Bird Of The Sea

14 The Place Of Women

"Gentlemen!" Kenway called marching up the deck. "As is custom among our kind, we do not plunge headlong into folly on the orders of a single madman, but act according to our own collective madness." He jumped onto the edge of the ship, addressing his crew, brandishing a cutlass as he spoke. "The object of our attention is a square-rigged galleon, and we want her for the advantage she'll bring Nassau. So I'll put it to the vote. All those in favour of storming this cove and taking this ship, stomp and shout 'Aye!'"

The crew's feet thundered against the deck as the shouted their reply, in favour of Kenway's plan.

"Those who oppose, whimper 'Nay'."

As silence washed over the crew, Kenway nodded and jumped down, tossing the cutlass back to one of his crew, heading for Thatch and Jemima.

"Never was the King's council so unified." Kenway said, grinning as he passed.

Kenway jogged to the other side of the ship and threw himself over, diving into the water below.

"Thomas!" Jemima cried as the assassin made his way to follow him. "Where are you going?"

"He's going after du Casse." Thomas replied, speaking over his shoulder. "I want to bring that Templar bastard down."

"Leave this one for Kenway." Jemima said, putting a hand on his shoulder, watching the pirate swim out to shore. "There's plenty more to pick off. Just be patient."

He stepped back, smiling.

"Alright. But you must know, I'm a very impatient person."

"I can tell." Jemima raised and eyebrow, nodding to his wrist blade, already extended in anticipation of the assassination of du Casse.

He rolled his eyes and retracted it.

"What do you think of mermaids?" Thomas asked, staring off into the horizon as he recalled his 'dream'.

"As in, do I think they exist?"

"Aye. And what do you think they look like?"

Jemima paused. She'd always been open to the idea of any supernatural and abnormal being's existence, so why not mermaids?

"I think they're real. I think they look like witches, hair made of seaweed, sharp claws and teeth, ready to tear the flesh off-"

"Alright, lad." Thomas laughed. "Before your imagination runs away with you."

"What about you then? Do you think they're real?"

"Maybe. I saw one, in a dream."

"Oh?"

"Do you remember when I passed out a while ago, you and Kidd found me?"

"Aye..." Jemima said, remembering the events, unnervingly.

"I saw this woman, bathing by a waterfall. She was singing and her voice!" He breathed, gazing at the horizon. "She was so beautiful, she had long dark hair and the perfect body."

"Easy now, mate." Jemima warned, turning away. "You have a girl back home, remember?"

Thomas stopped. He had forgotten. For that brief moment, the 'mermaid' had replaced his thoughts of his girl back in England. He nearly felt guilty.

"What's her name anyway?" Jemima asked in an attempt to make him forget about his 'dream'. "You never told us before."

"Elizabeth. Elizabeth Lovett."

"Pretty name. Does it match her face?"

"Aye." He smiled. "She's the most beautiful woman in all of England."

"Just England?"

"If that woman in my dream was real, she'd be the most beautiful woman in the world." He sighed.

As Thatch joined them, Thomas snapped back. He glanced to Jemima and was curious of her lack of eye contact but thought nothing of it.

"Right." Thatch said, taking the helm. "Let's bring this ship around, slowly."

With Thatch steering the Jackdaw, Jemima and Thomas watched as it edged around the island, creeping into the docks on the other side.

"There!" Jemima pointed at a figure, poised on the mast of the galleon.

Then, the figure flew, diving towards the form of du Casse who unknowingly wandered into the trap.

"The cove is ours!" Called Kenway, stepping away from the body of the Templar, sighting the Jackdaw come into view.

The crew roared in triumph as the Jackdaw pulled up alongside the galleon.

"Nicely done, Kenway!" Thatch nodded as the surviving crew members of the galleon leapt over board, terrified of the ship full of pirates.

Kenway bowed mockingly and jumped back aboard the Jackdaw. They docked the ship and almost all the crew climbed up to inspect the galleon, studying the magnificent ship and all its spoils.

"So how's the pirate life suiting you, Thomas?" Jemima grinned as they walked along the shore.

"If I'm honest, I'm rather enjoying it, maybe even more so than the life of an assassin." He said, almost guiltily as he played with the straps on his wrist blade.

"Really? Huh, I never thought I'd hear you say that."

"Aye, I feel more at home here, than back in London."

"Why?"

"I'm loyal to the Brotherhood, but since Walpole became a traitor, it's all been speaking in hushed tones, suspicious glances, not trusting each other. Here, I feel like I'm one of you and not an outsider. All that I've met here are dear to me," Thomas glanced over his shoulder, watching Kenway in the distance. "Despite their questionable morals."

"Aye, you're one of us, mate." She smiled and patted his shoulder. "But don't you miss London, your girl?"

He nodded.

"Aye, I do. But it's becoming lost to me. I can't picture the town anymore, I don't remember her face..." He trailed off, his eyes glassy as if he were trying to focus on London before his very eyes.

"You'll go back there one day, it'll be like you never left." She assured him.

"Ah, lad, you're so optimistic." Thomas gave a gentle smile. "I haven't heard a word from her since she left me two years ago. Who's to say she hasn't moved on, found someone else?"

"Come on, mate." Jemima sighed. "Have a little faith! Maybe she is waiting for you, watching the sea each day to see if there's a ship coming into port, one with her bonny sailor boy upon it."

"I'm no 'bonny sailor boy'." He laughed.

"Aye, you are to her." She grinned.

There was a brief silence as their laughter faded away, drawn back like the waves that lapped on the shore.

"So have you got a lass, Jack?" Thomas asked.

She shook her head, hiding her smile. She'd have some mighty explaining to do to her father if she did.

"Really? I thought any young pirate with a mischievous smile and wicked eyes could grab a girl wherever he chooses."

"Well I haven't, and neither has Kidd."

"Aye, good point. Maybe it's just because you hold women so highly in your sight that you don't feel worthy in their presence."

"No, we just see them as equals."

"They're not equal to us," Thomas laughed. "A woman can't fire a shot, or fight with a cutlass, she just has to stand there and look pretty."

Jemima glared. How she wished she could let her hair down and scream at him that this woman could do all that he said, and best him. To tell him that he knew two young women who were pirates and every bit as fearsome as the next man.

But she didn't.

"The day that a woman bests me in a fight, I'll stand with you and Kidd. In fact, I'll give one of my wrist blades to the victor." Thomas announced.

"Remember that." She warned.

"You alright there, lass?" Thatch asked his daughter, sitting down beside her as she sat on the shore, her chin resting on her knees.

"Aye. Just thinking." Jemima mumbled, watching the sun rise from under the horizon.

"What about?"

"Do you think women have any place aboard a ship?"

Thatch paused a moment.

"I think you've proved that."

"But I haven't." She said, turning to face him. "I've proved a woman can be disguised as a man, but what if I were myself? What would happen then?"

"I don't want to think about it." Thatch said.

Jemima didn't want to either. Maybe Thomas was right. Maybe women didn't have any right to be a pirate.

"Right, come on." Thatch said, standing up, patting her shoulder.

"Why? Where are we going?" She asked, getting to her feet.

"We're heading back to Nassua, and we're taking that galleon with us."

The preparations had already been made aboard the galleon, the crew had just finished loading the necessary supplies as Thatch and his daughter boarded.

"All hands on deck!" Thatch roared as he spun the wheel, sending the ship out into the open sea.

Jemima stood at the back of the galleon, watching the distance between them and the island grow. In the warm glow of the early morning, a figure was illuminated, standing on the shore. As the figure raised his arm and waved, Jemima waved back.

"I'll see ya later, Thomas." She whispered.

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