1Disclaimer: In no way, shape, or form, do I own Captain Silver. He is the best character in the book, I admit, but I do not own him. Drat. Nor do I own Captain Flint (the parrot), the only other character from Treasure Island in this story. Jim Hawkins is mentioned once or twice. For consistency's sake, I don't own him, either. Athos is a take-off from the Musketeers but really is only named after him. The others are my friends, so I don't really own them, but they gave me their permission to write about them. :)

Chapter One

"Now, are you sure you can sail?" Normally, Long John Silver would've been convinced, but these guys were not your ordinary gentlemen of fortune. Not all of them were even men.

But he'd needed a crew, and fast. It seemed like everyone on the seven seas was after him. So he'd found a small ship, a crew of eleven, and, for the first time ever, he was afraid they might sink.

He was both the captain and the ship's cook. Captain Flint, perched loyally on his shoulder, made the ship's company thirteen. Not that Long John cared. They didn't need bad luck. They could sink all by themselves.

Not that he doubted their loyalty. For once, he had no doubts there. All eleven of them--Athos, Eric, Peter, Morgan, Noka, Rona, Latano, Tandro, Balo, Nora, and Avanwe--they all had the hearts of pirates. But their skill . . . he still wasn't sure.

"Of course we can sail," his new first mate, Athos, assured him. Silver sighed. No other captain would've hired these people.

Athos seemed like a good enough first mate, willing both to give and to follow orders. He had confidence in the rest of the crew and their abilities, even the youngest, who couldn't have been more than thirteen. And he had the respect of the crew. They wouldn't question what he said. Silver needed that.

And Athos looked like a pirate. His brown and black hair was swept back into a ponytail and a sword hung at his side. His light brown eyes shone with the love of adventure and his hands were eager to raise the Jolly Roger.

Avanwe, their lookout, didn't bother trying to look like a pirate. It was impossible. She seemed physically attached to her bow and a quiver of arrows was always on her back. She was light on her feet, but seemed less fascinated with plundering and pillaging than the others. And she wasn't quite on friendly terms with Athos.

Her skin was darker than most of the others', about the same color as a young sassafras' bark. Not that Silver cared at all. No, a pirate's heart was what mattered, and their lookout was as brave as any other pirate on the sea. She had long hair the color of sand on the beach, and her eyes seemed to change with the color of the ocean. She wore green and brown, with a small bit of grey.

Nora, the ship's doctor, seemed to share Long John's worries about the crew. She trusted them, but had said plainly that she was sure they had a tendency to attract danger. Silver had just shrugged. That didn't matter to him.

Like Noka, Balo, Latano, Tandro, and Rona, Nora was short, only about four feet tall. Nobody really seemed to mind. Nor did they mind the doctor's bright red hair or bright green eyes. Athos had assured his captain that she was the best doctor they could ask for, if not necessarily the best warrior.

Eric was the helmsman, though he'd agreed to hand the job over to Tandro at night. He'd had no problem when Silver mentioned their voyage would include raiding and plundering and such. He'd just smiled and said, "Of course," like any normal gentleman of fortune.

He did his best to look it, too. He'd donned a pair of fake earrings, a pair of gloves, and a three-sided hat topped with a feather. Like the others, he was armed with a sword, and, like the others, he carried no gun. He had black hair down to his shoulders and light blue eyes that could've stared right through their new ship, the Flammifer, if he'd wanted them to.

Morgan had thought of the name. Silver had been more hesitant about her; she was only fourteen years old. But the others refused to come without her, and he needed a crew, teenager or no teenager. She had always been right where she was needed while they were repainting and, well, rebuilding, the old ship, and she was eager to help with anything that wasn't very important, because she was known for making little mistakes, and for being directionally challenged.

She had shoulder-length dark brown hair, half of which always seemed to be in her face. She had dark brown eyes and couldn't see very well, but she never complained. More often she made a joke out of it, or used it as an excuse not to steer.

