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The clouds in the sky hung low and dark over the roiling sea. Bright lightning flashed on intervals, followed by the angry growl of thunder, and waves crashed violently against the hull of The Mermaid’s Curse, causing the vessel to groan in retaliation. Her sails flapped wildly, dueling with the howling wind that seemed to be trying to rip them to shreds.

It didn’t take a genius to know that there was a storm coming—and a bad one at that.

Agustin tapped his index finger tensely against the wooden table in his captain’s quarters, the golden ring that adorned it glinting in the low light. It had been almost a month since he and his crew had last seen land, and the company was getting restless. Their food and water supplies were dwindling and many of the men were growing stir crazy from being cooped up for so long. This storm could be the final straw that would push them over whatever edge was still keeping them from rioting.

“Hey, Agustin,” Anthony Glover, the sailing master, snapped his fingers in front of his captain’s face. “Are ye listening? This is important.”

“Of course,” Agustin lied, turning away from the window to look at the map on the table. “How long did ye say it was, again?”

“Six more days,” Anthony wrinkled his nose. “And that’s assuming this bloody chart is correct, which isn’t likely.”

“Damn it all,” Agustin sighed. “We’re going to have to cut back on the crew’s rations again, aren’t we?”

“Looks like it,” Danial Shawe, the quarter master, puffed angrily on his cigar. “They’re not gonna be happy about this.”

“I know,” Agustin leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest. “It’s not like we have a choice though. We never saw that storm coming.” He was speaking, of course, of the nasty hurricane that had thrown them off course two weeks ago. “It’s not our fault we’ve had such rotten luck on this voyage.”

“Try telling that to the company,” Anthony shook his head. “They don’t give a damn whose fault it was. All they care about are their rumbling bellies.”

“Nothing we can do about it now,” Agustin said. He turned to Danial, “I don’t suppose ye’d be willing to tell them about the ration cut, would ye?”

“Hell no,” Danial snorted. “I still have a chance to come out of this mess with a little respect to my name. This is all you, Captain.”

“Fine,” Agustin glared at the quarter master with unbridled contempt. He knew Danial was just trying to undermine him so the crew would elect Danial as ship captain the next time they voted. Even though they already earned the exact same shares of loot and made many of the same decisions, it was no secret that Shawe wanted the power to command the ship in battle—a power that was only granted to the captain. His competitive attitude made him difficult to work with.

“If that’s everything we need to discuss, I suppose I should go tell the company the bad news,” Agustin rose from the table and headed to the door, leading the way as they went to meet with the others on the deck.

Outside, Manuel la Rosa, the boatswain, was directing the crew to prepare the ship for the incoming storm. Everyone was hard at work, so Agustin nodded at Anthony to get their attention. The sailing master lifted his fingers to his lips and whistled shrilly until the commotion died down. “Listen up, mates!” he shouted once everyone was looking at him. “Yer captain has some words for ye all.”

Agustin stepped forward, his dark eyes sweeping over the men who had gathered before him. “As it turns out, we have at least six more days until we reach port, so—”

What?” one of the riggers, Tobias Young, exclaimed angrily. Following his outcry, the men began shouting at once in protest until their voices became a single roar.

Agustin pinched the bridge of his nose. “Well, this is going smoothly,” he muttered to Anthony and Danial at his side.

“You haven’t even told them the best part yet,” Danial smirked. “I can’t wait to see this.”

“Alright, alright,” Agustin called over the crowd. He raised one fist in the air, signaling for silence. “Calm down, ye bilge rats! I’m not finished.” He waited for them to stop talking before he went on. “As I said, we have six more days of sailing left, and that means we need to conserve what’s left of our rations. Effective tomorrow, yer portions will be cut back to whatever size Danial here sees fit.” He glanced back wryly at the quarter master, who paled. As much as Shawe tried to get out of it, determining rations was his job, and that meant he could deal with the outraged pirates.

“If ye have any issue with our decision, take it up with yer quarter master,” Agustin slapped Danial on the back. “That’s all.” He turned to go back into his cabin, leaving the others to take care of the aftermath.


‘Belay this rope, untie that one, oh, and furl that sail while you’re at it,’ Cecily huffed, gritting her teeth as she tugged on the end of a rope she had just tied to a cleat. Oi, this man is going to be the death of me. She stepped back to look over her work before moving on to the next thing on her endless to-do list from the boatswain.

