I got into a rowboat with Bronwyn and Pascal got on right behind me. I’d seen him around the ship, but we hadn’t spent time together yet since I’d come over from the Mirabel.
As Pascal got on the boat I was quick to greet him. “Hello Pascal! It’s so nice to see you again!”
“Oh! Hi Celia. It’s nice to see you too. I hope we get some time to talk on shore. I’d love to hear what you think about the Aegir and how you are enjoying your time as a pirate.” Pascal looked at me with an awkward smile then he moved further back into the boat.
Bronwyn took a quick look at me. “You’re beet red!”
I was feeling embarrassed from talking with Pascal, although I didn’t know why. “He’s nice and helped me when I came over from the Mirabel.”
“He’s also cute,” she said with a wink.
Cute? I hadn’t really thought of Pascal or anyone as cute. He was tall and well-built with strong muscles like the rest of the crew. Just as I turned my head and was starting to look for him again to see if he was cute my attention was brought back to the island.
From the ship the island just looked to be a mass of green, but as we drew closer I could see that the island was covered with banana trees. The ripe yellow fruit hung in huge bunches from the tops of the trees. There was a town carved out at the base of the harbor that was as colorful as a box of jewels. Each of the buildings was painted a bright and vivid color. They reminded me of the cloth in the ship’s hold.
As we were all let out into the town I headed straight for the local tailors. I knew that my fellow crew members would be heading to get clothes made as well, and I was so excited I didn’t want to wait. Bronwyn knew of the best tailor in town from talking with the other pirates and she went with me. She had chosen well for herself with sky blue and brown silk. Bronwyn had blue eyes that matched the sea and long blond hair that was wavy and always kept in a braid that hung down her back. Her eyes and light brown skin were a perfect match for her silks. Although not as tall as I was, she was of average height and like the rest of us, was strong and light on her feet.
As we arrived at the tailors we were a bit dismayed that several of our shipmates had made it there before us, but the tailors were competent and had seen the ship coming, so there were extra tailors ready to help accommodate the entire crew. When the townsfolk saw our ship on the horizon they had all headed into town regardless of what they’d been doing knowing that we would need tailors, for sailors always do as well as food and drink.
I told the tailor my desire for a tight cumo shirt to be made from the rose silk and a shirt with long sleeves from the violet silk with the gold roses made to be worn over it. I had wanted billowing sleeves, but Bronwyn pointed out that I needed something practical and billowing sleeves could easily get caught on a piece of wood or the end of a sword.
I had the tailor make two of each shirt so that I would be able to always have a clean shirt while one was washed. I also ordered some practical cumo shirts to wear while training on the ship to be made from the serviceable brown silk I had been given by Catrin as well as some pants for every day. I had been wearing borrowed clothes for the past few months and I was looking forward to some clothes of my own. The tailor then asked me if I had a vest that most of our crew wore over their shirts as extra protection from the elements and a way to carry extra weapons. I said that I didn’t, and the tailor said they would make me one as well as some inexpensive black pants from her stock of sturdy cotton fabric, which I realized I would need for my training with Master Clyde.
I finally arranged to have a sturdy leather vest made that I could use in battle. I planned to add pieces of the hide that Emil had gifted me with to the vest for decoration, but since I could not give that over to the tailors, lest they learn our secret, I would need to figure that out later.
I’d just finished ordering all of my clothing when I realized I had a problem. I’m terribly sorry, I said to the tailor, “I don’t have much money, and I don’t think I will have enough to pay for everything. Let’s go over my order so I can decide what I can do without.”
Bronwyn had overheard and said, “Don’t worry, the captain will be giving out the shore money in a bit after the goods are sold.”
So I agreed to be measured for the list of clothes that would be more that I had owned since becoming a pirate, but far less than I had owned growing up.
