Pirate Festival => Port of Call => Topic started by: Welsh Wench on July 10, 2011, 09:42:33 PM

Title: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on July 10, 2011, 09:42:33 PM

Zara Wolfe sat there in the cafe poring over her books and maps. Her brow furrowed as she fumed, "That island just appeared out of nowhere. Da was right. You just don't know what is out there till you look."
She took a sip of her tea and looked around. All sorts of vagabonds and riffraff plied their trade in the streets but no one would ever touch her. After all, she was the daughter of 'Mad' Jack Wolfe and her talent with a sword was well-known. Legend had it that her mother had bested a captain of expert swordsmanship. But that was just it.  A legend. Or so Zara was pretty sure.
The port town took on the atmosphere of the streets of Tangier or Marrakesh with its imports of silks and exotic spices. The smells in the air of coffee, cinnamon and salt air were home to Zara.
Taking a sip again, she sighed and stretched. The outdoor cafe was where she usually spent her afternoons. She told her Da that the salt air cleared her mind but in actuality it was the sights and smells that excited her. Her da always frowned but her mother understood. 'Let her be, Jack.' 'But Honour, darling...what if she meets someone?'
Her mother would giggle, "Like we met? The girl is only seventeen."
And then her father would say, 'Do you remember yourself at seventeen?'
There would always be a silence and then her mother would say, "Keep an eye on her!"

As Zara looked up, she saw some men taking stations at the entrance to the marketplace. They were dressed as  Saracens. Complete with turbans and cutlasses that looked like they could cut a forest in two. Her eyes darted from one to the other and she did a mental count. One...two...five...six.
Just then a young man walked into the cafe. He had light brown hair, blue eyes and was tall and broad of shoulder. His clothing was that of a pirate but he was well dressed for one. At least he was clean, she thought. His white shirt was of silk and showed a nice chest. Very nice, Zara noticed.
The breeches were black and his hair was held back by a red bandana. She took in the French rapier but something caught her eye.
Something she and her mother shared in common.
Great boots.

The man with the striped turban, who was obviously the leader, gave an imperceptible nod to his comrades.
They moved closer, closing ranks and cutting off any means of escape.
The pirate had ordered an ale and was unaware of the danger that was closing in on him.
Moving closer.
Zara looked and took it all in. A definite ambush was planned. Suddenly she jumped up and ran over to the young man.
"Benjamin! How dare you stand me up!"
The man turned to her and said, "I am sorry, Miss, I am afraid you have the  wrong man. I am----"
"Shut your mouth," she said between clenched teeth.
She leaned over and threw her arms around him and kissed him soundly on the lips.
"But I forgive you, Benjamin. I'm just glad you made port and now you can come home to meet Mum and Da and we can tell them our plans."
She grabbed his hand. The Saracen chief motioned them to stay their weapons.  
"Come..let's tell them right now."
"Miss, I think---"
"Will you shut UP? Bollocks!"
She edged him to the edge of the cafe wall.

"Hey! You cheating bastard!"
The Saracens looked over and a fight was breaking out. At least that is what a bottle broken in the hands of a pirate in this town signaled.
When they looked back, their quarry was gone.
And so was the girl.
She carefully pushed the wall and it swung open.
"What the....?"
She said, "Shush!'
The pseudo door opened to a back lane.
"What is this all about?"
Zara looked over at him. "You were being stalked by Arab looking men. Did you not notice?"
"Of course I noticed. My father was right on the other side of me. I was to meet him."
"Father? I saw no one. Just Uncle Josiah."
The man looked puzzled. "Uncle Josiah? My father has no nieces. Just the daughter of a friend of his who calls him that."

 Zara stopped suddenly.
"But...he IS Uncle Josiah. I've always called him that."
The young man asked, "What is your name, lassie?"
"Zara. Zara Wolfe."

The man grinned. 'I don't believe it. Is it possible? The last time I saw you, you threw a mint chocolate cookie at me. I still have a bit of a scar where the nuts hit me on the hand."
Her face flamed with embarrassment.
"You don't mean...."
He bowed low. "Phillip Briggs, at your service, Miss Wolfe!"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 09, 2011, 10:04:27 PM
Phillip? Uncle Josiah's Phillip?"
He grinned. "The very same. My goodness, you have grown up, Miss Wolfe!"
She felt her cheeks blush. "I'd say the same for you. How long has it been? I was...what? Five the last time I saw you?"
He put his hat back on his head. "I think so. You were stuck in a tree and Father made me climb up and get you."
"You remember that?"
"Aye, I do. Father said you were always getting in one predicament after another. Like the time you were pulled out of one of the guns and your mother spent a week getting the gunpowder out of your hair."
"I did not!"
"Well, I wondered where ye ran off to!" Josiah puffed out of breath as he came up beside them.
" 'Ello, me little scalawag!"
" 'Ello, me Uncle Josie!"
Phillip laughed. "I thought only one woman called you that!"
Zara put her hands on her hips and tossed her hair. "Who do you think I got that from?"
"AUNTIE Renee. What were those men up to?"
Philip glanced over at Briggs and he glared at him.
"You may as well tell her since she saved your neck."
Phillip sighed. "Seems I played cards with a marked deck. Alfonso who heads the 'enforcers' in this town took offense that I lightened his purse. He must have put a price on my head."
Josiah sighed. "I was about to talk to Alfonso when you took Phillip out of the picture. I must be slowing down!"
Zara gave him a hug. "Never, Uncle Josie! And if anyone could do it, you could!"
He held up his finger. "Ah-ah, scalawag! You are forgetting who still carries weight in this town."
She sighed. "Ah yes, it would be Da."
Phillip looked over at Zara and marveled at the way she had changed. Her chestnut hair with auburn highlights was almost to her waist and a mass of curls. Eyes the colour of summer skies, so like her mother. And the tilt of her nose was Honour's but the defiant tilt of the chin was definitely a Wolfe's. But was she blessed---or cursed, depending on how you looked at it and were the recipient--with her mother's temperament or her father's?
Not that there was much difference....but could she receive a double portion?
Suddenly a prediction from years ago emblazoned his memory. From a voodoo woman in a dusky little tavern called LeLoup.....
"I see a female animal and she draw close to you. Very frisky, very young. She cause you problems. But one day she save you life."

Could it be...?
Not possible.
Could it?

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on October 14, 2011, 08:26:27 PM
 Josiah looked over at a tavern on the corner of the lane affronting the docks.
"I suppose I should talk to Alfonso so ye don't get your arse kicked, young man."
He held out his hand and the young man sighed. "Very well. It's all there."
Phillip handed over a pouch of gold coins.
"Please send my deepest regrets to Alfonso. What are you going to tell him?"
"That you had no idea the deck was marked. That you learned how to read a marked deck when you were on El Lobo in your formative years and subconsciously read them. When you realized the reason for your stroke of luck, you were filled with remorse and were on your way to pay back your ill-gotten gains."
"Think he will buy it?"
"Alfonso will figure it to be a lesson learned and your pockets are lighter."
To Zara, Briggs held out his hands.
"And you, little one--what are you doing in a tavern? Your father would have a fit."
She winked. "Then I guess it is best we don't tell him, do we? You know--for his sake."
Briggs pushed her hair back over her shoulder. "So like your mother you are--always quick with the reasoning and the wit."
She walked back to her table where her tea was cold and the sea birds had eaten the last of her scones.
"Bollocks!" she muttered.
Briggs burst out laughing. "I heard that."
Zara laughed too. "Old habits are hard to break. As much as Mum would try to."
She rolled up her maps."I guess I should put these away and..damn seabird! Left his mark right on the island!"
"Allow me." Phillip dipped his handkerchief in a cup of water and sponged off the offending matter.
"It's the least I can do."
"No, the least you can do is buy me a new hot tea and a scone."
She plopped herself in the seat and pushed the chair opposite her with her foot.

Briggs looked from one to the other and a wave of deja vu swept over him.
Wasn't it like this one time before in another world, another tavern? Another man and another woman...
And the result was seated there demanding a new scone.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on November 16, 2011, 07:41:53 PM
"Come, Phillip--time to leave."
Phillip gave his father a grin and said, "Now, I would be remiss in my manners if I didn't replace this young lady's scone, wouldn't you agree?"
Zara looked up at Phillip from under her long eyelashes, smiling demurely.
"I'm partial to the blueberry ones."

Josiah took out his bandana and began to mop his brow.
"Blueberries? Just like your mother."
"Mother and I are quite a bit alike, Da always said."
"How is your mother?" Phillip asked.
Zara took a sip of her tea.
"Doing wonderfully. She had another baby, you know. The 'Wolfe' pack, Da calls us."

Josiah put his hand on Phillip's shoulder.
"A word with you, please, son--if you don't mind, Zara? Ship's business, you know."
"Not at all, Uncle Josiah. I know how pressing things like that are."
Phillip sighed. "Oh, alright, Father."
He leaned over to Zara. "I'll be right back."

Josiah walked him out of earshot.
"Alright, what is the problem, Father?"
Josiah nodded with his chin. "There. There is the problem."
"Miss Wolfe?"
"I've seen that look on your face. The same look that got you in trouble in Havana. Remember that Count's daughter? The same look that got you in trouble with those triplets in Martinique. The same look that got you in trouble in Aruba. The same look that got you in trouble in-----"
"Alright, you made your point."
"Well, said young woman happens to be Miss Zara Wolfe. The daughter of Captain 'Mad' Jack Wolfe. The daughter of my best friend."
"You have reiterated who she is. She's a child, Father."
"Yes. A child of the female persuasion and from what I can see, she's laying a pretty good foundation to leap into womanhood. You watch your step. Friendship is one thing. Jack's daughter is another."
"I promise nothing is going to happen. I always throw the small ones back."
Phillip glanced back at her.
"I'll buy her another scone, send her on her way and meet you back at the ship. Alright? ALRIGHT? And Da, please don't give me that furrowed brow. You will clear it with Alfonso?"
"I will. Payment of your debt will lift that price on your head. The payment and then some. Penalties and interest no doubt."
"Great. But I will keep my sword and pistol handy. Just in case."
Josiah looked over and grinned. "She is a lovely little thing. Just like her mama."
He poked his finger in Phillip's chest.
"And she is my honorary niece so that makes you unofficially a-----"
"Cousin. I get it. Don't worry. Besides, I have a dinner engagement with Lenore."
Josiah looked over at Zara.
"Alright, you can catch up with your 'cousin'. But remember--I am trusting you."

Phillip made his way back to Zara.
"Everything alright with the ship?"
"Yes. Father just needed a little clarification on things."
Zara pushed her plate towards Phillip.
'Well, that was wonderful. And I thank you, Mr. Phillip Briggs. And now I must be going home."
Zara leaned over and gathered her maps but her neckline and what it afforded was not lost on Phillip.
"Da will want to see the progress I made on this map assignment he gave me."
"Map assignment?"
Rolling the maps up, she said, "Yes. Da always said that just because I am a girl, I should be able to support myself and not rely on a man for my comforts. At least material comforts," she said with a smile.
"So Da and I talked and I have an artistic talent and am good with figures and he thinks--as so do I--that being a cartographer would be a good occupation. So he pulled a few strings and called in a favor or two. I am apprenticed to Mr. Cosgrove."
She extended her hand to Phillip.
"Thank you for an exciting afternoon."
"And thank you for saving my life, as it were."
"Any time, Phillip Briggs. Any time."
Phillip watched as she put her cloak on.
"Well, I would be quite the scoundrel if I didn't see you safely home."
She gave him a dimpled smile.
"I'd like that."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on December 18, 2011, 03:10:29 PM
"Let's not go home just yet. Why don't we walk over by the dock? There is a lovely park just beyond it. I love to sit there and watch the ships come in. And I always see some that I know."
Zara gathered her maps and walked over to the cafe barrista. "Pierre, would you please hold these for me? I'll be back to pick them up later."
"Mais oui, Mademoiselle Le Loup. For you---anything!"
Zara linked her arm with Phillip's.
"Shall we go?"

"Now, then, Mr. Phillip Briggs---tell me what you have been up to since I last saw you. How long has it been? Five years?"
"I imagine about that. Mostly I have been sailing with Father."
"Whereabouts? I would love to see the world but Da is very protective. He says there is a lot of men who aren't the nicest."
"He's right. I've been overseeing the commerce side of our operations."
She looked up at him and smiled. "The legal or the illegal?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I know all about it. I overhear Da talk to Mum about it. Late at night before they go to bed. But believe me, they do more than talk. I can only hope to find a man who loves me as much as Da loves her. And the latest proof is sleeping in MY cradle!"
Philip didn't know whether to laugh or blush. So he did both.

Coming around the bend was an old woman in a shawl. Zara said, "Wait here."
She walked over to her and hugged her. "Bonjour, Madame Hermione!"
"Ah, Mademoiselle Zara! Comment ca vas?"
"Je vais tres bien. Et vous? Permit me to introduce Monsieur Philip Briggs."
Hermione nodded cordially at Phillip.
"Est-ce que je peux prendre des sucreries pour mes frères et soeurs?"
Hermione handed over some sweet candies and Zara tucked the sack in her purse.
"Et pour les canards, s'il vous plait."
Holding the bag, she smiled at Phillip. I need to show you something. "Au revoir, Madame Hermione!"
I always buy something from her. She used to be Louis XIV's mistress, you know."
"No...but I like to imagine! we are!"

She sat down and spread her skirts, patting to the ground next to her.
"Asseyez vous, s'il vous plait, Phillip. Now we wait!"
Within a minute, a large white duck with five ducklings trailing behind sought her out.
"She had them about a week ago. Are they not precious?"
The mother duck marched up to Zara. She quickly broke off a piece of bread and handed it to the mother who took the morsel out of Zara's hand. The babies followed suit.
"Amazing! She trusts you."
Zara gave him a puzzled look. "But of course! What's not to trust?"
"Well, animals usually shy away. They must have a sense about you."
She brushed the crumbs off her skirt and stood up.
"Let's walk a bit more. It's been ages. Aunt Renee looks wonderful. It was about time Uncle Josiah made a right proper married woman of her."
"Renee is the closest thing to a mother I ever had. She always said I was her son without the snot and dirty nappies!"
Zara laughed. "Yes, but she gets that faraway look in her eyes when she holds one of Mum's babies. Like maybe she wishes it was she and the life she could have had if my mum hadn't come along."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I think Da and Aunt Renee were once involved. I know she knew Da when they both lived in England. And she and Da have been there for each other through the years. But she and Uncle Josiah are well-suited. He grounds her and she puts the spring in his step."
"Miss Zara, is there anything you don't pontificate on?"
Zara looked thoughtful and put her finger to her lips.  Then she broke out in laughter.
"No, I guess there isn't!"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on January 18, 2012, 09:25:01 PM
"So, Phillip Briggs, what has kept you away from Barbados and visiting Maison Le Loup all these years?"
"Now wait a minute! I have been there. But you were either at school or with your friends.  But I have been in different parts of the world dispersing our sw--- I mean, our merchandise."
"Swag. I AM the daughter of Jack Wolfe, you know! But what have you been carrying lately?"
", wine, fine textiles...."
"And jewelry?"
She looked up at him. "How fascinating! Do you ever have any sapphires? I have some money saved and would be glad to purchase one from you. At market value plus a 10% finders fee."
Phillip took her hand. "If I find one worthy of you, I shall gladly give it to you in remembrance for a delightful afternoon."

Just then a large handsome lad marched up to Zara, completely ignoring Phillip.
"I have a dispute with you, Miss Wolfe."
She idly looked at her fingernails.
"And that would be.....?"
The young man held his cloak out.
"THIS! This was an expensive cloak from Paris!"
On the back was slashed a letter Z.
Zara took it by the hem and held it out.
"Why, so it was!"
"You ruined it! I demand retribution!"
 "I'm sorry but you must have snagged it on a branch."
"Excuse me, sir, but....." Phillip interjected.
"Who asked you?" the lad retorted.
Zara glanced at Phillip. "I can handle this."
She returned her attention to the lad.
"Yes, I did do it. You stood too close to me and you didn't keep your hands to yourself. No one stands that close to Zara Wolfe unless invited to. And you are not going to be drawing a map of my body unless I personally authorize and copyright it.  Be glad it was just the cloak."

He grabbed her by the arm and quick as flash, Zara reached into her bodice and whipped out a silver dagger.
"Now, Tristan, you have just one chance to leave with your nose and other body parts intact. And if you don't turn tail and leave, I'll carve my initials on you but without the benefit of a cloak. Savvy?"
He stared at her and she raised an eyebrow, mirth at the corners of her mouth.
"I don't repeat this offer. It expires in the next five minutes."
His face flushed and turning on his heel, he left.
Just as quickly as she removed the dagger, she returned it to its rightful place.
"Tsk!  Children!..... you were saying?....."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 20, 2012, 10:42:11 AM
Phillip stopped in his tracks.
"Zara Wolfe, do you mean to tell me that you took a sword to that man's cloak?"
She waved her hand airily.
"Oh pish tosh! What if I did? I was in a tavern--the Blue Moon, I think it was--and this big---"
"You were in a tavern?"
"No big deal, Phillip. Do you want to hear the rest of the story or not?"
He crossed his arms.

"Alright then. I was with some friends---Sally Monroe and Elizabeth Connors, I think it was--and that big oaf came over and put his hands on me. So what if I used to see him on a social level? NO ONE accosts Zara Wolfe without my permission. So I kneed him in a place he wouldn't soon forget and called him an weed puller.He had been drinking or else he would have remembered that. I decided to teach him a lesson. And a way to remember me."
"Does your father know what you are up to?"
"Up to? Up to what? I was doing him a favor by not telling my father. He would have made him into a shish kebab. He got off easy. "
Phillip chuckled. "And how did you learn the fine art of swordplay?"

Zara flashed him a smile. "My mother insists that all of her daughters learn how to defend themselves."
"Well, she had the right idea. After all she...."
Phillip broke off.
He quickly added, "After all, she has the right idea to keep her daughters safe whatever it takes in this town."

Phillip thought back to a story his friend Zach Roberts had told him once about the indominatable Honour Wolfe. They had been in a tavern in Tortuga.....

"See that man over there?"
"Which one?"
"The one with the crippled hands."
"You mean Captain Jonas Corwin of the Golden Phoenix?"
"The very one."
"What about him?"
"You know how he got his hands that way?"
"I heard he wronged a tavern doxy."
"Something like that. Seems Jonas Corwin took up with a pretty young thing for the night. She wasn't a doxy, just a mixed up young girl who was looking for love in all the wrong places. Well, the story goes--heard it from his quartermaster--that he roughed her up pretty good. So when he was sleeping it all off, she took his clothes and tossed them out the window."
Phillip just about spewed his drink across the table.
"Well, that was ingenious!"
"It was the talk of the taverns for a few years. Still is, I guess, whenever Corwin shows up. But that wasn't the end of it."
"No? What more could she do to retaliate?"
"Corwin had to make it back to his ship wrapped in a coverlet--heard it had a bunch of little flowers embroidered on it--and it was during the day. Not a farthing to his name, either. She rolled him for whatever she could find on him. Well, a few  nights later, Jonas was in the tavern, trying to ignore the snickering and what passed for good-natured ribbing.  You know these pirates, they love to stick it to each other but Jonas was in a foul mood. And he was likkered up but good. And whose path did he cross but the girl!"
"Uh oh.....I take it he got even with her. A repeat of the night before?"
"It may have been what he intended but the lass was quick on her feet too. And one thing he didn't count on."
Phillip raised an eyebrow.
"She had companions that protected her and put the hurts to his hands?"
"Oh, no, Briggs--she was armed. Whether it was adrenalin or skill that kept her alive, she gave as good as she got. Unfortunately she was losing. Hurt her pretty badly. But she did have a bit of help."
"The crew?"
"No, the wharf cat. Corwin stepped on him and he sunk his claws in his leg. That was the advantage the lass needed. She racked him and then clocked him under the chin. He was out cold and she stepped on his hands in a fit of rage. Good boots with spike heels will do that, you know. His crew found him once again under some canvas. And his hands didn't heal right. "
"So did he ever find her?"
"No. He has been looking for her ever since. Swears one day he will find her and gift the crew with her. He's been searching from the Caribbean to Cadiz. Hasn't found her. She's probably dead."
Roberts leaned back.
"Yep...when he finds her, Honour Bright will be the star on the ship's Christmas tree!"

Phillip choked on his ale.
Honour Bright.
Now known as Honour Wolfe.

And her progeny now stood next to him.

Zara linked her arm through Phillip's.
"I have a wonderful idea. My parents would love to see you. Escort me home. And stay for dinner!"

He looked at the fascinating young girl next to him. But now he was seeing her with a different view.
Not a young girl.
A young woman.

"You know, Miss Zara Wolfe, I think I would like that!"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 10, 2012, 08:58:14 PM
Zara and Phillip walked up the lane on the outskirts of Bridgetown. The oak trees formed a canopy. The house never failed to draw admiration from Phillip in the times he had come with his father since he was fifteen.
The Wolfes were always hospitable and had treated Phillip as one of their own. It had seemed that Jack and Honour Wolfe had never aged and were just as much enamored with each other as the first time Phillip had met them.

Zara gave Phillip's arm a gentle squeeze and leaned close to him. He could smell the delightful scent of her. Not like other women who had doused themselves in floral sachets.
No, this young girl smelled of new-mown hay and sunshine. And Philip found the scent almost sending his head reeling.

"Philip, have you not been listening to me?"
"I'm sorry...what did you say?"
She threw her head back and laughed. "Your mind must be elsewhere. I asked you if there was a special woman in your life right now?"

A wave of guilt washed over Phillip. And a face came to mind.

Ah, Lenore. Lenore with auburn hair that shone like a copper penny and mesmerizing green eyes. She was statuesque and had a well-rounded figure. Not voluptuous but she was everything that held Phillip's attention.
Lenore was a year younger than Phillip. She had just returned from living in Venice, could speak fluent Italian and French and wore the latest in fashions. And if it wasn't the latest, then Lenore could certainly start the trend.

He had met her at a social engagement at her father's house. Rarely had men of the sea--and ones with dubious connections--been invited but for some unknown reason, Phillip and his father had been invited to talk a bit of business, a bit of socializing.
The house was grandeur but it was Lenore that caught and held Phillip's attention.
The lace...the rose scent. The cascading chestnut curls of her hair.
One look and he was intrigued.

It had been about a year that Phillip had been courting her. And the prospects of a diamond ring, a manor by the edge of town and the promise of a family were plans in the works.
Yes, Lenore was a woman who held her own and rose above others.

Phillip found himself glancing at Zara on his arm and he heard his voice saying, " one in particular."

'Where did that come from?' He thought bewilderedly.
Zara smiled up at him, looking at him from under her long lashes.
"In an odd way....that pleases me, Master Briggs!"

Phillip found himself smiling. 'You've grown into quite a young lady, Miss Zara."

And all of sudden, the ring, the manor and the family plans grew a little blurry around the edges.
Maybe Lenore Culley could wait a bit.
After all, when you are the governor's daughter.........
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on May 18, 2012, 08:48:18 PM
"Mum! Da! I'm home!" Zara called from the foyer into the manor house. "I brought a surprise home! Can I keep him?"

From the back of the house a man's voice called out, "It had better not be another stray, you scalawag!"
"Oh, come on, Da--he is really cute!"

Phillip could feel the heat in his face rising. From the back veranda a man came out. He looked the same as Philip had met him fifteen years earlier. He took the pipe out of his mouth and a grin spread over his face.
"Well, well! I guess you can keep this one, Zara. Shall we put him up in the barn?"
Zara tapped her foot impatiently. "Oh, I don't know, Da. He can always sleep at the foot of my bed!"

Zara ran up and gave her father a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"I ran into Phillip at the marketplace and I invited him to stay for dinner."
He noticed she altered the truth a bit....the tavern had become a vegetable market in her slightly adjusted tale.

"The more the merrier, we always say. Zara is always having someone over. Her girlfriends and the numerous young men....."
He trailed off as he noticed Zara making 'cease and desist' motions behind Phillip's back.
As Phillip turned to her, she said demurely, "School work. Always school work.  I sometimes need help finding the occasional island or two."

From the parlour came a feminine voice, "You should ask your father for help on that. He knew the Caribbean like the back of his hand."
Jack called back, "But I couldn't find a maze."
A giggle was the reply heard.

Zara took Phillip by the hand and dragged him into the parlour.
"He's no cat....but he has a cute little nose all the same, Mum!'

On a rocker sat a beautiful blonde woman. She hadn't aged at all. In her arms was a little bundle wrapped in a pink blanket.
She beamed at Phillip. "How wonderful to see you again, Phillip! You ARE staying for dinner, aren't you?"
"Well, Zara did invite me and...."
"And if she hadn't, we would have. We haven't seen you in six months. Where have you been keeping yourself?"
"Well, Father had me working on the booty....I mean, the inventory that we had um...purchased in...Jamaica. Yeah, that's it. The Jamaica one."
Honour raised her eyes to the ceiling. "Oh yes, the Jamaica one. Coffee, tea, textiles....and some of it has already replenished the Wolfe wine cellars. When Jack isn't making his own from the vineyard over by the south pasture."

Phillip stepped closer to the blanket.
"A girl, from the looks of the blanket. What is her name?"
"Jack wanted Arabella but I was able to convince him we would NOT have a child that can be called Airy-belly so we settled on Reinette."

She pulled the pink blanket back and a tiny face, flawless, yawned as she slept. Black hair crowned her head.
Honour sighed contentedly,"I never did have any bald babies!"
Zara came in with an apple and handed one to Phillip.
As she casually munched on it, she asked, "Where is everyone else?"
"The boys are on that botany trip with Uncle Duckie over in Antigua and the girls are at Aunt Megan's for the night."

Zara linked her arm in Philip's. "Then it is settled. You are staying for dinner and I won't take no for an answer!"


Zara pulled her chair closer to Phillip. Jack reached over and passed the platter of meat to Phillip.
"So, Phillp, how are things in Havana?"
"Prosperous. The unloading of.....merchandise is simple. We drop it off, arrange the price with Fernando DeCastro and collect the money. He worries about the legalities and the distribution."

All of a sudden, Phillip felt a pressure on his leg and glanced down. Zara's hand had rested on his thigh. Unfortunately, she had taken to running her finger up and down his leg. He could feel the heat rise on his ace as Zara sat here with an angelic smile on her face, a soup spoon in the other hand.
"Phillip?" Jack asked.
"Is it too warm in here?"
Zara looked at her father. "I feel fine but you know how it can get hot all of a sudden. At least that is my prediction. Phillip? Are you hot?"
Jack walked over and opened the French doors.
"There! That should cool things down somewhat."
"Not necessarily, Da---the night always gets quite sultry and steamy, as you know."
Phillip concentrated on his soup. "I'm sure things will cool down just fine."
Zara's hand kept a gentle but firm touch on Phillip's leg but suddenly he felt her foot gently run up and down his lower leg.
The only thought that went through his mind was, 'She's only seventeen?'

Honour walked in. "Renny is asleep. Now I can enjoy my meal."
She gave Zara a glance and she put both hands on the table. But her foot was still resting on Phillip's leg.

The dinner proceeded without any more incidents. Jack and Phillip talked of old friends and business deals over brandy. Zara sipped a small glass of wine.

Honour did a quick calculation. Zara was seventeen. Phillip was--how old? Twenty-six? Just about the same age difference....and she was transported back to a time when she herself was sixteen and a man named Rhys Morgan entered her life.
'This bears watching.....' she thought.


"I really  must be leaving. I have business to attend to....and thank you for dinner and a lovely evening."
"Again, Phillip--you know you are always welcome here. You are family."
Honour stood up. "The baby is asleep and I rarely have all the children gone at once so I am going to take some time for myself. Jack, are you coming?"
He got a grin on his face. "I'll be right up," he winked at Phillip.
Zara gave Phillip a knowing look.
"I'll see Phillip out as the good hostess that I am. After all, he IS my guest."

They walked out the back verandah. Zara linked her arm with his.The smell of honeysuckle was too close to be come from any vine. No, it was from Zara.

She stood close to him. "It was grand seeing you, Phillip. And I daresay we shall be seeing much more of each other."

She stood on tip toes and before Phillip knew it, her lips met his in a sweet, searching deep kiss.
As they broke away, Zara sighed, smiled and said "I'll be seeing you soon, Phillip Briggs!"
She waked back into the house without a backward glance.

Phillip stood there, not quite knowing what to do.
'Oh my God...Lenore! I should have been there two hours ago!'

But then he said out loud, "I just snogged Mad Jack's daughter!"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on June 15, 2012, 12:42:53 PM
Phillip rode up to the mansion on the hill. By the light of the moon, he took out his pocket watch and read '9:30'.
"Damn! My arse is cooked!"
With great reluctance, he walked up to the manor door. Herndon the butler answered it.
"Good evening, Herndon. I seem to be a bit late."
"To say the least, sir."
"Is she in the parlor?"
"And waiting, sir."
"Oh, bollocks, " Phillip muttered.

He opened the door and saw Lenore standing there facing the mantle.
"Close the door, Herndon."
She turned to Phillip, controlled fury marking her features.
Her cinnamon hair was piled high on her head and tendrils framed her face. She was dressed in a pale green dress with ecru lace.
Her features were finely chiseled, with high cheekbones prominent in a regal face.
"You are late. Exceedingly late."
"I know. I'm sorry."
She crossed her arms.
"Well? I'm waiting."
"For what?"
"An explanation, what else?"
"I had a business meeting that went longer than I expected."
A white lie.
"And you couldn't break away?"
"No, I couldn't. It was a merchandise inventory and once you start it, you can't stop it."
Another white lie.
"Well, it is too late to go to the consulate dinner. Father went ahead of us."
She made a very definite gesture of throwing her evening wrap and fan on the couch.

Phillip helped himself to a brandy from the sideboard. If there was one advantage--and there were many--to courting the Governor's daughter, it was that he had access to the finest brandy that money could buy. Or ships could steal.
Not that Philip didn't have his own stash of brandy. But oh, so much better when it was hassle-free.

He took a deep sip and turned to face Lenore. She sat on the settee with her hands folded.
"Do you know how embarrassing it will be to walk in at this late hour?"
"I know and I am sorry."
She pouted.
"So what shall we do, Phillip? Go in late and breach etiquette?"
She ran her finger along the arm of the settee and casually said, "Or do we make good use of the time that my father is away for the night and the servants are retired for the evening?"

Phillip sat down on the settee next to her, putting his arm around her. She leaned against him.
"I suppose it wouldn't hurt anyone if we were to take some time for ourselves now, would it?"
He gently pushed the tendril away from her face and caressed her cheek with the back of his hand.
He kissed her ear and whispered, "And the servants will be the none wiser?"
She leaned in and kissed him. "They are instructed to never wake me up before 10:00."
"Then I shall climb down the trellis before 9:00."
She laughed and stood up, taking his hand.
"I'd race you to the room but I am wearing slippers with heels."
He touched her forehead with his. "That is a race I am willing to concede."


The moonbeams shone through the floor length window. Lenore slept soundly next to Phillp but sleep eluded him.
Lenore was everything he wanted in a woman.
She came from money.
Social connections.
Class. Always high-classed.
Yet she never let him forget it.

It was her haughtiness that bothered him. The feeling of superiority over most of the residents of Bridgetown.
She was like an Arabian mare---stately and statuesque and sedate in a social setting but with a streak of restrained enthusiasm when they were alone.

He slid out of bed and walked over to the window overlooking portside.
And suddenly he found his thoughts drifting to an untamed and untried little filly.

A wild filly named Zara Wolfe.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on July 08, 2012, 07:39:30 PM
"Lenore? Are you awake? I need to talk to you."
Phillip jerked his head up, startled out of a sound sleep.
Lenore replied sleepily, "Tristan? What is it?"
"I need to talk to you."
Phillip started to say something but Lenore put her finger to her lips.
"What time is it?"
"Eight o'clock."
"Too early. Come back later."
"This is important."
"Who is that?" Phillip whispered.
"What is this about?" Lenore asked.
"A little tart, what else?"

Lenore rolled her eyes. "Come back in an hour. I'm just getting up."
"Make it a half hour."
"An hour and not a minute too soon or I won't see you at all."

His footsteps were heard down the hall.
"What is THAT about? Who was that?"
"My brother."
"You're brother? I don't remember meeting any brother of yours."
She stretched. "Tristan just came back from school last week. He's always having woman problems."
"So what does he expect you to do about it?"
"Well, since you have no siblings, I don't expect you to understand. But it is what we do for each other. We are there for each other. I just prefer to deal with it after I have had my morning coffee."
"Well, seeing as we are already awake and he won't be back for an hour....."
He caressed her bare shoulder.
"Please, Phillip! I mean, it is DAYLIGHT!'
He furrowed his brow. "And your point is.....?"
Lenore smacked his arm.
"Wasn't last night enough for you?"
He raised his eyebrow.
She frowned. "Obviously it wasn't. Phillip, respectable people don't do...THAT in the morning."

Phillip sighed and reached for his clothes.
"I never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life," he muttered. "Daylight. Nighttime. What difference does it make when you are"
From behind the screen, Lenore said, "If you don't know the difference in propriety then I am not going to explain it to you."
She came out from behind the screen, tying the sash of her dressing gown.
Phllip put his arms around her.
She pushed him away. "Ah ah ah! Time for you to go."
He sighed and sat down to pull his boots on.
"I guess sneaking out the back door is out of the question?"
"Of course it is, with Tristan being home. I honestly thought he would be spending the night with some doxy he would have picked up. That is his usual habit."

Phillip perched on the edge of the window sill and peered down.
"Not too far to jump, I suppose."
He swung a leg over and put his foot on the trellis.
"Ow! Damn! Why do you have all these roses growing on this trellis?"
"Because it is my favorite flower. Now GO! Tristan will be here in ten minutes and I need to make myself presentable."

Phillip climbed deftly down, avoiding as many thorns as he could with the occasional expletive. The last eight feet he jumped, landing on his feet.

He walked over to retrieve his horse who was tethered by the stables.
"And good morning to you, Bruno!"
The bay stallion gently snorted a reply.
Phillip patted him as he mounted himself onto Bruno's back.
"Come on....let's go back to Renee's to get you a decent breakfast."
As he trotted towards town, his mind was contemplating the night before.

While Lenore was..adequate, she lacked the enthusiasm that Phillip had experienced among Renee's girls. Must be due to the high-class breeding, he guessed.
Suddenly he found himself thinking of the young woman he had known since she was a baby and wondered if Zara Wolfe was a 'morning' person.
He found himself laughing embarrassingly out loud.
'Stop it, Phillip Briggs!'
But it didn't stop him from wondering.

Yes, someone as young and vivacious as Zara Wolfe would probably fall in that category.....
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 04, 2012, 09:35:55 PM
"Lenore, are you finally presentable?"
She poured herself some coffee from a tea set that was on a tray.
"Yes, yes, do come in, Tristan. The door is unlocked."

"Well, it is about time. What takes you so long to get--as you say--'presentable'? One would think you were entertaining a gentleman."
Lenore smiled slightly and said, "A gentleman? Oh, perish the thought, Tristan. Now what is on your mind?"

Tristan sat down heavily on the brocade chair. Lenore frowned slightly but ignored it.
"Yes. No cream, no sugar."
"Now....what seems to be the problem in fifty words or less. I have an appointment with the seamstress at 11:00."
"It's a girl."
"So you said. And what is the problem with said girl?"

"I can't stop thinking about her. She's everything I want and nothing that Father would accept."
"A cheap doxy."
"Oh, if only it were that simple. No, this girl is...different."
"How so?"
"She wants nothing to do with me anymore."

Lenore poured his cup and handed it to him.
"Why, Tristan Culley, there are a hundred women in this God-forsaken town who would love to be with you. Courted by you. And you are pining away for a little tart?"
"Well, I wouldn't call it pining..."
"Alright, so it is not pining. So what is the trouble?"
"She's all I ever think about. All I want."
"For the moment. Have you tried the hearts and flowers routine?"
"She would see right through it."

Lenore gave an exasperated sigh. "What do you want, Tristan? Advice?"
He shrugged. "I guess I just needed to vent. She ripped my cloak."
He held his cloak out with the letter Z slashed in the back.
"Oh, dear--what brought that on?"
"Two days ago I was in the tavern. She was there with a few of her friends. I had a few ales--"
"A few?"
"Alright, so I had quite a bit. This girl and I had been seeing each other. In a fashion. I mean, I bought her dinner a few times and---"
"You thought it gave you proprietary rights to--"
"dangnubbit, Lenore! I am Christopher Culley's son! No one turns me down!"
Lenore put her hand up.
"Please! It looks like you found the one who did."
She tried to hide the mirth from her face.
"You think this is funny, Lenore?"
"Yes, I do. I think it is amusing that you can't get what you want from this girl."
She laid her hand mirror down.
"And be careful. If word gets out you failed with this girl, well.....let's just say your reputation as a great lover would never be worth the rumour it would take to dispel it."

Tristan paced the floor. " can I win her heart?"
"Her heart? Or something else? Let's face it, Tristan--once you get what you want, the only view she will have of you is you hitching your britches up over your backside as you walk out the door."

Tristan's jaw set.
Lenore sighed. "Alright, Tristan--are you talking you want to marry this girl?"
"Oh hell no!"
"Then what is the problem?"
He shrugged.
"Oh ho!" Lenore chuckled. "What you want is to have what you can't have. And once you get it, you move on. Am I right?"
"Simplified, yes."

She looked him in the eye. "Then take what you want. You are Governor Christopher Culley's son and no court in the world will convict you. You can always claimed she 'provoked' you. And the society of Barbados takes a dim view of loose women. After all, this is NOT Port Royal."
"You mean I should just...."
"Whatever you have to do to get yourself out of this mopey state. I can't stand it when you get all pouty and moody over a woman. I mean, it's embarrassing."

He grinned and kissed her on the top of the head.
"I knew I could get the right advice from my big sister."
"Right advice? Or permission to clear your conscience?"
"Is there a difference?"
"Does it matter?"

As Tristan turned to go, he asked, "By the way, how goes it with Phillip Briggs?"
She stretched her arms above her head.
"Oh....I  expect to make an announcement any day."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 05, 2012, 11:12:49 PM
Phillip traipsed through the back door.
"Well, look who decided to make an appearance!"
Renee was taking biscuits out of the oven. As she put them out to cool, Phillip reached over to take one. She slapped his hand.
"Not until you give me a kiss!"
Phillip grinned dutifully as he kissed her on the cheek.
"Where's Father?"
"Checking on the mizzenmast for El Lobo. He is readying the ship for the run to Virginia."

Phillip buttered the biscuit. "I am supposed to take that shipment out. Father said he wanted me to take it. We are set to go out in about two weeks so any repair should be good to go by then. Jack has the fire pots going all night long to cook the cane down."
"Well, Will Harkness sure came up with a fool-proof enterprise. Jack has the air of respectability but can keep his hands into a few questionable activities. I couldn't see him any other way."
"Speaking of which, guess who I ran into the other day?"
Renee poured herself some coffee and sat down with Phillip.
"Josiah told me it was Zara Wolfe. I heard she provided a distraction when Alfonso's men were closing in. Very resourceful young lady, that one."

"I hadn't seen her in five years. Back then she was nothing but knees and elbows."
"Five years of maturity brewing, son."
He poured himself some coffee and added a splash of rum.
"She's turned into a lovely young lady."
"Yes, she has." Renee's ears perked up.
"I also had dinner at Zara's invitation."
"Did you now!"

Phillip felt his face redden slightly as he remembered Zara's wandering hand under the table.
"It was nice to see her--and Jack and Honour, of course. The new baby is beautiful."
"Isn't she though?"
"And named after you."
Renee laughed. "The closest I will ever get to motherhood."
Phillip laughed and Renee reached over to lay her hand on his.
"I take that back, Phillip. You are like a son to me. I couldn't be more proud of you than if I bore you myself. Sometimes I wish I had."
Phillip reached over and kissed the top of her head.
"You are my mother by choice, Renee. Sometimes that is the best."
Renee's eyes reflected her maternal love for Phillip.
"I wouldn't have it any other way, dear."

"So how are your plans with Leona?"
"Right. Lenore."
"Well, I guess it is about time I made some concrete plans."
"And what would those be?"
"Oh....marriage. I guess I owe her that."
"Just because you have slept with her does not obligate you to marry her, Phillip."
Phillip pretended to be shocked.
"It's no secret your room was not slept in last night. Nothing new under the sun."
Phillip chewed thoughtfully. "She will make a fine wife. Social connections...she's"
Renee nodded silently. Phillip reached for a peach.
"Did you know that Zara is studying to be a cartographer?"
"No, I didn't. How admirable!"
"She's a smart one, that girl. Jack didn't want her to be dependent on any man. So she has an apprenticeship."
Renee stirred her coffee. "All the Wolfe children are destined for great things. Each are smart as a whip. And the best-looking family of children."
"Zara speaks French fluently. Did you know that? And generous. She bought sweets for her brothers and sisters the other day."

"Yes, she has grown up to be a lovely young woman."
Phillip pushed his chair in.
"Don't expect me for dinner. I have to go to a soiree at the ambassador's mansion."
"Ooh, look at you! So many social engagements!"
"Well, I have to make it up to....."
"Right. Lenore."

As he walked out of the kitchen, Renee smiled behind her coffee cup.
'For someone supposedly about to get engaged to..what's her certainly seem enchanted by Zara Wolfe, Mister Briggs!'
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on October 03, 2012, 07:10:03 PM
"Renee! How wonderful to see you!"
Renee breezed across the verandah where Honour was sitting on a chaise with a glass of lemonade.
"Now you know I just wanted to see my little namesake!"
"Well, Jack said Bridgetown couldn't have another Renee so he thought Reinette was proper homage to you."
"And where is my little namesake?"
"She's upstairs with the nanny so I could take care of this correspondence." Honour set the paper aside.
"I'd love some.
 Renee took out a flask and added a touch of spirits to it. She raised her eyebrow.
Honour laughed.
I'd be taking some myself but Renny is only a month old."
"Jack felt that Reinette was too long for someone so small so we started calling her Renny."

Renee swirled her drink. "You and Jack pick the most unusual names. But then you have the most unusual children. And beautiful---all of them such a combination of the two of you."
"Each have their unique personalities and talents."
"As it should be."
"Speaking of children, Zara ran into Phillip in te marketplace yesterday. She invited him to dinner."
"Did she now!"
"It was wonderful to see him."
"He thinks of you and Jack as his second family."
"Renee, I can't tell you how happy I am now that you and Josiah are married."
Renee laughed. "Well, it only took ten years to get Josie to commit."
"But what a ten years it has been!"
Honour took a sip of her lemonade.
"Phillip has turned into a fine, handsome man."
"I couldn't be any prouder of him than if he was my own flesh and blood. Anne would be so proud to know how he turned out.'

Honour grew thoughtful.
"How old is Phillip now?"
"Let's see---he will be twenty-seven in a few weeks."
Honour grew silent.
"Alright, Honour Wolfe. I know that look. What is on your mind?"
"Nothing, my Aunt Fanny."
Honour shrugged. "I was just thinking. Zara turned seventeen this past March."
"The look on my daughter's, forget it."
Renee patted Honour's hand.
"Phillip has been keeping company with Lenore Culley. We expect an announcement any day."
"That is good news. Will he put down roots here?"
Renee's brow furrowed.
"Honour, are you worried about Zara and Phillip?"
"No...not really. I mean, Zara is a handful.  Always has been. She's her father's daughter."
Renee hid a smile behind her hand. "And kind of like her mother, too?"

Honour grew silent and looked out to the sea.
"I was just thinking....."
"Of a young girl from long ago and her first love?"
She nodded imperceptively.
"Some wounds never heal, Honour. But they fade into a slight scar. Only you know it is there. But it is what gives us our character. Sometimes these scars catch us a bit off guard."
"I just saw the way Zara looked at Phillip."
"Honour, she has known Phillip since she was a baby. It is just a case of hero worship. Like a big brother."
Honour brightened. "You are right."

"Honour--are you thinking Phillip is not good enough for someone who has the Conaway blood?" Renee said quietly.
"Oh heavens no, Renee! You know me better than that. After all, Zara has half pirate blood in her. It is what gives all my children the zest for life they have."

Renee patted her hand.
"Don't forget half of that zest belongs to a little girl from Wales."
"It's just that Zara is of a certain age.....I know it pains Jack to think of some young man taking his place in Zara's life."
"I have no doubt there will be a string of suitors if they haven't been already been starting to line up."
"There have been a few hanging around. But I think Zara doesn't really give them more than a passing thought. IF they aren't scared off by the notoriety of her father."

Renee gathered her things.
"I wouldn't worry about Phillip being one of them. As I said, Lenore is as good as wearing that diamond ring. Not that I really approve."
She looked at her watch.
"Oh, Lord! Look at the time! Josiah will be home for dinner soon. I must get going."
She stood up.
"Phillip will make sure that Zara won't get hurt, Honour. And she will outgrow this. After all, we do survive our first loves. Phillip is the 'older man'."
"I'm sure you are right. Might we expect you and Josiah for dinner tomorrow night?"
"You know it. I'll bring the truffles."

Renee stood outside the door of Honour's home and put her gloves on.  A smile crossed her face. She may have survived her first real love. But she never forgot it.
And here she stood on his front porch and thought briefly about a life but for a few circumstances may have been her front porch too.

She squared her shoulders and entered her carriage. Sitting back, she smiled.
"Home, Jameson. Home."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on November 03, 2012, 12:35:45 PM
Tristan closed the door behind him, adjusting his eyes to the darkness.
"Hello?" he called out.
A wizened man came from behind the curtain in the back. The man was short with a long stemmed pipe, one eye bulged.
Tristan looked around in disdain. Dusty jars were lining shelves. A vat of....something was boiling.
"Aye, can I he'p you?"
"You are the apothecarist?"
"Alright. What's in a name anyways?" the man shrugged.
"You have access and can compound elixirs and potions?"
He nodded and motioned Tristan closer.
"If you want to rid yourself of a situation, I can help. If you wish to win the affections of a young lady, I'm your man. I can restore youthful vigor and help a man with a....problem. But you are a strapping young man so I daresay that isn't the reason why you are here," he cackled.
"Do you have a potion that will render a person unconscious with no memory of what happened to them?"
The old man nodded, "Aye, that I can. Just a few drops in some wine."
"How long will the effects last?"
"Oh....three to six hours. Depends on the stature of the person. The lighter the frame, the less you need. Come into the back with me."
Tristan followed the old man to the back room where there were herbs hanging to dry, bottles of inky liquid and a few beakers, mortars and pestles."
" you want a love philter with that?"
"Oh hell no. I don't need the clinginess later. I just need to show a young lady a lesson in humility. And paybacks for a cloak ruined are deadly."

The apothecarist nodded. "This shall do the trick then."
"And no side effects?"
"Maybe just a headache."

A black cat entwined himself through Tristan's legs. Tristan jumped.
"Pay no attention to Lucifer, sir."
"So what is the best way to dose this?"
"Wine. Pour the vial into a glass of wine. Preferably claret or merlot. Something dark and sweet. It will cover up any bitterness."
He winked, "Besides, the individual will think that he/she passed out from too much spirits and the memory loss is due to that."
"Perfect. How much do I owe you?"
"Two pounds sterling, sir."
"Pricey but worth it in the end, I suppose." He fished into his pocket for the coins.
"Remember I was never here."
"Remember what, sir?"

Tristan picked up his sack and closed the shop door behind him.
He held the glass vial up to the sun, its contents glistening as white as snow in the sunlight.
"Oh, yes, Miss Zara. You won't know what hit you."
And with a smile he said, "Or remember anything else."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on December 01, 2012, 09:00:29 AM
Zara sat at her table, swirling her cup of tea.
"I'll read those for you, cher."
Se looked up to see Hermione standing above her.
"You know I don't believe in them, Hermione. Although sometimes I think Da does."
Tales of an ageless voodoo woman on the small island of Castara drifted through her mind.
Hermione sat down. "For a cup of tea and a scone, I will tell you what the leaves tell me. And of your future."
"Alright, this may prove interesting. But don't for one moment think I will believe you!"
Hermione laughed. "Drink so I may read!"
Zara did as she was told and set her cup down so the leaves would settle. She crossed her arms.
"Tell me my future, Hermione!"

She looked at the leaves, tilting the cup this way and that. After a few minutes, she sat back and grinned.
"Are you ready to hear what lies in wait for you, ma petite Zara?"
Zara laughed. "Not that a few leaves will tell! You know I always believe you make your own destiny. Like my mum does. Well, except when my dad has HIS way--and that usually fills the cradle!"
Hermione shook her head and chuckled."One so young, one so worldly! You are not to know of such things---yet."
Zara grinned, "I am the daughter of Mad Jack Wolfe. I hear stories--legends, actually--of my father. Tales of exploits and the occasional wronged woman with loose lips. So what lies before me, Hermione?"

Hermione looked down and intoned, "I see a man in your future.You see the way the leaves are clinging to the side of the teacup? That means love. The two leaves swirling on the bottom is passion out of control.
"You don't say! Well, this is to be expected, yes?"
"Not necessarily. This be something good, something real!"
"Does it tell if I will marry him or how many children I will have?"
"Do not be ridiculous! This is only tea leaves!"
Zara and Hermione laughed. But the seer grew serious.
"There be an obstacle. A woman."
"Not my mum!"
"No--this woman is powerful. Close by. You watch yourself, Mss Zara. This be a great love but it not goes easy for you. She is connected and powerful. Just watch yourself."
"And when shall I meet this man?"
Hermione stood up and turned the cup upside down on the saucer.
"You already have."

She collected her bags and laid a sweet on the table. "Pour vous, cher."
Zara stared. She couldn't possibly mean Marcus....or Daniel...or Tristan...

"You look a million miles away, sweetheart. And a farthing for your thoughts."
Tristan slid into the seat opposite her.
"What are you doing here, Tristan?" she said coldly.
"Offering a humble apology for my uncalled for outrage yesterday. I overstepped my manners and am abjectly sorry for my uncouth actions."
He held his hand out to her.
Hesitantly she took the offered hand and Tristan brought her hand to his lips and kissed it.

"Zara, I'd like to buy you a glass of wine. To make up for my boorish behaviour."
She gave him a dimpled smile.
"Alright, Tristan. I guess that would be alright."
He signaled for the tavern keeper.
"Two clarets. Is claret alright, Zara?"
"Perfect. It is one of my favorites."
The tavern keeper paused to glance at Zara and then frowned.
"Does your father know you where you are, Miss Zara?"
She held up her book.
"At night?"
"Constellations, Seamus."
He shook his head and ambled off.
Tristan handed her a glass.
"I'd say to us..."
"But don't," she smiled.
She drank her glass of wine as Tristan watched her.
"Oooh...that was good but I feel a bit faint."
"Would fresh air help, Zara?"
"I--I think so."
He helped her up and guided her by her elbow, leading her outside.
"How about some sea air over by the park?"

