Good grief – sailors.
I suppose the world needs them, but that doesn’t make me like them. God. We should have be on steady course for Normandy. I wanted to get there as soon as possible.
Or so I hoped.
Captain Thomas Rogue looked all aches and pains this morning – as well he should, from the beating he got the day before – but he seemed content turning the wheel of his ship while his quarter-master, Jebediah Hands – a dark man from Jamaica – barked orders to the remaining sailors and some of my mercenaries who’d offered to help. I’d’ve helped a little myself, my father had taught me a few things about sailing (maybe enough to be a decent sailor – the thought of that is just disconcerting) but I really don’t like sailing.
Captain Rogue came up and stood next to me as I watched the sea pass us sluggishly, the occasional patch of land coming up into view.
“I hate you,” he said.
“Mm,” I mumbled back, “Can’t say I like you much.”
“All this bother and fluster… Why’d ye have t’darken our doorstep, eh? Mercenaries should stay on land.”
“They should,” I said, shrugging, “But they don’t. Pirates shouldn’t attack mercenary ships.”
Rogue touched his scarcely bandaged face. The cut hadn’t harmed his eyes, though, so he should be grateful that he doesn’t have to submit to the pirate cliché of an eye-patch.
Or a peg-leg.
Or a hook-hand.
Or a stupid parrot that never shuts up.
What was I saying? Oh, right –
“What’re ye doin’ out here, anyway?” he asked.
“I was given a job in the Americas. A place called Nassau.”
“Ye’re not so great on your geography, are ye? Nassau, love, is in the West Indies.”
“I don’t need geography to pull out a man’s spine.”
I saw Rogue pause, as if considering a retort, but he just said, “So this job… who’s side were ye suppose t’be fightin’ on?”
“On the side that hired me.”
“Do ye know what’s goin’ on in Nassau?”
“No, I was paid to fight there and I did absolutely no research.”
“Sarcasm is unbecomin’ o’ you.”
“Because you know me so well.”
“Tell what ye know, then.”
I gave him a hard, long look, “The British are trying to take back Nassau from you pirates.”
“And were ye hired by the British?”
I scoffed, “My service is too expensive for the British. Their crippling king wouldn’t be able to pay for a small cohort of mine. And I don’t get along with that pompous oaf, Lester Mild, who leads the Royal Colonial Army. He sounds like cheese and he smells like it too. That, and what they fight for is almost always wrong.”
“Oh, ye’re a moralistic mercenary then?” Rogue looked amused by the idea.
“I’ve a heart and mind of my own. A little on the ambitious side and a lot on the angry side – but a woman all the same.”
He gave a strange look, “What?” he scoffed.
“I have an organ in me that no man has. And that organ allows me to care.”
“So ye’ve ne’er fought on wrong side?”
“Never is a strong word and a long time, Captain Rogue. I wouldn’t say never. But I try to do the right things where I can.”
“So, about Nassau…?”
“Are you pirates going to pay me to free you of the British?”
“I doubt that.”
“Then don’t raise your hopes.”
“So what were ye hired t’do then?”
“Oh, me? I was hired to kill a man.”
“A man? Just one?”
“That’s what the word ‘a’ would imply, yes.”
“Why the army, then?”
“This is what you call an army?” I laughed, “This hardly makes up a cohort of my army. A small one. No, I like company and people who care,” I looked at my mercenaries, “we’ve all seen too much and done too much to leave some of us behind. Besides, Khadir’s a little over-protective. He’s my lieutenant. Likes keeping an eye on me.”
“He your husband?”
“Oh, no,” I laughed again, “just a very close friend. He’s already married. I ought to pay a visit to his kids soon. They probably miss their loving, slightly-psychotic, adoptive aunt.”
“I’m sure they do,” said Rogue, stretching the words for emphasis in sarcasm, “Who were ye sent t’kill? And by who were ye sent?”
“You’re asking too many questions,” I straightened, “and I’ve already said too much.”
“I’m headin’ t’Nassau now,” said Rogue, “for–”
“No,” I said, “we’re heading for Normandy.”
“I’m afraid not. We need t’resupply and repair the damage ye’ve done.”
“Do it somewhere else.”
“Nassau is the only island that welcomes pirates, love.”
He drew his sword and pressed it against my throat, making me lean dangerously back against the banister.
“I told ye that I’d take ye t’Normandy, aye. And I’ll stay true t’my word – but I know what my ship needs, Miss…?”
“Midnight,” I replied tersely, “Midnight Shadownight, at your service.”
“That’s a stupid name.”
“It’s not half as stupid as your accent,” I said, “or you’re hat.”
He rolled his eyes, dismissively, “We’re goin’ t’Nassau. Whether ye choose t’ complete your mission or not, is none o’ my concern. Whether ye’ll be hunted there or not, is none o’ my concern. I’ll take ye t’Normandy, dead or alive, aye. But on my terms.”
“This is a step-up from the groaning man, rolling around the deck who passed out yesterday.”
“I’m not used t’bein’ swung around by a woman.”
“Do you want to remove your sword before I start swinging you around again?”
I saw Khadir crack his knuckles behind Rogue.
Rogue glared at me, but did as he was told and stepped away.
“Nassau’s approachin’, sir!” called Jebediah.
We shared one last glare, before Rogue walked away, resuming his place at the helm.