Pirates of Forgotten Waters

Cassandra March is prejudiced in every single way possible-of course she is. She's a nobleman's daughter in 1778! So when a pirate ship arrives in the bay, she has to go to it. She has to become part of it. But when she gets there, she gets much more than she bargained for. A few drunk captains, some stupid sword/cutlasses, and a boy named Jacob....it seems Jacob may give her a view on life she doesn't know of yet.

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3. Captain Paxton

 

The night was cold, a breeze descending from the north to meet us, and I wrapped my blanket tighter around me, knowing I could possibly get some incurable disease by keeping it the way it was.

          “Anna,” I whispered. “Is this a good idea? I mean, the prospect sounded fine but now that we’re actually leaving… is this a good idea? I’m really worried. And what will happen when Father finds out?”

          Anna turned to me and shook her head. “It’s not, by Father’s standards. But if you go by pirate standards, which I assume we’ll be following from now on, then I guess this would be right up there with stealing gold and burying treasure. Well, if pirates even do bury treasure, which is one of their laws I’m not quite certain about.”

          “They don’t,” said Abigail matter-of-factly.

          “Know it all,” muttered Anna grudgingly.

          I sighed, looking away from the quarrel and on at the road ahead of us. We had reached the bay, and in front of us stood the Black Diamond. Anna and I had been right; for it was the famous Black Diamond, and I suddenly remembered the dream I had had the night before. This was the ship that I had been on. And the pirate had been Captain Paxton. There was only one way to explain the two happening so close to each other. It was our destiny, or at least mine.

          I cleared my throat, pulling out my grappling hook and standing at the ready for Anna’s call.

          “Grappling hooks up.” Anna commanded after a while. We threw up our hooks and they clasped on the deck, metal hooks hitting metal bars.

          I grabbed hold of the rope. I climbed up cautiously and slowly, lagging behind Anna and Abigail. Anna got really irritated and kept hissing in an annoyed voice for me to get a move on. To me, it seemed as though Anna was just having a bad day, so I didn’t let it bug me, as I was used to her mood swings now and then.

          Eventually, we all reached the deck. No pirates were in sight for the time being, but heaven knew if the peace would last. We waited there patiently (well, Anna and Abigail waited patiently, and I waited restlessly) until at last a pirate came up onto the deck.

          He looked over at us with an almost-toothless, yellow smile, and it was a devilish smile at that. His eyes were wild, and as devious as his smile was. “Captain Paxton,” he called in a devious, unctuous, almost sing-song voice. “There be some pretty ladies up on the deck, and they be pretty, they be!” It was obvious that the pirate thought we were pretty by the way he talked.

          A cleaner, well shaven, black haired man walked out onto the deck. Captain Paul Paxton. I couldn’t believe that I was finally meeting the greatest pirate in the world, and yet, seeing him close up he didn’t seem so great. For the life of me I didn’t know why.

          Captain Paxton cleared his throat. “Well, you do look harmless, but the matter of if you are harmless is quite entirely another one. What be your names?” His eyes moved over us as if he was deciding whether we’d taste better baked than boiled, or whether we belonged somewhere in the hold or on a deserted island.

          Anna nodded nervously. “My name is Anna March, and this is my sister, Cassandra March and our cousin Abigail Speare who is visiting us from London. As for Cassandra and I, we escaped here because we’ve been praying for a miracle to get us away from our Father for many years. Frankly, Abigail is here because we obviously couldn’t leave her at our house alone, and then she’d be sent to Finishing School alone, which was also unacceptable. We saw your ship, Captain, and we decided that our prayers were answered by your pirate ship. So I know that you probably don’t have any time for us, because we probably don’t have time for you either, but if you’ll let us stay we’d be greatly obliged to help you, and we’ll follow your orders as long as they don’t involve killing someone.”

          Captain Paxton strode proudly across the deck. “Hmm,” he thought aloud. “Hmm. Well, I suppose that you have already had your work cut out for you, so I’ll let you stay. I’m Captain Paul Paxton, and I am very pleased to meet you.”

          Anna, Abigail and I stepped forward to shake his outstretched hand. When I shook his hand, he stopped and looked at me. He nodded in approval. When I left, I heard him mutter something like; “If only Jacob was here…”

          That sent a tingle up my spine. I had been hearing the name Jacob in my dreams. Was this the same Jacob that Captain Paxton was talking about? Or was it a totally unrelated and utterly different thing that would never matter in my current life?

          Suddenly a man came on the deck and coughed loudly. Paxton and Anna both had fierce looks on their faces; Anna’s a happy fierceness though and Paxton’s more a glare. Anna ran over to the man and there was a sound like kissing and squealing in happiness. And so that’s why I knew immediately who the man was.

