
"You're not sending up that horrid woman, are you?"
"I promise, I'll have one of the servants come up. Anyone but Bonita." He fetched a dressing gown from the armoire and laid it on the bed next to her. He leaned close and kissed her lips tenderly. "I'll be back as soon as I possibly can. Josiah most likely has everything in order, but I need to inspect it myself."
"Hurry back, darling," she smiled. "And tell Josiah I've had a wonderful time buying trunks and crates of pretty things he'll need to find room for!"

Jack laughed and blew her a kiss as he closed the door. As he descended the stairs, he looked about the tavern for a servant, but none could be found. He shook his head and set about filling a tray with fresh fruit and meat. Finally satisfied with the selection of food he'd selected, he started up the stairs just as the front door opened. In walked Cade, who gave his mentor a bemused look.
"Have you added serving wench to your many titles, Jack?
"As a matter of fact, Mister Clever Arse, I was just fetching my wife a bite to eat before I go check on the ship. But since you're just milling about this morning being cheeky, do us a favour and run this up to her. I'm late enough as it is. And you know how Josiah gets."
Cade took the tray, with a slightly puzzled look on his face. "Aye, Jack. See you in a bit." He took the tray up to Honour's room, and rapped quietly on the door.
Honour stretched out on the bed and then grabbed the dressing gown that Jack had left next to her. Arising, she slipped her arms through it, drawing it close to her. She padded over to the French doors and opened them up, inhaling the sea air. The sea was in a tempest, almost as if it were angry at someone. The waves crashed down on the shore and the sky was grey. Everything took on a less-than-friendly air.

She sighed and closed the door, shivering. Maybe there won't be the opportunity to go to the shore before we leave. So what do I do? Go downstairs and hang around the tavern? Bake apple tarts with Bonita? The thought of the woman sent a chill through her.
'Nonsense!' she said in an undertone.

Honour pressed her forehead to the window and peered out at the palmetto tree that she had decimated with the rapier. She couldn't believe the ferocity with which she attacked it. She had closed her eyes and instinct had taken over. Just like Marvos had taught her. How could she have ever explained to Jack that she got her training in a most unusual academy? That she was at one time under Gwydion's tutelage. Instruction into the Old Ways.
The ways of the Druids.
And that the woman he called his wife was at one time destined to be an enchantress.

Honour walked over to the trunk that she had brought ashore. Lifting the lid, she sorted through her clothes until she found at the very bottom what she was looking for.
The book.

She opened up the leather cover and inside it were inscribed all the secrets of the old Order.
Secrets that never should be revealed, let alone taken to ink and paper. Honour ran her fingers over the words. It was this book--this stolen book--that set Gwydion after her. Along with the theft of his horse Taliesin. But she didn't care. She had a new name and a new identity and he--along with Madoc's sons--would never find her.

A knock was heard at the door. Hastily she buried the book under some fine linen. She rose quickly and cautiously opened the door, half expecting to see that witch Bonita.
"Oh. My goodness, Mr. Jennings!"
She instinctively wrapped her dressing gown closer to her.
"Good morning, Mrs. Wolfe. I seem to have been the one pressed into service to deliver your breakfast. Your husband was late in his duty to his ship and as I was the only one in the tavern..."
Honour gave him a smile and said, "Please! My manners seem to be lacking. Do come in!"

Cade came into the room. "Where would you like this?"
She took it out of his hand and said, "I'll take it right now. Foolishly I forgot to eat since breakfast yesterday.
Please, won't you have a seat?"
Cade sat down, a bit nervous he was in a room alone with Captain Wolfe's wife and she was in a dressing gown. But sit down he did. Who was he to refuse an invitation?

Honour helped herself to a peach and some grapes. She offered a pomegranate to Cade which he took.
"Mmmm! I just love peaches! And fresh biscuits, too."
"Bonita made those this morning."
Honour reluctantly put it back. "I think I shall pass on the biscuits. If she made them, there may be ground glass or arsenic in them."
Cade laughed. "They are fine. In fact, everyone in the tavern had some this morning."
"Then I shall help myself to them. But if anything happens to me, be sure and tell my husband that it was the biscuits!"

Cade couldn't help but smile at the light-hearted way that Honour had. She looked so young with her hair tied back in a blue ribbon, tendrils framing her face. Her dressing gown was of sky blue and she was barefoot. Her dimpled smile was infectious and she made Cade feel at ease. If only she wasn't married to...

"... and I hope to come back to Tobago really soon. Hello? Mr. Jennings?"
Cade snapped back, his face blushing. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Wolfe. You were saying...?"
"I was saying that I was really sorry about the palmetto. I guess I got carried away. Will you see that the tree gets replaced? For Jack?"
"I certainly shall. For your sake."
Honour's smile wreathed her face, and she said, "Thank you, Mr. Jennings. You are a dear."
"Please. 'Mr. Jennings' sounds so formal. Call me Cade."
"Very well...Cade. My goodness, will you look at the clock on the mantle! I've been sitting here chatting for an hour and keeping you from your work! And I should get dressed and make some plans. I want to plan something special for Jack, seeing it is our last day here."
Cade picked up the tray and said, "Aye. I need to finalize plans for the smu---I mean, for the trade that Jack has outlined."
Honour laughed and said, "I know a bit about it, Mr...Cade. It is smuggling, pure and simple. After all, I AM married to a pyrate!"

Cade caught himself staring at Honour's brilliant blue eyes, and felt the heat rise in his cheeks. She was easily the most beautiful and radiant woman he'd ever seen. And she was the wife of the man who'd he come to look upon as a father-figure. How could he covet his mentor's wife?!

"Aye, ma'am. That you are. I'll be running this tray down for you. I hope you have a wonderful time here, what it being your honeymoon and all. I'll be leaving now." Cade offered incredibly clumsily. He retreated, only to catch a glimpse of Hounour framed in the window. He shut the door and screwed his eyes shut.

"No, no, no! Jack gave you everything you have, you stupid git! There are plenty other women... why her?!" he mulled to himself as he descended the stairs. He crossed over to the tavern's bar and shoved the tray across it's surface. He turned to mull his plight when he found himself face to face with Bonita.

"Dance in your mind, does she not? Tempt you, don't she? Make you want her, no matter de consequence? D'at be her evil, that which already consume Jack, and make you doubt him." Bonita hissed. "Already you plan, in d'at dark heart you hide away. You plan to take for your own! D'at way lie darkness. But you already set you feet d'at way, so I not try to dissuade you. Have her, you will, but at a price you not want to face. De price be you immortal soul.

Cade tried to wrench his eyes from her, but he couldn't. Her words rang in his head like the bells of the Apocalypse. His heart cried out in disbelief, yet he could not escaper her.

"Jack have his own fate, and she play dearly into it. He toss Bonita aside, for d'at child! He not know what he cast away! He be know as the greatest pyrate what ever sail. Pah!! He no longer worth my favours. You! Bastard child what he call his 'next in line'!"

Cade felt his feet raise a full 3 feet off the floor. "Aye! You have my undivided attention!"

"Your mentor, and him grand design... distance yourself. D'at woman? Your death, it lie with her. Not that I can stop you. Not that I can stop any of you. It be what it be," she laughed hollowly.

Bonita turned, and Cade fell like a sack of potatoes to the floor. He jumped immediately to his feet, but Bonita, as usual, was gone. He tried to collect himself when he heard Honour's door open. She was singing sweetly to herself, a song of everything and nothing. Bewildered and confused, he ducked out the back of the tavern.

Jack strutted about the dock as he checked off the last of Briggs' inspection points.

"All is in order, as you made clear, Jack. Plenty of swag for the Governor of Barbados, and plenty of munitions should we encounter prey, as alway."
"Josiah, what are you doing?" Jack queried.
"Pardon me?"
"I mean, what arrrrgh ye doing?! Acting like some suffering dog?! Speak plain! Is the ship ready, or not?"
"Aye!" Briggs exclaimed. "Ship shape, and Bristol fashion! I was just hoping there'd be no surprises."
"Surprises? None that I know of." Jack mused. "Oh! Now that you mention it, Honour did do a bit of shopping," Jack lied.
"Did she now, sir?"
"Aye. Quite a bit, actually. Can we lose about 25 tonnes of cargo? Give or take?"
The blood ran from Josiah's face. "Umm, 25, er tonnes, Jack? Have ye lost what few wits ye have left? What of the Governor's share?!"
"Oh! Quite right. Can we make up the deficit if we eschew our larger guns? And their powder and shot, of course."
Josiah's face went white a sheet.
"Mother and child, Jack! What the bloody hell?! Have ye really lost your mind this time?!! What's this woman done to ye?!"
Jack burst out laughing. "Josiah! ! Calm yourself, my brother! I was having a bit of fun at your expense! No, don't lighten our load one whit. In fact, stow on more case shot and langrage. I feel a prize int the wind."
Brigss smiled wanly. "Aye, Jack.. Thy will be done. But I have a question, if ye don't mind awfully."
"Of course, Josiah. What worries you?"
"Well, that dog of hers..."
"Aye, what of Muir?"
"Ummm, he peed on me boots."
"Oh! That's what I've been smelling."
"Aye. Jack, I have a powerful bad feeling about your wife. I thing that after all these years, I've earned my peace with ye! She... Damn it, it's nigh on unnatural the sway she holds over these beasts! First, the cat, and now her wolf-dog... Jack, the men be whispering she a witch!" Josiah whispered.
Jack's eyes darkened, and he clutched his long-time friend by the collars. "Damn you, Josiah!" he spat. "Damn you, and anyone who would think such of my wife!! Spread the word, and you'll be the first to suffer by it! Any man who would speak out thusly against my wife will receive not fewer than 40 lashes, given by my own hand. Are we clear, Mister Briggs?!"
Briggs stared gobsmacked into the eyes of his friend. "Aye, Cap'n. The word shall be given," he offered.
Jack faltered, and turned from his friend. "I'm sorry, Josiah. I don't know what came over me. But the order stands. Please make everyone aware." he said, and walked down the gangplank.
"Aye, Cap'n." Josiah answered. "They'll know."