Bronwyn chose to have pants made from the black silk she’d chosen that she could wear when she was on shore. This silk had more of a sheen to it than what was worn on the ship and on land the billowing pants would be cool comfort, especially in the coming summer. The sky blue silk was to be made into a shirt with loose sleeves to be worn with the pants.
After leaving our cloth and our orders with the tailor we went to eat. The island was officially named Bakabuid Island, but was known amongst sailors as the banana island for two reasons, it was shaped a bit like a peeled banana and it had an abundance of the fruit. There were few bananas on the mainland because the fruit would not survive the journey and it didn’t keep for long on a ship. So this was a rare luxury for all of us. Bronwyn and I found most of the crew at The Golden Earring, the favorite restaurant for sailors on the island. Bronwyn and I sat down and ordered pork cooked in banana leaves, fried banana with coconut, banana cakes, steamed bananas with guava and guava juice to drink. All of the food was unknown to me, but so delicious I couldn’t stop eating.
Bronwyn was laughing at the smile on my face as I tried each new dish. I started to laugh and caught the attention of the rest of the crew who were interested in my reaction as well.
“Looks like we’ve got ourselves a native,” someone shouted. “I’ve never seen anyone eat so much in one sitting,” someone else teased!
The teasing just made me laugh more. Never had I felt so much a part of something, a crew, a group, anything. These people accepted me as one of them, which felt comfortable. It was one of the best days of my life.
After we had eaten our fill and taken a walk around the town to see the sights (of which there were few) we went back to the tailors to collect our clothes. All of the villagers that had come in from the fields to help the tailors had certainly made fast work of the clothes for a ship full of sailors. Captain Gawain had given us our money, so I had enough for the vest and pants as well as the six shirts and I was excited to try them on. First Bronwyn tried on her shirt and pants. She looked so beautiful; I stared with my mouth open.
“Stop trying to eat the air,” she joked.
“You look lovely Bronwyn, you’ll be set for the next time we hit shore,” I said.
“I will be cool enough and that’s what matters to me. I just cannot stand to be too hot. The summer comes on like a bonfire here.”
I was next. I put on the black cotton pants first and they were well fitted to my legs, but they moved with me as well so that they would not be a burden in a fight. Next I put on the rose silk cumo that felt like a cool breeze when it touched my skin. It fit well over my breasts, keeping them snug to my body. Next I put on the lavender shirt with the small gold roses. The shirt fit well over the cumo and when I looked at myself in the mirror I was happy to see that there was a v-shaped neckline on the lavender shirt that allowed the rose cumo to show and the tailor was able to get the sleeves of the shirt to billow just a bit to give it some grace between my shoulder and the top of my gloves. With the dragon hide gloves over my forearms the sleeves would be even more contained and look just perfect. Looking at myself, I knew that the tailor was right and that the vest was necessary. I put the black leather vest on and it hit right below the lavender shirt and laced up the front so that I had an extra layer of comfort and added protection if I was in a fight. I also needed the vest to keep my shirts from getting ruined while I was working on the ship.
Next I tried on my new brown silk cumos with the black pants and the cotton vest. The tailor had made me two pairs of pants and two sturdy brown cumos to wear on the ship. They looked just great, but I much preferred my new dress clothes.
We both thanked the tailors profusely and walked over to the cobblers, where I could buy a new pair of boots. The worn boots I had been given when I first arrived now had holes in the soles. I found a beautiful pair of black boots that went to my knees and laced up the front. They had no decoration, but were made of smooth leather that looked as if it had been rolled out with a rolling pin and they fit my feet perfectly. I was glad to use the remainder of my shore money to purchase these lovely new boots. With much pride Bronwyn and I headed back to the ship wearing our new goods and carrying our old over our shoulders. The crew whistled as we came on board since no one else had decided to wear their new clothes and we really stood out. Most of the crew had chosen to have clothes made for when we would be back on Dragon Island, like Bronwyn had, since they all had clothes for the ship. While I was embarrassed by the attention, I was also excited to have chosen my first pirate clothing.
