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Literature
Chapter 6
Port Royal was definitely a human city just like Tortuga.  It was stuck in the same stressful pace, overrun with buildings and clutter.  The one difference being the authority presence.  This was no pirate town.  There was a British soldier on every other block and a giant fort at every corner of the city.
Just to get into Port Royal, we had to fly a British flag and bribe the dock master.  He logged The Freedom under a different name.  Forcing us to pay him twice what we had paid the man in Tortuga.  Even then, we weren’t sure whether he would keep the deal a secret.  Michael had threatened him enough that I confident he wouldn’t give us away, but we couldn’t be too careful.
We’d been waiting for two days, giving the crew their promised time off and scoping out Admiral Smoke’s manor.  We were sure we had a plan together, but it changed a bit every day.  The party was that night, so I hoped we were ready.
&
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Charlie Concept by TwistedIvi Charlie Concept :icontwistedivi:TwistedIvi 4 5
Literature
The Siren Chapter 5
Next thing I knew, I was running through a forest of bent and disfigured trees.   Ahead of me, Watt’s invitation soared through the air always just out of reach.  It isn’t often you go from laying in bed to crashing through branches but I didn’t question it.  How could I?  I was far too busy running.
I was wearing my old clothes, the clothes of a siren and I was barefoot.  After adjusting to boots, my soles were easily affected by the sharp twigs and rocks in my way.
The invitation flew faster, turned behind a tree, and disappeared from view.  I had lost it, and stopped to catch my breath.  I began to wonder where I was and how I managed to get there but my head was too fuzzy to come to any useful conclusions.
My heart leaped to my throat when I heard resounding stomping like an army marching towards me.   This was accompanied by unanimous chanting and giggling.  It sounded like a mob singing a song I used to laugh to.
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Literature
The Siren Chapter 4
I never liked running much and although I was one of the strongest in the pod I certainly wasn’t the fastest.  I lost countless races no matter how hard I tried and was resigned that I just wasn’t meant to be fast.  But compared to Axel and Michael, I was a racehorse.  Years of swimming, allowed me to run down the street much quicker than either of them.  Although I wasn’t running as fast as most sirens could, I felt like I was extraordinarily swift.  I kept slowing down to let Michael pass me since I didn’t know where to go.  With each stall, I puffed with pride at the talent that had never been prominent until then.  I wished that the men ran faster, though considering how important it was we arrived at the galleon.  Michael had a controlled calmness that I admired but was unable to mimic.
Unfortunately, the galleon wasn’t at the same dock as The Freedom.  Instead, it was at a more secluded pier that was too f
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Literature
The Siren Chapter 3
The sun was relentless.  It beats against ships, reflects against the sea, and scorches anyone it meets.  No amount of clothing or shade can shield you.  Shadows slide and disappear, clothing only keeps you warm.  In the end, the sun wins.  I’d thought of the sun a lot my first three days on The Freedom.
I leaned against the door of my cabin.  With the morning light at my back, I was shaded for a time.  As the shadows receded, I sheltered my face behind my broad brimmed hat.  I had received a full closet of my shipmates’ odds and ends.  Loose shirts, tights pants, holey boots, and a patched hat.  I had already been hardened by the sun.  I had been tanned by it through years of living sun up to sundown in the scorching heat but I wasn’t immune to its effects.  
Over those three days, I grew increasingly irritable.  I was impatient to reach Tortuga and find news of Smoke and my family.  I yelled more
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Literature
Pirate Profile: Stede Bonnet
Historical:
Stede Bonnet was born in 1688 to Edward and Sarah Bonnet.  They owned an extensive sugar plantation in Bridgetown which Stede inherited in 1964.  In 1709, he married a woman named Mary Allamby. Together they had four children: Allamby, Edward, Stede, and Mary. His son Allamby died in 1715 which is theorized to have had a profound effect on Stede.
At one time, Bonnet held the rank of major in the Barbados militia. During his service, The War of Spanish Succession was taking place.  Whether he took part in that or any combat is unclear.  For unknown reasons and despite knowing nothing about seamanship, Bonnet turned to piracy.  In the spring of 1717, he abandoned his family in the middle of the night. It is also unclear why he made this decision as there is no recorded major event in his life at that time.  The most common theory is that he left because married life displeased him.  
Most pirates stole their ships but Stede purchased one leg
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Literature
The Siren Chapter 2
“You alright, Charlie?”  Michael’s voice bounced around the tunnel from every direction. His jacket cuff brushed against my arm as he passed, giving me chills.  Water dripped from a stalactite overhead, deafeningly loud in the otherwise silence.  Even though I couldn’t see, I was in sensory overload.
“Charlie?”  Michael called out a bit more urgently.
“I’m here.”  I snapped back in an attempt to sound confident.  Slowly I put one foot in front of the other, forcing myself to match step with him.
“I know you’re here.”  He retorted.  “But are you alright?”
“I’m fine, let’s just walk faster.  There’s some light further down.”  I said jogging a bit closer to where I assumed he was.
The tunnel was pitch black, sloping downward.  It was humid and uncomfortably hot; a generally suffocating atmosphere.
  It seemed an etern
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Literature
The Siren Chapter 1
Sirens don’t mix well with fire.  It’s a direct contradiction to everything which we are.  Water is the center of our world; each resource we use is from the sea.  We thrive in everything dark and damp, living in time with the current’s gentle rhythm.   Each siren is born in water, put to rest in water, and live near the rocks where land meets wave.  The ocean is our identity.  Despite this, nothing has ever called me the way fire has.
My mother always called me a little ember.  It was a nickname that would have offended a proper siren.  It was like saying I was the opposite of everything I was born to be, though I didn’t care.  I proudly invested myself in a troubling fascination no matter how dangerous it was.  Most sirens are too wise to love a thing so treacherous and the wisest of all was my mother. You’d never meet a siren so wonderful.  The ocean was her biggest love and she spent hours under th
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Sample of The Siren :icontwistedivi:TwistedIvi 2 0

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Port Royal was definitely a human city just like Tortuga.  It was stuck in the same stressful pace, overrun with buildings and clutter.  The one difference being the authority presence.  This was no pirate town.  There was a British soldier on every other block and a giant fort at every corner of the city.

Just to get into Port Royal, we had to fly a British flag and bribe the dock master.  He logged The Freedom under a different name.  Forcing us to pay him twice what we had paid the man in Tortuga.  Even then, we weren’t sure whether he would keep the deal a secret.  Michael had threatened him enough that I confident he wouldn’t give us away, but we couldn’t be too careful.

We’d been waiting for two days, giving the crew their promised time off and scoping out Admiral Smoke’s manor.  We were sure we had a plan together, but it changed a bit every day.  The party was that night, so I hoped we were ready.

“What do you think.”  Michael asked, tipping his hat over his brow.  We were talking at the corner of a sleepy road.

I gestured to the burly men carrying tables across the manicured lawn of the mansion nearest to us.  “I think that’s a lot of servants.  Hopefully they won’t all be watching during the party.”

“I have a feeling they will be.  When we get in, the first thing we need to do is go inside the house and sneak around.  Hopefully, the party won’t extend into there.”

“And what do we look for, again?”  I asked.

“Anything that has to do with where he’s keeping your sisters.  They could be kept at any of the forts in the city but, if we’re lucky, some paperwork in there will say which.”

“I can’t believe we’re gonna sneak into that.”  I said, in awe of the towering white manor.

“We can’t sneak in.  We need to fit in.”  He explained.  “And I know just the person to help.  C’mon!”

