Hey all. So I decided that Daughter of Pirates was pretty bad. I mean… it was just terrible. I know some of you (maybe like one… or am I being too hopeful?) may have liked it, and I am SO sorry… but I deleted it. But here it is, new and improved.

So hopefully this version won't suck as much. Hopefully there'll be better a better plot, for starters. And perhaps, in this, the original characters won't be so OOC. It's possible that my characters will have a little more substance, as well. Well, here goes… (deep breath)

Eh. I don't own this. If I did… hmm… I don't know what I would do. But it certainly wouldn't be so popular, if I had come up with it. That's for sure. I decided that I'm really bad at thinking up drama and plotlines. So I'm going to start off this story, which will not have that much plot in it at first, and then stop, trying desperately to think of where I want this to end up.

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The rock upon which Neglana stood was comfortable and solid, just high enough above the churning ocean to give her a thrill, the water below just deep enough to scare her a bit. Here, she didn't have to worry about being disturbed; the wealthy who inhabited Port Royal would never think of ruining their clothes on the beach, and the working class… well, they had too much work to do to even think of enjoying themselves, especially in a place so far away from their comfort zone as the beach. This was her spot. She had found it when she had been wandering, and no one else knew about it, as far as she could tell. She loved it here. When nights were warm (and they usually were, in Jamaica), she slept here, to keep from having to sleep in the filthy, dingy streets of the town.

Not that Neggie was particularly clean herself. Being a homeless girl who had just been forced out of the orphanage, she hadn't had a real bath in weeks, just swimming in the ocean, which left her covered in sea salt and not much better off than she had started. She was also a bit of a fugitive, having to steal to eat, because no one would give her a job. Everyone knew about the strange, nameless girl who had showed up on the orphanage doorstep as an infant, with nothing but a note giving her first name and birthdate. Most shunned her, for she was wild and without boundaries, not following proper etiquette or codes of honor that children of her wretched state were expected to follow.

But Neggie didn't want to follow rules. She wanted to be completely free, without a care or responsibility. But she had no way of being free, being imprisoned by her own poverty. She would just have to stay in Port Royal and wrestle out a living.

Hearing footsteps behind her, Neggie whirled around, whipping out the dagger that had mysteriously appeared in her room on her ninth birthday. She had a pretty good handle on it, having practiced with it every moment she was alone, usually staying up very late mastering its use. Slowly and silently, she crept over to the edge of the rock and looked down.

Coming towards her, climbing and slightly breathless, was a boy of about her age. His straight blonde hair was tied back away from eyes, but some had slipped out of the tie and was sticking to his sweaty, freckled face. Neggie couldn't get a proper judge of his form or abilities from her angle, but she crept back to hide herself from sight for as long as possible. She was trying to figure out what she'd do when he did see her when his face topped the rise.

His startlingly blue eyes widened in surprise and he looked like a startled deer, frozen before the dash for survival. Neggie didn't give the potential threat time to recover. "Who are you? What are you doing here?"

"I- I'm Chris James. I was just coming to sit up here. I like it up here. I didn't think anyone else knew about it."

Neggie smiled easily and put the dagger away, into its sheath in her belt. "Me neither. I liked this 'specially because I didn't think anyone knew 'bout it."

He returned her grin, white teeth nearly getting lost in his pale face. "Me too. I don't much like company." He clambered up onto the top, and plopped down beside her. "Who're you?"

"Neggie."

"Neggie what?"

"Neggie nothing. Just Neggie."

"Neggie's an awfully strange name."

"Well, full is Neglana, but that sounds even stranger."

His eyes widened. "You're Neglana?"

Her face darkened. "Yeah, that's me. Everyone knows Neglana No-Surname."

He giggled. "What's so funny?" she asked, slightly annoyed.

"You just gave yourself a surname. No-Surname." He chuckled again.

She rolled her eyes. "How old are you, anyway?"

He puffed out his chest. "I'll be twelve in a month. You?"

She screwed up her face in thought for a second. "I think I'll be…" She trailed off, staring into space. "What month is it?"

"July. Anyone should know, the way the air is, all sticky and hot."

"Well, then, I'll be twelve on January tenth. So I'm a little younger than you."

His chest went out even farther. "So how long've you been here?" she asked, to get off the topic of ages. She disliked being bested.

"Us? We've been here forever, almost. My papa's grandpa was one of the first people who came to live here, when the port was founded. You?"

