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Return of the Pirates (M) Jabba x Kreed

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Offline Kreed

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Beckett seemed to think her well-being at the hands of his men was a guarantee. Akuma met his eyes as she turned, sizing him up. At her own impressive height, she was one of few women that could look the towering captain in the face without tilting her head back. Her stare, calm with a thinly veiled distate for the man, was unwavering.

"You would say as much", she said. Her voice was a thin sheet of ice over calm water - smooth, flat, and to the discerning eye, reason for great caution before treading. "Because if you are wrong, it is of little consequence to you or to anyone else."

The second wind of reassurances were left unacknowledged. The woman turned, and with remarkably steady hands, sought out and seized an empty bucket into her hands. She began to tie it to a rope to draw up sea water; the salt stung like the devil, but it did do wonders for wounds if consistently applied. With her sea water in hand, the woman disappeared to find a solitary spot to lick her wounds. She would not trust herself in the lions den that was the cabins.



The sky was aflame with a red and orange dusk when the orders on The Siren's Call were given to break for the day. Fortunately for Joe Fulbeck, most of the work was general maintenance and slight adjustments to course and wind changes as they were already on the water. Tawny had given him quite a comprehensive first lesson of general ship duties, and it was likely it would take him several days to retain the information by rote.

The Bo'Sun turned to their newest charity case and smiled faintly. They fell into line behind the other sailors waiting for their ration from the galley for dinner; Browne took it upon herself to stand beside Joe rather than making her way to the front, as her rank would have permitted. Rather, she would eat when he ate; he had put in the effort and deserved credit.

"I think you did fairly well. For your first time." Her smile faded as she lapsed into a moment of thoughtfulness. Whatever mental deliberation was had was concluded promptly, and she nodded once, subtly, to herself before speaking.

"I think I may as well tell you what we're doing out here in the Carribbean instead of sticking to ransacking the African trade routes. I think you've earned that at least. Unless it is of no interest to you, of course."


Offline Jabbathejack

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Beckett watched her head below decks, carrying her salt water bucket. At least she had the sense to think about disinfectant, rather than the ones that Beckett had had to douse with salt water for their own good. Nodding to himself, he headed back to his cabin, ready to work on their course over the next few weeks.

Sitting at his desk, he pushed aside all thoughts of his difficult crew member, although it took more of an effort than he would have expected.

***

Joe ran a hand over his forehead, wiping off the line of sweat that had formed. It had been hard work, but ever since he could remember, he was no stranger to hard work. He smiled at Browne, trying to hide how relieved he was at the compliment.

"I hope I'll improve. In time."

He frowned as Browne mentioned their reason for being there. Was it normal for officers to discuss this sort of thing with crew?

"I don't really know." He shrugged. "I guess I'm doing my job and keeping my head down no matter where we go."


Offline Kreed

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"All can improve in time, given the effort." Browne asserted. They shifted their weight and removed a flask from their belt, offering it to their newest hand.

"Gotta warn you, it's probably half water by now, but it's still stronger than the grog we've got on hand right now. Once we make port, I'll be able to restock on something decent. By then, maybe you'll show me some skills worth a proper toast. For now, your initiative is commendable enough."

She fell quiet for a moment, hands slipping to the pocket of her breeches and thumbs looped around her sash. She considered her next words and allowed Joe a moment to drink before continuing to speak, her eyes locked on the queue ahead of them.

"There's the story of a woman with a map scarred into her back. A young whore, taken fancy to by the late Captain David Iles." She paused and glanced at him, curious. "You heard of him? Was told he was done in about three years ago in a bar fight." She shook her head; she was digressing.

"He took all of his loot from the Indian ocean and brought it with him to the new world, buried it somewhere between here and there. It's anyone's guess as to where it is, but the rumour is that it's carved into this woman's back."

"I'm sure you're wondering how anyone could know which woman. But this one...she's got a specific appearance. Remarkably tall and finely built, skin and hair white as bone. Supposedly if she looks at you, your blood runs cold. Some people think she's some sort of witch or vengeful woman spirit or something of the ilk; she doesn't seem real."

She sighed and looked back at Joe, tightening the cap of her flask before it disappeared again under the folds of her vest. "She probably isn't."


Offline Jabbathejack

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Joe smiled as he accepted the flask and took a swig.
"Better than anything I've had for a while now."

"Thanks." He passed the flask back. "Initiative, eh? That's half the battle."

If only it was that easy.

Joe frowned, looking up at Browne.
"Never heard of him, but..." He shook his head with a grimace. "Sounds like he was insane. Good riddance."

"That's horrible, but if someone did that to me, I guess I wouldn't be happy either."

