SUMMARY: Cracky AU in which pirate captain Darken and his trusty first mate Cara meet up with Captain Cypher who is determined to bring him to justice

NOTES: For the People's Palace pirate challenge. See profile for artwork link

The wind ruffled Darken's hair as he stood at the prow, watching the waves crash against the bow of The Death Lord.

"My Lord," Cara yelled. "A ship; Westlanders."

Darken stroked at his beard. This could be fun, or profitable. Being a pirate wasn't all rum and burying treasure; often it was about finding enough gold coin to make sure your crew didn't mutiny or desert, or getting fresh water and fruits before people started dropping dead of natural causes.

On-board The True Seeker, Captain Richard Cypher glared at the distant shape of The Death Lord. He'd been sent to destroy Lord Darken, allegedly the worst pirate these waters had ever seen.

His stowaway sweetheart, Kahlan, stood at his elbow, stunning in her beautiful but impractical white dress. "Is that him?"

Kahlan hadn't stowed aboard merely to be with her beloved; Darken had sunk her parent's boat, cruelly orphaning her. She wanted to see him pay for his crimes.

Richard nodded, checking his compass and taking stock of the wind. "If the information we've been given is correct, yes."

"Prepare the cannon," Darken ordered.

"Prepare the cannon," Cara echoed. She strode along the deck, flicking her whip at anyone too slow to obey the order. Darken watched her appreciatively, enjoying the sight of her leather clad legs and rear almost as much as he loved her white shirt that dipped tantalisingly low.

The first cannon ball missed entirely. The second brought down their mast. Darken rubbed his hands together in glee.

"Bring us around," Richard bellowed, and his most loyal sea-hand, Zedd, battled with the wheel to turn the gigantic vessel. The wind was in their favour and the ship began to arc at last. The next cannonballs fell harmlessly into the sea.

"Reload," Darken ordered.

"We're out," Cara said.


Cara shrugged, using one hand to hold her loose blonde hair back from her face as the sea breeze whipped around her. "You ordered us to buy fruit back at the last harbour. There wasn't enough coin for more ammunition."

This, Darken thought, was what happened when you tried to be a pirate with a conscience.

"Fire on them," Kahlan urged but Richard shook his head.

"Darken has escaped too many times. This time I'm going to make sure."

Kahlan squeezed his arm through the sleeve of his uniform. "And then we will marry."

"And then we will marry," he agreed. "Bring us in closer."

"Prepare to repel boarders," Darken ordered, reaching under his long coat to draw out his sword.

Cara had a dagger in one hand and her whip in the other. Darken took off his hat and placed it on her head, tucking her hair behind her ears. He bent over and kissed her.

"If we don't survive this, it's been an honour, Mistress of the Sea."

"Less melodrama, more fighting," Cara said.

The True Seeker came up alongside The Death Lord.

"Surrender, and you will not be harmed," Richard yelled. "You have my word."

"And why should I trust your word?" Darken returned.

"I am Captain Richard Cypher, and if you know of me at all, you know I am a virtuous man."

Darken laughed and hoisted his sword in the air in greeting. "Cypher. You almost had me at the Port of Brennidon before you abandoned the chase to rescue that stranded herd of cattle."

"Surrender," Richard said again. Maybe it was Darken's imagination, but he thought the captain had reddened in embarrassment.

"Let's kill him," Cara said, eyes fixed on Kahlan. "But keep the girl alive."

"For ransom?"

"Eventually," Cara agreed, licking at her lips.

"I cannot kill him," Darken told her, adding, as she made to protest, "Be patient."

Darken lowered his sword. "I do not surrender," he called. "But I will parlay."

"Don't listen to him. He's a liar, like all pirates," Kahlan complained.

"He's too proud to simply surrender," Richard said. "But we might negotiate some terms that allow him to keep some dignity."

"I will come aboard your ship if you send your wench over here as collateral," Darken called. "Or you can board my vessel and keep my first mate Cara on The True Seeker. Your choice."

"I love this woman. How can I be sure you care anything for the one you propose as collateral?" Richard demanded.

In answer, Darken pulled Cara close and kissed her passionately. He stepped back and spread his arms wide. "Well?"

The exchange was made. Cara carried herself like an Admiral, disdainfully inspecting The True Seeker and its personnel - except Kahlan, who she viewed with an appreciation that made the young woman very uncomfortable.

Richard stepped aboard The Death Lord and Darken bowed in what may or may not have been a mocking gesture.

"Captain Richard Rahl," he said.


"I think not. And if you are as virtuous as you claim, then you will not want to kill me," Rahl said. "I had a most interesting conversation with a midwife named Shota back in Brennidon. Your father is not Admiral Cypher, but Panis Rahl, my father, may he rest in peace."

"You lie!"

"Nay. Ask Zedd if you doubt my word. He was the one who facilitated Panis's tryst with your mother, Taralynn." Darken smiled, knowing he now had the upper hand.

"I can't kill my own brother," Richard said wretchedly. "Also, he claims it was Nicci the Red who sunk your parent's ship."

"So what now?" Kahlan asked.

"Do you have to wear a uniform?" Cara asked.

"I get a new hat."

"Do I have to wear a new uniform?"

"Absolutely not," Darken said, both intrigued and horrified at the thought of Cara in a dress.

"And we receive water and supplies?"

"One of the benefits of being Westland privateers. It's much like piracy; only we are told who to attack."

Cara shrugged. "We ought to have gone quasi-legal years back."

Darken couldn't disagree.