Just something that popped into my head. Seemed like fun to write, so here I go!
Dedicated to my ex-boyfriend, merely for introducing me to the Dungeons and Dragons world. Dedicated also to the love of my life, my soulmate. I love you. ^^ And dedicated to drgn grl, cause I didn't have any D&D books. ^^; Major help!
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Save my characters. ^^ Everything else is D&D.
A Goddess of Fate slowly stepped amongst the stars in the Heavens above, the skirt of her dress blending seamlessly into the colors of the sky. She approached the blue planet apparently floating in space. Aerth. A swift glance told her all was as it should be, the god and goddess of chaos were leaving her work be for the moment. She slowly let her gaze drift over the planet, watching the mortals as they started to go to bed...or started to wake up. Of course, some had been up all night. A certain ship suddenly caught her eye. She smiled; the ship held one half of her special project. And when she saw the sea port town that it was steering for, her smile widened.
"Well, well...their second chance at last..." Her eyes flashed about, before returning to the small ship steering across the ocean towards the port town. "If he interferes this time, he will regret it for millennium." She sent down a favoring wind, hurrying the pirate captain towards his destiny.
It was barely morning, the sun had barely risen her head above the far-off oceanic horizon. The white jewel of a house glittered on the top of the hill above the trading town that filled the valley below, piers and docks bustling even at this early hour, smoke already rising from the chimneys. Robert grinned to himself as he looked towards the town from the crown of his ship, "The Scottish Heart", the sea-ward breeze slapping his long curls against his shoulders. He grabbed a rope and swung down from the top of the sails to the ship's wheel where his trusted first-mate and best friend was steering for port.
"A perfect day, eh, Dustin?" he asked, clapping his friend heartily on the shoulder.
"Been at the rum already, Robert?" Dustin asked with a laugh. "Good Lord, it's not even seven!"
"No, of course not!" said Robert convincingly with a laugh. "Although rum is good at any time of day or night."
"So you say." chuckled Dustin, spinning the wheel slightly. The rudder-man, a skinny man named Larry, tilted the tiller to match. "And remember, Robert, we're just picking up supplies, alright? None of your "unexpected" adventures."
"But you have to admit, they are fun."
Dustin rolled his eyes. "Captain. We can't afford to waste time with your escapades; we're wanted men. Especially in sea-faring cities." His eyes pointedly looked to the town they were sailing for. "No "adventures", can we agree on that?"
Robert huffed. "You're determined to ruin all my fun, aren't you?" he said as he swept his hair back away from his face.
"That was in my job description, sir." Dustin said in a mocking tone, grinning ear to ear.
"Fine. No "adventures" today." agreed Robert. "Note to self: re-write first-mate job description."
"What are you going to do, fire me?" smirked Dustin, eyes challenging Robert.
Robert wagged a finger at him. "You never know, I just might one of these days if you keep being a smart-ass."
"Sure, Captain. Right." Dustin laughed as the sun rose over the horizon, throwing light over the ocean and the town before them. They would be there in an hour.
She nearly fell out of her small bunk in her room on the third floor. She blinked blearily. Had Albert really called her this early in the morning? Oh, God, he had. The echoes of the butler's voice urged her to hurry. She cursed, hurriedly getting up and rushing to get dressed. She did NOT want him to call her again. She just wished that she didn't have to wear so many dreadful layers! A shift, two or more petticoats, corset, stockings, the uniform dress, the over skirt and shawl in the winter-tide. She hated layers and this dratted uniform! Why couldn't the governor make it a bit more bearable?!
She sighed as she placed her mop cap on her head, tucking her honey hair up into it. Then again, she didn't have any say in anything. She was just the indentured servant. She didn't even sleep with the rest of the servants. She earned no money, just days and weeks and months to her freedom. She tied the strings and hurried out of her room and down the hall, silently so as to not awaken any of the others. They didn't like being awakened either. She knew exactly where that butler would be. He never seemed to leave that first parlor room unless he was called elsewhere. She swore that he lived there. She nearly tripped on the second flight of stairs, but she caught herself just in time. Just one more flight of stairs; her feet were muffled by the elegant carpet that graced the main stair-well.
