Caribbean Sirens Ch. 02-03byWriterofthedamned©
In light of comments for Chapter 1, I put the next two chapters together. Having said that, they may still need to be bulked up a bit.
These chapters were meant to set up characters and the plot, and thus aren't meant to be erotic themselves. Chapters four and five should take care of that.
September 1717, the Caribbean,
It had seemed almost too easy. Despite having the apparent disadvantages of a bulkier ship and several leagues of distance between them, His Majesty's Ship the Martin Luther had not only kept pursuit of the mysterious scarlet crumster for more than four days, but had trapped it within a lagoon as well. The crimson, three masted vessel weighed anchor in the middle of the teal waters, seemingly unconcerned about the ship of the line cutting it off any escape into the ocean. The Martin Luther turned starboard upon reaching the bay of the lagoon, ready to unleash a broadside into the stern of the crumster at any moment. Such a barrage at the least would shatter the stern and scuttle the ship; if not strike a powder store and annihilate it, and the boat was in no position to evade or retaliate. Again, it had seemed almost too easy.
Only one person aboard the ship of the line felt not even the least bit surprised at the pursuit's unlikely end. Captain Frakes watched his quarry with tired, impatient eyes. It took great effort for him to not dismiss the possibility he was sailing into a trap, and after four days of pursuit it became impossible. Such tactics needed discipline and patience to be carried out over such a time, and those he hunted were not known for possessing either quality. They were men that, for a few short years, lived by the cutlass and died by the rope. Burning a swathe through any coastline cursed by their presence, pirates had little value for their own lives, and even less for others. Men caught in their wake were sometimes butchered in moments, other times over days, and women... It was the ghastly tales of women at the mercy of such beasts that compelled the once young Lord to become a Captain in the first place.
Sir Patrick Frakes had relentlessly hounded buccaneers, mutineers and privateers across the New World for a decade. Under his command the Martin Luther had become as easily recognized across the Americas as any of the corsairs he pursued, and just as feared. It was an honourable life, but a deadly one. In spite of his best efforts, Captain Frakes had lost many men to combat and more to storms, disease and mostly desertion. However none of this was uncommon among naval crews, regretfully. More troubling to Frakes was that for every pirate ship they destroyed these days, two more took it's place. For all his battles won, it seemed he was fighting a losing war. Therefore, when he received orders from His Majesty to try a very different tactic, Captain Frakes understood. He didn't like it, but he understood.
"Deck looks empty." Frakes turned to his first mate, whom he could always rely on to state the obvious, then back to the ship. The crimson crumster was not only empty of hands on deck but seemed ghostly quiet. Frakes wondered if there were anyone indeed on the ship, and said so. "You think maybe they're in the trees, Captain? Fixing to ambush us?"
"We can only hope."
"Um, well, quite. Then perhaps we could dispense with this pardon rubbish, and instead just sink the ship and be on our way. Repay any intended mischief with interest, right Sir?
"I've thought about it, all right. But you know we can't do that, Campbell."
"Murray, Captain" Captain Frakes turned to his now sheepish looking commander. "You lost Campbell almost a year ago. I replaced him."
"Right." Frakes looked back upon the red ship. "Apologies, Murray."
"Sir, has retirement ever occurred to you? I'd say you've earned it at least twice ov-"
"No." Captain Frakes extended his spyglass and examined their quarry more closely, making it as clear as he could the conversation had run aground. A flicker of movement behind the window of the Captain's cabin snared his eye. As Frakes homed in, he only caught the damask curtains swishing shut. Looking up, he inspected the figure just walking out of the cabin and waiving to him from the poop deck, not quite believing what he was seeing.
With the naked eye the distant figure appeared to be a tall, slender figure in black pantaloons, a white shirt and with a jet mane spilling out of a red tricorn hat. Through the spyglass Captain Frakes saw the mane was really a drape of thick curly locks, the pantaloons were tightly belted around a slender waist and the white shirt partially unbuttoned from the top, hinting at a chest that would put a scullery maid to shame. She had a spyglass of her own and smiled as she used it to examine Frakes examining her. It was the defiant and predatory smile of one always ready to take on anyone in the way of whatever she wanted. In short, it was most unladylike. Another captain would have seen the danger in that smile. He would have judged correctly that this strange woman was someone best left alone. But Captain Frakes was only partly aware of her. Right then as he touched a band hanging from a chain around his neck, Frakes could only see another woman who dared sail, on another continent and in another life...