She nodded. "That--that would be good."
As they neared the cover of the trees, Tristan said, "I--I feel a bit woozy myself."
"Really? You too?"
He stumbled and tried to catch himself. He leaned against the tree and lowered himself to the ground, then fell face first.
As he started to pass out, he heard a voice say,
"Never--EVER--try to pull the wool over the eyes of a Wolfe."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on January 01, 2013, 06:20:51 PM
"Zara? What is going on here?"
She jumped a mile.
"Phillip! You scared me! What are you doing here?"
Sternly he said, "I saw you having a drink with I remember him as being the one who threatened you when his cloak was ruined so I had a bad feeling and thought I would keep an eye on you. From a distance, of course. What happened? Did he have too much to drink?"
"No, Tristan tried to drug my wine. I saw him put a white powder in it. In the split second he paid Seamus, I switched glasses with him. Bastard had it coming."
"And so what do you intend to do?"
"Leave him here."
She took out her bodice dagger and began to slice through his shirt.

She looked up.
"I'm teaching him a lesson he will never forget. You don't do what he intended to do to Zara Wolfe."
Deftly she sliced through his trousers and anything else that was in the way till Tristan was au natural.
Phillip grinned, "You are going to leave him like that?"
"Of course not!"
She started to unlace her bodice but it was knotted.
"Bollocks!' she muttered.
She took the bodice dagger out from where it rested out of sight and handed it to Phillip.
"Would you please slice through the lacings for me?"

She hadn't intended to make it sound a bit breathless but that is the way it came out.
He took her dagger and deftly flicked the blade under each lace. It gave way as though it were butter.
Phillip tried to concentrate on the task at hand but the nearness of Zara and the shapely curve of her kept him off-balance. A scent of honeysuckle emanated from where Phillip had the knife blade. The laces lay in little pieces on the ground.
"Zara, if you have no bodice you have no place to put your knife.
She leaned forward and Phillip caught a glance at what Zara had been hiding under there. He couldn't help but stare.
She looked up and him and said, "Hand me the dagger."
She took it and put it in her boot, taking her time to adjust it so it would be hidden.
"Now turn your back."
"Turn your back."
He did as she told but was able to watch in his peripheral vision. Zara had turned her back and raised her arms. She lifted the chemise up over her head and picked up the bodice, slipping it on. The lack of laces did her no favor but it sure did one for Phillip.
She held her chemise in her hands and said sadly, "It's a shame. I really liked this one and it was new."
The chemise was silky and delicate lace at the neckline and the edge of the long sleeves.
"Zara, what do you intend to do with that chemise?"

She gave Phillip a sweet smile over her shoulder as she let the chemise drift over Tristan's naked prone form.
"I'm not so cruel as to leave him like that. He can wear my chemise into town."
Phillip tried to fix her with a stern look but she looked up at him so guileless that he burst out laughing.
She clutched the remnants of her bodice to her body with the other hand, trying for a little modesty. She shivered in the autumn air.
Phillip took off his coat and gently put it around her shoulders. "It's so you won't get goose bumps and you don't have to be trying to cover up with that little bodice."
She smiled gratefully at him. "Thank you, Phillip. You are always quite the gentleman."
" I would be remiss in my duties as a Briggs if I didn't escort you home, Zara. I want to make sure you get there in one piece."
She smiled, "And I will accept that offer. But we have one problem."
"What is that?"
"How do we convince my father that you didn't rip this bodice from me in passion?"

He looked shocked at her and it was her turn to burst into giggles.
"Come on, Phillip. I know the back way home and Da will never see us!"
"Shall we go?"
"Most certainly."
She leaned over Tristan's prone body and gave him a slight shove of her foot.
"Ta, love. Wear it in good health."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 01, 2013, 09:36:16 AM
"Tell me, how did you get involved with that scoundrel, Zara?"
She sighed.
"I was in the tavern and he took notice of me. I was looking over a book on astronomy. I always loved the stars. He came over and asked me if I wanted to see shooting stars, he could arrange it. 'You have to be joking,' I said. "
"That is pretty pathetic."
She laughed, "Isn't it though? And I told him if he kept it up, I could arrange for him to see the entire galaxy. And I showed him my fist."
He got my message and apologized. Then he offered to buy me a scone."
"And you are a pushover for a scone."
"Well, it WAS blueberry and I have a weakness for blueberries."
"Just like your mother."
"That story of how she met Da when she was six is a family legend. The blueberries made her memorable."
"No, your mother herself is memorable. After all, she captivated Mad Jack Wolfe. She even managed to trump Renee on that score."
"You would have thought Renee would have ended up as Mrs. Jack Wolfe."
"The problem is, Zara, is that Renee and Jack were two peas in a pod. Too combustible. Your mother completed him."
"Uncle Josiah didn't always think so. He didn't like her."
"Father was like a mother hen when it came to Jack. But he always went along with his schemes."
"Those two! Tales will be told for generations about them!" Zara laughed.

"How did we get on this subject, Zara?"
"I have no idea. But the Briggs and the Wolfe families are so entwined."
Both grew silent, each lost in their own definition of 'entwined.'"
Zara shivered from the cold.
"Here, let me warm you up a bit."
Phillip put his arm around her slim waist.

"Do you think there will be any repercussions from your encounter with that cur?"
Zara shrugged. "Think? Oh, I am pretty sure there will be. You don't send Tristan Culley walking through town in a chemise--with lace no less--and not expect a bit of a squabble."
Phillip stopped.
"Wait...what did you say his name was?"
"Tristan. Tristan Culley."
"I don't believe it."
"Believe what?"
"Tristan Culley, the Governor's son?"
"I guess so. He was always going on ad nauseam about how important his family is to Bridgetown. My eyes just kind of glazed over at that point. As if my Da is not the most influential man in this town. Covert as it may be...."
"But...the son of Christopher Culley. How did I not put that together?"
Zara stood there with her hands on her hips.
"Phillip Briggs, you are NOT making any sense."

"He has a sister named Lenore, yes?"
"I don't know her name but I've seen her. Nose in the air and thinking she is better than any of us. She is seriously in danger of drowning if she ever gets caught in the rain. Always wearing the latest fashions and never goes out without her parasol. Needs to keep that milky white skin, I guess. Bet she doesn't have any tan lines."
"She doesn't."
"Nothing. What else do you know about her?"
"Not much. After all, stuck up Lenore doesn't travel in the same social circles with people like me and my friends. But we see her. Sally Monroe said she must be the biggest prude! Why are you so curious about this sister?"
Zara started to feel a bit of jealousy and didn't like the feeling.

" reason. I was introduced to her at a social function a while back and just wondered if they were related."
"Well, they are and cut from the same cloth. I pity the man who ends up with Miss Frigid."
"Zara! You don't know that!"
She tossed her hair.  "Bet she doesn't even want to in the mornings."

"Let's get you home before your father sends one of his men out to look for you."
"Oh, you heard about that, huh? Well, all I was doing was swimming over in that pond. Midnight swims are wonderful."
"And you were supposed to be with your friend Sally but instead your father found out you were with some young man."
"It was all perfectly innocent so get your mind out of the gutter. And how did you find out about that anyways?"
Phillip chuckled. "There are a few legends popping up about you too, Cookie."
She giggled. "Cookie. You haven't called me that in years."
"It seems you always had a cookie in your hand. And you were willing to share them. Except when you got mad, you used them as a projectile."
"I'm sorry. But the scar isn't so visible anymore, is it?"
He laughed. "No, it healed nicely. Mrs. Avery stopped putting walnuts in your cookies though."

"We can go around the back veranda, Phillip. The lights are off so everyone must be in bed by now."
She grabbed Phillip's hand and they ran across the expansive lawn.
As they neared the steps, Zara said, "I guess I need to give you back your frock coat," as she moved to take it off.
"I can pick it up tomorrow. After all, never let it be said that I let Zara Wolfe go home half-naked."
Phillip gently wrapped the coat around her, his hand accidentally brushing her curves.
She touched his cheek. "You were wonderful tonight, Phillip."
"I'm just glad your father is in the house," he whispered.

"Too late," the voice came from the veranda porch.
Jack struck the flint and lit his pipe, his face lit up with the glow.
" we have an explanation, Miss Zara Wolfe? Or do I just shoot Phillp right now?"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on March 01, 2013, 09:09:27 AM
"Da, it's not what you think!"
Jack pointed his pipe stem at her with a bemused smile.
"I suggest you put on something that will cover you a little more, missy. Then come downstairs and we shall all have a nice chat, shall we?"
Zara felt her face turn red.
"Yes, Da," and she went inside.

"Now, Phillip, I know there has to be a reasonable explanation for this for two reasons--one, that is my daughter and two, I know you are not stupid."
"Well, Jack, Zara had been having a bit of trouble with one of the lads in town. I happened to be passing by."
"And does this lad have a name?"
"Tristan Culley, sir,"
"The Governor's son?"
"Yes, sir. Seem he has been making unwanted advances on Zara."
"Do these unwanted advances deserve appropriate action? Maybe a chat with the young man so he will see reason and not do anything stupid again?"
"I think Zara took care of the problem, Jack. The lad had too much to drink and passed out. Your daughter, well....she taught him a lesson he won't soon forget."
"Oh, dear. Do I want to hear this?"
"I think so. Zara took out her bodice dagger and relieved him of his apparel."
Jack's mouth turned up in mirth.
"You mean to tell me Zara left Governor Culley's son buck naked to find his way back?"
"Not exactly. She left him her chemise."

Jack burst out laughing.
"Oh, that is rich! She is her mother's daughter!"
"I have to give her credit for originality. She could have left him as is. But she showed a bit of compassion. The lad will have to find his way home wearing her chemise."
"Compassion, my arse! Zara knew the best way to humiliate him!"

Jack took a deep draw on his pipe. "I've heard  that you have been courting Culley's daughter."
"I wouldn't exactly call it that. We have been to a few social functions together."
"So nothing serious?"
Thoughts of Zara in her little bodice with no chemise and her mischievous smile crossed Phillip's mind.
He found himself saying, "No, sir. Just escorting her to a few soirees. I find the upper crust of society too stuffy for my taste."

Zara came out of the house wearing a light chemise and skirt. She hadn't bothered to put on any shoes. She sat down primly on the porch swing next to Phillip.
"I see Phillip is still alive so I am to surmise that you couldn't find it in your heart to shoot him, Da."
Jack laughed.
"No, he told me about Culley's son drinking too much and passing out. I must say you found a rather unique way of dealing with him. Bravissimo, child!"
Zara laughed, "He had it coming. No one messes with a Wolfe!"

Jack stood up and kissed her forehead, chuckling.
"Your mother will pretend to be upset, you know."
"Then best we don't upset her, yes, Da?"
He tapped his pipe weed into the shrubbery.
"And now I am retiring for the night. Phillip, thank you for seeing her safely home. It's late so why don't you just stay over in the guest room?"
"Thank you, sir. I appreciate that."
"Zara, don't stay up too late."
"I promise, Da. Goodnight."

Zara and Phillip sat on the swing. The moonlight played upon the ocean waters.
She sighed, "I don't think I could ever leave Barbados, Phillip. It's just so beautiful. What about you?"
"I do miss the green fields of England now and then. But then the weather is terrible. Then I think about the blood shed in the civil war and am glad I live here. Although Charles II does seem to have a bawdy court. Such a contrast to the dismal prospects under Cromwell. I'm glad I am here. And El Lobo gives me the freedom to see the world."
"Tell me about the New World--the Colonies."
"It's like England but on the other side of the ocean. We make a run up there about every three months. Captain Harkness takes the molasses and we take back tobacco and woolens. Lots of things like that. The Puritans do like their rum in spite of the sober way they dress. Will Harkness found a market and has made a fortune in it."
"Seems everyone has benefited from it. Da.....Uncle Josiah....even you."
She leaned closer to him.
"Thank you, Phillip, for being there for me. I don't know if I could have handled it by myself. I pride myself on being self-reliant. But this was a bit out of my league."
He laughed. "I think you did quite well for yourself, Miss Zara. But you're welcome."
She laid her head on his shoulder. "Do you realize I have known you all my life, Phillip? I'm grateful you left England to look for Uncle Josiah. I can't imagine my life without you in it."
He brushed the hair from her face and said softly, "You always were a beguiling child, Zara."
She lifted her face to his and whispered, "And I am not a child anymore, Phillip."
"No, you are not. Zara. You are an intriguing young woman."

He kissed her gently and at that moment, Phillip realized that Lenore Culley wouldn't be wearing that ring.


"Jack? Is everything alright?" Honour whispered sleepily from the bed.
Jack pulled the blanket down and got into bed.
"Yes, darling. Now go back to sleep."
"Mmm....that's good," she said as she snuggled closer and went back to sleep.
Jack chuckled to himself.
'Everything seems to be going in a way I never expected.'
And with that he snuffed out the candle.

Zara i s now the #5 most read topic on this forum. Way to go, Babycakes! You are kickin' arse and taking names!
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 01, 2013, 07:39:37 AM
"Well, where have you been? Your bed hasn't been slept in. Again."
Renee chided her stepson as he walked in the back door.
He yawned and helped himself to a cup of coffee.
"I was helping a friend out last night. She kind of got in over her head in a situation."
"That was very gallant of you."
He took a flask out and added a touch of rum to his coffee, idly stirring it with his spoon.
He gave out a long pent-up sigh. Renee sipped her coffee and watched him over the rim of her cup. She could tell Phillip was perturbed but if she waited long enough, he would be forthcoming in due time. Most of the time he confided in Renee rather than his father.
She pushed a muffin towards him.
"Thank you, Renee, but I am not hungry."
He ran his fingers through his hair.
"Renee, have you ever had to do something you know would be best but someone would get hurt?"
"Yes, I have."
She wistfully thought back to the time when she had found that Jack had married Honour in the heat of...whatever heat Jack Wolfe had been in at the time. When Jack came to her to announce his marriage, he had already been married three weeks. But she had known about it within hours after the hasty nuptials. Word traveled fast in Barbados. And when Jack had come to her for solace, she gave him the advice to do right by his wife. It pained her to say it but she vowed never to let Jack Wolfe see how much she cared. How much it hurt her that he could never return her love.
Never mind the fact that when he left, Renee's establishment was a few vases lighter. After all, picking up smashed shards against a wall was therapeutic.
And when he showed up drunk at her door the night he discovered his wife gone, Renee knew that she would never be more than a friend.
A friend with benefits.
She shook her head to clear it and bring herself back to the present.
"Does this concern Lenore Culley?"
He nodded his head.
"I don't think I can marry her. Our backgrounds are so different."
"Sometimes opposites attract, Phillip."
"She has money."
"No sin to be rich."
"She's beautiful."
"You will have beautiful children."
"She wants me to quit the sea."
"Men have been known to give it up for their wives."
"Jack Wolfe did. But Father didn't."
"I never demanded it of him."
He reached for Renee's hand.
"You are one of a kind, Renee.  Why are you answering all my objections?"
"Because I want you to be sure of this, Phillip."
He took a sip of his coffee as Renee waited for him to talk it through in his own sweet time.
"The friend was Zara Wolfe."
"Zara? Oh dear me...what has she gotten herself into now?"
Phillip related how Zara could have been in a  bad situation with Tristan Culley and how she managed to get even with him.
"If you hear any repercussions brewing from this, you will let me know, Renee?"
"Wouldn't it be better for Jack to handle this? After all, it IS his daughter."
"No, Jack only knows part of the story. He doesn't know that Tristan tried to drug her. I think we are doing the right thing. Just let me handle it....please?"
She frowned.
"Alright, but if I hear anything that I feel Jack should know, I won't hold back and I will tell him."
"Would you clear it with me first?"
"Yes, I will."
"Thank you."
"Are you going to end it with Lenore?"
He sighed. "I think I would be doing her a disservice by marrying her when...."
His voice trailed off.
"When you are in love with another woman?"
His head shot up.
" did you know?"
"The distraction. The questioning. The doubts. But I have a thought  for you to ponder."
"Of all the women in the world, why did you have to fall in love with the daughter of Mad Jack Wolfe?"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on May 01, 2013, 08:37:39 PM
Tristan woke up to the light of the full moon. He tried to swallow but his mouth felt like he had swallowed a caterpillar.
Squinting at his surroundings, he shivered against a cold breeze.
The horrible realization came over him that he was covered only with a garment of thin cotton.
And smelling of honeysuckle.
Frantically he glanced around, looking for the warm body it belonged to.
But he quickly came to the conclusion that she wasn't there.
Neither were his clothes.

He groaned, between his rapidly spreading headache and the notion that the only way to make it back to the Governor's Mansion was to wear the chemise.
It was that either that or go through the town wearing only what Nature had bestowed upon him.

Gingerly he got up and braced himself against the tree. 'Damn her...DAMN HER! How did she ever figure out....never mind. Just worry about it later. The main thing is to get back home without running into anyone.'

He slipped the chemise over his head and let it slide over his body, the fabric only reaching mid-thigh. 'I swear, if I ever get my hands on her, the draught will have been the least of her worries. Shang-haiing on a ship to the Barbary Coast, suitable punishment for that little tart. Let her try to claw her way out of that one when she is part of a sheik's harem.....'

Tristan looked both ways before he dared to venture out from the cover of the park's trees.
"Oh, you should have seen the tavern wench that was in there tonight..."
He recognized the voices of his two friends. Quickly he ducked to the shadow of the building, sliding down the alleyway. He picked his way from building to building, pausing to check his surroundings for any acquaintances he knew.

"What the hell do ye think ye are doing?"
He looked up to see a fat woman with a rolling pin in her hand.
"No-nothing, Madame. I was just---"
"Ye were 'just' my arse! A peepingTom, that is what ye are! Oi, I saw ye! Sneakin' a peek in the window, hopin' to catch a glimpse of God knows what! ALBERT! ALBERT!!!!"

Tristan took to his heels and sped down the alley way, his new garment flapping in the breeze. He rounded the corner and wiped the sweat away from his brow.

It took Tristan the better part of three hours to finally climb the hill the Mansion stood on. He put his foot on the trellis and hoisted himself up.
"Ow! Ow! Ow!" The roses outside the window of Lenore's room stabbed him at every turn. Finally he reached her window.
Tap! Tap! Tap!
"Lenore? Lenore! Let me in!"
"Huh? Wha--?"
Lenore sleepily raised the window and then covered her mouth as she stifled a laugh. Tristan hoisted one leg and then the other over the sill.
"Pardon me, Miss, but I think you want the room on the left."
"It's not funny, Lenore."
"Well, what happened?"
She tried to hold back her giggles.  She held the chemise out by the hem. "And by the way, that is a stunning shade of pink. It goes well with your complexion."

Tristan stood there with his hands doubled into fists.
"It's that tart. That doxy!"
"What, the one you were so hot after? I'm afraid to ask....but if you ended up with her chemise, what did she end up with? And----where are your clothes?"
"I have no idea."
"What do you mean, no idea? Weren't you awake for it?"
"I don't know WHAT happened. All I know is that I ran into her and we had an ale."
He then blurted out, "How she switched glasses on me, I will never know."
"Switch glasses?"

Tristan had his hand on the doorknob and turned to her as he was walking out.
"I'll change out of this...frou frou. Then I will fill you in on what happened--if I remember it."


"...and that is the when I woke up. Without my clothes, without my boots and without my sword. I swear---"

There was a knock on Lenore's door.
"Who is it?" she called out.
Herndon's voice on the other side asked, "Excuse me, Miss Lenore. I am looking for Mister Tristan. Have you seen him?"
"He's in here, Herndon, having morning coffee."

She opened the door.
"Pardon me, Mister Tristan, but a parcel was delivered to the back door."
He handed the package wrapped in brown paper.
"Thank you, Herndon."
He closed the door with a puzzled look on his face.
"I wonder what it could be?"
"Well, don't just stand there. Open it and find out!"
He ripped the brown paper off.
Inside were his breeches and doublet, accompanied by his hat and any other item of clothing he happened to be wearing. He lifted the shirt out and saw the even slice down the front of the shirt. The breeches and doublet bore the same rent. "What the hell...?"
Lenore picked up a piece of paper that fell out of the folds.
She read, 'If you ever bother the young lady again, I will personally see to it the clothes aren't the only thing that will be sliced. Your sword and boots are at the tavern for you to pick up.'

Lenore looked at carefully.
"It's a man's handwriting. It must be from the young lady's father or brother...or maybe even her lover."
Tristan grabbed the note and read it again.
"This isn't over, Lenore. Not by a long shot."

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on June 01, 2013, 07:56:42 PM
"Good morning, Da....Mama!"
Zara waltzed into the kitchen, a smile on her face. She kissed her father on the cheek.
"Isn't it a lovely day?" she beamed as she slid into her chair.
Honour and Jack exchanged amused smiles.
Zara was wearing a new dress of spring green silk, a big bow adorned her hair and curved around her cheek.

"He's not here, Zara," Jack said.
The bow drooped noticeably.

He almost broke out in laughter at her drooping bow. It reminded him of another place and time. A woman named Drusilla with a bow that flew like a pennant above her head.
The disappointment on his daughter's face made him straighten up although he fought the mirth from his smile.
"Phillip left early to take care of some ship's business, dear. He is due to take El Lobo out on the Virginia run this time."
"Will he be gone long?" she tried to casually ask. And failing miserably.
"Six weeks with good weather and a strong tradewind. Eight weeks if there are a few problems."
"Someday, Da, I would like to go. Uncle Will said if I can come, he will have a ball in my honour and introduce me to the upper crust of Jamestown society. Please? May I go just once?"

Honour frowned.
"The sea is a dangerous place, young lady."
"It didn't stop you, Mama."
Jack burst out laughing. "She got you there, darling!"
Honour handed her daughter a basket of muffins.
"What I did out of necessity is not a pleasure trip for you, dear. You never know what danger is lurking out there. What with the Spanish main and all the upheaval in England now. Too many Spanish ships laden with gold and silver. All those pirates and privateers...the ships are just ripe for the pickings. And get that dreamy look off your face, Mad Jack!"

"Daydream? Me? Never!" Jack tried to hide his smile behind his coffee cup.
Zara buttered a muffin.. "I just think there is more to life than Barbados."
Just then there was a cry from the nursery.
Honour got up."I understand, love. I really do. Just don't be in such a hurry to grow up."
She kissed her daughter and left the room.

Jack turned to his daughter. "Now that we are alone, I want to talk to you. the next time you have trouble with a lad to that extent, please talk to me about it. After all, I was young once and know a bit about men and women."
"A bit, Da? I've heard stories."
Jack found himself turning red. "Don't believe all you hear, missy! You don't be getting yourself into a situation like that again."
"I will, Da." She hesitated. "will Phillip be back?" She tried to sound casual.
"I don't know. He pretty much knows the run and I expect he will leave within the week."
Zara stared at her half-eaten muffin, her face registering disappointment. She then stood up.
"I guess I wasn't as hungry as I thought I was." She pushed her chair in. "I'm meeting Sally and we are going to the bazaar. A new shipment of silks are rumoured to be there and the name Wolfe always seems to net me a fine price. Mama promised me a new gown and I get to choose the fabric. Spring, you know!"
She kissed her father and picked up her parasol.  "Tell Mama I will be home before dinner."
"Stay away from the tavern for a bit."
She gave him a wink and a wave. "I shall."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on June 01, 2013, 07:57:11 PM
Phillip walked into the tavern, carrying a burlap sack.
"Mornin', Seamus."
Seamus nodded. "Phillip, what have you got there? Cats in a bag?"
Phillip laughed, "No. I want you to do something for me." He slid a few gold coins towards the tavern keeper.
"There will be a lad coming in asking for these--" Phillip handed over a sword and a pair of fairly new boots.
"When he comes in, I want you to get him to tell you what happened. At least the way HE sees it."
"Will do, Phillip."
"Now, a nice ale would do. I'll be over at that table."
"Care to tip me off on what this is about?"
"Can't say much but he seemed to try to get into a young lady's pantalets uninvited and she taught him a lesson. He may be out to settle the score. Feel him out and if it is something I should know, tip me off to it."
"Sure thing. Here's your ale."
Phillip took a chair with his back to the wall which afforded him a full view of the room and within earshot of Seamus. He didn't have to wait too long. Within twenty minutes, Tristan with a determined stride walked into the tavern and up to Seamus.
"Was a package left here for me?"
Seamus picked up the bag.
"Care to describe said contents?"'
Impatiently, Tristan said, "A sword of Toledo steel inlaid with gold and silver. A pair of boots, hand tooled black leather. Detailed enough for you, man?"

Seamus handed it over. "Close enough, boyo."

 He leaned forward, "That must be some story on how you left your sword and boots behind, boyo. What happened to you?"
Tristan's jaw clenched as he began to examine his boots for any damage, such as a prominently placed "Z" cut into the expensive leather. He nodded with satisfaction when he found them to be unmolested. He then paused to see if anyone he knew was in the pub, and to his relief he found no one. Just a couple of sailors gaming at cards at one table, and a man sitting by himself at another, contemplating his mug of ale.

"Just between you and me, Seamus," said Tristan in a low but tense voice, "I got tricked by a little tart who is too clever for her own good."
"A smart bloke like you?" asked Seamus. He knew what a glutton for flattery Tristan was. It wouldn't take much to keep the young man talking. "She must be a devious one to get one over on you."
"She's devious, all right. Beautiful and beguiling as well. I do have my standards."
"Aye," Seamus nodded. He had seen some of Tristan's "standards", and it was his opinion that the lad was easily blinded by the alcohol he seemed so very fond of.
"Anyway, I approached her to reconcile a misunderstanding we'd had. Everything was going well, or so I thought. In the spirit of letting bygones be bygones, I poured some wine for the both of us. But she somehow distracted me, and in the process she drugged my wine!"
Seamus feigned astonishment "Did she, now? You're right, she's a schemer, that one!"
Tristan was seething as he spun his distorted version of events. "Then, once she was sure I'd been overcome by whatever potion of Morpheus I had been tricked into swallowing, she stole my boots and sword and left me there at the edge of the Common. I am an important man, Seamus! That little minx could have gotten me killed."
 "I can see why you'd be angry, lad. What's next for this evil woman what made a fool out of you? Going to have her thrown in gaol?"
 Tristan picked up his sword and slowly turned it over and over in his hands. "No, Seamus. Gaol is so... impersonal. No one plots against me so and gets away with it. I have other plans for her."
Seamus gave him a wary look. "Now, don't go making old Seamus regret he gave you that sword back..."
Tristan laughed wryly and belted on his blade. "Now, Seamus, I may be cross with her, but I'm no savage."
'There's more than a lass or two who'd disagree,' thought the inn keeper.
"Let's just say justice will be served."
"You know me, Tristan. No one on Barbados is safer with a secret than me."
"Trust me," replied the young man, his voice suddenly ice cold. "You don't want to know." But just as quickly as Tristan's had turned frosty, a warm smile broke across his face. "But there is something you can do for me, dear Seamus. I'm in need of a ship's captain. Preferably one who knows the Mediterranean, even the Barbary Coast. My sister will most likely be getting engaged soon, and I would like to surprise her with some fancy silks."

Seamus didn't believe the story about silks any more than he believed Tristan's version of how he had lost his boots. But the young man had quit talking without divulging enough information to do Phillip any good. Seamus wasn't certain why Phillip wanted to know what Tristan was up to, but he surmised it had to do with the mystery girl. He could think of only one way Phillip could get the information he wanted...

"You're in luck, laddy! You see that gent over there sitting by himself?" Seamus jerked a thumb in Phillip's direction.
Tristan nodded in the affirmative.
"He's your man. He's the one you want to talk to."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on July 01, 2013, 08:48:13 AM
Seamus gave an imperceptible nod to Phillip as Tristan looked away. Phillip nodded subtly back.
Finally Tristan sauntered over to Phillip and held his hand out. Phillip crossed his arms and surveyed him.
He withdrew his hand and sat down. Quietly, he said, "Heard you are a captain of discretion."
Phillip blew his cigarette smoke in Tristan's face.
The pompous young man coughed.
He said, "I have a job for you. Disposing of a person."
"Don't do murder."
Tristan hastily replied, "Oh, I don't want this person killed. I want this person removed from this port."
Phillip looked at him with a jaded eye.
"Removed to...where?"
"Do you go to the Mediterranean?"
"Occasionally." Alright, so it is a lie, Phillip reasoned.
"Barbary Coast?"
He nodded. Tristan jingled a purse filled with gold coins.
"You deal with pashas?"

Phillip felt a knot in his stomach as he was beginning to see where Tristan was heading. Taking in an inaudible breath, he said as calmly as he could, "I've known a few. Silk trade and spices, all that."
Tristan lowered his voice."What about the flesh trade?"
Phillip fixed him with a steely gaze. "Unsavory business."
"Is that a no?"
He shrugged. "What did you have in mind?"

Tristan looked around and motioned Phillip closer.
"There is a young woman--and I won't shed a tear if she happens to disappear."
"You mean you want her shanghaied."
Tristan hefted his purse again. "I can pay handsomely to get rid of the 'problem'. You keep the price you can haggle for her."
"And who might this woman be?"
"Her name is Zara. Comes in heer fairly regularly to study and socialize. I'd like to not see her around here."
"What did she do to you?"
"Drugged me and then robbed me. Loose morals. Will do anything with anyone at any time."

Phillip felt his blood boil.
"So how did you want to go about this?"
"If you meet me here, I will point her out. Then you can take her away. Doesn't have to be the Barbary Coast. Hell, you can gift the crew with her for all I care. As long as she never makes it back here again."

Phillip blew another puff of smoke in Tristan's face.
He coughed.
"Let me think it over."
"There is no 'thinking it over'. If you don't have the stomach for it, I am sure there are plenty who would be willing to---"
"Alright. I'll do it. But this takes a bit of planning."
"But of course."
"Meet me here tomorrow night. We will work out the details. Payment and plan, all of the unnecessary stuff."
Tristan stood up and held his hand out once again.
"You won't regret this profitable enterprise. The young lady is quite beautiful, by the way."
"Uh huh."
He ignored Tristan's handshake once again and the young man dropped his hand down.
"Might I inquire your name, sir? For business purposes only, you understand."
"Cutler. Sam Cutler."
"And your ship is...?"
"The name is good enough for you."
"Tomorrow, then."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on August 01, 2013, 08:36:22 AM
Phillip headed up the hill to Jack's house. He really didn't feel like being the one to tell Jack that his daughter was the intended victim of a dangerous plot. But this went beyond drugging her wine. Her life was in jeopardy.  He knew Jack would know how to handle it.
Taking a deep breath, he knocked on the massive oak door.
"Well, Phillip! Come in, come in!" Mrs Avery exclaimed.
"Hello, Mrs. Avery. Is Jack at home?"
"He's out on the veranda with some business invoices. I do believe Eli is with him."
"I'll see my way back there, thank you."
"And you be stopping by the kitchen on your way out. I have some warm cinnamon buns. Young man like you needs to keep your strength up," she winked.
He grinned, "I'll be there!"
"Well, Phillip! Nice to see you." Jack looked up from his invoices. Eli rose and shook his hand. "How goes it, Eli?"
"Couldn't be better, Phillip. We've increased the crop of sugar this year. I think Harkness will be well-pleased. We are shipping him extra barrels of molasses. They will be ready to go when you are."
"How are Mirella and the boys?"
"Just fine Growing like weeds. Mirella is expecting again."
Phillip grinned, "You devil you!" to which Eli blushed happily.
Jack  smiled, "Eli--with Dafydd's help--has really turned this into a profitable business. Along with the horse breeding."
Phillip joked, "Once he stopped twisting his cap to the point where he always poked a hole in it!" Eli laughed but glowed under Jack's praise.
The men sat down and exchanged news and niceties, while Jack poured them some rum punch.
"Is Honour about?"
"No, she is at the dressmaker's. Then probably off to buy some boots. I swear that woman has more boots. Always had a penchant for them. I'm afraid Zara is following in her footsteps."
Eli stood up. "I'd better be going. Mirella will have dinner ready."
Jack smiled happily, "Thank you for clearing that invoice up for me, Eli. I didn't know where the extra twenty-five barrels figured in."
Eli shook Phillip's hand again. "Fair winds on the trip, Phillip. I know El Lobo will be in good hands."
As they watched Eli leave, Jack smiled, "Yep. Best thing I ever did was pull Eli off the water and set his feet on dry land."
Jack lit his pipe and turned to Phillip. "but I am sure you didn't come here to hear me extol the many virtues of Eli Meredith. The look on your face tells me there is a problem. Something with the cargo?"
"Nothing like that. I was contacted by one Tristan Culley."
Jack's eyebrow went up. "Oh? Do tell."
"I took his boots and sword to the tavern and used it as bait. He bit. Seamus the tavern keeper is a good friend. He sent Culley my way with a very interesting business proposition."
Jack was silent as Phillip continued.
"It concerns your daughter."
Jack took a deep puff but Phillip could see his jaw tighten.
Jack exhaled the smoke through his nose, and Phillip couldn't help but think he like a brooding dragon. Jack set the pipe down and leaned back in his chair.
"Go on."
Phillip took a deep breath before starting. "You're really not going to like this."
"I already know that, or you would have spit it out long before now. What did clay-brained lout say?"
"Tristan was looking to hire a ship. Fortunately, he doesn't know my face. I played along to find out his plan."
"If he learned one thing from his father, it's how to scheme. Just how does he intend to hurt my daughter?"
"Jack, he... he wants her kidnapped, and sent off. To the Barbary coast. And sold into slavery."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on August 01, 2013, 08:37:12 AM
Jack stared at Phillip for what felt to the younger man like a lifetime. Finally, Jack shifted his gaze out over the property. His eyes narrowed.
"Well," he said quietly, "we can't have that."
Phillip waited for him to say something else, but Jack remained silent.
His father had told him stories of Jack's exploits, and of his temperament. Of how a situation wasn't truly serious as long as Jack kept talking. Or shouting. But when he fell silent, even the fiercest storm would take pause. Phillip knew his father was exaggerating, as he often did when he spun a tale. But now, Phillip was beginning to doubt it was another exaggeration.
Finally, Jack broke the silence.
"Did you discuss a timetable yet?"
"No. I strung him along. I'm supposed to meet with him tomorrow night to talk terms."
"And you're supposed to leave for the Virginia colony in a week, correct?"
"Eight days, yes."
Jack chewed his bottom lip as he thought. "Then tell him that. Make it clear you leave a week from tomorrow. The pig has deep pockets, so make sure you bleed him."
"Fine, I can do that. And in the meantime, you'll spirit Zara off somewhere safe so it makes it look as if I've kidnapped her! Brilliant!"
Jack shook his head. "No. You will kidnap her."
 Phillip's mouth dropped open. "What?! Why?"
"Phillip, you know Zara. There is no possible way to keep her under wraps for more than twenty minutes. An hour or two if you give her a book, maybe."
"Are you sure about this, Jack?"
"Tristan Culley throws his father's money about just freely enough to buy a few favours. He'll have people snooping about to make sure Zara really is gone. She is my daughter. If she were to remain here, any ruse would be spoiled in a matter of days and she'd be right back in danger. She needs to be spirited away, as you said. And you're the one who is going to do it."
"But, I..."
"No. It's decided." Jack took a sip of his punch, then looked Phillip squarely in the eyes. "I trust you, Phillip. And I would rather she be in your care than trying to lock her away where there's a still a possibility of Culley getting his paws on her. We'll kick up enough of a fuss to convince him we don't know where she is, and that will be easier if we're not the ones trying to hide her. So make doubly sure El Lobo is ship shape and Bristol fashion, mister. Your cargo just got a hell of a lot more precious."
"What about Honour? Will she agree to this?"
Jack sighed. "Eventually. Leave that worry to me."
"And... what about Tristan?"
"Tristan Culley is mine. I'll stop short of mounting his head on the wall. He's not worth the effort to dust."

Phillip managed a smile at the thought of Mrs. Avery taking a feather duster to Tristan's head. But his mood sobered again quickly as he thought about the turn this day had taken.
"Jack, I promise I'll take good care of her. She will be safe, I swear my life on it."
Jack nodded. "Good. I'll hold you to that," he said, with no hint of a smile. "She's my baby, Phillip. She is such a large portion of my world, and of my heart. I can't bear the thought of losing her. It's taking everything I have to entrust her to you. Please do not fail me. Or her."
"You have my word."
"Good. Now, off you go. You have a ship to make ready for a princess. And I have to go explain things to the queen."
Phillip nodded, and hastily made his way across the lawn to his horse.
Jack picked up his pipe, and watched as smoke curled upward into the air from its bowl.

"Now then, Tristan Culley. Exactly how shall I make you burn for all this trouble you've brought upon my family?"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 01, 2013, 01:36:53 PM
Jack opened the bedroom door.
Honour had a new dress and some fabric lying on the bed. An opened box holding a new pair of boots was on the floor. Well, the box was on the floor but the boots were on Honour's feet as she stood in her chemise with another new dress she was holding up to her.
"Look, darling! I can still fit in the same size even after having Reinette. And look at the new.....oh dear. Are you cross with me for getting another pair of boots?
Jack, these were one of a kind and...... You are really displeased with me."
He sighed deeply. "Sweetheart, I have never denied you anything. I think we need to have a bit of a serious talk."
Honour's face was alarmed. "You aren't leaving me, are you? I swear, you always said you wanted a wolfe-pack and I did my best...haven't I? Seven children? Did I ever complain about it? No, I didn't and---"
Jack took both her arms and put them to her side. "It's about Zara."
Honour's face took on a panicked look.
"Zara? Oh no....what has she done?"
"Let's go out on and sit on the balcony for a bit. We have a bit of a....situation."
 Honour felt the blood leave her face.
"Oh no...please tell me she's not....I mean....Jack, I am too young to be a grandmother! Who is it? I swear if it is----"
Jack shook his head.
"No, darling. She's not in the family way. She seems to have 'crossed swords' as it were with a young man and he is out for revenge."
"What? What could Zara have possibly done? Turned him down for tea? Refused to go for a walk with him? What?"
 "It seems that the individual is Tristan Culley and---"
"That rogue? I've seen him in the market. He once tipped his hat to me and leered. He certainly didn't know I was your wife and certainly not Zara's mother. I gave him  a withering look and he turned his attention to someone else."
"Well, it seems Zara is in a bit deeper than that. He's been bothering her. To put it mildly."
 Honour grabbed Jack's rapier.
"Where the hell are you going with that, Honour?"
"To bother Tristan Culley. A bit more than mildly. And slice him neck to nuts."
"You can't do that!"
"Just watch me. That palmetto was nothing."

"Honour, STOP!" Jack voice resonated in Honour's ears just the way it had when he would give the crew orders aboard ship. Despite her anger, she felt compelled to comply.
"No one threatens my child."
"No one threatens OUR child," he replied. "No one raises a hand to my family, ever. This matter will be dealt with, Honour. I promise you that. But not this way. Please, put the sword down and sit with me so we can talk this through."
Honour looked at the blade in her hand, then back to her husband. Reluctantly, she propped the sword against the wall.
"You're right, as usual," she said with a sigh.
"Of course I'm right. Besides, a beautiful woman in nothing but a chemise coming at him with a sword? You'd probably be playing into a fantasy of his. Or one of mine. We'll talk about that later."
Honour sat down on the bed, her face clouded with worry. "This isn't a time for jokes, Jack."

"I know, love. And I'm sorry." He sat down beside her and took her hand. "Honour, things are moving quickly. We have to get Zara out of harm's way as soon as possible, but not in a way that would let Tristan know we're on to his plot."
"You're going to tell me about this plot, right?"
"I'd really rather not get into the details..."
"Yes you would. I know where you sleep and we're in a house full of sharp things."
"Now who is the one making jokes?"
Honour looked at him, with no hint of a smile touching her lips.

"Oh. All right, then. Details." He took a deep breath. "Zara wounded Tristan's pride a bit too deeply."
"How so?"
"She left him unconscious near the town commons, wearing nothing but, um... her chemise."
"What?! I mean, I like her style, it sounds like something I would have done. But does this mean they were.... you know..." She felt sick as she tried to fend off the thought of her daughter lying with that scoundrel.
"No, nothing like that. He was drunk, made a fool of himself with her, and passed out. She thought it was time to teach him a lesson."
" And being a Culley, he can't leave well enough alone. What does he plan as his revenge? Please, Jack. Tell me the truth."
"Well, love, you're right. His plan is over the top. He... he wants Zara gone. Spirited away. Permanently."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 01, 2013, 01:37:42 PM
Honour sat there, trying to process all that Jack was telling her.
"He wants her....dead?"
"Not exactly. He plans to send her to the Barbary Coast."
Honour whispered, "That bastard. That bloody bastard. did you find all this out?"
"From Phillip. He was the one who helped her that night. Saw that she arrived home safely."
"God bless him. He always looked out for Zara like a sister."

"He did some reconnaissance work and found out what Culley was up to. Honour, darling, I know that you won't like what I am suggesting but we need to get Zara out of here for a bit."
"Oh no, Jack. There is no way I am sending her to a convent. You get rid of that idea right now."

"Darling, I think it would be best to put Zara under the protection of Phillip."
"What? Jack, are you out of your mind?"
"What do you mean?"
"An attractive, dashing man like Phillip and an impressionable girl like Zara?"
"Honour, get that thought out of your head. She will be safe with him."
Honour stood up and paced. "I was sixteen once. For goodness sake, Jack, I was married at seventeen and a widow at eighteen. A bride again and a mother all before I was twenty."

"She won't be with Phillip all the time. I want to send her to Virginia on this next voyage. Phillip will look out for her and deliver her over to Will Harkness for a while. I am willing to have Phillip stay with them to keep an eye on her so she doesn't give the Colonial boys  collective heart attacks. And you know how Will feels about Zara. The daughter he never had. He's always spoiled all the girls but Zara had the edge. It may be good for her to see a bit of the world. It wouldn't be for more than three months. The next shipment won't be ready till then and when Phillip comes back, I will have Josiah take the next run."

"Jack, have you noticed the way Zara looks at him?  He may care for her like a sister, but I don't think she sees him in a brotherly light."
He nodded. "I've noticed. Not something I've dwelt on, for my sanity's sake."
"Are you sure the is no other way to protect her?"
"I'm positive. I would never have suggested it if I wasn't. Honour, I don't like this any more than you do. But that Culley brat has forced us into this situation. You know keeping Zara under wraps here would be next to impossible. It would be only a matter of time before Tristan got his hooks into her. Sending her off with Phillip will let Culley think he's won."
"Then what?"
"Once he's become complacent, he will be dealt with. He thinks he's ready to play a man's game. I'll be the one to show him how it's played."

Jack caressed Honour's cheek. "I know it's not a perfect solution, love. But I trust her to be safer with Phillip than I can hope to provide for her here. I let him know that I'm not putting my faith in him lightly. And he understands."

"I think we need to invite Renee and Josiah over with Phillip. We need a plan to pull this off. Renee can help spread the word about Zara disappearing. Nothing spreads gossip quicker than at a sporting house."
Honour sighed. "Zara always never thinks out the consequences of her actions. She should have just come to you, Jack. You would have made it right before it got too far."

In a small voice, she whispered, "Jack, promise me we can get her away before Tristan Culley can hurt her."
"She will be safe. I promise you that. To be sure, we will have Simon and Geordie watch her as bodyguards. Unbeknownst her Zara, of course. They can blend anywhere and if Culley makes one move in her direction, they will put the hurts to him. But there is one thing."
"What is that?"
"To make it real, we have to stage an actual kidnapping."
Honour looked puzzled at him.
"How do you plan on doing that?"
"Phillip will go through it with actually kidnapping her. I say he whisks her away from a public place. Zara can be at the tavern studying. Philip somehow calls her over and she leaves her books on the table, never to return for them. Of course, her clothes will be packed in a trunk and already on board El Lobo."
"I'm sure Zara can pull off the kidnapping. If the theatre wasn't such a disreputable environment, she would have made it big on the stage. She would give Nell Gwyn a run for her money."
"Well, it's a good thing she is in Barbados. Charles II has a penchant for actresses. Nell Gwyn....Moll Davis...."
"Well, he can forget about adding Zara Wolfe to the list."

"Don't frown so, darling. She will be alright."
Honour felt her eyes filling with tears.  In a small voice, she said, "She's still my little girl, Jack."
He held her hand.  "I know, sweetheart. And if I had any doubt on the success of this, I never would go through with it. But Phillip as taken this run at least half a dozen times before. He stays in the main shipping lanes and no one has ever bothered El Lobo."
"I suppose we need to sit Zara down and tell  her the consequences of her actions. I wish she wasn't so impetuous, Jack. There were a few times that a few mothers would stop me at the bazaar and tell me how Zara broke their sons's hearts."
"I've never seen any of these young men come courting."
"They were intimidated by you."
"If you were a young man, wouldn't YOU be afraid of you?"

Jack chuckled. "I guess Zara will have to find a man who is older and self-confident."
They both looked at each other. Jack coughed slightly. "Yes, well, I guess I will have to have a talk with Phillip before the leave."
Honour nodded. "Yes, and the sooner the better."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on October 01, 2013, 12:09:39 PM
"Zara, look at this! The silk is wonderful!"
Zara picked it up and hefted it in her hands, running her fingers over it.
"The colour is beautiful." She held it up to her face. "Do you think it goes well with my eyes?"
Sally laughed, "You know it does!"
"I need something for my cousin Morwenna's wedding."
"The silk is just perfect for a new dress. Has she set a date yet?"
"As far as I know, it will be sometime in the fall."
Suddenly she stopped. " you ever get the feeling we are being watched?"
Sally looked up from inspecting the tatted lace.
"What? Why do you say that?"
"Oh....just a feeling I get. I really need to replace that chemise."
Sally giggled. "And send the bill to Tristan Culley!"

Zara snapped her fingers. "What a perfectly marvelous idea!"
She sighed. "But I am sure he won't pay it."
Sally shook her head. "Zara, I don't know how you get away with half the things you do. Or even how you think up these things."
Zara said dreamily, "Let's just say I was inspired to get out of my chemise."
"Oh...never mind."

They walked a bit towards a vendor selling cakes. Zara bought one for each of them.
Casually she asked, "What do you think of Phillip Briggs?"
"That wonderful example of what a man should look like? I think he is devastatingly handsome."
"Isn't he though?"
"Too bad he is old. I heard that he has been courting Lenore Culley."
Zara drew herself up. "Well...I don't hear any wedding bells, do you?"
Sally dropped the shawl she was looking at.
"What has you in such a snit fit? Oh, don't tell me! You fancy the dashing Mister Briggs!"
Zara retorted, "Don't be ridiculous. He's an old family friend."
She stopped suddenly. "Did you hear that?"
"Hear what?"
"Nothing, I guess. Just a feeling. Come on, let's get some tea and then I need to head home."


After dinner, Jack motioned to Zara.
"Your mother and I need to have a talk with you. Let's take our dessert out to the verandah."
Zara thought, 'Uh oh...this is never good.'
"Is this about my studies, Da? I know I have a bit of trouble with the reading of the stars. But I think in another month I will have it down pat."

Honour sat down on the chaise, looking to be on the verge of tears.
"Mama...? Is everything alright? Da..? Tell me nothing is wrong."
"Nothing that can't be fixed, Zara. First I need to know how you got yourself into a situation with Tristan Culley to the point that he was wearing your chemise."

Zara looked down. "He put some white powder in the wine he bought for me. He then tried to get me away from the cafe. I went with him because I saw what he had done and I quickly switched the glasses. Before we reached the lane by the harbour, he passed out. Mama, if I hadn't switched the glasses..."
Jack asked, "Darling, if he was bothering you, why didn't you come to us?"
"Because I was able to handle him. I wanted him to know he can't trifle with a Wolfe and I wanted to teach him a lesson he wouldn't soon forget."
Honour spoke up, "I can't say I blame you. And I must say that I may have done the same thing, considering the circumstances."
Her mind drifted back to a time in St Lawrence when she also taught a cruel captain a lesson he never forgot. Or forgive.

Jack said gently, "Darling, I am afraid young Culley didn't take kindly to your lesson. In fact, Phillip found out a few things."
Zara looked puzzled. "How?"
"It seems Phillip sent Culley a note to pick up his effects and a message warning him to leave you alone. Seamus the barkeep was in on it and steered Culley towards Phillip who was waiting it out. I'm afraid that Culley is arranging with Phillip to have you shanghaied to the Barbary Coast where young ladies of your beauty are sold to Arabian pashas."
"WHAT?" she practically shouted. "That low down...that...that...!"
Honour fought back her tears.
"Your father and Phillip have devised a plan but it has to be handled just right."
Jack continued, "Phillip is going to go along with the plans and kidnap you. But instead of the Barbary Coast, he will take you with him to the run up to Virginia where the two of you will spend a bit of time with Will. The voyage will take about three weeks, then you can spend two months there. By the time the two of you come back, the situation will have resolved itself."
"You leave that to me."

Honour spoke up, "Meanwhile you have to carry on as though everything was normal. Your father has arranged for Simon and Geordie to watch over you. In the next few days, we will pack your trunk and anything you want to take with you. I suggest you take your astronomy books to study. Phillip can tutor you."
Jack continued, "When the time is right, Philip will kidnap you but the ship won't sail till the next day to avert any suspicions it was El Lobo you were on. Ships come and go in this port and even if Culley decided to check with the dock master, he won't see El Lobo on the list.

Honour started to cry. "Oh, sweetheart. I will miss you so much."
Zara hugged her mother. "Mama, I am so sorry. But I will be back before you know it. I'd better see what I want to take."
"Zara? Not a word to Sally or your other friends."
"Da...are you going to kill Tristan Culley?"
"No, darling. I won't kill him."

As Zara left the room, Honour said, "You won't kill him?"
"No, I won't."
"Then you are a better person than I am, Jack."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on November 01, 2013, 08:08:51 PM
Honour knocked softly on the door.
"Come in."
Zara had been gazing out the bay window at the ocean.
"Are you alright, darling?"
Zara nodded.
"Mama, I can't believe that Tristan would resort to such drastic measures."
"You wounded his pride, dear. Publicly. Men are prickly about things like that."
"But it was just to teach him a lesson. I meant no harm. It was just a prank."

Honour smoothed the hair from her daughter's face. "I wish there was another way to handle it.."
"But I will be alright, won't I? After all, I will be with Phillip."
Honour nodded. "I know. But we need to have a mother and daughter talk. About this situation."

Zara could feel a blush on her face.
Honour continued, "Darling, I know what it is like to be your age and in love."
"Like you were with Da."
She smiled, a hint of melancholy behind it. "Your father is my soul mate, darling. Always has been, always will be. But I was in love with a man at sixteen. He was my first love."
"Mama, I thought it was always you and Da."
She shook her head.
"Some things we leave in the past but they are always there, sweetheart. I met Rhys when I was ten and he was twenty. He was a man of the sea."
"Like Da?"
"In other words, a pirate. Mama!"