The deck was slick with ocean spray from the combination of the waves and the wind, so she had to be mindful of her footing when crossing to the other side of the ship. Other men in the company flew past her, completing various jobs of their own in preparation for the storm on the horizon. Most of the time, she didn’t find it too difficult to keep up with them, but today she was feeling especially tired and irritable for some reason.

“Rowland!” one of the men—his name was Lope—called to her. He had a rope in his hands attached to something high up on the mast, and was struggling not to let it go. “Give me a hand, would ya?”

“On my way!” she called back in the most masculine voice she could muster in her exhausted state. Giving another belayed rope one last jerk for good measure, she jogged over to Lope and took hold of the rope. Together, they managed to tie it down. She exhaled tiredly, wiping the sweat from her brow with her forearm.

“Thanks, mate,” Lope nodded gratefully and ran off to do whatever task he had been assigned to do next.

Cecily was about to do the same when she heard someone whistle from the bow of the ship. She looked up to see Agustin, Anthony, and Danial standing just outside the captain’s quarters. This can’t be good, she knit her brow. Those three only addressed the crew when there was news to be shared or decisions to be made, and lately, nothing they had said to the company had been pleasant.

Joining the rest of the men, she stood and listened to her captain explain that they still had almost a week left before they reached port, and as a result their rations would be cut back… again. She bit her tongue, stifling her rage at the news. They were already eating scarcely anything for supper already! How could Agustin and Danial think they could handle being starved even more? If an enemy ship caught them like this, they wouldn’t have the strength to fight them off. They were too vulnerable.

“Come on, ye scallywags!” Manuel waved a hand in the air. “Get back to work, unless ye want to finish up in the rain.”

Cecily clicked her tongue, but said nothing more as she went back to belaying ropes with the others. She was tired, yes, but she didn’t want to stay outside any longer than she had to with that storm on its way. It was better to hurry up and finish the job than sit around and complain.

--

Once the ship was fully prepared to weather the storm, Cecily went below deck to rest before supper in the sleeping quarters. She collapsed on her cot with a groan, stretching lazily. The crew had managed to finish up all of the boatswain’s tasks just as the first drop of water fell from the sky, which meant she could take a dry nap.

Around her, other pirates sat playing dice games—gambling was technically forbidden on board the Mermaid’s Curse, but crew members often found ways to get around that rule—and chatting idly with each other. They laughed and jeered loudly, but despite the noise she had no trouble at all drifting into a deep sleep.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Silence Sounds
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Yuck.

Cassandra thought to herself as she hated it whenever it stormed while she was sailing the seas peacefully. She has encountered some storms but the one that was incoming seemed to be a little too vicious for her taste right about now. She could not help but roll her eyes as she stood perched on the deck right now, eyes now trailing up towards the sky to watch the flashes of lightning above her. Cassandra sighed softly to herself as she just thought that if they were to encounter another ship, she'd have to fight in the rain again. Last time, she nearly lost and has the stab wound to prove it.

She looked up at the skies again before she turned a swift heel and started a trek to make sure that her crewmembers had readied the boat for the upcoming storm. She needed to protect the Queen of the Revenge, her ship because she was currently on a voyage to raid a very wealthy village nearby. As she walked closer to her crew, she eyed every single one of them before she raised a hand to silence them then parted her lips to speak.

"A storm is oncoming, as you guys can see." Thunder boomed almost at the right time whenever she got done speaking those words. "I will be checking to see if you guys have readied the boat for the storm and I hope that you all have. We raid the village of Winchester in a few days so the ship needs to be to withstand this storm." Cassandra spoke towards her crew, who were nodding their heads at just about every word she spoke but when she mentioned the raid, they cheered loudly.

Again, she rose her hand up to silence her crew as she then walked her ship. Some guys seemed nervous as Cassandra walked around to make sure her ship was secure as they should've been. She has thrown guys overboard that has been deemed unfit for their jobs or simply did not do their jobs good enough like she had asked.

After a few more moments, Cassandra came back around and faced her crew again with a scowled look that had most of the men trembling with absolute terror. She had her face like that for a few more moments because she sort of liked to see her crew tremble. But after a while, she smiled towards them, even showing a few teeth as she raised her fist up towards the sky while shouting.