He turned down the street and led me towards a more industrial side of Port Royal.  We stopped in front of a small store labeled ‘Madame Durand’s Dress Emporium’.  The windows were covered in puffy and extravagant dresses forming complicated window displays.

“I grew up here.”  Michael cracked open the door.

“What?!”  I exclaimed, but he had already walked in.

The interior of the store was as crowded as the windows.  Rolls of fabric hung on every wall and table.  Stitching plans and dress designs were scattered on the floor.  From the rafters, half sewn dresses were tacked up.

“Just try it!”  A short, elderly woman threw an orange dress on a table, scattering bits of cloth around the room.

“Absolutely not!  It’s all wrong.  I just wanted a simple white dress.  You gave it butterfly wings!  How am I supposed to go to a party dressed like a butterfly.”  Another woman snorted.

“You have no vision!  Orange is your color.”  The older woman urged.

The other woman stomped and turned to leave.  “And I’m not paying for that either!”

“Damn!”  The woman shook her head.  “Hello, Michael.”

“Auntie!”  Michael surrounded the woman in a hug.

“Have you brought a woman home?”  The woman asked.  “Tell me you aren’t engaged again.”

“Again?”  I laughed.

“No, she needs a dress.”  Michael answered, gruffly.

“I’m not making another dress ever again.  That’s the fifth customer I’ve had who won’t pay.  I’m not wasting time on another.”  She sniffed.

“I’ll pay upfront.”  I offered.  “I’ll even buy the butterfly dress.  I thought it was beautiful.”

“No, no that doesn’t match your skin at all… Let me see here… Yes, see this fabric?  This is your color…”  Durand held a bit of sky blue cloth against my skin.  “Green eyes… Unruly hair… You’re an interesting muse… A muse… That’s an idea.”

“Alright, Auntie.  Will you make her a dress or not?”  Michael smirked.

“I need two hours to make it- oh- and I need one of these!”  She grabbed a quill and scribbled a sketch.  “Just like that.  Some satin… or maybe make that lace.”

“Thank you, Auntie.  We’ll leave you to it.”  Michael laughed.  In reply, Durand grunted and nodded our way.  I got the feeling that she didn’t like to be disturbed once she was feeling inspired.

We exited and strolled back towards the ship.  On the way, we passed a cart carrying four guards and a line of men sitting with their hands bound

“They’re going to the courthouse.”  Michael explained.  “Chances are, they’ll be hung.”

“How do you know?”

“Well, that’s the only sentence anyone I’ve known has gotten.”  He shrugged.  “I’ve never hung anyone before, mind you.  But the royal navy sees that as a fit sentence for both of us, quite frankly.”

“We do raid their ships.”  I pointed out.

“I guess.”  Michael chuckled.

We took lunch in a pub and returned to the dress shop right on time.  I was skeptical that she could make a dress so quickly. But Michael had told me that if we gave her too much time to make it, she would have me stick out like a sore thumb.

Madame Durand was measuring strands of ribbon.  “Hello, dear!  I just finished the dress.  Come now, it’s waiting behind this curtain.  Why don’t you change into it and model for Michael and I.”

Blushing, I stepped behind the curtain and was met with the most beautiful dress I’d ever seen.  Changing quickly I inspected myself in the mirror hung against the wall.

The dress was the color of the ocean in a storm with gold waves embroidered along the hem.   It hung to my hips not in a way that was revealing, but one that showed an honest female figure.  I appreciated this silhouette more than the typical tulle filled cupcake shape.  The neckline was a metalic gold collar that weighed heavy on my shoulders.  I had a feeling it was a cheaper metal painted gold since it bent easily in my hand.  The cuffs and belt were of the same metal as was the simple golden ring crown.  Next to the dress was a pair of brown sandals with blue laces which I slid into and stepped out from behind the curtain.

“You look like a greek goddess!”  Durande clapped.  “Just as I’d hoped.”

“You’re going to attract attention.”  Michael’s eyes widened.  “A lot of attention.”

“That’s not good.”  I frowned.

“No, no, it’s perfect.”  He waved his hands.  “Ha, if Axel saw you like this he’d have a heart attack.”

I took out my coins from the pocket of my jacket, paid Madame Durand, and thanked her.   Then, we both returned to the ship for Michael to get dressed.  I think that the crew sometimes forgot that I was a woman.  I dressed and acted like them with little effort.  So when I walked onto the ship wearing a beautiful dress trying not to step on the hem of the gown, all of them were silent.  No one knew what to say, probably worrying that complimenting me would inappropriate.

“Charlie's beautiful!”  Nick exclaimed to the pirates he was playing cards with.

“Shh, don’t be creepy.”  Another retorted.

Michael winked at me and walked below deck to put on his suit.  I sat next to the card players on the deck.

“Nick is definitely not creepy.  What’s creepy is just staring at me and not saying anything.”  I teased.

“It’s really nice.”  Theo said.

I smiled and pointed to one of Nick’s cards.  He nodded, slamming it onto the deck with excitement.  “Ha!”

“That’s the second time he’s won.  It’s getting embarrassing.”  A sailor groaned.

Just before Nick could deal the cards again, Michael walked onto the deck in a crisp suit.  He signalled for me to follow and we started to walk up the curving slope of the manor’s road.  As we walked, the sun started setting and the house’s silhouette glowed against candlelight.  At the gate, I handed the invitation to a tall man who ushered us into the front lawn.  Candles lit the party and music echoed against the manor.

“There’s a guard at every door.”  I whispered, as we walked arm in arm towards the crowd.

“If we can find one that’s not paying attention we can slip in.”  Michael twirled me across the dance floor.

“What about that cracked window over there?”  I pointed.

“I’ll jump in and you go in after.”

So I planted myself by the window trying to look as natural as possible while Michael dove into the house.  Just about to follow, I was interrupted by a gentle voice behind me.

“Excuse me, miss.   It looks like you’ve lost your date.”  The woman shuffled beside me in a puffy ball gown.

“I think I did.”  I sighed, trying to play the part.  Meanwhile Michael, no doubt listening, hid behind the curtain.

“I haven’t met you before.  Did you happen to come with Lord Carlova?”

“Yes.”  I nodded, crossing my arms.

“He’s always ditching his dates.  Oh, I suppose I shouldn’t have said that.  Anyway, I have to make sure I greet all the guests.  It is my party afterall.”

“You’re party?”  I stammered.  If this was her party then she was Smoke’s wife.  I had imagined Smoke to be with an equally mean spirited woman but Madame Smoke seemed lovely.  Such a contrast that it gave me shivers.

Luckily, she didn’t hear and passed gracefully through the lawn.  Michael grabbed my shoulder and pulled me inside.

“Hey!”  I pushed him off and fell on the carpet.

“Well, I can’t stand here forever.  The longer we wait, the more dangerous this is.”  He gestured around the dining room.

“Okay, let’s be fast then.”  I tiptoed around the room.  “We really need a bedroom or an office.”

Silently, he walked towards the door frame and pointed out.  I nodded and stood close behind him.  He stuck out his head and looked down the hall.  It felt like an eternity before he stepped out and ran across the hall.  I followed but out of the corner of my eye, I watched two men walk towards me.

“Damn!”  I whispered.

“Did someone see you?”

“I have no idea.”  I said.  “But I saw them.”  We were in a library, with absolutely nowhere to hide.  There was one window that didn’t seem to open and a desk too small to hide underneath.

We attempted to crouch behind the two armchairs facing the desk.  Still, we knew that if anyone walked in they were sure to see us

“You there!”  One man yelled.  “What are you two doing.  Thomas, go get Master Smoke.”

