Tales of the Caravan

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Summary

In a man's world...death is certain. In a man's world...greed is king. And in a man's world...a woman is hope. In a magical world ruled by a sexist emperor, Sarah Dreamstead had always yearned to travel across the Nine Seas. Though women have been deemed unfit to sail the seas, a dangerous threat has called Sarah to action. 

A mysterious curse has begun to spread, and the citizens of the Red Sea are being turned into stone! 

Now, Sarah and her friends will try to break the social norms that bind them, to save their world from certain doom. Time is of the essence. It will take all of their power and magic to save the empire, and solve the mystery of the dreaded Blue Moon. This novel contains adult themes, and depicts violence that may be unsuitable for those under the age of 17.

Genre:
Fantasy / Romance
Author:
Avarez Books
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
2
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
16+

Prologue

Anne Bonny wanted to have it all. Though she lived in a world with a sexist emperor, she had always fought against being a proper woman. She wasn't proper or ladylike. Her infatuation with torn leather jeans were evident of that. No. Bonny had always yearned to be a pirate of legend.

But admiration was such a fragile thing, like being sliced by the thorn of a rose. A pirate was everything she wanted to be...until one of them crushed her father's skull like a grape. Those crimes against her family left her with a bad taste for pirates. However, she was also great at thieving and breaking the law. The irony...

Her latest heist involved a wine guzzling pirate named Drake. Though she didn't like them, she wasn't above using pirates to increase her business. It was necessary of course. The emperor had imposed numerous laws to keep women from the greater market. Bonny made it a habit to break those laws and stand just as tall as her male counterparts.

After their deal was done, she joined with her roommate Sarah in front of their townhouse. Their home was one of thousands across the island of Port Ruby. Bonny walked down the street with a triumphant smile, and had a large sack of diamonds over her shoulder. Diamonds were the currency of the world, and necessary for climbing up the social ladder.

Sarah looked uneasy, lowly commoners with so many diamonds would certainly attract attention. It did not take much to worry Sarah, though. She was a goody two shoes, who wouldn't keep a diamond if she found it lying on the street.

Bonny sighed at Sarah's frightened face and pulled her into their townhouse. They rushed upstairs into their one bedroom apartment, the front door swiftly shut behind them. Bonny walked toward the table in their living room. She tipped the large sack over and watched the diamonds fall across the wooden surface. Sarah sat opposite of her, with green eyes that glittered from the precious stones.

"Wow," said Sarah in awe. "I've only seen a Royal with this many diamonds."

"They're just silver ones," Bonny shrugged. "If they were gold, we'd be buying a house where the rich bastards live. Still, this isn't a bad start."

Bonny continued to spread the diamonds evenly over the table. She was unbothered by the residents that walked the halls outside. Sarah however looked a bit more concerned.

"I can't believe you came to count this here," Sarah bit her lip and looked over her shoulder. "You sure it was safe to make a deal with a pirate?"

"Yes, Sarah," replied Bonny, rolling her eyes. "I swear, you're the most timid person in the Red Sea. How do you expect to make anything of yourself? Pirates want you to be scared of them, but they're nothing, nothing but gross, bearded scum."

Bonny's eyes turned toward a portrait that hung on the wall. A toddler stood by a man dressed in black, the two holding hands. Bonny's father had commissioned it at some point of his life, she never had the chance to ask when. Sarah watched quietly as Bonny returned to her diamonds.

"Are you saying that because of what he did to him?" Asked Sarah softly.

"No," replied Bonny. "Blackbeard is his own kind of scum. It's got nothing to do with my father. Killing people to harvest hearts, what kind of psycho is that? Heh, it doesn't matter. I'll get revenge for my family. When I see him there won't be any words, just a bullet through his heart."

Bonny placed her crimson-colored pistol onto the table and continued her count.

"But you're a thief," Said Sarah rather loudly, producing a threatening look from Bonny. "You're a thief." She repeated, lowering her voice. "It's not like you chose a righteous career or anything. How are you any different from a pirate?"

"I'm a beautiful thief," said Bonny, smiling. "It's a subtle art to deceive and take things from men, you know? Especially when you take back what ought to be yours. Besides, aren't you running off to learn from the Magi? Magic is just as illegal as piracy, not to mention, they're creepy and old as shit."

"The Magi are special," Sarah defended, she then rubbed the back of her neck. "And...well, yeah, maybe they are a bit old, but I can learn a lot from them...things the empire won't teach me."