"Queen of the Revenge is secured!" The crew cheered as she chuckled a little bit. "We drink tonight, boys!" Cassandra shouted as herself along with her crew went below the ship towards the bar area. She assigned people multiple tasks to do and altered shifts so that the ship would be protected always and someone kept a lookout on things above deck.


"Bleh."

Stefano said as a crewmember had gotten sick and vomited right in front of him. He scrunched up his face at the male as he rose up from being bent over and faced Stefano now. "Have you no gall?" Stefano asked the crewmember, who did nothing but wipe his mouth with the sleeve of his shirt then laughed. The crewmember walked away as Stefano shook his head while running his hand over his locks of hair and shaking his head.

He continued to walk around the ship and even helped a few crewmembers out if they needed it. Stefano helped a crewmember pull on a rope as he grunted with every single pull that he could muster. Once they felt like the rope was tight enough to withstand the impending storm, they relaxed for the moment then went back to work wherever they were needed.

His eyes trailed up towards the person currently steering the boat as the roar of thunder boomed above them and lightning streaked its purplish color across the darkening sky. "Heavens," Stefano said as he did jump at the sound of thunder a little bit but hoped that no one saw him as he straightened him up a little bit. He then cleared his throat and was about to go and give the person steering the ship a break so that he could take over but it like Agustine, who stood with Anthony and Daniel, was about to give a speech so he stayed put, for now.

What has happened now? Stefano questioned himself while maneuvering his body through the crew so that he could get a better listen.

He had a brow raised the entire time Agustine was speaking then scoffed whenever he mentioned that they need to conserve their rations and a cut back was set in place for their portions. Stefano did not bother to join in on the jeering of the crew as he faced some of them. "At least he told us." A crewmember pushed him and he immediately unsheathed his cutlass sword. "You really want to do this?" As they were prepared for a fight, Anthony and Daniel stopped them just in time.

"Hey, hey. No need for violence. I think we all should go and see if the ship is secure." Luckily for the other crewmember that Daniel stepped in just in time. Stefano was about to slice and dice a crewmember and he knew that he could do it, too. He sheathed his cutlass sword then looked over and seen one of the crewmembers, Rowland, walk below deck to go to his room probably.

When he saw Rowland drifting off to sleep and he had a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips, he asked for a bucket of water then went over towards Rowland. Stefano stood over him for a few more minutes before lifting the bucket up and letting the water from it flow onto Rowland's face and partially on his chest.

"No sleeping this early, ye bloke." He said as he placed the bucket down beside him and walked away as he went to the kitchen to see if he could help out the current cook that they had. Not to say he was a god awful cook or anything but he wasn't the best at it like Stefano.
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Cecily had only just begun to really settle down in her cot when a very unwelcomed gush of water brought her back to the real world. Her eyes flew open and she sat up, coughing liquid from her lungs that she had inhaled while she was asleep. Her linen shirt was drenched, leaving her cold, shivering, and thoroughly livid.

Looking around furiously to see who had soaked her, she saw Stefano standing next to her bed with an empty bucket. “What the hell?” she snapped at him, swinging her legs down from the cot. However, he was already on his way out of the sleeping quarters, so her question went unacknowledged. She huffed, blowing a wet strand of hair out of her face, and hopped down to storm after him.

“Oi, Stefano!” Cecily growled, reaching up to grab him by the shoulder. It was at times like these when she felt the difference between her size and that of the real men on the ship the most. Fortunately, her height, or lack thereof, hadn’t set off any red flags for the other pirates—they just assumed she was a short man—but it made her feel the need to assert herself quite a bit in order to be taken seriously by them.

Spinning her friend around, she puffed up her chest and squared her shoulders, making herself as big as possible. “Ye have some nerve waking me up like that,” she curled her lip at him menacingly. “My cot is soaking wet! I’m gonna catch scurvy if I sleep in that tonight. What were ye thinking?” She shook her head, crossing her arms over her wet shirt. “On second thought, scratch that. I know ye weren’t thinking, because yer an empty headed knave.”

Cecily tapped her foot irritably. Not only would she have a wet bed for the next few nights, she also needed to change out of her sopping shirt without being seen by the other pirates on the ship, which was no easy task while everyone was below deck during the storm. She spat on the ground. If she wanted to put on some dry clothes before supper, she was going to have to get creative.

“I’d settle this with ye by fist if I weren’t already on thin ice with Danial for fighting on deck,” she went on with a mischievous glint in her eye. “So instead, I’ll accept yer portion of supper or another gift of the like. No backing out of it—ye owe me for my cot, Stefano.”