"Ready a boat, Commander. I'm heading over there."
"Aye, Sir. And your away team?"
"No away team, I'm going alone." The First mate stood there, open mouthed, watching Captain Frakes climb into the lifeboat. Finally as the boat began to lower into the water, he ran to the rail and called out.
"Captain, are you sure this is wise? There isn't a corsair in all the Spanish Main who wouldn't want your head for a trophy, and you're rowing out to a strange boat without a guard. Shouldn't we discuss this?"
"There's nothing to discuss. The ship is yours, Campbell." The Commander opened his mouth, as if to say something, then closed it and gave Frakes a salute.
She was waiting at the starboard rail of the scarlet vessel and beside her a rope ladder was unfurled for him. Captain Frakes tied the lifeboat to the ladder and warily ascended. At first he looked up at the woman, but the tan skinned, raven tressed rogue still had her shirt scandalously open, and as she bent over the rail, her breasts strained to break loose. They seemed slightly larger in that position, and Captain Frakes wondered if he could really see her nipples pressing against the cloth, before lowering his red, shamed visage. Hearing her smugly chuckle above him, Captain Frakes willed the blush away from his cheeks and resumed climbing the ladder. When he finally reached the rail, his face was a stoic mask, devoid of any crimson.
"Welcome aboard the Siren, Captain Frakes." Strong hands for such a slender woman grasped his own and helped him over the rail. "I'm Captain Lizzy Boyle."
"The Siren? That's... an unusual name, did you choose it yourself Madam-"
"Captain, not Madam, My Lord. And yes, the ship's name is more or less, my idea."
"I see." She was going to be even more trouble than he first thought. "Dare I ask how you found a crew civilized enough not to chain you up in the hold to be raped at their leisure, let alone one not so superstitious as to fear having a woman aboard?"
"My crew is foraging for supplies on the island, you'll meet them shortly My Lord."
"I see you expect me to address me as Captain, yet you do not show the same courtesy."
"Of course, I apologize, Captain. But we do have our differences." Captain Lizzy walked to the rail and looked out past Captain Frakes. "For one thing, I still have control of my ship."
Spinning around, he watched the Martin Luther sailing away. It must have cast off as soon as he left the ship, for even through his spyglass the ship of the line looked small. "What the Devil is going on there?"
"I'd wager it's a mutiny, Captain, perhaps the fastest ever committed."
Captain Boyle examined her stranded visitor as he watched his ship, his crew, his entire life sail off into the west. His face remained stoic and stern so she could only guess at the emotions beneath. Was he cursing his former crew in rage, striving not to panic, or simply dumbstruck at this turn of events? Boyle stepped closer to better inspect the deposed shipmaster; his shoulders were an inch or two higher than her own, and nearly twice as wide. The hands resting on her railing were broad, scarred and callused. Grey hair covered the sides and back of his head, and were creeping into the brown hair on the top. His face was hard, not just fixed with a grim expression but worn down, as if by years staring straight into salty winds. He looked like a remarkably fit man almost twice her age. This was a disturbing surprise, as everything she had ever heard of the pirate hunter said he was supposed to be a few years older at the most.
When the Martin Luther became a dot on the horizon, it seemed to lose it's hold on it's former master. Turning around, he leaned against the rail and lowered his shaking head. "What was I thinking?"
"You wanted me for yourself, perhaps?" Frakes looked in confusion at Captain Boyle, who grinned back. "You were thinking I invited you over for tea and feared competing with your crew for my attention. Or were you asking someone else, Sir?"
"Just what are you doing here, on this ship, within this sea?" Frakes stood up straight and looked down, slightly, at her. "And I remind you, mutiny or not, I am still an officer of His Majesty's Navy. Play games with me at your own peril."