          Connor.

          I spun around to face him, and he nodded curtly at Abigail and I just for the sake of courtesy. “My name is Connor, Connor Washington, and I would like you to explain to me why you have been holding my love captive. I don’t know why or how you have gained possession of her, but I demand that this captivity be no more carried out.  I see all that goes on in this bay, and holding my Anna captive is too far a crime for me to ignore. So I came and decided to discover the meaning of whatever it is you’re doing.  And thus, I demand that she be released.”

          Anna broke away from Connor for a moment to explain. “No, Connor, it’s not like that! You see, we ran away to this pirate ship, and Captain Paxton wouldn’t dream of holding captives! Or at least, he wouldn’t while we’re here. You can stay though, and you’ll see that Paxton is as sane as he could ever be. No really, I do insist that you stay.”

          Connor waved his hand dismissively. “No, Anna, you needn’t stay here any longer. I have come to rescue you and your sister. And your cousin too. You shan’t stay where you aren’t needed, and I shall return you to your Father at once, because I love you too much to let you stay here on this accursed ship! I don’t believe that this place can possibly be better than your manor. After all, you have everything you need there.”

          “But we don’t want to go back to Father!” Anna persisted. “We want adventure in great wide open seas, and we don’t want Father to know a thing about it! I’ll bet you right now that Father doesn’t know a thing about us not being at home! He probably thinks that we’re still in bed! And he won’t know what happened to us at all when he does wake up! He’ll just see that we’re gone and probably won’t care at all. He won’t care about the fact that we’re gone! He only wanted to keep us for economic value! He…”

          I spun around to see why Anna had broken off, and what I saw made me feel faint. A fanfare of men were approaching, and who was in the lead of them, with a determined look on his rugged face and sweat beading his white governors wig.

“Father,” I breathed.

The word hung dryly in my throat, stinging like a salty swish of water into my mouth that just hung there, stinging in pain. I tried to speak, to tell Captain Paxton to stop staring and move the boat away from the harbor, but he was already doing my bidding. I didn’t even have to ask. I loved this treatment.

Father stood on the cobblestone street, staring up at us in horror. “They’re pirates!” he shouted, not knowing what else to do. “Blasted, dirty, no-good PIRATES!”

I nodded smugly, not caring about what he thought. “And soon, we’ll be blasted, dirty, no-good pirates too.”

“Say good-bye to the prim and proper March girls,” Anna muttered.

Father furrowed his eyebrows in anger. “You will come down here this minute, and you will go home with me, and you WILL do as I say FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER AND FOR ALL ETERNITY, whether you want to or not! I have legal possession of you and I will not suffer this to happen!”

I looked at Anna. “Sounds like someone needs a break, eh?”

Anna nodded deviously. “What d’you say that we…er…let him go,” she smiled, her white teeth silhouetting against the night sky.

I leaned against the railing. “Captain Paxton,” I called. “How about teaching my father why pirates are so fearsome?”

Paxton looked at me skeptically. “So you really want me to put him in the hold with bilge-water and bilge-rats and let him be subject to scurvy and gangrene? Sounds to me as though you’re more a pirate than I am which, by the way, is utterly impossible.”

I rolled my eyes. “NO! I want you to show him…how to man a ship….the hard way.

Anna wasn’t slow to nod in agreement at my idea.

Paxton sighed and his eyebrows continued to grow higher and higher on his face. “So what you’re saying is that I need to teach him the Pirate Law, how to be a daring and strong leader, and then whip him with cat-o’-nine tails?”

I buried my face in my hands. He did not understand this at all. “Fine, minus the cat-o’-nine tails,” I finally consented.

Paxton grunted, but reluctantly agreed.

Soon Father was in the hold, rotting away until he was ready to be given the choice: piracy or never-see-your-money again. We might eventually decide to give him the easy way out and kill him or let him go(not Anna or I, of course, but Paxton maybe), but that was for us to know…and him to find out once he improved his piracy manners. Which, knowing Father, would never happen.

 

“That is definitely your father,” muttered Paxton as we took our seats in the Captain’s Quarters.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” asked Anna defensively. “You don’t think we’re has idiotic and utterly unacceptably improper and unpiratish as he is, do you?” I had seen Anna act crazy before, but nothing like this. But frankly, as it was 2 in the morning, I didn’t care.

Paxton shook his head dismissively. “No, no, I didn’t say that! I just was thinking that if you take away the wig and the wrinkles and the man, it would look like you.”