Honour laughed. "Alright, so he was a pirate. He was a friend of your father's and saved his life a couple times."
"Where is he now?"
Honour's face grew sad. "He passed away, Zara. Some years ago."
"Did he introduce you to Da? Is that really how you met?"
She shook her head. "Rhys told me if I was ever in trouble, to go to his friend Jack Wolfe. When Rhys died, I needed a fresh start so I sailed to Barbados and found your father. We fell in love and got married."

" Rhys....I mean, you said you were in trouble."
Honour looked shocked but then laughed softly, "No, Zara. Rhys is not your father. You are Mad Jack's daughter through and through."
Zara hugged her mother. "I'm glad. I can't imagine having any other father!"
Honour grew serious. "And now we need to have a serious talk. You will be on the ship with Phillip for quite a bit of the time. While he is a very attractive man, I expect good behaviour out of both of you. While you are en route to Virginia, Phillip will help you with your studies. When you get to Virginia, he will turn you over to Uncle Will.  He has things to do in port, arranging the sale and storage of the molasses and anything else your father wants to distribute to the colonies."
Honour then smiled, "I am sure by then Phillip will be glad to relinquish his responsibilities to Will."
Zara's head snapped up and then she saw the twinkle in her mother's eyes. Zara laughed. "I'll behave, Mama. I promise. On ship and in Virginia."

Honour hugged her daughter. "Your brothers are with Uncle Duckie for the summer and the twins are with Aunt Megan it seems most of the time. So it will mostly be just Rennie, your father and me. My, how quiet the house will be!"
"Will Da have things fixed by the time I get home?"
"I guarantee it, love. If he wasn't sure, he would never let you come back to this...mess. I don't know what he has planned, but  he is always fair."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on December 02, 2013, 07:45:01 PM
Honour was placing flowers on the table, a worried frown on her face.
Jack came behind her and put his arms around her, drawing her close to him.
"All the turmoil here and you still try to make the place beautiful."
She turned to face him.
"Force of habit," she managed to smile. He smoothed her hair back from her face.
"Everything will be fine, Honour. I promise."
"I'll be glad when Josiah, Phillip and Renee get here. The sooner all the plans are set, the sooner I can breathe a little easier."
"You have the baby and the other kids to worry about. You let me worry about Zara."
"Are you worried?"
"No, I'm not."
"I can't help it, Jack. She's still my baby."
He said softly, "I know. Where is she now?"
Upstairs trying to decide what to pack. I think she is looking at this as an adventure."
"Like her mother would?" he smiled.
She kissed Jack. "I suppose so. There's the bell, it must be our dinner guests. Would you get the door, please?"

Jack opened the door to the three of them. Renee breezed by Jack.
"Where is my baby?"
"Upstairs with Honour."
"Then you know where I will be. Ta!"
"Gentlemen? To the verandah for brandy and smokes."

Settling back in the chair, Jack asked, "Has there been any backlash? Any rumours?"
Josiah shook his head. "Haven't heard any, but then I haven't been to the taverns and of course I stay out of Renee's business."
Phillip spoke up, "Tavern talk but not much. Just that Tristan Culley was seen walking naked through the town. A prostitute kicked him out for non-payment. I suppose that is preferable to walking home in a lacy, pink chemise."
"Any word on repercussions?"
They both looked at each other. "Not that we have heard."

Jack drew a deep breath. "It figures. The more devious, the more no one knows."
Josiah asked, "How is Zara taking all this?"
"I think in a way she sees this as an adventure. We need to emphasize to her how serious this is. I've thought all this out and we need all the pieces to fall into place so we can pull this off successfully."
"What do you have in mind for Culley?"
Jack took a puff on his pipe.
"Not quite sure yet, but the punishment will fit the intended crime."


The dinner plates were cleared off. Jack dismissed the kitchen staff for the evening.
"Let's all take our dessert out to the verandah. What we have to say, I don't want the staff to hear."
Honour had put the baby to bed and joined them on the verandah. Drinks were poured but Honour sipped lemonade.
"Please, Da, may I have a brandy?"
Jack relented and poured her a small glass. Then he began.
"Zara, I hope you realize the seriousness of what has happened. If Phillip had not the forethought to engage Seamus in the plans and hatched the scheme, we may well be missing one daughter to a fate no young woman would ever deserve."

She hung her head down. She said humbly, "I am so sorry, everyone. It wasn't my intention to inconvenience anyone."
Jack continued, "What I have to say will be held in strictest confidence. I am reluctant to burden you, Honour, with all the details but you need to have peace of mind. Josiah, you already know as my best friend. Renee, you have your ears to the ground so you can tell us what is the local gossip. Speculations. Phillip? Have you made any arrangements with Tristan Culley yet?"
"No, I am to meet him at the tavern tomorrow with the price of his blood money and provide him with an outline of what will happen. I've no doubt he will be waiting in the shadows to see his diabolical plot unfold."
"Phillp, meet with him and bleed the pig dry for what you can get. Split the money between you and Zara and have a good time at Culley's expense. Tomorrow I will go to the dock master- Edward is his name. He's an old friend of whom I have done favors for. He will register a fictitious ship--the Neptune's Trident--and it will be captained by Captain Samuel Cutler, scheduled to depart on the 23rd.
On the 22nd, Tuesday, Zara will be at the tavern. A note will be passed to her from Seamus, asking her to meet someone. Zara, you will leave your books, go out to the front of the tavern and head towards the port.  Simon and Geordie will be watching and protecting you.
Phillip, don a disguise or at least cover your face. As Zara passes the old warehouse, you will grab her and she will struggle. By this time, Culley will be satisfied is plot is working. Simon and Geordie will accost him if he tries to follow. Phillip will carry you to El Lobo. Your trunks will be there--"
"--along with your schoolbooks---" Honour added.
"---and you will stay there overnight and El Lobo will sail off to Virginia with the first tide on the 24th. I'll be on board to see you off. Checking to make sure the plans have all come together."

"Da, I'm scared."
"I know, sweetheart, but you have my very best men as bodyguards and who else but Phillip would I trust to carry you off?"
Renee added, "Anything you want me to do, Jack?"
"Yes. In about a week, word may stat to circulate that Zara Wolfe is gone. We may have to float the rumour that her parents think she ran off with a boy she had been forbidden to see.
Of course, Tristan Culley will have a private laugh, thinking he knows better."
Josiah asked, "Have we covered everything?"
"I think so. Anything you want to add, Phillip?"
"No. Except that I want you and Honour to know Zara is in capable hands. I will make sure she studies and I will keep her safe. Then we can turn the visit to Will into a holiday."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on January 01, 2014, 08:41:05 AM
Phillip had taken a seat with his back to the wall in the tavern. Seamus had aptly named it  the Sahara. He idly ran his finger over his tankard of ale when his mark had sauntered in. Catching Phillip's eye, he headed over to him.

"Ready to discuss the details of our venture, Cutler?"
"That's Captain Cutler to you."
Tristan nodded. "Understood, Captain. May I get you an ale?"
He nodded. "Two ales here, barkeep."

Seamus came over with the ales, Tristan giving him a few extra coins. He added, "For your trouble. And we are not to be disturbed."
Phillip replied, "We are discussing the price of some silks."
"And what goes in them," Tristan smirked.
Phillip kicked him in the shins under the table.
Phillip leaned forward and hissed, "Are you crazy? Keep your voice down, you idiot."
Tristan's face turned red with rage but he fought for control. He was too enmeshed into the plot to risk angering the captain.

"So....what is the price to get rid of the problem?"
"One hundred reales."
"WHAT? Are you crazy?"

Phillip sat back and lit his black cigarette, blowing smoke in Tristan's face once again.
"You're in too deep to just walk away, Culley. I have the ship, I have the reliability and I have the plans to dispose of the problem.  Are you also willing to risk that I may have people who just might drop a word or two around port on what happened to said damsel?"
"You blackmailing me, Cutler?"
"Oh.....blackmail is such a nasty word. Let's say I am being practical. You have a problem, I have the means to make the problem go away.  I advertise quick and discreet solutions. So that is my price. One hundred reales."

Tristan mopped his brow. "I don't HAVE Spanish reales.  I am about fifty short."

Phillip leaned forward. "Let me lay out what you are getting for that price. You are getting personalized service. Discreet, personalized service. That is worth one hundred reales. But I'll tell you what. I like you. I like your...ingenuity. Your style. How about fifty reales and  the rest in English pounds? Being Culley's son, I am sure you can lay your hands on it."
Tristan nodded. "Alright. Do we have a deal?"
He stuck his hand out to shake Phillip's but all he got was a face full of smoke.

Phillip leaned back. "You can leave the money with Seamus. He knows that if he steals as much as one real, I'll slice him like a sturgeon. Have it here no later than 5 PM."
Tristan sat down. "How do you intend to go about it?"
"That's for me to know. If I catch you within one hundred yards of the Sahara, I'll  slice you from stem to stern. Because---" he motioned Tristan closer, "---dead men tell no tales."

Tristan got up to leave. "Then I trust by Wednesday, the problem will be eliminated?"
"Tuesday night, the problem will be contained and by Wednesday it will be removed."
Tristan put his hat on.
"One thing," Phillip said.
Tristan turned, "What's that?"
"Your cloak. Consider it what the French call 'lagniappe'."
"You--you want my cloak?"
"Call it a gesture of good faith. A bonus for a job well done. And compensation for having you pay in those damn English pounds. They don't spend as quickly in the Caribbean."
"But this cloak is the finest wool from Scotland. It cost me deep in the purse. And it's lined, too."
"Hand it over.  It's a down payment that you won't welsh out on the deal."

Tristan and Phillip locked eyes. Finally Tristan took off the cloak.
"Alright. But it is so last year's, you know."
"Nancy-boy," Phillip muttered.
"Nothing. Hand over the sword, too."
"Now, wait a minute! This is Toledo steel!"
"Leave it. Or I tell a few people what you have planned and being the protectors of women, they won't take kindly to that."

Tristan felt his face grow red but he finally unsheathed the sword.
"Great. Now you are letting me walk without a weapon through the town."
"At least I didn't leave you with a chemise."
"How--how did you hear about that."
"Thanks for the sword. Now---'Ta. That means get lost and leave the money with Seamus."
Tristan gathered what was left of his pride and left the tavern.

Phillip turned the sword over in his hands.
"Yep. Toledo steel. Silver with a basket of inlaid gold. Suitable gift for a wolf-pup, I'd say."
He stood up, picking the cloak up and held it up to the tavern light.
"And just her colour, too."

He walked out, whistling a tune as he left the Sahara for the night.

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 01, 2014, 05:51:39 PM
Phillip drew a deep breath as he knocked on the massive oak door. This was what he dreaded. Facing Lenore.
"Good evening, Mister Briggs."
"Hello, Herndon. Would you please tell Miss Lenore I am here?"
"Certainly. Please wait in the parlour."

Phillip walked into the room to wait. He really wasn't in the mood to be there. But Lenore needed to know the plans. He glanced over to the decanter on the buffet and helped himself to some brandy.
'Not as good as Jack's but then, why would he have something that good?'
He walked over to the small table near the overstuffed chair. 
A few miniatures. He picked up the one of Lenore.
A beautiful woman with cascading auburn hair. The artist caught the haughtiness in her face. The next miniature was of Tristan. Dark and brooding.
Putting the two portraits together, there was nothing to indicate that they were related.

Herndon entered the room and cleared his throat.
Phillip turned.
"Miss Lenore said to make yourself comfortable and she will be with you shortly."
"'Shortly' can range from a few minutes to an hour, Herndon."
"Miss Lenore has never felt bound by the hands of a clock,” said Herndon, the ghost of a smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
“A world of truth there, mate.” Phillip regarded the miniatures again. “Since we have time on our hands, I was wondering... For sister and brother, Lenore and Tristan don’t share much resemblance.”
“It’s not my place to discuss family matters, Mister Briggs.”
“Yes, but...?”
Herndon shifted his feet as he looked at the mantle clock. “Miss Lenore never told you? About Tristan?”
“She rarely speaks of her brother.”
“Half-brother, sir.”
Phillip’s eyes went wide. “Half? I never even knew the governor remarried.”
“He did, ever so briefly.” Herndon cleared his throat again before continuing. “After Miss Lenore’s mother died, the governor became rather taken with a woman of... central European persuasion, shall we say.”
“Central European? Which country?”
“None specifically, sir. If you get my meaning.”

Phillip chuckled. “Well, that old dog. He fell for a gypsy, eh?”
“Regrettably, yes.”
“But you said only briefly. Did she pass on in childbirth?”
“No, sir. You might say she moved on. A permanent residence did not agree with her nature.”
"Tristan looks like trouble."
“He has always been impulsive, much to his father’s dismay.”
Phillip could see how these events could have shaped Tristan into the reckless, arrogant bully he was now. But it did not help to engender any sympathy.

Herndon poured himself a glass of sherry.
"Ah yes....beautiful thing, tall and lithe with long dark hair and the most incredible golden-brown eyes. She was quite striking. And quite light-fingered if you catch my meaning."
"She stole?"
"In a matter of speaking. The Governor did quite a bit of entertaining. And there for a while, the female guests would miss a bracelet here, a necklace there. A ring or two. Of course, no one would ever dare accuse the wife of the Governor. It was written off to maybe a servant or a loose clasp. Why, once Henry Morgan--the privateer--came to one of the soirees and was missing his gold cigarette case. He thought he mislaid it on the terrace. However, once she left, the clasps were somehow made better and the servants stayed the same."

"Where did he meet her?"
"On a trip to France. In the Basque region. He was on an official trip and came home with a wife."
"Well, I'll be damned!"
"Drina was her name. After Tristan was born, she exhibited signs of restlessness. She would go walking in the woods alot. And then one day....gone. The Governor made every effort to find her but never did. Somehow I think that Tristan exhibits the same recklessness, the same wantonness that she did. But she was a beautiful lady."

"'Beautiful lady'. Were you talking about me?" Lenore smiled as she descended the stairs.
She came down the stairs with her head held  high, a dimpled smile graced her face.
She held her hands out.
"I just received an invitation for us to a dinner in honour of the Duke of Cumberland when he arrives next week."
"Next week? When did this come about?"
"I told you, Phillip, that he was gracing us with his presence to inspect the colony. He and my father are meeting to discuss the matter of trade within the colonies and England and what is impeding them. Dare I say...pirates?"
Phillip felt the colour rise in his cheeks.
Lenore drew out her fan and waved it in front of her face. "But you don't have a thing to worry about., seeing that you are a merchantman. And the dinner will be ever so much fun."
"I won't be here."
"What do you mean, you won't be here?"
"I have to sail out in two days."
"TWO DAYS? You were supposed to sail in two WEEKS!"
"We have cargo that can't wait."
"Oh? And what cargo is that?"
"And they can't wait?"
"The cargo is....extremely fragile. Jack wants me to personally see it to Virginia."
"And what am I supposed to do until you get back? Knit?"
"Of course not. You can find an escort and go to the social events until I come back."
"Find an escort? Like you expect me to hire a man to accompany me?"
"No, I meant....I don't know what I meant. Can't you go by yourself?"
"Maybe you can accompany your father."
"When we started seeing each other, I said 'goodbye' to going by myself."
"Well, I'm sorry but this is an expedited run. Jack has some cargo he has to get out of here in a hurry."
"The hell with Jack Wolfe. Have your father go."
"It's my turn. Lenore, be reasonable."
"No, YOU be reasonable. When we are married, I expect this to change. Even if you have to find another vocation."

He sighed, got up to leave and bent to give her a kiss. Lenore turned her head and said tightly, "By the time you come back, I fully expect us to make an announcement."
He said nothing, put his cavalier hat on and walked out the door.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on March 01, 2014, 07:25:46 PM
Zara came into the parlour. Jack and Honour had been talking in low voices, Honour twisting a handkerchief in her hands. Zara could see that she had been crying.
Taking a deep breath, she said, "Mama...Da...I think this is it."
Jack rose and put his arms on his daughter's shoulders.
"It will be alright, Zara. Phillp will take good care of you."
She nodded, her eyes filling with tears. She laid her head on Jack's chest and started to cry.

"Oh, Da.....I'm scared."
"Don't be, darling. Just do what we planned. Take your books and sit at the far end table in the tavern. I know it will be hard but try to study. Simon and Geordie will be there for back up for Phillip. They won't take their eyes off you. And Phillip has McDowell  helping him. I am willing to bet that Tristan Culley and maybe even a few of his friends will be there to watch the drama.  Just act normal and when they grab you, put up a struggle and they will whisk you away. I know Culley wont' dare follow."
Honour spoke up, "Your trunks are already down on the ship. The ship will be sailing on Wednesday so Culley will think you left on any ship sailing out on Tuesday. El Lobo will be blameless."

Zara ran to her mother and the two hugged, both of them crying.
"Oh, darling....."
Zara cried like she hadn't since she was a little girl.
"I--I know I will be alright. Phillip will take care of me."
Honour looked into her daughter's eyes and said, "Remember all that we talked about. You take care. I think this will be the longest four months of my life."
She picked up Zara's shawl and wrapped it around her.
"You will always be my baby, Zara."

Jack said quietly, "Zara, darling, it is time to put this plan in motion. Here's your books and now go to the tavern. Simon and Geordie are here now. They will follow you to make sure Culley hasn't any other plans. Then they will report back to me to tell me you are safe. I'll be on El Lobo right before she sails to make sure you are tucked away safe."

She picked her books up and wrapped her shawl closer to her as if for protection. She was trembling but she said bravely, "I will be alright. After all, I am the daughter of Mad Jack Wolfe and Lady Conaway!"

The front door closed after her and Honour dissolved into tears in Jack's arms.
He stroked her hair and said quietly, even though he was fighting his emotions.
"She's right, you know. She has Wolfe and Conaway blood. A deadlier combination never existed before."


The wind was picking up and whipping Zara's hair around her face. The clouds reached around the moon like icy fingers. The trees were bending down. For some reason, the port never seemed so sinister. She shifted her books as she clutched her cloak around her.
She whispered to the trees in the lane, "Simon? If you are there, please give me a sign. Perhaps the whip-poor-will call that you taught me as a child. Because, Simon, I am really scared."
From the trees in the lane, the call came. Zara answered with her own and Simon called back again.
She whispered, "Thank you."
From the trees whispered back, "You're welcome."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 01, 2014, 08:27:23 AM
The lights of the tavern were bright as Zara sat down and put her books on the table. She remembered to take her old books. The current ones were packed in her trunk on El Lobo.
Seamus came over, concern in his eyes. " 'ello, Miss Zara. What can I get you?"
She looked up into his face, understanding written there.
"Hello, Seamus. I'd like an ale, please."
He laughed, "Miss Zara, your father would not approve."
"I know. But I think I deserve one now."
He imperceptibly nodded and touched her hand gently, giving her a reassuring pat.
She opened her books and tried to concentrate. As Seamus brought back her ale, he pressed a note into her hand as he handed her the tankard.
She opened it and read, "Don't worry. He's here."

 Zara sat at the table for the next hour as was the plan.
She found it hard to concentrate, her hands trembling as she held her books and tried to concentrate on  reading.
At the predesignated time, Zara gathered her books. She pulled her cloak  around her and shifted the books in her arms as she clutched them to her.

Trying to keep her voice from shaking, she called out, "Enough studying for tonight, Seamus. I'm heading home."
He looked up, trying to convey a silent look of support.
"Good night, Miss Zara. Pleasant dreams."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on April 15, 2014, 11:43:44 AM
Tristan Culley wiped his sweating palms on his breeches for the third time as he watched from a cramped table in a dark corner of the tavern. When would Zara finally get her nose out of that book and leave? He had been looking forward to this night. Sweet revenge on that little minx would at last be his! His emotions swung between giddiness about her impending fate and worry that something would happen to spoil it all.

He started to take another sip of his drink, only to discover his cup was empty once again. But as he raised his hand to get a the attention of a server, Zara rose from her table, collected her books, and walked out of the tavern. Tristan tried to contain his excitement as he stepped away from his own table and slipped outside through a rarely used narrow side door. Quickly and quietly, he made his way round the building and fell in behind Zara at a discreet distance.

She was taking her normal route home, one that would take her past some old warehouses. That was where he had recommended Cutler grab her. It would not be long now, and Tristan would get to see his plan unfold. He kept to the shadows and waited as Zara turned the corner. As he stepped into the lane to continue following her, two rough looking men stepped out of the shadows as well. And they weren't interested in Zara.

“Oi, where you off to, mate?” ask one.
“Enjoying the night air, same as you. Now, step aside,” ordered Tristan.
“Nah, don’t feel much like steppin’,” said the second man. The moonlight glittered off what appeared to be a large knife. “But I do feel like takin’.”
Tristan was growing angrier by the second, but fear of the sailor’s long knife was taking hold quickly. “I said, let me by. You don’t want the kind of trouble I can cause for you.”
“Half a mo’,” said the first man. “I seen your face before. You’re the gov’ner’s son, ain’t you?”
“Yes, and now that you’ve come to your senses, I’ll be going---”
Tristan’s words were cut short by the sound of a pistol cocking.
“Not till you’ve handed over your money, mate,” said the first.
“And maybe not even then, since you’re the gov’ner’s boy,” added the second.

Tristan listened to their words, and did what any half-drunk young man of privileged upbringing when confronted with a threat would do. He turned tail and ran for his life.

Once the young Culley had scrambled out of sight down the cobblestone lane, Davis and McGlynn burst out in laughter.
“We threw one hell of a scare into that brat, didn’t we?” chortled McGlynn.
“You almost scared me with that ‘knife’ of yours,” laughed Davis.
“What, this? Funny how a little shadow and moonlight can make an old steel bar play tricks on you, if you polish it enough!”
“Well, we’ve taken care of that pup,” Davis said. “We should catch up to Zara. She should almost be at the lane by now...”
As Zara walked past the end of the lane that led to the Wolfe estate, she heard a rustling behind her. She fought the urge to run. Suddenly she felt herself being grabbed from behind, a hand clamped over her mouth. The smell of leather filed her nose and a whisper as soft as a breeze, "It's me."
As planned, Zara struggled and lashed out with a kick
"Watch the aim, darlin'," Phillip dodged her kick. She struggled more." Good job, sweetheart. Keep it up," he said softly.
Another set of hands threw a hood over her. "McDowell here, Zara." he barely whispered in her ear.
Just before the hood went over her face, Phillip spun her around and their eyes met. He had on a hat pulled low and a kerchief covering the lower half of her face.
Their eyes met for a brief moment.In Zara's eyes, Phillip saw the heartbreaking mixture of fear and something else he didn't expect.
Total trust.
Suddenly she found a rope being tied around her arms, pinning them down to her side but gently tied.She did have room to move but to all intents and purposes, it looked like she was incapacitated. She felt herself being lifted and flung over the shoulders of a man.
He whispered, "Now go limp. Pretend you have fainted. Easier to carry you that way."
She let herself go as Phillip carried her towards the docks.

As she was being carried up the gangplank of El Lobo del Mar, she felt her head being bumped along the pouch and belt that Phillip had around his waist.
"Oof! Oof!  Oof!" punctuated each step.
"Sorry, Zara," he whispered.
"It's alright. I know we are almost there."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 30, 2014, 11:52:12 PM
He set her down on the deck and McDowell whipped the hood off her face. Her hair was tangled and her face was sweaty from the cloth enclosing her.
"Sorry about that, Zara," McDowell said as he sliced quickly through the ropes.
She rubbed her arm to get the circulation back. "That's alright, McDowell."
She looked around at a few of the faces she recognized. A minimal crew was on board until they sailed off. Less lips to report on the unorthodox cargo.
Zara took one look at Phillip's worried face mixed with a grin of relief and she felt herself laughing with relief.
"Did we pull it off? Did we really?"
He took a damp cloth and wiped the sweat off her face.
"We did. You are now a guest on El Lobo del Mar."
"A guest? This ship is my family. I know every creak, every heartbeat in this deck. Every snap of the sails is like a breath to me!"
All of a sudden, she burst into tears and fell into Phillip's arms. He held her close and stroked her hair.
" are safe now. McGlynn and Davis were left behind to watch for Tristan. They will make sure he won't get any closer than the end of the warehouse and he can't see the docks because of that copse of trees."
She buried her face in his waistcoat and her muffled reply, "I--I'm sorry. I feel like such a baby."
"Nonsense. Any other young lady would have started crying when they were in the tavern. Oh and by the way, nice kick you had there. You almost hit me where it counts and if that had happened, I would have fallen to my knees and Tristan would have wondered why you were showing concern over a man who tried to kidnap you. and my um......uh....well, we thank you kindly, Cookie!"
Zara burst out laughing. "You're welcome, Phillip."
McDowell tipped his hat. "Glad to have that over, Miss Zara. I must say it was a harrowing experience. Especially for me."
Zara broke from Phillip and gave McDowell a hug. "Thank you so much for being gentle. I didn't even break a fingernail!"
He grinned at her and said, "I'll let Phillip tuck you in then."
As he walked to his quarters, she turned to Phillip. "Are  you sure we pulled it off? No problems?"
"None that I can tell. I'll just breathe a bit easier when we clear the port. Now, let me show you to your quarters. When your dad redesigned the ship, he added an extra room attached to the captain's quarters. Your trunks and books are already there."
As he opened the door, a man was sitting on the chair in the corner.
"DA!" she shouted and ran into his arms.
Jack practically leaped off the chair and held her close. "Oh, thank God you are safe!"
"What are you doing here?"
"I couldn't stand it, waiting for word that you were safely on board the ship."
"You mean Mama insisted you come."
"It was a mutual decision. I had to see it with my own eyes that you were safe."
Jack felt his eyes start to well up but he willed himself to show his stiff English courage.
He held her at arm's length.
"And you are alright? The men weren't too rough?"
She shook her head. "No, Da. They were very gentle. It probably was the most gentle kidnapping in history!"
He walked over and opened a bottle of rum.
"And now I need this!"
She held out the glass that was on the table.
"I think I have earned my share."
He poured her a drink and laughed. "That you have, Miss Wolfe. That you have!"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on June 01, 2014, 08:07:02 AM
Zara stretched, then woke up with a start, momentarily wondering where she was. The creak of the ship reminded her that she had slept aboard El Lobo del Mar. She looked around her quarters. Small, cozy and elegantly appointed. There was a skylight above her and two windows by the side of the bed that opened to an ocean view. A small desk with a couple of chairs and an armoire in the corner. The brass bed was spacious and the coverlet was of down. A vase of flowers sat on the table.
'Probably from Da.'
She opened the note that was left propped up on the vase and read,

Welcome aboard, Cookie

She smiled and ran her finger over the words. 'So...familiar. So....intimate. He must have come in while I was asleep.  Good Lord, I hope I wasn't snoring!'

A soft rapping at the door.
"Zara? Are you awake?"
"Yes, Phillip."
"Are you decent?"
"Define 'decent'."
 A low chuckle on the other side of the door. "Are you dressed?"
She hastily slipped on her dressing gown, fluffing her hair, pinching her cheeks and biting her lips.
"I am now."

Phillip opened the door, carrying a tray. "Ah, good. You hungry? The cook sent this over to you. In celebration of your successful kidnapping."
She laughed and took the tray from him, sitting it on the table.
"Oooh! Scones and scrambled eggs!"
She looked at him and grinned.
"A rose? From the cook?"
Phillip's face had a slight blush.that Zara found endearing.
"Well....the rose is from me."
She took it and sniffed it appreciatively.
"Damask. My favorite.
 'I have seen roses damask'd, red and white. But no such roses see I in her cheeks. And in some perfumes is there more delight than in the breath that from my mistress reeks,' "
"You know the Bard well," Phillip said.
"Not personally. But someday I fully intend to go to the theatre."
"Some day, perhaps, I shall take you to the Globe Theatre in London."

She clapped her hands in glee.
"And I shall be on the arm of the most handsome pirate in the Caribbean!"
"Your father is taking you?"
She threw her pillow at him and he ducked.
"You know full well who I meant! So what do we do today?"
"Since you can't leave the ship and we don't sail till tomorrow, we have to stay on the starboard side of the ship since it faces the ocean. Just so there is no glimpse of you from the harbour. Now, eat your breakfast like a good little girl and then you have an hour to study. Then I shall take you to the upper deck for a picnic lunch. But for right now I have to attend to ship's duties. I shall come by for you around 11:30. then this evening,.your parents are coming by for a farewell dinner with you. Now get cracking on those books, young lady!"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on July 31, 2014, 11:05:27 PM
Zara rushed over, looking for something to wear. Her lessons were done. She held up several dresses before deciding on a light dress of sunshine yellow. Zara reached for her straw hat with the wide brim. Perfect for sitting on the upper deck even though her healthy tan complexion was contributed to her gene pool by her father. She blessed the fact that she never burned.

Picking up the pink rose, she casually placed it in her cleavage.
Running up the stairs, she kept repeating, 'starboard....starboard...starboard...must stay away from port side.....Hello, Jacob....Hi, Sam....'ola, Jose....I see that cut on your forehead healed nicely, Barth....'

Everyone smiled and answered Zara as she ran past. She never failed to acknowledge anyone from the navigator down to the cabin boy.
The one thing her parents had always taught her.
You are no better than someone else.

Zara climbed the steps to the upper deck. Carefully she tucked her hair under her hat until she was starboard side. She inhaled deeply the salt air and settled in to read her book. Zara had inherited her love of books and learning from her father. Jack made sure each of his children received an education with an interest in languages. Living in a port town, it was easy to pick up.

She glanced towards the port. A small wave of homesickness washed over her but she fought it.
'Four months out of a lifetime but the opportunity of a lifetime,' she thought and smiled.
There was a slight clearing of the throat behind her. There stood Phillip looking all dashing and handsome.
"A bit of a repast after all your studying, Miss Zara."
She picked up the basket he offered her.
"Chicken croquettes...fresh fruit....a slice of cherry pie....this didn't come from the cook. This came from Mrs. Avery."
He laughed. "Alright, so your mother had it sent over. But--" he reached behind him "--the merlot is from your father's wine rack that happens to be in my cabin."
She smiled demurely, "You really are a take-charge person, Captain Briggs!"
"Only the acting captain on this run. I rather like being my father's navigator. How goes the studying?"
"Very well. It seems I can study much better in the fresh sea air. That's why I used to go to the tavern. The smells and sounds help my concentration. I do seem to have a bit of trouble with the night sky. Trying to find certain stars, especially how they relate to navigation. But seeing that we are on the ocean, maybe it will be easier. If you are willing to show me how to find the North Star."
"Did you know the Latin word for that star is stella maris?"
"Yes. It means sea star. Funny....I knew a lass once named Stella Maris...."

Phillip got a faraway look in his eyes that for some reason made Zara a bit jealous. He cleared his throat.
"Yes...well...when we are out to sea we can go up some night and look at the stars.
It may be easier to visualize it."
"I've always been better at learning by doing than by reading about it."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 01, 2014, 09:13:45 PM
McRae looked to the upper deck as he coiled a rope.
"What do you make of that, Davis?"
Th sounds of feminine laughter drifted down.
Davis shrugged. "I've been sailing El Lobo even before Captain Wolfe married her mum. And Wolfe is very protective of what is his own. Phillip's no fool. He's known her since she was a wee lass. Almost like a sister to him, she is.
"Yeah, but you know what the acting captain is like. Kind of reminds me of Cade Jennings when it comes to women. Nary a skirt can walk by that doesn't catch his attention. Remember that time in Havana? That little Spanish senorita?"
"You mean the one with the father that came after Phillip with a machete?"
"That's the one. Phillip shoved a table between the two of them and the machete cleaved straight through, splitting that oak table in two. The force of the table when it flung back winded the old guy. By the time he caught his wind again, Phillip was running for the ship."
"Oh yeah..and then there was that mayor's wife in Martinique...."

"I don't know, he's taking an awfully big chance if he sets his sights on Mad Jack's daughter. Remember when Cade Jennings was bragging he bedded Jack's wife?"
"Naw, he never did. I mean, he's still alive, ain't  he?"
"Yeah, but Phillip sailed with Jennings at one time and whenever Jennings was in port, he and Phillip would meet and go out carousing."
"So what makes you sure it isn't true about Jennings and the Captain's wife?"
"Well, Cade bragged all over the ports but he's still alive.  I think Mad Jack would have killed him if the rumours were true."

"Well, Mad Jack would die for his wife but he'd kill for his daughter."
"Doesn't matter when nature takes its course. She's young, she's a beauty and he's teaching her about the moon and stars. Lots of time under the stars."
"But Phillip is no fool."
"You think the head and other parts listen to each other? I'm willing to give it a month."
"HA! Care to make a little wager on that one, McRae?"
"You honestly think she's gonna land in Virginia an innocent?"
"I'm betting that Phillip has the smarts to know when to keep his distance. He's known her since she was a baby."
"Well, that baby has grown up, laying the groundwork for a nice leap into womanhood. And I am betting that Phillip will be there with a net."
"You're crazy."
"Am I? You hear that?"

The sound of a young woman's light laughter and a man's low chuckle reached their ears.
"Remember when Phillip was in Virginia the last run? The vicar's daughter?"
They both broke into laughter.
Davis looked up towards the deck.
"Phillip's not stupid. He wouldn't."
"Well, that young lady has always been very determined. And if she is anything like her father, whatever she wants she will get."
"But Phillip is like a brother to Zara."

Two more crewman passed by and stopped
"Laying wagers on the inevitable?" one of them grinned.
"Aye," laughed MacRae.
"We're in."

At the end, bets were placed anywhere from two days to two week to two months with Davis alone being the holdout.
And in the end, he felt he lost the bet even before they left port.

The laughter and a chuckle gave it away.   
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on October 03, 2014, 08:07:00 PM
Within the hour, the watch bell tolled.
"That's my cue to leave." He noticed the little furrowed brow on Zara's face.
"Ship's duties and all that. But your parents will be here around six for dinner. We sail at first light."
Zara sighed, "If you must leave, I will amuse myself with a book."
"Anything interesting?"
She held up a book. "Ancient Civilizations and How They Fell. Da insists we balance a book for enjoyment with a book to broaden our minds."
"Then I will see you later."
"Prynhawn da."
She grinned. "Welsh for 'good afternoon'--courtesy of Mama. She doesn't want to lose the native tongue. I hear quite a few terms of endearment that she uses with Da. Not hard to figure it out."

Zara spent the afternoon on the starboard side of the ship. A little sunning, a little reading, a nap in between. Then to get ready for her parents's arrival so she headed back to her cabin.
Suddenly the door creaked open and a cat watched her balefully.
"Well, hello! And who might you be?"
"That might be Homer. Since he goes everywhere with us but never seems to make it to a home." Phillip was leaning on the doorpost.
"Wasn't Ulysses the beleaguered traveler?"
"Miss Wolfe, you are too smart for your own good!"
She hung up the last dress she was unpacking, putting the final touches on making the room her own.
"Well, Da made us read all the classics. He loved the Odyssey. And where did Homer come from?"
"We picked him up in Castara. Skinny as can be and living on scraps."
Homer landed on the bed and Zara plopped down next to him, scratching him under the chin.
"He's adorable."
"Adorable? A ship's cat?" Phillip laughed. "A mouser is what he is!"
She petted him behind the ears.
"Well, he's welcome here anytime. Aren't you, Homer?"


As Zara was putting the final touches on making the room her own, a knock was on her door.
"Zara, your parents are here."
"I'll be right out."
. Honour and Jack were reminiscing about the cabin enjoying a glass of wine.

"...and there was Honour shouting at me to get out. When I landed in the companionway, there was your father with that damnable smirk on his face. Telling me he didn't think he would survive my lessons on how to handle women."
Honour piped up with, "He managed all right. After all, he won Renee's heart. There you are, darling!"
"Mama!" Zara ran to her mother's outstretched arms.
"Oh, darling! Your father said you were safe and sound but I just had to be sure for myself."
"It was so scary---and exciting! Phillip was so gentle, so...wonderful!"
Honour squeezed her hand. "I had to see for myself that you came through the kidnapping unscathed."
She held Zara's hand up. "And you didn't even break a fingernail!"
Zara laughed. "Phillip was the gentlest kidnapper that ever napped me!"

Jack glanced over at Phillip who stood there with a grin on his face.
'Maybe this wasn't such a good idea,' he thought. But he had no choice but to trust Phillip.
Phillip caught the look that Jack gave him and immediately put on a sober face.
"I was just relieved when we pulled it off without a hitch and got her onto the ship."

Honour and Zara by then had moved over to the armoire and Zara was pulling out dresses.
They then launched into a discussion about boots and clothes.
"And when you are there, you need to see about the cottons, Zara. I know it will seem like a primitive place but...."

Jack said in a low voice, "The cur paid you?"
"Fifty reales and fifty English pounds sterling. I collected it from Seamus just before the kidnapping."
"Be sure to buy my little girl something special."

Phillip motioned Jack out into the small alcove and took out the sword.
"I lifted this off him. I figured it would be the skin of a leopard--a trophy--for Zara.
Jack hefted the sword and ran his thumb down the blade.
"Nice. Toledo steel. Dumb arse doesn't keep it sharp though. I am betting it hasn't seen any action. Pretty much for show and swagger."
"Got something else, too."
He pulled out the cloak and Jack laughed.
"You really did humiliate him!"
"It's a beautiful cloak. I thought Zara would look pretty in it. I'll give it to her when we are out to sea."

There was a knock on the door.
The cook brought in roasted pork with apples, complete with side dishes and tarts for dessert. Jack brought out several bottles of port wine. The small talk continued until Jack scooted his chair back.
"Darling, I think we had better get going. Phillip has to be up at the crack of dawn to get the ship set to sail at first tide."
Honour nodded. "I have to get back to the baby. I am trying so hard not to cry!"
She hugged Zara tightly.
"Remember all we talked about. I am trusting you to be on your best behaviour. Both aboard the ship and in Virginia."
"I shall, Mama. It will be fun to see Uncle Will. He promised to have a party in my honour and introduce me to Virginia society."
Jack laughed, "As much fun as you can have with the Puritans."
"Jack Wolfe, don't forget your definition of 'fun' concerns your daughter."

Jack privately motioned Phillip aside.
"Everything is set," Jack said quietly.
"You sure you want me to do this?"
"The best wine and rum are laid in. I need you to make sure she hasn't run the place to the ground. I still own it, you know. Despite what she thinks."
"Alright, Jack. We will head out there."
"One thing--"
"Keep Zara on board. Leave her with Davis. You will only be there the one afternoon."
"What if she won't stay?"
"Lock her in her room if you have to. If Honour catches wind of it, I won't be using a certain part of my anatomy for a long time."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on November 01, 2014, 11:09:39 PM
The next morning.....

Zara leaned on the rail of El Lobo del Mar as it pulled away from Bridgetown. She inhaled deeply the salt air as she watched the port get smaller.
"Always sad to leave our family behind," a voice next to her said. "And you are up early."

"My father was always on deck to see the ship leave port. It's the least I can do to carry on the tradition."
"I hate to leave the family, especially Mama and Da. The baby will probably be trying to crawl by the time I get back. What about you? Are you sad to leave your loved ones behind?"
"I always miss my father and Renee is the mother I never had."
He hesitated. "And I always use this time to think. Clears my mind."
She looked back at the port.
"Somewhere....somewhere out there he is. Going about his daily life. Turning MY life upside down and thinking he got away with his plans."
"Did he, Zara? Turn your life upside down?"
"Nonsense! I am going on an adventure. And he will get what is coming to him. Da will see to that. I wonder what Da will do."
"Your father never did tell me. But I am sure the punishment will fit the intended crime. Not only to get revenge on what he was going to do to you but because he made Honour sad."

Zara reached over by the binnacle and came back with a bottle of wine.
"Will you do the honours?"
Phillip grinned and uncorked it.
Zara then poured the bottle over the side and then threw several flowers into the water.
Phillip laughed. "Carrying on the family tradition, Cookie?"

She smiled. "Da always said to give a lady rum--or in this case, wine--and flowers when you leave and she will always welcome you back when you return."
"It's a nice tradition."
"From what I can deduce, Da sure knew the way to a woman's heart. And more."
Phillip gave an embarrassed laugh.
"Don't go all shy on me, Phillip Briggs. My family didn't get so large by talking about it."
Zara watched as the petals swirled around before they were taken under.
She turned to Phillip.
"Now Bridgetown will welcome us back!"

She lifted her face to the early morning sun.
"So how many days till we get to Virginia?"
"If we hit the Gulfstream just right, I would say in about three and a half weeks. We have to  make a couple stops along the way though. One to Tortuga for supplies and one to Castara to drop off some goods."
"How exciting! I've always wanted to see Castara!"
"Hold on there, Cookie. You are staying on board. I only have to stay in Castara one afternoon. I will be back in the evening."
"So why can't I go?"
"There is no necessity for that. Nothing to see and it will be all business."
"So can I at least go into Tortuga with you?"
"Oh, please, Phillip! I'll be good. I've never seen Tortuga and I would love to do a bit of shopping myself. Maybe a new hat for Virginia?"
"We'll see. I suppose Tortuga would be safer than Castara anyways."
"So how long before we get to Castara?"
"Sometime tomorrow. We have a good wind and frankly, I want to drop the cargo and get the trip to Virginia underway."

"What are your plans for the day, Phillip?"
"I'll be occupied with making sure everything is set for smooth sailing to Castara. And you, young lady, should start on your studies."
"You are surely a harsh taskmaster, Captain Briggs."
"The more you study, the more time you will have for fun in Virginia."
"If I study hard, will you take me to Tortuga?"
"It's not a nice place for a young lady, Zara."
"Oh, please? Pretty please? I will be good!"
"As long as you don't mention it to your father, it is a possibility."
"Wonderful! I promise by the time I finish my astronomy book, I can tell you a thing or two about navigation!"
"I don't doubt it. I am afraid you will have to dine alone tonight as I have to eat with the crew and discuss matters."
"We'll see about that!"

In the end, Zara didn't dine alone and Phillip did dine with the crew.
And the crew loved her company.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on December 01, 2014, 09:15:44 PM
Mid-morning the next day.....

Phillip flung his leg over the side of the longboat.
"Wait! I'm ready!"
He turned and there stood Zara. She was dressed in snug-fitting breeches, a white silk shirt and boots to die for. A cavalier hat with feathers was perched jauntily on her head.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm ready at last. At least I think I am. Will I need to bring anything?"
"Zara, this is not a pleasure stop. It is strictly business."
"Well, then, we had best not tarry, wouldn't you agree?"

A low chuckle came from the longboat. Phillip looked over and glared.
"Cookie, this isn't a place for you. Now you be a good little girl and stay up here with the rest of the crew. I'll be back in a few hours."
"If it is only a few hours, then it won't matter if I stay or if I go."
"It will to your father."
"I want to see the palmetto that Mama massacred."
More laughter from the longboat.
"This isn't fair. You are putting me in an awkward position."
"How so?"
"Heeding your father's advice or having a hard time saying no to you."
"Kind of like a devil whispering in one ear and an angel in the other?"
"Come on, Zara. Why don't you go study and I will bring you back something nice."
 "Like a coconut?"
"You have to do better than that."
Full blown laughter from the longboat.
"You two shut it down there!"

She brushed past him and headed towards the side of the ship.
He walked over to her and put his hand on her shoulders.
"Cookie....oh hell! When you look at me like that, wearing that hat, how can I say no?"
She tip-toed up and kissed his cheek.
"You can't!"

Zara sat close to Phillip in the longboat. He smiled as he gazed over the land in view. He found that he actually liked having her around. She was amusing company and on a par level with him as regards conversation and interests.
Zara was interested in everything.

"Why aren't we taking El Lobo to the docks?" she asked.
"Because I am not sure what shape the docks are in. They were in a state of disrepair last time I was here and with the storms that have come up, if they are not kept up, they are not safe."
"Phillip....who is Bonita?"
"Where did you hear that name?"
"I've heard Mama and Da talk. Mama always gets upset. Da tries to calm her down and they always shut up when I enter the room. So....who is she?"
Phillip sighed. "I had a feeling I should have listened to my better sense and left you on the ship."
"Nonsense!" She tucked her hand in his arm.
"So tell me the story."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on January 01, 2015, 10:58:14 AM
Phillip sighed.
"I shouldn't be telling you this......."
"Phillip, forewarned is forearmed. Now tell me about this mysterious woman."

"Her name is Bonita le Mystere but no one knows her real name. She is an Obeah priestess and has the uncanny ability to predict and foresee things."
"Like a fortune teller?"
"More like a prophetess."
"Do you think that she can predict my future?"
"I daresay she will look at you and know who you are."
"Because she can foresee things?"
"No, because you look like your mother except for the dark hair. That, my dear, is your father's contribution."
He continued, "There are stories about her ability to predict where ships are and what their cargo is and when to strike. There is also talk that she and your father had some sort of alliance. He loved the fortune and she loved the power she had over him."

"I'm sure Da made his fortune on his own."
"Oh, I am sure too. But let's just say that heeding her advice didn't hurt."
"What does she look like?"
"Tall and lithe. Very striking. Not what you would call beautiful but she has a regal bearing. Very mesmerizing eyes. And she wears her hair in dreadlocks."
"She sounds....spooky."
"And then there is always Drusilla."

"Drusilla? What an unusual name!"
"Unusual is the least of it. Drusilla is a bit off-base."
"Like not right in the head?"
"No, she's right but let's say the world walks one way and Drusilla may walk a bit on the edge. You have to experience Drusilla."
"And what does she look like?"
"Thin--almost to the point of skinny and small-framed. She's Bonita's cousin. And she has this wild hair along with a red ribbon. Supposed to be in a bow but more often not.  Sometimes the ribbon has seen better days. But she is harmless."
"Is Bonita harmless?"
"I'm not sure. But then I have never given her any reason to treat me otherwise. Your mother won't set foot in Castara."
"I would think that Mama would want to go back to where she and Da spent their honeymoon."
"Well, once upon a time there was an altercation. I'm not sure of the details but I heard Bonita accused your mother of some things. Your mama finally got fed up and cold-cocked her. She knocked Bonita out."
"No! Mother?"
Phillip chuckled. "I heard once that your father spent too much time on his brother's ship and instead of coming right back, they had their own reunion. Bottle after bottle. When he finally came back, drunken brother--the Admiral--in tow, your mother handed you to my father, punched your father on the jaw and then calmly took you out of Father's arms and walked off as if nothing had happened. Your father saw stars for a few minutes."

Phillip sighed.
"As I said, I shouldn't have told you all this. Don't tell your father."
She sat closer to him and whispered, "Phillip, I have a feeling there is going to be alot we don't tell my father!"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 02, 2015, 11:00:27 PM
Zara stepped lightly off the johnboat, her feathers grazing her cheek. She reached up and adjusted her hat.
Phillip started to laugh.
"What's so funny?"
"Nothing, really. Just the way you adjusted the feathers and your hat. Like your mother does."
Zara stood there with her hands on her hips.
"Who do you thought taught me the fine art of accessorizing? So show me the way, sailor boy!" He offered her his arm. Gently she tucked her hand. He led her down a lane near the waterfront. As they turned the corner, a sign blew in the breeze.

Le Loup

"The Wolf?"
He nodded. "The one and only. Your father won this in a game of chance."
"Was it always called this?"
"N, must have been something else."
"An did he win the voodoo woman in the bargain too?"
Phillip shook his head. "I never did hear how he met Bonita. For all I know, she came with the place."
He held the door open for her as they entered the dark tavern.

Zara and Phillip entered the darkened tavern.
"I can't see, Phillip."
All of a sudden, a face popped up from behind the counter.
Zara screamed and both she and Phillip jumped back.
A woman with dreadlocks sprouting every which way bound up in a tattered green ribbon. She was very thin with a comical face that you couldn't help smile at. Her dress was a colourful green and yellow print.
Phillip broke out in a grin as Zara continued to back up.
"Oh, my my! De son of de handsome Briggs!  How you be and why you take so long to visit Drusilla?"
"Oh, we've been busy. We've been running up to the colonies but Jack wanted me to bring you some rum. Twenty four cases of it. He's been starting a distillery and wants to see how the rum will go over. And who might that be?"
He nodded to the corner.
"Dat might be Pedro.  Some of de pirates couldn't pay so dey give me a parrot. He got bad language."

Phillip walked over to pet the bird and was greeted by a volley of expletives.
Drusilla shook her head.
"Bonita threaten to break Pedro's beak if him not shut up. Bad, bad bird!"
Zara looked quizzically over at Phillip.
Phillip hastily made introductions.
"I'm sorry, where are my manners? Zara, I would like to introduce Miss Drusilla to you.
Zara reached out her hand but Drusilla bent into a curtsey.
"Ooof! Cant' get up! Mr. Phillip, if him please?"

Phillip chuckled as he reached over to hoist Drusilla to a standing position.
"Whoa! Sometimes de knees lock! And such a pretty girl! You two be in love?"

Zara quickly glanced at Phillip as his face turned red.
"We've been friends for years, Drusilla. I do believe you know her father. He is----"
"De great Jack Wolfe," said a voice from the darkness of the tavern.
Slowly stepping out of the darkness came a woman much like Drusilla but classier. Her gait was measured as she strode into the room.
She stood before Zara and fixed her with a stare.

"Well, de handsome Phillip Briggs show up wit' a lady."
"Bonita, I would like to formally introduce you to---"
"I know who dat is. Dat be de daughter of dat good for no'ting JackWolfe and dat golden haired child he married."
Zara's eyes went wide. "How do  you know?"
"Bonita know many t'ings. De bones tell me you be here wit'in a fortnight. Dat and de fact dat golden-haired child has her face stamped on yours. 'Cept de hair be Jack Wolfe's."
She picked up Zara's curl and let it drop.
"You a pretty girl."
She turned to Phillip.
"You take her yet?"
Phillip felt his face turn red.
"Certainly not."
Bonita smiled knowingly. "Give it time."

Drusilla piped up with, "See, Bonita? Curse DO have a time limit!"
She turned on Drusilla. "You hush you mouth or I strangle you wit' dat ribbon."
"Huh! Like you did wit' de red one?"
She turned to Phillip and Zara. "I got lots of dem ribbons. Dis one matches my Monday dress. I call it my Monday dress because--"
"You wear it on Monday?"
"But it's Friday, Drusilla."
Drusilla thought for a minute and shrugged. "It be Monday somewhere."
Phillip whispered to Zara, "Don't. It makes sense to her."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on March 01, 2015, 09:05:34 AM
Bonita beckoned Zara closer.
"I toss bones for you. Den you see your future."
As Zara ventured closer, Phillip pulled her back.
"Don't believe anything she has to say. It's all a trick."
"You stay out of this, Master Briggs. De young one, she want to see her future."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He put his hands in his pockets, strolling off and whistling a tune.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on June 20, 2015, 09:19:11 PM
"...and the constellation over there is Orion."
Zara nodded.  "And the stars in the middle are Reigel and Betelgeuse."
"So you remembered."
"Of course. You are a good teacher, Phillip."
"Well, you are an excellent pupil."

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

'Begging forgiveness for misunderstandings.'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

"What on earth is he up to?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round two.
Zara won.
Time for round three.