Jack hurried along the path back to the tavern. "How many more people will call my wife a witch?!" he pondered. "Damn them for breathing! What am I to..."
To his amazement, Muir cam bounding down the path towards him. He kneeled and accepted the sweet puppy kisses Muir felt eager to bestow. "What is it, boy? What do you want?"
Muir slapped the ground with his front paws and ran off down the path. Jack jogged in pursuit, and found Muir and Honour waiting for him a short distance from the tavern. Suddenly, everything felt right again. He rushed to Honour and swept her up in his arms, as Muir barked and jumped with them.

Bonita stood at the door of the tavern, and watched bitterly the display unfolding before her. "Enjoy it while ye will, Jack."

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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2008, 05:36:47 PM »
Honour tried to catch her breath as she laughed.
"Jack, darling, you only left me a few hours ago!"
He held her and then drew back, brushing the hair off her shoulder and caressing her cheek. "Aye, but it seems like forever, love."
Muir continued to run back and forth. Jack rubbed behind the dog's ears and asked, "And what has him in a tizzy?"
She reached behind a palm tree and picked up a basket. "We, my dear, are going to have one last day to ourselves. We are going on a picnic."
Jack frowned. "Honour, sweetness, pirates don't go on picnics! We plunder, we pillage, but we don't picnic."
She smiled, "Today you aren't a pirate. Today you aren't Captain Jack Wolfe. Today you are John Michael Wolfe and you are my husband. Tomorrow we have Briggs frowning and disapproving but today it is just us. Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe. And their dog."
Jack lifted the lid and picked up the corner of the cloth. "Smells good. And what did Bonita pack for us?"
She playfully slapped his hand and said, "That woman didn't have a thing to do with this. I have cold meats and cheese and bread. And frosted cakes for dessert. And----" she reached behind the tree again and picked up a bottle of wine "---I hope you don't mind that I went down in your wine cellar and took a bottle of claret. I figured if it was yours, then it technically is mine. And this is what I wanted. I found a secret place I wanted to show you anyways."

Bonita sat at the tavern bar and continually threw the bones. "This be right! Bones no lie. Bones never lie. Tia Elena say so. Always right!"
The bones continued to form the same pattern. The leg bones of the chicken bones always ran parallel and the breast bone touched each of them, slightly between the two. She sat there in satisfaction and said aloud to no one, " They lives run parallel. But never cross again. She touch each. She keep apart yet touch. She no love. She never love. She poison! Jack no listen. Jack never listen. Jack remember. Mon Dieu, he remember but it be too late. Too late for all. D'at child-bride taint. D'at child poison! Not what she seem. Jack no listen. Jack pay de price."

Honour took Jack's arm and led him down a path that paralleled the shore. Abruptly she turned them to the greenery and then she climbed over a large rock. She pulled her skirts up and tucked them into her waistband. Jack followed. Within a couple moments, after climbing up a small, narrow path, Honor stopped suddenly and swept her hand over the area.
"Voila! Is this not paradise or what?"
They stood in a small grotto. Overhead, a waterfall spilled over the shale and pooled in a small stream. The trees formed a canopy. She spread a cloth down and sat cross-legged on the ground. Muir ran to the pool, barking at his own reflection.
Honour produced two crystal goblets and handed Jack the bottle.
"Would you do the honours, my darling husband?"
He grinned and after opening, he poured it into the wine glasses.
"Honour, you are up to something. We may only have been married ten days, but I can read your mind. Now..what is it you are angling for?"
She looked down and said, "Am I that transparent?"
She looked up and there were tears on her lashes. "Jack, I--I'm afraid to go back to Barbados! I have a bad feeling about it."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm afraid something bad will happen before we get there. I can't help it. Please! Can we not stay here? Can we not live here? Surely with all the treasure you have, we can--
Jack cut her off. "What are you saying?"
She took a deep breath.
"I want you to give up being a pirate."

Jack finished his sip of wine and took a deep breath. "I knew you'd ask this of me one day. I didn't expect it to come within the first fortnight, though. Can't we slow down a bit and enjoy things before I'm hurled into the jaws of domesticity?"
"Jack, please don't make light of this." The tears were beginning to well in her eyes.
"Forgive me, darling. I can see how serious you are. And it makes it all the more painful that this is one wish I cannot grant you. Not now."

She stared at him in disbelief. "You mean you won't grant it. Not even for my sake?"
"No, I mean I can't. Too much is in play right now, and we'd never be safe here."
"Why not? We have everything here! We're away from the rest of the world, and you have a veritable army of loyal men surrounding you! How is that not safe?"
"What makes you think those men are loyal to me, love?"
"I've seen it! They adore you. They do whatever you ask, even the other captains."
Jack smiled wanly. "Honour, those men are loyal to what I can bring them. They're as loyal as wild dogs to the town butcher. Only less honest about the relationship. No, if I were to step away here and now, they'd turn on me in a heartbeat."
"How can that be? What about the oaths they swore to you? What about the Code?"
"I hate to break it to you, but the 'Code' is a fairy story. Made up by whoever writes those halfpenny books about pyrates back in England. The oaths they swore? Those were to the Company, not me. If I dissolve said Company, their oaths are meaningless. All the money we took from that Dutchman wouldn't begin cover what they'd expect in payment. Even if I could pay them off, it would only be a matter of time before the Spaniards or worse come snooping around. No, my love, we have to go back to Barbados."

Honour was trying desperately to comprehend what Jack was telling her. "You're- you're a prisoner of all this, of your own device? That means... I'm a prisoner, too. Why didn't you tell me this before?!" She was suddenly filled with regret at having been so impulsive as to marry a pyrate. Jack began to feel regret as well, at having put her in such danger.

"Because," he said quietly, "Before now, I never thought I'd have a reason to try and get away."
"This is all too much! What do you mean, 'get away'? You just told me you can't!"
Jack took her in his arms. "Barbados, darling. It's a big place! I have friends there we can trust. We can disappear, and leave this life."
"Are you serious? You really mean..."
"Yes. I really mean it. Especially if it means keeping you safe, I believe it's time to retire. No more running. I've been running all my life, and it's beginning to wear on me. It's as if that's all I know how to do anymore."

His words caught her off guard. No more running. It suddenly all made sense, why they seemed such kindred spirits. They'd both been running the better part of their lives. She now had a much better understanding of the man she called husband. She wrapped her arms around him and buried her face against him, not knowing if the tears she cried were out of fear or relief.

"I know you're worried about the crossing, but it's our best chance," he told her. "It will be a faster sail back, at least a day shorter. What could possibly happen?" He pulled back just enough so his eyes could meet hers, and he gently wiped away some of her tears. "It's our best chance, my love. Will you take it with me?"
She nodded wordlessly. When she found her voice, she said, "Aye, my husband. You know better than I. And I'll put my life in your capable hands."
Jack said soberly, "I wish you wouldn't put it that way, Honour. That is a heavy responsibility for a man like me. But yes, nothing will happen to you. And we shall put down roots. We shall settle somewhere."

Honour stood up and stretched her back. "I shall always remember this as one perfect moment. A hidden grotto, nothing but the smell of fresh air and the earth. A very heady aroma. It reminds me of...."
She stopped suddenly. Jack said, "Of what, Honour?"
She shrugged and said, "Of happy days of my youth."
She had a flash of the weekend she spent in Cardiff with Rhys. That too had been a perfect day. Like this one. A guilty feeling rose up in her. She didn't know if she felt unfaithful to Rhys' memory or to Jack. Time to push it down again till it finally would surface no more....

She looked at the waterfall and she smiled. Without a word, she stood, loosened her chemise and let it drift down in a silky swirl.
She walked over to the waterfall and stood under it, her hair streaming down her back and the water glistening off her skin. Jack looked over at Muir . The wolf-dog looked at him questioningly. He laughed, "She'll be the death of me, yes, pup?"
The dog gave a sharp bark and then laid down with his paws over his nose.

They laid on the grass, the picnic blanket covering them. Honour pulled away from Jack and propped herself on her elbow, her fingers trailing over his chest.
"Jack, I have been thinking..."
Jack yawned. "Honour, I already said I would seriously consider giving up this life when we got to Barbados."
She said carefully, "Barbados has some fine sugar plantations. I am willing to hazard a guess that we could buy one of them and settle down to a life of raising sugar cane."
Jack gave a quick snort of laughter. "Me? A gentleman farmer?"
She started to talk rapidly to make her pitch. "Barbados is the richest of all the European colonies in the Caribbean region. The prosperity of Barbados is regionally unmatched. And don't forget the other commodities like rum, molasses, and Falernum. And it would be a perfect place to settle down and raise children and...."
Jack jumped up, taking the cover with him. "Hold it right there, Mrs. Wolfe! What are you talking about? You mean ba---ba---ba---"
"I believe 'babies' is the word you are looking for, Jack. But eventually I thought we might start a family. A little captain..."
"Whoa! When I said 'I do' that night, I didn't say I wanted a replica of me calling me 'da-da'. I just thought we were in for a bit of fun."
Honour looked at him with hurt in her eyes. "A bit of fun. Is that all I am to you, Jack? A commodity in itself? Like your rum casks? Like your silks and guilders and Madeira wine?"

She grabbed the cover back from him and wrapped her hurt in it.
Jack softened and began to realize his bonny bride was little more than a child herself.
He said, "We'll talk about all this when we reach Barbados, love. Alright?"
She just nodded. She turned to quickly wipe a tear that trailed down her cheek before Jack could see. Perhaps children of her own would wipe Rhys' memory off her soul. She did love Jack. They were both searching for something in their lives. She prayed it would be the same thing.

Pulling her chemise back over her head, she grabbed the cover from Jack and stuffed it into the basket.
With a brittle smile, she said, a bit too brightly, "Shall we go back? I am sure you have business to attend to and I have some packing to do before tomorrow."
She started to walk back. Jack hurriedly put his shirt and breeches back on.
Muir nudged Jack's hand and Jack scratched the dog behind the ears.
"Holy shnikeys, Muir...babies!"
Bonita unlocked the door to the room that Jack and Honour shared. She stood there, her hands on her hips.
Surveying all, she felt feelings of anger and resentment well up in her. Honour's silky finery was scattered all around the room. A pair of Jack's boots were cast under the bed. The dresser had a vase of wildflowers.
The bedcovers were thrown back, showing rumpled sheets. Honour's scent of jasmine was in the air.

