Day turned to night as I polished the cannonballs on the deck. Freddie, Anzo, Lochie, and Charlie -- my four best mates -- and I are cabin boys and girls, meaning that we are apprentices in the trade of the pirate. Typically, we just do chores around the ship, but occasionally we are allowed to buddy up with a specialized position. Last week Anzo and I got to be Lookout shadows and even hold the sacred binoculars.
"You done yet, ya scallywag?" my dad joked, walking over to me. He is Captain Ryan Cloudbeard's first mate, a very respected role on the ship. When Freddie, the son of Captain Cloudbeard, becomes Captain after his dad, I will most likely become his First Mate, too.
I look a lot like my dad. We both have the sparkling ocean blue eyes and thick brown wavy hair. Dad even sports a short beard that he says makes him look tough.
"Just about," I reply, finishing the last cannonball. Charlie, whose real name is Charlotte, has just finished her chore as well.
"Well just don't forget about yer classes," Dad told me. "You, Charlie, Lochie, Freddie, and Anzo have navigation lessons tonight." I nod. Us cabin mates have classes for different positions on the ship so that one day we can take over. They are typically at night because during the day we have our cabin duties and sometimes we have raids.
Charlie and I head to the scholar's cabin, where we have our lessons. Sofia Jacobsen, a young woman in her thirties, is the boat scholar. She is one of the most knowledgeable people on the ship; Captain Cloudbeard always goes to her for advice.
"Ahoy, mateys!" Scholar Jacobsen greets us when Charlie and I take our seats at the small round wooden table. Anzo and Lochie were already there, which means we were just waiting for Freddie, who is always late to our lessons.
The scholar's room isn't terribly big, but it is quite nice. Scholar Jacobsen's large wooden desk sits directly in front of the table us cabin mates sit at. Books line the walls and there are a few maps scattered on the floor. There is a large window behind the desk, which gives a great view of the sea. A picture of Scholar Jacobsen's late husband sits on her desk next to a bronze lamp we stole from a small English colony about a year ago.
It is not uncommon that many pirate children do not have both of their parents because we often get into battles with the Englishmen. Some pirates die and others get captured. My mom, the legendary Aspen Sunderland, was one of the pirates taken by the Englishmen. That was three years ago.
"Sorry I'm late," Freddie said, barging into the room. He had short blond hair and grey eyes like his mom, who unfortunately was with my mom when they were captured by the Englishmen. Freddie had been with them too, and made it out safely because his dad came to the rescue. Freddie nearly lost his right leg that day and although his leg was spared, he now walks with a permanent limp.
"Alrighty, now we can start," Scholar Jacobsen began, clapping her hands together. "Lets begin with a recap of yesterday's session. Anzo, what do you do when you get captured by an Englishman?"
"Um, you do not look like a threat," he replied, unsure. Anzo's real name is Andrew, but everybody on the ship calls him Anzo. He is the only pirate on the ship that is a redhead and also one of the very few people with freckles, too.
"Good," Scholar Jacobsen told him. "Now, what do you do when they ask for your name? Lochie." Lochie is the tallest out of us bunch and by far the smartest. There is no doubt that he will take after Scholar Jacobsen when he comes of age.
"You give them your fake name. So I would tell them my name is Hudson Peterson," Lochie answered. He flashed a grin at me, nearly making me laugh.
"Great! Okay, now for today's lesson. We will be going over the layout of the colony we are raiding tomorrow morning. Kiz, if you look at this map, where would be the safest entry point?"
I glanced at the map and quickly identified three possible entry points. One was through the mountains, but it would be quite hard to carry all our loot through there. Another way is through the heart of the colony, but we could be easily seen. The last point was by the side of the camp, which had little loot, but also was safer. It could gain us practically free entry into the camp, since barely any of the soldiers lived on that side of the camp.
"Entry point three," I stated. Scholar Jacobsen's eyes lit up.
"You'd make an excellent Navigator, Kiz," she told me.
"Thanks, but I want to be First Mate, like my dad," I explained, casting a glance at Freddie, who didn't seem to notice. Scholar Jacobsen let out a little chuckle.
The ship rocked back and forth, causing the feathers and ink to tumble to the floor. Charlie, whose reflexes are insanely fast, managed to catch a few before they hit the ground.
"Nice one, Charlie!" the boys and I cheered. Charlie grinned from ear to ear. She, like me, had brown hair, except hers was straight. Her eyes were a light brown and her cheeks were always rosy.
A knock sounded on the cabin door and Captain Cloudbeard walked in. Immediately, everyone rose from their seats and stood, eyes on the captain. It was a rare moment when he interrupted a lesson, as he valued education very much, so I knew that whatever the reason Captain Cloudbeard came, it was important.
"Scholar, the lesson must end now, I'm afraid," Captain Cloudbeard announced. "The kids need their rest for the raid tomorrow. We underestimated how many Englishmen there are guarding the safest entry point." My mates and I exchanged excited looks. Our first plunder! Every young pirate dreams of the day they can go on their first real plunder.
"Father, must I go?" Freddie asked, fidgeting with his fingers. Ever since the incident three years ago with our moms, Freddie has been afraid of the Englishmen and wanted nothing to do with them.
"Yes, Freddie you must. That is an order. It is time you grew up and became a man," the captain replied, crossing his arms over his chest. Tonight, the captain wore a leather pirate's hat and a red coat, which made him look even more intimidating. "Now, go to bed all of you. Scholar, a moment of yer time."
The crew and I filed out of the scholar's cabin onto the deck. The air smelled salty and the clouds partially covered the moon.
"Well, 'night mateys," Anzo yawned, following Charlie and Lochie into the sleep cabin. I noticed Freddie go off to the side, looking out to sea.
"How ya goin'?" I asked him, putting my hand on his shoulder. Freddie and I were born a month apart and were practically raised like twins. Our parents are best friends and because of this, when Freddie's dad became Captain, he appointed my dad as First Mate.
"I'm just nervous. I can't stop thinking about what happened the last time I got caught up in a raid. Our moms got taken and I nearly lost my leg," Freddie sighed. "What if I'm not ready?"
"That was three years ago, Fred! Yer much more prepared now, trust me." He gave me a weak smile.
"Thanks, Kiz. When I become captain, you will for sure be my First Mate." I felt a warmth spread through my body. Becoming First Mate like my father was my dream position on the crew and Freddie just guaranteed it.
"C'mon, let's go to bed." Freddie and I walked into the sleep cabins, where every single member of the crew was sleeping. We took our bunks and changed into our pajamas before going to bed. I let the gentle rocking of the waves drift me off to a deep sleep.