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

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

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

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

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

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


"Uh oh...busted."

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on January 01, 2016, 07:09:43 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 01, 2016, 08:17:21 PM
The next morning....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Davis walked to ??the aft gunwale of the quarterdeck and peered into to distance. "Just who the hell are you, pacing us so? Find another bone to chew, wee pup. You'll find no meat here. Only teeth."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on April 03, 2016, 08:30:29 PM
On the quarterdeck of the pursuing ship, second in command Hector Alvarez lowered his spyglass and smiled.
"They have not changed course or speed. Your orders?"
The captain took a deep breath before stepping forward. He eyed his prey before saying quietly, "No change in speed? This is too easy. Increase ours. Make ready the forward guns. But take your time, Alvarez. I wish to savour this."

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

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

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

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

Davis' mouth dropped open. "Are you out of your mind?! This is Jack' Wolfe's ship! He would never give up without a fight, and you know it!"
"And he isn't here now! But his daughter is. And I'll not have her life put at risk over some damned molasses and a few coins. If you have a problem with that, Mister Davis, you can enquire about employment with whoever just fired on us. Am I understood?"
Davis stared at Phillip for a moment, then spat upon the deck. "Clearly. I hope to God you're right. 'Cause we're all dead if you're not."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on May 01, 2016, 07:33:20 PM
"Look, I'm thinking of everyone's safety. We're too slow and we're undermanned for battle. If it's all the same to you, I'd rather talk our way out of this than shoot."
"Aye," said Davis with a resigned shrug. "I guess my pride got the best of me. I'll give the orders and strike our colours. Hopefully, this Spaniard won't fire on a flag of parlay."
"One more order," said Phillip. "Have the men arm themselves. Pistols and blades stowed in easy reach. I want them ready in case things go any more against us."
"Now that's the Phillip Briggs I know. Consider it done, captain."
"Good man. I'll be below trying to explain our situation to Zara."
"And trying to convince her not to do anything Wolfe-like?"
"From your mouth to God's ear. Carry on, Davis."

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

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

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

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

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

As he put his hand on the door handle, a loud bang came from behind him.
Zara had taken the log book from the desk and dropped it flat against the deck.
"Oopsie! Butterfingers me. Was that too loud?" she demurred.
"Zara, I thought you understood—"
Three loud thuds came from above, a signal from Davis that Phillip needed to return to the quarterdeck.
"We'll talk about this later," he said.
As he closed the door, he heard Zara reply in an odd sing-song, "No we won't!"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on June 04, 2016, 09:19:52 PM
Phillip made for the weather deck at a brisk jog. Something about their uninvited company had alarmed Davis. And anyone who knew Davis also knew he was a difficult man to rattle.

As he stepped onto the deck, Phillip could see the Spaniard closing in from astern on the starboard side. Davis was there to greet him as he climbed the steps to the quarterdeck.
"They're certainly taking their time," said Phillip.
"That ain't the half of it. I know why they've come after us," said Davis. He pushed the ship's spyglass into Phillip's hand. "Look to her stern, just below their flag."
Phillip did as his first mate instructed, and his mouth fell open. There, dwarfed by the flag of Spain that flew above it, was the ensign of the House of Mendoza.

"And I thought this day couldn't get any worse," muttered Phillip.
"You could have knocked me over with a feather when I saw it, too," said Davis. "You'd think that old cripple would have given up his vendetta years ago."
"The prouder the man, the more twisted his sense of justice. But he'll get none today. Jack's not aboard."
"But his daughter is. To a man like Mendoza, spilling her blood is spilling Jack's. Any opportunity to hurt Jack is better than killing him outright."
"I've already told her to stay below and quiet until this is over. With a little luck, Mendoza should be convinced to let us go on our way once he knows Jack isn't here."
"Is that your plan, or are you wishin' out loud?"
"Do you have anything better?"
Davis shook his head. "Of course not. We'll try it your way, but if things go sour I say we take as many of those Spanish bastards with us as we can."
"I pray it doesn't come to that, but it's best to keep all options at hand when there's a Mendoza on the doorstep. Have the men secure their stations, Mister Davis. The closer they are to their arms, the happier I shall be."

Davis nodded and went to the taffrail. "All right, listen close! Every man to is to take his station and stay there, no matter what our uninvited guests do next. This galls me as much as it does you. But no man is to raise his hand in anger unless commanded to. Speakin' of which, General Order Twelve is still in effect. Now back to your posts!"
Phillip crossed his arms in puzzlement. "General Order Twelve? We have a General Order Twelve?"
"I made it up," Davis said with a shrug. "Sounds better than 'fill your hands and bring hell on 'em', doesn't it?"
"Not as colourful, but it will have to do." He looked at the closing Spaniard and shook his head. " Davis, am I doing the right thing?"
"If you're asking the question, then yes. I'd be scared if you were sure of yourself."

After what felt like an eternity for the crew of El Lobo, the Spanish ship came along side. Davis gave steadying words to the crew as grapnels flew from the Spaniard and dug into the flesh of their beloved ship. Within minutes, the two ships were lashed together. Two men swung over from the enemy ship, their black polished boots hitting the deck with a precisely timed thud.
Phillip stood at the top of the steps to the quarterdeck and glared down on the new arrivals. "I am Captain Phillip—"
"Silencio!" snapped one of the men. "You will speak only when permission is given!"
"I'm gonna enjoy shooting that one," muttered Davis.
Phillip's only reply was "Shh."

The Spaniards turned back to their ship, and one signalled with a wave of his hand. Two men lifted a large bundle roughly a yard wide and heaved it over the gap between the vessels. The Spaniards on El Lobo caught it handily, and in one fluid motion lowered it to the deck and unrolled it. It was a length of pristine crimson carpet, fit for the coronation walk of a king.
"I ain't believin' this," Davis groaned.
"My father sold the Medoza ego short," said Phillip.
Finally, an ornately dressed man with flowing black hair, his head crowned by a Cavalier-style hat with peacock feathers, swung over to the deck of El Lobo. He landed precisely on the red carpet that had been laid out for his arrival. The two men waiting for him bowed low and remained in that state as he casually plucked the doeskin gloves from his fingers. Once he tucked the gloves into the belt as this waist, he snapped his fingers, releasing his men from their obeisant state.
"You will now pay respect and honour to the Most Illustrious Viscount Tranquillo Mendoza!"

Two more men swung over from the Spanish ship to stand by Mendoza's side. While they too were well dressed, their clothing paled in comparison to their commander's. Several of El Lobo's crew became anxious but calmed down again when Phillip raised a steadying hand.
"Where is the captain of this ship?" asked Tranquillo.
"I am the captain," answered Phillip. "Phillip Briggs, at your service."
Tranquillo gave him a distrustful look. "I have no time for these perfidious games. Bring me the captain, and bring him now."
Phillip descended the stairs to the weather deck. "Perhaps I spoke too quickly for you to follow. I am the captain of this ship."
"Do you think me a fool?!"
"Since you're asking..." started Davis.
"Do you really think I do not recognise this ship? I have hunted her for years, to avenge my father's honour. I will ask only once more: where is Captain Jack Wolfe?"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 02, 2016, 08:48:39 PM
Zara poured herself a glass of claret and sat down to sulk. How dare Phillip allow her father's ship to be boarded? He should have been able to do something - anything - to evade capture. But no. He had to play it safe. Now she had no choice but to hide below and hope for the best.
As she brought the glass to her lips, the ship lurched as the interloper's hull rubbed against El Lobo's. The wine missed Zara's mouth and splashed down her white shirt.
"Damn it!" she grumbled. "This won't do."
She carefully opened the door to the great cabin and slipped into the companionway. There were no crew below, and she could vaguely hear someone talking on the weather deck. She ducked into her quarters and slipped on a clean shirt. And there it caught her eye.
'Hello, old friend.'
She took out  a scabbard and withdrew a ruby handled bodice dagger. The blade was about five inches. Zara carefully ran her finger down the edge. Her father had always taught her the importance of keeping a blade sharp.
She put the scabbard in the drawer and slipped the dagger into her skirt pocket.
Making her way down the companionway and nearing the deck, she could hear men's voices. One was Phillip's, but the other was unfamiliar. And definitely Spanish.
He was a very handsome man with an aristocratic face.  He was of medium height, broad-shouldered and muscular.His long hair was free and he had a white shirt with an abundance of lace on the cuffs and down the front. He wore a frock coat of black with gold trim.
She could only understand a word here and there but she gathered he wasn't happy and Phillip seemed to be trying his best to keep his temper.
And failing miserably.
"There is no Jack Wolfe aboard this ship," explained Phillip. "I don't know what you're hoping to accomplish here. We are but a merchant vessel bound for the Virginia colony."
"And yet, this ship has the distinctive lines of a pirate vessel named El Lobo del Mar, and before that, Mercedes. The latter name I know well, as it was my mother's. And you, Phillip Briggs, you bear the name of your father. Josiah Briggs, yes? First mate of Jack Wolfe?"
Phillip kept his silence.
"No matter. You have told the story, yes? To amuse your crew? Told them how your father, the criminal Josiah Briggs, lead a raiding party to rescue Jack Wolfe from the imprisonment he so rightly deserved?"
"My father," said Phillip through clenched teeth, "rescued his captain and best friend from the clutches of a madman. Your father. And saved Jack from certain death."

Zara listened intently to the exchange as she lurked just within the doorway to the weather deck. Her father had been imprisoned, and rescued by Phillip's father? Why had no one told her this before? And who was this Spaniard?[/size]
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on August 02, 2016, 08:54:17 PM
Tranquillo paced the deck, a wry smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Very good. Very, very good. This is the ship I have been seeking. I will take great pleasure in delivering her to my father. But you know where that coward Jack Wolfe is. You will tell me."
"Go to hell," said Phillip calmly. "You've found out what you want, but this is no pirate ship. And I'll be damned if you'll make her a trophy. Now finish your business here and be on your way."
Tranquillo's face twisted with rage. "You will tell me!!" he bellowed. He took a moment to compose himself and stepped close to Phillip. "You will tell me," he continued coldly, "or I will have the throat of every man aboard this ship cut while you watch. I ask you again, where is the coward named Jack Wolfe?"

Zara could not believe her ears. How would anyone dare call her father a coward? Her blood boiled as she listened to the Spaniard's lies. But she kept her head enough to see all eyes were on the Spaniard and Phillip. Seizing the opportunity, she slipped from the doorway to one of the small boats kept on deck and climbed under its tarp. It was surprisingly dusty and smelled of mould. Nonetheless, she was determined to hear what this horrid man was saying about her father.
She crept to the side by the gunwale, being careful to stay in the shadows. The canvas was thrown in a heap in the longboat on the end. She slid into it and covered herself, leaving only a small bit open to watch.
All of a sudden, she felt a sneeze coming on. She desperately put her finger to her nose, trying to cut it off. She sighed with relief as it was abated.
Unfortunately it was at that moment the men stopped arguing. Silence ensued and she felt the canvas being lifted up by the blade of a rapier.
She stared up into the eyes of the Spaniard.

"Que Dios te bendiga, munequita," he said softly.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 02, 2016, 07:52:07 PM
He offered his hand to her and helped her out of the longboat. All Phillip could do was groan.
"Just what the HELL to do you think you are doing, Zara?"
"You told me to stay in my quarters. I got bored. I have every right to be on this deck."
"No, you don't. I'm the Captain. I give the orders around here."
"Since when?"
"Since the beginning of this trip. You are along because you had to cause trouble in Bridgetown."
Zara went nose to nose with Phillip.
"At least I kept it in Bridgetown. Unlike you."
"What does that mean?"
"I mean knocking boots with a tart old enough to be....your sister. Your OLDER sister."

Phillip felt his face turn red.
"And how would you know unless you were following me?"
"Following you? I was shopping and saw you hot-footing it down to that little cottage. Tart couldn't even bother to get dressed in mid-day. What was she, simmering like hot soup in the kettle for you?"
"What I do is none of your business, Zara."
Zara raised her voice. "Oh, really? Did you give her a pink pearl necklace too? Or did she get a different colour? How many pearl necklaces are out in the Caribbean gifted by you, Phillip?"
He retorted, "Who I see and when I see them does not fall under your business. It is MY business, Zara."
"If that is the case, then why did you butt into MY business with Tristan?"
"Because you were out of your league. If someone hadn't stepped in, you'd be halfway across this globe wearing a dozen veils and learning some new belly-dance for a pasha!"
"How DARE you bring that up. You are nothing but a...a..."

"Will the two of you shut UP?" Tranquillo pinched the bridge of his nose with his finger and thumb.
"I am TRYING to mount a decent boarding and the two of you are giving me a headache.
I must say, your cargo is infinitely prettier than ours and I will deal with that cargo in a bit.. Now....where is Captain Jack Wolfe?
"For the last time, Captain Wolfe is not on board," Phillip said hotly.
Tranquillo nodded to Alvarez. The quartermaster drew his rapier and pointed it at Philip's chest, pressing the tip of the blade ever so close to his skin.

Tranquillo stuck his face close to Phillip's. "Captain Jack Wolfe never leaves his ship in another's command. Now...where is he? Hiding like the coward he is?"
"My father is not a coward, you bastard!"

Tranquillo turned sharply and a smile slowly spread over his face. Softly he said, "Dios mio, this is even better than I had hoped for."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on October 11, 2016, 09:32:46 AM

Phillip's eyes never left Tranquillo's face.
"Let her go, Mendoza. She doesn't have anything to do with this."
"Oh, no? This is a blood feud between the house of Mendoza and the house of Wolfe. I intend to take Miss Wolfe back to Havana with me."

He caressed Zara's cheek with the back of his hand and brushed her hair back.
"Perhaps we shall take the way back leisurely--passing the time in my quarters uninterrupted. Then send her off to one of Havana's brothels. Or keep her as my own. Do to her what her father did to my mother. And maybe I will kill you just for the hell of it. But no, that would not serve my purpose. So this is the bargain. I will let you live. And you can take back the tale to Jack Wolfe of what happened to his beautiful daughter."
Zara's eyes closed in revulsion.
"I will take Miss Wolfe and she will be my puta. You know what a puta is, don't you, Captain Briggs?"
Phillip clenched his teeth and said quietly, "A whore."
Tranquillo laughed softly.
"Ah, yes. A whore."
Zara spat in Tranquillo's face. "I will NEVER be your whore!"
Tranquillo wiped his face and then smirked. He straightened his gloves carefully and  without warning, backhanded Zara hard across the face.
Phillip made an instinctive step towards Zara but Tranquillo drew his pistol and pointed it at Phillip's chest.
"Not a step further, Captain."
Zara rubbed her face, tears welling up in her eyes.

Tranquillo held her close. "Ah yes, she will serve her purpose. Perhaps we shall even have children. Grandchildren of Diego Mendoza, his sworn enemy. You can tell Jack Wolfe that."
Zara whispered, "I will never marry you."

Tranquillo laughed with derision. "Marry? Don't be absurd. My wife would never allow that. Now when--and if--she is of no further use to me, I will let her whore her way back to Barbados."

A solitary tear trickled down her cheek.
"Or maybe, Captain Briggs, I kill you and the crew and your quartermaster can tell her father the fate of the two of you."
He whispered in Zara's ear. "Are you trembling in fright? Or anticipation?"
He trailed his hand and cupped the softness under her chemise.
"Captain Briggs will die with the knowledge I will possess you. Or maybe he will have a demonstration of that first."
Phillip made a start towards Tranquillo. Tranquillo cocked his pistol, while holding Zara close to him.
"You are making my decision for me, Captain Briggs. And I think it is now time for you to meet your God..."
Just then the pistol shot up in the air. With lightning fast reflexes, Phillip whipped his pistol out of the belt near the small of his back and fired dead center into Tranquillo's chest.

 The Spaniard staggered backwards, releasing his grip on Zara.
His hand grasped the ruby handled dagger embedded in his chest and then slid down the wall, falling to the side.

The Spanish crew looked on in disbelief as their captain collapsed to the deck, not realising the crew of El Lobo had already filled their hands with swords and pistols. The Spanish quartermaster, Alvarez, moved to draw his pistol, only to find his English counterpart had a pistol levelled at his head.
"Go ahead," said Davis. "What's one more dead Spaniard?"
Alvarez took a ragged breath and raised both hands in submission. His sword clattered to the deck.
The crew of the Spanish ship looked at one another nervously, uncertain if they should attack the Englishmen. The crew of El Lobo outnumbered them two to one. Was their fallen captain worth a certain bloodbath?
"Tell them to drop their weapons," said Phillip. "There's been enough killing for one day."
Alvarez barked an order, and his men reluctantly placed their weapons on the deck.
"Seize that ship," Phillip ordered his men. "Confine the crew, and I want all of them alive."

Zara stood staring at the lifeless body of Tranquillo. But at the sound of Phillips voice, she flew to his arms and sobbed uncontrollably.
"It's all right," he said softly. "You're safe."
"He---he was going to kill you. I had to do something."
"Hush, Zara. It's over now."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on December 02, 2016, 07:40:36 PM
Phillip looked back at Davis, and the quartermaster gave his captain a knowing nod.
As Phillip led a trembling, unsteady Zara below, Davis took command of the situation.
"All right, you lot heard the captain," he yelled to his men as he relieved Alvarez of his rapier and pistol. "Step lively and collect any arms you can find. Bind those men on deck, and sweep below for anyone hiding. You there, Hobson!"
Hobson, a burly crewman who also served as ship's cooper, turned and put his hand by his ear to hear above the commotion. "Aye, sir?"
"Take your tools and two men over there. I'll be wanting their chain."
Hobson smiled broadly. "I'll have it for you, with pleasure!"

Zara jumped as the latch clicked behind Phillip as he close the door on his way out. He had promised he would be back as soon as he could, after a few things had been taken care of. He assured her the danger was over and she was safe now. No one would ever harm her again.
She rubbed her arms as if a chilly breeze drifted through the cabin.
Suddenly she felt the need to retch. She ran to the basin and all she could manage was dry heaves. She hadn't eaten since the morning and there was nothing to come up. Hastily she stripped off her clothes and threw them out the porthole. The waves claimed them in seconds.
She poured water from the pitcher into a bowl to wash, scrubbing herself raw. Her skin burned from Tranquillo's touch as she tried to wash away the feel.
Zara looked in the mirror and what stared back was the haunted look in her eyes.
As if she were moving in a dream, she threw the towel down and pulled out a fresh chemise, cascading over her body.
Opening the door to Phillip's cabin, she walked over to the liquor cabinet and pulled out a bottle of rum.
Anything to dull the ache in her stomach.
The cork came out easy enough and Zara poured herself a generous glass. She took a deep breath and coughed as the liquor spread its warmth through her body.
'Now I can see why Da and Uncle Josiah like it so much.'
She poured herself another glass and found it went down easier than the first one. Still one more.
Zara was not used to anything but an occasional glass of wine but there was an urgent need for something stronger. The bottle was soon dry. Anything to numb the scenario that kept playing through Zara's mind.
It didn't take long for the rum to take the desire effect. Zara found the room was starting to spin a bit. She spied Phillip's shirt on the bed and picked it up. She held on to it for dear life and stroked her face with it. Then she burst into sobs.
Zara had come so close to losing all that she held dear. Tristan was child's play compared to the Spaniard with an agenda and revenge on his mind. The animosity between her father and this man's father had still played out after all these years. Her parents never talked about it and if they did, it was in hushed tones that followed with silence whenever their children entered the room.
She barely crawled into her own bed, sobs wracking her body. If she hadn't whipped the dagger out of her pocket and stabbed Tranquillo when she did, by this time she would have been in Tranquillo's cabin, subjected to anything he wanted.
'I'm not sorry..I'm not sorry...I'm not sorry....' she whispered between sobs.
She clutched the shirt as she felt the alcohol take over her senses. The last thing she remembered as she landed on the bed sideways was pulling the sheet up to her chin as her head hit the pillow.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on December 02, 2016, 07:44:47 PM
In less than an hour, all eighteen crewmen of the Spanish ship had been rounded up and taken to the weather deck. They sat dejectedly with their hands bound behind them, helpless as they watched every pistol and sword be carried over to El Lobo. Some of the men prayed in a whisper, other sat silently, contemplating whatever fate awaited them. They could see their officers aboard the English ship, standing impotently as their vessel was ransacked. Finally, the English captain emerged from below deck.
 Phillip regarded the Spanish officers with a grim gaze.
"Alvarez, is it?"
Alvarez nodded. "What do you intend to do with us? With our ship?"
"We have no use for your ship. Regardless of what your captain believed, we are not pirates," said Phillip. "I will return your ship to you. You're free to go your way, and we will go ours."
"How can I trust you?"
"You're forgetting who was the aggressor in all this, Mister Alvarez. You will have to take my word that we mean you no harm."
The Spaniard nodded warily. "And what of my captain?"
"His body is already back aboard your ship, in his quarters."
"Gracias," Alvarez replied. "Though I do not think he would have given you the same... dignity."
"We'll never know, will we? Right, then. Back to your ship. We part ways, once and for all. Mister Davis, see to it these men make it back aboard their own ship without incident."
"Aye, they'll get back in one piece. All right, gentlemen, time for you to leave. I think you know the way."
 Phillip waited until the Spanish officers were ready to swing back to their ship before catching their attention one last time.
"Oh, and Mister Alvarez? Don't even think of trying to follow us. My men took the liberty of removing your rudder chain. These winds should take you somewhere near Havana, by my estimate. You'll be in the shipping lanes at any rate. Someone will find you. I hope for your sake they're friendly. Bon voyage."
Alvarez opened his mouth to protest, but he found the El Lobo crew starting to move toward the railing where he and his men stood. With a disgusted shake of his head, the Spaniards returned to their ship and shame that awaited them in their home port.
The Spanish ship was carried westward by the whim of the prevailing winds, while El Lobo made her way north en route to the Virgina colony.
Phillip stood at the gunwale, the bottle of whiskey at his side. He watched in silence as the other vessel grew smaller in the distance. Soon it would vanish from sight. The day's events and their aftershocks would not disappear so easily.

Davis came over and stood next to him.
"Nice shooting, Captain," he said quietly.
Phillip stared out over the black water, the hull of the ship cutting through with a white wake as it glided over the sea.
His eyes never left the view as he took a deep drink from the bottle.
"I won't have her live with the knowledge that she was the one who killed him," he replied. "I won't do that to her. As far as she will ever know, it was my shot that killed him."
Davis helped himself to the whiskey. "She lost a fair bit of innocence today, fearing for her life. You're a good man to keep the blood off her hands."
"Am I? I can't help thinking there's more I could have done, other things I should have done to avoid getting caught by that Spaniard. I'm supposed to keep the ship and everyone safe."
"You reckon you failed Jack, then."
Phillip nodded.
"To quote Jack, then; 'Bollocks!' The ship is still in one piece, so are the crew. We have all our cargo. And Zara, well, she got a nasty fright, but nothing more. Phillip, you did what you thought was right. And you made the best of it. We've had closer scrapes and laughed them off. Why are we treating this one like a funeral?"
"The stakes are higher this time, I suppose," replied Phillip.
"Don't get so damned wrapped up in what could have been. Learn from what happened and move on. You've got good instincts. Don't throw away your trust them."

Davis pulled Zara's dagger from his pocket. "Getting back to our Spanish friend; I retrieved this when they were scraping the peacock off the deck. I don't suppose Zara will be wanting this back?"
Phillip shook his head. "She has enough to remind her of this day. Throw it to the Locker for all I care."
The quartermaster looked at the dagger for a moment, then took his own pocket knife and pried loose the ruby from the dagger's hilt. He rubbed the stone against his shirt and handed it to Phillip.
"Keep it to yourself, and use it to buy the lass something pretty. She deserves that much."
Davis hurled the knife into the sea and walked away softly whistling a tune.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on January 02, 2017, 08:37:19 PM
Phillip sat on the edge of his bed and reached underneath for the bottle of rum. He uncorked it and took a healthy swig of it. It went down smoothly. Too smoothly. In a matter of minutes, the bottle was empty. He reached into the liquor cabinet he kept and pulled out a bottle of Irish whiskey. Taken off that British ship a few years ago, Phillip was saving it.
Now, more than ever, seemed to be the right time. As he poured a few drinks, he ran his fingers through his hair.
The enormity of what almost happened made him shudder. If Zara hadn't pulled her bodice dagger out when she did, even out of reflex, he very well might be dead. And Zara would be community property of the Mercedes II and later on her way to Havana and God knows what.

He laid back and threw his forearm over his eyes. He almost failed in his mission. To keep Zara safe and deliver her to Virginia. He shuddered as he realized how close he had come in failing to keep his promise to Mad Jack Wolfe.

The whiskey was taking effect quickly. Phillip realized he hadn't eaten since lunch but the thoughts of food were far removed from his mind. He fell into a twilight sleep, images of smoke and screams and Tranquillo's smug face.
The scream...the scream!

He jumped up, and suddenly leaned against the wall, his stature unsteady from all the alcohol. He kicked an empty rum bottle out of his way as he made his way to the direction of the sounds of a night terror.
As he opened the door, there sat Zara straight up in her bed. Her face was streaked with tears. The bedclothes were tossed and her chemise drifted down off one shoulder. Her hair was in disarray and a sheen of sweat glistened off her.
"Zara? Zara! What's wrong?"

She had the corner of the blanket up to her face as she tried to wipe the tears off her face.
" was awful. I saw his face. And then...."
She held her hands out as if inspecting them. "It--it's the blood. It won't come off. Phillip, it won't come off!"
Phillip sat on the edge of the bed and held her hands in his.
Very softly, he said, "Zara, there is no blood."
"But there is! Don't you.....see?"
She looked down and her laugh was brittle.
"You had a nightmare. And no wonder, after all that has happened today. "
He brushed her hair back and wiped her face with the blanket.

Her chemise clung to her, leaving no doubt in Phillip's mind now she was not a child anymore but a young woman.
"I can't stop shaking." She held her hands out and they trembled.
"Hold on." He went to his cabin and came back with a bottle of whiskey.
"Take a sip. A small---"
Zara put the bottle to her lips and coughed.
She coughed again as Phillip took the bottle away.
She closed her eyes as the warmth from the whiskey flowed through her.
"Phillip? Would you...would you please stay here till I fall asleep? I'm so afraid the nightmare will come back."

He hesitated. But Zara's imploring eyes and her hand reached for his arm.
"It's hard for a Wolfe to admit they are afraid, but I am."
"Zara, you are safe here. I am just in the next room. I'll even leave the door open."
She cast her eyes down.
He sighed.
"Alright. I'll stay."
"Thank you," she said in a small voice.
He put his feet up on the bed and laid down.

"What did  you do with....him?"
"He's on his way back to Havana. Probably in a vat of rum."
Zara looked stricken.
"I'm sorry, Zara. But that is the way they do it when they want to..."
She looked about to be sick.
"Never mind. That was thoughtless of me. His crew will see that he gets where he is supposed to."
"Where is the...the....dagger? Did it stay with....?"
"No. Davis pitched it into the sea. He thought you wouldn't be wanting it back."
She nodded silently. "Thank you."

Her hair fell in a tangle around her face. He gently brushed it back as they faced each other. She tucked her arm under her pillow and watched his face as he laid on the pillow next to her.
"Phillip? Do you ever think about....death?"
"Occasionally. Then I brush it aside and go on with living life to the full."
"That's just it. You've had a wonderful time. I'm just starting to come into my own. And the thoughts of dying without ever living a fulfilled life scares me."
"Zara, you are young. You have a wonderful life ahead of you."
"Can I ask you a personal question?"
"Of course."
"Do you intend to marry Lenore Culley?"

He sighed. "I'm promised to be engaged, Zara."
"That's not an answer, Phillip."
"It's all I can really say. Decisions will have to be made when I get back from Virginia."
She nodded, a look of misery in her eyes.
"Zara? Are you alright?"
She felt her eyes mist up and felt a bit sick to her stomach.
"I'm....alright. Except...."
"What, Cookie?"
"That's just it. You call me Cookie and it is a name from when I was a toddler." Her words came out in a rush.
"I'm not a toddler anymore, Phillip, and you can stop treating me like one. And there is one thing I am afraid of. It's coming back from  Virginia and not ever feeling the way I feel when I am with you."
She reached up and touched his cheek gently.

"If nothing comes of this, then I will at least know what love is. I can accept that if you decide Lenore is the one you want.  I will learn to live with that.
But for now, right here in this room and in this bed, it is just us.
It is what I want, Phillip, and I know it is what you want too."

The tears welled up in her eyes as she gathered up her courage to whisper what she had longed to say.
"I love you, Phillip."
And with that she kissed him.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 04, 2017, 09:58:41 PM
It took a few moments for Zara's words to wend their way through the whiskey haze and into his consciousness. He looked into her eyes and found himself utterly defenseless. She was Jack Wolfe's daughter. He had made some vague noises that sounded like a promise to Lenore Culley. Zara was not supposed to be alone with him like this, and he wasn't supposed to want her this badly.

"Zara... you... I..."
"That's the idea," she whispered, and she drew him into a deep kiss. 

She drew back from him and with trembling fingers, began to unfasten the tiny buttons on her chemise.
 "Shhh....," he whispered in the dark as his fingers took over the task.

The fabric fell away like a silken waterfall in the moonlight.
 Phillip gently pushed Zara back and kissed her neck.
Zara put her arms around Phillip, drawing him to her.
His lips grazed her shoulder.
 At that moment, the thoughts of Lenore Culley and the red haired woman erased from Phillip's memory.
 All he could think of was the young woman he had known since she was a toddler.  Now a passionate woman who wanted him, body and soul.

His hand slid over her hips, gathering the fabric of her silk chemise with his fingers. He gently lifted the garment over her head. Zara's eyes stayed locked with his. She responded in kind by tugging at his shirt, pulling it over his head and casting it off the bed to lie with her chemise. They kissed, an intense, fiery kiss that would not easily fall to embers. Zara felt light-headed, but not from the alcohol. The sensation of Phillip's skin against her own was intoxicating in ways she had never dreamed possible. Feeling his hands on her body, stroking her, caressing her, made her want him even more. Her fantasies could not prepare her for the rush of desire that overtook her at this moment.

Every practiced touch and kiss from Phillip seemed to carry its own electric charge, her body responding in ways she had not anticipated. She gave herself over to him without reservation, joining with him in an ever-heightening spiral of ecstasy.

To finally hold Zara in his arms, to at last acknowledge his feelings and desire for her, was like throwing off shackles for Phillip. The warmth of her body, the sweet smell of her skin, the taste of her kiss, every supple curve under his touch, made his blood burn. At this moment, no other woman mattered to him, just as to her no other man existed.

The lovers, no longer burdened by rules and pretense, could finally allow their smouldering desire to become one flame.

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 03, 2017, 07:35:47 PM

Phillip tenderly brushed the hair back from her face.
The moonlight shone down on the couple through the porthole.
"I'm sorry, Zara. I didn't mean for this to happen."
She stroked his face. "I'm not sorry. And yes, I meant for this to happen so don't have any regrets."
He held her close and kissed her.
"I don't think I have ever seen a woman glow like you are now."
She laughed softly, "You underestimate yourself, Mister Briggs."
He took her hand and kissed it.
"You, my girl, are amazing."
"But I am not a girl anymore. And there is one thing I have learned."
He drew back and laughed softly. "Just one thing?"
"Alright, quite a few things but you know what fleeting thought went through my mind?"
"Now I know that look Da would give Mama and the smile she gave in return. And why I have six brothers and sisters."
He laughed, "Well, it has been said that Jack Wolfe never left a woman unsatisfied."
She drew him close to her and kissed him.
"Can we do this again?"

"What, now?"
"Zara, along with the whiskey, that took alot out of me."
"Is that why you were breathing heavy?"
She rolled over and propped herself up on her elbow. She ran her finger down the side of his face and traced her finger on his lips.
"Because it was your first time. I wanted it to be perfect for you. No clumsiness, no awkwardness. Just...pure bliss."

She laid her head on Phillip's chest and sighed contentedly.
" Da said you were to be my instructor."
He placed his finger on her lips.
"This is one lesson, Zara, that we aren't going to tell your father about."
He drew her close to him. "I guess we won't be getting much sleep."
Her soft voice echoed in the room. "No, I guess we won't."


Zara snuggled up next to Phillip.
He gently stroked her back as he drew the blankets over her.
"How many days till we reach Virginia?"
"About ten days with a good wind."
"I wish we could stay here, Phillip. In this cabin and never have to surface again."
He laughed. "The crew needs me to get El Lobo to port. We had enough trouble.
"I need you too."
"Yes, but not the way they do."
She got up, the blanket trailing behind her as she wrapped herself up in it.
"The moon is still up. I imagine it is about two in the morning."
Phillip yawned, "More like two-thirty."
"How do you know?"
"Sailor's instinct. Now come back to bed where you belong."
She grinned and climbed back in.
He wrapped his arms around her and drew her to him in a deep kiss.
"I love you, Zara."

She pulled back suddenly. "What did you say?"
"I love you. God help me, I have tried to fight it but I can't deny it any longer. You are smart, beautiful, fun-loving. Everything I have ever wanted in a woman."
"A woman. Phillip, this is the first time you have admitted that I am a woman."
"Well...." he laughed. "I feel so free when I am with you. It's honest. It's real. Maybe I was just waiting for you to grow up."
Zara felt the tears well up in her eyes.
"Oh, Phillip....I love you. I love you with all my heart."

With that confession, Phillip knew there was no way he was going to marry Lenore Culley.
A conversation from a month back flashed through his mind.

"Are you going to end it with Lenore?"
"I think I would be doing her a disservice by marrying her when..."
"When you are in love with another woman?"
" did you know?"
"The distraction. The questioning. The doubts. But I have a thought for you to ponder."
"Of al the women in the world, why did you have to fall in love with the daughter of Mad Jack Wolfe?"

He sighed. 'Renee, you could give Bonita a run for her money with your uncanny talent for predictions. Or are you just stating the bleeding obvious?'

With that he blew the candle out and settled down to as deep a sleep as he had not experienced in a long while.
All the while holding the woman he could finally love completely.

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on May 02, 2017, 07:52:03 PM
Davis stood at the gunwale, watching a few dolphins frolic in El Lobo's wake.
Keating sidled up next to him.
"Seen Captain Briggs?"
"Yes and no."
"What does that mean? Either you saw him or you didn't."

"It's that I mostly see the back of him  as he goes back to the cabin. Frequently."
"Ah, well, he's in love."
"More like a new plaything."
"Don't be so ticked off, Davis. You were young once."
Davis threw his cigarette into the water.
"He makes the lamest excuses. He has to check the charts. He has to write in the log book. As if he ever did before. But the one last night was the topper. He had to go back for his hat."
"So what is so wrong with that?"
"He was wearing it."

Keating laughed. "Well, we haven't seen much of Miss Zara. Either she is occupied with her books or Briggs took her clothes away."
"Regardless, ol' Mad Jack will be out of his mind when he finds out. After all, that's his little girl."
"Don't be too sure about that, Davis. Phillip has been like a son to Jack. Maybe this is all part of a master plan. She has to get married sometime and what better way than to arrange it with somone you select yourself?"
"Aye, well, he'd best marry the lass before she makes him a father and HER father a grandfather. That won't go over so well and young girls...well, they can be careless."

Zara propped herself up on her elbow, the sheet barely covering her breasts.
She smiled at Phillip as he pulled his shirt over  his head.
"Do you really have to go?"
He leaned over and kissed her cheek.
"Yes, sweetheart, I have your father's ship to command. And the sooner we get to Virginia, the easier I will breathe."
Zara stretched her arms over her head. "OH...I kind of like passing time here."
He grinned, "I'll take that as a compliment."
"How many more days till we reach Virginia?"
"About ten days."
She ran her finger up and down the blanket languishly. "And that leaves ten nights."
He laughed. "I'm going to have to stop my afternoon visits. The crew is beginning to whisper and talk."
"Let them. After all, you tell them you are picking up papers or writing in the log."
"They aren't dim-witted, sweetheart."
"Well, maybe I need to go up on deck."
She started out of bed. He grabbed her from behind and pulled her back in bed, kissing her neck.
"Oh, I don't think so. I like you just where you are."

Davis passed the door and heard soft laughter and giggling from inside.
He shook his head. "Can't we make it to Virginia in seven days? If he says clap on more sail, he'll get no argument from me."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 02, 2017, 07:59:32 PM
Ten days later in Virginia

"Zara? Are you ready? We're about to dock."
She opened the door and stood there in a light summer dress of spring green with a parasol to match trimmed with green ribbon.
"I must say you look stunning. Will I have to fight off the local gentry lads?"
Zara adjusted her white lace gloves and smiled. "Oh, I don't think so. No one can hold a candle to you, Phillip."

And she was right. Phillip was wearing a new burgundy silk shirt that he purchased in Tortuga along with black breeches. A cavalier hat in burgundy with black feathers was perched rakishly on his head.
As they walked to the gallery, Zara hand resting on his arm, he said, "It will be nice to sleep in a bed that isn't rocking."
Zara whispered in his ear and Phillip exclaimed, "Oh, you bawdy wench!"
Her soft laughter reached the ears of Davis. He threw his spike down.
"Hey, Davis! Where are you headed off to?"
He grumbled, "To pay off a few wagers."


"Uncle Will!"
She ran up to Captain Iron Will Harknesss and gave him a big hug.
"Zara, my sunshine! How was the journey?"
"Incredible and exciting! I learned so much from Phillip and---"
Phillip cut her off and extended his hand to Will. Will clapped him on the back.
"I take it the trip itself was uneventful?"
"Well, best tell the story over a brandy."
"Later, then."

Zara laid her hand on Phillip's arm and he smiled down on her. Will raised his eyebrow and didn't say a word. She closed her parasol and she gave Phillip a kiss on the cheek.
Will said to himself, 'Damn right we will talk about it later."

From the carriage window, Zara looked out over the passing scenery. "Oh, Uncle Will! This wasn't the wilderness I pictured. You are actually civilized!'
Will leaned on his walking stick. "Yes, indeed, civilization suits us here! I will have a ball to introduce you to Virginia society. A lot of eligible young men who would love to score one dance with you and be content to die happy.
He stole a glance at Phillip who stared out the window of the carriage.

Within half an hour, the carriage pulled up to a beautiful brick manor with ivy crawling up the sides. Four white pillars held up a second story balcony. In the fields, the songs of slaves filled the air.
"Tobacco. A crop that is profitable bar none. Not to mention my rum distillery near the wharf....and here we are!"

Phillip helped Zara out of the carriage. A young black man held the reins of the horses and quickly led them away to be groomed.
Suddenly the front door opened and a tall, lightskinned black woman in a pretty calico dress greeted them.
"Mr. Will, she is just as pretty as you said she was."
She curtseyed. "I am Dilcey. I shall show you to your room."
Phillip whispered, "I will see you in a bit."

Dilcey chatted enthusiastically about the house as Zara glanced back at Philip.
Will said, "Zara looks well. Almost glowing. She certainly has grown into a beautiful young woman.. Come on, let's go into my study."
They headed to a study where the books lined the walls and framed maps decorated the other wall.
"Yes, please."
"So, Phillip....sit down. You have my molasses?"
"All set to unload."
Will looked at his walking stick. "Good, good! Now do you care to tell me what really happened?"
"What do you mean?"
"On the voyage. I know chain shot damage when I see it. And a hole from a cannonball near the upper deck. What will Jack say when he sees the damage?"
"He won't. I intend to have it fixed before we sail."
Then he sighed. "Alright. Two words. Tranquillo Mendoza."
Will raised an eyebrow. "You don't say."
"Better pour yourself a brandy and settle in."
"For this, I will pour my best."
"It started out when we hit Tortuga....."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on October 06, 2017, 12:51:16 PM

"...and I sent Tranquillo home with his crew. I hope they put him in a barrel of rum to keep him preserved by the time they get to Havana."
"What were you wearing?"
"What were you wearing when you killed him?"
Phillip looked puzzled. "I was wearing a shirt..."
"Good. What else?"
"Will, I don't think...."
"What else?"
"I had on breeches..."
"Alright, that's nice. Hat?"
"My cavalier..."
"Just three. Burgundy and one was black. Will, WHAT does this possibly have to do with anything?"
"What was Zara wearing?"
"She wore a white shirt and a dark skirt. Boots. Will, what does it matter?"
Will sighed. "If you are going to kill someone, have the decency to look sharp. It's an important day in their life, so try to dress for the occasion. A little respect goes a long way. That is why I always dressed in my best when leading a boarding party. Nothing says you matter to me more than a nice silk shirt and great boots."
"This won't go well with Diego. Not at all. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that old mad warlord is still alive." Will tapped his leg with his walking stick. "I have him to thank for this damned limp. I was one of the lucky ones on that occasion. Let's just say I'm happy for his loss. But you, dear lad, will need to keep a weather eye."
"It was a lesson I don't need repeated," said Phillip. "I plan on taking the wolf masthead off and replacing it with an innocuous one for the return voyage. I also paid the dock master off. We ported under the name Sea Hawk."
Will nodded. "So Jack never did put a placard on her stern, eh?"
"He never had to. No other ship has a profile quite like hers."
"Until today, according to the master of the Sea Hawk," said Will with a chuckle. "I'll see to it an appropriate one finds its way to you."
"You have my thanks," said Phillip.
"A gift for an old friend. And for the closest thing I'll ever have to a daughter."

Phillip smiled. "I know she thinks of you as a favourite uncle. I had no idea you felt so strongly about her as well."
"Zara has a way of making a lasting impression when it suits her," said Will. "It seems like only yesterday when she pulled herself up onto the couch beside me to share some treat she had. A charmer, that one."
"That she is," Phillip agreed.
"And she has a whole new set of charms now," Will continued. "She's become a fine woman."
Phillip nodded, a thoughtful smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
"No doubt she turns the head of any man who isn't blind."
Phillip continued to nod.
"And how is your eyesight, Phillip?"
"Pardon? What?" Phillip replied. "Fine, I'd say. Why do you ask?"
"Oh, no reason. No reason at all," said Will. "Jack and Honour must have the utmost trust in you, playing courier with their eldest daughter. Not many men could take on such a burden."
"Perhaps," said Phillip. "But not many men have known her since she was a toddler. We're more like family than not."

"Ah, good!" said Will. "I'm happy to know it was easy for you to keep ship's business ahead of all else. No wonder Jack has such faith in you. Well then, I've occupied your time enough for now. I'm sure you would like to settle in and relax a bit."
"Thank you, yes. I would at that."
"Then off you pop. Up the stairs and to the right. Your room is two doors down."
"Thank you again for your hospitality, Will," said Phillip.
As he approached the door to the study, Will called  to him. "Zara's room is at the end of the hall to the left of the stairs. My apologies for the arrangement of accommodations. Those are my finest guest rooms. I hope it's no inconvenience."
Phillip put on his most charming smile. "Inconvenience? Not in the least. I hadn't given it a thought. I shall see you at dinner."

Will watched as Phillip climbed the stairs, and chuckled as the young man occasionally glanced in the direction of Zara's room as he went.
"But you're giving it plenty of thought now, I'll wager," Will said with a satisfied smile.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on January 14, 2018, 08:27:30 AM
Phillip walked down the hallway towards the room that Will had told him was to be his.
"Psss! Phillip!"
He turned and saw Zara's door open a wee bit with her hand hurriedly motioning him.
"What is it?" he whispered as he reached the door.
Suddenly her hand shot out and she grabbed him by the shirt and dragged him into the bedroom. Before he could speak, her arms were around his neck and she gave him a kiss that he wasn't sure he could recover from any time soon.
He closed the door with his boot.
As she broke away, she said in frustration, "Do you think Uncle Will put us in opposite ends of the house on purpose?"
"I have no idea."
"Do you think he suspects?"
"No, I think I convinced him that I was assigned to escort you to Virginia. I don't think he suspects any...shall I say? Foul play?"
She pushed him onto the bed and climbed on top of him.
"You, my darling, are going to have to make nocturnal visits. Like Charles II did with his mistresses."
He grasped her hands and pulled them towards his neck, putting his arms around her waist. He rolled her over and kissed her deeply.
"We have to figure out a way. Old Will is like a vampire. He never sleeps at night, is my guess."
"When are we expected to dine?"
" about an hour. I told Will I wanted to put a few things away and jot off a note to your father to let him know we arrived safely."
"I take it you won't tell Da about Tranquillo Mendoza."
"Oh hell no! That will be an 'oh by the way' story. I plan on having the ship fixed and a temporary masthead. Should be no problem. I'll see the shipwright in the morning."
His hand found the ribbon lacings on the front of her dress. With one swift tug, the ribbons gave way.
"An hour can be rewarding if you use it the right way, darling."
Zara smiled and put her finger to his lips.
"As long as we are quiet..."
Zara wrapped the sheet around her as Phillip pulled his shirt over his head.
"Zara, you'd better find a way to get that blushing glow off your face or Will is going to hang me from the nearest tree."
She laughed as she got out of bed. " I am sure Uncle Will has put a smile on many a woman's face.  Even now."
She walked Phillip to the door and quietly opened it. Only it wasn't quiet. It clattered with the sound of the brass doorknob.
Phillip swore.
He cautiously poked his head out the door and looked both ways down the hall.
"Coast appears to be clear."
Zara wrapped herself around Philip and he gently disentangled her.
"Something has to be done about the door."
"I'll put a piece of my handkerchief in between the lock and the striker. That will muffle it."
Phillip grinned. "Never doubt the ingenuity of a woman in----"
"I was going to say lust but that works."
She giggled as she pushed him through the door.
"Go. I will see you at dinner."
She closed the door quickly as Phillip quietly crept down to his own quarters.
He never heard the door in the corner softly open. Because Phillip didn't notice the small staircase in the corner of the library leading up to the second floor.
Will stood there, an amused look on his face.
'So...just as I suspected. This can be quite the entertainment watching how they pull it off. And think the are getting away with it. Very entertaining indeed!'
He chuckled to himself as he shut the door.
Phillip met Zara in the hallway.
"I must say, Miss Wolfe, you are looking quite radiant. Or is it the sun coming through that window over there?"
She whispered, "You know very well why I am radiant. Now hush! Let's go into the dining room proper!"
She giggled as Phillip gave her bottom a light swat as they entered the dining room.
It was grand but with a cozy air. He pulled the chair out for Zara.
"Ah, there you are! I trust you made good use of your hour." Will smiled broadly.
Phillip's head shot up. Zara smiled sweetly.
"Oh, yes, Uncle Will. I did a quick unpacking and then went to bed for a while."
She gave a covert glance at Phillip.
"And you, Phillip? Did you also get some rest?"
"I um...had some pressing business to attend to."
"Really? My, you are quite industrious. Most men would have taken advantage of the time they had to..regroup. Have a quick lie-down. I do hope you find the beds satisfactory?"
"Oh, yes!' they both said in unison, glancing quickly at each other and then looking away.
"Wonderful! Nothing like having a Zara, is the lock on your room giving you trouble? I could have sworn I heard a clattering."
"Oh, no, Uncle Will. I, um...accidentally knocked over a candle holder."
"Really! Well, it must be the really heavy one in your room."
"Oh, yes, it was. But nothing caught on fire."
"I am certainly glad to hear that. I certainly don't want a fire started that can't be quenched easily."

Phillip shifted a bit uneasily in his chair.
A servant brought out a tureen of soup and bowls.
"This dining room is usually teeming with people. Business associates and such. But since you were arriving today, I put all business on hold and thought a nice family get together would be in order. After all, I watched the both of you grow up. Almost like brother and sister, you are! Without the quibbling and quarreling, of course."
"I wouldn't go that far, Will."
"No, I guess not. Maybe you are more like...what is that term? Oh, yes. 'Kissing cousins'. That's the word!"
A silence fell over the table as both Phillip and Zara concentrated on their soup.
"Zara, I intend to have a ball in your honour. I want to introduce you to the local gentry."
"Oh, Uncle Will, that won't be necessary! I am quite content to sit in your lovely garden and read."
"Nonsense, my dear. There are hearts to be broken here in Colonial Virginia. There is a young man I am most anxious for you to meet. Andrew Peffly. Or shall I say Lord Andrew Peffly."
"Uncle Will, I don't think...."
"The two of you should have quite a bit in common. I do believe he is your age, Phillip. Zara, his family is from Northumberland but I do believe his mother is from Hawick in Scotland just over the border. A very charming young man."
Phillip could feel himself beginning to do a slow burn. "I had planned to show Zara a bit of the countryside tomorrow, Will. With your permission, we would like to ride a bit. It will be a nice change to get our land legs back."
"Oh, by all means, do! I can recommend a nice path that follows into the woods. Quiet. It ends at a stream with a bridge over it. Then goes a bit deeper into the forest. Very off the beaten path. No one ever uses it though."
Zara and Phillip exchanged looks. Zara ducked her head down and smiled.
"It sounds lovely, Uncle Will."
"It certainly is. A nice place to just kick back and relax. Oh, Phillip? I'll take that letter you wrote to Jack. I can get it on the packet ship that leaves here tomorrow."
"Yes. The letter that you were going to write to Jack. Telling him you arrived safely."
He held out his hand. Phillip felt  his face getting red as he said, "I..never got around to writing it, Will. I was...."
"Distracted? Easy to do in this lovely countryside. The view out the window is breathtaking. No worries, I am sure you will get around to it later tonight."
"Yes, sir. I'll get around to it."
Zara started to cough.
"Are you alright, Zara, darling?"
"Oh yes. Just excited for..tomorrow."
"Yes, I am sure you are. Well, you both have had an exciting day. Shall we finish the dinner now so the two of you can get to bed? I am sure you are both exhausted and a will do you a world of good."

