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Candle light flickered in the shallow moonlight. There were several sharp intakes of breath before complete silence. He’d done it. There was no longer a Sir Cruz of Castile. It was time. Young Cruz was home from the and ready. There were several sounds of footsteps in the distance so Bartholomew pressed himself against the wall. His sword was drawn and as the footsteps stopped he set out toward Young Cruz’s chambers in the East Wing. There was sudden scuffling behind him and the sound of a blade being drawn.
“Barty, how nice of ye to stop by,” the familiar male voice crowed.
Bartholomew turned gazing into the eyes of an old enemy. He cracked a yellow, Jack-o-Lantern grin. “I’d like to say the same, Jeck; but it seems the only way I could say that is if it were a surprise ye were here!” Bartholomew leapt at Jeck before continuing toward the East Wing.
“Ay, ye be taking Young Cruz? Word to the wise- he not be a believer.”
Bartholomew stopped dead in his tracks- stroked his tangled, black beard and managed: “I will yet change his swashbuckler mind! Ye mark my words, Jeck!”
Jeck merely laughed, his red frizzy hair falling out of his tri-horn hat.
Bartholomew didn’t hesitate a moment longer and he ran to the chambers of Young Cruz.
My eyes snap open instantly as the door to my bedroom falls haphazardly to the ground. I pull on some breeches and a shirt that are sitting out for me for the morning as the room is silent. I pull on my boots and grab a lit candle. I am halfway down the hallway when I hear the sounds of swords clashing. My candle flame flickers out.
“Hello, swashbuckler,” a voice whispers in my ear.
I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I am defenseless and the man knows it. I pray to God he doesn’t kill me with his sword that presses into my back. “What do want?” I ask gritting my teeth.
I am led out of the manor and thrown into a wagon with a gun pointed at my head. The men are all dresses in similar tri-horn hats, worn-down boots, dirty shirts and even dirtier breeches. Tattoos and piercings cover their bodies and gold caps cover some of their decaying teeth while others are yellowed, chipped and rotting as well. The strong smell of whiskey radiates from their bodies as well as unsanitary fluids. The man pointing a pistol at my head forces me to lay down and has a skull and cross bones tattoo on his left breast. My face is covered in his spit and he is laughing out of waste.
The wagon halts after what seems like hours on a beach I don’t recognize. The men shout for me to get out and before I know it I am dragged out by my armpits and set into a boat. They all gather into it with me and row us out to a war frigate with the title: “Crimson Queen” on it’s hull. I am lugged on board.
“Young Cruz returns!” one man proclaims. Loud jeers move throughout the ship. I look toward the back balcony of the ship where a tall, burly man with an eyepatch and a scarred face mans the wheel. I wonder how his face got to be like that. Suddenly I am being tied to the center mast’s thick wood column and tied to it.
“Captain, what’ll we do with him?!” a man calls to his leader.
My captor -who whispered in my ear; (who is also the captain)- stands up from his seat in front of some maps and snorts before making his speech. “We give him to the mermaids! He’ll be the sacrifice!” The jeers rise up again; echoing throughout the ship. “What say, ye?”
“There’s no such thing as mermaids,” I reply solidly.
The men aboard the ship chuckle and become rowdy. The captain bellows. “I, Captain Bartholomew Black swear on my birthname mermaids exist. As an old pirate like me-self I’ve seen them beauties several times. What be ye name, boy?”
“Samuel Cruz,” I respond honestly.
“Wrong! Ye no Cruz! Ye no Spanish blood unlike ye home in Castile with ye Spanish-blooded parents. Ye but a mermaid and a pirate’s accident!” Captain contradicts.
“But you are wrong, sir! I exclaim in horror. “Pirates don’t exist!”
“Ever wonder why ye don’t look like ye mommy and ye daddy? They adopted you!” Captain laughs. “Now ye’s fake parents are dead! When ye manage to realize mermaids and pirates are real ye will come and thank me.”
My jaw tightens and I ball my fists at my sides- since the rope is holding my arms down.
“Don’t bother getting feisty, Sam; ye only waste ye energy.”
I spat at him.
To be continued...