"Captain! Look out!"
With a loud clash of steel, you meet the attacker's sword with your own, deflecting his attempt to slash the Captain behind you in two. With a grunt, you push the large man back, and with three quick slashes you manage to disarm him and open up his belly. There's no time to look at the shocked expression he wears however, or the mess of red that spills onto the deck bellow you; your Captain needs you.
"Good to know someone's got my back!" Arthur Kirkland yells above the clamour of fighting taking place on his ship as he wrenches his blade out of another man's stomach and quickly tries to swipe away some of the blood and sweat from his brow, to no avail. He turns quickly to block another attack that comes from his left as you step up to block the one that comes from his right. The men don't stand a chance; both of them are dead within seconds of coming into contact with your blades.
The fighting had only started a little while ago but already the Dancing Maiden was covered with bodies and blood, with men brandishing swords and pistols. Below where you and your Captain fight on the top deck, you can see that the enemy is overwhelming your Captain's crew. What they appear to lack in skill they certainly make up for in numbers, more often than not taking down men by ganging up on each of them at a time. Captain Kirkland scowls as he flicks the blood from his sword absently, preparing to jump down and join his crew as they fight to the very last man.
"First Mate ____," Captain Kirkland growls, giving you a sharp sideways glance with his piercing emerald green eyes, "Are you prepared to fight to the death defending what is yours? Keep in mind that if those bloody bastards capture us, you will likely be subject to rape and abuse, being quite the ravishing young woman you are," he flashes you a devilish grin as you glare back at him.
"I have never been a coward, Captain, and that is not about to change now," you say boldly, raising your chin with a stubborn determination. The Captain lets out a low chuckle and shakes his head at you.
"Of course. Well then, First Mate, let us finish this!"
The cell is dark, dank and wretchedly full of the stench of vomit and sweat. Your head rolls on your shoulders along with the rhythm of the ship's movements, rocking side to side as the waves outside crash against the hull. Your eyes flicker open and you become aware of all your aches and pains that were forgotten in the brief time you had managed to sink into the oblivion of unconsciousness.
" you mutter, your words barely audible above the sound of the sea. You remember with grim clarity that they had taken him to the captain's chambers to be questioned and probably tortured. Your poor Captain
his men had fought bravely in that final battle, but the enemy had overwhelmed you and forced you to surrender in exchange for your lives. You hadn't thought Captain Kirkland would agree, but to your surprise he had laid down his sword, albeit with reluctance, and allowed the other captain to take him and his First Mate captive. You weren't entirely certain of the reasons behind the enemy's mercy, but you assumed it had something to do with the large bounty on Arthur Kirkland's head.
Cursing him for being such an accomplished pirate, you try to shift around in your chains to get a better look at your dark surroundings, eyes adjusting to the dim light that peaks through the wooden deck above. As you squint at the dirty waste bucket by your side and the filthy hay beneath you, the bright light of a burning torch filters through the cells, the sounds of approaching men echoing down the hallway. It isn't long before you see a tall, burly pirate hauling your slouched Captain along behind him, lantern in hand, and you watch in silence as he throws him inside the dirty cell beside your own.
"We'll be back for you later, pretty wench," the man grumbles, licking his fat lips and eyeing your small huddled form in the torchlight. You feel a shiver crawl up your spine as you spit in the man's general direction. He laughs heartily when you miss and saunters off without a care.
You look up sharply towards the cell beside yours and shuffle over to the bars that separate them. You can barely make out your Captain in the darkness, but you can hear his heavy breathing and almost feel the heat radiating off of his skin.
"Captain! I'm here. Are you alright? Did they hurt you?"
He sounds surprised by your concern as he replies, "Are you kidding? You're forgetting who I am, First Mate."
You smile to yourself, relieved to hear his usual pride under the circumstances. Yes indeed, you knew who he was. He was Captain Arthur Kirkland, the most infamous pirate ever to sail the seven seas, the first ever pirate to allow a female to become a member of his crew and the first pirate to ever promote a female crew member to the high-ranking role of First Mate. He was brave, handsome and wild, daring and bold. He inspired his crew to be the same, earning their respect and their loyalty, just as he had earned yours. Together, you had fought fearsome enemies, robbed many ships and discovered much hidden treasure. Together, you had discovered far sweeter feelings than the elation of a victorious battle; you had both discovered the tender feeling of love.
However, whilst both of you were courageous in battle, neither of you were courageous enough to confess these feelings to one another. Arthur wasn't the type to profess his undying love to a woman; he was a pirate, an outlaw, a bloody good swordsman and not one to wear his heart on his sleeve. He treated you with respect as he would treat any man in his crew, disguising his preference for your pretty face with occasional sexist barbs and condescension.
You took it on the chin, thankful that your Captain treated you no differently from the rest he often insulted the other members of the crew and had a laugh about it. At first you had been offended, perhaps hoping for special treatment for being the only lady on board the Dancing Maiden, but you soon realized that in order to garner respect from your fellow crew mates, you needed to get over it and take it like a man (so to speak).
Now, chained up in a rotting cell beside your fallen Captain, you smile in remembrance at all the adventures you had shared aboard his ship and wish you had had the courage to tell him that he meant more to you than you let on.
"I can get us out of here," Captain Kirkland grumbles, moving his face close to yours and looking down at you through the cold bars.
You look at him for a moment, feeling his warm breath on your face and shivering again, this time in anticipation. "I know you're the greatest pirate on this ship, but surely even you would have trouble getting us out of this situation, Captain. I think we need to accept the fact that we're shark bait. Besides, that plank is looking mighty appealing after these filthy cages."
"Bah, have more faith in your Captain, would you? You think I've never been captured before? Well, actually, I haven't been
but never mind! I have a plan," his husky voice has an edge of excitement to it, like it usually did when he was planning something daring. You can feel the anticipation growing inside of you, but you still shake your head and sigh.
"Really. And how exactly to you plan to get out of these cells alive?"
"One word: Mutiny."