“You don’t need to do that.”  I replied, but the other guard was already starting to leave.  “We’re with the party.”

“And you know Madame Daisy?”  He raised an eyebrow.

Michael and I looked at each other.

“Yes.”  Michael lied, but it was a half hearted attempt.

“Hands on the desk, both of you.”  The guard then proceeded to tie our arms with a rope at his waist.  Perhaps we could have overpowered him, but considering he was armed, neither of us wanted to take the risk.

“So you just carry rope with you?”  I laughed.

“I always end up taking some drunk to Bridewell to sleep the night off.  Happens every party I’m guard at.”  The man snorted and shoved me onto the armchair.  “And I can’t buy my own handcuffs.  Too expensive.”

“Ow!”  I huffed.  Michael took his seat more gracefully and the guard left the room.  Meanwhile, Michael pushed and wiggled at his bonds.  I searched for any water, but finding none, I knew I’d have to escape without my powers.  “Good news is, we’ll find our information straight from the horse’s mouth.”

“We’re more likely to end up hung.”  Michael retorted.  “Unless I can get out.”

The clock on the bookshelf clicked slowly and I gritted my teeth.  These ropes were tied perfectly and there was no way I could slip out.  Michael and I froze as we heard a familiar laugh at the door.

“I hope you don’t mind I eat in here.  You have taken me out of a party afterall…”

I wanted to say something clever.  I wanted to stand and curse him out.  Honestly, I wanted to kill him, but seeing Smoke again took all of the words out of my mouth.  What could I say to the murderer of my people?

“I imagine you have a lot to say.”  Smoke placed his plate and silverware on the desk.

“I’m a pirate now.”  I began, slowly.

“Oh, I’ve heard stories about you.  You’ve raised quite the reputation.  The sea witch, the bloody storm… The siren.  You’re powerful, I’ll give you that.”

“I’ve gone after British merchant ships and made fools of your captains. I can cause you a lot of problems, but if you give me my sisters back… I’ll disappear.”  I offered.  “And you’ll never have to deal with me.”

Smoke laughed and stuffed a cut of pork into his mouth.  “Oh, you misjudge me.  I don’t want you to disappear, in fact it’s quite the opposite.  Think of all the battles I could win with your power.  I’ll let you visit your sisters but you’ll be working for me.”

“That’s not an option.”  Michael growled.

“Stay out of it, Harvey.  You’re lucky I don’t shoot you now.”

“Where are they?” I demanded.

“Same place you’re going.”  Smoke took another bite.

“Prison?”  Michael asked.

“Bridewell.”  The Admiral nodded.  “You know, Charlie, I’ve become quite interested in you.  You’re history.  Your past.  Those sisters of yours have told me quite a lot.  It took a bit of… coaxing… of course.”

I slammed my hands on the armrest.  “You’re a dead man.”

“Oh, did I hit a nerve?  Interesting, that you came all the way to save three girls that aren’t really related to you.  But all of you seem decided that you’re family now that your people are gone.  You’ll be disappointed, they’re hardly the same.”

“You called?”  Watts entered the library and stood beside the door.

“You’re late, Captain!”  Smoke snarrled.  “Why don’t you take Harvey out to the dock and give him a swim.”

“Drowning a sailor is pretty low!”  Michael shouted.

“And he needs a proper trial.”  Watts said.

Meanwhile, the Admiral placed his fork at the edge of his plate.  I didn’t know if Watts would really drown Michael but I wasn’t going to give him the option.  I lurched forward, grabbed the fork, and slammed it deep into Smoke’s eye before he had time to react.  Blood dripped down my hands and splattered on my cheek.  Michael bounced up, knocked over Watts who was quick to get out of the way.  Looking back, I winked and he simply shook his head.

Michael kicked the glass of the window and jumped out.  I followed and we crashed onto a table just a few feet below.  The table snapped, sending drinks and hors devours on the onlooking party goers.  I was a bloody mess and Michael was cutting through his bonds with a shard of glass.  Meanwhile, Smoke’s screams muted the gasps of the crowd.

No one stopped us as we ran out of the gate and through Port Royal.

“We need to get back to the ship.  They’ll be looking for us.”  Michael said as we ran.

“I’m not leaving without my sisters.”  I replied.  “You need to get the crew out.  I’ll stay.”

“You can’t do this on your own!”  Michael argued.

“I’ll write you a letter and have Flint deliver it.  When I get them, you can come and get me but not until then.”  I said.

Michael knew there was no time to argue.  “I’ll stay close to Tortuga and reply to every letter you send.  The second you find them, we’re out of here.  Understood?”

“Aye, Captain.”  I laughed.

“Go to Auntie’s.  She’ll hide you.”

I nodded and ran the other way towards the dress shop.  Both of us knew that at any minute, there would be a search party looking for us.

I pounded on the door of the shop.  Durande opened it and, seeing my bloody hands, embraced me in a hug.

“Come on in, and tell me what happened.”
Charlie Concept
I thought I'd add a sketch of Charlie before I submit the next chapter.  I'm not at all an artist so please don't judge me, all my artistic friends.  :D (Big Grin)   Enjoy!
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Next thing I knew, I was running through a forest of bent and disfigured trees.   Ahead of me, Watt’s invitation soared through the air always just out of reach.  It isn’t often you go from laying in bed to crashing through branches but I didn’t question it.  How could I?  I was far too busy running.

I was wearing my old clothes, the clothes of a siren and I was barefoot.  After adjusting to boots, my soles were easily affected by the sharp twigs and rocks in my way.

The invitation flew faster, turned behind a tree, and disappeared from view.  I had lost it, and stopped to catch my breath.  I began to wonder where I was and how I managed to get there but my head was too fuzzy to come to any useful conclusions.

My heart leaped to my throat when I heard resounding stomping like an army marching towards me.   This was accompanied by unanimous chanting and giggling.  It sounded like a mob singing a song I used to laugh to.  Though I’d never thought of the lyrics until I was running from them.

My feet scraped and pounded at the dirt.  My hands gripped and tore at the bark around me, focused only on propelling myself past the brush in my way.    Meanwhile behind me, the words echoed against the trees:

  “Warrior don’t you forget

  The human with his sharp bayonet

  Is looking for us and that’s a threat

  So light the fire we’ll make him sweat”

My chest heaved and heart pounded, but I wasn’t sure if that was because of the running or the panic.  The unimaginable panic of being chased by the same evil you had taken part in.

The air heated up and smoke curled around my legs.  I leaned against a sturdy tree to catch my breath.

“Damn.”  I murmured, suddenly feeling sharp pains spreading across my forearms.  It felt as if I was stuck in a furnace.  Visible burns began to dance across my skin.  “I’ve got to get out of here.”

But then I wondered if the warriors would leave me alone if they knew who I was.  I was a siren too and clearly wasn’t a threat.  If I went towards them and explained, they might spare me.  Just before I could begin, a voice from above screeched:  “You are a human!  Burn!”

I definitely didn’t argue as I took off running once again.  The wind was boiling, the clouds were coals and the ground radiated heat like kindling.  I tried to escape but the song was only getting louder:

  “Feel the flames high as your hip

  Stand fast and be ready to burn the ship

  Watch the white sails start to rip

  They’re going down to a watery crypt”

A drop of sweat dripped down my forehead and sizzled on the ground.  As I raced past the foliage, trees caught fire.  Flames combust behind me, and I knew I had to hurry.  I imagined that the fires were being started by birds dropping torches overhead.   I didn’t look up, though, that would only slow me down.