Bonita picked up something lacy that laid on the floor. She stood in the center of the room and closed her eyes. Clutching the fabric to her forehead, she whispered, 'Montrez-moi ! Montrez-moi où elle l'a des charmes cachés...'
The French doors suddenly flew open, banging into the wall. The curtains blew and rippled into the room. Bonita's skirt whirled around her like a dervish. She opened up her eyes and strode to the dresser, her hands out in front of her. She walked around and suddenly she stopped in front of the trunk that Honour had brought on shore with her.

Bonita knelt down and ran her hands over it. She smiled to herself and tried the lock. It would not give.
"What the hell are you doing in this room?"

She whirled around and came face to face with Cade. She assumed a lofty attitude and said haughtily, "Jack leaves his room a mess. I do my job. I clean it."
"Since when?"
"Since he marry dat child-bride of his who ne'er clean a room in her life. Tavern wench? HA! You not think Bonita not know something not right there?"
"Bonita, your jealousy is getting the best of your judgement."
"Dat were you be wrong. I show you. Come downstairs."

Cade reluctantly went downstairs with Bonita. She took him over to a table in the corner and she lit two black candles. Cade asked, "Wh--what are the candles for?"
She just shook her head and the candle's flame reflected in her eyes, her pupils on fire.
She said, "Sit."
He did so with great trepidation. She withdrew a deck of cards and laid them out.
"I be using these since my tia Elena give them to me. Always de same. Always when I lay dem out, dey read the same."
She turned a card over and exclaimed, "Look!"
She turned over the Lovers card.

She said bitterly, "Always her. Always dat child bride. It be a temptation of de heart. A choice of potential partners. A single lifestyle be sacrificed and a relationship gained or one partner chosen while another turned down. Heed dis well, Cade Jennings! She make a choice in de future but it not made lightly. Like Adam and Eve, the Lovers card mean impulse dat drive us out o' de Garden. Curiosity. Well, she be curious 'bout Jack's life. Once she have stepped passed de threshold, there be no returning to the Garden."

Cade shook his head and said, "Bonita, I'm sorry but no card can read what is going on in a person's mind."
She arched her eyebrow and said, "Fool ye be, Cade Jennings. I return to de deck. And look!"
She turned the next card and came up with the Magician's card.

"Dis be Jack's card. Always have been the card of Captain Jack Wolfe! See here. Dis card point to talent, capabilities and resources. Its message tap into one's full potential rather than holding back especially when dere be a need to transform something. Dere be choices and directions to take. He may be a beneficent guide, but he not necessarily have our best interests in mind. He may also represent the querent’s ego or self awareness. He also represent the intoxication of power, good and bad."

Cade stood up. "Bonita, you are making this up as you go along. It can mean anything you want it to."
She said darkly, "You stay right dere, you be next, Cade Jennings. Den maybe you believe Bonita!"
She slowly turned over the card. Cade could not take his eyes away and stared in disbelief.
"A...devil? What does THAT mean?"
She gave a sharp bark of laughter. "Ah! Now de young pup o' dat wolf want to know what de devil card mean!"
She leaned forward and hissed, "It mean our bondage to material things rather any evil person. It be an obsession or addiction to fulfilling our own earthly base desires. It mean money and power, one who be persuasive, aggressive and controlling."
Cade laughed uncomfortably, "You must be mad, woman! That fits Captain Jack Wolfe. Not me."
She then leaned back in her chair, crossed her arms and said, "De Querent understand dat de ties that bind are freely worn, and you be only enslaved if you allow de abuse to go on."
She delivered the final barb. "You, Cade Jennings, you. YOU! You be de snake in Jack's little Garden of Eden."

Cade stared at her. His arm swept across the table, scattering the cards all over the table and onto the floor. He put his face inches from Bonita's and whispered hoarsely, "You damned witch."
He turned on his heel and walked out the door, the laughter of Bonita following him out the door.
It was near dark when Honour and Jack walked up the slope to the tavern.
"Jack! I--I'm sorry. I didn't see you there."
Jack said, "Cade, where are you going in such an all-fired hurry?"
"One of the ships docked and I have to see what they have netted on their 'fishing expedition.' From what Captain Parnell said, it was a successful trip. Spanish wine, some Belgian lace. Silks from Persia. And there is a rumour that the captured ship's hold contained alot of Aztec gold."
Jack clapped him on the back and said, "Then get to work, Cade. I must say, I do have every faith in you. In spite of my riding you unmercifully."
Cade looked at Jack and saw the captain did have a look of pride on his face. Cade felt miserable and guilty in view of what Bonita had just predicted for him. Impossible! A snake in Jack's Eden? Never!

Cade looked over at Honour. She had her arm linked in Jack's. Her wet hair hung down her back and a few tendrils around her face. She was barefoot and carried a basket. Her chemise clung to her damp body. She smiled at him but he could sense there was a wistfulness in her that became apparent. Like there was an underlying distress.
She said softly, "I do hope we shall see you in the morning, Captain Jennings, before we leave."
His face turned red and he said, "I shall make it a point to say goodbye."
Jack looked from Cade to Honor and then back to Cade. He said, "Then off you go, Cade. See you in the morning."
Cade tipped his hat to Honour and said, "Ma'am."
Jack put his arm around his wife and said, "I swear, sometimes I just can't suss him out..."
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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #40 on: May 14, 2008, 05:39:35 PM »
They entered the tavern to see Bonita picking up her cards and putting them back in the leather box she kept them in. Jack noticed the black candles and hoped Honour didn't see them. Bonita said darkly, "De tavern is closed for food, Jack Wolfe. You be wantin' food, you be gettin' it yourself."
Honour found herself instinctively drawing closer to Jack. The sooner they were out of Castara, the better she would feel. Bonita's presence sent shivers down her back. Like two opposite magnetic fields they were.
Jack said hurriedly, "No need for any food, Bonita, dear. Honour and I had our fill already. We are going to retire for the night. We shall see you in the morning."
Bonita suddenly smiled, "Aye. Dat ye shall. I want to be sure to say 'goodbye' to de great Captain and his lovely bride."
They turned and headed up the stairs.

Once in their room, Honour dropped her wet chemise and reached for her dressing gown. Jack opened the French doors.
Honour sniffed the air. "Do you smell that?"
Jack said, "What do you mean?"
"How do you know what patchouli is?"
Honour was trapped. She could never explain that at the Order, she was studying herbs and plants for potions. She thought fast. "Well, when I worked in the tavern, a pirate came in with the most luxurious silk and showed it to me. I noticed the smell and asked him about it. He said the silks were packed with the herb to ward off moths."
He put his arms around her and said, "Sometimes your knowledge surprises me, darling. Strange, though. I always associated the scent with Bonita. She wears a scent like that. But she knows better than to come into the room. Must be something outside wafting in."

She let out the breath she had been holding. Yes, she knew about the herbs. And the pirate was no lie. But the pirate was Captain James Blake and the silk in question was silk he left her as a going-away present.
Only he was the one going away. Jack would never know that very silk was the dressing gown she now wore.

She tilted her face up to meet his and put her arms around his neck, drawing him close to her. "I think I shall miss Castara Bay. It has been a wonderful honeymoon, darling."
He picked her up and carried her over to the bed and chuckled, "And it isn't over yet, love."


As she laid there in Jack's arms, her head on his chest, she listened to his rhythmic breathing as he drifted off to sleep. She willed herself not to cry. It was their last night on shore and she was filled with trepidation at the crossing back to Barbados.
'If we can only get back to Barbados safely, I know I can convince him to give up this life. Perhaps even a new life in the New World. I heard the French are planning a port on a very wide river...and it would be a chance to start a new life. No more running. For either of us. And it would be just the thing to erase Rhys' memory from my heart...'
She snuggled back into the crook of his arm and soon she too was asleep.

Jack awoke to the delicate scent of jasmine. He slowly opened his eyes to find Honour smiling up at him as she traced slow, lazy circles on his chest with her fingertip. A cool breeze wafted over them, causing Honour to shiver slightly. He pulled her close and stroked her silken hair. "Don's fret, darling. As long as I draw a breath, I'll be there to keep you warm."
Honour never lifted her head for fear that he'd see the sadness in her eyes. "Please don't tease me, Jack," she said quietly. "How can you keep such a promise when I know full well you'll be off a-pyrating?"
"How many sugar plantation owners and gentleman farmers have you heard of that go sailing off on the account when they have a wife and family to care for?"

She stared at him in utter disbelief. "Who are you, and how did you get into my bed? Where is my husband? I warn you, he is positively the most fearsome pyrate in the entire Caribbean!"
"Maybe he got a better offer, and decided to take it," he smiled.
Honour was overcome with shock and joy. "You... you what? She climbed atop Jack and began showering him with kisses. She paused momentarily as wicked smile played across her lips. "Oh, you really are my husband!"

"Easy, Honour!" he laughed. "I have to warn you, there are some minor provisions..."
"Provisions?" She gave him a dubious look. "Like what, exactly?"
"We have to buy out land near the water."
"Granted!" She leaned close to kiss him.
"And... I get to keep a boat."
"A boat? Just how big of a boat?"
"A simple fishing boat. One mast."
"No guns?"
"No guns. I'd hate to scare the fish."
"Granted!! Shall we seal our agreement?"
"I suppose we we could shake hands or something."
Honour shifted her body, and seductively brushed her lips against his. "Or," she whispered, "you could shut up and make love to me."

"No! Careful with that! Jack!" Honour shouted.

Jack looked out the door of their room to see two of his crewmen wrestling the last of Honour's trunks through the tavern door. "Oi! What the lady said! Easy on the door!" he called down.