Dinner wound down uneventfully. The wine was finished and goodnights were said.
As they left the room, Zara whispered, "He knows! Uncle Will knows! I know he knows!"
Phillip whispered back, "No, he doesn't. You are just feeling self-conscious."
"I am not! He kept looking at me."
"Your imagination is running wild again, Zara."
"Regardless, we need to be careful. I don't want Uncle Will suspecting the worst."
"You know what I mean."
They cleared the top of the stairs.
"An hour?" she whispered.
"Make it thirty minutes."
They laughed softly and parted, each going to their separate rooms.
Will sat at the table and lit a thin, black cigar. He blew the smoke and watched it circle as he gazed at the ceiling. A smile graced his face which dissolved into laughter.
As he flicked the ashes into a tea cup, he said softly, 'Oh dear me, children---who do you think you are fooling? Mad Jack certainly didn't bank on this!'
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on March 30, 2018, 07:50:00 PM
"Zara? Open up. It's me." Phillip whispered softly at the door as he knocked quietly.
"Come in, it's open," he barely heard.
Phillip quietly opened the door. Zara stood there at the casement window, looking up at the sky. Her body was silhouetted in the moonlight, her gown falling like gossamer around her curves. He came behind her and put his arms around her, drawing her to him.
She leaned back into him.
"I don't think I have ever seen you looking so beautiful, Zara,"
She closed her eyes and sighed contentedly.
"Do you know how long I have waited to hear you say something like that?"
Phillip looked out the window. "Look at that full moon. A shilling for your thoughts, love."
"Oh...I was thinking of mama and Da. Renee and Uncle Josiah. You and me. And how the same moon is shining down on all of us. Almost like it is blessing us."
He turned her around and cupped her face in his hands.
"I'm sorry it took me so long to realize where my heart lies."
"Some things are worth waiting for, Phillip."
With that they walked arm in arm to the bed. The sheets were drawn back and after that, there was no need for more words.
As they laid there, Phillip asked, 'What about this ball?"
"What about it?"
"Will seems intent on it. Do you think he is playing matchmaker with you? He seems eager to introduce you to this Lord Piffle."
"Yeah, whatever."
She rolled over and faced him, running her finger down his arm.
"Phillip....are you jealous?"
"Jealous? No. I think Will is being a manipulating bastard."
"I mean that with the utmost respect. But don't think I am going to let him manipulate us."
She sighed. "I love it when you get all knight-in-shining-armor on me."
He kissed her.
"Does that mean I get to stay the night?"
She kissed him. "Only if you make it worth my while."
He grinned. "Have I ever failed?"
Will walked to Phillip's door and knocked.
No answer. He knocked again. Still no answer. He gave a gentle push.
An empty bed. Will chuckled and walked down the hall.
From Zara's room he could hear low voices and a woman's soft laughter.
He shook his head and smiled, 'One good looking man, one beautiful was bound to happen.'
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on March 30, 2018, 08:19:14 PM
Meanwhile back in Barbados....

"Good morning, darling," Josiah kissed Renee on the cheek as she sat there with her coffee cup in her hands.
She took a sip and smiled to herself.
"Good morning to you, too, love."
Josiah turned as he finished pouring himself a cup of coffee.

"What is that look?"
"What look?"
"That look like you know something and maybe want to say it but don't know if you should. Like a secret that is like a cat in the bag. You want to let it out but don't know if you should."
She laughed. "Josie, Josie.... what makes you think that?"
"Because I know you, Renee. Better than you probably know yourself."
She put her coffee cup down and traced her finger around the edge as a bit of a tease. That was when Josiah knew she was about to spill the beans. So he patiently waited.
"I was just wondering...."
" you and Jack will look as proud grandparents at a baby's baptism."
Renee looked over. "
"Oh...was it something I said?" She asked with a cocked eyebrow.
"Where in God's green earth did you EVER come up with a notion like that?"
She leaned back and stretched her arms over her head.
"I've always thought it. But never got around to mentioning it."
"I think you have been adding a bit too much rum in your coffee."
"Oh, have I? Or am I the only one saying what is the obvious?"
"Renee, Phillip is going to marry Lenore Culley."

"I wouldn't be too sure about that."
Josiah mopped up the spilled coffee. "How do you figure that?"
She took the wet rag from him and tossed it in the sink..
"Here. Use this one to mop your brow while I explain."
He sat down and reached for the rum.
Renee set another cup of coffee down in front of him.
"Have you ever known Jack Wolfe to do something that wouldn't benefit him?"
"Well, no..."
"You take one starry-eyed seventeen year old. Add a tall, strapping good-looking man with
nothing to do on a ship for a few weeks but watch out for said seventeen year old. Anything is possible."
"Phillip wouldn't!"
"Would. Could. Probably did. Oh, don't look so shocked, Josiah. You know how Phillip is and what a determined young lady Zara is. Has that girl ever been denied anything she set her heart on?"
Josiah gulped his coffee. "Jack will kill him."
"Don't be too sure. What better way to ensure that you like your son-in-law than to handpick him yourself?"
"But that is so...calculated. Jack wouldn't do that to Zara."
"Who better understand human emotions and certain drives better than Jack Wolfe? He's just enabling Zara to get what she wanted all along. And giving Phillip an option instead of making the biggest mistake of his life by marrying that stuck up viper."
Josiah stood up and grabbed his hat. "I have to see Jack about some molasses that are due to go out next run. We'll forget this conversation ever existed."
As he walked out the door, Renee took another sip of her coffee and smiled.
"Don't be too sure, my love. I am betting it is already a done deal."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on March 30, 2018, 08:25:17 PM
Josiah walked up to the massive oak door around back. Not because he was a backdoor tradesman, but a welcome friend. Jack always regarded his closest friends as earning the right to come in the back way. Close to Mrs Avery's scones and tarts, he always said. And Jack's house always had an open door policy.  As he mounted the stairs, the sea breeze ruffled his hair. Life was good, he contemplated. Good friends, one he regarded closer than a brother. A beautiful healthy woman to love him. And a son that would make any man proud.
'The son...' he thought. Renee's fanciful suppositions rankled him. 'No, not possible. Phillip was a man of honour. A man betrothed to a woman of high society with the possibility of an important career....'
He wouldn't throw his chances on....Josiah shook his head as if to clear it. Renee always had a wild imagination. And regarded Phillip as the son she never had made their relationship all the more special. Because he was a child of choice, not by accident. Accident....babies....good grief, Briggs! Snap out of it!
 He shifted the papers to his other arm and knocked. Honour of all people answered the door, a baby on her hip and a streak of flour on her face.
"Josiah! Come in!"
He smiled when he saw her. "What on earth are you up to, Honour?"
"Oh...just helping Mrs Avery roll out some dough. The baby was in her cradle in the kitchen and I just picked her up when you knocked. But you don't have to knock, Josiah. You are family. Next time just walk in. Promise?"
 He gave her shoulders a squeeze. "I promise. the man of the house around?"
"He's just finishing up with an invoice with Eli. Go right in."
Josiah made his way down the hall to Jack's study and de facto business office. In many ways, it felt like his many walks to the great cabin aboard El Lobo. The door was open, but he felt the need to knock anyway.

"Master Briggs! Since when did we begin standing on pretence? Make your way in, you scoundrel! You know where everything is," called Jack.
Josiah chuckled as he stepped into the expansive library Jack called a study. Eli was sitting in a chair across from Jack's desk, but for a change, the young man seemed relaxed. Unusually so. But presently he gathered up his papers and hat.
"Much obliged, Cap'n Wolfe."
"Eli, how many times must I ask you to just call me Jack?"
"At least once more, Cap'n. As you'll always be my Cap'n."
"On your way, Mister Meredith. All my best to your family."
Eli paused to acknowledge Briggs before he left the room. And Briggs couldn't help but notice the large brown bottle of rum on Jack's desk.

"Josiah!" said Jack. "What brings you round this fine day? Let me pour you a gulper, like old times."
As Jack poured the rum, Briggs said, "I recall it was me pouring you a gulper, you being captain and all."
"Again with the pretences. Here. Courtesy of Will Harkness himself."
Josiah knocked the cup back and found himself gasping for air. "What in blazes is that?!" he managed to croak out.
"Rum, of course," said Jack. "Unless you've lost your taste for it."
"My taste be just fine. What's left of it, after that. I'd stow it well away from the powder magazine if you get my meaning. How many have you had?"
"Two, before that one. I think. So, what's on your mind, my friend?"

Josiah plopped into a chair and tried to formulate his words as the rum's effects began to work its ways with him.
"Well, Jack, Renee and I were talking..."
"Good man. Communication is the key to a happy marriage."
"No, I mean, we were talking about Phillip. More to the point, Phillip and a certain young lady we're both acquainted with."
Jack's eyes narrowed. "I don't believe either of us is sufficiently drunk enough to continue this conversation if it's headed where I think it's headed."
Briggs handed over his cup. "Aye, that be true enough."

Jack poured them each a generous portion, which was quickly consumed by both men. After a few moments of shuddering and head shaking, Jack said, "All right. What are your concerns?"
"None that you haven't had yourself on a sleepless night."
"Snoring? And don't tell Honour I said anything. It's a sensitive subject."
Josiah set his empty cup down on Jack's desk. "No. Not snoring. You see, Renee mentioned—"
Before he could protest, the cup was refilled and waiting for him. He gave a resigned shrug and picked it up.
"She mentioned how this certain young lady had caught Phillip's eye. And how he's taken quite a fancy to her."
He paused to gauge Jack's reaction.
Jack took another drink and nodded attentively. "Yes, and?"
Josiah took another drink himself to hide his puzzlement. "Well, them being from such different family backgrounds and such, it makes you wonder how her parents might feel about, you know, things."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on March 30, 2018, 08:27:54 PM
"Ah, I see your point," said Jack. "A young woman's parents can be very protective. And rightly so."
"I said as much to Renee. But she doesn't see any rough waters ahead."
"Renee is an excellent judge of people. And I would agree. I think Phillip has found a fine match."
Briggs choked on his rum. "You— what did you say??"
"I said Phillip found a suitable woman."
"You'd best pour me another."
"Well, 'suitable' might be a stretch. She's certainly stuck up. And more than a little boring."
"I never thought I'd hear you say that, Jack. Not in a million years."
"Why not?" said Jack. "It's the truth. But there's not a lot of choice on this island for a strapping young man. He could do worse than Lenore Culley."
"Lenore? I thought you were talking about.. you know..."
"No, I really don't."
Jack shook his head. "Why would I be talking about her? You're not making any sense, mate."
"I do appreciate it, Josiah," said Jack as he topped off their cups. "To be honest, the thought had crossed my mind as we were planning Zara's disappearance. Phillip is a good man. The only scallywag on this island I would trust with her safety more is yourself."
"Then Phillip is—"
"Dear Phillip is a calculated risk. One that I believe I could live with."
"That's right kind of you to say, Jack. And Phillip is a smart man. Hopefully smart enough to keep from... well, you know."
"We're smart men, and I don't recall it ever slowing us down. Especially the times it should have had us racing out of the harbour. But I will know if anything untoward happened."
Josiah nodded. "A father's intuition about the well-being of his daughter, is it?"
"Far more practical, and inscrutable," said Jack. "The bed will tell the tale if there is indeed a tale to be told."
"That rickety old thing? It's been broken more often than a banker's promises, and triced up as if by a drunken spider."
Jack smiled and touched his nose.
"Ah! You rigged the bed!"
"During one of my inspections of El Lobo just before they departed, I took the liberty of making a few adjustments. Anything over the weight of a man plus a sack of grain and pop goes the bedposts."

Briggs burst out in laughter at the thought of the bed collapsing at an inopportune moment. "And them with no way of knowing how it was tied up in the first place..."
"Plus a red herring or two to confuse things more. That's where the missing deck gun got to, in case you're wondering."
"I'm hoping it doesn't come to that, of course," chortled Briggs. "But it would be a fine test of their ingenuity."
"Hang their ingenuity. My intention was to give them something else to occupy their time," said Jack. The two men clinked their cups together in agreement.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on March 30, 2018, 08:28:19 PM
"By the way, has there been any word of the parcel I sent to the Barbary Coast?" said Jack.
Josiah shook his head. "They should be on their way back by now. Those waters aren't what you'd call hospitable."
He took another sip before continuing. "Jack, I know it's not my place to question your motives, especially in personal matters—"
"Which has never stopped you before. Go on, my friend."
"When the Culley boy threatened Zara the way he did, there wasn't a man aboard who didn't want to have a few words with him, shall we say. A few of those words being 'shark bait" and the like. But we knew you'd sort him out in due time and keep Zara protected."
"I— I never quite expected you to go as far as you did with it. He's the governor's son, after all. Do you think it's wise?"
"Josiah, I could have killed him. Part of me wanted to. But then he'd never learn anything from his mistake."
"Isn't sending him off to a seraglio the same thing?"
"Not at all. He'll be well treated. Treated better than a slave, at any rate."
"So you didn't sell him to a sultan?"
"No. I didn't. It's not like I would get a decent price for him."
"You're going to have to fill in the map for me, Jack. You've got me lost."
"There is a particular sultan who owes me a favour or two. Remember when we convinced an East India company warship an entire Turkish fleet was bearing down on them?"
"When we were just six ships towing lighted rafts! How could I forget?"
"Tristan Culley is being delivered to that sultan to be a servant in the palace for no less than three years. After that, he's free to go."
"That's all fine and good," said Briggs. "But three years? What happens when he turns up here in Barbados lookin' for retribution?"
"He won't be in Barbados."
"How's that? The first place any man kept in irons wants to go once freed is home."
"And home he will go. To London Towne."
"Another favour called in?"
"Another favour," said Jack with a smile. "My having certain ties to the Admiralty, and those ties having their own to a lot of stuffy folk in white wigs, it means that in less than two year's time Governor Culley will be recalled to England. Much to his relief, I'm sure. And Tristan will be reunited with his father soon thereafter. The opera is always looking for a good contralto."
"Just one flaw in your plan," said Josiah. "Phillip has no love for Mother England. His heart be here, 'tween the waves of the Caribbean, same as you and me. Lenore will want to stay close to Daddy and even closer to high society, so marrying her means leaving Barbados and most likely the sea to boot. All the more incentive for him to keep his sights closer to friendly shores. If you catch my meaning."
Jack sat back in his chair. "Your meaning is caught, Master Briggs."
"How's that calculated risk playing out for you now?"
"In-laws? Us?"
"We've shared hard times and good fortune for a good many years. I reckon we could weather this as well."
Jack nodded agreement.
"Of course, it could all be a passing fancy on Zara's part, too. How likely is she to lose interest in something she's grown fond of?"
"She's still got that toy rabbit I picked up for her on the way to Wales."
Briggs' eyebrows went up in surprise. "Well, em... Probably a good thing we all get along so well."
"Then I suppose a toast is in order," said Jack. He hefted the bottle and noticed it was nearly empty.
"How about we finish the bottle, and save the toast for another day, eh? What say you?"
"Fair enough, says I," said Briggs as he drained his cup.
"Another day it is," said Jack.

Honour and Renee withdrew from the door of Jack's study.
"What did I tell you?" said Renee.
"Time for us to chat," said Honour. "And I know where the rest of Will's finest is kept."
"Lead on!"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on March 30, 2018, 08:30:21 PM
Honour went to the cabinet in the smaller parlor and took a bottle of Madeira.
"Here. Take this."
She also grabbed two glasses and some cheese and fruit.
"Follow me," she said to Renee.
They walked out to the back verandah and settled in.
"The baby just went down for a nap so we can have a nice visit. The French doors are open and I can hear her if she even makes a peep."
Renee settled in to her chair and kicked her shoes off. She propped her feet up on the small footstool and breathed deeply the salt air.
"I always have a sense of peace when I come here, Honour. I can see why you fell in love with this house and it is a perfect place to raise a family."
Honour poured a small glass of Madeira and a larger one for Renee.
"I still am not up to having much wine. With having the baby and all."
"Is this the last of the Wolfe pack?"
Honour leaned back and smiled. "I have no idea. I have such easy pregnancies and deliveries and it seems all Jack has to do is wink at me and....*poof* I'm standing behind a baby."
Renee laughed. "I think it took a bit more than a wink."
"Perhaps the smile later?"
They laughed.
She passed Renee the platter of fruit and cheese. "Renee, are you sorry you never had children?"
Renee took a few grapes. "Seriously? No, I'm not. The son I inherited by marriage I couldn't love more dearly than if I actually gave birth to him. But he was past the snotty nose and diaper stage and all the kinks had been worked out. In spite of Lydia's hatred for Josiah, she did raise Phillip with manners and kindness. Sometimes I forget that he is a stepson. I see Josiah in him but he has his mother's eyes. And from what Josiah has told me, she was a wonderful person."
"I once asked Josiah when he finally realized he was in love with you."
"Do tell!"
"It was that night in your garden when you finally presented Phillip to him. He said it was almost as if Anne had pushed Phillip towards him and stood back and smiled at you. He finally could let Anne's memory rest and it was almost as if she gave Josiah her blessing to be happy again. And he truly is. I have known Josiah for years. Not as long as you but in a different context. And I've never seen him more complete."
Renee paused and tried to discreetly wipe the tear that threatened to escape her eye.
"Thank you, Honour. I know Josie loves me without reserve but it is so nice to hear someone else reaffirming it."
Honour sipped her wine. "And speaking of children and love...."
Renee stretched out her arms over her head.
"Now, were we actually talking about that in the same sentence?"
"Not really but..."
"But you have a mother's anxiety about your daughter and if she is being taken advantage of."
"Oh, I doubt Phillip would ever do that."
"Honour, sweetheart, think back to yourself at that age. What were you feeling?"
"I thought the sun rose and set in Rhys Morgan."
"So...can you fault your daughter if she has those same feelings?"
"I don't want her to get hurt. I know Phillip has engagement plans with Lenore Culley."
"Don't be too sure about that. Look, this is all confidential woman-to-woman talk and we have known each other a long time. Frankly, Honour, I consider you my best friend. Good Lord, I never thought I would say that to a woman I once regarded as an intrusion into Jack's and my relationship! But I want you to know that once you and Jack were back together, Jack and I became just close friends at that point."
"I know that, Renee. To him, you will always be Pip Woolston. And I positively adore you. Aside from my sisters--and even then---I can tell you things I won't tell anyone else. So I guess I should come right out and say it."
"Go ahead."
Honour took a deep breath. "Do you think Phillip and Zara are sleeping together?"
Renee took another sip of her wine and glanced over the rim at her best friend.
"I don't know, Honour. My head says he wouldn't be that reckless. But my heart says otherwise. Now let me ask you a question."
"Would it upset you if they are?"
"No. Yes. I don't know!"
"What does YOUR heart say?"
Honour sighed. "Who am I foollng? She's had a crush on Phillip since she was a toddler. Once in Scotland, I played a game with her. I drew pictures of people she knew. She was fascinated by the picture of Phillip and kept staring at it. When I gathered them up the next day, the one of Phillip was missing. I found it later in the tote she kept Bun-Bun. I just left it there. As far as I know she has it tucked away somewhere. So back to your original question, 'would I be upset?' "
Renee sat and waited for Honour to continue.
"No, I wouldn't say upset. I would hope they would use prudence and some self-control but..."
"But what?"
Honour laughed. "She's Jack Wolfe's daughter. At seventeen I have no claim to wrap her in wool and stick her in a nunnery. Let's just say if it happens, I wouldn't wear sackcloth and ashes. And if the inevitable has happened, at least I know the breeding of the young man."
"What about Jack?"
Honour poured herself a drink. "Jack? Jack is another story."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on March 30, 2018, 09:12:12 PM
Back in Virginia.....

Zara sleepily raised her head.
"Phillip, the sun is barely coming up. Why are you getting dressed?"
He buttoned his shirt. "Because if I leave now, then technically I did not spend the night. There is still night left."
She yawned, "That is what Da calls 'Zara logic'. I can make any argument seem reasonable."
"Which is exactly how my father got roped into Jack's crazy schemes."
He kissed the tip of her nose. She drew him into her embrace.
"Zara....we need some rules here."
"Rules are made to be broken, darling."
He sighed but drew away. "I have to shave and wash up. All your paints and powders....well, I have no razor here. And I can't go downstairs smelling of lilac water."
She straightened her legs out and crossed her arms over her breasts.
"Oh, Phillip..." she pouted. "What am I going to do while you are in your room?"
"Get yourself dressed and down to breakfast. I will casually mention I am going to the shipyard. Then you say you want to go."
"And you will say no."
"How did you read my mind?"
"We've been....close. Maybe our minds are synchronizing along with our bodies?"
He laughed.
"Alright, I will make the appropriate fuss and end up taking you with me. See you downstairs in an hour?"
"I'll miss you in that hour."
"I'll make it worth your while later."
 Phillip buttoned his shirt cuffs as he descended the stairs. Perhaps, if he was lucky, Will would still be getting dressed for the day...
"Ah! Good morning, Phillip!" called Will. "I had breakfast held for you and Zara. Do join me for tea while they get things ready."
"Good morning, Will," said Phillip. "I didn't expect you to be up and about yet."
"Well, perennial bachelor that I am, there's naught to keep me abed past dawn, as I'm sure you'd understand."
"Quite right," said Phillip, as he tried to push the delightful memory of being in Zara's arms out of his head.
"There's only one reason I can think of for you to be so delayed in rising."
"And... what would that be?"
Will held out his hand. "Well?"
"Well, what? Oh! The letter! I'm terribly sorry, Will. I still haven't gotten to it. I found myself fatigued after dinner, and—"
"The packet ship leaves later this morning, and there won't be another one for three days. You do know how to write, don't you?"
Phillip found his face growing hot. "Yes, I am literate. But sleep became a priority."
"Managing priorities is what being a ship's captain is all about, Phillip," said Will. "Sleep is a luxury we are not always afforded when important tasks lay undone. One lump or two?"
"Beg pardon?"
"Tea. For someone well rested, you're not keeping up well. Do you take your tea with one lump or two?"
"Um, I'm not much of a tea drinker," said Phillip. "I'm more accustomed to coffee."
"Ah, of course," chuckled Will. "Jack was fond of the stuff, so it's no wonder it became the norm on his ship. Two lumps it is." He nodded to the housemaid who poured their cups as they sat down at the table.

"So, tell me about your day. What do you have planned?"
"Well, I—"

"Good morning, everyone!" sang Zara as she swept into the room. She paused to give Will a kiss on the cheek, and gave Phillip a wink as she took her place at the table. "What is for breakfast? I'm famished!"

 "My goodness, aren't you glowing?" said Will.
"I had a wonderful night's sleep. How was your's, Phillip?"
"Very satisfying," replied Phillip.
Will's eyes widened mirthfully as he sipped his tea.

"What are we having for breakfast?" said Zara.
"Blueberry scones, with lemon curd brought in from London Towne. Soft-boiled eggs, and a local delicacy called johnnycakes. They're made from corn ground into a flour, then mixed into a batter and cooked on a hot griddle. They're delicious. Ah! Here they are now!"

The house staff came in with plates arranged with a large triangular scone, a soft-boiled egg in a ceramic cup, and a stack of three johnnycakes for each person. They placed a dish of lemon curd on the table, and next to it a small pitcher of a dark amber liquid.
"What is that?" asked Zara.
"Another local delicacy," said Will. "Maple syrup. Pour some over the johnnycakes. You'll love it."
Zara poured a bit of the syrup over the cakes, then took a bite. "Phillip, you must try this! It's amazing!"
Phillip followed her lead, and tentatively took a bite. His eyes widened in surprise. "It's delicious!"
"As if I would feed you poison," laughed Will. "Now, Phillip, you were saying about your day before we were so delightfully interrupted."
"Yes, well, I need to attend to the cargo transfer, so I'll be spending a good portion of the day at the shipyard."
"Very well," said Will. "Perhaps you will find time to rattle off that letter before midday? The packet is the Mercury. See that it's aboard her. I'm well acquainted with her master."
"I'll see to it," said Phillip.
"I— I find the operations of a ship fascinating," said Zara. "If it's not a bother, I would love to see how the cargo handling is done."
"Well, I'm loathe to deny my goddaughter's curiosity in such matters," said Will. "Who knows? One day, she may have her own shipping industry. What say you, Phillip? Would she be a bother?"
"Uh— no! No, of course not. Zara, you are more than welcome to accompany me. But you must promise to stay out of the way. And I cannot promise you won't find yourself bored halfway through. It is up to you."
"I'll take my chances with boredom," she smiled.
"Then it's settled," said Will. "We'll finish breakfast, and you two shall enjoy your day dockside. More tea, anyone?"

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on March 30, 2018, 09:15:34 PM
Phillip sat at the writing desk, his  hands steepled in front of him, a frown on his face. He knew he had to pick his words carefully.
With a deep sigh, he opened the drawer and took out a parchment paper and dipped the quill in the inkwell.
Dear Jack and Honour,
I hope this letter finds all well in Bridgetown. We arrived safely in Virginia and am enjoying Will's hospitality.
The voyage went without incident. Zara has had her nose buried into her books and I think you will be pleased with the schooling she received. There is no substitute for hands-on observation of the skies at night on the high seas.
I am heading to the docks to arrange for the disbursement of cargo and setting up the arrangement to get the molasses and rum into the storehouses for Will.
I will close now as the packet will be leaving this morning and I wanted to put your minds at ease as to our arrival.
I do hope the 'situation' back home has abated and Zara can return with total peace of mind.
Please pass this note on to Father and Renee. I know how she worries.
My regards to all--

He smiled to himself as he melted the wax, watching it as it dripped into a circle onto his envelope. Picking up Will's stamp, he carefully pressed it into the wax. A perfect impression of a raven.
'Oh, Will, you old dog--you couldn't resist, could you? Raven's Pride is still your pride and joy.'
He picked up his hat, smoothed the feathers out , and put the envelope into the pocket of his breeches.
'That ought to satisfy you, Will.'
He smiled as he descended the stairs, thinking of the delightful afternoon he would spend in the company of the one person he wanted to be with more than anyone.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on April 01, 2018, 07:45:33 PM
Phillip managed to find enough willpower to break away from Zara's kiss.
"Zara, do you notice anything?" he asked.
"Nothing important? Why?"
"The carriage has stopped."
"Oh!" she laughed. "I was preoccupied. Do you think it's a highwayman?"
Phillip cocked his head and listened for a moment. "Not unless there a good many of them, and they're busy working on a ship rather than robbing us. Shall we see if you're right?"
"If we must," she said with a feigned pout.

Phillip straightened his lapels while Zara checked to see if her laces were still in place. He stepped from the carriage and offered his hand to Zara as she stepped down to join him.
"Thank you, Collins!" he called to the driver. "It was an enjoyable trip."
"Gratified to hear it, sir," the driver said with a nod. "Master Harkness instructed me to have you back no later than half past four. I shall be right here to collect you in time."
"We shall see you then," said Zara.
Collins nodded and clucked the horses onward.

"Shall we see if your cabin is the way we left it?" she whispered.
Phillip smiled and shook his head. "Zara, I do have to get some work accomplished while I'm here."
"Then what is to keep me occupied?"
"You said you wanted to see how the ship was unloaded."
"Phillip Briggs, I've been aboard ships since before I could walk. I know how things are done. I could oversee things just as well as you can."
"Well, I'm sure you have an idea of how things appear to work, but there are a good many details that—"
Zara stopped and glared at him. "You don't think I could? You really think that?!"
"Zara, I only meant that... yes, I do think you understand things well enough, but..."
"Never mind, Phillip," she said sweetly. "I know what you meant, and you're probably right. As you said, you have things to attend to. I'll keep myself occupied until you're done." She ran a finger along his cheek. "Just make sure we have time left to check on the cabin?"
He smiled and kissed her cheek. "I promise not to take too long. You'll be fine on your own?"
"I know how to take care of myself. Now, shoo! Go be Captain Briggs."

Phillip gave a nod and a smile and set out on his way to the ship. Zara watched until he started up the gangplank, then turned to find the dockmaster's office.
"You bet your arse I know how things are done..."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on April 01, 2018, 07:46:13 PM
Phillip walked up the gangplank, his eyes scanning the port as he stepped onto the ship. No sign of Zara, and that wasn't a good sign at all.
He felt a light tap on his shoulder.
"Captain Briggs, I was to give you this note."
He opened up the note, the smell of honeysuckle wafting from it.
I was through shopping early enough so went to the cabin to pick up a few things I left behind.

Phillip knocked softly on the door. No answer, so he took out the key and opened it.
There, on the bed, was a white lace comforter. Sheer fabric was draped from the four poster bed. A small tray of olives, fruit and cheese was on the bedside table, along with a bottle of wine and two goblets. A vase of light pink and white peonies stood next to them. Three white candles glowed in the room, their flames' reflection  flickering on the wall.
But what really got his blood racing was what was in the bed.
Zara was in a gauzy white dressing gown with lace. Three white roses were tucked behind her ear, her chestnut hair cascading down in curls, a smile gracing her face.
Phillip grinned.
"Alright, so it isn't exactly the way we left it...."
"Do you think Da would mind that I did a few alterations?"
"Not at all. But he wouldn't be happy to see what is in the bed."
She smiled at him and crooked her finger at him.
'Da is not here and I intend to get rid of all evidence before we reach Barbados again. Now...come here and show me how much you appreciate the effort I went through to fix this up so nicely."
Phillip grinned as he pulled his shirt over his head and sat on the edge of the bed. He drew Zara into a kiss that promised everything she wanted.
He kicked off his boots and pushed her hair back from her shoulders, kissing that one spot that he knew would lead him to what he wanted.
Gently he took the roses out of her hair and placed them on the bedside table.
He whispered, "They would get in the way and I don't want to get stuck with the thorns."
She put her arms around his neck and laughed softly in his ear, "I took the thorns off. I am not going to have a bloody ear in the interest of seduction."
"Now who is seducing whom, Miss Zara?"
"Even trade, love. We shall make each other delightfully happy."
Within moments, Zara's lacy gown joined Phillip's shirt on the floor. As things were heating up in direction they were intended to be heading, Zara whispered throatily, "Oh, feels like the earth is moving!"
He pulled away. "I don't think it is the earth, Zara. What the hell....?"
Just then the crossbeams under the mattress gave way and the four posters on the bed bent to touch each other. The netting that surrounded the bed came wafting down over the amorous couple. Zara screamed and batted the netting out of her face. The claret wine bottle tipped over and soon the cheese was swimming in merlot.
He looked at Zara and said, "I am happy to oblige by cushioning your landing."
She grabbed the coverlet and rolled out of bed, as Phillip stood up.
She looked doulfully at the bed. "Oh, dear....what happened?"
He reached for his breeches and put them on.
Looking under the bed, he said, "Aha! The slats gave way."
"WHAT? Let me see."
He took her by the shoulders, "No, just trust me. They broke."
"Did we do that?"
"I would say so."
"How did that happen?"
She bent over to look but Phillip grabbed her by the waist and righted her up."
"It is just a few slats. I will have the shipwright fix it good as new."
"Then why can't I look?"
"Why? It is just some split wood."
"If it is split wood, then why can't I see it?"
She pushed him away forcefully and bent over to look.

"Are you serious?"
"I told you not to look."
Zara felt her face turn red.
There, under the bed, were pieces of wood tied with rope and one end was shored up with a cannon.
"Looks like we weren't the first to break this bed."
"You mean....mama? And...Da?"
"Well, from all evidence, that is El Lobo's ropes with your da's unique way of tying a knot. That is a cannon from when El Lobo was sailing as a pirate ship."
Zara still stared at the collapsed bed and whispered, "Mama and Da broke it?"
"Quite a few times, from the looks of it."
Phillip took the coverlet and spread it on the floor.
"Now, my darling, let's finish what we started."
Zara put her arms around him and laid her head on his chest.
"You promised you would never break my heart. I guess that didn't include the headboard."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 01, 2018, 07:56:02 PM
Zara raised her head sleepily from the bed.
"Phillip? Phillip, it is past eight o'clock. Should you be back in your room?
He yawned, his voice still sleepy.
"It's alright. Will told me last night he had to get up by dawn to attend some meetiing at the town hall to discuss tariffs and importation of spirits. He will be tied up till late afternoon and said he would see us at dinner."

She rolled over to face him and traced her finger down his cheek.
"So....we have all morning. And afternoon....."
"You forget his eyes and ears are named Dilcey. I am sure she would report to Will if we didn't appear. Or if she came in to dress your hair or draw your bath and find me in here."
She kissed him.
"That tub looks like it could hold two."
He drew her to him.
"We'll never pull it off."

She sighed.
"Maybe we should go riding today. You don't have to deal with the ship, do you?"
"Not today. The ship will be ready in about a week and then Davis is going to take it up to Boston and New Amsterdam.

"Your father wants to make sure Tristan is out of the picture before we go back home so I think we are staying here about two months. Will extended the invitation indefinitely. After all, you are the granddaughter he never had and he dotes on you so."

Zara looked in the mirror as she combed her hair. "Then I definitely think the second choice for the afternoon is to go riding. Since you fear the wrath of.---"
"Miss Zara?"
She put her fingers to her lips.
"What is it, Dilcey?"
"Did you want your breakfast served in your room or would you prefer to go downstairs?"
"I'll take it downstairs."
"Alright. I'll ask Mister Phillip where he wants his breakfast too."

Phillip scrambled out of bed an reached for his breeches. Zara hastily threw his shirt at him.
"Go! Go!"
"How can I go when Dilcey is standing right there?"
"I don't know! I don't know!" Zara stood there fluttering her hands. " But Uncle Will will kill us if he finds out!"
"At the very least, he will look down his nose and say, 'I am very disappointed in the two of you."
"Is there a back door?"
"No. Only the trellis."
They both looked out the window.
"If I hold on and watch out for the thorns..."
"Phillip, NO!"
He had one foot out the window sill.
"It's not like I haven't done this before...."
"Nothing. I'll climb down and then come in through the back door. If I see Dilcey, I will tell her I was down by the stables to see what horses we want to take for the day."

He gingerly climbed down.
"Ow! OW! Damn! Imported English roses! Probaby plundered a gardener's ship...."

Zara leaned her head out the window.
"Watch out for that last...."
"Now you tell me it is leaning against the dining room window."

Phillip made his last leap. Into a rose bush.
He turned and waved to Zara.
"See you at breakfast!"

As he walked off, he picked thorns and leave out of his torn sleeves.
'Well, chalk it up to sacrificing a silk shirt....for a very good cause.'
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 01, 2018, 07:58:17 PM
Phillip traded knowing smiles with Zara as he joined her at the dining table. The table was arrayed with a pot of tea, an urn of delightfully pungent coffee, a platter of small scones complete with a small bowl of lemon curd.
"I'm glad you could join me," said Zara. "I hate to eat alone."
"And I would not think of disappointing you," said Phillip.

Dilcey entered the room with a platter containing two plates. Each contained a poached egg, a hash of fried potatoes with herbs, and a portion of ham.
"For you, Miss Zara," said Dilcey as she laid the plate in fron to Zara.
She moved to the other side of the table and slid Phillip's plate into place.
"I'm glad to see you found your boots, Mister Phillip," she said with a small smile. "And your waistcoat."
Phillip's could feel his face growing hot. "Yes, well, it's not often that I can be around horses, you see. And it was such a fine morning—"
Zara pinched the bridge of her nose and shook her head, all the while trying to suppress a giggle.
"The breakfast looks lovely, Dilcey. Thank you."
"Mister Phillip, Miss Zara, enjoy your breakfast. If you need anything, just call." With that, Dilcey left the room.

Phillip and Zara dissolved into muted laughter.
"Thank you, said Phillip. "I was about to embarrass myself."
"About to?" Zara said. "I was doing damage control."
"Damage control? What damage control?"
Will Harkness entered the room, setting  his walking cane down as he took a seat at the head of the table.
"Uncle Will! I...I thought you were at a meeting. Phillip said you would be gone till dinner."
He flipped his napkin over his lap.
"Oh...that. Well, it turns out Magistrate Wentworth took ill. Too much mead, I daresay but the official reason is intestinal upset and he didn't want any of us to come down with it. Hard to do when you are the only one imbibing. Oh...and I happened upon this in the hallway. I do wonder how it got outside your room, Phillip. There were no fresh roses delivered to your room. Or so I presume?"

Will laid the rose petals on the table along with a few stems with the thorns. A small piece of silk fabric caught on one of them.
"Yes....that. Have you taken up gardening as a hobby to pass the time away whilst you wait for new sails?"
"Well, not really...."
"Because I am certain there are much more....interesting things to pluck your interest while you are here.."

"I am sure I will find many things to do, Will."
Will took a bite of egg. "Oh, I am sure there are lots of things to uncover and hold your interest. Zara, dear, did you hurt your neck?"
Zara quickly put her hand to her neck.
"Oh...I think I bruised it when I tried to get a hatbox down from the shelf and it fell. The edge hit me on the neck."
"Do be careful. Those...hatboxes...have a way of filling up. Especially with a few things you don't really need at this time of your life. Phillip....did you try to help her get that hatbox down?"
"Well, you seem to have a matching bruise on your neck too. Oh I am sure you got it out at the stables. Dilcey said you had been out there. What are your plans today?"

"I thought Zara and I would take a couple of horses out for a ride, if you don't mind, Will."
"Of course I shant mind. The horses are there for your pleasure. Oh, and I thought I should mention that a welcoming soiree is set for tomorrow night for you and Zara to introduce you to the inner circle of Virginia society."
"That isn't really necessary, Uncle Will."
"But of course it is. I want to see how many hearts you can break in one evening, Zara. And Will, there is a particularly fetching young woman. She's Baron Culpeper's daughter Amelia. A very personable young woman. You would have quite a bit in common."
"I look forward to meeting her."

Zara shot Phillip a look that straddled irritation and jealousy. She threw her napkin down emphatically and said in a frosty tone, "I do believe I shall get dressed for riding. Captain Briggs, I shall see you in an hour down at the stables. Do we have an accord?"
"Accord? If you mean an engagement to meet, then yes, we do."

The door slammed behind her.
Will raised his eyebrow. "Good Lord, was it something I said?"
Phillip picked up a scone and buttered it. "No, she's just a bit moody at times."
"Ah...well, so it goes with the fairer sex. One finds it hard to figure them out. Unless one is married to them, so I hear. And speaking of the fairer sex, how is your dear stepmother?"
"Renee? She's doing well. She and Father are as happy as clams."
"It took him quite a while to work up the nerve to make her an honest woman."
"Best decision he ever made."

Dresser drawers were heard to slam upstairs. Will put his napkin to his lips to hide his smile.
"I do believe you are in for a hell of a ride, Phillip. Angry women do make the most interesting companions once they cool off and become compliant. Do enjoy yourself on your ride."
He gathered up the rose petals and laid them next to Phillip's hand.
"Please do watch out for the thorns. They scratch. Good thing they don't bite, too."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 01, 2018, 08:02:12 PM
Will watched as Phillip mounted the stairs like a condemned man going to  the gallows.
Dilcey sat down and poured herself a cup of coffee and helped herself to the scones.
"He decided to take the trellis down. The roses are a bit smashed and a piece of the crossbar of the trellis is lying on the ground. His footprints are the stride of a man fleeing the scene."
They both laughed. Dilcey continued, " But there was one more tell-tale sign."
"What was that?"
"I saw him drop about ten feet by the window."
Will leaned back and lit his cigar. "Well done, Dilcey. Well done. You will continue to inform me of any unusual activity, won't you?"
She covered his hand with hers.
"Indeed I shall."


Phillip knocked tentatively on Zara's door.
"It's not locked."
He came in to find Zara braiding her hair and stuffing it under a riding hat. She didn't say a word. But her face said it all.
He stood there leaning against the door post not saying a word either.
Finally she said, "Are you wearing that shirt?"
"What's wrong with it?"
"Oh...nothing. Except that the sleeve is ripped."
Phillip looked down. "No, it's not."
"The other sleeve."
She whirled on him. "Uncle Will knows. HE KNOWS!"
"I think you are reading too much into this."
"Oh, am I? What about all those remarks on the bruises. Thank you very much for that, I might add."
"Hey, you were no better. And that hatbox excuse!"
He started laughing.
"It's not funny, Phillip."
"Yes, it is. Be reasonable. You think Will doesn't know what these are? Will has had more than his fair share of women and I am sure quite a few were sporting love bites."
"What if he tells Da?"
Phillip shrugged. "Too late now. We can deal with it if we ever get found out. Meanwhile, I had better change my shirt. I wouldn't want you to be embarrassed to be seen with me."
He closed the door a little harder than he intended.

Phillip was already down by the stable when Zara made her appearance. She was dressed in breeches, a white silk shirt and a stylish hat perched on her head. It left no doubt in Phillip's mind that she had gone the extra mile in getting ready. Perhaps in anticipation of competing against the still unknown Culpeper woman.

"I had the groom saddle up the roan mare for you. Her name is Venus."
The groom led Venus out into the courtyard.
Phillip put his hands around Zara's waist and lifted her up onto the saddle.
"What is this?"
"You expect me to ride side-saddle? I don't think so."
She swung her leg over to the other side of the horse.
She leaned down and whispered to Phillip, "No need to stand on ceremony. The damage has already been done."
She kicked her heels into the mare and galloped off towards the meadow.

Phillip looked at the groom. "I guess I should be off, too."
He kicked his heels into the horse's flanks. He was going to need all the horse could give if he was ever going to catch up to her.

As Zara reached the far end of the meadow, Phillip caught up to her and grabbed the reins. "Have a little respect for the horses, Zara. No need to run this mare so hard. Just because you are upset with me, don't take it out on them."
"I'm not!"
"You are. Look at her! She's fatigued. She stumbled back there or have you been so busy being upset you failed to notice? That's not the Zara I know."

Zara dismounted and walked over to the cove of birch trees, She turned her back on Phillip but her shoulders were shaking and Phillip knew she was weeping. He tied the horses to the trees and walked over to her.
"Hey," he said softly. "They will be alright."
He turned Zara around and she kept her head down.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry!"
He took both her arms and drew it around his neck. She continued to cry.
"Zara? What is really wrong?"
"I don't know, Phillip. I just wonder sometimes what will  happen when we get back to Barbados. Will we still see each other? Will we be at liberty what we have been doing? What about...her? Will you break the engagement? These are things I need to know."
"Let's not worry about this now."
"Why not?"
"Let's just enjoy what we have."
"I told you I love you. Isn't that enough for you?"
"NO! No, it's not enough! I want it all!
"You mean....?"
"I want a future with you, Phillip. A solid future. Can you promise me that?"

He said nothing.
"I thought as much." She walked her horse over to the stream and let her drink, keeping her back to Phillip the whole time. When the horse had enough, she said quietly, "Let's head back. I've had enough for one day."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on April 01, 2018, 08:04:50 PM
Will came into the dining room, finishing the last tying of his cravat.
"Ah, Dilcey, darling! Those scones smell absolutely delicious."
She walked up to him.
"Your cravat is crooked," she smiled as she retied it.
"There. Much better." She poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down with Will.
"How fares our star-crossed lovers?"
Dilcey smiled behind her coffee cup.
"Oh....let's see. Miss Zara spent the night in her room. A light meal was sent up as she claimed to have a headache. Mister Phillip dined alone. You may be missing a bottle of brandy."
"How so?"
"I saw Mister Phillip take a bottle but there was something kind of honourable and sweet about it."
"Taking a bottle of brandy is sweet?"
"He left an IOU."
Will roared with laughter.
"He's his father's son, alright. Josiah Briggs always had a streak of morality a mile wide.It kept Zara's father alive though. Josiah would always put his foot down and reel him in when he was getting in over his head. Have you seen them today yet?"
"I heard Mister Phillip stirring around. Then a gentle knock and a whisper of 'Zara?' at her door. Oh, don't worry I was discreet. I was folding linens and putting them in the closet around the corner. The good thing about being what is considered a servant is that people tend to overlook you."
Will stroked her cheek gently. "I, for one, Dilcey, will never take you for granted."
She squeezed his hand gently as she buttered a scone and set it on his plate.
"Miss Zara remained in her room. Alone. I did not hear any scurrying or furtive footsteps in the hallway. I think there is a bit of wounded pride on her part. Men don't think the way women do, Will. I know you think you know us, but there is a lot of pride in this young lady."
"And stubbornness. Lord, you should see her parents! Her father is the son I never had."
"So Miss Zara is like a granddaughter to you."
"Well, yes."
She smiled broadly. "But that doesn't stop you from manipulating them and playing with their lives."
He raised his eyebrow. "You have to allow me some amusement in all this. Besides, those two are made in heaven for each other. I'm just making sure they realize it before they go back to Barbados."
"By playing God?"
"Now, would I do that?"
Just then, Phillip's footsteps were heard down the stairs.
"Ah, Phillip! Just in time. Dilcey, please get Phillip a plate. will wake you up. You look a bit dishevelled."
Phillip ran his hand through his hair.
"I'm afraid I didn't get enough sleep. I'm still trying to get used to this Virginia air."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 01, 2018, 08:07:54 PM
"Dilcey, hand Phillip a plate."
She poured Phillip a steaming cup of coffee and handed him a plate with ham and eggs.
"Ah, thank you, Dilcey."
"You did not sleep well, Mister Phillip?"
"I finally fell asleep. The scent of the air here is so different from Barbados. A refreshing pine, not at all unpleasant. I am just used to the sea air of Barbados. I left the balcony door open and the crickets lulled me to sleep."
He took a bite of his eggs and then casually asked, "Have you seen Zara?"
Dilcey and Will exchanged amused glances over Phillip's head.
"No, she hasn't made an appearance yet."
"She may be writing a few letters. She did ask for some paper last night."
"What are your plans today, Phillip?"
He took another forkful of ham and answered, "I may go down to the shipwright to see how the repairs on El Lobo are. It will get me out of the house and away from.....getting in the way."
Dilcey put her cup back in her saucer and stood up. "If you gentlemen will excuse me, I have a household to run."
As she left, Phillip glanced an admiring look at her retreating form.
"Alright, Will. Time to tell ME a story. How did you manage to get such a beautiful woman to stay with you?"
Will lit a slender cigar and took a puff. He watched as the smoke formed rings and smiled to himself.
"Ah, Phillip. Very simple. I made her an offer she couldn't turn down."
Phillip leaned back.
"Oh. You want the lowdown. So you can tell that reprobate faux son of mine how Captain Will Harkess was taken by the likes of dusky beauty?"
Phillip nodded.
"Pretty much, yeah."
He flicked the ashes onto his plate and smiled.
"When I arrived in Virginia, I was in the market to build a grand house on the farmland I had purchased. The land was rich and fertile, drained by the Elizabeth River to the west. I was living in a small--but elegant--boarding house while my house was being built. I would go to the Lafayette lumberyard to order my oak and maple. The owner--Pierre Lafayette--and I struck up a friendship. He was about twenty years older than me. I would meet him and his wife socially. Then about five years ago, tragedy struck. Pierre came down with the grippe in winter and passed away. Dilcey was left with the lumber yard and really had no knowledge of how to run it. So... I offered to buy  it. As an investment. This gave Dilcey a financial windfall and I had income. But the best was yet to come."
"You fell in love with her."
Will snorted. "Love? Me? No. When my house was finished,  Dilcey was the first person I invited to see it. She gave me a few ideas on how to decorate it. To make a long story short, I had no one to run my household. So I offered her the position of chatelaine. She has kept this house running like a clock for the past five years."
Phillip casually drank his coffee. "Are you sure that was all you offered her?"
Will smiled with mischief in his eyes. "A gentleman never tells, Phillip. You remember that."
"Since when are you a gentleman?"
"Point taken. Dilcey and I have a mutually satisfying relationship. Need I say more?"
"Is marriage in the cards?"
"Certainly not. I have gone this long escaping the matrimonial noose and I intend to keep dodging it. And to answer your unasked question, Dilcey is a free woman. Not a slave. She is what we call a quadroon. Her grandmother was a slave. But she is as free as you and I."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on April 03, 2018, 08:07:46 PM
Later, that evening...

Phillip stood impatiently outside the door to Zara's room, fidgeting with the lace cuffs of his shirt. He never cared for the excesses of formal clothes, now he found himself at odds with lace spilling out from his sleeves and waistcoat.
"Zara, are you ready yet? The guests have started arriving and the orchestra is playing."
There was no reply.
He knocked again. "I know you're upset with me, but I can not believe you would sit in your room and spurn Will's hospitality. are you coming out?"


"All right, then. I'm leaving now. I trust you can find your way down the stairs. Just follow the music and the sounds of happy people."

Nothing. No sharp-tongued retort, no sound of furniture being mistreated. Just a silence that was becoming more uncomfortable than the lace.

"Fine, then. This is me leaving, going downstairs to the party." He took a few steps towards the staircase. "Without you. Unless you come out right now."
He listened for the bolt on the door to slide back or the doorknob to turn, but they remained quiet.
"Suit yourself," Phillip muttered, and he made his way down the stairs to the foyer.

Will was at the centre of the foyer, resplendent in a frock coat and breeches of dark burgundy velvet, merrily greeting guests as they entered his home. Even with lace and gold buttons aplenty, he carried an air of casual aristocracy where most other men would be dismissed as a dandy. Phillip tried to reconcile the man before him with the tales he had heard of a masterfully ruthless pirate, and he began to appreciate better the chameleon-like nature of Will Harkness.

Will turned as he caught Phillip descending the stairs. "Ah, there you are! I was wondering when you would join the festivities. The clothes certainly seem to agree with you. I'm sure there will be several young ladies vying for your eye and their turn on the dance floor."
Phillip fought the urge to get rid of his lace cravat. "Thank you. They do fit well. I appreciate the trouble you went to. But I thought you said this would be a small gathering? There must be over one hundred people here."
"I may have understated my plans," said Will with a mischievous smile. "But please, do go on in and enjoy yourself."
"I thought I would wait here for Zara. She seems to be delayed for whatever reason."
"I think you'd better come with me," said Will.

As they walked towards the ballroom, Will said, "There are three types of lessons we learn as we go through life. The lessons we seek out, the lessons we happen on by accident..."
They arrived at the ballroom's grand doorway, and Will motioned for Phillip to look to the right. There stood Zara at the far side of the hall in a sunflower yellow gown, surrounded by eight younger men who seemed transfixed by her presence. And she seemed delighted to be the centre of attention.
"And the lessons that arrive as a bitter tonic," continued Will. "I don't know what you did or did not do to make her this spiteful, but it must have been serious for this grand a display."
"What do you suggest I do?"
"Do what must be done, Captain Briggs. Right the ship. If you can. You'll forgive me, of course. I have guests to greet. Do try to enjoy yourself as you sort this out."