My foot caught itself on a rock and I tumbled into the grass.  The song was so loud now I knew the warriors were too close behind for me to escape.  They finished the song:

  “Don’t feel bad, they’re only human

  Lost and damned are the crewman

  Laugh and sing, that you may

  While you send the ship away”

I reached out to run my fingers through the grass still wet with dew.  Escaping was useless and I just wanted relief from my burns.  The dew did soothe my hands a bit but when I withdrew my fingers, every spot I touched sparked like candles.  It was poetic justice.  I was being chased by the evil that I chose to take part in and even at my demise I left a wake of fire and destruction.  It was fair.  I couldn’t complain.

I struggled to stand.  I was convinced that I was dying and I would do so on my feet.  Everywhere ached and I was ready.  Ready for whatever the warriors were going to do.  It wasn’t like I didn’t understand.  I had done the same things and I’d enjoyed it.  It haunted me, but I loved it.  Hell, I still loved the smell of smoke and the crackling of fire.   Then it went dark, and I thought I was dead, but it was quite the opposite.  I had just woken up.

Flint pecked at my head and screeched.  He must have noticed that I was having a nightmare and decided to wake me up.

“You should have just let me burn,”  I grumbled, not that he understood.

The invitation was still on my nightstand.  I took it and went to Michael’s cabin to tell him we would have to leave soon.  When I went to knock on his door, I found that it wasn’t closed and his bed was made.  I assumed that he either left early or hadn’t returned to the ship the night before.  The only other place I knew to look for him was the pub but upon looking, I found that it wasn’t open until later in the day.

I stood in front of the bar and tried to think of another place Michael could be.  I was sure there were other pubs in Tortuga but I didn’t know my way around enough to find them.  Luckily, I spotted the captain across the street drinking coffee on the porch of a cafe.  He was accompanied by a strange woman leaning on the table dozing off into space.

“Look.”  I jogged up to them and slammed the invitation on the table.

“Jesus, you’re loud.”  Michael took the paper and read it carefully.  “Ah, so Smoke will be there…  I see… Too bad it’s in three days.”

“What?”

“It’s in three days.  I can’t get you to Port Royal in that time.  We have to restock the supplies and give the sailors time to rest, they’re entitled to it.”

“We need to go now.  None of that is necessary.”  I argued.

“Excuse me, girl but we are trying to enjoy our morning and you are interrupting us.  And what do you know about ships, anyway!”  The woman snapped.

“A bit more than you, I’m sure of it.”  I retorted, then I told Michael:  “The crew will understand.”

“You must not have been listening.  You aren’t welcome at the adults’ table.”  The woman spat.

“If you just-”  I continued to Michael, ignoring the woman.

“Sorry, love, adults only.”  He winked and the woman giggled.

“Michael, that’s not funny.”  I bristled but kept my composure.  “If you just-”

“No, I’m completely serious.”  Michael deadpanned.  

“Fine.”  I huffed and grabbed a fistful of the woman's hair.  I dragged her out of her seat and tossed her to the floor where she slammed her head on the ground.  I wasn’t taking this lightly.  I needed to get Michael to focus because he had to get me to my sisters.

“What was that?!”  Michael demanded.

“The adults’ table has been invaded,”  I said, making him chuckle.

“Don’t laugh!  You’re going to let her do that to me?!”  She demanded to Michael.  “Aren’t you going to defend me?”

“No.”  Michael retorted and looked back at the invitation again.  Clearly, he wasn’t as fond of the woman as she was of him.  “The men think they have a week off, I can’t take that time from them.”

“Give them a larger break in Port Royal,”  I argued and watched as the lady stalked away.   “This is important and you promised that you’d help me find my sisters.”

“If I could take you in time I would but the crew  is entitled time off.  Charlie, you can’t expect me to take that away from them, especially for a wild goose chase.”  He explained.  

"Fine, I'll find someone else to take me,"  I answered.

“Then why don’t you ask Stede to sail you all over hell’s half acre.  Or maybe Axel, I bet he’d swim you there if you asked.”

“Maybe I will have Stede take me and you can fend off huge galleons on your own.  Where is he?”  I asked.

“I don’t have a clue but I know where your knight is.”  Michael slid the invitation across the table to me.  “I think you’d much rather wait a few days and sail with me then go now with Bonnet and your favorite Mr. Guartem.”  Michael tossed the invitation back to me.  “He’s at Figg Hall.”

I stormed away with the invitation pushed deep into my pocket.  I got directions to Figg Hall from a man who seemed surprised I wanted to go there.  When I arrived, I could see why.  It was a windowless building in a deserted area.  The only sign of life was broken bottles and spilled rum against the front wall.  I pushed open the door and was met with a mob forming a tight circle hollering all sorts of obscenities.  I couldn’t see Axel anywhere in the crowd and considered leaving.  Luckily, I spotted Theo toward the edge of the circle.

He was holding hands with Dominic and they were sharing a bottle of liquor.  As I neared them, I was jostled by the crowd and felt overwhelmed and claustrophobic.  I lurched at Theo and gripped his arm.

“It’s loud in here,”  I yelled in his ear.

“Charlie!”  Theo brought me closer into a little pocket of space between him and Dominic.   “What are you doing here?”

“Let’s get you out of here,”  Dominic said.  “This place isn’t safe.”

“No, I’m looking for Axel.  I got into an argument with Michael, and… Yeah, I need to talk to Axel.”

“He’s gonna kill us if she sees him.”  Theo groaned and tried to lead me towards the door.  “I think this was supposed to be a secret.”

I pushed him aside and jumped to look over the crowd.  Just as I did, Axel swung with a right hook at a much larger man in the center of the circle.  There was deafening shouting as Axel knocked the man unconscious.  The audience commenced in exchanging lost bets.  It had seemed as if most people had bet against Axel and were now losing their money.  I began to understand where I was.  This was a fight club.

I was able to pass through the mob to reach Axel who was slumped on a stool chugging from a bottle.  My eyes met his and he immediately handed the bottle off.

“Ma belleza!”  He exclaimed.  “Come to see me win?”

“You're drunk.”

“Aye, but I’m making money!  Look at all this.”  Axel pulled out a roll of banknotes and flashed it to me.

“I’m gonna come back later.”  I stepped back.  He didn’t smell like smoke and the sea anymore.  He smelled like sweat and liquor.

“No, wait.”  He turned to the man next to him.  “I have to go. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“They want you to fight again.”  The man said.

“I’ll do it tomorrow.  Mi amor is more important.”  And he followed me out of Figg Hall.

In the light, I could see that Axel’s knuckles were bruised and cut.  Blood trickled down his fingers.  When he saw that I had noticed, he stuffed his hands in his pockets.

“Worried about me?”  He teased.

“I only worry about people who worry about themselves.”  I retorted.

“What were you doing in there?”

“Michael told me that’s where you were,”  I explained.  “I was looking for you or Bonnet but suddenly, I think I’d rather talk to Bonnet.”

“Don’t be like that.  I’m not that drunk.”  He rolled his eyes.  “I’ll take you to our ship if you want.  That’s probably where Stede is.”

“Thanks.”  I sighed.

“Why do you wanna talk to Stede?”

“He may have to take me to Port Royal.  I need to get there in three days but Michael isn’t willing to take me on time.”

“What’s in Port Royal that you need to get to so fast?”  He asked.

“Hopefully, my sisters,”  I said.

“And he won’t take you?  He’s a slimy one but I already knew that.”  Axel grunted.