She turned from the railing with an incredulous look on her face. "Oh! You meant the chest, didn't you? Sorry about that, darling," Jack winked at her.
Honour slipped her arms around his waist. "Captain Wolfe, would you be so cavalier about things if I parked your ship the way your crew handles my luggage?"
"'Dock'. It's a nautical term."
"Which means...?"
"Um, 'park'." He kissed her on the forehead. "No more talk of scuffing up the hull! It's bad luck," he teased.

"That's the last of it all. Would you care to eat before we go aboard?" he asked.
"No, I'm fine until we set sail, thank you. Leaving port seems to give me a nervous stomach," Honour lied. What she really wanted was to be of the island, away from Bonita, and done with the crossing to Barbados as quickly as possible. No matter how Jack reassured her, she was still filled with dread.
As they descended the stairs, Muir appeared at the door and barked insistently.
"It looks like someone's anxious to get under sail!" Jack laughed.
"I know exactly how he feels," she said quietly.

The couple walked along the winding path to the dockyard, talking about everything and nothing. Muir jogged at their side, occasionally running ahead to nip at a colourful butterfly. Without warning, the dog pricked up his ears and ran off into the jungle.
"Muir! Muir, no! Come back!" Honour cried. She put her fingers to her lips and gave a piercing three-note whistle but he wouldn't respond. She grabbed the hem of her dress to chase after him, but Jack gently restrained her.
"He's probably off after a lizard or some other wee beastie. I'll fetch him, love. No use you tearing that new dress of a bit of folly." With that, he took off after the wayward Muir.

"Bloody hell, that doggy's a fast one!" Jack panted as he ran. "Muir! Oi! Here, boy! Damn it, slow down! Muir!" he yelled. He heard playful barking just ahead, and to his relief he spied the wolf-dog in the clearing ahead.

Standing beside Honour's pet was Bonita.

"Bonita!! What in blazes are you doing out here?" He was relieved to see that Muir wasn't eating anything.
"Your little wife seem to have lost somet'ing," Bonita smirked. "An' was Bonita to miss de great Captain Jack Wolfe before he set sail on anot'er grand adventure? You never leave wit'out saying goodbye before. You forget you manners now you a married man?" she asked sarcastically. "Why you in such a hurry to leave Castara and Bonita? Could it be dat pretty little bride you bring among us carry off more dan you heart, but you head as well?"
Jack was taken aback and more than a little intimidated by her accusatory tone. "Of course not!" he snapped. He shoved down the urge to become defensive as best he could. "Really, Bonita. You've been sullen and out of sorts ever since we arrived. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were jealous."

She shot him a look that made him want to run.
"Jealous?! Tell me dis - when have my bed ever been a place you not welcome? Name me one time!"
Jack stammered, feeling for all the world like a trapped rabbit.
"Dat because it never happen, Jack Wolfe!" She drew a deep breath, then waved her hand dismissively. "But you have chosen and made you bond wit' anot'er. De Great Captain want what he want. It matter no more to me.

He almost laughed with relief. "So, you're good with it then?"
Bonita looked at him momentarily in disbelief, then chuckled despite herself. "If dat ease you mind, den yes."
"Always good to have the blessings of a friend," he smiled nervously.
She gave him a dark smile as she pulled her black lace shawl around her. "Speakin' of blessings, come wit' me."
"Go with you? Where, exactly?" He looked around furtively, praying to himself that no other surprises were about to stroll, or worse, toddle, onto the scene.
"Are you in such a hurry to get back to you little wife dat Bonita cannot read for you? It always were our tradition, no?"

Jack's eyes lit up. Her readings had always shown him where and when to strike, and how successful he'd be on his cruises. She had never been wrong, not once, and he'd become fabulously wealthy because of her talents.
"A reading? Of course, yes! You know how important tradition is to me, darling." He stepped closer to her, emboldened by her seeming change in demeanour. "I know I can depend on you for the turn of a friendly card. Please, lead on."

The dark woman looked into his eyes, then turned and walked to a large rock. It was roughly the size of a tree stump, and conveniently flat enough on top. She knelt before it and produced her worn deck of cards from a pouch at her waist. Jack knelt on one knee opposite her as she shuffled the deck. Muir laid down beside him and rested his head on Jack's boot.

"As always, wit' our 'tradition', t'ree cards I draw, and t'ree only," she intoned. "Dese cards, dey show de way of your voyage. Dey show what will be."
He watched eagerly as she closed her eyes and drew the first card. It depicted ten interlocking swords suspended over a sinking, ruined ship.
"This must be good, yeah? I'm the swords, defeating my prey?" he said with barely contained excitement.
Bonita shook her head solemnly. "No, Jack. You are de ship."

"How in blazes is that possible?" he gasped.
"De swords, dey be forces beyond de control of anyone. Dis be de card of sudden disaster. De card of Karma." Bonita's normally dark eyes narrowed to the point they appeared black on black.
"Not funny, Bonita. Not one bit. I know you've been upset with me, but I thought we were past all that. Aren't we?" He tried to settle himself. "The card has to be wrong. Draw again."

She sighed impatiently. "Dis next card eit'er confirm or negate de first. Den we see who know de cards better; you, or Fate." Closing her eyes, she drew again and laid the card face up before Jack. It depicted a massive tower being blown apart by lightning and cannon fire, and people at it's base running from the falling debris.
"Let me guess. I'm neither the lightning nor the cannons?" he asked dryly.
"De Tower represent all you have built over de years, Jack. Everyt'ing you have gain by trick and wickedness, dey cannot be held or sustained." Her eyes grew sad as she continued. "De ones dat find shelter and comfort near you will be injured as well..."

"Enough of this charade!" he growled, more in frustration than anger. "You've obviously stacked the deck in some pitiful attempt to manipulate me. Goodbye, Bonita." He got up to walk away. "Muir, come!"
"Damn you, Jack Wolfe!" she spat. "Bonita be many t'ings, but she never a cheat! De cards are what dye are, even if you refuse to believe what dey tell you." She slammed the deck down on the rock. "You call me - after all dis time and all we share - a cheat and a liar? Den draw de last card for you'self. Do it! Unless you afraid." She sat back with her arms crossed, seething in anger and hurt. As he watched, a small tear appeared in the corner of eye and trailed down her cheek.

In all the time he'd known her, he'd found her to be many things. But a liar was not one of them. He did his best to keep up an air of suspicion, even though she was right. Jack Wolfe, the infamous and feared pyrate, was indeed scared of what the next would reveal. He reached down and cut the deck, then cut it again. When he glanced up briefly to gauge her reaction, she closed her eyes and turned her face away. He bit his lip and turned over the third and final card. What it showed him made his blood run ice cold.

Even he could clearly read it's meaning. A man and woman facing one another, but not touching. And towering over them, keeping them from one another--the Devil.

Jack's mind reeled. With a look of confusion and fear on his face, he slowly stood and tried to force something resembling a pleasant smile. "Thank you for such a lovely time, Bonita. It's been thoroughly... interesting. If you'll pardon me, I have a ship to take out. Time and tide, and all that. See you soon." With that, he turned on his heel and walked away as fast as he could without breaking into a run. "Muir!" he called without breaking stride. The dog cocked his head as he watched Jack race-walk into the jungle, and followed after.

Jack looked back over his shoulder to make Muir was following and that Bonita was out of sight, and broke into a dead run. He wanted off the island and on the open seas as soon as possible. "Damn, damn, damn! Overreaching your grasp again, you silly git!" he chided himself as he ran. "The cards said it - the smuggling operation will fail! I've got to get Honour to Barbados and away from this life!" Muir had caught up to him finally, and stayed beside him as they ran.

"Muir! Jack! Where are you?!" Honour called. "Oh, they've been gone too long. Something's happened, I just know it!" She was about to whistle for Muir again when he and Jack exploded out of the treeline and slid to a stop in front of her.

"Jack, what on earth is wrong? You act as if the Devil himself was after you!"
"More than you know, love."
"Nothing, nothing. Just thought it would be fun to run with Muir. Now, let's be off." He took her by the arm and nearly pulled her off her feet.
"What's gotten into you? We have plenty of time to get to the ship."
"Sorry, darling. Just anxious to get back to the sea." He hooked her arm and tried to ease her none too discreetly into a doubletime step.
"Jack - Stop! Tell me right now, what is the hurry?"
He took Honour by the shoulders and looked gravely into her eyes. "I can't tell you. Now come on."
"I'm not taking a single step until you be honest with me!"
"How's about I tell you once we're safe-once we're off the island?" He winced at his verbal misstep.
"You were about to say 'safely', weren't you? Jack, what's happening? Is someone after you? After us?"
"Honour, all I can tell you is that we have to get away from here as far and fast as we can. Yes, we're in danger. No, I can't say anything else about it. Can we please go now?"
She could see the haunted look in his eyes.
"All right, Jack. I trust you."
"At least I've got that going for me..."

Jack, Honour, and Muir arrived at the docks in near record time. Briggs spotted them from the deck as he directed the ship's final preparations. "Cap'n's here early! Step it up, ye laggards!" Something bothered him about their behaviour, so he looked again. "Somethin' powerful wrong is eatin' the both of 'em, that's for certain," he said to himself. "Shift it, dogs, and and be quick about it!"

"Hounour, you and Muir go on ahead and board. I'll be with you shortly." Jack kissed her cheek and smiled to reassure her.
"Please hurry," she whispered.
Cade walked up just as she turned toward the ship, and they very nearly collided.
"I'm sorry, Honour. I mean, Mrs. Wolfe. Please pardon my clumsiness," he smiled broadly.
"Mr. Jennings," she replied as she stepped past him, with Muir obediently by her side.
"Good day, Mrs. Wolfe..." he offered, more than a little confused. "Jack! How are you? Ready to sail?"
"Yes, yes, ready and anxious." Jack answered hurriedly.
"Is everything all right, old friend?"
"Aye! Wonderful! Well, Take care of things while I'm away, yeah? No burning down the tavern!"

He clapped Cade on the shoulder and leaned close to the younger man. "Meet me in Bridgetown in a week or two's time. No questions, mate. Just do it!" he whispered, then hurried to the gangway.

"Aye, Jack! You can... count on me." Cade trailed off. "I swear, I can never quite suss him out."