“To one more week aboard this cursed vessel,” Anthony raised his black jack in a toast. “And to one more week before we finally refill our liquor stock.”

“I’ll drink to that,” Agustin lifted his flask to his lips, downing a draught of sweet bumbo. He reclined with the sailing and quarter masters in the captain’s quarters, watching the storm from the small window by the table. He was pleased to see that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the hurricane two weeks ago had been. If they got thrown off course one more time, he was sure the crew would riot. It looked like their luck had finally turned around.

“Don’t get your hopes up just yet, mates,” Danial said dryly, swirling the liquor in his black jack. “The charts have been wrong before. They can be wrong again.”

“Why do ye always have to do that?” Agustin shot him a dirty look. “Can’t ye just be optimistic for once in yer life?”

“I’ll be optimistic when we see land on the horizon,” Danial sipped at his drink.

“If yer so determined to bring down the mood, go do it in the crew’s quarters,” Agustin rolled his eyes. “I’m sure ye’ll catch ‘em gaming with dice again. They always do before supper.”

“Fine,” Danial shrugged, standing up from the table and heading for the door.

“Give the scoundrels a good screamin’ for me,” Agustin called after him.

Danial just shook his head and exited the captain’s quarters without another word.

“What did ye ever do to that man, Agustin?” Anthony whistled. “He hates yer guts.”

“Simple. I got voted captain,” he answered with a shrug, taking another drought of bumbo. “He’s jealous he didn’t get the position when Captain Robert died. Thinks he’s better than me.”

“Well, that was cruel of ye, sending him to the company while he’s in a mood.”

“At least he’s not here,” Agustin pointed out carelessly.

“I suppose,” Anthony frowned, glancing at the door. “But I can’t help feeling a little bad for the blokes.”
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He was still thinking about what he had just done to Rowland and knew that he was going to suffer through some sort of backlash for it. Stefano just waited in the kitchen with some comrades, chatting and laughing, as he also waited for Rowland. He turned around to taste the food before it was sent out for the crew's dinner and that was when he heard a familiar voice call out his name. Rowland had grabbed him by the shoulder, which caused him to spin around and face the male now with a simple smirk on his face.

"Oh, Rowland..." His eyes trailed up and down on him as he continued. "Didn't see you come in. How are ya?" Stefano joked as Rowland began to speak again. He let his words sink into his ears and mind then continued to listen to him while he leaned up against a small counter. Stefano proceeded to fold his arms over his muscular chest while Rowland tried to seem all big and scary towards him. He could not but let out a small chuckle at his display then waited until he was finished speaking before coming back with a response of his own.

Stefano leaned up from the counter now and squared himself with Rowland now. "You're right. I was not thinking but since you're up..." He turned around and dipped a wooden spoon into the stew that was boiling as he held it out towards Rowland. "See how this taste." Some of the guys laughed behind him as he waited for Rowland to take a taste. Stefano dropped the stew back into the pot from the spoon whenever Rowland spoke that last part about settling the score with a fist but then changed it to wanting his supper portion.

His brow raised slightly as he stared at Rowland right in the eyes before taking his hand and pulling on Rowland's clothing now. "Might want to go and get dry before you talk about fists, bucko." Stefano gritted his teeth as he was always ready for a fight, whether he won or lost. "But sure. I hardly eat supper anyway." Stefano informed him as he shrugged his shoulders then headed for the kitchen door.

"Just get Lee's cot. He usually sleeps on the hard floor behind the bar anyway." Stefano said as he then went through the kitchen door and let the crew know that supper was going to be served shortly.



"Gimme another."

Cassandra said as she downed another shot and slammed the small glass onto the wooden countertop. Bernard nodded his head at her while he poured her another shot as her right-hand man, Antonio, came up beside her. "Going overboard, aren't we, Captain?" Antonio questioned towards Cassandra, who was definitely drunk but so was most of her crew. With slightly glazed over eyes and a small laugh, she turned towards Antonio and gave him a response.

"Maybe." She said while chugging down another shot and once again, slammed the glass down onto the countertop. "Maybe not." Cassandra stifled a laugh as she attempted to stand up, only to trip over a barstool and fall into Antonio's arms. She laughed as Antonio shook his head at his captain and practically walked her to her chambers so she could hopefully sleep off her drunkness.