“I just found you in a fight club!  You’re not allowed to complain about anyone.”  I snapped.

“You’re mad at me?  That’s alright.  Your captain wouldn’t last a second in there, you know that… No matter how hard you hug on his jacket.”  He teased.

“What are you talking about?”

“The jacket you’re wearing.  It’s his, isn’t it?  I can tell by the way you're clinging to it.”

Sure enough, I had my arms folded over the coat as if I was holding it closer to me.  I didn’t even realize I was doing it, not that I thought it was a statement on how I felt about Michael.  All my shipmates had pitched in to lend me clothes, and I didn’t favor any article of clothing over another.

“You’re either leading him on or me.”

“I’m not leading either of you on.  Michael’s a womanizing alcoholic, I figured that out well enough today, and you’re- an idiot.”  

“You like me better then?”

“Do you always get this jealous when you’re drunk?”  I laughed.

“When it comes to you, belleza, I’m this jealous when I’m sober.”

We continued down the road quietly.  Every once in awhile, Axel would trip a bit.  I wondered how someone could be drunk so early in the morning unless he had been up all night.  We walked down the pier where The Freedom was docked.  Bonnet’s ship was The Revenge and it was anchored within sight of The Freedom.

“This is as far as I go.”  Axel sighed and leaned on the railing of the gangplank.

“You don’t want to get back to your ship?”

“Bonnet has told me a thousand times to stop fighting.  If he saw me like this, he’d kill me.”

I nodded and started towards the ship.

“Charlie, one more thing,”  Axel stopped me and took off his jacket.  “Trade.”

“I don’t want your jacket.”  I laughed.  “I have this one and it doesn’t matter that it was Michael’s.”

“If it doesn’t matter… ”  He shook the coat in his hand.

“Whatever.”  I snatched the jacket and tossed him mine.  “Just don’t get into too much more trouble.  It can’t be later than nine o’clock and you’ve already broken your hand.”

“You think it’s broken?”  He asked with alarm.

“Bye, Axel.”  I laughed and walked into The Revenge.
 
Stede was in the galley eating a biscuit and going over maps spread out on the table.  When he saw me he beamed from ear to ear and ushered me in with a wave of polite pleasantries and biscuits.

“What brings you to The Revenge?”  He asked.

“I’m trying to rescue my sisters from a British Admiral.  He is hosting a party at his house in Port Royal in three days, but Michael isn’t willing to take me on time.”  I answered.

“I would take you today if I could but parts of our rigging are being replaced,”  Stede explained.  “We weathered a bad storm a few days ago.  I wouldn’t trust what we have left to weather a day in a pond much less a trip in the ocean.”

“So I’m stuck here.”  I sighed, dismally.

“Not exactly.  Michael may have his vices, but I think with a bit of time to reflect he will end up taking you.  If not, I’ll talk to him and set him straight.  I’m more concerned as to why you’re wearing Axel’s jacket.”

“He’s taken to me.”  I rolled my eyes.

“That he has and you to him, if you’re wearing his coat.”  Stede’s eyes twinkled, playfully.

“I haven’t the time to think of it,”  I replied.

“Perhaps, I should buy you some clothes.  Maybe even ones for women.”  Bonnet offered.

“No, I have the money to do that if I wanted to but I’ve seen what the women wear and it looks awful,”  I said.  “So many clothes they look fat.”

“What about just a new jacket?  To get rid of that issue altogether.”

“I’m fine, thank you.”  I blushed.  I wouldn’t ever admit it, but it smelled like Axel and I wasn’t willing to give it up.  Maybe I did care for him, not that I’d ever consider acting on it until my quest for my sisters was over.  In fact, I knew that nothing could come between Axel and I.  When I found my sisters, I intended to build a life where they could feel safe.  Axel was anything but safe and so we were incompatible.

“Charlotte, if you ever need someone to talk to or help with anything, you need only ask.  I’m sorry I couldn’t help you with this.”  He unfolded a napkin and began to stuff it with biscuits.  “Perhaps you’d like to take some snacks with you.”

“Why are you so nice to me?”  I raised an eyebrow.

“I’m just trying to be polite.”  He handed me the bundle.

“Be honest.”  I said.  “Please.”

Stede sighed and buried his head in his hand.  Eventually, he said: “I have children, Charlotte.  I didn’t know if you knew that.  I have a one not yet ten and two that must be twenty by now.”

“And instead of going back to them you decide to look at me like a daughter?”  I surmised, perhaps more harshly than I should have.

“I can’t go back after all I’ve done.  I can only look for redemption ahead of me and you remind me very much of... oh, it doesn’t matter anymore.”

“It seems sometimes there is no redemption for decisions made.”  I retorted, uncomfortable with the thought of being someone’s redemption.  “You didn’t have to be a pirate.”

“No, I didn’t.”  He bit into the biscuit.

“Then why did you?”

“I fell in love.  With a woman who made my life magical if only for a little while.  When she left, I just couldn’t keep being happy living the way I was expected to.  So I joined the militia against my wife’s wishes but they never put me in the field...”

“So if not by legal means…”

“Pirating was how I’d do my battling.”  He nodded.  “But it’s not a job for a family man.  I had to choose one or the other.”

“Well, I hope you made the right choice,”  I said.  It was hard to decide how I felt about the exchange.  At first, I didn't have sympathy for Stede.  If anything, I was angry.  Here I was, fighting to find my family and he'd chosen to leave his.  Still, he looked so broken, that decision must have weighed on him.  He was an aging man trying to reconcile himself and somehow I was a chance for him to forgive himself.

“For many years I thought I had but I experienced a change of heart a few months ago.  Prison gives you time to think.  I was searching for glory and adventure, but I fear I’ve only dishonored my name.”

“If you made yourself happy, there’s some honor in that.  It’s all someone can do, really.”  I decided.  “I was a warrior, but I don’t see what honor I attracted.  Only death like cloud around me.”

“That’s drastic.  You bring more life than death.”

“I don’t know, about that.  Darkness is funny, it can hide behind lively eyes and you’d hardly know it’s there.”

“You’ve been thinking too much.”  He countered.

“There’s nothing to do but think.”  I sighed.  “About that woman; who was she?”

“Just a beautiful lady staying in Barbados for a few days.”  He shrugged.

“And she managed to change your life in that time?  She must have wonderful.”  I smiled.  I wanted him to know that I didn’t look down on him for his decisions.  Though I didn’t agree and I was at first judgemental, I still respected him.

“Indeed, she was.”  He smiled softly, as if he had woken from a good dream.

“I think I’m going to leave you to your maps, Stede.  Thank you for your help.”

“Goodbye, Charlotte.”

I left The Revenge and decided that I needed time to think.  I strolled to the base of the dock and decide to spend some time swimming.  I set my boots down and folded my jacket beside them.  Nothing else that I was wearing I worried about getting wet.  Then I slipped into the water.  Once my waist was in, and my weight slowly lowered me, I felt the nostalgic embrace of the soft waves.  

My clothes fanned out with water in a way more majestic than could have ever been achieved in the air.  Each part of me shivered as it hit the cool water.  With only my head above the waves, I felt stuck between worlds.  Half in the gentle water and the other in the harsh sun.  It was a relief when I allowed my face below the waterline.  My ears were sheltered from the sounds of creaking ships.  I was in a different universe if only for a moment, but it was one deeply tied to my past.

I was a child again in memory, floating just below the surface watching my mother work the nets. I had been happy at the time but death had a way of coloring the happiest memories into something bitter.  But for once, I was sheltered from the pain by the familiar hold of the ocean.   I was a little girl, listening to funny stories on a beach, warming up to a crackling campfire.  