Bonny knew of what her friend spoke of. Knowledge, like so many other privileges enjoyed by the men of their world, could not be so easily attained for them.

"So, you'll break the rules for books, but you won't do it for diamonds?" Bonny flapped her lips and continued to count. "Anyways, help me sort this out, will you? I'll give you a small share when we're done, you could buy yourself a quill protector or something."

The two of them separated the diamonds into two piles and counted them. After about a few minutes, Sarah finished her recount and slid the diamonds toward Bonny.

"That makes three hundred." Said Sarah.

"Great, I can feed a few families with these," replied Bonny. She took a small pile of diamonds near her right hand and pushed them forward. "Here's yours, babe. I'm sure your boyfriend's happy to know you're making your own way."

"Yeah, about that," Sarah's eyes darted over the glittering silver diamonds. She picked one up toward her face and let out a sigh. "He wants me to join his caravan."

Caravans were the closest thing a commoner could get to the prestige of a Royal. The Royals, whom mostly lived out in the mainland of Darkonia, would often celebrate and tell stories about famous caravans. They were crews of the toughest and strongest heroes the Nine Seas had to offer. Monstrous dragons, pirate lords, magical treasures...there was nothing a caravan wouldn't attempt to conquer.

Yet, with all the strength the caravans and Royals possessed, none of them could rival the power of the emperor. As the conqueror of the world, and with the possession of a power said to rival that of a God, the emperor imposed his beliefs freely onto his subjects. His hate for women was by far his most bizarre philosophy, one that favored men as the true masters of the world. In such a cruel place, a caravan was about the only way a woman could achieve a legacy.

"You should join," said Bonny, taking a swig of rum from her cup. "If I didn't get rejected by that prick Greymore, I'd have been the captain of my own caravan. You should be glad Jayden is different. The emperor targets caravans that let women onboard, not many men would take that risk. He must really like you."

"It's just not for me," said Sarah softly. "I care about Jayden a lot, but I can't be a dragon slayer or a pirate killer. I'm not brave like you."

Bonny gave Sarah a look, not of annoyance, but a bit of pity. She was reminded of how fragile her best friend was, how years of being in an orphanage had caused her to be vulnerable. It was Bonny's wish to toughen Sarah up, and sail the seas as a caravan together.

"I don't know," said Bonny, with a smile. "Maybe one day you could be."

A knock on the door pulled their eyes toward the front of the room. Bonny tapped her finger against her lips, an attempt to silence Sarah who had already begun to panic. The brave thief rose from her chair and calmly went to open the door. Standing outside was a rather short man dressed in raggedy garbs. He rose his face, which was bombarded with warts and pimples, and gave Bonny a nervous grin.

"Miss...uh...Anne Bonny?" The words struggled to leave his lips and even came out awkwardly soft in tone.

"Who's asking?" Replied Bonny, opening the door just enough so her diamonds remained out of view.

"Captain Drake," said the short man. "He's just outside, ma'am, said it's urgent."

Drake was the captain for a rather low tier pirate crew, or so Bonny was told. She hadn't had much interaction with Drake, besides their deal to have her smuggle his diamonds into Port Ruby. She had assumed he was one of many criminals following the shadow of much greater pirates.

"Alright," said Bonny. "Lead the way."

Bonny called her friend to join her and the two followed the short man down the hallway. Sarah waited for the gentleman to walk ahead a good distance before she hovered her face over Bonny's shoulder.

"You brought a pirate captain here," said Sarah sharply. "Port Ruby's crawling with Imperials! What if you two get seen together?"

The Imperial Fleet served as the emperor's military might, policing the constant battles between pirates and caravans. The potential involvement of the authorities did little to worry the brave thief. Bonny gave Sarah a bored look as they began to make their way downstairs.

"You need to seriously relax, Sarah," replied Bonny, hearing Sarah groan behind her. She then sucked her teeth as the short man left the lobby without holding the door open. Guess chivalry really is dead, Bonny thought to herself. The brave thief then looked toward Sarah as she turned the doorknob. "I swear, one day I'm taking you to a doctor and getting you checked ou..."

The presence of about thirty men stopped Bonny in her tracks. She stepped onto the narrow cobblestone street, surrounded by commoners that gathered in a circle. The soldiers stood in perfect rows behind a man in all white. Heavy rain had started to fall and a passing gust caused his white cape to blow behind him. He was not dressed in the dark tattered garbs that pirates normally wore...Drake was dressed as an Imperial.