***

Myers ducked his head as he made his way into the bunk room. Some of the lads were lying in their bunks, a group were playing cards at the back of the room and in the far corner, Stephens was wrestling with Young Jimmy over an extra rum ration and looking like he was about to be pinned. Myers grinned as he turned his attention on the figure who lay in the lower bunk in the corner.

The shock of white hair was hidden, almost as if she was trying to pretend that she wasn't really there. Tough. Myers' grin widened as he sidled over, dropping to a squat so that he was just above where her head was.

"Hey." He murmured. "Princess."

He reached out and touched her shoulder gently, shaking her.
"I reckons you be needing a friend right now, princess."

He kept his voice soft, not wanting to be overheard by any of the lads.
"I be reckoning that I could be that friend."

Myers smiled down at her, showing the gaps in his teeth.
"For the right incentive."


Offline Kreed

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"Aye, no blame for the girl. If the story is true."

She sighed and considered the tale a moment before speaking again. The queue moved forward, and she spoke as she stepped, with a measured pace, up the line. "Seems to me we should focus more on the fact that this girl was chosen to have this map scarred in her back than the treasure. Maybe Iles was just a lunatic. But if you ask me, she's no mere whore if he'd go through that kind of trouble to mark her. Maybe he planned on buying her."

"Maybe there's more to her. Who knows? This is all assuming it's more than just a story."

Tawny looked toward him. "What do you think? Have you heard anything like that before? Don't suppose a story like that would have reached the land in London too easily."



It was impossible to sleep with the men in the room still up and about, so Akuma was far from drowsy despite the pain she'd endured hours before.

She heard Myers call her, but deliberately ignored him, pretending to be asleep. When he touched her shoulder, she reflexively twisted about to face him, hand whipping out to grab his throat, fingers like claws. She nearly made contact with his neck when she regained control, jaw clenching and fingers relaxing. Slowly, she pulled her hand and laid it back down at her side, but her eyes remained lively, cold, and predatory. She searched his face calculatingly before speaking.

"Name your price." Her voice was hard, but quiet, flat. Her lips pursed. She knew what his answer would be, but perhaps by making the man spell it out, he'd realize his own idiocy halfway through and change his mind.


Offline Jabbathejack

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"You talk as if you believe it." Joe grinned as he followed Browne. "But aye, if I was mad enough to think about cutting something like that into someone, I probably wouldn't want to let go of them."

"I've heard plenty of tall tales in London. Mostly shit." He shook his head with a snort. "I met one drunk old bastard who swore blind that he saw a sea unicorn. A movement in the icy waves and a horn lifted up, out of the water. We laughed the old git right out of the pub."

***

Myers jumped at the sudden movement, but he smiled as she came short of actually touching him. For a moment, he wondered if she would tell him to go see to his own needs, yet then as she asked her question, his smile broadened. Now they were talking.

"Nothing too much, Princess." His smile revealed teeth that were stained with more than one broken and missing. It was a face that had been in more than a few fights.

"Bit of comfort at night, when no one's looking. There's places where it wouldn't be too obvious. We could help each other."


Offline Kreed

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"Oh, I wouldn't laugh off that old man just yet", Browne glanced at the man with a sly, playful smile on her lips. "The ocean is massive. Larger than any stretch of land, you know, and yet there are even places above the water we haven't explored. Who's to say what's out there, and what isn't?"

"A woman with a map on her back isn't beyond the realm of belief. As for rumours of her witchcraft, well," She shrugged faintly, moving to grab her share of dinner, pausing only to examine what the cook had scraped together before filling her plate. "Looks like we're about halfway through our rations. Once they kill the goat, we start on the slippery slope down to hard tack and pickles."



"And how exactly does that do me any favours?" She stared up at him with a deceptive level of calm, a tension drawing just beneath the surface like a shark waiting for its prey to swim too close. Her stare was cold, calculative, and she searched his face for signs of weakness.

"I'm on the water. I need no other comfort."


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Had my fill of hard tack." Joe grinned; on his last ship, it had been the only thing on the menu with any certainty. It did its job, once you shook off the infestation of weevils.

"There'd have to be a pretty decent haul at the end of it." Joe frowned in thought as he helped himself to some food. "If you spend all that effort to draw your map, its probably not to hide his collection of empty gin bottles."

***

"On the water, aye." Myers nodded, his eyes still gleaming. "As with us all. But, unlike you, I've already got lads to watch my back. From what I see, you got nothing but a sore arse and plenty of enemies."

He smiled confidently; she would be a fool not to accept.
"I'm liked well enough. I could help." He shrugged. "Allay a few fears. We could help each other, princess."