A few more steps and she sailed over the last stepped, her feet carrying her into the first parlor where she immediately dropped into a curtsy. "Yes, sir?" she said, stepping up and looking to the elder butler as he stood next to a window, looking out over the sea.
"Andre has requested help."
She dropped another curtsy. "Yes, sir." she replied, turning and hurrying out of the elegantly lonely room, into the front lobby with it's grand chandelier and oaken staircase, both cold. She hurried into the hallway and turned right at the Ming vase. The kitchen was through the swinging doors on the other side of the dining room.
Albert's gray eyes narrowed as he watched the strange ship draw closer to their harbors. His keen eyes could make out the anchor falling into the blue waters and a dingy being lowered over the side with four men in it. No matter. It had nothing to do with him. A silent huff, he then drew the curtains, shielding the furniture and one of three pianos from the sun's rays.
Elisabeth scowled as she swept a cloak onto her shoulders and clipped it, grabbing a basket from the collection that they were allowed to take to market, glaring daggers at Andre's turned back. She pulled a very unladylike face at him before she stalked out the back door. She took a deep breath on the kitchen's porch, the salty air filling her lungs as the sun kissed her skin. She loved the feeling of the first time that sun hit her skin after a long night in the dark. It was liberating. As she started to walk down the back path through the garden to the small wall-gate, she looked up and spied an albatross flying overhead. She felt her feet stop walking as she looked up at the free-flying bird. One day...she'd do the same. Fly away from this place. It was all she wanted...
She continued down the path, past the prize rose bushes and peach orchard, past the governor's daughter's flower garden, Andre's herbs, the dogs' pen...She kept up a swift pace past them. The dogs let out vicious barks as they caught her scent, but the door was closed on them. She hurried through the small wall-gate, latching it behind her. She sighed as she turned away and started walking again, heading for town.
"High seas robbery!" shouted Robert, pounding his fist on the merchant's counter. "Fifty gold for five pounds of salt?!"
"Never mind him." said Dustin, paying the merchant and taking the bags of salt. "Been at the bottle."
"This early in the morning?" asked the merchant, bushy eyebrows raised.
"Rum is good at any time, day or night!" Robert declared, waving a finger about, nearly knocking off his hat. "Ask anyone!"
"I'll keep that in mind, Rob, thank you." Dustin muttered, ushering them out of the store, tossing the bags to the two crew-members who had come along; a strong, heavily scarred half-Drow who served as a gunner who went by the name of Gaussafae and a Elven man who served as chef and chief marksman, called Ricendithas. Ricendithas checked off another mark on his scroll, running a long finger down it, searching for the next item.
"I would suggest getting to the next shipment of fresh produce. Citrus is expensive these days and we need the choice picks. Plus, the rice merchant will be nearby that ship."
"And rum! We can't forget the rum!"
"We won't forget the rum..." muttered Ricendithas, with a roll of his eyes. "We never do." With that, his scroll disappeared back into his pack, which was enchanted to bite any strange hand that dared to try to take something from it. "Now, Captain...the rice and citrus?"
Robert pointed in one direction and started to march that way. "This way!" Dustin, without missing a beat, turned his Captain about to the right direction. Robert blinked, then grinned. "Like I said, men, this way!" Dustin chuckled as he followed.
"Who are we to argue with a captain?" he asked, keeping close to Robert as they made their way through the crowds. Ricendithas kept pace with Gaussafae, who was carrying the salt atop the earlier purchase of a box of potatoes easily.
"How much if the Captain passes out in ten minutes?" Ricendithas asked Gaussafae quietly, a sly grin playing on his lips. Gaussafae grunted, then lifted the potatoes to a better position on his shoulders.
"Twenty gold." he said in his gravelly voice. Ricendithas nodded. "It is a bet, my friend."