"Mr. Briggs!"
"Aye, Cap'n! We're near ready to sail, within an hour or -"
"Now. We're sailing now."
"What's the bloody rush, Jack? The tide's not full in yet."
"Captain's prerogative. They have lovely cheesy biscuits in Bridgetown, and I'm hungry. Oi!! Make ready to cast off!!"
"Jack, for the love of..."
"Josiah, I'll explain later. Right now, I want this ship moving."
Briggs gave him bewildered look. "Aye, Jack. Thy will be done. You heard the Cap'n!! Put your backs into it! Cast off those lines!!"
The crew hurried about their tasks at a frantic pace. Jack watched for a moment, then turned his attention to Honour who was waiting near the steps to the quarterdeck.
"Cap'n!" Briggs called. "What about a few words to the crew?"
"You always give a short talk to the crew when we set off, Jack. It's tradition!"
"I've never cared much for tradition," Jack replied sadly. He took Honour's hand and they climbed to the quarterdeck.

Honour walked to the aft rail and looked out over the island. As her gaze traveled down across the docks, she saw Cade looking back at her. He tipped his hat to her and bowed slightly, never taking his eyes off her. She returned his wave, and turned from the rail to look at Jack. Her husband was at the forward deck rail, looking out over the dominion of his ship. He seemed so secure and in control now, completely different from the panic she'd seen in his eyes just a short while ago.

"Full canvas!! Get us under way!" Jack ordered. The sails unfurled from the yards and filled with with the wind that he was sure would carry them to safety. As the ship began to move forward, he turned back to his wife and joined her at the taffrail. He looked back at the dock and waved a salute to his friend and apprentice. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a figure standing on the beach close to the where El Lobo was docked.

It was Bonita, watching the ship pull away. She was standing at the water's edge in a calico dress with her black lace shawl blowing about her in the breeze. That's when Jack noticed the pennant flying from the ensign staff above his head, and it dawned on him what he was seeing.

Bonita's shawl was moving opposite the wind.

"Honour, do you see that, over on the beach?"
"See what, darling?"
He looked back to find Bonita gone.
"Never mind. It was probably nothing."

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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #41 on: May 14, 2008, 05:40:37 PM »
Honour gently laid her hand on Jack's arm and took a deep breath. The salt air seemed to revive her somewhat and calmed her nerves. Certainly it seemed to do that to Jack. He put his arms around her and she laid her body against his.
"How soon before we are in Barbados, Jack?"
"Four days unless we catch a really good wind. Then we may make it in three."
She murmured, "The sooner we get to Barbados, the better I shall feel."
"Did you say something, love?"
"Hmm? No. Just...thinking how much I missed home. I'll check on the land as soon as we get settled into port. We can stay at my room for a few days until we decide where we want to live."
"Why not just stay on the ship when we port?"
"Under the watchful eye of Briggs and your crew? Jack, we have only been married ten days. The room at Castara Bay was delightful, no one to bother us."
"Or hear us."
She blushed and laughed lightly. "Well...that, too."

The two of them stood in silence, watching the island of Tobago fade into the distance. Jack breathed a sigh of relief. "Never thought I'd be that happy to put Castara Bay to my rudder."
Honour turned to look at her husband. "Jack, you need to tell me what it was that haunted you so. What happened out there while you were fetching Muir?"
Jack lied, "The Spanish Crown's agents were spotted and I know there may be a small price on my head. I just wanted us to get out of there as fast as we could. Cade would know how to handle them. After all, to all of Tobago, Cade Jennings is just an innkeeper."
"Do you think Bonita would turn you or Cade in?"
Jack looked over the horizon and shook his head. "She hates Spain even more than I do. She would never turn any of us in, no matter how much she ha--no matter how much they offer."

Just then, Honour felt something entwine around her legs and jumped. She looked down to see Li'l Puddin'.
Jack laughed, "Ah, there is Mister Briggs' favorite furball!"
Honour bent down and scooped up the cat and cradled him in her arms. She subconsciously started rocking him, back and forth.
Jack looked at her and said, "Honour, what are you doing?"
"Hmm? Nothing. Why?"
He shook his head. "Is it an instinct with all you women? You get a little thing in your arms and you start rocking it like you had a wee bairn or something."
"I didn't realize I was doing that."
"Aye, well, don't! You make me nervous with that--that maternal whatever you call it."
Li'l Puddin' looked at Jack through slitted eyes and buried himself deeper into Honour's embrace. Muir sat next to her with a quizzical look on his face. Jack reached down and scratched him behind the ears. "She's not ignoring you, boy."
Honour put Li'l Puddin' down. He spied something and ran off to catch it.

"Jack, I'd like to go to our room and unpack a bit."
Jack looked over and saw Briggs standing by the quarterdeck.
"Aye, by all means, darling. I shall like to confer with Briggs anyway. Point of direction, ship's business, all that rot. You go on, I shall be there in a bit."

Honour watched her husband walk over to his best friend and clap him on the shoulder. The two of them walked off. She turned to her best friend and said, "Shall we go, Muir?"
He ran ahead of her, seeming to know where they both belonged.

She looked and saw that her trunks were stored in a corner. She opened the first one and there on top was something she didn't recognize.
It was a lavender lace shawl.
"Oh.....MY!" she gasped.

She carefully picked it up. A note fell from its folds.

In appreciation for a lovely morning chat.
Your humble servant,
Cade A. Jennings
Jack watched as Honour disappeared below decks. He felt a twinge of regret at having lied to her about his real reason for fleeing Castara. But he knew in his heart that he'd done the right thing, and that he'd do it again if it meant keeping her safe. He looked out over the weather deck as the crew busied themselves stowing the cargo they'd so hastily lashed down earlier. The salt air and bustle of shipboard life were like a balm to his frayed nerves. The most tangible safety he'd ever known were within the confines of his wooden walls. He was staking everything that those walls would protect them from what he'd seen in Bonita's cards.

"The crew's gettin' the last bits squared away, Cap'n." Briggs said, interrupting Jack's reverie. "I figure things should be right and normal shortly. That is, as normal as it ever gets on this ship. Runnin' from a perfectly tranquil as if it were Davy Jones himself rose up to swallow us all. Right peculiar, some might say..."
"Subtle as a cudgel, Josiah."
"I'm just sayin', Jack. What by God's blood has you in such a state?"
"Something terrible is going to happen at Castara," Jack said in a heavy whisper. "Something devastating."
"What manner of 'terrible'? Have the Spaniards found out about our running trade there? Or did that poppin' jay Barbadian governor sell us out? I never trusted that damned prissy peacock..."
"It's both. Or neither," Jack replied, his frustration showing. "I really don't know."
"I don't follow. Jack Wolfe ain't one to run without good reason."

Jack turned and looked Josiah squarely in the eye. "On the way to the ship, I ran into Bonita."
"Sweet mother and child! What bilge did that witch woman fill you head with?"
"Answer me this, Josiah. Can you name me one single time she's been wrong?
Briggs bit his lip as a troubled look came into his eyes. "You know full well I can't,'cause she never is. That accursed Sight of hers ain't natural. Scares the hell out of me."

"She saw the coming destruction of Castara," Jack whispered. "She saw me losing everything if I stayed."
Briggs stared slack-jawed at his friend. "What about the others? What about Cade? He's the closest thing you have to a son, leastways what you know of!"
Jack looked out over the waters ahead. "Acceptable losses."
"I've seen you get cold, Jack. Colder'n most. But never like this."
"I'm doing what I have to, Josiah. Protecting my own, Cade included. He's accounted for, if he chose to listen. The rest are more than capable of fending for themselves. If they weren't, they'd be dead already. Or worse yet, moneyhouse clerks. If I'm out of the picture, as it were, perhaps they'll have a fighting chance."
"Some would say you're tryin' to outrun Fate."
"And what would you say, old friend?"
Briggs looked around thoughtfully at the ship and her crew, and the sea beyond. "Cap'n know what's best for his ship and the crew what cares for her, says I. And them cheesy biscuits sound pretty good right about now."
"Thank you, Josiah."
"I'd say we've got things well in hand here," Briggs offered. "If you'd like, I'll keep an eye on these laggards for ye while you check on that bride of your's."

Jack smiled and nodded his appreciation, then made his way toward the great cabin and Honour.
Honour tried the shawl on. So soft, so delicate. A bit of an intimate gift from someone not her husband. She picked up the note and smoothed it out.
Cade A. forward of you! She couldn't help but smile.
She laid it to one side and dug deeper into the trunk.
And there it was.

A book bound in leather, its pages brown of parchment. Its contents contained the secrets of an ancient and some said extinct order.
But I know better, Honour thought.
It contained magic.

She sat back and caressed the cover, remembering the day she took it. Gwydion had turned his back on her and sold her out to the Order. Their relationship became known and she was to be punished.
By death.
Raven had slipped her the key and while the council of the Order were discussing what was to be done, she scarred the door and left. She took Gwydion's horse to flee. But before she left, she took one last thing that he cherished.
His book.

She heard the sound of footsteps. As they paused by the cabin door, she hastily hid the book beneath the folds of her chemises in the trunk. She shoved the lavender shawl beneath a few garments.

"Honour, darling? Are you settled in?"
He entered the room just as she closed the lid.
"Aye, my husband. Just looking for...ah! Here it is!"
She produced the hideous key that Jack had given her on their wedding night. He laughed and said, "You still have that horrid piece of shine?"
She turned it over in her hand and said, "Yes, although I don't know why."
She threw it in the trunk and stood up. "Should you not be on the quarterdeck supervising your crew?"
"Briggs generously offered to watch over while I check on you.
"The same Briggs that breathes hellfire and damnation whenever I show my face in his direction?"
"Aye. That's his way of saying you are a bit of alright."

There was a scratch on the door and Honour opened it. Li'l Puddin' dashed in, jumping on the bed.
Jack laughed, "He usually only comes in here late at night. And then sometimes only to deposit his latest catch on the bed for me to praise him."
She shuddered. "I hope he doesn't do that for my benefit."
She stroked Li'l Puddin' on the head and sat next to him. "Is you a good widdle Puddin?"
Jack winced. "Honour, darling, he is a ship's cat. Not the spoiled pampered pet of royalty!"