Better yet, I was a siren again.  On the ship, I had been so busy, I hadn’t really touched the ocean at all.  I had become so focused on living as a human, I had left behind what made me a siren: my connection to the ocean.   She had always been my provider and mother when my own was gone.  Assimilating to humans had pushed that part of me aside and brought out something industrial and exploitative.  I let the water fill my lungs and bring me back to my roots.  

I was connected with my past, the ocean, and myself in a way that I hadn’t experienced since I left my home.  Something about the sea was healing and I rolled up my sleeves to ensure every inch of me connected to the water.  Nearing the ocean floor, a single fish swam towards me and stopped to watch me slowly sink.  She seemed just as lost as I was and I wondered if she was thinking the same sort of things.  

My feet grazed against the sea floor and the rest of me followed.  I stretched out across the sand and let my hair tangle in the mud.  A group of nurse sharks passed around me but they didn’t seem alarmed at my presence.  I wondered if my new powers had changed my relationship with the sea.  Maybe that was why I was so happy to be in the water.  In a way, I’d never come to redefine my relationship with the ocean since I’d gained my abilities.  

As I was pondering that, a family of turtles swam above me.  I assumed the largest was the mother and the other two, the children.  I had always considered animal groups to be matriarchal.  Though now, living among patriarchal humans, my view had changed.  It could have been a father and his hatchlings or a turtle couple and their single child.  I wasn’t sure and honestly it didn’t matter.   I wasn’t sure which system was better or which animals used.  Sirens lived in family groups where life ran on teamwork and community.  Humans lived on currency and individualism.  I had more of a chance to move up in the world in a human community, but it was also much harsher.

I sat up and stroked the shell of a turtle who swam close enough for me to reach.  It didn’t shy away if anything it curled into my touch.  I took a little while to swim around the dock’s supporting posts.  I glided in figure eights around the beams and swam back from under the dock.   Having thoroughly enjoyed my swim, I pushed out of the water with my hands first.  Then I began to float on my back which I did for another five minutes.  I dunked my head back down to see if the turtles were still below me but they had disappeared.

With just my eyes out of the water, I checked to make sure my boots were still where I had left them.  They were, but so was Michael, dangling his feet over the edge of the dock.  He waved when he saw I was watching him.  I shot a look back that made it clear how unenthused I was to see him.

“Let me help you out.”  He reached out his hand to pull me back onto the dock.  I accepted the help, not that I really needed it.  “I wanted to talk.”

“About what?”  I sniffed, sitting next to him with my boots between us, wrapping my shoulders in my new coat.

“I talked to the crew and explained the situation.  There wasn’t a man not willing to leave tonight to get you to Port Royal in time.  I’m sorry for trying to wiggle out of my promise.  I told you I would help you find your family and I will.”

“It’s alright.  I hope I didn’t hurt your friend when I threw her out of the chair.”  I splashed the water with my foot.

“I have no idea if you did or didn’t and frankly I don’t care.”  Michael shrugged.  “You’re my first mate and are much more important than some woman I met yesterday.”

“So we’ll go to Port Royal tonight?”  I asked.

“At ten.  We’ll arrive tomorrow morning.”  He explained.  “Which will give us time to scope out wherever the party is and buy you some lady clothes.”

“I’ll have to wear lady clothes?”

“Unless you want to stand out.”  He laughed.

“Isn’t there a word for ‘lady clothes’?”  I asked.

“Dresses, I guess.  But you also need shoes, sweaters, women things.  I have no idea, I’ve never had to buy them.”

“Well, obviously neither have I.”  I laughed

The rest of the day, the crew filled The Freedom with supplies and prepared to sail again.  I was given a list of necessities and a quill. I was tasked with making sure everything we needed was in its proper place.  Michael had made the list with abbreviations and sloppy lettering I had trouble understanding.  I barked orders on the deck, making sure everyone was working.  During a break for lunch, Flint dropped a lifeless rat on the deck and began eating.  He had been gone all day, no doubt getting into trouble, thankfully not on the ship.

As I finished lunch, I tossed Flint my leftovers and flipped through the list again.  It looked like we had everything but I wasn’t sure I could check enough.  In the rush to get everything done I nearly forgot to breathe.

“Charlie, where do you want these crates?”  Theo kicked a box that was sitting loose on the deck.

“Hang on, give me a second.”  I gripped the railing and looked out at the pier, breathing in the wind.  Further down the dock, Axel was polishing the railing on The Freedom.  His sleeves were rolled up and he was making a mess with the soap and water.

“There’s breakable bottles in those crates we need to be careful where we put them.”  Another man added.

“You’re smart, Theo.  I trust you’ll put them in the right place.”  I answered, but I didn’t turn around.

“Aye, but I don’t want to be responsible if these things break.  Maybe we don’t have to put them in the storage room.”  Theo said, thoughtfully.  

“You can handle it,”  I replied absentmindedly.

“Charlie, I need help with this crate!”  Nick shouted as he dragged it across the dock.

“Ask Turner for help,”  I told him.

“Can we store the breakable stuff in your cabin?”  Theo asked.  “Charlie?  Hello, Charlie!  Time to focus!”

“What?  What do you want, Theo.  I told you to take care of it.  Go do what you have to do!”  I slammed my hand on the railing, making anyone near my jump.  Except for Theo that is, I didn’t scare him the way I scared the rest of the crew.  He stepped next to me and looked over to The Revenge.

“Oh, that’s what you’re looking at.”  Theo chuckled.  “You’re getting a free show.”

“Hey!”  I shoved him and laughed.

“He is cute.”  Theo winked.

“No, he’s not.”  I retorted.  “Now go away.”

“Yeah, he is.”  He nodded.  “You know, if you’re going to say goodbye to him now would be the time.”

“I’m too busy and I’m not interested.”

“Maybe if you say that enough, you’ll convince yourself.”  He smirked and took the crate below deck.

I returned to my work full of energy.  I was well on my way to seeing my family again, I could feel it.
The Siren Chapter 5
Hello, readers!  Sorry this took me forever, it was kind of hard to write.  Hope you like it!!
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Hello! I'll be taking a trip this holiday season so I won't be able to add the next chapter this week.  It will be submitted the next week.  Happy holidays!
I never liked running much and although I was one of the strongest in the pod I certainly wasn’t the fastest.  I lost countless races no matter how hard I tried and was resigned that I just wasn’t meant to be fast.  But compared to Axel and Michael, I was a racehorse.  Years of swimming, allowed me to run down the street much quicker than either of them.  Although I wasn’t running as fast as most sirens could, I felt like I was extraordinarily swift.  I kept slowing down to let Michael pass me since I didn’t know where to go.  With each stall, I puffed with pride at the talent that had never been prominent until then.  I wished that the men ran faster, though considering how important it was we arrived at the galleon.  Michael had a controlled calmness that I admired but was unable to mimic.

Unfortunately, the galleon wasn’t at the same dock as The Freedom.  Instead, it was at a more secluded pier that was too far from the pub to run the whole way.  Michael was the first to break stride and began to walk as we reached a more quiet area of the city.  He was breathing fairly heavy and even I agreed he couldn’t run an extra step.  It occurred to me that Michael, though strong, was not particularly healthy.  In fact, he looked much older than he was.

“It’s awful weather today.”  Michael grimaced once he had caught his breath.

“It looks like rain’s coming.”  Axel nodded.  I kept my focus on the sky ahead of me.  I was intent and focused, willing myself to move forward quickly as possible.  I refused to let my crew be captive for an unnecessary second.  “You like the rain, Charlie?”