Will entered the foyer to find Dilcey waiting for him.
"Did Phillip see her?" she asked excitedly. "Zara asked me to make sure she would be the belle of the ball."
"Oh, yes. He saw her. And her entourage."
"Her... entourage?" Dilcey stifled a laugh. "That girl is incorrigible!"
"She's her father's daughter," chuckled Will. "Phillip is in for a night to remember. Guess whose eye she's caught?"
"No. Peffley?"
"Peffley. I couldn't have planned this better myself!"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 03, 2018, 08:11:44 PM
Zara seemed oblivious to Phillip's presence at the ball. 'Like moths to a flame,' he mused when he saw the rapt attention they were giving her. And no doubt about it--Zara was definitely a standout. She owned that room. Probably the entire ball, too.
Her chestnut hair was piled in loose curls on top of her head, tendrils framing her face. Her sky blue eyes were sparkling with amusement.
The dress was new--Phillip had never seen it--and a sunflower yellow. It sat beautifully on her sun-kissed shoulders.
She was unlike any of the Virginia women these men were used to.
The pale skin, the light hair.
Zara left them looking like unpainted canvasses, faint sketches at best.
She smiled at each of the gentlemen, making each one feel like she only had eyes for them, garnering her attention.
But one gentleman stood out. He stood in back of Zara, over her shoulder. He was close to her, close enough to whisper into her ear.
And his vantage point afforded him a view that brought out jealousy in Phillip.
Phillip took two glasses of champagne from a tray that was passing by and sauntered over to her. A sardonic smile graced his face.
"Well, Miss Zara, I see you have been making friends," as he handed her a crystal flute of champagne.
She gave him a brilliant smile as she accepted it. Turning to the gentlemen, she said, "I'd like to introduce to you my teacher. May I present Mister Briggs? He is one of my father's oldest and dearest friends."
Phillip gave a slight nod to her new friends.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on April 03, 2018, 08:14:52 PM
"That is your one glass for the evening, Zara, against my better judgement," he said sternly. "I know how your parents would disapprove of you indulging in anything stronger than small beer at your tender age. It will be our little secret."
He gave her an exaggerated wink to drive the point home. Zara kept her cotillion smile, but only Phillip would notice her glare of aggravation at his remarks.
The young man who had taken up station over Zara's shoulder cleared his throat. "As a teacher, you must be relieved to be back on dry land. One can only imagine how alien life on the open sea must seem to you."
"Not at all," said Phillip. "I found much to occupy myself with between tutoring sessions."
"Lesson plans, no doubt," sniffed the young man.
"That, and captaining the ship. Teaching is merely a sideline during this voyage." He could see the colour rising in Zara's cheeks.
"Ah, well," said the young man. "I see. You'll forgive me, of course, for assuming that you were a mere passenger."
"A valuable lesson for you then; to assume the obvious is to overlook the obvious," said Phillip with an icy smile. "I don't believe I caught your name, Mister...?"
"Lord Andrew Peffley."
"It was a pleasure tutoring you this evening, Lord Andrew." He nodded again to the other young men. "Good evening, gentlemen."
Phillip started to turn to leave but paused to say, "Do pay heed to the hour, Miss Zara. After all, we wouldn't want you to stay up past your bedtime."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 08, 2018, 07:27:00 PM
Will looked over at Phillip walking towards him.
"Remember...not a word." and started to walk towards other guests.
A beautiful blonde whispered to her friends, "I really find it hard to believe."
A gorgeous redhead smoothed her hair back from her cheek. "If Admiral Harkness said so, then it must be true."
"But he's so good looking," a pretty brunette said, casting longing glances at Phillip.
"I feel sorry for him."
Another woman with ethereal features said in a low voice, "I think I will try to cheer him up."
Dilcey put her serving tray down and motioned quietly to Will.
"And just what have you said to turn all four of their heads in Phillip's direction?"
Will took a glass of port and rocked back on his heels.
"Oh....I may have told them how our esteemed Mr. Briggs is recovering from a broken heart. A heartless tart--not that I used that word--broke his heart and he came up to see Uncle Will to mend his pride and his heart."
Dilcey smacked him on the arm gently and chuckled. "I am so glad we are on the same side. I would hate to have you play with my life like that."
He pointed covertly at Zara on one side and Phillip on the other side.
"Just trying to make sure those two know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are in love."
Phillip wandered over to the verandah doors that Will had opened into the terrace. The breeze felt good and the full moon shone down, making shadows on the  lawn.
A voice behind him said, "Pardon me. I couldn't help but notice that you dropped this."
The woman held out a handkerchief.
"Hmm? Oh. I am sorry but that is not mine."
He tugged at the cuff of his new shirt.
"Oh....I guess it is mine. I am not used to shirts like this. Plain silk is more my style."
"A beautiful night, isn't it? But sometimes I find the indoors a bit too stuffy for me."
"I know what you mean. I am more at home on the ocean."
She gave him a puzzled look. "Oh. You are not newly arrived gentry?"
He smiled and gave her a bow.
"No. Captain Phillip Briggs from Barbados, formerly England, at your service."
She extended her hand to him. "Julia Peffly. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
"Peffly? I think I just met a Peffly. Relative of yours?"
She looked over to where Zara was standing. "My brother. He is the one standing behind the little vixen with the gaggle of young men around her."
"Vixen? You met her then?"
"Oh heavens no. I can see she doesn't have the social graces that we expect here in Virginia."
Phillip crossed his arms and leaned on a porch column.  "Really! I am fascinated.What, pray tell, is she doing wrong?"
"Well, for one her dress is too low on her shoulders for someone her age. Her face paint is so subdued one would almost mistake it for not wearing any at all."
"Maybe she is a natural beauty."
"No one looks like that unless they have a bit of help along the way. The hue of the dress is a bit too bright and unusual. Girls of that age do best with pink or blue. You cannot go wrong with white either."
"You don't say!"
"And she has no fan."
"What would that do? Maybe she isn't warm."
Julia laughed and touched Phillip's arm gently.
"There is a whole language of fans. It is an unspoken language but obviously she doesn't need one. She seems bold enough."
Phillip tried to laugh as this Miss Peffly seems to have Zara pegged pretty well.


Zara glanced over to where Phillip had disappeared. What she saw gave her pause.
There on the verandah stood Phillip engaged in a lively conversation with a very pretty blonde. She had occasionally laid her hand on his arm and there was something about the way she tilted her head when she smiled at him.
"Miss Wolfe? Did you hear what I said?"
"Hmm? Oh, I am so sorry. What was it?"

Lord Andrew Peffly smiled at her. "May I get you another glass of champagne?"
"I'll get it."
"I was here first."
"No, you weren't. I was."
"I'm the one closest..."
Zara looked around at each of them and smiled demurely.
"Why, let me think.... Lord Peffly, I do believe I shall have you get me another glass."
He grinned broadly and bowed to each of his comrades in return.
"Ain't he the lucky one!"
"You go, you old rogue!"
When he handed her the glass, she smiled warmly at him.
"Thank you! You know, I honestly can't decide which of you is the most handsome!"
The young man with red hair extended her hand out to her.
"Miss Wolfe, would you care to dance?"
"Hey, I was going to ask her."
"No, you weren't. I was."
"I'm next."
"Then me."
"Me too."
Lord Peffly stood there with a wolfish smile on his face.
"No matter, lads. Have your dance. Just as long as Miss Wolfe saves the last dance for me."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on April 08, 2018, 07:38:12 PM
Phillip wandered over to the verandah doors that Will had opened into the terrace. The breeze was a welcome relief from the stuffy ballroom air, and the full moon shone down, making shadows on the lawn.
A voice behind him said, "Pardon me. I couldn't help but notice that you dropped this."
The woman held out a handkerchief.
"Hmm? Oh. I am sorry, but that is not mine."
He tugged at the cuff of his new shirt. "Oh...I guess it is mine. I am not used to shirts like this. Plain silk is more my style."
"A beautiful night, isn't it? But sometimes I find the indoors a bit too stuffy for me."
"I know what you mean. I am more at home on the ocean."
She gave him a puzzled look. "Oh. You are not newly arrived gentry?"
He smiled and gave her a bow.
"No. Captain Phillip Briggs from Barbados, formerly England, at your service."
She extended her hand to him. "Julia Peffley. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
"Peffley? I think I just met a Peffley. Relative of yours?"
She looked over to where Zara was standing. "My brother. He is the one standing behind the little vixen with the gaggle of young men around her."
"Vixen? You've met her then?"
"Oh heavens, no. I can see she doesn't have the social graces that we expect here in Virginia."
Phillip crossed his arms and leaned on a porch column.  "Really! I am fascinated.What, pray tell, is she doing wrong?"
"Well, for one her dress is too low on her shoulders for someone her age. Her face paint is so subdued one would almost mistake it for not wearing any at all."
"Maybe she is a natural beauty."
"No one looks like that unless they have a bit of help along the way. The hue of the dress is a bit too bright and unusual. Girls of that age do best with pink or blue. You cannot go wrong with white either."
"You don't say!"
"And she has no fan."
"What would that do? Maybe she isn't warm."
Julia laughed and touched Phillip's arm gently.
"There is a whole language of fans. It is an unspoken language, but obviously, she doesn't need one. She seems bold enough."
Phillip tried to laugh as this Julia seems to have Zara pegged pretty well.

"You have a knack for reading people," said Phillip. "I suppose you've been reading me as well?"
"I could lie and say no," replied Julia. "But I will admit, you caught my eye the moment you walked into the ballroom. You are an intriguing man, Captain Phillip Briggs."
"Intriguing? Me? I should hardly think so. I'm naught but a humble ship's captain."
"False modesty. It makes for a flimsy mask to hide behind. Why would you feel the need to hide at all? Or are you just hiding from me?"
"Miss Peffley, I —"
"You are a man with complex past. A leader of men, but not naturally. Trial has shaped you. The creases at the corner of your eyes aren't only from squinting into the sunlight."
She traced a slender finger along the side of his face, then across his lips.
"They're from facing down hardship. You present the air of a carefree man, though you are anything but. Who are you, Phillip Briggs?"
Phillip closed his hands around hers. "As I said, I am a simple sea captain, nothing more. It's been lovely talking with you, Miss Peffley. But I must take my leave now."
"So soon? The party is just getting started."
"Perhaps, but sadly, not for me. Good night, Miss Peffley."

Julia watched as Phillip left the veranda. "Good night, Captain Phillip Briggs," she whispered. "You and I... this isn't over yet."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 08, 2018, 07:41:24 PM
Phillip knocked on Zara's door.
"Zara, we need to talk."
Through the door, she replied, "No, we don't. We have nothing to say."
"Zara, if you don't open this door, I will voice matters that I am sure you prefer the household--including Will--not hear."
A moment's hesitation and then the latch swung back. She opened the door and stood back, still wearing her ballgown.
"Hurry up," she said impatiently. "I want to get some sleep."
He stepped in and shut the door behind him.
"Are you through?"
"Through? Through with what?"
"Making your point."
"And that would be....what?"
"That you are an attractive woman."
She raised her eyebrow.
"Damn right I am beautiful. Look who my mother is."

"Why are you doing this, Zara?"
"Doing what?"
"Trying to make me jealous."
"Is it working?"
"Not particularly. I had a very adult conversation with a very nice young woman."
She retorted, "I saw that display. You were hanging on every word of hers."
"And I saw you with your menagerie."
"Don't you mean entourage?"
"No, I mean menagerie. Some of those young pups are still wet behind the ears."
"I think a little youth might be nice for a change."
Phillip could feel his temper starting to rise but he willed himself to rein it in.
"I'm sure they are lacking in your...experience, shall we say?"
"What is THAT supposed to mean?"
"Let's just say their expertise is probably limited to scullery maids and women who follow that line of work. Surely you don't want to be equated with that."
Zara's cheeks were turning red.
"So maybe the next time you darken my door for unsavory purposes, you feel I should have an hourglass turned over? And keep spare shllings in my dresser? Is that what you are saying?"
"Zara, I didn't mean---"
"Get out. GET OUT!"
"Aliright. I'll see you in the morning when we have both cooled off."
I don't see that happening anytime soon."
She walked over to the door and opened it.
He gave her a tip of his hat.
The reverberation from the door slamming sent the dining room chandelier swaying.
Through the door was shouted, "I'M TELLING MY FATHER WHAT YOU DID!"
He shouted back, "GO RIGHT AHEAD! I DARE YOU!"
The door opened and then slammed even harder.
This time three candles fell of the chandelier.
Will and Darcy looked each other mirthfully.
"And so it continues....."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on April 08, 2018, 07:43:27 PM

Will was sitting at the breakfast table, a cup of coffee and the remnants of bacon and eggs sitting on his plate. He looked up as he heard footsteps.
"Ah, Phillip! You look none the worse for wear from last night's soiree. I trust you had a good time?"
He poured himself a cup of coffee from the urn.
"I did, indeed. Miss Peffly was delightful company."
"Do you intend to see her again?"
As he opened his mouth to reply, Zara entered the room.
"Good morning, Uncle Will," she said as she kissed him on the cheek.
"And the same to you, my dear."
To Phillip she gave a cool nod of acknowledgement.
Will sat back and leaned his arm on the back of his chair.
"Zara....what is this?"
She reached for a scone.
"What is....what?"
He waved his hand up and down her.
"Oh. This."
Zara was wearing a silk blouse with flowing sleeves, unbuttoned lower than it was intended for. Her breeches were exceedingly snug. The frock coat she wore was flared to show off her best assets.
And on her face was an abundance of cheek and lip colour. Her hair was tousled and curled around her face.
On her feet were a pair of knee boots and she had a riding crop tucked into her boots.
Will dabbed his lips with a napkin. Phillip sat there, not quite knowing what to do but decided to let Will handle it, in lieu of what went down last night between the two of them. He knew anything he said would be in vain.
Will placed the napkin down. "My dear, where are you going, dressed as such?"
"Oh. I am sorry. I am remiss of informing you of my plans. Lord Andrew Peffly has invited me to go riding with him this morning. A nice leisurely ride through the woods. You don't mind if I take the mare, do you? We got along so well the last time I was on her. The day is beautiful and he was eager to show me a field where there are morning glories and a waterfall."
She looked over at Phillip with a beguiling smile on her face.
"I do so want to see so much more of the countryside. Lord Peffly--Andrew--said we might take the horses for a ride on the beach. Not like I haven't ridden on the beach before. But this will be different."
She reached over and took an apple out of the basket of fruit on the table.
"Zara, my dear, do you think it is proper to go off alone with a young gentleman you had only met the night before?" Will asked.
She waved her hand. "How else will I get to know anyone unless I spend time with them? For goodness sake, Uncle Will, I am not a child."
"But there is your reputation to think of,"
"Reputation? I didn't think I have been here long enough to garner one."
Phillip looked over at Will, slightly perturbed at the look on Will's face. Will had never stood on formality and social mores before."
"Perhaps you should take Phillip with you."
"Oh, I wouldn't want to take Phillip away from any pressing business he might have."
Phillip responded cooly, "Please don't refer to me in the third person when I am here in the first. No, I have no intention of intruding on your little jaunt, Miss Wolfe. Enjoy your day. Perhaps you would like to take your pastels and you and Mr Piffle--"
"PEFFLY!" Zara shouted.
"Excuse me. Piffly. Perhaps you would like to take them and draw a picture of what you see today. We can always tack it up by the cupboard and---"
"That's enough! Uncle Will, don't worry. I will be home by dinnertime."
She took her half-eaten apple and aimed for Phillip's head, which he caught with one hand.
Picking up her riding crop, she flounced out of the room.
Phillip just sighed. "Now you have an idea of what some of the trip was like. Between her drama and betting the ownership to El Lobo...."
His voice trailed off as he said, " don't need to know about that, do you?"
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on June 04, 2018, 07:44:57 PM
Zara walked down to the stables. As she reached the end of the walkway, Lord Andrew Peffly cane riding up on a beautiful steed of ebony.
“My, what a beautiful horse!’ she exclaimed as she reached up to pet his mane. Lord Peffly dismounted and walked over to Zara’s side, looking her up and down.
“I must say you look quite beautiful. And quite different from last night.” He reached over and gently touched her curls.
“You wear tousled curls well, my sweetness.”
Zara gave him a dimpled smile.
“Why, thank you!’

The groom led the horse out of the stables.
“Here ye are, Miss. Shall I help you mount?”
Andrew brushed him aside.
“I’ll help Miss Wolfe, if you don’t mind.”

The groom tipped his cap and went back to his chores.
Andrew took Zara’s hand in his and led her to the horse.
“Miss Wolfe, your steed is ready.”
He cupped his hand and she placed a boot in it as he boosted her up.
Zara was perfectly capable of mounting herself but why not avail yourself of the opportunity? It felt nice to have a man’s arm around her waist.
Andrew looked quizzically.
“Are you not going to ride side saddle?”
She tossed her head, “Of course not. Side saddle is not comfortable. I much prefer to ride astride.”
With that she turned her horse around and looked over her shoulder.
“Let’s get going, shall we? The day looks beautiful and I would hate to waste another moment of it.”
She gently tapped the mare’s flanks and both trotted out of the yard towards the road.

Lord Peffly looked at the gentle sway of both females and grinned to himself. ‘Oh, yes. Why wasted time?’
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on August 13, 2018, 08:40:14 AM
Phillip found himself doing a slow burn as he watched Zara and Peffly ride off down the lane. He knew this was a continuation of Zara's campaign to try and make him jealous. But it was not her actions that were getting under his skin, at least not directly. No, what bothered him the most was the way Peffly looked at her. Phillip had seen the same look in men's eyes, usually at the start of shore leave after a long time at sea. He did not want to readily admit it, but a warning bell was starting to ring in his head.

He left his place at the dining room window and hurried off to his room, where he changed into clothes better suited for something more rugged than strolling about a manor house. Hurriedly, he pulled on his boots and picked up the hat he normally wore aboard ship, then thought better of it and tossed it on to the bed. He had barely started down the stairs when Will's voice broke his train of thought.

"Ah, Phillip! I thought it would be a good time to go over the manifest for your return trip to Barbados and to place the order for more molasses. My, but these Puritans do enjoy their rum. Are you going somewhere?"
"Yes, well, it's such a lovely day, I thought I might take a walk around the grounds. It's not often I get to spend time, um, under…trees. You understand, of course."
Will stifled a smile. "Yes, yes, of course. And there are so many of them on the property, it would be a shame for you to miss out on seeing them all."
"I shouldn't be too long at it," said Phillip. "We can go over the papers later this afternoon if that is all right with you."
"That will be fine. See you later on, then. Enjoy the foliage."
"Thank you," replied Phillip as he hurried down the stairs. Will noticed how the young man paused as if to get his bearings.

"Phillip?" he called down.
Phillip turned back to look at him.
"The stables are that way, in case you were wondering."
"Thanks again," said Phillip sheepishly, feeling the heat in his cheek grow by the moment.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 20, 2018, 08:31:30 PM
Phillip led the roan horse out of the stall. As he entered the courtyard and was about to mount the horse, he heard a soft voice behind him.
Walking down the path and leading a pretty white horse, Julia Peffly came towards him with a basket on her arm. She had a straw hat on with a few feathers that caressed her cheek. Her dress was of light silk, a pale blue that accentuated her eyes.

“Good morning, Captain Briggs!”
He bowed. “Miss Peffly. To what do I owe this...unexpected pleasure?”
She squinted up to the sun and then smiled at him.
“It is such a lovely day and I don’t think it should be wasted on the stuffiness of a parlor room. Captain Harkness was good enough to point me in the direction in which I should go if I  wanted to meet up with you.”
“I was just about to go for a ride.”
“Marvelous! If you don’t mind, I would love to keep you company. Perhaps show you a few of the more intriguing flora and fauna of the forest.”
She pulled the cloth back from the basket.
“I have some food that our cook prepared. Some cheesy biscuits, fresh apples and some cold meats. And chicken basted and fried.”
Julia reached into her basket.
“Also a couple bottles of Madeira wine that Captain Harkness was so good to give me.  He said it would do you good to get out in the fresh air. Clear you head, he said.”
“He did, did he?”
Phillip glanced down the path that Andrew and Zara had taken. The longer he tarried in the courtyard with Julia Peffly, the more distance was between them and him.
He knew there was nothing he could do short of rudeness.

“Miss Peffly, I would be delighted to have you accompany me for a morning ride.”
He took her basket and set it on the ground.
“May I?”
“Why, certainly!”
He boosted her up into the saddle and noted that she was riding side saddle. Zara would never be caught dead riding that way. But then, there were a lot of unconventional things about the unstoppable Miss Wolfe.

As they rode for about forty-five minutes, two voices could be heard heard through the pines. Zara’s light laughter rang out.
“..and you should have seen the look on Sir Ashford’s face when--”
“Well! Fancy meeting you out here! Andrew, I had no idea you would be riding with Miss….I am sorry, I don’t think we have been formally introduced.”
Zara shot Phillip an irritated look as she turned to Julia and sweetly said, “Miss Wolfe. Zara Wolfe. Newly arrived from Bridgetown.”
Julia knitted her brows. “ that in Rhode Island?”
Phillip quipped, “Or as it is commonly known, Rogue’s Island?”

Zara drew herself up and replied, “Not at all. It is the center of commerce for Barbados. My father is a sugar baron. We regularly make shipments of molasses to Captain Harkness.”
“ ‘We?’ “ Phillip asked.
Zara tried to fight her tendency towards biting sarcasm but put on her most hospitable look.
“Oh, Mister Briggs. You know what I mean.”
She turned to Andrew. “My father owns 3000 acres on the island. He is also breeding a new line of horses with my Uncle Daffyd. They are light but sure-footed to move quickly on sandy soil. We frequently ride on the beaches.”
Andrew looked at Julia with veiled annoyance.
“What are you doing out here, sister dear?”

Julia gave him a warm smile. “Captain Briggs—or may I call you Phillip?--needs someone to show him the area so I volunteered myself for that position.”
Zara raised an eyebrow to Phillip. “What position might that be, Mister Briggs?”
“One that should prove to be immensely rewarding, Miss Wolfe.”

Julia patted her horse. “Where are you heading, Andrew?”
“I WAS going to show Miss Wolfe the old mill house by the waterfall.”
“That old place? I have a better idea. I have in this basket a nice picnic luncheon. Matilda—she is our cook—always tends to overpack the basket with food. I have enough for four people—oh, and Andrew, I see you brought a blanket! That will do wonderfully to spread out on the ground.”
Andrew said darkly, “That was the general idea.”

Julia set her basket down.  "Oh, this will be so much fun! " She handed Phillip one of the bottles of Madeira and smiled warmly at him.
"Would you mind opening this?"
"Not at all, Miss Peffly."
She held up a finger. "On one condition though. That you call me Julia. Miss Peffly sounds so stuffy."
Zara made a face and mouthed Julia's words in mimicry. Phillip gave her a reproving look.
She turned to give Andrew a smile.
"Andrew and I left the formalities a while ago."

Andrew gently ran his finger up and down Zara's arm.
"Yes, life is too short to waste on conventionality.  I was going to show Zara the swimming hole where my friends and I used to swim."

Julia raised her eyebrow. "Really, Andrew? I can't imagine it being any fun without your mates."
To Phillip, she said, "Andrew and his friends used to come here all the time to swim. There is an old rope hanging from the old oak tree over the water that they used to swing and drop from."

She turned back to Andrew. "But you are wearing your good clothes so I am sure you didn't intend to swim. And Miss Wolfe--sorry-Zara--doesn't want to get her velvet breeches wet."
Phillip leaned against the tree. "Oh, I am sure Miss Wolfe would be very careful about what she does with her breeches. I am sure she would rather go without than get them ruined with pond water."

Zara opened her mouth to respond, but was cut off by Julia's abrupt laughter.

"Why, Phillip! How absurd!" said Julia as she fanned herself. "I'm sure that, even in the wilds of Barbados, there exists some sense of propriety. Wouldn't you agree, Zara?"
Zara's eyes narrowed as she looked at Phillip. "I supposed it hinges on how badly I feel like swimming that day."
"Well, even so, during the long crossing from there to our lovely Virginia colony, you must have had ample opportunity to swim."

"Have you ever tried swimming after a ship that is under way?" said Zara. "I wouldn't recommend it. And I have to wonder, when was the last time you visited Barbados?"
"Never," said Julia. "Why do you ask?"
"You spoke of the wilds of Barbados, despite it being the most British of the British colonies in the Caribbean. One could only make such a statement if one has been to place in question. Wouldn't you agree, Andrew?"
Andrew cocked his head like someone coming out of a dream. "I'm sorry. What?"
Phillip rolled his eyes and gave a pained expression.

"I am terribly sorry if I gave offence, Zara," said Julia. "What news we get of the goings on in the Caribbean paints a very, shall we say, rough and tumble portrait. Pirates and wild Indians and the like."
Zara clenched her fists. "And what if I were to tell you that my--"
"That her favourite place to swim is a beach with crystal clear water that is bluer than any sky you've ever seen," interrupted Phillip. "Of course, that could be said of any beach on nearly any Caribbean island."

Julia smiled, “I am sure it is very beautiful in a primitive sort of way. Society here in Virginia is so...”
“Prim and proper? How utterly...lacking in the spices of life. My father happens to own 3000 acres of waterfront property. He raises sugar cane to supply the molasses ‘Virginia society’ seems so fond of. My father and my uncle are breeding a new strain of horses that will be fit for speed on sand. We have our own vineyards to make wine and distill spirits that are now being sold in the most prestigious houses in England.”
Julia stiffened under the chastisement.
“I stand corrected, Miss Wolfe. Shall we eat?”
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 20, 2018, 08:32:53 PM
Julia unpacked the basket. There was a tangible tenseness in the air between the two women.
“Miss Wolfe, may I interest you in some of this fine battered chicken? I am sure it is different from the ‘fruits de mar’ that you must eat in Barbados. It won’t cling to the plate when you pick it up. Chicken, Phillip?”

Zara stood up. “Miss Peffly, you must be extremely sheltered. I am not some uneducated yokel. I may be young in years but I have experiences you can only dream about. Have you ever bested a man for trying to take advantage of you? Gambled in a tavern in Tortuga and won (put figure in) acres of prime land? Stared down the pistol of a Spanish don and came out the winner? Have you ever made love and broke the bed? Have you EVER…?”

Phillip said sternly, “Enough, Zara. Let’s all get along.”
Zara stood up and threw a piece of chicken at Phillip.,
“Here’s a breast for you to enjoy, Phillip.”

Zara walked resolutely back to her horse. Andrew scrambled to his feet and said, “A woman this interesting I just HAVE to get to know better!”
Julia sat on the ground, completely flabbergasted by what had just transpired.
"Phillip, what was that?"
"That, dear Julia, was a temper tantrum."
"I insulted her?"
"Given the reaction, perhaps."
Julia shook her head. "I mean no slight. I— I was born here, in the Virginia colony. For me, this is the centre of everything. I don't know what it's like out there. Zara, with everything she said… she makes me feel like I've never truly been alive."
"I wouldn't go that far," said Phillip.
"Wouldn't you?" countered Julia. "Your eyes tell me you've seen a lifetime of experience though you're still a young man. Don't coddle me with your words, Phillip. I am but an ignorant babe amidst seasoned adventurers."

"And just where did you acquire such insight into the minds of men?" said Phillip.
"It is the nature of colonies such as this," she said quietly. "An imbalance of genders is inevitable. And being the daughter of one of the most prominent men in the colony..."
"That makes you a target of high value."
"My goodness, Captain Briggs. That is a bit forward of you."
"My apologies, Miss Peffley. When did we fall back to formalities?"
"When you caught me off guard."
Phillip sat down beside her. "And you feel a need to keep your guard up when you're near me?"

Julia's cheeks flushed. "As a matter of fact, yes. You are an enigma, Phillip Briggs. You intrigue me like no other man has, but..."
"But you know that one day, quite soon, when the tide is favourable and the wind stands fair, I'll be off, with my rudder to this good place."
"Precisely. And I believe there is so much more to you than you let on."
"Miss Peffley, I am but a humble ship's captain. Nothing more."
"We both know that's not quite true."
"Do we?" said Phillip. "And what secret am I keeping even from myself?"
"I don't know yet. Maybe," she narrowed her eyes in mock seriousness, "Maybe you were a pirate."
"A pirate?" he said with a surprised laugh. "Me? And what makes you say that?"
"Your devil-may-care attitude, the way your eyes always stray back toward the wharf where your ship lies, the unwavering confidence you exude…" She blushed again. "It's rather intoxicating."

"Well, now I know something of your reading habits," he said with a disarming smile.
"You do? Enlighten me."
"Penny-dreadfuls. Those pulp books that tell of the scoundrels and scallywags that plague the waves. The highwaymen of the high seas."
"I— I may have… glanced at one or two."
"And what if I told you that yes, I was once a pirate? That the Caribbean was my hunting ground and that 'no prey, no pay' was the one rule I lived by?"
Julia giggled. "I would say that you're having a joke at my expense. That you're teasing me and my runaway imagination."
"So you see, Miss Peffley, there really isn't that much to know about me," Phillip said with a shrug.

Julia leaned close and let her lips brush his. "I don't believe that for a moment. Tell me more."
Before Phillip could process what was happening, he found himself bound in a passionate kiss with Julia.

Phillip finally broke their embrace. "The rules of Virginia society are a bit… confusing," he said, trying to catch his breath. "Miss Peffley--"
"Surely after that kiss, we are past any formalities."
"Surely," he echoed. "But English propriety is something I find I cannot divorce myself from. I pray you'll forgive me, Julia. Perhaps we can meet again?"
Julia laughed. "I got you to quit calling me Miss Peffley. I'll call that a success. And I shall expect you to call on me tomorrow at half past Noon. I trust English clocks work on Virginian soil?"
"That they do," said Phillip. "Until tomorrow. I hope I can find something interesting for us to talk about."
Julia sprang up into her saddle. "If you don't, I will! Until tomorrow, Phillip Briggs!"

He watched as she rode away. An overwhelming feeling of confliction washed over him.
Phillip stepped into his saddle and sat quietly for a moment. He ran his fingers over his lips in an absentminded fashion, remembering Julia's kiss. Zara was content to ride off with Andrew. So why should he feel guilty about kissing Julia?
Why, indeed?

Zara galloped her horse into the stable courtyard. Gibson, the groom, looked up and grabbed his fellow stable groom just in time from getting trampled on.
“Whoa, there, Missy! Where’s the demon that’s chasing you? Is that him?”
He glared at Andrew.
Zara, her face flaming red, jumped off her horse and led the horse into the stall.
Stiffly, she said, “I am so very sorry, Master Gibson, if I gave you a fright. My apologies to you, too, Levi. The horse seemed to enjoy it, if it makes any difference.”
Levi moved to take the reins.
“No, Levi, in my father’s house, we are each responsible for grooming our own horses. My da always said, ‘You ride it, you pamper it.’ Our grooms see to the general welfare of our horses but we provide the tender loving care.”

She led the horse to the stall and began taking the curry brushes out.
‘I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I didn’t mean to run you so hard.” she said softly. The horse nuzzled her neck and she fought back the tears that filled her eyes.
‘At least someone loves me,’ she whispered to the horse.

Suddenly she felt a presence. She looked up and Andrew was leaning against the stall door frame, arms crossed over his chest.
“That was some ride. I couldn’t keep up so I thought I would let you win.”
She said cooly, “I didn’t know we were racing.”
“Well, not really, but all of a sudden you acted like the hounds of hell were after you. I knew I would find you here.”
She continued to brush the horse.
“ found me.”

“I want to apologize if Julia said anything that upset you.”
“IF? IF she upset me? Oh, I am not the least bit upset. No, not me. Not at all.”
“Then why are you brushing that horse so hard sparks are practically flying off her coat?”
Zara slowed down but refused to look at  Andrew.
“I just felt like the horse needed to let off some steam. She had been going at a slow pace. The horses that I am used to enjoy showing their spirits and ______is no exception.”

Andrew took the curry brush out of Zara’s hand and placed it on the shelf.
“Look at me.”
She looked down and he put his hand under her chin, raising her face to look at him.
“Julia did not mean to hurt you. Our family came over here under a land grant thirty years ago. Julia sometimes thinks that she is the spokesperson for the elite Virginia society. But that is because that is all she knows.”
“What of you, Andrew?”
He looked into her eyes and whispered, “I like to keep my options open.”
He raised her face to his and gently kissed her lips.
“I’ll come calling tomorrow, Miss Wolfe.”
He tipped his hat.
“Good day.”
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 20, 2018, 08:51:16 PM
“Miss  Zara? It’s time for dinner. Are you coming down?” Dilcey said through the door.
The reply was inaudible.
“I’m sorry, Miss Zara. I didn’t hear.”
More inaudible replies.
“I still can’t hear but I take that as a no.”

Slowly the door opened. Zara’s eyes were red-rimmed and her face was flushed.
“I’m sorry, Dilcey. I’m not very hungry. I’ll just go to bed. I don’t feel very well.”
Zara went to close the door but Dilcey gently pushed it open and entered.
“At least let me open the windows. I know fresh air always helps me when I don’t feel well. Something about the scent of pine in the air and the smell of a river breeze is balm to the soul.”
She opened the drapes and the windows.
“There! That is much better.”
Zara sat on the edge of the bed and looked down at the floor.
“Thank you, Dilcey. I appreciate it,” she said softly.

Dilcey sat on the edge of the bed.
“You are homesick, aren’t you?”
Zara nodded wordlessly.
“You are missing your family. Your mama, especially.”
“How did you know?”
“I’ve heard what a close family you have and the amazing man your father is.”
“Uncle Will told you.”
Dilcey shook her head.
“No, I heard it from Josiah Briggs.”
“You met Uncle Josie?”
Dilcey nodded.
“A few times that Captain Briggs brought up a shipment, he stayed at this house. In fact, he stayed in the room his son has now. Oh, the stories that Will Harkness and Josiah Briggs would tell! Especially when the rum got flowing.”

Zara wiped a tear from her eye.
“I could tell Mama just about anything. She always listened. I wish I could talk to her now. Ask her advice.”

Dilcey reached over and patted Zara’s hand.
“I know I am no substitute for your mother. But if you ever want advice or a shoulder to cry on, I am there for you. I won’t pry and I won’t judge. But I can be an impartial sounding board. If you ever want to talk—woman-to woman—I will be here for you. Does that sound like a deal?”
Zara managed a small smile,
“I’d like that.”
“Would you like me to send up a tray for you?
“That would be wonderful. That way I won’t have to see---”
Dilcey paused at the door.
Zara nodded.
“Some times we just need some time to sort things out. Things always look better after a good night’s sleep. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Dilcey put some fresh meats on a slice of bread and a few pieces of fruit and cheeses. She poured hot tea in a pot and loaded them up on a tray.
She looked up to find Will standing in the doorway, leaning on the post.
“Is the lovely Miss Wolfe joining us for dinner?”
Dilcey shook her head.
“I am afraid not. The lass has a case of homesickness.”
“Homesickness? Or lovesick?”
She shook her head.
“Not this time. She’s missing her mother. I understand they are very close.”
Will smiled. “The lovely Mrs Jack Wolfe is a remarkable woman. Beautiful and witty. And quite the woman to hold the interest of Mad Jack Wolfe for so long.”
Dilcey smiled to herself.
“Why, Captain Harkness, one would think you had designs on her.”
He ran his hand absentmindedly down the door post.
“Oh...I did. She was dealing cards in a tavern I owned. The Varlet and Vixen.  But Jack Wolfe swept her off her feet before I could get to her. It’s been a good match.”

He looked at the tray. “Any word about our clandestine lovers?”
Dilcey shook her head. “Not a word.”
“Well, Phillip came home in a pensive mood. Only answered with one word answers. I wonder what is going on?”
“I haven’t the foggiest.”
“If I know you, you will gain her confidence. You WILL keep me informed, won’t you, my dear?”
She nodded.
“I will see you later for dessert and wine in the library, my love.”
She gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“You can count on it.”

As she took the tray up the stairs, she said to herself, ‘I’ll tell you only what I WANT you to know, Will, my love. But women keep each other’s secrets.’

Dilcey knocked quietly on the door and then pushed it gently open. Zara had changed into a night chemise and robe, her hair brushed out.
She took the tray from Dilcey with a grateful look on her face.
“Thank you, Dilcey. I just feel like having some alone time. Uncle Will’s house is always filled with people. Is it like this most times?”
She nodded. “Captain Harkness does quite a bit of entertaining. Mostly for business but he does like his social whirl. The soiree he had the other night was mainly to introduce you and Phillip to Virginia society. Did you have a good time?”
Zara picked up a piece of cheese and popped it in her mouth.
“Yes, I did. The local gentlemen were very charming.”
“I daresay they found you charming too.”

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Betsy, the junior maid, was standing there with an envelope.
“Miss Dilcey, this message was left with Gerard. It is for Miss Zara.”
Dilcey took it and handed the envelope to Zara.
“What’s this?”
“It’s a calling card. When someone wants to pay a visit, they hand a card over. If the person wants to see them, they send word downstairs. If not, they become ‘indisposed.’
Zara’s made a face. “I’ll bet it is that snooty Julia Peffly. But she doesn’t want to see me. She wants to use me as an excuse to come sniffing around Phillip. And you can be sure I will be ‘iindisposed’.”
She used the letter opener in the desk drawer and slit it open.
She felt her face flush.

“So….does she want to meet for tea and crumpets?”
“It’s not from her. It’s from…..her brother.”
“Oh, dear.”
Her eyes skimmed over the note.
“It’s very formal. And kind of sweet.”
“Well, don’t keep me in suspense. What does it say?”
Zara began to read,

‘My dear Miss Wolfe,

I would very much like to request the honour of your presence at the home of my parents for tea tomorrow at 4::00 pm. I will come callling for you in our carriage. My parents are most anxious to make your acquaintance.
Please leave a reply with our coachman who will be waiting. I so look forward to showing you around the Peffly estate.


Lord Andrew Peffly

Zara folded the note. “I can’t do this. I’ll tender my regrets.’
She looked around the desk for a quill.
“There seems to be none here. I’ll go down the back way to the study and hand it to the coachman. I presume he will be in the kitchen with the cook?”
“Sharing an ale and a bit of gossip, for sure.”
“I’ll be right back.”

Zara slipped down the back stairs. As she passed the dining room, she heard Phillip and Will talking.
“Julia Peffly is a most charming young woman, Phillip.”
Phillip replied, “Yes, she is. Very cultured and intellectual. She wants to meet for riding tomorrow and I----”
Zara squared her shoulders and walked into the study.

Dear Lord Peffly,

It would be a pleasure and an honour to join you and your parents for tea tomorrow. I shall be ready. Four o’clock would be perfect and I look forward to seeing you then.


Miss Zara Wolfe

Zara took a piece of wax and melted it over the candle. Resolutely she dripped it over the envelope seal and then pressed the stamp of a raven into it.

She blew on it to cool it and as she suspected, she found the coachman in the kitchen laughing and flirting with the cook.
“Hello there.”
The coachman smiled and tipped his hat.
“I presume you have a reply.”
She pressed the envelope in his hand before she could change her mind.
“Please see that Lord Peffly gets this. Thank you very much.”

She ran up the back stairs.
Dilcey was drawing back the bed for Zara.
“You know, Lord Peffly is the catch of the county but I am sure your regrets--”
“No regrets, Dilcey. I intend to see where this is headed.”
“Nothing. I thought you might have other interests, that’s all.”
“That other interest seems to have his head in the clouds or up his---”
“Just be careful, Miss Zara. Sometimes the gentlemen around here don’t have a lass’s best interests at heart.”
“I’ll be careful.”
“I just hope you know what you are doing.”
She lit the candle. “I hope I do too, Dilcey.”
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 25, 2018, 11:29:37 AM
Zara surveyed the pile of dresses she laid out on the bed.
‘What to wear….what to wear….’
She held up a pink dress. No, too innocent. The black dress? No...too sophisticated for an afternoon tea. White? Heavens no!  I don’t want Andrew to think I have any bridal ideas! She pulled out a lilac dress from underneath the pile and held it up to herself, looking in a full length mirror.
‘Yes, this seems about right! The bodice was fitted and it was trimmed with a delicate white lace. The bodice lacings were white to match. She looked under the bed and pulled out a pair of white kidskin boots. Perfect!
A knock on the door.
“Miss Zara?”
“Come in, Dilcey. It’s open.”
Dilcey opened the door and looked at the dress Zara was pulling over her head.
“Let me help you.”
She tugged the dress over Zara’s head. “My, that is a beautiful dress.”
Zara bent over and adjusted her assets into the bodice. “Isn’t it though? When Da saw the dress, he wasn’t too thrilled but Mama stepped in and said it was just perfect. She told Da that if he had his way, I would be in burlap with a drawstring at the neck and one at the knees. ‘My daughter is not a sack of grain, Jack.’ she said. He mumbled something about growing up too fast but Mama just shook her head and laughed.”
“Let me help you lace it.”
“I’ll hold on to the bedpost.”
“Miss Zara, I am not going to plant my foot on your hindquarters and pull on the lacings like you were some racehorse.”
“But Dilcey...”
“This is Virginia society here. A lady does not show her bosom before nine o’clock.”
“I think Virginia society needs to loosen up.”
Dilcey tied the lacings in the back.
“There! Now you look presentable to have tea with the stuffy Lord and Lady Peffly.”
Zara twirled and looked into the mirror.
“I think this parasol would set the ensemble nicely. And oh, my hat! “
She put her hat on and frowned. “No, too….piratey.”
Zara reached for her hair brush and drew it through her hair. She gathered it at the nape of her neck and bound it up. A few tendrils escaped around her face as she wove a lilac ribbon through her hair.
Dilcey surveyed her. “You look perfect. Pretty as a picture like the first day I saw you. But then, your eyes showed you were in...”
“In what?”
Dilcey quickly replied “In a new place ready for new adventures. There is something about you, Miss Zara, that is quite infectious. Any man that would willingly ignore that is a fool”
Zara caught Dilcey’s eyes in the mirror.
“Yes. I think he would be. Some men just don’t see what is in front of them.” she said softly.
“I think I hear a carriage out front. I will have Lord Andrew wait in the parlour. It does a man good to keep them waiting a few minutes. But just a few. Otherwise you will get a reputation for tardiness.”
“Thank you, Dilcey. I will be down in ten minutes.”
Zara looked in the mirror and then leaned over to almost touch her knees. She adjusted a few things, stuffing and fluffing.
‘There! After all, it’s nine o’clock...somewhere.’
She gathered up her shawl and wrapped it around her shoulders, careful to cover up her adjustments. As she entered the parlour, Andrew stood up and crossed over to her, taking her hands in his.
“I must say, Miss Zara, that you are a lovely vision.”
She glanced at the dining room but saw no sign of Phillip or Will.
“I am certainly looking forward to meeting your parents, Andrew. I hope I won’t appear to be an uncouth yokel like I may have been described.”
“Certainly not! Virginia society can learn a lot from you.”
He held out his arm.”Shall we go?”

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 25, 2018, 11:33:13 AM
Zara looked up at the stately manor that was built of grey stones. Ivy was growing up the sides and the house was surrounded by bushes of red and white roses.
"Oh, my, Andrew! What a beautiful home!"
Andrew held his hand out and she put her hand in his as she alighted from the carriage. He tucked her hand under his arm.
"It was built by my grandfather Lord Stanford Peffly, He received a land grant from King  James."

Zara quickly glanced in the reflective window and saw that everything was in place. The dress bodice dipped down ever so carefully to capture a young man's attention but not so low as to brand herself a harlot in the eyes of his parents.

"Mother...Father...I would like to introduce Miss Zara Wolfe to you. She is visiting Captain Harkness from down south. An old family friend."

Zara noticed he did not mention the fact she came from Barbados. 'They probably carried the same notion of the wilderness about the Caribbean as did his snooty sister,’ she thought.

Lord Peffly extended his hand and Lady Peffly briefly kissed Zara on the cheek in a perfunctory greeting.
"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Wolfe. And how are you finding Virginia?"
"It is quite different from where I live."
Andrew interrupted with, "Miss Zara is used to a warmer climate. Sea breezes down south and plantations."
"How lovely, dear. Oh...and here is Julia and her friend!"

Zara and Phillip looked at each other and simultaneously blurted out, "YOU!"

At the same time Zara and Phillip expressed their surprise at seeing each other, Phillip and Julia were engaged in a terse, non-verbal exchange of annoyance with one another and their choice of companionship that afternoon.
Lord Peffly gave a hearty chuckle. "Phillip, Julia, it would seem your friends know one another."
"You might say we arrived in Virginia on the same day," said Phillip, making sure to head off anything awkward Zara might have had in mind to say. "And might I say that you look lovely today, Miss Zara."
"Yes, I do," she replied with a curt smile. "Thank you for noticing."

Julia smiled sweetly and said, “Would you please excuse us for a minute? Andrew, would you help me get the tea cakes out of the kitchen?”
“Betsy does that.”
She took his arm and dug her nails into his forearm.
She marched him into the scullery pantry.
“What the HELL do you think you are doinog?”
“Julia Peffly, don’t you take that tone with me.”
“I’ll take any tone I damn well please!”
He crossed his arms and said, “The proper Captain Briggs will get the wrong impression, using salty language like that.”
“Why did you bring that...that..that CHILD here?”
“For your information, that ‘CHILD’ is all of seventeen and the impression I picked up on is that she’s not exactly living the life of a novitiate.”
“For God’s sake, Andrew, she’s under Captain Will Harkness’ roof and therefore under his protection. From what I have gathered, her father is in business with him. And there is a reason she calls him ‘Uncle.’ Whether he is or it is a term of endearment, you are treading on dangerous grounds, Andrew. Don’t you remember what happened two summers ago?”
“That gentleman had it coming to him. And the end result was he was just humiliated. It could have been a lot worse. And I may ask YOU a question.”
“What are you doing bringing Captain Prigg here.”
“Briggs!” she yelled.
“Could have fooled me.”
“Social climber!”

Julia grabbed the tray of tea cakes, a few of them flying off the tray.
“Pepper!” Andrew yelled.

A large dog came galloping in.
“It’s all yours, Pepper. Shall we go and be the very scion of Virginia society?”
Andrew held the door open.
“Ooof!’ he huffed as Julia elbowed  him in the gut.

She smiled sweetly as she set the tray of tea cakes down.
Andrew followed holding his stomach.

Seizing the opportunity as Julia took her brother aside, Phillip leaned into Zara.
"Just what do you think you're doing?" he demanded.
"Whatever do you mean, Captain Briggs?" she said laconically.
"You know damned well what I'm talking about. You, playing this dandy just to aggravate me."
"Is that why you're playing this trollop? To aggravate me?"
"Julia is no trollop."
"Just as Andrew is no dandy. Honestly, Phillip. If you're that certain you cannot compete, you should consider dropping out of the game. Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe Andrew requires my attention."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 25, 2018, 11:39:14 AM
Julia set the tray of tea cakes and small sandwiches with the crust cut off down on the butler's table.
Lady Peffly poured the tea into tiny teacups. Zara frowned at the size but said nothing.
Phillip graciously accepted a cup.
"What sort of tea is this, Lady Peffly?" Phillip asked.
"Oh, this is imported tea. We paid dearly but only the best when it comes to tea."
Zara took a small sip.
"Really, this"
Trying to find information on her parentage, Lady Peffly asked, "Are your parents partial to tea, Miss Wolfe?"
Phillip's head shot up. There was no way to predict how much Zara would divulge. She alway seemed proud of the fact that her parents were unorthodox and her father had a romantic although sketchy past.
He held his breath.
She replied, "Oh, no. My parents are quite fond of coffee. It is only available North Africa.The city of Mocha in Arabia established their coffee plantations on the mountains of Java. My da always made me study geography. I assume you know where Mocha is.
"My dear, it must be costly to import the coffee all the way from Arabia."
Phillip held his breath.
Zara continued, "My father the export-import business. So he has the ways and means to obtain it. My father always puts a splash of rum in it but my mother doesn't. It seems she is always in the family way."
"You must have a very colourful life on Barbados."
"Oh, we do. Of course, I don't know who my father hates the most--Dutch or Spanish. The Dutch were the first to exploit the desire of the colonists who longed for a means to exhibit their new gentility. I know the English East India Company supplies tidewater Virginia planters with slaves."
Phillip hastened to remark, "Miss Wolfe's family does own slaves."
"Yes, Captain Briggs, but you know how humanely we treat ours. My mother would not hear of the slaves being separated from their family. And they are treated more like indentured servants. My mother made sure each slave has an account and at the end of five years, the slave could either be emancipated or continue working for wages on our sugar plantation. I daresay the rum and brandy on your liquor cabinet came from my family's distillery."
Zara walked over to the cabinet and looked closely.

"Oh, Captain Briggs, look here! A few bottles of MacGregor Scotch whiskey!"
"You are familiar with that label, Miss Wolfe?"
"Oh, but of course! MacGregor and Sons happen to be my father's cousins Rafferty and Flannery. My father holds a 15% share in it."
"Indeed!" The Pefflys were quite impressed with Zara's knowledge and the fact there seemed to be a great deal of wealth connected to her.

"The operation started out as a humble brewery making an especially potent heather beer. It was very popular locally, and it seemed a shame that few outside their shire had ever tasted it. Well, it was such a sensation that they were able to branch out into stronger spirits."
"Then this is where your father gained his fortune?" said Lady Peffly.
"Oh, heavens no," said Zara. "He accomplished that before I was born. I mentioned his distaste for the Dutch and Spanish--"
"Yes, but--" Phillip tried to interject.
"Ah, he was a privateer, then?" said Lord Peffly.
"Yes, exactly," said Phillip, a bit more forcefully than he had intended. "Yes, a privateer."
Zara shot Phillip a dismissive look.

"Ah, then your father served the Commonwealth," continued Lord Peffly. "Those were tempestuous times, indeed. Some might even say a better time."
"Father, please, no politics," said Julia. "You promised."
"Oh, Da absolutely detested Cromwell," said Zara. "I have no doubt he still does."
Phillip winced at her comment. Julia and Andrew exchanged wide-eyed glances of disbelief.
Lord Peffly sat up in his chair and cleared his throat. "And what of you, Miss Wolfe? What is your opinion of the Lord Protector?"
Zara smiled sweetly. "I wouldn't know. I never met him."

Lady Peffly broke the tension in the air with nervous laughter that was meant to sound amused at Zara's comment, but the others at the table took her cue and joined in.

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 25, 2018, 11:48:10 AM
Zara extended her hand.
“Thank you for a lovely afternoon, Lady Peffly—Lord Peffly. You have a beautiful home and the grounds are just wonderful.”
Lady Sarah Peffly kissed Zara’s cheek.
“Do come visit us soon, dear.”
Phillip bowed and kissed Lady Sarah’s hand.
“It was wonderful to meet you.”
“Oh, Captain Briggs, the invitation is open to you anytime, dear. Do say you will make it soon.”
Lord Peffly gave Phillip a hearty handshake and kissed Zara’s hand.
“The pleasure was all ours.”