He reached over to pet Puddin' and was rewarded with a hiss.
"Well, that is a first! My dear, it seems Li'l Puddin' has succumbed to your charms."
She sat on the bed and picked up a piece of yarn, trailing it back and forth, watching the cat swat at it and jump. Jack laughed and sat down next to her. Puddin' stopped and glared at Jack through narrow slitted eyes.
He jumped up and said, "I guess I am perceived as the 'enemy' now. You, darling, have a new protector."
He leaned over to kiss the top of her head and Puddin' glared at him for interrupting their little game.
He shook his head and said, "Turncoat!"
He walked towards the door and said, "I'll be back around lunchtime. Anything I can get for you, love?"
She looked up from playing with the cat and smiled, "Just you."
Honour spent the morning going through her chests and putting a few things in the chest of drawers. She hung up a few dresses. The rest stayed in the chests. 'No sense unpacking when we shall be leaving the El Lobo. And hopefully for good.' she thought.

Jack came in with two bowls of beef stew and bread on a tray.
"It smells marvelous, Jack. I didn't realize how hungry the sea air can make one."
"It's the cook's...HOLY HELL!"
At that moment, Li'l Puddin' decided to take a flying leap off the chest and landed right in the bowl Jack had just handed Honour. Beef and gravy went flying everywhere----on the bed, on the floor and all over Honour. She sat there, her hands dripping gravy off the ends. Gasping for breath, she shook her fingers, drops of gravy staining her dress.
"PUDDIN'!!!" Jack yelled.
All that could be seen was Puddin's tail as he dashed out the door.

Honour was at the washstand, pouring water into the basin and using a towel to clean off the spots on her dress. Jack was picking up the crockery and scooping up the beef stew with a spoon.
"He really didn't mean it, darling." Jack apologized for the cat.
He heard a sound coming from Honour, her back to him.
"Honour? Honour, don't cry. When we get to Bridgetown, I'll buy you a new dress."
She turned to face him, tears running down her cheeks. She sat down on the bed and gasped, "That had to have been the funniest thing I have seen in a long time, Jack!"
It was then that he realized the tears were not from distress.
She was laughing so hard she was crying.
Jack chuckled, "Aye, well, I guess I can still afford to buy you the new dress."
Jack spent the rest of his day on deck, conversing with his men, consulting his maps and giving directional orders.
Honour spent the afternoon playing with Li'l Puddin', reading a book and throwing a ball for Muir. She looked out the port window and saw nothing but water.
"Muir, when we get to Barbados, I'll make sure you have plenty of room to run. I know it's not much fun for you on a ship."
"I couldn't agree more!"

She laid down on the bed, Muir sleeping on the floor next to the bed. Before a few minutes had passed, she was asleep herself. Cautiously, the cat crept back in. He climbed onto the bed and stared at her lovely face. Li'l Puddin' batted a strand of her hair on the pillow, then began to knead. He kept kneading and kneading.....

It was dark out when Jack finally came into the cabin. He smiled down at his young bride curled up and fast asleep. There on the pillow next to her, with his tail curled around her face and under her chin was the ship's fearsome cat.
"You traitor! Are we now competitors instead of co-conspirators?" he whispered affectionately. Puddin' stretched out as if to welcome Jack into the vacant space next to his bride.
Jack gently kissed Honour and stroked her hair back and then he had to laugh.
Her hair was a knotted mess.
"Oh, you wicked kitty! Looks like you attempted to give Mrs. Wolfe a new hairstyle!"
Honour stirred and then woke up. She smiled and said, "It's about time you got back here."
She sat up and stretched and ran her fingers through her hair.
"What the....?"
He laughed, "It looks like Li'l Puddin' has decided your hair needed a change."
She walked over to the mirror and reflected back was tangled and snarled. "I didn't even feel him do that. I must have been really tired." She opened the dresser drawer and took out a comb.
"Ow! Ow! Ow!"
Jack walked over to her, put his arms around her and reached over to get a brush out of the drawer. He led her back to the bed and gently began to brush her hair.
"Mmmm...Jack, that feels wonderful! You can brush my hair anytime."
"As you wish, my sweet."
"Tell me a bedtime story."
"Oh?" he smiled devilishly.
She threw her dressing gown onto the chair and slid into the bed.
As he lowered his lips to kiss her, she put her finger to his lips.
"First things first, husband of mine."
"And that would be...?"
"Tell me how Puddin' got his name!"
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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2008, 05:41:47 PM »
"A bedtime story story then. How could I possibly resist?" he teased.
Honour propped herself up on her pillow and snuggled into the covers. She stole Jack's pillow and hugged it. "Tell me positively everything!" she said with childlike excitement. "Don't you dare leave anything out, not one bit!"

Jack quietly marveled at her ability to be a confident, worldly woman one moment, then playfully childlike the next. The latter was a quality he had lost from himself long ago. "Fine, then. 'How Lil' Puddin' Got His Name'. Chapter One," he intoned loftily. Honour giggled. "We had put in at Nevis after another successful cruise..."
"Oh, not another boring pyrate story," she sighed teasingly as she whacked him with his pillow.
"Oi! Pyrate cate, pyrate story. Now hush. Where was I?"
"A-pyrating," she said through a mock groan.
"Ah, yes. Nevis. We'd gone ashore to celebrate our good fortune and spread some of our newfound wealth."
"On drinking, gambling, women of dubious-"
"Have you always been this talkative during other people's stories? Remind me never to take you to the theatre. May I continue, or do you still have a few things to add?"
"Oh, all right. I'll behave. But I won't like it," she pouted, her eyes full of mischief.
"Whatever shall I do with you, Mrs. Wolfe?"
"Hurry up with the story and you'll find out, Mr. Wolfe."
"That's all the incentive I need." He laughed and leaned close to kiss her, and she stopped him by gently poking her finger in the middle of his forehead.
"Ah! The story?"

"Aye, the story," he sighed. Honour hugged his pillow and rested her chin on it. Puddin' peeked over the pillow at her, then laid down at her side. "We were walking back to the ship sometime after midnight..
"Of course," she quietly interjected, stroking the cat behind his ears.
"... when, as we passed by an alleyway, we heard a sound like a baby's cry. It was so clear and insistent that we decided to see what the matter was. We soon found ourselves at the rear of a tavern or something like that. Someone had set out a large pail of pudding to cool in the night air, and a tiny, hungry kitten had discovered it and fallen in."

"Heavens!" Honour said worriedly. Puddin' rolled onto his side and lazily batted at her fingertips.
"The little fellow could scarcely keep his face above the pudding, and he was too small to climb out. Would have been a goner if we hadn't happened along. So I pulled him out of his predicament, wrapped him in a kerchief, and he ate pudding all the way to the ship. Wee beggar's belly was so swollen with what he'd eaten, he scarcely put up a fuss when I rinsed him off. He's had a taste for anything with cream ever since."

Honour laughed as she sat up. "Such a wonderful story! And you," she said, scooping Puddin' into her arms, "are le chat extraordinaire!" The cat laid back in her arms, purring loudly. He opened one eye and gave Jack a ridiculously self-satisfied look.
"Um, Honour?"
"Yes, my husband?"
"You're doing it again. The cradling thing."
"Of course I am! He's got your nose, after all."
"Aren't you the clever one, darling. I'd swear he's got your ears."
She shot Jack a surprised look, then set Puddin' down on the bed. "Run along, baby. Momma needs to teach your father some manners."

The cat hopped down, crossed over to the table and jumped up on it. He laid down facing the bed with his paws crossed.

Honour pulled back the covers and patted the bed.
"With an audience? Have you no shame, woman?"
"I married a pyrate, didn't I?"
"Good point."
Their lovemaking was a whirlwind of passion, alternating between tender and torrid, sweet and sultry. Almost desperation on Honour's part, like she never wanted to let Jack go.
Their passion ebbed and flowed like the ocean tides. When it was over and Jack held her in his arms, she sighed contentedly. It was the first time she felt she had found a place for herself in life in over two years.

"Hmmm?" she murmured drowsily.
"Are you happy?"
"Blissfully. And you?"
She could feel Jack grin in the dark. "Need you ask?"
He hesitated and then asked, "Honour....the others."
"What others?"
"The other men."
She held him close and whispered, "Next to you, they could never hold a candle, darling."
But all he could hear is her soft breathing as she slept.
He stroked her hair but a part of him wondered....
Did she whisper the name 'Rhys' at a most inopportune time?
No, surely must have been something else.

The next morning, she stirred and reached over for Jack. The space was empty. In a brief moment of disorientation, she bolted in the bed. She saw Jack quietly putting his boots on.
"Wh-what are you doing, Jack?"
"Getting dressed. I do that sometimes, when I have to be places. I can't spend all my time---" he pointed to the bed---"there."
He moved over to her and embraced her. She kissed him on the neck and he disentangled himself from her embrace. "No, darling, it won't work. Not this time. This is a pyrate ship and I am a pyrate captain and much as I would like to stay, it just isn't possible."
She flopped back on the pillows. "Even the cat deserted me!"
"Aye, but only temporarily. Puddin' shall be back. It's time for breakfast for him. A nice juicy mouse smothered in cream and---"
Honour put her hand to her mouth and turned a lovely shade of green.
Jack said quickly, "Or most likely just a bowl of cream."
"How many more days till we port, Jack? Are we on schedule?"
He chuckled, "First time a pyrate ship has ever been run on a timetable. But yes, today is Tuesday, so we shall be in Barbados Thursday early afternoon at the latest."
She snuggled back into the covers. "For that I shall be delighted. I know of a man--Monsieur Picou, that was planning on going back to France and wanted to sell his land and home. It's a French Creole cottage with a huge wraparound porch on all four sides and a pigeonierre and then there is a gazebo and it's painted white and--"
Jack hurriedly kissed her and said, "Yes, yes, my love, whatever you want and now I really must go on the quarterdeck. It's my job, you know. There is fresh fruit in the bowl on top of the chest. Ta', love."
He slipped into his frock coat and left before she even had a chance to tell him about the fireplaces in each room.