Elisabeth sighed and paid the fruit vendor the twenty silver pieces for the strawberries out of season and kiwis in season. Strawberry and kiwi tart for breakfast...she'd like a slice of that. As if she ever would, she never got the good stuff. Even as that was, she didn't even allow herself to steal a single strawberry. If she did this right, she might get the first choice of bread baked by Andre this morning! A piece of bread hot from the oven, coated with butter and sugar...oh, it was heaven. She turned and was run into by someone walking in the opposite direction. She gave a cry as she fell backwards. Her basket parted company with her hand.
The strawberries and kiwis scattered, some to be squished under the crowd's heels without their realizing. She nearly sobbed as she watched it, trying her best to gather up the rest of the fruit, but it was battered and bruised, no longer suitable to present to Andre. A tear threatened to fall before she quickly dashed it away. A hand suddenly appeared in front of her face. "Here, miss. Terribly sorry about knocking into you, are you alright?"
"Y-Yes, I'm fine." she said swiftly, taking the hand. She was pulled to her feet and she froze. The man holding onto her hand froze too. Their eyes had met.
She stared dead into his green eyes. A strange feeling started...she knew him. She knew she knew him! She knew him...from somewhere. "D-Do I k-know you?" she asked, well aware how strange it sounded. Robert couldn't drag his eyes away from this girl's brown eyes. Her question barely even filtered through the buzz that was filling his ears. How did he know her? He must have seen her somewhere...
"E-eh?" he managed, eyes still locked on hers. "D-Do I know you?" she asked again, feeling his hand tighten slightly about hers. She didn't want him to let her go...something horrible would happen if he did...
"What is your name?" he asked, green eyes boring into hers.
Dustin suddenly realized that his Captain was missing. "Blast it." he muttered, starting to search through the crowds. He spotted his Captain's large feathered hat in the crowd, close to a fruit vendor's stand. He came upon the strangest sight he had ever seen (and he had seen quite a few); his Captain, staring dead into the eyes of a maid and she was staring right back into his eyes. Their hands were locked and he somehow got the idea that they couldn't let go.
"Robert." His Captain didn't turn or say anything. "Captain?"
"Someone is calling you." she said quietly. The man nodded. "Robert?" He nodded again.
"Robert." Dustin's voice barely made it through the buzzing of Robert's ears. A hand settled on his shoulder. "We really must be going, Captain, the shipment just came off the ship-"
"Rice and Gus can handle it." said Robert with an authority that Dustin never heard coming from him unless he was sober. "Rice knows more about that than I do, he'd be more of a help and you have the money. By the way, give me five gold pieces. I need to replace Elisabeth's produce I caused her to drop." The maid, obviously Elisabeth, shook her head in a weak protest.
"I-I cannot, I shouldn't. It was my fault, I wasn't-"
"I was the one who was not being conscious of my surroundings. Please. Let me replace what I have ruined."
Staring into his eyes, she nodded. Robert held out his free hand to Dustin. "Dustin." Dustin put five gold pieces into his Captain's hand.
"Shall we meet you back on the ship then, Captain?"
"Yes, yes. I will meet you there in an hour." Robert commanded, waving Dustin towards Ricendithas and Gaussafae who were just starting to pass them. Dustin gave a bow and turned, going over to the waiting crew members.
"The Captain will be with us shortly." he said sharply, keeping them walking towards the citrus ship. "I'll wring his neck later." he muttered, keeping up a swift pace in front of them. Ricendithas merely shrugged as they disappeared into the crowd.
Robert took the white wicker basket from her hand and, with great difficulty, turned his head to the fruit vendor. "Fill it." he said simply, handing it and the five gold pieces over. "The best of the strawberries and kiwis, plus the best of the best. Oh, and keep the change. Yes?"
The fruit vendor nodded, not questioning the five gold pieces given to him. He started to fill the basket as Robert turned his eyes back to Elisabeth's.
"You didn't need to do that." she said quietly, her fingers tightening very slightly about his. "I just needed some strawberries and kiwis..."
"Consider it re-payment for knocking you off your feet." he said with a smile. She felt a light pink steal over her cheeks; the basket was once more handed to Robert, full of strawberries, kiwis, plus star-fruits and red pomegranates. He took it without question. "May I escort you home?"