“I like silence.”  I retorted and sped up to pass Michael.

I kept within earshot but far enough away that it was clear I wanted to be left alone.  My mind started to wander back to things I’d pushed aside and were too painful to think of again.  I had a sudden remembering of helping Tiny climb a tree a year back.  The pleasantness of it at a time of uncertainty caused only a nostalgic sadness.  Thankfully, I was distracted before I could think more on the subject.

“Mierda.”  Axel kicked a rock as he and Michael walked side by side.  I assumed it was a swear word judging by the tone in which he spoke.

“Ha, that’s what you get for being rude.”

“Well, you weren’t keen on straightening out the misunderstanding,”  Axel grunted.

“Why would I?  She’s fine, to say the least, and I don’t mind people wondering what’s going on between us.”  Michael laughed.

Part of me was curious about what they were saying and another, weaker part was proud of their attention.   Still, I didn’t want anyone gossiping about me especially since respect was so important.  Without respect, I didn’t have power and power was the means with which I intended to achieve what I set out to do.

“I don’t think anyone wonders about us.  You’re old enough to be my father.”  I retorted over my shoulder.

“Es cierto!”  Axel smirked at Michael.  “Er-that’s right.”

“I’m only older than you by ten years.”

“Whatever.”  I turned around and kept moving forward.  I didn’t know where I was going but I expected that Michael would tell me when I needed to turn.  The road sloped down towards the beach which was in a poor state.  It looked like the area had been hit by rain the previous day.  Palm fronds were scattered everywhere and a puddle had collected from one edge of the road to the other.  Axel jogged in front of me and leaped across the puddle.  He held out his hand to help me walk across.  I walked straight into the puddle without breaking stride.  Where I stepped, the water pushed out of the way so I would remain dry.

“How’d you do that?”  Axel demanded.

“Ask Michael.”

“See, lad, you’ve just managed to royally piss off an all-powerful sea demon.”  Michael teased.

“He’s not the only one.”  I snorted as the towering masts of the galleon poked over the roof of a house.  “You better watch yourself, too.”

Axel and Michael spent the rest of the walk whispering.  I tried to ignore them since I didn’t want to hear what Michael was telling him.  I didn’t know how to explain that I was a siren to a human since I didn’t know what sort of preconceived notions he had.  I was sure that Michael could explain without giving away too many of my more personal details.  

Once we got nearer to the port, Michael brought us to the side of the street.  “Okay, so there are guards outside the ship and the inside will be crawling with sailors.  So we’ll need a distraction.  Charlie, can you do that?”

“Aye.”  I nodded.

We walked towards down the dock as we neared the ship.  I jogged a bit ahead and watched the two guards standing in front of the entrance to the galleon.  I put my hand on the ground and slowly lifted it.  As I did, a wall of mist rose out of the water between the gaps of the wood flooring.  It surrounded the ship making it nearly impossible for the guards to see in front of their faces.
 
A guard, getting suspicious at the sudden lack of vision, began to walk forward.  He swayed his arms around so he wouldn’t bump into anything.  I stiffened as he stepped closer to me and grazed a finger an inch from my cheek.  By luck alone, we shuffled by him without being spotted.

Michael led the way, sneaking down the hallway towards the stairs to the belly of the ship.  The inside of the galleon was just as polished as the deck, thought it was more cluttered than The Freedom.  I followed close behind with Axel a step behind me.  Footsteps echoed from a room connecting to the hallway and we had to act fast.  Michael dove down the stairs before the passer-by reached us.  I should have followed but I stalled for a second unsure of if I had time.  Quickly, Axel dragged me into the closest room and we were separated from Michael.

We were in the sick bay which was connected by another door adjacent to how we had entered.  Once the noise faded, I put my hand on the door to go back into the hall.

“I bet it’s busier on the port side because they’re getting on and off the ship.  We should go this way.”  Axel opened the other door.  He seemed a bit cocky like he was proud that he knew about ships and I didn’t.

“If you know where you’re going.”  I shrugged and followed him.  Part of me hoped he got us lost just to prove a point and I wasn’t disappointed.

We then snuck through barracks, the galley, and supply room.  With each wrong turn, Axel became more frustrated and I was having more fun.

“We’re gonna get caught.  This isn’t funny!”  He huffed.

“We’re late to the fight anyway.”  I shrugged.  “No point worrying about it.”  

From then, the rescue mission became an enjoyable adventure.  We tiptoed behind sailors and slid down stair banisters, and wandered about five times into the galley.   At that point, we were just trying to find the way out, not so much as the way to my captured crew.

Both of us haphazardly picked random doors and hallways which looked familiar.  I was new to ships in general and Axel had never been in one so large.  Twice we found our way back but were thrown off course by a passing sailor or guard on patrol.  Eventually, we met a dead end in the captain's quarters whose door was left ajar.

We jumped in and I ran to the window, eager to get a peek at some sort of fresh air and open space.  “We should be able to climb to the deck from here.  Not that that would help us find the crew.”

“I think we’re the only ones on the ship by now.”  Axel laughed as he opened the glass pane.

Suddenly clatter from the other side of the door froze us.  We jumped underneath the bed, on my way I knocked over the papers that had been sitting on the desk.  As I hid, my heart skipped a beat and I covered my mouth with my hand out of fear I would breathe too loud.

Watts entered with a stack of papers in hand and rushed to close the window.  He mumbled something about the possibility of rain.  Even as he did, a fat raindrop splattered on the glass. As Watts was watching the rain Axel whispered, “We have to get out of here.”

I nodded but froze as the captain reached to the floor and picked up the scattered papers.  I was close enough to count each strand of hair that poked out of his loose ponytail.  I knew that by then he had to be getting suspicious but hoped he assumed it was an act of the wind.

Suddenly a man burst through the door.  His heavy and uneven breathing was audible from across the room.  “There’s a riot in the brig and the pirates are escaping, Captain.”

“I’m coming!”  Watts stood and followed the man out.  

That was our chance to get out.  We dove out from under the bed and looked down at the ocean from the window.  It occurred to me that a jump from that height landing into anything could be dangerous even deadly.  Just poking my head out the window gave me vertigo.

“You want me to go first?”  Axel asked kindly, judging my expression.

“Thanks.”  I nodded and tried to get my head to stop spinning.

Axel put one leg through the small manhole and wiggled out.  He hardly fit and flopped into the water in a heap.  The jump seemed unpleasant but he didn’t seem hurt upon landing so I prepared to join him.  Just then Watts shouted from the other side of the door.  “Just a minute, lads I forgot something.”

I took a deep breath and nodded to myself.  I had to jump out as soon as possible but finding the resolve was difficult.  

“It’s just the ocean and I’m not afraid of the ocean,”  I mumbled.  “Maybe it’s a bit high but… it’s landing into the water at least.”

I was too late.  Watts opened the door and froze when he saw me, “You’re behind this then, aye?  I didn’t know pirates had enough loyalty to bother freeing a few of their men.”

“Loyalty has nothing to do with it.  I just like to keep what’s mine including my ship and my crew.  You know what I can do and you should have had more firepower before you tried to take my friends.”

“Pretty dignified speech for someone about to jump out a window.”  Watts snorted.

“I’ll give you that…”  I smirked and dove out the window in one smooth leap.  People say that the landing is harder than the fall but I found it the other way around.  My heart pounded as I dove and I only dared to breathe when I was safely in the ocean.  In fact, I spent a solid minute just breathing the cool water.