I raised my eyebrows. “You’re just saying that because you have never met our mother. We get our looks from our mother; Anna is the spitting image of her, but her face was more like mine. He’s nothing like us, really, even if you take out the wig and the wrinkles and the man. He’s a demon, and we are…actually, I don’t know what we are yet.”
          Paxton nodded, as if he somehow knew something that no one else in the room knew. “I see,” he muttered quietly, even though he probably didn’t. “One often feels an odd obligation to doubt themself in a new, unknown situation. One may feel like they are not good enough to create such fear and terror into one’s heart, or merely, in your case, that they are a woman, so they’re not used to the terror of creating terror into other’s hearts. Not that that’s hard for me anymore, but I had to think of some example. Sometimes one has to face greater challenges than they believe they are capable of facing, and they just have to pull through them at their strongest point. Once they have found their strongest point and used it to conquer, they may not be so afraid anymore and their doubts may vanish for at least a moment, if not a lifetime. One may be a doubter, but they cannot live soundly with those doubts in mind. Those doubts cannot haunt them if they wish to pursue the career of a pirate. This is because of many reasons, many of which cannot be explained to a human thus as you. You’re not pirates yet, not ready for the fear you may feel and the battles you may face. Pirates live on a battlefield, even when there is no real battle being fought than the one within themselves. And I assure you, there will always be a battle being fought within yourself. That is a fact of life and piracy.”

I felt fear well up inside my chest, but then I felt confusion. Why was I scared? It was just an inner battle that I was supposed to be fighting with myself. And if I was going to be a pirate there would be plenty of battles that I’d have to fight, with myself or with someone else. Battles and blood was a pirate’s everyday playground. Even though I wouldn’t admit it, battles were going to be an exciting addition to this adventure.

“I don’t quite see.” I muttered, because really, I didn’t. “I don’t think it wise to be having an inner battle, even if there wasn’t a real battle going on against someone else.”

Anna and Abigail showed my confusion. “It’s not wise, because what if there was a battle going on with someone during your inner battle?” Anna said, speaking with her usual wisdom that, also as usual, no one really understood.

“Will everyone please stop speaking in riddles and use literal meaning? Please?” begged Abigail fed up with all the ridding.

I nodded. “I agree, even though I haven’t heard very many riddles.”

Paxton rolled his eyes. “Fine, since you two are too little to understand a little in literal meanings, I guess we have to treat you like the young kids that you are.”

“We’re not kids!!!!!!!!!!” Abigail shouted. “We are young women! There is a difference, a large difference, and just because pirates like riddling and we can’t understand it, doesn’t automatically qualify us as children! When will you learn that 15 years is not still child age! Someone needs to learn a lot about society these days! Everyone needs to learn about how society should be. After all, half of the people our age are married, which is wrong, and people still consider us children! ”

Paxton put up his hand to silence Abigail. “Well, I’m sorry that pirates don’t spend a whole lot of time in society these days, unless they are getting hanged, and that’s in front of society, not in society.”

 “Really?” I asked my voice mocking and partially cold. “Because I would think that you spend an awful lot of time in society, or else you wouldn’t have been in the harbor earlier tonight. Your lies are not deceiving, and your lies cannot fool us, because unlike what you pirate scum think, we are not idiots. We have all been brought up in good schools that taught us that pirates do a lot of things to try and deceive you if you would ever cross their path, and so why would we take away all of those years of learning cautions because a stupid pirate thinks that he can tell us that he doesn’t spend a lot of time in society, when we ourselves saw him in the harbor earlier that very day! Pirates are liars, and we may soon become pirates, but I can assure you that we will not become liars. Just because you choose the path of piracy doesn’t mean that you choose the path of lies. Liars and pirates should just choose one name to be called by-after all, if you lie you’re practically a pirate, even if you’ve never killed anyone or sought treasure of greatest worth. Those things don’t define a pirate- they’re just things that come with being a pirate. There are differences between a pirate and a privateer, because privateers don’t lie like pirates do, on top of all of the other more in depth and/or obvious reasons that they are nothing alike. But you know what? We may be pirates someday, but we will be a different type of pirate than you are, even if we serve on your ship. Because we will never lie like you do. We will not, cannot, become what you are. Whether or not we become a pirate and serve on your ship, we will not give up our standards. We cannot take those things away from ourselves. We refuse to become what you wish us to become.”

Paxton shrugged dismissively. “Why I was in the harbor that day is none of your business. But I must ask you something that is your business, and it applies to something that I think you will feel very privileged that I decided to tell you, and I hope that you will do nothing to make me change my mind.”

“Well than why did you let us go on about things instead of telling us?” Anna questioned.