"I don't have a home..." Her eyes widened slightly. She hadn't meant to say that out-loud. "I-I work at the governor's mansion." she hurriedly said, pointing to it on the hill. The white jewel sparkled in the sun's early light. His eyes flashed to it for a moment; he paused for a bit too long."You don't have to if you don't wish to..." she whispered. Then he smiled and offered his arm to her.
"It would be an honor to escort you." he said, eyes smiling warmly at her. She took his arm and they were walking. "Forgive me for that pause, I was just wondering if anyone there would recognize me, even with this hat." The feathers fluttered in the breeze as they walked.
"Recognize you?" she wondered, managing to keep step with his strides. "From what?"
"Wanted posters." he said honestly, guiding her through the crowds.
"Yes, wanted posters. I'm known as Captain Bubonic." he said very quietly as they moved through the crowd; she could barely hear his words over the sounds of the shouting people. She looked up at him in shock and then recognized him; his posters were mostly drawn with him scowling or snarling at the people looking at him. But his true face...she doubted if a scowl had ever crossed it. And as he smiled down at her, she knew that a scowl had never crossed his face. And she knew something else as well...
"Well, then, Captain, we'd better take the back way." she said, not looking up at him again as she lead him into an alley. She silently walked him down several back streets and alleys, then they were along the governor's garden street, the large concrete wall blocking out the splendor from the rest of the world. All you could see were the very tops of the peach trees. "I must go now." she said, reluctantly pulling her arm from his. He caught her wrist.
"When can I see you again?"
Her heart thudded. "Never." His stunned silence hurt. She pulled her wrist from him. "You are a pirate. I am a...maid in the governor's house. And although I am grateful for your help in the marketplace, never come near me again."
What happened next was in neither of their calculations. He grabbed her wrist again, pulled her close and kissed her. She was so shocked that she couldn't move for several seconds. A thought filtered through her buzzing mind...'I've kissed him before...' The thought terrified her. She yanked away from him, her hand and his face connected with a slap that echoed up and down the street and he stared at her with something close to bewilderment.
"Never. Do. That. Again." she said as coldly as an icicle in the middle of January. "Come near me again and I will not hesitate to call the guards."
Then she was gone, the small door in the wall slamming shut. He stood there for a few moments before turning and walking away.
Less than an hour later, he climbed back up the ladder unto his ship. As soon as his booted foot hit the deck, Dustin was there. "You're late. We were about to set sail without you." he said with a grin. Robert walked right past him. Dustin blinked and followed his Captain. "Rob, you alright?"
Robert waved a hand at Dustin before disappearing into his cabin. The crew members that he passed stared after him with a mix of disbelief and curiosity.
"What's going on with the Captain?" asked a brunette man who went by the name of Full Moon Larry who was famous for showing his bum to the enemy before engaging in fights. Dustin shrugged.
"Don't know." he said, going over and knocking on Robert's cabin door. "Captain, do we have a heading?"
Robert's head popped out of the door. "Heading?"
"Yes, where are we going?"
"Oh. Nowhere. Keep anchor." He disappeared back into his cabin. Dustin pounded on Robert's door.
"What?!" came the irritated yell. "I'm busy!"
Dustin pulled open the door and entered the room, wisely thinking to keep this between him and his Captain. Robert's cabin was nicely decorated; a skeleton of a monster he had killed in a corner, as well as an extensive wine and rum rack, rigged so that nothing could fall out when the ship rocked. He was sitting at his desk near the windows, a bottle of rum sitting on the wood next to his elbow, unopened. Robert's hat was thrown to the red velvet blanket on his bunk, his coat thrown over the back of the chair that he was sitting on. "What is it, Dustin?" he demanded, still scribbling upon the sheet of parchment in front of him.
"We're staying here, Captain?" he asked, moving closer.
"Of course we're staying here, I have unfinished business."
"Unfinished business by the name of Elisabeth?" Dustin looked over his captain's shoulder. The parchment was already almost completely full. Her name cropped up more than once...indentured servant, thief, governor's mansion...sweep away? "Captain, what are you planning?"
"A kidnapping, Dustin. I thought that would have been obvious."
Thank you for reading. Review, please.