"I do not fear any peril." Captain Boyle stepped towards Frakes, who backed up against the rail. Before he could sidestep she trapped him with her body. Their chests pressed together, their noses almost touched and her predatory jade eyes challenged his guarded brown ones. Boyle could feel the quickening of his heart beat through her breasts, betraying a mixture of apprehension and excitement Sir Frakes could keep from showing in his face, but not his loins...
"Please, Captain Boyle" He inhaled deeply and tried to shift his right leg away from her, but confined as he was, there was nowhere for it to go. "I only ask what your purpose here is."
"I am simply waiting, Sir," she lowered her right arm and slid her hand between Frakes and herself, "for the crew to return with supplies."
"And the purpose of the crew, and your ship?"
"Well, it's rather useless to have one without the other, My Lord."
"I've heard Lord Frakes, that you've seen every pirate you've captured hanged. Is this true?"
"Yes, until recently."
"Then we have a problem, Sir. You see, I'm not sure it's safe to tell you what we do on the Siren, which means..."
"There's only one kind of ship it could be."
"Devilishly inconvenient, isn't it, My Lord? Whatever shall we do with you?"
Frakes looked down to see the slender fingers he felt brushing his leg ever so slightly, then snapped his head back up as he looked once again into her dark cleavage instead. Only her eyes showed that she noticed; her eyes and her questing fingers. They ran intermittently across his muscular leg, sending currents through his cotton britches and getting closer to his expanding cock each time. He tried to push her hand away but found himself holding it. The currents from holding her hand were even stronger, and he quickly let go. Desperate for a way to get any sort of space between them, he finally remembered His Majesty's damned pardon.
"Captain Boyle, you remember I said I brought in pirates to be hanged, only until recently? In my coat pocket, I have a decree from King George. You would be very interested in what it has to say, so if you'll just let me take it out..."
"Allow me, Sir." Captain Boyle slid her hand into his coat and withdrew a folded sheet. She stepped back to open and read it, allowing him regain his breath, then asked him. "Sir, have you ever hanged a woman for piracy?"
"No, by the grace of God, no."
"But there was always that risk, wasn't there? Before this." She raised the hand with the pardon while watching his eyes widen and his face drain of color. It was the time she saw any emotion on his face up close and it was a look of a man imagining his worst nightmare. Interesting.
"Ahoy, Captain!" A woman's voice came from beyond the bow, to which Frakes ran and looked over. Four women, dressed in varying levels of men's clothes, looked back at him from within a rowboat loaded with small casks of rum, baskets of colourful fruit and the odd batch of fowl. They looked surprised to see Frakes, but not nearly as surprised as he was to see them.
"For heaven's sake, Captain Boyle. Just how many women are on this ship?"
"The entire crew of the Siren is of the fairer sex, My Lord; all sixty hands. I'd wager you'll not want for company, assuming we don't maroon you on the island, that is."
All hands were soon back on the Siren and a half circle formed around their unexpected visitor. They were mostly a hodgepodge of English, French and Spaniards; the rest were of Moorish, African and even Native stock, and every one was indeed female. None looked older than their captain, and many were just barely women. Almost none were taller than their commander either, save for a negress who stood head and shoulders over Frakes himself. Long hair, so thickly braided it looked like rope hung over her shoulders, ending past her slim breasts. Like all the crew she stared intently at Frakes, even when the others looked to their Captain as she began speaking.
"Lord Frakes here, our gentleman caller," Captain Boyle paused to let the laughter pass, "has brought a decree from King George himself." Captain Boyle held out the letter before her crew. "His Majesty, being most gracious, has offered to pardon any pirates who turn themselves in before the beginning of next September. Is that not correct, My Lord?"
"All English ports have been made aware of this pardon. You'll have to hand over your ship upon sailing in, of course, but all will be forgiven afterwards. "I must also warn you, the Royal Navy will not be spending the year just sitting idly by. By summer's end, they'll have a ship of the line behind every wave. Any brigands who do not see reason before then will find themselves with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and nowhere to expect mercy. Even if... even if they're women."