Honour lazed about in bed for another half hour and got up only when Muir scratched at the door. He had taken Jack's shirt and dropped it at her feet first.
She rubbed his ears and laughed, "Yes, Muir, he's a bit of alright, I agree. Now go find him. But don't get under his feet."
She grabbed an apple and some grapes and looked around the room. For a pyrate, he certainly was tidy. She bit into the apple and regarded his chest of drawers thoughtfully. As she chewed, she continued to gaze at it.
Just who ARE you, Captain Jack Wolfe?

She opened the door and looked both ways in the companionway. No sign of Jack. She went back into the room and sat in front of the dresser, popping a grape in her mouth. She casually kicked the dresser. Well, maybe a bit harder than she should. Darn it, the drawer seems to be stuck. Well, I guess it would be the kind thing to fix it for Jack, yes?

She took her sgian dubh and wedged it between the front of the drawer and the chest. Very delicately she slid it back and forth until the drawer moved forward. Son of a gun, it really DOES work!

Assorted articles of clothing. Papers....PAPERS! She drew them out carefully and smoothed them out . A deed for land in Antigua...a deed for the tavern in Castara Bay...what is this? she wondered.
She drew an oval object out. It was a metal frame with a hinged cover. She opened it and saw a miniature.
It was a miniature of a woman.

Honour gazed transfixed on the portraiture of this unknown woman. She had long curling brown hair and dark brown eyes. Around her neck was a delicate gold chain with a single pearl pendant. Honour looked closely at the woman's face. She had a patrician nose and a mouth that promised mirth. She held her head high, her chin in a determined tilt. A woman who had her place in the world and was satisfied with what she was, exuding confidence. But one thing Honour saw reflected in her eyes.
The woman had the look of a woman in love. Honour had seen that look on women before. That gleam in their eye that no one could ever deny.
She wondered if she ever had that look people noticed when she was with Rhys. Did she have it now?
She looked up at the mirror over the dresser. And what she saw startled her.
Because undeniably, there it was.
That gleam.

Honour looked further in the drawer and came across a small cedar chest. She opened it with great trepidation.
Inside was the gold chain with the pearl pendant.

And a small gold ring.

She closed the box slowly, her emotions in a turmoil. Had Jack been married before even though he denied it? Was she an old sweetheart that he had planned to propose to, hence the ring?
Her mind was swimming with notions.

She stuffed the box and miniature back into the drawer and sat back down on the bed. It was then that she realized she didn't even know when her husband was born. She walked over to the porthole and looked out to a sky of blue. Too nice of a day to stay in the cabin.

She dressed in a simple skirt and white blouse, then donned a pair of boots. Time to get to know a bit of the crew.
Maybe one in particular...

She brushed her hair out and tied it back with a ribbon. Walking down the companionway, she climbed the stairs and stood at the rail, observing what was going on around her as she pretended to look out onto the sea. Jack was nowhere in sight.
Honour walked over to Josiah Briggs who was conversing with the helmsman.
"Pardon me, Mr. Briggs. Have you seen my husband?"
Josiah almost said, 'Who?' until he realized she meant Jack. He imperceptibly shook his head as he still could not believe that Jack was now a married man. Married and to a young lass, no less!

"He's in the map room with the navigator going over some charts for future expeditions."
"Yes, after we gather supplies in Barbados."
"When did he tell you this?"
"When he left with the navigator."
"I see."

She turned on her heel. He called after her, "Miss---Mrs. Wolfe, he won't be too long. You want me to send him down to you?"
Her mind was reeling. He was still going a-pyrating? Surely Briggs misheard him!
She flung over her shoulder, "That is quite all right, Mr. Briggs. I don't intend to sit in the room. I'd like to explore the ship on my own."

She climbed up to the upper deck and sat in the sun. The sea air was calming her nerves but her mind was trying to assimilate it all. Perhaps Briggs was wrong. Maybe he assumed Jack would still be commanding El Lobo. That had to be it. Jack is all set to become a sugar plantation owner.

Muir found his way to the top of the deck, assuming his play bow posture. She reached over and pet the wolf-dog, then tossed a ball he had given her. Right behind him was Jack.
"Ah, there you are, darling! I only have a few minutes but Briggs told me you were up there. Enjoying this fine day, I see. Good!"

She smiled as best she could. "Aye, Jack. The sun is wonderful. I just couldn't stay in the cabin any longer. Too many memories. Do you know what I mean about memories, Jack?"
He kissed the top of her head and said, "I remember last night, if that is what you are referring to!"
She sighed and said, "Yes, I guess that is what I meant."
He gave Muir a bone to chew on and said, "I shall be busy with ship's business but tell you what, love. I get all this straightened out and turn the ship over to Briggs. He knows it so well anyway."
He turned and went downstairs.
She sat there wondering if Briggs would be forthcoming.
No, men stuck together. They always have, they always will. That was one thing the tavern taught her.
A small voice inside her said, 'And have you told Jack everything about YOUR past?'
She said out loud to no one, 'Shut up.'

Towards the late afternoon, she went back to the main deck. There Briggs sat enjoying his pipe.
"Mind if I sit with you a bit, Briggs?"
He eyed her suspiciously but said, "No, ma'am."
"Nice day."
"Yes, ma'am."
"You don't like me, do you, Briggs."
"Ma'am? I have no reason not to."
"But you don't like the fact that he is married, do you?"
Briggs treaded carefully, "It is not for me to like or dislike, Mrs. Wolfe. As long as the captain is contented and commands his crew, that is what is important."
"Has it ever bothered you before?"
"Sailing with a wife? I mean, a woman?"
Briggs took one last draw on his pipe and stood up.
"I had best be returning to my duties on the quarterdeck."
He tipped his hat, "Ma'am."
She frowned. 'That didn't go so well.'

She headed back to the great cabin to sort through her trunks, read a book....and maybe take another look at the drawers before Jack got back.
'Working on mysteries without any clues, that's what it is.....who IS that woman?'
And she felt a twinge of jealousy.
How well do I know the man who shares my bed? Will I ever?
She sighed and opened up the door, determined to find out about the man she married.

Whatever it took.
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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2008, 05:42:53 PM »
Ship's business had consumed Jack's attention into the evening. He felt a bit guilty about Honour's being left on her own for the lion's share of the day. Their closeness while at Castara had spoiled him to having her near. He was a man wedded to two women; his wife and his ship. No use worrying about balancing the two, he thought. Once they settled in at Barbados, he'd only have to worry about one.

Dinner had been brought to the cabin not long after his arrival. He and Honour chatted about the day pleasantly enough, but he soon noticed that she seemed unusually distracted. Before long, her attention was focused on picking at her food.

"Do you not care for the chicken, love? I can send for something else if you wish," Jack offered. "And I killed Briggs over tea."
"What?" she said, snapping out of her thoughts. "Oh, no. The chicken's fine, really. I'm just not very hungry tonight. You and Josiah had tea? That sounds nice."
"You've been preoccupied all evening," he said as his brow furrowed with concern. "Pray, tell me, Mrs. Wolfe. What is worrying your mind so?"
"It's... everything has been such a whirlwind for us, Jack. It's all happened so quickly that I'm only now starting to comprehend -"
"Settle down, sweetheart. I have nothing to hide from you. What do you want to know?"

"Everything," she blurted.

"Everything? That's a tall order. Could take all night, but I'll give it a go. First, the World came into being," he started.
"Jack! Don't mock me! I'm serious. I know nearly nothing about you outside of tavern stories and our scant time together. Where were you born? Have you any brothers or sisters?" Honour cringed inside at how the words tumbled out of her, but there was no going back.

"Ah. There it is, then." He took a mouthful of claret and slowly swallowed it. You want that particular everything. It's been a long time since I've thought about the past. Even longer since anyone's cared to ask. Let's see what I can remember." He refilled their glasses and sat back in his chair.

"Where to start?" Jack mused. Honour gave him a stern look. "All right, all right. From the beginning, then. I was born in July of 1667, in Hampshire, near Portsmouth, the youngest of three children. My parents were Charles and Edith. My father was a master shipwright. He not only built ships, he designed them. He would have loved this one. Taught me a lot about what makes a proper vessel."
He took another sip of wine before continuing. "My sister, Victoria, is a musician. She was still in London, last I heard. My brother, Thomas... ah, Thomas. A gentleman of the Royal Navy, that one. He never has approved of my career choice. Then I never cared for his. A fine man."
"You sound very proud of him, despite your differences," Honour said quietly.
"I am! And I pray we never meet on the sea." He poured himself another glass. "But enough of all that. Where was I? Oh, yes. You're probably curious as to how I came by all this?"
She sipped more of her wine, and Jack immediately topped it off. "It had crossed my mine," she smiled.
"My father died of typhus when I was 18. So like many others, I signed aboard a merchant ship, carrying goods to the West Indies and sugar back to England. Everything was as good as it ever is on a merchantman. Endless work for nearly no pay, and I sent most of the money back home to Mum."

His eyes grew sad as he continued. "When I turned 23, that's the year the wheels fell off. I got word that Mum was sick with consumption. She died before I could get home to see her." He got up from the table and went to the dresser, and unlocked the top drawer. "Bloody hell. What's all this?"

Honour's heart jumped. She'd left something out of place, and he'd noticed. She just knew it. "Jack..."
"That's one thing you'll learn about being on a ship, darling," he interrupted. "No matter how carefully you arrange things, the sea finds a way to change it round. Nothing stays quite the way you left it. I'm sorry, what were you going to say?"
"I - I can fill your glass, if you like." That was close. Too close.
"Thank you, yes. Here it is." Jack brought out a necklace with a single pearl pendant, and a miniature portrait. He set them down gently in front of her. "The portrait is of Mum. She's the one that gave me my love of the sea. Granted, she'd never approve of this life, but not many do. So's the pity. The necklace was a gift from Dad for their 15th wedding anniversary."
"They're charming, Jack. Your Mother was a lovely woman," she said as she handed them back.
"Dad always thought so." He put the trinkets away and locked the drawer. "Damn! Waylaid again. The wine's making my thoughts wander a bit. Anyway, I got wind of a better paying job when our ship was ported at New Providence. The rum flowed freely, as did the ink to the roster. The first day out, the captain welcomed us all to the Account. We were now pyrates, whether we liked it or not. Less work, much better pay. Turned out I had quite the affinity for this way of life. I rose through the ranks, such as they are, got my own ship, and the rest is history."
"I hope you don't mind my asking, but when did Bonita come into the picture? You said you'd been friends quite a while." She hoped he missed the note of jealousy in her voice.
"Oh, I'd say seven years ago, give or take. Odd duck, that one. And more than a little spooky when she wants to be. Very secretive, but just as generous. No one knows where she came from, or how old she is. I suppose we'll never know" He drank some more wine and smiled. "So, that's my story. Feel better?"
"Yes, I do. Thank you, Jack. It helps me understand you a little better." She really did feel better. The portrait was of his mother, not some secret previous wife. A wave of relief washed over her.

