51 Empty Inside
The second Spanish assault had taken its toll on the assassins. Wounded, they staggered about, faces contorted in anguish and pain as they clutched their wounds. They had won, but at a cost.
While Thomas and Jemima had fought beside the assassins on the shore, Kenway had swam out to a nearby ship where the commanding captain watched safely from a distance. As Kenway dealt the killing blow, the Spaniards had no choice but to flee. By then, enough damage had been done but not as much as it could have been.
"(You have strength and spirit). And once more you have our thanks, Edward." Adé Tabai smiled and nodded as the pirate approached. "You are welcome here."
"Thank you, sir. I'll rest here a time before setting out, if I may." Kenway replied as Thomas joined him, nursing a bruised arm.
"As are you, Thomas." Ah Tabai continued. "Are you planning on remaining with the assassins here?"
"Aye, soon. But first, I'd like to travel a bit. I'm not ready to settle just yet."
"I understand. You must have missed the sea while you were in England."
"Among other things." Thomas glanced up to the two women that sat side by side, holding each other's hands.
With hushed voices, Kenway continued, turning in the same direction as Thomas. "How's her child?"
Ah Tabai shook his head and followed Kenway's gaze.
"She is a strong woman, but not invincible."
Anne had stopped crying a long time ago. After Mary and Rackham's deaths, it seemed she didn't have much more tears to give. Resting her head on Jemima's shoulder, she sighed. Both women mourned the loss of their children and despite never knowing them, never seeing them grow up, they felt that burning anguish in their hearts, constantly reminding them of that absence in their lives.
As a shadow fell over the two, they looked up.
"Edward..." Anne's voice was weary, and Kenway could hear the pain behind her voice as he stood beside her, his back against the tree.
Thomas sat down on the other side of Jemima and let her head rest against his chest.
"I'm sorry for your losses." Kenway said to both women and Anne closed her eyes, squeezing Jemima's hand.
"If I'd stayed in prison, they'd have taken him away from me." She whispered. "But he'd now be alive. Might be this is God's way of saying I'm not fit-" She paused and turned to Jemima. "We're not fit to be mothers yet. Carrying on like we do, cursing and drinking and fighting."
"You are fighters, aye." Edward gave a smile and crouched down in front of them. "In prison, I hears stories of the infamous Anne Bonny, Jemima Thatch and Mary Read, taking on the King's Navy, just the three of you."
"It's all true." Jemima confirmed and Thomas smiled, imagining the fearsome pirate women, proving to the world that a woman could be just as brutal as a man, if not, more so.
Anne gave a wistful, absent smile. "And we'd have won that day if Jack and his lads weren't passed out in the hold from drink." As Kenway sat beside her, Anne felt tears rise. "Edward... Everyone's gone, aren't they? Mary, Rackham, Thatch. And all the rest."
"I heard Bonnet passed as well." Thomas spoke up and while neither women knew who he was talking about, Kenway nodded mournfully.
"Aye. He begged not to be hung. Didn't do much for him."
"He was a good man."
The two men paused for a while, remembering the very beginning of their adventure where they had met each other as well as this timid, excitable merchant. Inspired by the sights of Nassau and Havana, Bonnet had set out for a life of piracy of his own, this cowering merchant moulding into another fearsome pirate. However, death met him too soon and, like many men, he wasn't quite ready.
Anne sighed, breaking the reminiscent silence.
"I miss them so, rough as they were. Do you feel that too? All empty inside like?"
"I do." Kenway admitted. "Devil curse me, I do."
Anne took his hand, as if to reassure him that despite what he felt, there were others feeling the same way. He wasn't alone.