Long John had already taken Noka under his wing as the ship's cook's apprentice. They had a lot in common. Long John had only one leg; Noka was blind. Long John didn't bother using his crutch all the time; Noka rarely needed help getting around. The railings on the ship were useful to them both.

Noka had wavy brown hair a little shorter than Morgan's. He had brown eyes, one of which was always covered with a patch he was constantly switching from one eye to the other. He was Nora's brother, but there was no real resemblance, in personality or appearance, unless it was their talkativeness.

It was a quality that their friend Balo shared. She was the youngest, about a year younger than Morgan. But Balo was no pirate, or at least not an experienced one. She was excitable, curious, friendly. In every way, she reminded Silver of Jim Hawkins, which was the real reason he wanted her aboard.

She had long wavy light brown hair that she let the wind blow every which way. She had grey eyes and a mouth that was always either smiling or talking. Or snoring. As with the other girls,--Nora, Morgan, Rona, and Avanwe–a dress was out of the question. But most of all for the young Cabin Girl.

Latano, Balo's uncle, was nothing like his niece. He was quiet, with a calm patience Silver admired. He was optimistic, and cheerful in his own quiet way. He was one of those people who would take whatever life sent him, one of those, If life sends you lemons, make lemonade, people.

He even looked calm. he had long black hair, which one of the others had braided,--probably Nora--and kind grey eyes that were the only real way you could tell he and Balo were related. He'd had no problem with anything Silver mentioned, except for killing. He had plainly said that was something he wouldn't do. Peter and Morgan had agreed with him immediately, and one by one the others had followed. Not that Silver cared much. A compassionate gentlemen of fortune was rare, but not unheard of, though it was certainly strange to find so many. Silver himself was careful not to kill people if at all possible. He had been unable to kill Jim, as well.

Peter was the only one on board who looked like he may have been at sea even longer than Silver. He had also been the only one able to explain the real purpose of an eye patch to young Balo, besides Captain Silver, of course. He'd easily explained that before raiding a village you put it over one eye and wore it all day, keeping both eyes open. When you attacked at night, all you had to do was switch it and you'd have perfect night vision.

He looked like a perfect cross between a pirate and a wizard. He had long grey hair and a short grey beard. His dark eyes were gentle, but he had a pirate's laugh. He had a long grey cape and a tall walking stick. Silver had half-expected him to have only one leg; that was how experienced he looked. Long John had yet to get used to all his nicknames. Avanwe constantly called him Daelin. More often than not, Latano referred to him as Shadowsong. Eric insisted on calling him Robin half the time, and he occasionally let a le Fay slip onto Morgan's name.

Tandro was the quietest, even though Latano and Peter were a close second and third. In fact, the only thing Silver had heard him say so far was, "Aye, sir." Captain Flint had a wider vocabulary. He spent most of his time with Latano, though he also seemed on close terms with Athos, which was really something only he, Eric, Peter, and Morgan could say.

At first glance, he looked a lot like Noka. Once you looked closer, however, they were definitely different. Tandro's hair was a little shorter and straighter. His eyes were a little darker, his clothes more carefully mended. His skin was a little darker, and his mouth was closed a lot more often.

The last crew member, Rona, was a close friend of Noka's. She was the four-foot-tall tomboy of the group, a daredevil and expert risk-taker, for instance, doing a handstand in the crow's nest. Even Silver had been sure she'd fall, but she hadn't. Even Avanwe had been impressed.

Rona was also the oddball when it came to appearance. She had dark, dark skin and light blonde hair. She had brown eyes, darker then Tandro's but lighter than Morgan's. She wore bright colors and, like Peter, almost always had a bunch of odds and ends in her pockets.

Just as Silver was beginning to consider waiting a little longer, a dozen men in uniform started towards the Flammifer. "Noka, set the sails!" Long John called, knowing he could do it the fastest. "Tandro, raise the anchor! Eric, get us out of here! Fast!"

"Aye, Captain Silver!"