"Wonderful! I'm glad it sets your mind at ease. Now, your turn," he grinned.
"What?" Honour nearly dropped her glass.
"Your story, my pet. I'm dying to hear it. Just who is Honour Wolfe?"
She laughed a little uneasily.
"Jack, I told you. My mother was a scullery maid and my father was a stablehand. She was only sixteen. Her name was Branwen. And she told me my father's name was Dafydd. I always liked her name. Branwen Bright. She told me she named me Honour because 'Honour Bright' is an oath of assurance and fidelity. After I was born, she stayed on in the household and raised me. I wore hand-me-down clothes from the daughters of the manor where she worked. They were benevolent but I was taught my place.
Mother died of fever when I was ten. I remained on with the house and stayed until I was sixteen."
"Why did you leave?"
Her laugh had a hollow ring to it. "Because I refused to let the lord's son bed me. He cornered me one evening in the library where I was dusting the books and I racked him. And I left that night because he swore to make me pay. I worked my way as a tavern wench through the countryside and eventually ended up in Barbados. And that is where you found me."

"When were you born and where?"
"I told you the when but being a man, I guess you forgot. I was born April 4, 1683. So therefore I just turned 19. I was born in Llanwddyn, Wales. And that is all there is. An uneventful life."
"Why did you go to Barbados?"
She reached up and kissed him. "Have I ever told you that you ask too many questions?"
He put his arms around her and drew her close to him. She knew that fire in his eyes.
He whispered to her, "Then shut me up."

The moonlight shone through the louvered windows. Jack slept soundly next to her, his arm resting over her body. She carefully disentangled herself from his embrace. Quietly she arose and put her dressing gown on, wrapping it tightly around her. She peered through the slats and gazed at the moon.
She told so many lies in her life she was afraid she was even beginning to believe them herself.

'Just who is Honour Wolfe?' Jack had asked her.
How could she tell him that she was not Honour Bright Wolfe. How could she ever tell him that she was really Rhiannon Conaway Castlemaine?

She laid her head against the window frame and thought back to her mother. That was one thing she didn't lie about. Her mother was Branwen alright. Lady Branwen Conaway. Wife of Lord Rhodri Conaway. Mother to four daughters, Rhiannon being the youngest.
She did not remember the day her mother died. How could she? She was only three. She had heard that she ran from her mother in play. Her mother ran after her, slipped and hit her head on a rock by the pond, drowning because of the ensuing unconsciousness.
Rhiannon lovingly touched the silver chain she wore around her neck and kissed it each night. Tonight she stood by the window and tenderly caressed it. It was all she had of her mother. Megan made sure she had something.

Lord Conaway had adored his wife. And blamed Rhiannon for her death. She was always a headstrong little girl that when she took without permission Lord Conaway's stallion Goliath out for a joyride into the woods where there was quicksand, he decided to find a place for her.
He surely did.
The Order of St. Brigid.

Honour sighed. Was it so long ago? Not really. A mere three years that she fled the Order. And all Gwydion's fault.
Her teacher and mentor in the art of enchantments.
And her first lover.

Tending the sacrificial fires of the Order of St. Brigid required the services of a virgin. Well, Gwydion saw to it that she no longer qualified. When it was found out, he didn't stand behind her.
'Well, yes he did,' Honour reasoned. 'He stood behind me. And pushed.'
As the penalty was death, she remembered the sad look in the eyes of Gwydion's father. He and the other priests were debating her fate when Raven slipped her the key.
She escaped.
And with more than her life.
She took Gwydion's prize possession.
His horse Taliesin.
And even worse.
She took his leather-bound book of enchantments.

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Offline Welsh Wench

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« Reply #44 on: May 14, 2008, 05:45:47 PM »
Her mind drifted back to her homecoming. Her father was having none of it. She remembered his words to her.
'You may stay here. For now. Until we can work out a mutually beneficial solution to this problem.'

She shuddered at the 'solution' to the problem. Within a week, she was married to Lord Madoc Castlemaine.
Bastard extraordinaire and known privately to Honour as 'Old Vinegar Veins'.

Lord Castlemaine. A man who appeared to be an upstanding member of the realm but in truth was a cruel and ruthless man.
Rhys Morgan was her saving grace.

She glanced over at Jack sleeping so peacefully. Even with his checkered past, could he ever forgive her for what she had done?
She had been the cause of Rhys Morgan's death.
Rhys. Friend to Jack Wolfe. Friend to all he met.
But it was worse.

Rhiannon Conaway Castlemaine murdered her husband.

She fingered the chain around her neck as she reluctantly let her mind go back to that fateful night.

It was supposed to be safe. The coast was supposed to be clear. Madoc was supposed to be in London.
Supposed to, supposed to, supposed to.....

The servants were not around. Those that stayed at the manor were in their quarters. Rhys had climbed the trellis to her room.
A trail of clothes would have told the story. And it was not like it was the first time. In a lover's embrace, out of the corner of her eye she saw the door slowly swing open.
And there he stood.
And he was weaponed.

She remembered letting out a scream. Rhys turned around and saw the sword. Madoc yelling. And his accusations which were hard to deny as the proof was right there.
"Please, Madoc! Please!" She remembered begging. She reached out to touch his arm in supplication. He threw her hand off, his eyes ablaze with fury.
"Madoc, please let him live! Don't add murder into it! Please! For me!"
Madoc sneered, "For you. FOR YOU?? You think I want the entire shire to know I was cuckolded by a PIRATE? And the very one who has been storing his ill-gotten treasures in the caves on MY property?"
And before she and Rhys knew what had happened, Madoc thrust his sword, running Rhys through.
The rapier then came towards her. She dodged at the last second and the blade pierced the pillow. With lightning fast reflexes, she reached over at the side of the bed and found what she was looking for.
Her bodice dagger with the pearl inlaid handle.

As Madoc withdrew the blade and raised it again, she threw the dagger. In her adrenalin-rushed drive to survive, the aim was true.
It found its mark. Madoc was thrown back against the wall from the sheer force of her pitching. He said not a word but a look of incredulity crossed his face. He slid down the wall and pitched forward.

She turned to Rhys. She could see there was not a thing she could do. The blood.
Oh, the blood!
Rhys was still breathing but it was shallow. She gathered him in her arms. He gave her a wan smile.
"Ah, Rhiannon, I always thought I would die at sea. Going down with my ship. Never for the crime of being in the arms of a woman."
He coughed and she could see that the wound was fatal. The blood was saturating her hands and all down her body.
He whispered, "I know it's fatal, my love."
Rhys' life force was ebbing quickly. The tears were flowing down her face as she said softly,
"Rhys. Rhys, please. Don't leave me. I love you."
She held him close.
As he drew his last breath, he touched her face and whispered, "I love you too, Rhiannon."

She cradled his head to her cheek and burst into sobs. The only man that had truly loved her was now dead. She looked over and saw Madoc lying on the floor. She felt nothing for him. Not even loathing.
She knew the vengefulness of Madoc's sons and if they didn't take her before the magistrates, she would surely face the wrath and punishment at their hands.
There was not a thing she could do for Rhys.
She dragged herself out of the bed, emotionally numb. She took cloths and wiped the blood off her hands and body. She then took a pitcher of water and filled the basin. The water continually turned red. She kept filling and pitching it until it became clear. Quickly she dressed in riding clothes.
She then walked over to a safe and emptied it into a cloth bag. She never realized how much was in there. Madoc underestimated me, the bastard, she thought bitterly. He always opened the safe in her presence and she committed the combination to memory in case she ever needed it.
This was the time and she needed it.

She then went into the drawers and emptied them of the family heirlooms and jewels. Shoving them into another bag, she looked around and took anything that was of value and could be carried. She then took her clothes and shoved them into a duffel bag. She took her cloak and wrapped it around her shoulders.
Looking at Rhys's body on the bed, she felt the tears slide down her face. She brushed his hair out of his face and kissed his lips that were still warm.
"Good-bye, my love. May God have mercy on your soul. I love you."
She didn't even bother to look at Madoc.

She tossed the bags out the window and then threw her leg over the sill. She looked down. About twenty feet. She climbed down the trellis as far as she could, the thorns scratching at her and catching at her hair. Finally there was about ten feet left. She closed her eyes and took a leap.
Landing on the ground, she picked up her bags and quietly went down to the stables.
There in the last stall stood her pride and joy.
Unfortunately it was Gwydion's pride and joy too.
A horse named Taliesin.
Not stolen.
Just borrowed with no intention of returning.

She saddled and bridled him up. Throwing the bags over the rear of the horse, she then whistled quietly for her wolf-dog Muir. Muir came out from under the hay and jumped on her.
"Hello, Muir. Looks like we are going on another adventure."
She climbed the gate of the stall and jumped on Taliesin's back. She then patted her leg and Muir took a leap. She caught him as he was in mid-air.
She put him in front of her and their mutual heat warmed each other. Their breaths fogged in the night air.
"Ready, Taliesin?"
She reined him towards the door. As he cleared it, she kicked in with her boots. Hard.
Taliesin reared slightly as if in agreement and cantered forward.
Her hair streamed behind her as she galloped towards the woods.
Away from Castlemaine Manor.
And into her new life.
Show me your tan lines..and I'll show you mine!

I just want to be Layla.....


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