It was far too early for everyone to be drunk because now, who was going to man the ship. Since Antonio was the right-hand man, he'd guess that he'd have to take over the ranks for the rest of evening. He sighed as he looked down at Cassandra, who was groaning softly and holding onto her head.

Cassandra did not mean to get that drunk, honestly. She was only wanting to have a good time with her crew and as it shows, she did. She knew that she was going to be feeling the after-effects of her drunkness tomorrow but luckily, she had a remedy for it now.
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“Don’t ‘how are ya’ me,” Cecily snarled, her hands curling into fists at her sides. “Ye know exactly how I am, ye big oaf.” She wrung out a lock of hair in front of him, as if to prove her point. Cold water streamed down, splashing onto the deck. Muttering foul things to herself, she wondered if she would be able to find a dark corner in the crew’s quarters where she could change her shirt without being spotted. She could always wait out the storm and use the head, but she didn’t want to be in her sopping clothes any longer than she had to.

Cecily blinked in surprise when Stefano acted like nothing had happened, even going so far as to offer her a sample of the stew that had been cooking. Her cheeks grew hot with a mixture of anger and embarrassment as she heard the other men in the kitchen laughing. The food in the spoon he was holding admittedly smelled good, and she was famished from working on the deck all day, but she turned her nose up to it for the sake of her vanity. She wasn’t about to let him have the satisfaction of blowing over what he had done to her.

In the end, she was even more annoyed with the way he simply offered her his portion of supper without even so much as a few fighting words. His underwhelming reaction took away her satisfaction in winning the argument—if one could even call it that. He had barely tried to fight back, and in doing so, he had made her come off like an overreacting fool. She was sure the other men thought so, with the way they were snickering so much behind her back. She didn’t like it.

“Oh, sure,” she muttered to Stefano’s back as he left the kitchen. “I’ll be sure to take Lee’s cot… and maybe a little more.” Spinning around on her heel, she marched back out to the crew’s quarters to rejoin the other pirates. The wheels of her mind turned as she thought of a way to get him back for his little prank.

I’ll make you regret crossing me, she promised silently. Just you wait.

--

As the men of the crew left the sleeping quarters to eat supper, Cecily took the opportunity to quickly change into a dry shirt. She finished the task post haste and joined them again in line to be served her portion of supper. Fortunately, everyone was too distracted by their empty stomachs to notice her brief absence. She took a bowl of stew—luckily, the next decrease in their rations wouldn’t start until tomorrow, so her helping was only somewhat meager—and searched the crowd for Stefano, intending to collect the debt of food he owed her.

Pinpointing him at a table with a few other sailors, she forced her way through the mass of bodies and inserted herself beside him on the bench. “I hope ye didn’t forget about me,” she said without meeting his gaze. “Pay up.”
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Stefano was not fixing to sit there and go back and forth with Rowland. He had others things, much more important things, to do on the ship than to do that. He knew he probably made Rowland mad by basically deflecting the argument but at this moment, Stefano did not care as he couldn't really argue on an empty stomach. His eyes did peer back towards Rowland, briefly, before he saw him return back to his sleeping quarters. He let out a small laugh then smirked slightly while turning his attention back towards other members of the crew.

"Alright, ya' blokes! Come to get ya' stew!" Stefano called out just as about all of the crewmen had entered to gain their servings for the evening. His eyes gazed around and Rowland still hasn't come from the sleeping quarters yet. He wondered to himself what he was doing in there but knew he was probably switching cots with someone __ But hoped that it wasn't his. Stefano knew that he going to pay for his actions sooner or later so a wet cot would not even surprise him right now.

When Rowland did emerge from the sleeping quarters, he eyed him then watched as he sat directly beside him. Stefano laughed when Rowland spoke then turned his gaze towards him now. "Oh, was that suppose to be for this evening?" He spoke then placed a mouthful of stew into his mouth. "You did not quite give me a day or time so I thought it was happening on another day," Stefano muttered as the crewmen chatted and laughed around them.

"By the way, they want you to clean up that water you put in the kitchen earlier," Stefano added while scooting the rest of the stew in his bowl over towards Rowland. "Enjoy, boyo." He said as he stood up and patted Rowland on the shoulder and went out on the deck. It was still thunder and lightning but the rain had turned into a slight drizzle now.
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