Several moments passed, as the Siren's crew took in his ominous words, before Captain Boyle spoke again. "I trust no one here found his, rather melodramatic, warning in any way unclear?" After another pause, she continued. "Then we're ready to vote. All in favour of accepting the King's Pardon say Aye, all opposed, Nay."
One by one the votes women voted and the tally counted. For the first time in Captain Boyle's memory, not a single Aye was tallied. To Frakes credit, only when they finished voting did he unleash a broadside of outrage building up inside him. "Don't you women understand? This is a chance to save your lives!"
"That's enough, My L-"
"What the Devil are you girls thinking, that sailing is just some jolly adventure? For the second time in a day his face was as crimson as the Siren's hull, this time with anger. "Well it bloody well isn't! It's long hours of tedious, back breaking labour, confined day after day within a space barely larger than a small church, and all that's with God smiling on you! Otherwise your companions are storms, sickness and hunger. You have to dry-dock the ship and scrape off the barnacles and shipworms eating away at the hull or they'll scuttle you as quickly as any reef. Wild weather will toss you like a rag doll and dead calm will leave you stranded for days in the middle of the sea. And after all this you not only become sailors, but pirates? Did you expect to become rich and famous like Drake? To sail into London with the Siren's bow gilt in gold like Cavendish? Those days ended almost two centuries ago. Now men on a pirate ship will live for three or four years before they're either pickling at the bottom of the ocean or dangling from a gibbet. You, you will be fortunate if you last the year without being killed and raped, perhaps in that order!"
A steely eyed Captain Boyle pressed the barrel of her gun against the bottom of Frakes' chin. "You are finished." She hissed, stepping directly in front of him before raising her voice so everyone could hear. "Interrupt me again, and I will shatter your skull into a thousand splinters. Is that understood, My Lord?"
"Madness... this is mad-"
"Is that understood?" She pushed his head back with her pistol and cocked it. He tried to nod, then through clenched teeth said
"Right then." Captain Boyle took several steps backwards before lowering her pistol and turning around. "Now, since we won't... listen to reason, the next question is what to do with our esteemed guest?"
"I say we throw him overboard." Someone in the back of the crowd remarked. "He's going to be trouble."
"You've never been anything but trouble!" The negress was loud and sudden, startling all who heard her as she turned around. "Why shouldn't we throw you over as well?"
"Sheba..." With barely a whisper, Captain Boyle regained the attention of the ship. "We're discussing our unexpected visitor here, remember? What do you say about him?"
"He's a Lord. We can ransom him, can we not?"
"Ah, now we're getting somewhere." Captain Boyle returned to Frakes. "Well Sir, what say you?"
"My House is old, but small. They have little to offer."
"Oh dear, you're just not making it easy for us, are you?"
"I tried to make this as easy as possible, Captain. It is you who are making this difficult for yourselves."
"Then we ransom him to the Navy." Sheba answered. "He's their best pirate hunter, that must give him some value to them."
The crew erupted into a frenzy of shouts and arguing, a frenzy which Captain Boyle cut short by firing into the air. "I'll not have my crew turn into a mob! We'll decide this the way we're supposed to! All in favour of ransoming our caller back to the Navy say Aye, those who would maroon him say Nay."
The second vote was slower, more divisive than the first, and the sun was just over the western horizon before the women of the Siren narrowly decided on holding Frakes for ransom.
"His Lordship doesn't seem too pleased about this." Remarked a plump redhead clad only in breeches. "Perhaps we should maroon him for a spell anyways. A few weeks alone on the island might make him more appreciative of our company."
"We'll hang for this for certain." A crew woman who wasn't too pleased herself told Captain Boyle. "How do we know the Navy won't send Frakes himself to chase us down?"
Captain Boyle stared back at the former Captain Frakes. His face was the stern mask once again but she still remembered how he looked when she asked him if he ever hanged a woman. She thought about telling the crew what she saw. Instead she walked to her cabin door. "If you wanted to live forever, you should have voted for the pardon."