Lady Sarah watched through the curtains as Phillip mounted his horse and rode down the drive. Andrew’s carriage with Zara went the opposite way at the end of the lane.
“What nice young people. So energetic and full of life!”
Lord Peffly walked to the sideboard and poured himself a glass of MacGregor and Sons scotch whiskey. He took a deep drink.
“Damn fine spirits.”
Lady Sarah raised an eyebrow. “Quite a lot of money to be made from spirits.”
Lord Henry Peffly nodded. “And I daresay there is money there that isn’t even mentioned.”
“So...what do you think, Henry?”
“I think there is a possibility of a fine match. But aren’t they nouveau riche?”
“From what I have heard from Helena Eldridge, who got it from her cook who got it from Commodore Harkness’s cook, the young lady’s mother is of a noble family from Wales. The Conaways.
“And her father?”
“I understand her grandfather was a shipbuilder from Dorset. The business was lost when he died. The son—Zara’s father—took to the sea and nothing was heard from him for the longest time.”
“I heard there was a pirate with the same last name—Wolfe--what was it? Oh, yes. Jack Wolfe. Quite a legend. He was known as Mad Jack Wolfe.”
“Oh, my! Insanity?”
“No, my dear, ‘mad’ for his daredevil schemes. I seem to recall some talk about this pirate Wolfe making off with the East India Company’s entire bankroll.”
“Oh, but it can’t be the same one, can it?”
Lord Henry shook his head. “I doubt it. I think this Mad Jack Wolfe was killed in a boarding action years ago. I think it took place over twenty years ago so this couldn’t be her father.”
“Thank goodness, Henry!”
“No, Miss Wolfe’s father is a distiller and a sugar baron in Barbados.”
Lady Sarah fanned herself.
“Thank goodness! Can you imagine if it were true? A pirate? Consorting with people like us? She is a beauty, though. And lively. “
“Lively enough to keep up with our son?”
“Henry, it would be a good match. It could tame Andrew of his wild ways.”
“Do you think she could keep up with him?”
“Have you ever seen anyone who could? She would probably hold his interest for a year or two. There will be babies to occupy her time and keep her attention focused on them. Maybe this will get his wayward ways out of his system.”
“If not, she probably will be too busy to care what he does. He can go back to his strumpets but this time he will be discreet. It probably won’t keep him out of the gambling halls though.”
Lady Sarah tapped her chin thoughtfully. “I haven’t seen Andrew so attentive to a young lady since Barbara Braxton.”
“Barbara Braxton. Now that is a name I have not heard mentioned in a while.”
“She went off to visit her aunt in Boston for a few months. Quite suddenly, I might add. Oh, well, young people today are so impetuous”
“Well, Miss Wolfe is certainly a beauty. She has money, noble blood and she is smart too.”
“Are you thinking what I am thinking?”
Lord Henry Peffly poured a glass of scotch for his wife and another one for himself. He touched her glass with hers.
“Sarah? I do believe we have found a match!”
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 25, 2018, 07:28:17 PM
Dilcey looked out the window.
“My goodness, Mister Phillip! I’m glad you made it home before the rain. It’s starting to come down in sheets. The road parallel to the creek bed will be nothing but sloppy mud.”
Phillip pulled back the curtain.
“It’s what my father would call a real toad-strangler.”
He sat down at the table. Dilcey poured him a hot toddy.
“What’s in this, Dilcey?”
“Oh, a little bit of this...a little bit of that….a lot of dreams..”
“No, seriously. This is wonderful.”
“It is whiskey mixed with lemon juice and honey. And that is a cinnamon stick. The vitamin C  for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb."

“I can certainly use this on a day like today.”
“Here, have a cinnamon roll.”
“I’m certainly glad Zara made it home before the storm.”
Dilcey looked at him quizzically.
“Yes. She left the same time I did. But the other direction. The way Lord Peffly was driving that small carriage, it seemed like it was practically airborne.”
“Mister Phillip, I never saw her come in. Are you sure?”
“I’m sure she must be up in her room.”
“I’ll check.”
“Don’t let her know it was my suggestion.”
She patted his shoulder as she walked by.
“Your concern is safe with me.”

Dilcey knocked quietly on the door.
“Miss Zara? Are you home?”
She knocked several times then cautiously opened the door.
No sign of Zara. At least not since she had left that morning.

"Where in heaven's name are you, child?" she whispered to the empty room.
Dilcey frowned in concern as she closed the bedroom door.

Phillip brought the toddy close to his nose to better enjoy the drink's aroma. His eyes went wide as he caught a whiff of the considerable amount of whiskey Dilcey had used.
"Blimey! If she ran a pub, I'd buy shares in it," he said with a smile. He took a sip, and he could feel a delightful warmth travel to his stomach and spread outward.
For a moment, he was able to think about something other than Zara's sudden coldness towards him. Perhaps she hadn't thought that far ahead, and that was quite likely, but any notion she might have of a romance with Little Lord Andrew would be shut down the moment Phillip ordered El Lobo's sails be set before the wind. But doing so would bring him closer to dealing with the one problem he would rather forget about entirely — Lenore Cully.

"I have never seen a man sit there with a strong drink that close to his lips and him not allow himself to enjoy it," said Dilcey.
"Oh, I'm sorry," said Phillip. "The toddy is delicious. I was just… lost in thought for a moment."
"I've been standing here for nigh on five minutes. And you haven't touched that cinnamon roll, either. Between you and Will getting lost in thought, it's a wonder the pantry has any food worth eating left in it."
Phillip blushed. "It is not commentary on your skills in the kitchen, Dilcey. I just have a lot on my mind."
She gave him a kind smile. "I know. Love can do that to a person. Make you all distracted, and even forget to eat."
"Now, I never said I was in love."
"You never did. Not in words. Love doesn't need words. It's in the eyes, and the smile only one person ever gets from you. The way they aggravate you to pieces when there's a disagreement or hurt feelings."
"Well," said Phillip, "What else can you tell me about myself?"
Dilcey chuckled. "Just that if you don't take a bite of that cinnamon roll, I might just feed it to you."

"All right, you win," said Phillip. He cut out a bite with his fork and popped it into his mouth. "It's delicious!"
"Thank you. It's my own recipe. Will insists I make a batch at least once a week."
"I didn't expect it to be so mild and sweet."
"The cinnamon is from Dutch Ceylon. Will won't have anything less under his roof or on his plate." Dilcey touched Phillip's hand. "And looking out that window every ten seconds isn't going to get Miss Zara home any faster. It could be they decided to turn back and wait out the storm at the Peffly estate."
"I'm sure you're right, Dilcey. I will try harder to relax and enjoy this delightful treat."
"Good. And your secret is safe with me. I won't tell Miss Zara how worried you've been," she said sweetly. "Just watch. She'll waltz in like the sun was shining on only her the whole way here."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 25, 2018, 07:30:10 PM
Just then the back door flew open. Dilcey and Phillip looked up. His eyes went wide at the sight before him. Dilcey’s mouth dropped open.

Before them stood Zara. Or something that resembled Zara at one time. This young lady stood in the doorway drenched from head to toe. Mud streaked her face along with some scratches. Her dress was covered in mud and the back was ripped. The hemline straggled 
Her boots were caked in mud and the feathers on her hat were soaking wet. The dye from them was running down her back and chest.
She looked like a deflated chicken.
“What—what the HELL happened to you?” Phillip’s mouth curved up in mirth.
Dilcey rushed forward. “Miss Zara, what happened?”
“What happened? What HAPPENED? This damned monsoon, that is what happened!”
“But what took you so long to get home? I thought you and Lord Piffle took a scenic route home.”
“PEFFLY! How many times do I have to tell you? IT’S PEFFLY!”

Dilcey sprang forward with a few kitchen towels and gently wiped Zara’s face. Only her eyes were showing. The rest was encased in mud.
She made soothing sounds as she kept wiping the mud off Zara’s face.
“I’ll tell you what happened. Everything was going fine. Andrew was asking me to escort him to Uncle Will’s party on Saturday. And I was going to say yes, thank you very much for asking.
We must not have been paying attention because the wheel hit a rock. The wheel spun off and dragged the carriage. On its side, I might add. The horse spooked and dragged us along with the carriage—still on its side. The carriage hit a tree and broke loose. I hope I didn’t break a tooth. Or a fingernail. Andrew ran after the horse and caught up with him when the harness caught in some brambles. I got cut up trying to help him. All the time the rain is coming in sideways. Then I slipped in the mud by that damn creek. Andrew is trying calm the horse, I am slipping in the mud and the carriage is broken up by a big oak tree.”
“Hold still,” Dilcey said as she looked at the cuts on Zara’s face and hands. “Just surface scratches but we need to get them cleaned up so there is no infection.”

“So now Andrew is having to settle the horse, who is still dancing in circles with those damn bug eyes they get when they spook. Then he proceeds to tell me that if I follow that curve I will see the drive that goes up to Uncle Will’s. He has to ride the horse back to the Peffly estate and I ask, ‘Why can’t you just drop me off with me riding on the back of the horse?’ and he says he can’t take the risk of having the horse buck me off. Isn’t that considerate?”
“Very,” Phillip said dryly. “He’s a charmer.”
“So I follow the curve, go up the drive and you know that flower bed by the walk way?”
“Well, why didn’t anyone mention there were THORNS! I slipped and fell backwards into them.”
She turned around and looked at her dress. It was pretty shredded in the back. She rubbed her rear. “I think I got a bruise on my...hip. Yes. My hip.”
But it wasn’t her hip she was rubbing.
“So by this time it is thundering and lightning and I can’t open my parasol because I don’t want it to be a lightning rod and get zapped.”

Phillip covered his mouth with his hand but his shoulders shook with laughter. “I really don’t think a parasol would have kept you dry at this point, Cookie.”
She snapped, “Who asked you?”
Dilcey turned her back and bit her lip to keep her giggles in check.

Zara opened up her parasol and a torrent of cold rainwater poured from it right onto her head.
Water dripped down her dress into her chemise and trickled down to parts better left undescribed but Phillip had an idea.

She blew the hair off her face with her breath, calmly folded up the parasol and shot it across the room.
RAWR! was heard from Dilcey’s cat.

With as much dignity as she could muster, Zara announced, “I shall be in my room.”

As she left, Phillp and Dilcey burst into uncontrollable laughter.
Phillip picked up his toddy and winked at Dilcey.
“A lot of dreams in this, huh? From where I sit, I think I witnessed a friggin’ nightmare!”

Dilcey smiled. “Just sit back and enjoy the toddy. I think our little bird needs her feathers smoothed. I swear, I have never seen such a sight in my life!”
She looked at the floor and leading out of it were small muddy footprints.
“I think this is going to need a major clean up.”
Phillip broke out in laughter.
“Maybe you should just set her out on the veranda and have the thunderstorm rinse her off.”
Dilcey smacked his head lightly.
“Hush your mouth! She’s feeling pretty humiliated. I’m going up to see what I can do.”
Phillip raised his glass to her.
“Have at it!”

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on August 25, 2018, 07:31:56 PM
Dilcey knocked softly on the door.
“Who is it?”
It’s Dilcey, dear. I have some warm towels to help clean you up.”
The door opened and Dilcey went in.
There stood Zara in her dirty chemise with the dress in question laid over the bannister on the  balcony. The rain was washing the mud off.
“I think that dress is history,” Zara said glumly. “It’s a shame, I only wore it twice.”
Dilcey opened up some dresser drawers and laid a fresh chemise out.
“There will be others, I am sure.”
“Do you think the boots can be saved?”
“If we let the mud dry and then send them down to the stable. I am sure Gibson can use some mink oil on them and get them looking good as new again.”
Zara had mud caked on her face and in her hair.
“I know Phillip got a good laugh at me.”
Dilcey picked out some scented soaps. “Oh, I wouldn’t say that. But you have to admit, you were quite the sight. I don’t think the cat will ever be the same.”
“I feel so foolish.”
“Why don’t I draw a warm bath for you and you can start to feel human again. We can chat while you soak.”

Within fifteen minutes, Zara was soaking in the tub with bubbles. She ran the soap through her hair to get the mud out, sighed and leaned back.
“Yes, dear?”
“How can things that started out so wonderfully end up so poorly?”
“Maybe because the best laid plans don’t account for anything deviating from its path?”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s like your adventure today. I am sure you and Lord Peffly started out making plans for the day and by the end of it, well… lost a dress to the elements and here you sit in a warm bath. Did you plan that?”
“As the daughter of a pirate—yes, I know all about him. I have for years. Look who I work for. But as his daughter, what do you think your father would do?”
Zara took the soap and rubbed it on the washcloth, the applied it to her face.
“Da? Nothing fazed Da. He would adjust the sails or go headlong into the storm, cursing it but would come through it victorious.”
“Would you expect his daughter to do anything less?”

“I have a feeling we aren’t talking about Andrew Peffly, are we?”
Dilcey said quietly, “No, we aren’t.”
“You know.”
Dilcey nodded.
“I know.”
“How long have you known?”
“From the moment he took your hand and helped you out of Captain Harkness’s carriage.”
“The rest wasn’t hard to figure out. Most people see the servants as invisible. They forget we are there. But we observe.”
“What tipped our hand?”
“The soft click of the door knob...the quiet footsteps down the hallway at early light…..and the trellis broken and the rose bush flattened. Lots of little things that add up to one big thing. A young couple in love and doing their best to hide it from the world.”
“I’m so embarrassed.”
“Don’t be. I think it is heartwarming. But you have another situation to work through.”
“What to do about Andrew Peffly.”
“Yes. What are your feelings there, Zara?”

“Andrew was a good excuse to try to make Phillip jealous.”
“Did it work?”
“I don’t think so. Phillip seems so indifferent to me. Maybe he lost interest once he….”
Zara’s voice trailed off and she looked sadly at Dilcey.
Dilcey handed Zara a towel and she got out of the water. Which had turned dark brown, by the way.

Zara wrapped the warm towel around her and walked over to the bed where she slipped her clean chemise on. Dilcey handed her a toddy and Zara took a sip and coughed.
“It’s to ward off a chill, lambchop. You took quite a few tumbles today.”

Dilcey opened up a few jars and motioned to Zara. “Let’s get this ointment on to stop any infection and so you won’t scar.”
‘I’m not talking the jagged scars that pirates have from losing a sword fight. Just a few red marks.”
“So, what do you intend to do with the dashing Lord Peffly?”
Zara frowned, “Ow! That stings!”
“It’s meant to. It means it is healing.”

“About Andrew….he’s handsome and vital and a lot of fun.”
“But he isn’t very considerate. He could have seen me home. But he cared more for that damned horse than me.”
“What would Mister Phillip had done?”
“Phillip would have picked me up and carried me over all that mud. He would have given me his coat to keep me warm.”
Dilcey didn’t say a word.
Zara said quietly, “I’m going riding with Andrew tomorrow. And I am going to end it.”
“And then?”
“Find a way to get Phillip back.”
Dilcey nodded.
“Thank you, Dilcey.”
“For what?”
“For helping me figure this out.”
“You figured it out all by yourself. You just needed someone to get your thought process together.”
She lifted Zara’s head up and kissed her gently on the cheek.
“If I had a daughter, I would imagine she would have been just like you.”

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 28, 2018, 05:52:13 PM
“Mother? Father? I’m home.”
Andrew walked into the parlour, spattered with mud.
“Andrew! You take yourself right into the mudroom and get yourself out of those dirty clothes! Leave them by the door and I will have Betsy take them down to the laundry. And after that, join your father and me. We’d like to have a chat with you.”

Within fifteen minutes, Andrew appeared in a fresh shirt and breeches. He poured himself a brandy, sat in the chair and leaned back. He closed his eyes as the brandy’s warmth spread through him.
Lady Peffly looked at her husband and nodded. Lord Peffly cleared his throat.
“I take it you saw the young lady home safely.”
“What?” Andrew said, his eyes still closed.
“Miss Wolfe. She arrived safely home, yes?”
“I assume so.”
“What do you mean, you assume so?”
“Well, we had a mishap with the carriage. We seemed to run into snag. The wheel came off and dragged us. Barney spooked and it was all I could do to keep him under control. Besides, we were around the bend from Captain Harkness’ estate. She’s not stupid. She could find it easily enough.”

Lady Peffly smacked his feet off the ottoman.
“I can’t BELIEVE a son of mind would act so unchivalrous. You could have tied Barney to a tree and delivered her to the door. Where were you raised, in a stable?”
“Ow! Alright, so in retrospect it was an unwise decision. I’ll go over there tomorrow with a bouquet of flowers and go down on my knee in an abject apology, alright?”
“You will do better than that. You will go with a bouquet of roses.”
“Roses? I don’t want to give her the wrong idea. She won’t be around that long. From what I understand, there was some matter that needed dealt with at home and she will be gone from here in about a month. I enjoy her company. She’s a charmer.”

“It’s up to you to make sure she stays longer than her allotted time.”
“We like her. We find her acceptable.”
“Acceptable? What does THAT mean?”
“Andrew, it is time you turned your thoughts to settling down.”
“I’m only twenty-two.”
“Exactly. It’s about time you put away your gallivanting ways and start thinking of your future.”
“Future? My future consists of what I want to do in the next week. Not...forever.”

“The young lady is beautiful, moneyed and pedigreed.”
“She’s not a horse, Mother.”
“You know what I mean.”
‘Look, Zara—Miss Wolfe—is a fun  time. Don’t get any ideas beyond that. I am not ready to tie a noose around my ring finger.”

The Pefflys exchanged glances. Lady Peffly stood up.
“Excuse me. I think this talk should be between you two.” She kissed Andrew on the cheek.
“Goodnight, dear.”
“Good night, Mother.”

Lord Peffly cleared his throat. “Andrew, I would well advise you to think this over. Seriously. You will do your best to charm her and you will make the move towards holy matrimony with her.”
Andrew snorted.
“And if she refuses?”
“I don’t care what you have to do. Do whatever it takes, even if it involves seduction and getting the young lady in a family way. But marry her you will.”
“And if I refuse to do it?”
“Your mother and I will have no choice but to cut you off from your allowance and you will have to settle your gambling debts all by yourself.”
“That’s not fair!”
“I’ve covered for you with situations that your mother does not know. The latest being the Barbara Braxton incident. So I would suggest you put on your best manners. Apologize profusely and charm Miss Wolfe so that she can’t live without you.”

Andrew set his jaw. Lord Peffly put his arm around his shoulder.
“Son, it’s not a bad deal. She’s beautiful. Witty and smart. Besides, getting there should be a lot of fun. And when all is said and done, she will be occupied with babies and maintaining a household and you can go back to your whores as long as your wife is kept in the dark or is willing to turn a blind eye to it.”
“Oh, like Mother does?”

Lord Peffly set his jaw.
“Nice chatting with you son. Now see that you make it happen. And the sooner the better.”

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 28, 2018, 07:43:26 PM

Zara walked slowly down the stairs, running her hand absentmindedly down the bannister.

“There you are, my dear!”
Seated at the dining room table were Will, Phillip and Dilcey. Zara took her seat and mumbled, “Good morning.”
Will took a sip of his coffee. “It looks to be a wonderful day and---good grief, Zara! What are those scratches on your face?”
“I tripped and landed in the rose bushes,” she said as she self-consciously raised her hand to her face.
“Let me look,” Dilcey replied. She took Zara’s face gently in her hand and turned it towards her.
“It is healing nicely, dear. In a few days there won’t be a trace of them left.

Zara kept her head down as she sipped on the hot chocolate.
“Is your bruise healing?” Phillip asked.
“It’s healing.”
“Has it turned yellow yet?”
Zara shot him a look.
“No, but when it does I will be sure to drop my pantalets so you can see, alright?”
“I was merely showing concern, Zara.”
“Zara, how did that happen?”
“Uncle Will, it is no big deal. I slipped and fell in the mud. At the same time I got the scratches.”
“What were you doing out in the rain?”
“Why all the questions, Will?” Dilcey asked, a bit irritated.
“Because she is under my guardianship when she is here.”
“I thought she was under Phillip’s charge.”

Phillip replied, “I don’t think she needs me to look after her. She seems to be doing alright.”

Zara slammed her napkin down on the table.
“Will you PLEASE stop talking about me in the third person like I wasn’t even HERE?”
All three of them looked startled at her.
“I’m sorry, Zara.”
“Sorry. People are always sorry after the fact,” she said bitterly.
“Zara, I certainly didn’t mean---”
“I know you didn’t, Philllip, “ she said wearily.
She got up and slid her chair in.
“I’m not very hungry. I’ll be back in a bit. I am going for a ride. I need some time to myself.”
Will asked, “Where are you going?”
She picked up her riding crop. “I don’t know yet.”
“Do you want some company? I promise I won’t say a word,” Phillip asked.
“No, thank you.”

After she left, Will asked, “What was THAT about? Is this a ladies’ thing?”
Dilcey frowned. “The young lady is homesick, especially for her mother.”
“Well, she can't go back until her father sends the word. And that could be a few months. Besides, I rather like having the young people around. Makes me feel young again."
"I know you do, Will. I like having them here too."
"is there anything we can do?"
"No, dear. Just let them figure it out for themselves."

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 28, 2018, 07:47:44 PM
As Zara was set to go out the back door to the stables, the butler stopped her. “Miss Zara, yyou have a caller.”
“Really? I wasn’t expecting anyone. I’ll be there in a minute.”
She put her hat and riding crop on the chair in the hallway.
When she entered the parlour, there stood Lord Andrew Peffly. In his hand was a bouquet of red and white roses.
“Pour vous,” he smiled.
She tentatively took the flowers.
“Um..why, thank you.”

He gave her a disarming smile.
“I hope this in some small way assuages my very inconsiderate behaviour. I can only plead a panic about the horse and it was very inexcusable and short-sightedness on my part. I cannot emphasize enough the gross lack of judgment in not escorting you home. I can promise you it will never happen again.”
‘Damn straight, it won’t’, Zara thought.
She smelled the fragrance of the roses and arranged them in a vase.
“I’ll have Betsy put some water in this.”
“I see you are dressed for riding.”
“Yes, it was my intention to just ride for a while by the river. I find it clears my mind.”

He took her hand.
“I’d really like to accompany you.”
“I don’t really...”
“I can show you the very old house that was the first house in this county. It is supposed to be built on an old Indian burial mound.”
“And then I can take you to the Bull and Bear tavern. They have the best turkey meat pie. And a good cider, too.”
“I don’t really like cider...”
“No problem. Whatever you want.”
“What I really want...”
“Please. I want to make up for my lack of good manners.”
Andrew looked at her with imploring eyes and a hopeful look.
She sighed. “Alright.”
He pulled her close and kissed her forehead.
“You won’t regret it.”
He picked up her hat and put it on her head, then handed her the riding crop.
“Shall we?”
He opened the door and they headed towards the stables.

Phillip was walking by the window when he glanced out and saw Zara walking towards the stables, Andrew with his arm around her waist.
“What the HELL?: he said as he started to head out the door.
Dilcey entered the room and said in a commanding voice, “Stop, Phillip.”
He stood where he was.
“But she’s gone off with that son of a belch. After the way he just about abandoned her and let her walk home in that storm?”
“She’s working this out, Phillip. Be patient. Good things come to those who wait.”
“But what if he loses her in the woods? What if---?”
“She’s a smart, young woman. And as far as Andrew Peffly, she is going to tell him she doesn’t want to see him socially anymore.”
“Really? How do you know that?”
“She pretty much told me. Just wait. Show her kindness. Things will go the way they are supposed to.”
“I suppose so. I have some correspondence to take care of so I will be in my room.”
Will stood in the doorway and smiled, “Say hello to Jack for me.”
Phillip grinned and saluted as he went out the door.

Andrew kept up a stream of idle conversation as Zara made all the appropriate responses.
“Well, here we are,” he said.
Zara looked up.
There was an imposing house with a grand lawn and flowers lining the carriage drive.
“Come on, I will show you around and the burial mound.”
He climbed down and took the reins of both horse, expertly tying them to the oak tree that was in front of the family cemetery.
Zara jumped down off the horse before Andrew could make a move to help her down.

“Here. Let me show you the grounds.”
  He attempted to hold her hand but Zara pretended to be looking down at her buttons and smoothing the breeches.
“Aren’t we trespassing?”
Andrew shook his head.
“No, I am friends with the people who live here.”
“Shouldn’t you at least make our presence known?”
“No need to. The family is in Europe for a few months.”
“Who are they?”
“The Braxtons. Friends of my parents and I have known their son and daughter since I was this high. Come. I want to show you the summerhouse in the back.”

Andrew led her to a quaint hexagonal structure with a roof with a weather vane on the peak.
Three steps led up to the deck and in the middle was a swing suspended from the rafters.
“Come. Sit with me.”
He patted a space next to him on the swing. Reluctantly, Zara sat down.
He put his arm around her shoulder and drew her to him.
“Zara, I know this is crazy but I have fallen head over heels in love with you from the first time I laid eyes on you.”
“But Andrew….”
“Please. I know that if I didn’t state my case, you would go off to Barbados and I would never see you again.”
“I find myself thinking about you day and night. And I can’t live without you.”

Andrew got up and went down on one knee. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a box.
Inside was a gold ring with a heart shaped ruby and three diamonds on either side.
“Miss Zara Wolfe, would you do the honour of becoming my wife?”

Zara stared at the ring and then started coughing.
“Andrew, we hardly know each other.”
“It doesn’t matter. All I know is that I love you.”
“But, Andrew, I don’t...I mean...well, I don’t love you.”
His face registered astonishment.
“What? What did you say?”
“I don’t love you,” she said with a defiant tilt to her head.
“You can learn to love me. I know I can make you love me.”
Zara rose out of her seat.
“I’m finding this really hard to believe.”

Andrew put his arms around her and drew her to him. His breath was on her neck as he whispered, “Zara, can you honestly tell me you don’t feel any desire for me?”
“Yes, Andrew. I can honestly tell you that.”
He kissed her roughly.
“I don’t believe that for a minute. I can tell you want me. You are just playing coy.”
His hands strayed down her blouse.
She pushed him away.
“Don’t be a little fool. Don’t you know what I am offering you? A home. Money—OLD money. Pedigree. A title. You would be Lady Zara Peffly. And when my father passes, we inherit the house and the full title. We would have the legacy of children...”
“Children? You think of me as a brood mare?”
“You have the look of fertility and...”
“I can’t believe I am hearing this.”
“Zara, let me prove my love for you….”
He kissed her deeply and Zara drew her hand back and slapped him.
Instinctively he slapped her back. Hard.
She put her hand to her cheek.
“I am out of here.”
“Oh, no you aren’t.”
He grabbed at her shirt and ripped it off her shoulder as he drew her close to him, pinning her against the post of the structure.
He fumbled with her waistband when all of a sudden he doubled over in pain.
Because Zara had drawn her knee up and racked him as hard as she could.

“**ch!” he howled in pain.
Zara ran towards the horse and quickly untied her from the post. Jumping onto the mare’s back, she galloped as fast as she could down the lane and in the direction of Will’s mansion.
When she was well out of sight of Andrew, she let the horse slow down. It was only then that she let the sobs come.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 28, 2018, 07:52:10 PM
Zara rode her horse into the stable yard. Levi rushed up to help her.
“Miss Zara! What happened?”
The shirt she was wearing was torn off her shoulder and her cheek was beginning to show a bruise.
“Oh…..I caught my shirt on a branch and when it gave way, it whacked me in the face. It’s alright though.”
He took the mare’s reins.
“Where’s Lord Peffly?”
Zara hesitated. “Oh...he was doubled over in pain.”
“Food poisoning?”
Zara muttered, ‘No such luck.’
“I guess it was something he couldn’t handle. I am sure by now he is home with a brandy and some ice. I’m sure it was just a touch of something. I decided to come on home.”
“I’ll groom the mare down for you. You look like you could use some rest. And be sure to put something cold on that bruise.”
“I will. Thank you, Levi. And not a word to anyone. I don’t want them to think I was clumsy.”

Zara looked around and seeing no one, slipped into the dining room and poured herself a small glass of brandy. She shuddered as the warmth of it coursed through her.
She quietly climbed the stairs and went into her room. Taking off her ripped shirt, she balled it up and threw it in a corner. She dropped her boots and kicked them under the bed and laid her breeches across the chair. She pulled the covers back and laid down on the bed with her forearm covering her eyes, too tired to even cry.
‘Uncle Will is hosting that party tonight but there is no way I am going to it, particularly since Andrew had mentioned he would be there, intending to dance every waltz with her.
Before she knew it, she fell asleep.

“Did Zara get home yet?” Phillip kept glancing out the window. Dilcey looked up from her embroidery.
“Oh, for sure. I saw the mare in the stable yard and I caught a glimpse of her on the landing and then her door shut. This was about an hour ago.”
“Then she will probably start getting ready for Will’s party.”
“I’ll go upstairs to see if she needs any help with her hair.”

Dilcey knocked quietly on Zara’s door.
“Who is it?” came the muffled reply.
“It’s Dilcey, dear. Do you need any help with getting dressed for the party? Do you need laced up?”
“What about your hair?”
“I’m not going.”
She cracked the door open. “I don’t feel well.”
“Do you have a headache? A stomach ache? Let me see if you have a fever.”
Zara opened the door a bit more. “You can come in but only if you promise not to tell anyone.”
“I promise.”
Zara opened the door and let Dilcey in.
“Good Lord, child! What happened to you?”
“Clumsy me, I ran into a branch.”
“As Will would say, ‘Bollocks!’ I can see the imprint of four fingers. Now, do you want to tell me what really happened?”
Zara walked over to pick her shirt off the floor.
“This. This is what happened.”
Dilcey held the shirt up.
She looked Zara straight in the eye.
“Andrew Peffly!” she spat.
Zara nodded.
“Did he…?”
Zara shook her head. “It wasn’t for lack of trying.”
“Wait till Phillip and Will...”
“NO! Dilcey, you can’t!”
“They deserve to know. Charges need to filed.”
Zara shook her head. “No harm was really least not to me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I racked him so hard his grandchildren will feel it. Besides, what proof do we have except a ripped shirt which he will say I tore on a tree branch. It will be my word against his. And the way I left him on the ground of that gazebo gasping for breath and howling in pain. I doubt he will be at the party.”
“But Phillip needs to know so he can watch out for you.”
Zara shook her head. “Phillip made it clear that while we are here, he was going to relinquish his duties—babysitting--to Uncle Will.”
Suddenly, she blurted out, “Oh, I HATE Virginia!”
She collapsed in Dilcey’s arms and finally cried.

Dilcey held her till the tears were spent.
“You know what was strange, Dilcey?” She dabbed the tears from her face with her handkerchief. “He brought flowers and kept up a running conversation. And he took me to a gazebo at the Braxton manor and then...then he proposed to me.”
“He hardly knows me. He was almost desperate for me to say yes.”
“And when you turned him down, he turned on you.”
“I took care of myself,” she said defiantly.
“Indeed you did!”
“I’m going to skip the party tonight and just stay up in my room. I need to write a letter to my mother. It will be full of news of what is going on, nice and cheery. I don’t want to worry her.”
“I’ll bring you up some soup and a small cheese platter with a lemonade. And if you are still up, I will inform you of the goings on at the party. I am sure Lord Andrew Peffly will not dare show his face.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 28, 2018, 07:54:48 PM
“Is Zara getting ready for the party? If I know her, she will be fashionably late.”
Dilcey ladled soup into a bowl.
“Zara decided not to go.”
“Zara? Not go to a party? What’s wrong? Is she ill?”
“She’s feeling a bit under the weather.”
“I’ve seen Zara go to a party with a  raging fever.”
Dilcey shrugged, “All I know is what she told me.”
Phillip laid a hand on Dilcey’s arm. Quietly he asked, “Dilcey, what is REALLY going on?”
 Dilcey took a deep breath.
“I promised her I wouldn’t say a word. But I feel you should know. Please don’t let it be known I betrayed her confidence.” 
“I won’t. What happened?”
“She and Lord Peffly went riding. It started out all right but then he proposed to her.”
“He WHAT?”
“I know. Hard to believe. When she turned him down, it turned ugly.”
“How ugly?”
“To the point where it got physical.”
Phillip turned to walk up the back stairs.
“Phillip, DON’T!”

“I have to make sure she is alright. That he didn’t take advantage of her.”
“He didn’t. She has a torn shirt—just at the sleeve where he grabbed her. There are some bruises on her arm and a few on her chest. And..”
Dilcey sighed. “She has four bruises on her cheek where he struck her.”

Phillip felt his hand clenching and unclenching.
“So he hit a woman.”
“She hit him first.”
“How low can he possibly be? All that charm and money covering over for a debased person. Zara has done nothing to deserve this.”
“Well, talking about low...The way Zara told me is he dropped to his knees when she gave him a well-placed kick. One that he won’t soon forget, from what she said. Phillip, I doubt very much if Lord Peffly will be at the party. I don’t think Zara will be seeing him.”
“I swear, if I ever get my hands on him...”

“She really is alright, Phillip. She just wants some time to herself. She is writing to her mother and doing some reading. I am afraid Virginia has been less than stellar for her.”
“I can’t say I blame her. Oh, Dilcey, you and Will have been excellent hosts and I appreciate it more than I can say. “
“ seem to be hitting a snag in your pursuit of Miss Zara Wolfe.”
“It—it shows?”
“Only with every glance and look you give each other.”
“And here I thought we were being clever.”
“I am a woman. I notice these things. May I ask you a personal question, Philllip?”
“You may. I am not sure I will answer.”
“Just what is the problem with the two of you? It is very obvious you love each other.”
\Phillip sighed. “Zara has….certain expectations that at this time I feel I can’t address.”
“She wants a ring and the obligations that go with it.”
He nodded. “One snag. I am... engaged.”
Dilcey frowned. “Well, that does complicate matters.”
He hastily said, “Of which I intend to rectify as soon as I get home. But it won’t be pretty.”
“You can’t make a clean break?”
“No. It’s the Governor’s daughter.”
“When you complicate your life, Captain Briggs, you don’t fool around.”
“Don’t I know it.”
“If you are going to the party, I think you had better get dressed.”
“Are you sure Zara is alright?  I don’t need to check on her?”
“No, she is fine. I told her I would be up in a bit to tell her what is going on. She just wants some time alone to sort things out.”
“Then I will go get ready. God willing, Miss Julia Peffly won’t be there.”
“You don’t care for her?”
He gave Dilcey a wink as he walked up the back stairs.
“Let’s just say….she’s not Zara!”
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on September 29, 2018, 04:05:56 PM
Dilcey had a tray of hors-d'oeuvres, setting them on the table.
“You did a marvellous job on such short notice, my love, “ Will whispered.
“As always. Did you doubt it for a minute?”
“Not in the least.”
“And I shall—oh good Lord! I don’t believe it!”
“Over there. Lord Peffly.”
“Oh yes, I am sure he is here especially because Zara will be here.”
“She’s not coming, Will.”
“What? Zara miss a party?”
Dilcey thought fast. “She’s not feeling well. She just wanted a good night’s sleep.”
“One of those ladies’ things, Will.”
“Oh. Well. That explains it then”
“Excuse me. I had better see to the canapes.”
She hurried up the back stairs and knocked on Phillip’s door.
“Phillip! Phillip! Open up! I have to talk to you!”
No answer.
Dilcey leaned over the railing to see Phillip alight from the last stair.
‘Bollocks!’ she swore.
Phillip entered Will’s ballroom, nodding and smiling to a few gentlemen he recognized.
He glanced over and there near the punch bowl was Julia Peffly. She caught Phillip’s eye and rushed over to him, linking her arm with his.
“I was waiting for you. There for a moment, I thought you were going to stand me up. I was just saying to Andrew...”
“Yes. He’s here. Over there with a few of the local lads."
“Excuse me a minute.”

He walked over to where Andrew stood with his friends when he caught the name ‘Zara.’
Andrew's back was to the room as he entertained his friends. Phillip stopped at a discreet distance to find out just what was being said. Their lascivious laughter left little doubt about the nature of the conversation.
"Ah, 'Randy Andy' strikes again!" said one.
"You need to teach us your tricks so we can at least stand a chance," said another.
"I wouldn't call them tricks, per se," said Andrew. "Time-tested methods has a better ring to it."
"So, what was her Achilles' heel? You can't keep us in suspense all night!"
"Remarkably simple, really. The lure of family money. I dangled a sparkling ring before her eyes, and the rest is delicious history. I do so like an old-fashioned girl."
"And this one won't need to get spirited out of town."
"No, thank heaven," said Andrew. "But there will be enough time for a bit more fun with her. Then, in another week or so, the little trollop will be out of my life and sailing back to wherever the hell she came from."
The forcefulness of Phillip's voice was enough to make Andrew flinch, spilling his drink on the front of his waistcoat and shirt.
"Damn you! Have you any idea how much these clothes cost?" Andrew tried indignantly to brush away the liquid. "Now, fetch me another drink. There's a good lad."
Phillip smiled pleasantly as he took Andrew's glass from him and splashed the rest of the drink in the young man's face.
"How dare you?!" roared Andrew.
"It was simple, really," replied Phillip mockingly. "A time-tested method, you might say."
Peffly was red-faced with barely contained fury. "Count yourself lucky, Briggs. If we weren't in a public place--"
"You would lie about besting me in a fight, just as you stood here lying to your friends about your supposed latest conquest."
"I swear, this is your last warning. You have no idea who you're trifling with."
"I have a very clear picture of what I'm dealing with. A weasel who hides behind his parents' money."
An audible gasp went through the room, along with stifled laughter.
Peffly drew back his fist to throw a punch, but Phillip blocked it easily. Then he drove Andrew backwards into the wall hard enough to crack the plaster. Phillip kept Andrew pinned to the wall with his forearm across the young man's upper chest. Peffly struggled in vain.
"Not so easy trying to hit a man, is it? Slapping a woman is more your cup of tea, I hear."
"Can't… breathe..." croaked Andrew.
"Good. Then I have your attention. You gave your final warning, now here's mine: stay away from Zara. Don't try to visit her, don't talk about her, don't even THINK about her. Am I understood?"
Andrew's eyes were full of hatred as he gave a terse nod of agreement.
Phillip let him go. Andrew, furious and thoroughly humiliated, gathered what little composure he had left and stormed towards the foyer.
He stopped long enough to turn back to Phillip. "This isn't over between us, Briggs! I demand satisfaction! You'll hear from me tomorrow."
The music and muted conversation resumed as everyone tried to understand what they had just seen. Phillip adjusted his waistcoat and walked back to where an astonished Julia stood.
"I suppose there's not much point in asking you to dance?" he said wryly.
Julia stared at him a moment, then walked away in a huff.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 30, 2018, 12:49:15 PM
Dilcey knocked softly on Zara’s door.
“Zara? Are you awake?”
Zara opened the door.
“I’ve been waiting! How is the party?”
“Oh….the usual. Gossip by the punch bowl and men on the veranda smoking their cigars and drinking their brandy.”
“I do believe he kept to himself and only talked to a few people.”
“What, no Julia Peffly?”
“She and her brother left early.”
“I’m surprised. I would have thought she would be all over Phillip.”
“I think Lord Peffly had a headache. His sister went with him.”
“Good riddance. Nothing else?”
“No, my dear. The party seems to be breaking up early.”
She picked up her book.
“Then I think I am in better company between these pages.”
“Goodnight, dear.”
“Goodnight, Dilcey….and thanks.”

Dilcey made her way towards the staircase. Phillip stopped her in the hall.
“You told her.”
Dilcey shook her head.
“No, I didn’t. There is no need to cast you in a bad light and as she has no intention of ever seeing Lord Peffly again, I saw no need to stir the pot.”
Phillip tried to hide his smile.
“Like Will?”
Dilcey raised an eyebrow. “Whatever do you mean?”
“Oh, come on, Dilcey. I know how Will is and he has you reporting to him.”
Dilcey smiled slyly.
“Well...only what I thought he would want to know. I keep things very neutral with him.”
“Thank you. And on behalf of Zara, I thank you too. As much as I enjoy you and Will, I think I will be glad when I can set our rudder to Virginia.”

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on September 30, 2018, 04:33:11 PM
Next morning…..
Phillip came into the dining room as Will was finishing his breakfast.
“Good morning, Will.”
“Is it?”
“I thought so.”
“Despite the fact that I have to get a plasterer in here to fix my ballroom wall, would you care to explain the altercation between you and Lord Andrew Peffly? And don’t say he started it.”
“He did. But I finished it.”
Will poured himself another cup of coffee as Dilcey brought in a stack of pancakes.
He asked, “And what is keeping Zara from joining us for breakfast? Or is it still one of those
‘ladies' things’?”
“Zara has an appointment with a seamstress this morning. She said she doesn’t intend to go home with the same amount of clothes she left with. And if she doesn’t eat, she said she will be slimmer.”
Will rolled his eyes. “Women. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”
“Would we want to even try?”
“So...continue with the altercation.”
Phillip sighed.
“You aren’t going to like this.”
“I already don’t.”
Phillip took a deep breath.
“Andrew Peffly is a worm. The worst kind.”
“I always suspected but please go on.”
The day of the monsoon last Thursday?”
Will nodded.
“Zara was being escorted home from the tea in the Peffly carriage and they got caught in the storm. Peffly seemed more concerned with the carriage and horse than Zara’s welfare. She ended up walking home.”
Phillip nodded and Will’s jaw tightened. “I see.”
“The next day Peffly wanted to make up and played the hearts and flowers routine. He wanted to show her some old house in the countryside and Zara relented and went. Dilcey said she was going to tell Peffly to take a hike. That was when he got a bit rough with her.”
“He attacked my girl?”
“Zara kicked him where no man wants to be kicked. That is why she excused herself from the party. But when I saw Peffly, he and his friends were standing around and Peffly was bragging on his supposed conquest with her and in the most vulgar terms. That was when I lost my temper.”
Will tapped his cigar into his saucer. “I can’t say I blame you. It almost makes the plasterer’s fee worthwhile. ALMOST.”
“It didn’t sit too well with Julia Peffly, and she---”
The butler came into the dining room.
“So sorry to interrupt, Captain Harkness, but I have a note here.”
Will reached for it and the butler said, “I’m sorry, sir, but this note is for Captain Briggs. And a man is waiting for a reply.”
Phillip took the note with a sigh. "Probably the master of the shipyard getting eager for payment. I'll have a look at it after breakfast."
"Er, begging your pardon, but the gentleman insisted on an immediate reply," said the butler. "He does have rather a grave manner about him."
"Bloody hell," muttered Phillip. "Fine. Let's see what is so urgent."
He opened the note and began to read. Will watched as the younger man's brow furrowed, then, a few moments later, as his eyes went wide in disbelief.
"What the devil is this supposed to be? Some manner of joke?"
The butler could only offer a shrug.
"May I?" said Will.
Phillip handed him the note. "Please do."
As Will began reading, the butler cleared his throat. "The gentleman was quite insistent on receiving an immediate answer, sir."
"Fine," said Phillip. "Here's my answer; tell him he can take that note and shove---"
"Tell him he will receive his answer in one-quarter of an hour," interrupted Will. "Not one minute before that."
The butler nodded and left the room.
"Well, you certainly have made an enemy in Andrew Peffly," said Will as he scanned the note again.
"What, not 'Lord' Peffly?"
"He's no more a lord than I am an admiral."
"You're not an admiral?"
"I retired after the title of commodore was foisted upon me. The size of the hats was becoming ridiculous."
"His challenge is ridiculous. I'd just as soon call his bluff and be done with the matter."
"I am afraid that is not going to work in this case," said Will. "He's quite specific about the offences: 'Impugning my honour before my peers" and 'committing a baseless assault upon my person in public.' He is within his rights to demand satisfaction."
"Is he, now? In polite society, a man can slander a woman's honour for sport and expect no retribution?"
"I am as disgusted with his behaviour as you. And yes, he deserved the humiliation you heaped upon him last evening. The idiot doesn't realise how easily he got off."
"Aye. If this were Tortuga..."
"But this isn't Tortuga, Phillip. Like it or not, this is the way things are done in the Virginia colony." Will leaned back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling. "As ludicrous as we both feel it to be, Andrew Peffly is within his rights to call you out to duel."
"Is it also customary in the Virginia colony for the challenger to specify the manner of the duel rather than the challenged?" said Phillip.
Will sat bolt upright in his chair. "By Jove, you're right! That is irregular. Damned irregular." He looked over the note again. "I believe he intends to supply the pistols."
"One of which will most assuredly misfire, and it won't be his."
"Agreed. What would be your preference?"
Phillip smiled. "Blades, naturally. I can toy with him as long as I like until I get bored."
"We'll be keeping to pistols, then," said Will.
"Because this is not Tortuga?"
"Because this is not Tortuga. Anyone watching would quickly see you're the better swordsman. While that passes for sport in our world, Andrew would gain sympathy here."
Phillip rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Just one flaw in that line of reasoning. I'm a crack shot and bloody fast. Just ask Tranquillo Mendoza."
Will chuckled. "You are like your father, then. I insisted he wear a brace of four pistols during a boarding to keep him from taking other men's pistols to use as his own."
"I'll have to ask him about that when I return to Barbados. He's never mentioned it."
"I knew Jack had it in him to be a fine pirate captain, even when he refused to see it," said Will. "Just as I knew Josiah would be the boatswain Jack needed at his side."
Phillip gasped. "Then it was you who orchestrated--"
"Getting back to the duel, as our quarter hour is lapsing," said Will. "Andrew wants this to play out on the Saunders' property, on the outskirts of the town. Duels are usually a public spectacle. But he wants privacy. And why wouldn't he, if he is planning to rig the affair?"
"Fine. I'll bring my own pistol."
"You'll do nothing of the sort. You'll name me your second. That should throw a fright into him. And as your second, I shall supply the weapons under your right as the challenged. The rest is up to you."
"And if I kill him?"
"As I said, Phillip. The rest is up to you."
A knock came at the door. The butler stood there with an expectant look. "Sir? It has been one-quarter of an hour, as you stated. Do you have an answer for the man?"
"Indeed, we do," said Will. "Tomorrow, nine o'clock, on the Saunders' land at the appointed place. And heaven help his soul. Tell him that, word for word."
"I shall indeed, sir," smiled the butler. "With pleasure."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 30, 2018, 05:13:12 PM
Hunger got the better of Zara.
She looked into the mirror and saw that the hand print from Andrew had faded somewhat. She put some powder on it and if she combed her hair over to the side, no one would be the wiser.
She quietly went down the stairs and stood on the last step as she heard Will and Phillip talking quietly.
And what she heard made her heart drop.

“Have you thought about what would happen to that little lady if by chance you were to lose?”
“I thought about it. But Peffly is a hot head. And that will play to my advantage.”
“If the worst should happen, Jack would have to get another ship to come up to fetch her. Never mind the fact that she would be heartbroken.”
“Do you see any other way out of it?”
“You could just not show up.”
“And have everyone in Virginia know that I ran like a coward from the likes of HIM? That would give him bragging rights as to how he bested me. I WON’T STAND FOR THAT, WILL!”
Phillip punctuated the last sentence by slamming his fist down on the table.
“I will insist on inspecting the pistols before so there will be nothing that would indicate he sabotaged the mechanism.”
“Do you think he would do that?”
“Oh so maybe he will put an apple on my head and try to shoot it off?”
“This is no time for levity, Phillip. I would hate to write that letter to Josiah. Especially over some foolishness.”
“I apologize.”
“It will just be the two of us and I will get Levi to hold our horses. The reverberation from the pistols may spook them. I’ll go down to talk to him in a few minutes. Remember. Just the three of us will know about this.”
“Not even Dilcey?”
“Especially not Dilcey.  No need to worry her needlessly.”

Zara quietly turned and walked briskly through the kitchen. When she reached the flower garden, she gathered up her skirts and ran as fast as she could to the stables.
“Levi? May I speak to you?”
“Miss Zara! Of course you can!”
“I know Captain Harkness has been down to see you.”
Levi’s eyes shifted and he pulled at his collar.
“I don’t know what you mean, Miss Zara.”

She touched his arm.
“Please, Levi. This is very important. I know what is going on. And I know you are to ride with Captain Harkness and Captain Briggs. I have to be there. I need to be there.”
“Miss Zara, it isn’t fitting--”
“Levi, I am trying to make a future with Captain Briggs and I know about the trouble. It has to do with me.”
“Miss Zara, I am not sure--”
She shouted in desperation, “Levi, I know about the duel! I have to be there in case...”
She tried to hold back her tears. She gathered her strength.
“In case it ends up badly. I need to be there with Phillip.”
“Miss Zara, that is—well, not fitting. You don’t want to be there.”
She raised her chin.
“Don’t worry about my safety. I know they are riding out at first light. The only thing I am asking for is your clothes”
“Your clothes and your cap. And a horse.”
“Miss Zara, if I am found out, I will be sacked.”
“No, you won’t. Let’s work it this way—I will be down here at dawn. I hit you over the head. But not really. I am putting the cap low on my face and tucking my hair under it. I will be dressed as a stable groom. You can either co-operate, Levi, or I surely WILL club you over the head.”
He sighed. “The worst I can do is get sacked.”
“Please don’t worry, Levi. I am not a bad shot myself. And as far as a dagger, my mother taught me how to throw it and hit my mark every time.”
Zara reached out and touched his arm.
“Levi, I have seen Captain Briggs under extreme pressure where it was a matter of life or death. He pulled out his pistol so fast it was a blur. And fired just as fast. He found his aim dead center into a Spaniard’s chest. From what I can see, Lord Peffly is an arrogant fool. And arrogant fools are reckless.”

She paused. “Levi, I have to go. I swear they won’t know I am me. I will be you. Does that make any sense?”
He nodded. “Unfortunately it does. Alright. I’ll help you.”
She grabbed his hand in gratitude.
“Thank you, Levi. Thank you.”
“Just make sure the captains don’t know it is you. I will meet you down here at five o’clock in the morning and have a set of my clothes laid out. The mare will be saddled up and I will give you the checkered cap. It’s too big for me and it should accommodate all of your hair. As far as your voice, I will let it be known tonight that I have laryngitis so they won’t be expecting you to talk.”
“Thank you, Levi. I will be down then.”
“Miss Zara?”
“Be careful. Sometimes these duels get a bit out of control.”
Her heart sank but she said quietly. “I understand. When this is over, I intend for Phillip and I to leave Virginia as soon as we can.”
Levi nodded solemnly, “I think that is an excellent idea. An excellent idea.”
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 30, 2018, 05:17:24 PM
At dawn

Zara glanced at the clock on the mantle and saw the hour was five. She threw her covers aside and slipped into a pair of breeches, a silk shirt and an old pair of worn boots.
Under the light of the full moon, she ran quickly to the stable, being careful to stay in the shadows.

She threw the door back and whispered, “Levi?”
Levi sat up from the cot he was dozing on.
“Miss Zara?”
“Yes. I need your clothes.”
“Miss Zara, I still don’t think….”
“Levi, stop it. I will pick up a club and whack you over the head. So we can do this peacefully or painfully. But regardless, I WILL have your clothes.”

Out of an old burlap bag, Levi produced a cotton shirt made out of ticking. He handed her a pair of pants.
“Now turn your back.”
She swiftly changed into Levi’s clothes.
“Now your cap.”
“You won’t let anything happen to it, will you? It’s my favorite one.”
“No, I won’t,” Zara said impatiently.
She took her hair and clipped it into several flat coils and put the cap on, pulling it low.
“Now for the final touch.”
She went outside and took a handful of moist dirt and rubbed it on her face and on her hands, being careful to get the dirt into her nails.
“How do I look?”
“Like….me. Except you um...uh….have...uh...”
Zara looked down. “Oh. Quite right.”

She found a strip of cloth. “Turn your head again.”
“Why don’t I just go outside?”
“Because I can’t risk you getting caught. Oh, for Pete’s sake, Levi. Even if you catch a glance, there isn’t anything you haven’t seen before.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I have heard stories.”
“From who?”
“Who do you think?”
“Alright. But make it fast.”

Zara lifted up the shirt and wrapped the cloth around her chest and tucked it in.
“ is that?”
Levi frowned. “You look like me. Just so you know, I told Captain Harkness I was coming down with laryngitis so he won’t expect me to be talking. When you get to the Saunders’ property, you will find two trees. Take this thick rope and be sure to tether two of the horses to them. Hold your steed. And...Miss Zara?”
“May God be with you all.”

Zara sat in the stables and dozed off when she heard the door being pulled back.
“Levi? It’s time. How is the voice?”
Zara kept her head low and made a squeaking noise, then pointed to her throat.
“Ah, well, did you take the honey like I told you to?”
Zara nodded, looking down at her boots.
“Give it a day or two. Rest that voice.”

