Bird Of The Sea

31 The First Customer

The days wore on and the two marooned pirates and the assassin continued to survive. Without civilisation, the three adapted but soon, some took a more wild appearance. Still proudly dressed in his assassin robes, Thomas refused to copy Edward and Vane, dressing down to a filthy shirt and cut off trousers, clothes for whale hunting. But soon, the heat was more than he could bear and with a gasp of relief, he pulled off his outfit and stood there, sweating in his rolled up trousers and bare chest. Tossing it onto a tree branch nearby, he sat down heavily in the sand, lying back and staring up at the sky.

Closing his eyes, sleep nearly found him until a voice roared across the beach, jolting him in his rest.

"Dammit, Vane!"

Thomas blinked and sat up to see the two pirates in midst of a quarrel by the shore.

"The sun has fried your head, man!" Kenway shouted, pushing Vane away from him

"This is my island!" Vane roared back. "Leave now with your life, or fight me for it!"

The madman wielded a stick, batting it at Kenway's side.

"Hey! Lads!" Thomas jumped up and hurried over to them, holding up his hands.

"And you!" Vane spun, the stick inches from his face. "You stuck up, assassin! You're just a boy playing a man! Sod off with the traitors who want my island for themselves!"

"I don't want your stupid island and call me 'stuck up' or 'a boy' again," Thomas flicked up his wrist blade, "and I'll end you."

"That's a threat!" Vane growled.

"You bet it is." He snarled.

Vane whipped the stick at him and he snatched it from him, breaking it over his knee and throwing it to the sand.

"Fuck. Off." He spat.

"Hey, now, Thomas-"

"Don't you fucking start, Kenway." He turned on him. "It was your idea in the first place that we should split up and hunt for food instead as a group. This is your fault that Vane's like this."

"My fault?" He took a step towards him. "So it's my fault the heat has riddled his mind, eh? It's my fault that he's gone insane and thinks he rules an island?! I didn't hear you suggesting any other ideas!"

"Hey! Back off, Kenway!" Thomas shoved Kenway back. "I don't think you realise we're not the only ones in a shitty situation! Have you forgotten Adé's been sold as a slave? That Jemima's off forcefully selling herself as we speak?!"

"Ah, of course, a day doesn't go past that you don't think of her, eh, lad?" Kenway cackled. "Its like you think you're Jemima's knight in shining armour!"

"Fuck off." Thomas said.

Kenway continued to laugh.

"Well, we know what women are like, she's probably enjoying herself! Can't go long without a good scream, can she?" He grinned. "And I bet you can back me up on that, eh, Thomas?"

"You piece of shit." Thomas snarled and shoved him. "This is why your bloody wife left you!"

Kenway's smile dropped.

"Lad, don't go there-"

"No, you need to hear this." He grabbed Kenway by the front of his shirt. "If you can't treat someone with a douse of respect, you'll lose them. And you don't have that many friends that you can afford to lose them."

"So that's what happened to your girl, eh?" Kenway found a menacing smile. "Don't say I haven't got a douse of respect when you've done the exact same thing."

Thomas pulled back his fist and sent it crashing into Kenway's face. He fell to the floor and Thomas bent down, slamming his fist into his face twice more until a voice bellowed into his ears.

"Stop!"

"For the last time, Vane. Fuck off." Thomas said, sitting back, rubbing his fist.

"I didn't say anything." Vane frowned and Thomas furrowed his brow.

"What? You told me to stop?"

"You're going mad, mate." Vane said and shaking his muddled head, he left, stumbling back across the beach.

Maybe it was Thomas that was going mad. It wasn't Vane, it definitely wasn't Kenway and it was just them on the island. It was like a figment of his imagination had yelled at him to stop, and it sounded an awful lot like Jemima...

Wiping the blood from his face, Kenway stood, spitting blood.

"Thomas..." He started.

"I'm not sorry, Kenway." Thomas said, not looking up. "It was harsh, but I've been wanting to do that for a long time. All I needed was an excuse."

"For the record, I am sorry." Kenway told him. "I wish Jemima isn't in that situation either. I know she means a lot to you. I shouldn't have let my head get the better of me, it's this damned heat, I swear!"

"It's fine. And if I'm honest, I'm more concerned with Vane than you at the moment."

"Aye." Kenway nodded, looking out at the way Vane had stumbled along. "He'll be trouble before long."

"Well, with any luck, at least one of us will have our wits by that time."

"And only time will tell who that'll be."

As the sun set, the men began to call at La Sirena Encantadora. The cat calls echoed around the rotten whore house as women posed provocatively against the wall, out of the windows, in hopes that they would pick them and maybe pay a little extra.

Jemima kept her back against the wall, hiding in the shadows. The plan was to wait until there were a lot of men coming in and out so the two could slip away undetected. Not many men were interested in the quiet ones, lucky for them.

"You, come here!" The Madame barked at Jemima and she jolted.

With a fearful look to Alice who sat nearby, she obeyed, walking over to the Madame. Already, the plan was falling apart.

"Look here, girl." She beckoned.

"Yes?"

"This gentleman here wishes to make an enquiry." She gestured to a man beside her, almost finely dressed, as if trying to look like someone richer than he really was.

"They say you're untouched." He leered, stepping towards her.

"I am." Jemima growled trying to hold back her fury.

The man gave a sickly smile and walked around her, analysing his prey. She flinched as he ran a hand through her dark hair, her wrist blade twitching under her sleeve.

"Even if that's an untruth," he remarked, doing a full circle and stopping in front of her, "she's a fine specimen. I'll take her."

"You can't! Don't I get a say?!" Jemima protested.

"No you don't." The Madame snapped. "It's his choice and not yours."

"I don't care! I refuse!"

"Oh, such anger." He laughed. "Where did you find this one?"

"She's a pirate, the daughter of Blackbeard."

"Truly?"

"Truly."

"A pirate girl, hm?" He lifted her chin. "I bet you have quite the experience in handling a sword. And the daughter of Edward Thatch, no less. My commiserations, I heard of your father's passing. Although I would say the world has improved somewhat without his presence."

"You piece of-"

The man snatched her face, pinching her cheeks with one hand, silencing her.

"What a fiery tongue." He grinned. "I may have a use for that."

He grabbed her wrist, fortunately the one without a blade strapped to it, paid the Madame and led her up the stairs, despite her protests. The Madame followed and passed a small hip flask to her.

"Drink."

Jemima knew it had been drugged. She didn't need to see the wicked smile of that evil woman to know that. Tentatively, she reached for it. She couldn't refuse. Maybe it would help her forget...

Suddenly, a drunkard stumbled into the Madame, the hip flask tumbling to the floor, its contents pouring out onto the dirty carpeted floor.

Before being pulled into a room, Jemima turned to see the Madame arguing with the drunkard who claimed he had been pushed, a familiar figure close by. Alice gave a mournful nod and disappeared.

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