tagSci-Fi & FantasyBlackbeard's Downfall Ch. 02

Blackbeard's Downfall Ch. 02


A small boat, more like a rowboat, waited for Blackbeard and his small crew. Roughly shoving Penelope forward, he forced her into the awaiting vessel and with a silent gesture of his hand, ordered it to be taken out to sea. The crew, though small, seemed to be like a well-oiled machine, each knowing their duties and performing them without a sound as they inched the boat closer to the pirate's awaiting ship. It seemed to loom in the dark, only the gentle sway of lantern light and the illumination of the moon's rays upon the ship's skeleton hinted that it lay in wait.

Pulling up to the ship's side, the small band was welcomed by a rope ladder suddenly tossed over the side and following the climb of half his crew from the small boat, Edward pushed Penelope forward with a harsh growl. "Quickly … before I lose me temper," he barked at her.

Penelope glanced to the looming man behind her and then with a jerk of her arm from his grasp, began the journey up along the rope ladder, struggling to keep her footing beneath the long folds of her skirt. At one point her foot slipped but then she gained foothold once again on the rope ladder as a strong hand reached down from the ship, wrapping dirty fingers around her slender wrist to haul her up onto the ship's deck. Once gathering her footing beneath her, she jerked her arm from the pirate's grasp with a growl. "Unhand me, you bloody pirate," she spat in disdain.

She turned quickly, hearing hearty laughter behind her and did not attempt to show the disgust she felt towards the large man that suddenly stood behind her. Blackbeard had boarded the ship along with the rest of his small crew and stood watching her, his large arms crossed over his barrel chest and the breadth of his long graying beard captured beneath their strength. Despite himself, he couldn't help but laugh at the spirited wench he had brought aboard. She stood, facing him defiantly, even dressed in her night clothes and he grinned, showing his gold teeth amid his thick beard. "You are a bold one, wench … but entertaining to say the least," he chuckled.

Penelope's eyes blazed at his amusement as her chin tipped even more at his laughter. "The only one bold is you and your assumption that I care at all what you think in the least. As far as entertaining you … you can jump off this ship and drown in the depths of Davy's Locker for all I care!" she spat. She wanted to scream at the eruption of laughter that met with that comment and spun about wildly, looking for a place to disappear from the blood scallywag's presence.

Nodding to the master of arms of his ship, Blackbeard simply turned and took the ship's steps up to the ship's wheel by two. Penelope looked long enough only to hear one of the pirate's say, "Welcome aboard, captain. The ship is yours." Penelope wanted to scream in disgust as she was suddenly escorted from the ship's deck as it erupted into busy activity once again as the crew began it's preparation for their departure from Bath's harbor.

Penelope was escorted into the captain's quarters and left, the double doors locked behind her. She ran to the doors just as they closed, jerking on them wildly in an attempt to release herself from her captive state to no avail. "Let me out!" she screamed and then in frustration, kicked at the bottom of the door before whirling away to take in her surroundings. Sighing deeply, despite herself, she had to admit that the quarters were both plush and inviting, despite her situation and she moved to one of the windows, cracking open the small shutters to look out over the open waters, blinking back silver tears as she watched Bath become smaller in the distance as the ship pulled further away.

In the early hours of the morning, Blackbeard entered his quarters so tired that he had almost forgotten the wench that he had confiscated from the governor. Tossing aside his jacket and removing the two swords that he wore, he began to remove the rest of his weapons which included assorted knives and pistols to set into the open armoire within his room. He turned suddenly, hearing a noise behind him only to see the wench pushing herself into a sitting position on his bed. Edward looked stunned momentarily and then looking directly at the woman, crossed his arms over the massive breadth of his chest as she dared look him in the eye.

Penelope couldn't help but wonder what the man would truly look like if he took long enough to take a bath and shave. She could hardly make out anything beyond the layer of dirt and sweat, the massive tangle of both hair and beard, not to mention the array of tattoos and brands that lay in intricate patterns up both arms and disappeared beneath remains of his loose shirt that unbuttoned almost to his navel. His shirt sleeves had been rolled up as he worked and Penelope pulled her gaze from him to look into his eyes once more. "Why did you bring me here?" she finally asked as the rock of the boat creaked into the quietness of the early morn.

"I thought that part was obvious," he retorted before her resumed his removal of clothes, peeling off his shirt to reveal the rest of his wide chest and broad back as he turned away from her.

"How dare you remove your clothes in front of me!" she spat out, fire burning bright in her eyes once more as her anger grew at his bold behavior.

Blackbeard simply chuckled as he tossed the dirty shirt aside and onto the back of a chair at the long table within his quarters. "You forget yourself, wench," he retorted, pouring water into a large bowl from a pitcher in his armoire. "These are MY quarters and I'm tired," he replied.

Penelope shot daggers from her eyes into the back of his head as she watched him casually remove his clothing and begin to bathe himself with a sponge and the water in the bowl, what little good it might do. "Then have me taken elsewhere," she demanded, her chin tilting a bit more with disdain. "It wasn't my choice to be taken to your quarters, I assure you."

Blackbeard used a small towel to wash his face and then turned to regard the girl, running his fingers through his tangled beard with an amused expression on his face. "And where would you have me move you, bold one? Perhaps below the deck with the crew?" He almost burst into peals of laughter at the look that overcame her face at his suggestion. "Ah," he replied with a chuckle, "that's what I thought."

Penelope didn't have a reply to his obvious statement. The last place she wanted to be was amid his crew, especially after the way they had been leering at her earlier. She reflexively reached up, pulling her loose robe tighter closed around her slender throat.

Leaning down, Blackbeard splashed more water onto his bearded face and using a small sliver of soap, washed his face and neck thoroughly for a pirate. Penelope couldn't help but watch him, surprised that he would take pains to actually clean himself, as if she expected that he never bathed or took care of himself. After a moment, she managed to ask, "Why don't you cut that mop you call hair or that thick shaggy beard? I must say, it is rather atrocious."

Blackbeard chuckled, hearing the girl's suggestion and turning, water dripping from his beard, regarded her with an amused expression. "And you think this would make my enemies fear me more?" he managed to ask.

Penelope's eyebrows furrowed together as one as she watched him and then she managed a slight blush at how ridiculous her suggestion must sound to a scallywag such as himself. "Forget I said anything," she spat and looked away, the moonlight filtering in through the shuttered windows.

Blackbeard couldn't help but regard the girl as he took his towel and ran it over his face and then reaching for a brush, moved across the floor of his quarters to where the girl sat upon his bed. Reaching out quickly, his strong hand wrapped around her wrist as he yanked her from the thick coverlets and pulled her to her feet. Thrusting the brush into her hand, he sat on the edge of the bed himself and upturned his face to look at the girl. She looked incredulous momentarily as she looked at the brush and then to the pirate before her. "What do you expect me to do with this?" she demanded.

"Make yourself useful, wench," he demanded and closed his eyes, waiting for her ministrations upon him.

"Excuse me?!" she demanded, bristling to hear him regard her as a simple chamber maid and expect her to wait on him hand and foot. "What do you take me for?!"

Blackbeard opened his eyes, regarding the beauty before him as her fingers tightened on the brush. For a moment, he thought maybe her bold enough to strike him with it and then with a grin that he knew made her as mad as a wet hen, he said quite simply, "Either wait on me or I'm sure my crew can find better use for a shapely wench like you."

Penelope could have screamed and bit down on her lower lip to keep from saying something that she might regret. With an exasperated stamp of her foot upon the hardwood floor beneath her tiny slippered feet, she moved in closer to the pirate's beard and with long sure strokes, began to brush out the tangles.

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