I noticed both Pascal and Rex on the deck of the ship as we walked on board and Bronwyn was right, Pascal was cute. He had such an easy smile and I liked the way his thick brown hair was cut short, but he still had a bit of a wave to it. I really wanted to touch his hair, just run my fingers through it and see how it felt. I turned bright red when I realized that Pascal was looking back at me with a smile on his face. I gasped and looked at Bronwyn with embarrassment; certain that my face was red again and moved quickly back to our room to put away my new things.
We left Bakabuid Island early the next morning. It was important to clear out the hold, but it was equally important to deal with our prisoners. The prisoners had been drugged to sleep while we were on the island with Helwif Prudence to watch over them, but now the captain needed answers as to their mission.
I was terrified about what would become of the prisoners. Would the captain slit their throats and throw them into the sea? I went to find Bronwyn hoping she could tell me about how prisoners were dealt with by the Dragon Clan, but I was also a bit terrified about what she would say.
Knowing how nosey and stubborn I was about finding information took me down to our room and quietly told me what had happened to our prisoners since she was in the area at the time and overheard what had happened.
Both Master Clyde and the munitions and spy master, Master Alexandra, were in charge of getting the prisoners to talk. The captain had a strict rule that no prisoners were to be harmed, but Helwif Prudence was skilled at potions and harm was not needed when fear could be employed.
First, the prisoners were separated. Master Alexandra brought her dragon, Dracan, into the room. She had the fiercest dragon companion on ship. Dracan was a deep shiny black and as long as Master Alexandra’s arm span. Dracan also had intense red eyes that made anyone looking at him nervous. Dracan sat on the prisoner’s chest and put his claws down carefully, letting the prisoner know how sharp they were without piercing the skin. Rex was brewing a potion that would force the prisoner to feel a more intense fear of the dragon. Once Rex had given the prisoner the draught, the prisoner’s screams could be heard all over the ship. His fear of the dragon was intense. This was increased by the fact that he didn’t know that the dragon would not be allowed to harm him.
The prisoner’s name was Sam, a pirate for the Clan of the Black Skull. This clan was led Blacktat, named so because he was covered from bald head to foot with black ink tattoos. The legend is that for each person he kills he gets a tattoo. It is said that now he has killed so many that the only place remaining on him to tattoo was his tongue. Sam and his partner Max were to find out the location of Dragon Island so that Blacktat’s fleet could attack us when we were at rest. At the very least they were to find out when we were next to land, so they could try and capture a dragon.
The second prisoner, Max, was so terrified just from hearing Sam’s screams that he began to talk about their mission to Master Clyde without any potion. It seemed that Max was the higher ranked of the two and he had been told to use the bombs hidden in their small boat to blow the Aegir up if they were unable to determine the location of Dragon Island or capture one of the dragons. The Dragon Clan had worked hard to keep the dragons a closely guarded secret, but it seemed that the secret was out and Blacktat knew about the dragons, but not yet about their magic, so he thought they would be simple to capture.
The sentries who were on duty at the time had heard Sam and Max talking as they came upon the ship at sea level and Master Clyde had swung down and picked them up before they had a chance to react. Their boat had been thoroughly searched and sunk, the bombs had been found, and they were sunk with the boat. Captain Gawain found few uses for bombs. She thought they were sloppy and lacked the finesse she tried to exude in her leadership of the Dragon Clan.Master Clyde and Master Alexandra reported their findings to the captain and asked what she would like to do with the prisoners. While it was important to be fierce in dealings with the rival pirate clans, Captain Gawain thought that it was important to show mercy with crew members, as they were only following orders. She strongly believed that this could come in handy when the Aegir was in battle with a rival clan. The hope was that if defeat seemed imminent for the rival crew the members who’d been treated with respect might hurry along the demise of their own ship with the hope of again being well treated by the Dragon Clan.
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