"Well, I dunno about my papa's grandpa. I dunno who my papa is. But I've been here forever. Or it seems that way. Perhaps its 'cause I don't know nothing else. I've been ere all my life."

He nodded. "Me too. I wish I could see more, but papa won't take me anywhere with him. He's a merchant, see, and he's been all over Europe and the Caribbean. But I haven't gone with him yet. Says when I'm older, he'll take me. But I'm almost twelve! When's 'older'?"

Neggie nodded in understanding. "One day, I'm gonna get myself outta here. Get on a ship and sail the ocean forever. Wind in my hair and the sea beneath me… that's heaven, for me."

Chris grinned, relishing in the dream, too. "Maybe… I could go with you?"

She smiled back at them. "Sure. Forever without company would be a pretty long time. But," her face fell, "you wouldn't mind leaving? Leaving your mum and dad? Your home?"

"Nah. We can come back and visit. I'm sure we won't hate it as much if we're not here that often."

Neggie's smile widened. "Maybe." They were now both imagining standing side by side on a ship, free of all bonds.

"So it's a deal?" Chris held out his hand. "If you go, you have to take me with you?"

Smiling, she shook. "Deal."

They then settled themselves side by side with their feet dangling over the side of the rock. They were silent, but they didn't need words, not quite yet. They had reached an understanding.

Quickly, that understanding turned into friendship. In their free time (in Neggie's case, when she wasn't stealing; in Chris's case, when he wasn't helping his father), they would meet and play on the rock. When they were young, they would pretend, being pirates, knights, royalty, and every other thing the young mind can invent.

As they grew older, Chris began working for a baker, at first simply hauling things like water and flour, soon beginning to learn the craft from the man. Chris lied to his father about his salary, and used the money that didn't go to his family to save up for swordplay lessons from the blacksmith's apprentice, a boy of nineteen. He would then teach Neggie what he had learned with sticks. Eventually, he saved up enough to buy himself a sword of his own.

His father was extremely successful, and was able to spend more time at home with his family, but never did he take his son with him on his voyages, much to Chris's disappointment.

Neggie, on the other hand, didn't have it nearly as good. Since no one would give her a job, even though she had gotten older and matured, and would have given up her old wild ways had someone paid her, she remained an urchin. Since no one gave her a job, she had to steal food, and that made her even less trustworthy, and even less likely to get a job, all in a downward spiral that just kept going on. She was constantly on the run from authorities, and often times used Chris's house as a hiding spot. It was well known that the two had been friends as younger children, but now, no one was really quite sure, so there, Neggie was safe for short periods of time.

Despite people's doubts, the two were still as close as ever. After they both grew out of playing pretend, they would simply sit on the rock, side by side, and talk. The topics varied: their dreams, fantasies, daily routines; they never tired of each other's company. When they would run out of things to talk of (which rarely happened), they were content to remain silent, not needing to fill the air with pointless chatter, just as they had when they were eleven.

Neggie made do with having just a dagger among the cutthroat scum that was the poorest of the poor in Port Royal. That is, until she was presented with a sword, bought for her by Chris once he'd saved up enough. With her new sword, and Chris's comparatively old one, they would fence on and around their rock, each becoming better and better. They didn't try as hard on each other unless they could get some kind of armor, but even so, they each had their fair share of scars where they had been nipped by the tip of their friend's sword, and there were many extra nicks in their rock for when they were a bit overzealous.

Chris had no problem wearing his sword out for the world to see; for Neggie, however, this was more of a problem. Women weren't supposed to carry weapons, so she wore loose trousers and kept her sword hidden beneath them. She assumed she wouldn't have to use it very often; she just had it in case. Since she lived in a wealthy port city, there were several pirate raids, and she was able to defend herself and others with the sword. When the panic died down, no one remembered she owned a weapon, and everyone was disappointed that she hadn't died in the raid. Except for Chris, of course.

Life for the two rapidly growing adolescents was routine, but very far from boring. It wasn't until about a month after Chris turned seventeen that their everyday schedule was interrupted at all.

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Hope you like. I like this a whole lot more than my other one. And I have the next few chapters planned, somewhat. What I'm going to do with the plot… that's completely undecided. But I'll spend the next little while setting the stage and introducing you to the story and characters. But don't worry- plenty will happen.

Review please!

-Arnold-