Zara glanced over and saw Phillip staring at the moon.
“Odd to think this might be the last moon I will ever see.”
Zara fought the urge to run to him and hold him close.
He turned to Will.
“If anything...untoward should happen, take care of Zara. See that she gets home to Barbados safely.”
“I will. But it won’t end that way.”
“One thing...”
“Tell her that I loved her. With all my heart."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Captain Jack Wolfe on September 30, 2018, 06:37:12 PM
Zara felt hot tears welling in her eyes. But rather than show her hand, she feigned a coughing fit. She held up her hand to signal everything was all right.
"Are you sure your stable hand is up to the task?" said Phillip.
"Levi?" said Will. "Constant as the Northern Star. Shall we away?"
"I don't relish the thought of killing a man. Not over something so trivial."
Zara instantly found herself torn between another coughing fit and finding a heavy stone to throw at Phillip's head. She opted for coughing.
"Really, Levi," said Will. "This will never do. Perhaps another spoonful of honey is in order?"
Zara nodded in agreement and ducked back into the stable.
"Do you think they're on to me?" whispered Zara.
"Keep on the way you are, and they will," said Levi.
"Then what do I do?"
"Trip as you pass the barn door, Miss Zara. My eyesight ain't the best. Stumble a little, and they'll know it's me."
"I owe you, Levi. You're a diamond."
"You don't owe me anything. Now, get back out there and be me, would you?"
When Zara got outside again, Will and Phillip were already mounted on their horses. Zara stayed in the shadows as much as she could as she mounted the mare.
"Ready, Levi?" Will asked.
She nodded and followed behind. The dawn was about to break.
"How long before we reach the Saunders property?"
"Not long. Fifteen minutes. By then the sun will have just cleared the horizon.
When Zara got outside again, Will and Phillip were already mounted on their horses. Zara stayed in the shadows as much as she could as she mounted the mare.
"Ready, Levi?" Will asked.
She nodded and followed behind. The dawn was about to break.
"How long before we reach the Saunders property?"
"Not long. Fifteen minutes. By then the sun will have just cleared the horizon.”
The soft morning fog had already started to lift. It combined with the pre-dawn light to lend a dreamlike quality to the road ahead.
"This is all so damned silly," Phillip grumbled.
"You'll get no argument from me," said Will. "Unfortunately, men like Andrew place a higher value upon their ego rather than they do reason. I'm sure you've met the type before."
"Unfortunately, I have. Peffly would get along famously with the Barbados governor's son."
"Yes, I imagine he would."

Zara's heart sank as she thought about Phillip's words. He was right, of course. Andrew and Tristan were cut from the same rotten cloth. It was not lost on her that nearly all honourable men in her life were former pirates.

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on September 30, 2018, 06:57:58 PM
As the three of them reached the clearing, Andrew and his second, Ben Bradley, stood up.
“Well, I really didn’t think you would show up. I thought for sure you would bow out at the last minute. I have to give you due credit.”
Andrew stood there polishing his flintlock.
Bradley crossed his arms and leaned against a tree, a smirk on his face.
“Why, Lord Peffly, I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for the world.”
Andrew shook his head in mock sadness. “And all over a little trollop.”
Phillip knew that Andrew was attempting to provoke him into recklessness.
He clenched his hands but said with a satisfied smile on his face, “Yes, Peffly, but she’s MY trollop.”
Andrew opened a chestnut box holding two pistols. He picked one and handed the other one to Phillip.
“Should have brought a brawnier stable hand, Harkness. He looks too scrawny to drag a lifeless body home.”
“You just worry about yourself, “ Will said succinctly.
He looked over at Zara and did a double take.

Zara stood there in Levi’s clothes with her head bowed down, her shoulders shaking ever so slightly. A single tear trailed down her cheek.
Will walked over to her and put his finger under her chin, raising her face up.
She couldn’t meet his gaze, that tear still tracking down her face.
Softly, he said, “Don’t worry, ‘Levi’. I promise you he will be safe. You have my word.”
He squeezed her hand and then walked back to the two men.

“Let me see the pistol,” Will said. “After all, I am his second.”
Andrew looked edgy.
“Fight’s not with you, Harkness.”
“Oh, but I beg to differ. After all, the little ‘trollop’ is a house guest of mine and the daughter of a dear friend. She’s like a daughter to me, too. What, you thought Captain Briggs was too naive to bring a second? I think you underestimated him, Peffly. I really do.”
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on December 21, 2018, 07:51:37 PM
"Now, if you don't mind," continued Will, "The pistol, please."
"I find this highly insulting," sniffed Peffly. "I know how to load a pistol properly."
"Ah, so you did load it yourself. Then I definitely want to inspect it."
Andrew slapped the butt of the firearm into the palm of Will's outstretched hand. "Here, inspect all you like," he said through clenched teeth.

Will examined the pistol's lock, then sniffed the end of the barrel for the scent of gunpowder. He looked to Peffly and gave a small nod of approval.
"Finally," said Andrew. "Now let us get on with--"
His mouth fell open when he saw Will produce a pistol from his belt and and hand it to Phillip.
"You can't do that!!"

"Oh, yes I can. And I shall, gladly. I suppose that in your rush to call this duel you never bothered to read up on the protocols. No matter. Since you insist on acting like a schoolboy, I will treat you as one. You sent a letter of complaint and challenge, quite appropriately. Kudos there. But you neglected or ignored that the challenged party selects the weapons to be used. Phillip, what would be your preference?"
"Swords," said Phillip. "I've never been comfortable with a pistol. Too unpredictable."
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on January 22, 2019, 06:17:23 PM
"Fine," said Will. "Pistols it is."
"What?!" howled Phillip. "I just said..."
"I know your preference," said Will. "All the same, this levels the playing field. You are unskilled with firearms, and Peffly here would most likely lop his own foot off stumbling over his blade. Since I have no confidence he is any more skilled with a pistol, you are on equal footing."
"Thank you, I think," grumbled Andrew.
"All right. Give me the damned thing," said Phillip. He took the pistol from Will and looked at it with suspicion. "Just pull back on this little thing here, right?"

Will shook his head. "No, that's the trigger. It comes later. For the thousandth time; pull back on the hammer. Yes, the crooked thing on top. Pull it back until it clicks."
Phillip struggled with the mechanism until it clicked into place. "Like that?"
"Yes, very good."
"Then what?"
"Can I just shoot him now and get this over with?" said Andrew. He and his second fell into mocking laughter.
"You'll have your chance, boy," replied Will. The laughter tailed off quickly.
"Phillip, it's just as we rehearsed. When I say 'now', you turn, pull the trigger, and win the duel."
"Ah! That, I can do."

Will gave him a wink and stepped to the middle ground.
"Gentlemen! We meet upon the field of honour. Here, by force of arms, personal conflict will be resolved and honour served. Now, the two of you, stand before me, back to back."
Phillip and Andrew marched toward one another, then turned and faced opposite directions.
Zara could only look on helplessly, her body quaking with fear. She knew Phillip was only pretending to fumble with his pistol, but Peffly was an unknown element. What if he really was a crack shot, enough to best the man she loves?

Will cleared his throat. "Ten paces, on my count. On ten, turn and fire. I remind you, gentlemen— this is to the death. Now, we begin. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN!"
Andrew turned in an almost casual manner. His eyes widened in surprise when he found Phillip facing him, pistol pointed at his heart. Peffly extended his arm and tried to fire, only to find the pistol gone and his hand burning with pain.
"Damn you!" he cried. "I thought you said you couldn't shoot!"
"That's right, I did," said Phillip with a smirk. "I lied."

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on January 22, 2019, 06:18:27 PM
Zara’s eyes grew wide as she saw Andrew grasp his hand in pain. Phillip stood there staring at him, the smoking flintlock in his hand. She threw Levi’s hat to the ground and rushed over to him, flinging herself into his arms, her arms clasped tightly around his neck. Tears streamed down her face but she was too overcome with relief to even speak.

Andrew took two steps towards Phillip when he whipped the gun out of his belt from behind his back.
“Don’t.” The gun was pointed at Andrew’s chest.
He stopped where he stood. Will placed himself between the couple and Andrew’s approach.
“Well, I think that went rather swimmingly,” Will said as he rubbed his hands together. “In fact, I think you owe the little lady an apology, don’t you, Peffly?”

Peffly stood there with hatred in his eyes, saying nothing.
Zara released her hold on Phillip long enough to walk over to where Andrew stood.
She stood before him and just stared into his eyes for a whole minute.
Then she walked back to Phillip, whispered to him and with his arm around her shoulder, they walked towards the horses. He helped her mount the mare and then climbed on his. Silently they rode side by side out of the field.

Will stood there before Peffly and looked at him. Without warning, he drew back his fist and it landed squarely on Peffly’s jaw, reeling him backwards.
“That’s for Zara Wolfe. I am just finishing what she had too much class to do.”
He walked towards his horse, mounted the steed and trotted out of the glen.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on January 22, 2019, 06:19:28 PM
Phillip and Zara rode in silence when she suddenly burst into tears. Phillip took the reins of the mare and led them to a small clearing. Gently he lifted Zara off her horse.
She buried her face into his chest. He let her cry until there were no more tears left. He gently stroked her hair.
“I---I was so afraid I was going to lose you. I thought for sure he was going to kill you.”
Phillip lifted her face to his and kissed her gently.
“I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous myself but then I saw the cockiness would play to my advantage.”
Her tears started fresh.
“I hate it here. I HATE Virginia! I want to go home. I miss Mama and Da so much.”
He brushed her hair back from her face.
“I know. I will send a letter on the next packet asking your father if the coast is clear for us to return. If it is, we shall leave the minute El Lobo is fit to sail.”
‘I’m afraid. I am afraid of Andrew.”
“He won’t hurt you.”
“Phillip, how do you know?”
“He’s a coward at heart.”
He held her at arm’s length and looked into her eyes.
“Zara, I promise you will be safe.”
“But, how---”
“I’m working on it. Now let’s go back to Will’s for a breakfast.”
As they rode towards Will’s houe, he asked, “How did you EVER get Levi to part with his hat?”
“Well, it was like this….”

They trotted the horses into the stable. Levi peeked tentatively out of the tack room, anxiously anticipating his termination of employment.
He was relieved to see Phillip and Zara.
“Captain Briggs! Miss Zara! Oh, I am so pleased to see the Captain in one piece.”
Zara came over to him and hugged him.
‘I can’t thank you enough for helping me.”
She kissed his cheek.
Levi dug his foot into the ground with his eyes downcast, “Aw...t’weren’t nothin’”
Phillip extended his hand.
“Thank you for setting Zara’s mind at ease, Levi. The disguise was perfect. I never caught on.”
Zara looked up at him and smiled, “You were too focused on staying alive.”
“I see Captain Harkness is back.”
“Yes, sir. He got back about fifteen minutes ago and groomed his own horse. I was too nervous to go out to ask him how it turned out. And I thought lying low was the best bet. Until Captain Harkness’s wrath had passed.”
Zara hugged Levi.
“He’s not mad. He was very understanding. And if there is any question, I will smooth it out at breakfast.”
She took his hand and pressed something into it.
“Miss..Miss Zara? Are you sure?”
“It was worth every shilling, Levi.”
In his hand was a fifty-pound note.
“But...but this is too much.”
“Levi, please. Spend it as you see fit. But do me one favor.”
“What is that, Miss Zara?”
“See a glass maker and get some spectacles made.”
“Oh, I shall! I shall!”
As Zara and Phillip walked off with their arms around each other, Levi cleared his throat.
“Um….Miss Zara? One thing….”
“Oh! I am so sorry!”
She ran back and gently put the cap on Levi’s shaggy head.
“No harm, no foul.”
“Thank ‘ee, Ma’am!”
He stood straight and went back to mucking out the stalls.

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 25, 2019, 08:11:08 PM
Phillip held the door open for Zara.
“I think we should get some breakfast, don’t you?”
Zara nodded. They walked into the dining room to see Will and Dilcey sitting at the table, a full breakfast in front of them.
“Phillip! Zara! Come join us. Nothing like an early morning duel to work up an appetite, eh? Dilcey, you should have seen it. It was a thing of beauty. Andrew was grasping his hand in pain before he even knew what happened.”
Dilcey poured each of them a cup of coffee. “I daresay that Andrew will be keeping a low profile after this.”
Will reached for a scone. “Like a snowball gaining momentum down a snow-covered hill, the story will take on epic proportions and Andrew will pretty much be ostracized from polite Virginia society.”
Zara buttered a biscuit. “And what of Julia Peffly?”
Dilcey sighed, “Julia no doubt will try to disassociate herself from her brother but the taint of the name goes with her. I really don’t know what her prospects will be. Virginia society can either be forgiving or cut you at the knees. Only time will tell.”

“Nonetheless, he won’t be coming to any of our soirees. Oh, and Phillip—I didn’t tell you but somehow he managed to jam the pistol’s firing mechanism. That is why he wasn’t too worried about you killing him. I suspected as much and that was why I gave you the pistol I did.”
“Thank you, Will. I hope you don’t mind, but I see our time here in Virginia is coming to an end. I am going to write to Jack to see if it is safe to come back. And there are a few things in Barbados I need to take care of. So after breakfast I will be sending Jack a note asking if we can return. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Mind? Of course I do. I have become very fond---and amused—by the two of you staying here. But life does go on. By all means, write your note and then we can get it on the packet that sails by the end of the week. What are your plans today?”

Zara finished her breakfast. “If you think it is safe, I would like to go to see a seamstress in Norfolk. I would at least like a couple new dresses. And I would like to pick up some fabric—preferably silk for Mama. Da so likes to see her in silk.”

Phillip stood and pushed his chair in.
“Zara? I’ll write that note and then get myself cleaned up a bit if you don’t mind me escorting you to town.”
She touched his arm. “Why, Captain Briggs, I would be delighted!”
They walked out of the dining room and Will turned to Dilcey.
“Hear that?”
Dilcey nodded. “That little giggle can only mean one thing. They are back together.”
“You should have seen Zara at the duel. She held it together magnificently. Until I caught her eye. I thought she would have a breakdown. But she is her father’s daughter. I swear, I almost cried myself when she flung herself into Phillip’s arms.”
“You, Will? You old softy.”
“And if you breathe a word of it, you will be out on your butt with no job or prospects.”
She took a sip of coffee and looked at him over her coffee cup.”
“Ha! Fat chance.”
Will lit up his pipe and smiled at her over the smoke.
“You know me too well.”

Phillip sat down at the desk in his room and opened up the top drawer, taking out a piece of paper. The inkpot was filled with ink and a sharpened quill lay nearby.
He rolled up his shirt sleeves and began to write.

     We hope this letter finds you and Honour well.
I unloaded the molasses to Will with no problem and I am bringing back dried tobacco and various other articles you had on the list for me to purchase, including a silver tea set. I know Honour will be thrilled with it. And it wasn’t even swag!
El Lobo is being fine-tuned with new sails and should be ready to set sail any day. Which brings me to the point of this letter.

     Zara is getting homesick for Barbados and her family. While Virginia is beautiful in its own rustic way, Zara misses the sea and the sun. And, to be honest, so do I.  If the situation at home warrants it, we can sail within three days of your consent.

     I miss Father and Renee and I have a lot to catch up on and a few things that need to be taken care of when I return.

     On a side note, it seems Will Harkness has been smitten. Her name is Dilcey and she is an absolute gem. Probably the only woman in the world that has been custom made for our Will. I don’t foresee any wedding bells but both seem content with their circumstances. I will tell all over a brandy when I see both you and Father in the flesh.

     Please let me put your mind at ease that Zara is well. She’s been doing a lot of riding but that is no substitute for riding on the beaches of Barbados. We are anxiously awaiting your reply and hope to see you soon.

     Yours Truly,


He sealed the envelope and put Will’s Raven seal in wax. Still amused by it, he shook his head. When I get my own household, I will have to get my own stamp, he mused.
He washed his face and quickly changed his clothes.
Knocking softly on the door, he said, “Zara? Are you ready to go?”
She opened the door and wore a very simple dress. It was soft yellow with white eyelet lace.
“No parasol?”
“It would get in my way and if I need one, I can always buy one there. Shall we ride or take the carriage?”
“I say we ride. We make better time and a carriage is for older Will.”
She laughed and said,”Then let’s away, Captain Briggs!”

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 25, 2019, 08:16:12 PM
Zara and Phillip stabled their horses in the town of Norfolk and headed towards the main street. All along the street were shop vendors, both inside the stores and out in the sunshine.
“Look at all the merchandise! If I find something big, however will I get it to the house?”
Phillip adjusted his hat. “If you find something, we can pay for it and then have the seller hold it for us. No one would dare try to pull anything over on us if we attach Will Harkness’s name to it.”
“So let’s start over here. Oooh, look at the beautiful china!”
He steered her away from that.
“You don’t need china. Too….domesticated.”
“Some day I might.”
“That day is probably a long way off, Zara.”
She made a face at him.

Zara unfolded a piece of paper.
“Dilcey gave me a list of all the best vendors who have unique fabrics at a fair price. Did you want to wait for me in that tavern while I check this one over there?”
“No, I’ll go with you. I promised I would watch out for you and not let you out of my sight.”
“We have to go to a shop called Babette’s then. She is a French emigree and has the latest fashions from Paris.”
She stopped at a stall as Phillip went to the one next to it.
“Madame, we have a bottle of fine spirits from Scotland. MacGregor and Sons. So strong it’s guaranteed to make a grown man beg for his mama.”
He nodded to Phillip in the next booth.
“I am sure your husband would find this excellent. The best ever to come out of Scotland.”
“Oh, he’s not my….Yes. I know. We have had it before.”
Amused that her family’s whiskey was being sold in Virginia, she bought a bottle.
“I am sure my husband would enjoy it very much.”

“So, what do you have there?” Phillip asked.
She pulled the bottle out.”Just a reminder of home.”
They laughed as they headed towards the dress shop Dilcey had recommended.
As Zara was talking with the seamstress, Babette came over to him.
“What a beautiful wife you have! And when is the baby due?”
Wh—what baby?”
“You are expecting, yes? I usually only see that glow on a woman who is enciente.”
“ I don’t think she is having a baby.”
“Quelle domage! But you two will have beautiful babies some day.”
Phillip gazed at Zara and said softly, “Wouldn’t we though...”

The seamstress was holding up a bolt of sky blue silk and put it next to Zara’s face. “See how the blue picks up the colour of your eyes? Your husband will love you in this!”
They both caught each other’s eye in the mirror across the room and shared a smile.

As they walked out into the sunshine, Phillip asked, “Would you like to stop for tea?”
“Make it an ale and you have a deal.”
“That’s my girl!”

They walked into a tavern called the Swan and Swallow, ordering ale and a cheese plate with biscuits.
Zara buttered a biscuit. “I swear this tastes as good as Mrs Avery’s biscuits. I really miss her. When do you think we can leave Virginia?”
“As soon as humanly possible but I would say in the next two months.”
Zara made a face.
“Andrew makes me nervous. I say we avoid Uncle Will’s soirees as much as we can.”

They made small talk.
“Phillip, you seem preoccupied. Is something bothering you?”
He shook his head.
“Let’s go, Zara.”
“What? Why? I haven’t finished my ale….oh no! You don’t see Andrew or one of his friends, do you?”
“Then let me finish my ale and my….Phillip! Will you please let go of my hand?”
“Alright, finish your ale but hurry up.”
“What’s the rush?”
“You’ll see.”
He grabbed her by the hand again and rushed her outside. Zara stood there with her hands on her hips.
“You took me away from my ale. You took me away from my cheese and biscuits. I am not moving another step until you tell me what this is about.”
He grabbed her hand once more and dragged her along.
“If I told you, it would spoil the surprise.”
“Well, I don’t get that many pleasant surprises in my life so let’s go.”

They rode out of town, Phillip being exceptionally quiet.
“Hush. I am trying to think this through.”
“Think what through?”
They rode in silence for a few miles, passing a sign that read ‘SUFFOLK VILLAGE’
“What on God’s green earth are we doing in this little god-forsaken place? I mean, it’s quaint and all that….”
Phillip tied his horse to a tree and helped her down.
“I thought of a way to keep you safe from all those ruffians and rogues that seem to latch on to Will. Not excluding the Mendozas and the Tristans of the world. And there is only one solution I can think of.”

Zara tapped her foot and gave an ‘out with it’ gesture.
“Zara Wolfe, will you marry me?”

“M—marry you? As in right now? As in this little village of Suffolk? As in I leave Will’s house a maiden and come home a missus?”
“Yeah, that is pretty much what I am saying.”
She thought a minute.

“Do I get the china?”
“Yes, you get the china.”
“And a silverware pattern?”
“I need silverware. We can’t eat with our hands.”
“Alright, yes. You get silverware.”
“What about crystal?”
“This is too much….”
“We aren’t going to drink out of tankards. We need crystal.”
“Zara, what the hell…? Alright, yes. The finest crystal I can plunder, alright?”
“If it is plundered, it might be chipped. I need chip-free crystal. Preferably from Ireland.”
“Alright, alright. We can purchase it at that china store over on the main street.”
“Bedding. We need soft, down filled comforters.”
“We can worry about that later. We have that at Will’s.”

She put her hand up.
“Wait a minute. We have a problem.”
“At the very least, one.”
“If—and I say IF—we get married, we can’t tell anyone.”
“Because if we come back married and share a conjugal bed, Uncle Will will write a letter so fast it will be on the first packet ship and Mama and Da will know before we have a chance to tell them. And Da will think the worst and Mama will suspect I will be with child because that is what happened to THEM. So...we need to keep it a secret if we get married. Until we can figure things out. After all, you are older than me and Da knows the ways of scoundrels.”
“Who’s a scoundrel?”
She touched the brim of his hat and whispered. “You are. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“So, Cookie, do we have a deal? A match?”
“Can you agree to all of the terms? The china? The silverware? The crystal? The secret?”
“You forgot the down filled comforter.”
“No, I didn’t. I wanted to see if you were paying attention.”
He raised his eyebrow.
Zara flung her arms around his neck and whispered, “Then we have a deal. Captain Briggs, I do so consent to be your wife!”

“So, we can always get married by a blacksmith. That’s the way they do it in Gretna Green.”
“Gretna Green?”
Zara smiled, “I heard the story from Gran. Remember when my family went to Scotland two years ago?”
Phillip nodded.
“Gran and I got to talking when I was helping her make shortbread. She got married in Gretna Green to Grandfather Tommy. She told me when couples wanted to elope to Scotland, the blacksmith shop was about the only place to go for a simple, uncomplicated wedding.Many daughters from respectable families chose to flee there to ‘marry a scoundrel,’ as Gran put it.
I have the feeling that Tommy was a bit of a rogue. She said the blacksmith shop was the first place you would see and the Anvil Priests would perform the ceremony for a few shillings or a dram of scotch.”
She sighed dreamily.
“The hammering of the anvil was a notorious sound. Gran said it was storied that like the metals he forged, the blacksmith would join couples together in the heat of the moment. Or whatever heat they were in. The ceremony was about ten seconds long.”
“Well, I don’t intend to drag you off to a blacksmith to get married.
“Why not? It was simple.
‘Are you of marriageable age? Yes.’
‘Are you free to marry? Yes.’‘You are now married.’ “
This one will be iron-clad. And I don’t need a blacksmith for that. I’ll find a vicar.”
“You know, the funny thing is I think Aggie and Tommy HAD to get married. She never qute said so, but I think Uncle Angus was born about five months into their---HEY! Stop pulling on me!”
“Look, do you want to get married or not? Because it is now or never. We are standing in front of this little Congregationalist church. It’s Wednesday, the moon is full tonight and I love you. So, as you always do….”
Phillip tapped his foot and gave an ‘out with it’ gesture.
Zara bit her lip.”I do that, don’t I?”{
“Yes. Come on, Zara. Let’s do this. At the very least, it will be a great story to tell our children.”
“Children! Phillip, we never even discussed...”
He swiftly kissed her. “Let’s talk about it later. Much later.”
She put her hand in his and as they walked by the town square, Phillip plucked a bunch of daffodils.
“It’s not a bouquet of roses….but these suit you so much better.”
“And they go SO well with my breeches.”
They laughed and walked into the church.
Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 25, 2019, 08:17:20 PM
“Hello? Hello?” Phillip called out.
A disheveled man came out from behind the altar.
‘’Who you be lookin’ for?”
“We would like to see the vicar on a matter of extreme urgency.”
“Would you now?”
The man wiped his mouth and let out a belch.
“Ooops, excuse me.”
“If you are the custodian, would you please tell the vicar we are here.”
“Custodian? CUSTODIAN?”
The man bowed with a flourish.
“My dear children, I am indeed the vicar. Vicar Vickers is my name. And I am so very, very drunk.”

Phillip groaned and Zara started to giggle. The vicar started to slump down the wall, catching himself and struggled to upright himself with all the dignity he could muster.
“Ooops! You must excuse me. There was a bottle of sacramental wine.”

Phillip stared at him. “Let me get this straight. You are drunk?”
Zara stood with her mouth open. “Can he do that?”
“Looks like he already did.”

Vicar Vickers drew himself up to all five-feet of himself and sniffed defensively.
“It’s allowed. I leave the left over wine out till Wednesday. If the good Lord wants it, he can have it. After that---” he picked up the bottle “--it’s mine.” He cradled the bottle to his chest.

Exasperatedly, Phillip asked, “Can you do a wedding from the Book of Common Prayer?”
“Can I do it? Can I DO it?”
‘Can you?”
“I’m asking you if you think I CAN do it?”

Phillip rolled his eyes. “Where is your Book of Common Prayer?”
“Oh...the BCP. Around here….somewhere.”
“Is there a place around here where you keep books? You the Bible?”
Vicar Vickers reached down under a table leg.
“It props up the table leg but don’t tell the Bishop. I swear, if they just weren’t so damn stingy, we’d get a better vintage of sacramental wine, too, instead of this spirit from the northern Colonies. If Jesus were here, he’d make us a better wine….”
Phillip grabbed the Book and turned the pages.
“Here.The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony.”
The vicar snapped, “Sure, go ahead and mess it up. Wait---are you of legal age?”
He turned to Zara.
“Yes, your vicarness. I am seventeen.”
He turned to Phillip, “And how long have you known said seventeen year old bride? And I don’t mean carnally.”
“I have known her since she was eighteen months old.”
“Well, I guess that is long enough. Shall we begin?”
“Please do.”

The vicar cleared his throat and began:

“Dearly beloved”--he looked around and saw no one---”Be that as it may….”
“Go ahead. We will find some dearly beloved later.” Phillip said.
“We are gathered together in the Fight of God,”
“Fight?” the vicar puzzled out.
Phillip grabbed the book. “It says SIGHT. The ‘s’ is printed like an ‘f’. Old English and all that rot.”
“Do you mind?” the vicar said peevishly.
“Be my guest.”
 “...and  in the face of this congregation--” He looked around again. Phillip impatiently replied, “Yes, yes, we know. Beloved congregation and all that...”
“Do you mind? I was just getting warmed up. Now where was I?”
He mumbled. “Oh! Here’s a good one!”
“...therefor is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites...”
He looked at Phillip. “Are you hungry?”
Zara burst out laughing.
“Oh, come ON!” Phillip exclaimed.
“Alright..alright...First, for the procreation of children,---”
“We haven’t discussed that.”
“Hadn’t you better?”
“Later. Much later.”
“May I continue?”
“Please do.”
“Second, it was ordained as a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication, ...”
Zara whispered, “Too late.”
“What did you say?”
“We just ate. You know, the appetite thing.” Zara replied

Finally Phillip grabbed the Book of Common Prayer.
“Let me do this. Obviously you are in no shape to consecrate this bond of holy union.”
“Hey! I am not so very think as you drunk I am. And you are usurping my authority.”
“Who wrote this stuff anyways?”
The vicar drew himself up. “Jesus Christ.”
Phillip looked at the frontpiece. “Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.”
“Well, I am sure Jesus told him to write it.”
“As of now, I am taking over.”
He thumbed through the pages and said, “Too long,” and threw the book over his shoulder.
“Zara Wolfe, I’ve loved you my whole life. Do you consent to be my wife through thick and thin, through smooth sailing and stormy seas?”
“I do. And now I have a few questions for you.”
“Here we go,” Phillip sighed. “This isn’t about that china, is it?”
“Alright. Go ahead.”
“Phillip Briggs, do you consent to be my lawfully wedded husband, forsaking all redheads and governor’s daughters? I mean, just so we are clear on this.”
“I do.”

The vicar piped up with, “Do you have rings?”
“Hey, I was just asking, that’s all. Because that is usually the funny part. You wouldn’t believe the number of times...”
“We’ll get to the ring later.”
“Do you want the part on sickness and health?” Because I am good at that.”

Vicar Vickers looked around.
“Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?”
He looked around. “Oh. Yes. Do you want me to do it?”
Zara said, “Why not?”
The vicar said, “Alright. Now is my favorite part. I am good at this one.”
He intoned, “Forasmuch as Sara and Flip have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company—if we had one—and thereto have given and pledged their trough either to other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving of a ring—if they had one—and by joining of hands, I pronounce that they be man and wife together, In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy….”

By this time, Phillip drew Zara in a deep embrace and kissed her tenderly on the lips.
“...oh, what the hell!” Vicar Vickers sighed.
“Amen.” He concluded.

Zara’s eyes started to fill with tears of happiness.
“It’s like a dream come true. I only wish Mama and Da, Renee and Uncle Josie were here.”
Phillip grabbed her hand. “Tell you what, Cookie. If we were to keep quiet about this and no one knows, we can have a real wedding when we get back to Barbados. No one will be the wiser, the Barbados one can be our anniversary, and today will be the wedding that only the two of us—and Vicar Vickers here—know about. And I doubt he will remember it.”
Vicar Vickers hiccuped, “That could work.”

“Can you sign the marriage license, Vicar?”
“Can I sign it? Can I sign it?”
“Can you?”
“I don’t know. Can I?”
Phillip sighed, took the quill and put it in the vicar’s hand. Carefully he guided the vicar’s hand.
“What is your first name?”
“Are you serious? Vicar Victor Vickers?”
“Well, my friends call me Andy.”
Phillip raised his eyebrow.
“Don’t ask.”

Phillip grabbed the paper and waved it to let the ink dry.
“I guess that is it.”
The vicar hiccuped.
‘Pleasure doing business with you!”
“This is legal, right?”
“Spiritual too. Now, go, my children, and sin no more.”

Zara and Phillip walked out into the sunlight.
“I can’t believe it, Phillip! We really did it!”
Phillip laughed. “I guess I can be as impulsive as you.”
She linked her arm with his. “Any regrets?”
“ far.”
She smacked his arm slightly.
“Let me try this on for size.”
“Try what?”
Zara got a dreamy look on her face. “Mrs. Zara Briggs. How does that sound?”
“It sounds like it was meant to be.”
“What about the other problem?”
“Which one?”
“The….Barbados problem. A man cannot have a wife AND a fiancee.”
“Oh. That.”
“Yes. That.”
“I am sure Lenore will throw a hissy fit.”
“But you won’t tell her you are already married, will you?”
He shook his head. “No. Not if we want a proper wedding without your parents knowing. I’ll think of something. The end result will probably be thrown crockery.”
“With any chance she will have found someone else while you are in Virginia.”
“Maybe. Doubtful.”

She turned to Phillip and gave him a kiss.
“Let’s go back to Will’s. After all, it is our wedding day. And night. But first I have to stop at that booth that sells silk.”
“And I have to go to the booth next to it. I saw a pipe there for your da.”

Zara quickly walked over to the booth and whispered to the vendor, “Do you remember me?”
“Of course I do, pretty lady. You come back for the blue silk?”
“No, I came back for that silk chemise. The pale green one.”
“Ah. Very good choice, miss.”
“It’s missus. Can you wrap it up discreetly?”
“No problem. Special occasion?”
She whispered, “I just got married.”
“And he doesn’t know?” He nodded towards Phillip.
She laughed with him.
“Of course he knows! He’s my husband!” she said proudly. “Just wrap it up quickly.”
“Fortunate man!”
She winked at him. “I think so too!”

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 25, 2019, 08:19:35 PM
Phillip and Zara walked into the house.
“Shhh! Not a word!” she whispered.
Will was just sitting down to dinner.
“Ah, there you are! I was beginning to think that you would be eating in town. How was your day?”
Phillip replied, “Oh..uneventful.”
Zara piped up with, “I got some shopping done. Let me put my parcels up in my room.”
Phillip had his hands full too.
“Most of these are Zara’s so I will take these things up.”

As they got to the door, Phillip kicked it open gently with his foot, his arms laden with Zara’s packages. He dumped them on the bed.
“Where’s the china?” she asked.
“I told the vendor to deliver it tomorrow to the back door in a package labeled ‘BOOTS’. Will won’t question what is in it, knowing your penchant for footwear.
She put her arms around him and sighed contentedly, “You’re the best husband I ever had!”
“I’m the ONLY husband you ever had! And we had better get down to dinner and pretend to be just good friends.”
“Since it is our wedding night, I presume you won’t let me spend it alone?”
“Not a chance.”
“Let me freshen up and I will meet you down in the dining room. That way we won’t look too obvious.”
“Smart girl!”

Phillip sauntered into the dining room and took his place at the table. Will looked over his wine glass at him.
“You don’t look none the worse for wear. I take it she behaved herself and didn’t bet the ship again.”
Phillip laughed, “No, we had a nice day. We stopped at the Swan and Swallow for cheese and biscuits. Then we looked around town for a bit.”
“Where is she?”
He shrugged. “She said something about freshening up and...ah, there she is!”

Zara had changed into a simple dress for dinner and came down in her stocking feet.
“I didn’t think you would mind, Uncle Will. I just hated the thoughts of putting my boots back on.”
“Not at all, my dear. Phillip, did you get your letter to Jack on the packet boat?”
“I did. I also got a note off to Renee and Father. It will be good to see them again. I never realized how much Renee had come to mean as a mother to me.”
“She’s a lovely, lively woman. I take it Josiah is treating her right.”
“Like fine china. They are perfectly suited for one another.”

Dilcey took her usual seat across from Will.
“The cook has prepared a wonderful roast chicken with wild rice and carrots. And for dessert we have apple pie.”

The dinner progressed with Phillip and Zara making small talk about their day with Will and Dilcey.
After the pie and coffee was served and eaten, Zara stood up and pushed her chair in.
“If you don’t mind, Uncle Will...Dilcey….it has been a long day and suddenly I have the urge to stretch out on my bed and relax with something to read.”
Phillip took her cue and pushed his chair in also.
“And I have a few invoices to go over. I forgot to tell you we stopped at the shipwright’s and he needs payment.”
Dilcey looked up from her coffee. “By all means, go catch up on some rest. Have a wonderful night.”
“Oh, we will!” they both said in unison and then exchanged looks.
“I mean….Zara enjoys her books and I will get the paperwork done. Nothing like a good day’s work followed by a satisfying good night’s rest.”

From the hallway, Dilcey and Will heard the soft laughter of Zara and Will whisper something to her.
“What the hell is that about?” Will asked.
Dilcey looked after them.
“I don’t know. But it sounds like they had a grand adventure today.”
“I’ll miss them when they leave.”
“So will I. It’s never a dull moment with those two.”

Dilcey thoughtfully stirred the cream into her coffee.
‘I don’t know what is going on with you two...but you sure didn’t spend any time at the shipwright’s.’

Zara stopped Phillip at her door.
“You aren’t letting me in?”
“Give me half an hour to freshen up. After all, it’s our wedding night and I only get one of those. I want to look my best.”
“Zara, you could wear a burlap sack and you would look devastating.”
She laughed softly as she closed the door in his face. Phillip wandered down to his room and rummaged in a velvet bag he had in his drawer.
‘I knew it would come in handy!’
He sat on his bed and held it in his hand, contemplating the day’s adventure. Sure, it was the right thing to do, marrying Zara. He began to have a moment of uneasiness as he tried to picture what Jack would say.

‘WHAT? How DARE you marry my little girl without even asking me for my permission!’
‘WHAT? Married? You old son of a gun! I couldn’t be more pleased with you as a son in law!”

Phillip shrugged his shoulders to this mental conversation. He had a feeling the scenario would be somewhere between the two.
Honour may be a different story. She would cry, no doubt. After all, this was her firstborn daughter. Losing Zara to be a wife may not sit too well with her, especially since it opened up the opportunity to make her a grandmother….
Phillip shook his head as if to rid himself of that notion. After all, he didn’t think that far ahead.
Time for that later….way later.

He softly knocked on Zara’s door.
“Come in”
Zara stood by the window, wearing a beautiful silky pale green chemise trimmed in ecru lace.
She gave him a shy smile.
“I ran over to the vendor and bought it while you were occupied. Do you like it?”
“Like it? Mrs. Briggs, I don’t think I have ever seen you looking so radiant.”
“I could have bought red lace, you know.” she teased.
“Somehow, this seems to suit you. Now close your eyes.”

He led her to the bed, her hands over her eyes. Gently he took her hand and slipped a ring with an emerald on her finger. She opened her eyes and gasped.
“Phillip! This is just too beautiful! Where on earth did you get it?”
“Do you want the truth or the lie?”
“The lie first.”
“I bought it in Tortuga. I knew this day would come and I was saving it for you.”
“Now the truth.”
“I took it off a Portuguese ship in ‘70. It was so beautiful I didn’t have the heart to barter it away. So I always said I would save it for the woman who would become my wife.”
She held her hand out and admired it.
“But...I am afraid I have to put it away. Will and Dilcey will be sure to notice it and then the questions will begin.”
“I agree. Oh...and here.”
He handed her a piece of paper. “Our marriage certificate. Do you want to keep it in your drawer?”
“I’ll put it under the chemises I have. No one ever goes in there.”
She smoothed it out.
“I just can’t believe we actually did it!”
“Yeah….in spite of Vicar Vickers.”
“Andy. After all, you became his friend in the end!”
They both laughed.
Zara drew the covers back on the bed as Phillip opened up a bottle of madeira wine.
He handed her a glass and said, “Here’s to us.”
“Forever and ever,” she replied.
He took her in his arms and gently laid her down on the bed.
Before too long, the silky pale green chemise had served its purpose and resided on the floor.
Phillip’s clothes soon joined hers.
There was nothing more to be said.

“Phillip? Phillip! Wake up! It’s daylight!”
Phillip blearily opened one eye.
She slipped her chemise on and started gathering up his clothes, throwing them in his face.
“You have to go! We can’t let Dilcey and Will know!”
He rolled over and punched the pillow.
“A few more minutes….”
“NO! You have to sneak back to your room!”
“Zara, this is ridiculous.”  He closed his eyes.
She began to tug on his leg, trying to drag him out of his bed.
“They can’t find out! Will will write a letter to Mama and Da so fast your head will spin!”
He sat up. “Would it really be that bad if they found out?”
Zara picked his boots up and shoved them under her bed.
“You can pick them up later. Hurry! You know how Will is. He never sleeps!”
Philllip groaned as he threw his shirt over his head.
“I hate moving so fast after such a productive night. I can’t see why we can’t at least tell Will we are lovers and that we are going to share a bed.”
“Because….because…I am still a little girl in his eyes. And you are ten years older and he will think you seduced me and then he will be all mad...”
“No, he won’t. He knows you are in love with me as I am with you. Good Lord, you know he and Dilcey are enjoying each other without the benefits of matrimony. Why should he get all high and mighty over this?”
“We’ll talk about this later. I’ll see you downstairs for breakfast in an hour. Go… some invoices or something.”

Phillip looked both ways and quietly walked down towards his room. His shirt tail was out, the shirt itself was wrinkled and he was barefoot. Footsteps were coming up the stairs as he slipped into the laundry room and drew the door shut. The doorknob turned and Phillip flattened himself on the floor. An armful of laundry caught him in the face as the door shut again. He tossed the clothes into the laundry bin which was waiting to be taken downstairs to the washing tubs. He waited a few minutes and then quietly opened to door, to find Will standing there.
“Phillip? What on earth are you doing in the laundry room?”
“Oh...Will. Hi. I had left a ten-pound note in the pocket of the shirt I wore yesterday.”
“Isn’t that the shirt that you have on?”
Phillip patted himself down.
“ right.”
Will waited while Phillip patted himself down looking for the money.
“Oh..what do you know...I just remembered that I left it on the dresser.”
Will continued to stare at him.
“Well, I guess I will see you at breakfast, Will.”

“Phillip, you left...”
Zara had opened the door right at that moment, wearing that gauzy pale green chemise, her hair in disarray and a soft look about her.
Will asked, “Phillip left...what, Zara?”
She thought fast. “Phillip left a note under my door asking me what I wanted to do today. I...heard voices. And so I thought I would...catch Phillip before he headed to his room. That’s all.”
Will frowned with a look of disbelief on his face.
“Alright, we’ll let it go at that for the time being.”
Without turning as he walked down the stairs, “Do come up with a more plausible  story,  Zara Jane.”
Phillip had put his hand over Zara’s mouth.
“He knows! He knows now!”
“He has no proof. I hid in the laundry room.”
“Never mind. Maybe he won’t say anything at breakfast. I’ll see you downstairs in half an hour. He probably won’t mention it.”
“I hope not. We just have to be more careful.”
As she turned to go, Phillip gave her rump a soft, swift swat.
She giggled as the door shut.

“More coffee, dear?”
Dilcey held the pot out and he offered her his cup as he read the morning newsprint.
“Those two are at it again.”
“I found Phillip hiding in the laundry room and Zara came out of her room a few minutes later looking all dreamy-eyed and glowing.”
Dilcey took a deep sip of her coffee.
“Would it be so terrible after all that they have been through?”
Will smiled. “I guess not. But it is so much damn fun watching them try to outsmart us.”

When Zara entered the room, she handed Will a note. Hastily scrawled on it was, ‘What plans for today?’
“Here’s the note,” Zara said.
As if on cue, Phillip entered the room. “Oh, I see you got my note.”
Zara nodded. “I thought we might go down to the harbor.”
“Good idea. Seafood is always good for lunch and I want to see how El Lobo is coming along.”
Will put his paper down. “I thought you did that yesterday.”
“I...did. But the shipwright wants me to approve the new sails he is putting on.
“Ah, yes. Pink is quite the wrong choice for sails, isn’t it?”
“I didn’t order pink sails.”
“Good. Jack would have a fit.”
Dilcey passed a platter of pancakes to them. “I think you should have a lovely day.”

The conversation was casual and within an hour, Zara and Phillip excused themselves to get ready for their outing.
“Nicely played with that note, darling,” Phillip whispered.
“Thank you! I had to think fast. Now he has to believe me!”

As they walked up the stairs, Will looked at the note again.
“Odd, darling….but the note is in a distinctly feminine hand. Unless Phillip has decided to dot his ‘i’s with hearts. Then Josiah has a whole other problem on his hands!”
He passed the note to Dilcey and she read it, a broad smile on her face.
“See what you can find out.”
“Yes, dear. I just love our little detective games, don’t you?”
Will just gave her a smile and a wink.

“Mr. Samuelson?”
“Ah, Captain Briggs! How goes it?”
“Very well, thank you. I’d like to introduce you to my wife.”
Zara glowed with pleasure at being presented that way.
“A pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Briggs.”
“And I have payment.” Phillip wrote out a draft for the amount due so far.
“I have a sketch of the replacement masthead.”
Samuelson showed him a drawing of a ferocious looking bird with outstretched wings.
“Ah! That is outstanding, Mr Samuelson!”
“It should be ready in a few weeks.”
“Wonderful! Hopefully by that time we will be ready to sail back to Barbados. I know my wife is getting a bit homesick. I’ll come by later in the week to check on the progress.”
“That will be fine, Captain. Until then.”

Dilcey entered Zara’s room with a few chemises that had been brought up from the laundry.
The cat had followed her into the room.
“Scat, Finn!”
But Finn was tugging on something under the bed.
“You’d better not be tearing up the rug, you rascal!”
Dilcey got down on her hands and knees and moved the cat. When she dragged him out, a boot came out with him.
‘Well, the plot thickens!  It seems as though Captain Briggs did spend the night.’
She smiled as she realized the reason for the euphoric mood of Zara at breakfast.
As she opened up the dresser drawer to lay the chemises in, her eyes fell on a piece of paper tucked in the corner.

She unfolded it and read:

Know this by all in the Colony of Virginia, that on June 14, 16--(whatever the year is) appeared before me Captain Phillip Briggs, son of Josiah Briggs and the later Anne ----- Briggs of Bridgetown, Barbados, and Miss Zara Jane Wolfe, daughter of John Michael Wolfe and Rhiannon Conaway Wolfe, also of Bridgetown, have consented to be united in holy matrimony.
Performed by Vicar Victor Vickers by the powers vested by the Colony of Virginia and the Holy Word of God.

Dilcey carefully folded the paper and tucked it back in the drawer.
‘Well….this certainly explains a lot!’

Title: Re: ZARA
Post by: Welsh Wench on February 25, 2019, 08:24:07 PM
“Zara, I am getting tired of this subterfuge. I don’t feel like sneaking back to my room. I want to wake up with you in my arms and start the day off right, if you know what I mean.”
Zara laid in Phillip’s arms, gently tracing her finger up and down his arm while he stroked her hair.
“Just a little while longer, darling. I don’t know how Uncle Will would react to this.”
“I think he would be fine with it.”
“Let me think about it. It isn’t fair for him to find out before our parents.”
He raised his head and looked out the window.
“The sun is coming up.”
“So it is.”
“Start of a new day, you know?”
“You know what I mean.”
Zara giggled as Phillip rolled over onto her.
“It’s so much more fun when you don’t have that chemise on.”
‘But after, you have to go.”
“No ‘maybe’. Until we figure this out.”
“Zara Jane?”
“You talk too much.”
“So...a little less talk and a lot more action, Captain.”
“Now you’re getting the idea.”
Phillip kissed her deeply as his hand gently slid over her curves.
At that point, Zara shut up. Because she had no more words to say.

Phillip grabbed his pants and put them on.
“The boots are still under the bed,” Zara remarked.
“And that is where they will stay till I can come back and get them. They make too much noise going down the hall.”
Zara sat up.
“Look. It’s starting to rain. Do you really have to go?”
“I’ll tell you what. I will find some excuse and come back in a half an hour. I’ll tell Will I have papers to go over and then I will sneak back. I can’t think of a more delightful way to spend the day.”
Zara stretched her arms over her head.
“Hurry back then.”

Phillip opened the door and backed out of it, buttoning his shirt.
“Darling...nobody does it better.”
He chuckled, “I know.”
As he turned around, he came nose to nose with Will.
And Will did not have on a happy face.
He looked at Phillip and said quietly, “Jack Wolfe is going to expect his daughter to arrive back in Barbados in the same condition she left. Can you honestly hand her over to him knowing you took advantage of her?”
Phillip could feel his face getting hot.
“What on earth are you talking about? No one took advantage of anyone.”
“Seriously, Phillip? A man ten years her senior who has been in more beds than I can count, and a young impressionable girl at that?”
“She’s hardly a girl anymore, Will.”
“You saw to that.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Jack put her into your care and gave you his trust and this is how you repay him?  You will be lucky if he doesn’t run you through. Not to mention what Honour will say. Because if he doesn’t run you through, Honour will.”
“Will, listen---”
“You had nothing better to do on a voyage than pass time with the captain’s daughter. If you weren’t the son of Renee and Josiah I would do run you through myself.”
“You don’t understand---”
“I understand perfectly.”
“It’s not what you--”
“I am responsible for that young lady.:ll
“--think. We---”
“And what are you going to do if she is in the family way?”
“Family way? Will, don’t you think you are---”
“I can’t imagine what Honour will say.”
“---jumping the gun here?”
“Where in the HELL do you think babies come from, Phillip?”
“But we---”
“---haven’t thought that far?”
“Will, PLEASE!”
“I know Josiah will be appalled.”
“Who is going to tell---”
“Renee would be happy, I am sure. She has always been an unconventional woman.”
“”Would you just LISTEN---”
“Josiah will be apologizing to Jack for the rest of his life.”
“Will, I can’t get a word---”
“And not to mention Stella---”
“Will, we got married.” Phillip blurted out.

Will looked bewildered for probably the first time in his life.
“Wh-what? What did you say?”
Phillip drew a deep sigh.
“We got married yesterday, Will.”

Captain Harkness stood there for a minute trying to digest the information when Zara’s door opened quietly.
“It’s true, Uncle Will.”
He looked from one to the other.
Phillip and Zara exchanged glances.
“I’ll handle this,” he said.
She nodded.
“Uncle Will, I am sorry we didn’t say anything at dinner yesterday.”
Will tapped his walking stick on the floor.
“Zara, dear, I will see you at dinner. Captain Briggs, do come with me, smart arse.”
Phillip gave Zara’s hand a squeeze and whispered, “It will be alright, love.”

Will and Phillip entered his study.
“Brandy, Phillip?”
“I don’t know. Is it laced with arsenic?”
“Don’t be absurd.”
“I’m not.”
“Do you think I would make that little girl a widow?”
“Please don’t refer to her as a little girl.”
Will held his hand up. “I only meant that affectionately. To me she will always be that little toddler with a cookie ready to share with me.”
Phillip accepted the brandy.
“I’m sorry, Will. So much has happened this week. Actually since our voyage.”
Will sighed. “I know, Phillip. I didn’t mean to come across as hard. I knew the two of you were..involved.”
“How did you know that?”
“Do I have gullible written across my forehead? It wasn’t hard to figure out. The quiet laughter in her room, the door knob grating….the soft footfalls down the hall to your room.”
“I don’t want you to think I took advantage, Will. I love her.”
“I know,” Will said quietly.
Phillip gave a deep sigh. “We wanted to keep it a secret until we could tell Jack and Honour. Please respect our wishes and don’t send a note on the fastest packet ship. This is Zara’s decision.”
“What prompted the notion to get married, if I may ask?”
“You may. I think it started with Tranquillo Mendoza. I came so close to losing her. And I was afraid.”
“Afraid of my feelings for her and afraid of losing her. The duel was the clincher. I never wanted her to feel afraid of losing me again.”
Will nodded.
“We were sitting in a tavern having a bite to eat at the Swan and Swallow and suddenly it came to me.”
“We were on the ship’s top deck and talking. Just about nothing and everything. Zara asked me what I wanted in a woman. I told her . And it came to me as she was buttering her biscuit.”
“You lost me, Phillip.”
“Suddenly I got this vision of her sitting across from me at a breakfast table, and it felt so...right.”
He took another sip of his brandy. “I want what Jack and Honour have. What my father and Renee have. And I couldn’t see that with any other woman but Zara. Not with Lenore for sure. We had already been involved since that...incident with Mendoza.”
“You’re going to have a problem, Phillip.”
“With what?”
“Have you looked under the captain’s bed lately?”
Phillip’s face coloured.
“I thought so. Captain Jack Wolfe most likely rigged it. Did it collapse?”
“Well….kind of...”
Will knocked back his brandy and said with a self-satisfied smirk, “I rest my case.”