"It's nice to see you again, Bonny." Drake's dark eyes narrowed upon her face.

The brave thief clenched her jaw. Bonny spun around to escape, but several Imperials in white armor blocked her path. Two men had already grabbed Sarah by her frail shoulders, the others pushed Bonny onto the street.

"What the hell is this?" Bonny demanded, her scrapped hands strangely struggling to lift her up from the moist cobblestones.

"You know for weeks the emperor has been asking the same thing," replied Drake calmly. "There's been reports of a vigilante thieving diamonds from Royal men, passing them off to commoners on the island. What a noble deed. I almost didn't want to deceive you, but I'm bound to my duty as an Imperial captain."

"You're not a pirate." Said Bonny, exposing her thoughts out loud.

"You should be grateful of that," said Drake. "Otherwise it would've been the guillotine for you."

Sarah's green eyes went wide, her fingers rattled like chimes in the wind. The guillotine was a fate worse than death, she was terrified at the very thought of Bonny being forced there. Sarah pulled away from the Imperial soldiers and rushed toward Bonny. Drake's eyes suddenly flashed with light, his hand stretched outward. Two streams of water rose from the flooded street like a pair of ropes, and wrapped tightly around Sarah's wrists.

Bonny watched as the solid ropes of water forced her friend to her knees. She cursed under her breath, her body trembled terribly. Drake had used his Secreto, a rare ability within their world that gave people abnormal powers. Sarah lifted her face, showing her glazed and pinkish eyes.

"Look," Sarah sobbed. "My friend doesn't want any trouble."

"Her deal with me tells us otherwise," replied Drake, his dark eyes then turned toward Bonny. "The emperor gladly provided me an advance to bring you out of hiding. Foolish girl...you just counted your own bounty."

An Imperial exited the townhouse and dragged the sack filled with Bonny's diamonds. The soldiers confiscated all of her stolen valuables and had begun to load them onto a horse carriage nearby. Drake then opened his white, long coat, and reached for a silver pistol strapped to his waist.

"What are you doing?" Sarah screamed, the ropes of water tightening as she failed to break free.

"Stealing from a Royal is punishable by death," replied Drake. "Do you care to join her?"

Sarah wanted to say more, but her fear forced her to shrivel in Drake's shadow. He then readied his pistol. The very click of his gun caused a commotion, leaving the helpless commoners to gasp and sob.

"You're going to do it in front of all these people?" Asked Bonny. Two soldiers forced her down to her knees in front of Drake. She turned away and nodded toward a group of frightened children by edge of the street. "There's kids watching."

"Why not?" Said Drake. His smile quickly vanished, he then looked angrily toward the commoners. "These young girls should see what happens when a woman decides to go against the law of the emperor!"

This isn't happening, Bonny thought to herself. This isn't happening.

"Anne!" Sarah screamed.

Bonny turned toward her sobbing friend and winced from her arm being twisted.

"Look away, Sarah!" Bonny shouted.

She then faced Drake, and felt the cold moist barrel of his gun pressed against her forehead. A single shot echoed into the air, masked by the crack of thunder across the dark sky. The streams of water released Sarah and left red marks across her wrists. She trembled horribly as she crawled toward her dying friend.

"Anne...," She sobbed. She knelt onto the street and threw Bonny over her lap. Sarah began to shake her, but it was no use. Bonny's mouth was open, her face whitened like snow, and her gaze persisted through the raindrops that battered her blank eyes. "Anne, please...don't go..."

A damp cloth fell and plopped over Bonny's face. Sarah looked up and rested her terrified eyes upon Drake.

"Clean this up," he said sternly. "I don't want to see her filthy commoner blood, not a speck of it over this street, understood?" Drake waited a moment for Sarah to speak, but her eyes simply darted over the bloody cloth. Drake slapped her hard in the face, the sound echoed loudly down the street. "I said...do you understand me?"

Sarah helplessly nodded and hung her head. She then wiped her tears and held tightly onto her friend's body.

"Yes, sir...I understand."

It was beyond embarrassment to have so many eyes watching her. The cold rain drops continued to splatter over Sarah's face and washed the tears from her eyes. The commoners wept along with her, even a few Imperials seemed uneasy.

"Shouldn't we lend her a hand, sir?" Asked one of his cadets.

Drake looked at Sarah's tearful face and scoffed.

"Do nothing for her," said Drake. "She's nothing, nothing but a broken girl."
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