“Because it was amusing.” Paxton replied simply. “Women, especially civilized ones, are very amusing. And you, my dears, are golden. I think I’ll keep you just because you’re amusing.”

“You thought that it was amusing to hear us and see us get angry? What kind of man are you? I knew you were a pirate, but not this kind of pirate!” I shouted, angry at Paxton for no given reason. He just made me so mad! But, I guess that’s what pirates do.

Paxton rolled his eyes dismissively. “Oh come now, please be reasonable.” He stopped, but then when he saw our glares he continued hastily. “But on second thought maybe I’m being the unreasonable one. I’ll just tell you here and now what you need to know about piracy.”

“This has to do with piracy?” Abigail questioned. “If so, I think I don’t want to know quite as much anymore,”

Paxton clapped his hand to his forehead. “Women these days,” he muttered.

Anna coughed. “Anything else?”

Paxton looked up at the sky and muttered something that we couldn’t hear. Then he looked at us. “Well fine, if I must tell you I will. Your fathers were planning on sending you to Finishing School, correct?”

We nodded.  I later pondered over the fact that we hadn’t told him this little detail, and I wondered how he had acquired it.

“Well, you should be extremely thankful that you got into the mindset to come onto the pirate ship with us instead of letting them take you there.”

“So this is about pirates!” I shouted. “You dirty lying piece of worthless scum!”

Paxton clenched his fists and cursed under his breath. “No, I’m not,” he said coolly. “But for your information I am not interested in what you call worthless scum, Miss I-Jump-to-Conclusions-Quicker-Than-You-Can-Say-I’m-About-To-Die. Other than that, I can go on about Finishing School.”

“Please do,” muttered Anna quietly.

“Please don’t,” I muttered angrily.

“You see, what I am about to tell you is fatal and dire and every minute that you spend knowing this might be your last just because you know it. Every breath that you take after these few moments will be more precious than gold and it’s just because you’ll know this. But it is under only dire circumstances that you know, and these are definitely dire circumstances. There are two captains: Captain Jack Crusoe and Captain Elliot Barbarossa. They are after you three, the red head for no obvious reason, because you are supposedly the cure to their curse. They say that a governors daughter is always the cure to some sort of curse, especially this one, because with this particular curse it was your grandfather, if I am not mistaken, who cursed them. You are related to Gunther Fredrick Ephraim, correct?”

Anna nodded. “We are. Our mother was the late Deborah Ephraim.”

Paxton nodded. “A great man and a great daughter. She was the Princess of the White Sea you know, so she should’ve been able to cure their curse, but she didn’t live long enough to try. Which is why we all suspect one of you, because an Ephraim was the first princess, so obviously we’re going to be thinking that the princess is one of you three Ephraim women, and as there are none left, the chances are very high that it is.”

I sat up straighter. “Wait, what princess?”

Paxton shrugged, obviously afraid of something I didn’t know about. “Oh nothing, just an old pirate legend come true.”

“Tell us more,” pleaded Abigail. “I want to know about this princess, and my aunt, and everything I really shouldn’t know about. I want to know it. I really do, more than anything,”

Paxton shook his head. “All I can say is that you’ll learn about it all in the History of Piracy and Pirates Come to pass.”

I raised my eyebrows at this new information. “So if it’s in there, than that means that my mother was a pirate then, wasn’t she?” When he didn’t answer I repeated it more fiercely; “Wasn’t she?”

“NO!” Paxton recoiled in shock. “Did I say that?”

“Yes you did, and that’s just not acceptable at all.” Anna replied forcefully. “You have the nerve to suggest that my mother was a pirate. And the fact that she’s gone,” she had to stop.

“She means to say that while you’re a pirate and you fear death and laugh at those who die just because it’s not yourself, you need to respect those who are dead.” I said, folding my arms across my chest with what I hoped was an angry gleam in my eye.

“What isn’t acceptable?” Paxton growled.

“You aren’t,” replied Abigail.

Paxton rolled his eyes. “Well, that’s just all fine and great and dandy that you think that we pirates are idiots. If you are having issues with what I’m doing, then you can just get off this ship and go back to your normal lives.”

I stood up and thrust my head high. “I will.” I said before I picked up my skirts and ran out to the deck.

We were in the middle of the ocean.

“So much for jumping.” I muttered sadly, staring at the blue thrashing waves below me. “I hate this. It’s no better than it was at home,”

Anna and Abigail soon stood by my side. “That’s a bunch of nonsense,” said Abigail angrily.

 “We’ve got a long way to go,” Anna bit her lip. “And it’s not going to be even a bit easy.”

I nodded grimly. “And I assume they’ll be a whole lot of nonsense.”

 

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