25 A Pardon
Nassau, Bahamas, January 1718
Jemima stepped down the plank, nearly strutting as she left the Jackdaw, practically the last to leave. With a wicked smile on her face, she glanced over the faces of the passing merchants, shocked to see a woman aboard a ship. By revealing herself, she had found a new strength, a new power, something that made her more brutal and ferocious than ever before.
She turned at the voice to see her father, furrowed brow and a tilted head, walk towards her.
"Father!" She threw her arms around him, the surpised pirate standing stock still. "I've missed you."
"And I, lass. So I've seen you've decided to show who you really are. I hope nothing terrible has happened because of it?"
She shook her head.
"No, they're all to scared of me to do anything like that." She grinned and comforted by it, Thatch smiled. "And my," Jemima gently pulled at her father's beard. "I'm going to have to call you Blackbeard now!"
"Aye, lass, you do that. So did you find the Sage?" He raised an eyebrow, sceptical.
"Yes and no..."
"We found him, but he got away."
"So you saw him?"
"No, but Kenway-"
"Ah, so it's Kenway that told you this, eh?"
"Aye. And I trust him. If he said he nearly caught the Sage, I believe him. I know you don't think he exists, but you'll see it all one day."
Thatch shook his head, a gentle smile on his face.
"Jemima, lass. I'll believe it when I see it. But until then, the Sage, the Observatory, it's all fairy stories to me."
She bowed her head. He will see it. And he will believe it, without a doubt.
"So, what's happened while I've been gone?" Jemima asked, changing the subject as father and daughter walked arm in arm along the shore.
"The King's issued a pardon. For us pirates."
"Aye. Should we wish to take it, we'll have no trouble from his dogs ashore and on the waters."
"It doesn't sounds right." She muttered as they approached the decrepit town. "It sounds like a trap."
"Aye, it does!"
Thatch and Jemima turned to see the forms of Vane and Hornigold approach, one of which who furiously shook his fist to the notion of a pardon.
"Vane, it's all true!" Thatch insisted.
"Bag of shite! Do you hear me? It's a bag of bloody shite! It's a ruse to keep us soft before they attack Nassau!" Vane insisted. "You'll see. Mark me."
"It's no ruse, Vane." Thatch growled. "I heard it straight from the mouth of a greasy Bermudan captain. There's a pardon on offer for any pirate that wants it."
"It could be a ruse, we all go for this pardon and the King's men shoot us on site." Jemima said.
"Ruse or no, I think it's plain the British may return to Nassau." Hornigold stated. "With arms no doubt." Vane threw his hands up in the air and walked away, passing by Kenway and Thomas, who hearing the commotion had come to investigate. Hornigold turned to Thatch. "We'll need a plan."
"Walk with us, Kenway." Thatch said. "There's trouble brewing..."
"Jemima, what's going on?" Thomas stopped and caught her by the arm.
"The King's offered a pardon." She repeated. "It's not much consequence to you, but it could mean freedom to us."
"You believe it?"
"I don't know. My father does, but it just sounds like a ruse."
"Aye. And if it is true?"
"Then we have the King's protection and a boring life ahead of us." She smiled.
As Jemima ran on to catch up with the other pirates, Thomas' smile fell. Either way, she was doomed. If it was a ruse, her and all the other pirates would be taken out and shot. And if not, she'd rather refuse it and die than continue her life simply.
"Just do the right thing..." He whispered as he followed.