Axel was waiting for me when I rose to the surface.  “You alright?”

“Fine, let’s get out of here.  I think the crew is getting away well enough on their own.”  I answered, mostly because I didn’t want to brave the maze of a ship again.

We were both soaking wet and it was still pouring.  We swam to the shore a bit away from the dock to entirely avoid any possible fighting near the ship.  We half crawled up the beach and crashed into the sand underneath a palm tree.  The tree didn’t provide much shelter from the rain so we had to scoot close together.  We burrowed in a dip in the sand where the wind was less prominent and once again I breathed the smell of smoke and ocean.

“That was the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done.”  He admitted.  “Sneaking into a galleon without a plan and jumping out of a five story window.”

“I thought you were a famous pirate.”  I teased.

“That was my father.”  He snorted.  “I’m not nearly as experienced as my last name implies.”

“It got you far, though.”  I shrugged.  “You’re pretty young to be a first mate.”

“You’ve been a pirate for how long and you're already first mate?  It’s chance and connections, that’s all.  I couldn’t even get on a pirate ship until I said my name was Guartem.”

“Well, it is your last name, isn’t it?  It’s not like you’re masquerading as someone you’re not.”

“I am in a way.  I didn’t even know my father.  He left me with my mother and I kept her name until I started pirating.”

The custom of last names was nonexistent in my pod and so it didn’t have much meaning to me.  Yet, I could tell that Axel saw it as a form of identity.  Admitting that he was an illegitimate child was, for him, revealing and open.  He tilted his shoulder away as if he was expecting an insult or me to look down upon him.  I wondered if other people would have judged him.  He had adopted the name of the man who had never adopted him which was in a way, desperate and forlorn.  But, I felt he was deserving of a relationship with his father and had been cheated out of one.  Since he had been denied that, at least he ought to be allowed to take his name.

“You know, in my pod- or town I guess- none of us knew our fathers.”  I dusted sand off my boots.

“Aye, Michael was telling me about you.”  He glanced at me.

“That’s unsettling.”  I scoffed.

“Nothing too bad, don’t worry.”  He laughed and then said after a while a touch more seriously.  “I think you’re brave.”

I didn’t quite agree but I couldn’t help but smile and I might have even blushed.

We sat beneath the tree for another minute watching the rain.  I had a new appreciation of Axel though I was far from as captivated as everyone else.  

When the storm stopped we started back towards the pub.  I definitely wanted another drink after such a nerve wracking day.  Neither of us had the best sense of direction.  We took three or four wrong turns though more out of lack of motivation as opposed to an inability to find our way.  Wandering into a market, we bought apples and looked through the windows of the empty shops.

There was something idyllic about Tortuga after the rain.  The storm had flushed away the trash in the gutters and polished the worn paint.  Even the plants seemed to radiate brighter colors casting off a whimsical feeling.

“Humans have too many shops,”  I commented between bites of apple.

“What was that, belleza?”

“If you just had one big store instead of so many little ones it would be faster to buy things…”  I explained.  “Hey, what’s a belleza?”

“What?”  He demanded.  “Did I say that out loud?”

“Yeah, what does it mean.”

“Nothing.”  He sighed.  “I just switch to Spanish sometimes without meaning to and I wasn’t paying attention.”

"Listen, mister.”  I punched him in the arm.  “You have to tell me what you said because I don’t speak ‘Spanish’ whatever that is.”

“It’s a language from Spain.  Belleza is… funny.”  He chuckled.  “And you’re right about the stores.”

It seemed like, after that, we knew exactly where we were going and we arrived at the pub quickly.  Whatever, belleza meant, it spooked him to say it.  We went into the pub where Michael was cleaning a cut across his eye, I sat next to him and ordered a rum from Dominic.

“That looks like it hurts,”  Axel commented as he counted out his money to pay for my rum.  It occurred to me that if I played my cards right, I wouldn’t have to ever buy myself a drink.  Between Michael and the others I had met that day, almost always someone would pick up my tab.

“Aye, maybe if my first mate hadn’t run out on me I wouldn’t have it,”  Michael grumbled.

“We got lost.  Besides, by the time we found our way, you had already rescued them or were at least going to!”  I replied, reaching out to help Michael clean the cut.

“Oh, and you two are friends now?”  Michael rolled his eyes.  “One of you better buy me a drink, too.”

I gave Dominic a bit of money and he filled up a mug for Michael.  After some liquor, I could tell that Michael was feeling better and we drank and chatted happily.

“Do you want more, Michael?”  Dominic offered.  “If papa isn’t looking, I can pour you some more for free.”

“I can’t drink another sip.”  Michael groaned.

“But it’s too early to return to the ship,”  Axel replied.

“Um, no it’s not.  It’s pitch black outside.”  I stood and handed my empty mug to Dominic.

“Ha, you’ll have to get used to a pirate’s schedule.”  Michael laughed.  “Do you want me to walk you back to the ship?”

“I can manage,”  I answered.  “Goodnight.”

Alone, I returned to my cabin, relieved to be home.  I sat on the bed and sighed, stretching my arms across the sheets.  I noticed an envelope on my pillow closed with an intricate seal.

“Hello!”  I called into the hallway, hoping someone would hear me so I didn’t have to track them down.

“Miss Charlie?”  A sailor poked his head in the doorway, cautiously.

“Do you know who put this letter here?”  I asked.

“Aye, Nick handed out the mail an hour ago.”

“Thank you.”  I nodded and opened the envelope.  It contained a small note that read:

‘Charlotte here’s to finding what’s yours. - Watts’  

All that was left was an invitation to a birthday party at a manor in Port Royal.  I didn’t know where Port Royal was or why Watts had given me the invitation until I read whose birthday it was.  I had just gotten an invitation to a party hosted by Abigail Smoke, the wife of Admiral Roger Smoke.  I squealed and threw the envelope in excitement.  It took me a few seconds to stop spinning and laughing and jumping.  I felt like a child who’d received a new toy.

“What is it, Miss Charlotte?”

“We need to go to Port Royal,”  I replied, with stronger determination than ever.
The Siren Chapter 4
I hope everyone enjoyed this chapter!  Link to the first poll: 
goo.gl/A4TwEu
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Hello! I'll be taking a trip this holiday season so I won't be able to add the next chapter this week.  It will be submitted the next week.  Happy holidays!

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TwistedIvi
Twisted ivi
Artist | Student | Literature
United States

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SirNeeko Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2017   General Artist
Happy Birthday! =)
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TwistedIvi Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2017  Student Writer
Thank you!!!
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SirNeeko Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2017   General Artist
You're welcome! :) (Smile) 
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exobiology Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Birthday cake by KmyGraphic   Birthday sweets by KmyGraphic   Birthday cake by KmyGraphic   Birthday Card by KmyGraphic   Best Wishes by KmyGraphic  
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TwistedIvi Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2017  Student Writer
Thank you so much!!
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exobiology Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
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hanafuji14 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2017  Hobbyist
THANK YOU FOR THE WATCH!!!! Natsuki Shinomiya (Super hug) [V1] 
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lexxii Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Great Gallery & Invite to join Global Super Group :star: :iconcutieshots: :star: & :new: Chat Room :star: Please join soon :star: xoLexxiiCutieShots
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Shining-Scribe Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Hello there! I'd like to welcome you to :iconthewriteplace:! With writing prompts and "getting to know you" questions offered every week, I hope our group will provide you with a chance to blossom as a writer. Heart 
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elohcin111 Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
Welcome to :iconwriters4life::hug: If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask myself or refer to the group page.
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