Chloe was in a rather peaceful slumber until the next day came, when she was startled awake to a voice shouting: "We've got ourselves a stowaway, boys!". Next thing she knew, she was being grabbed by the arm roughly and dragged to her feet, up the stairs to the Main Deck. Her muscles were in knots from sleeping on the floor, and tripping over her dress the whole way wasn't helping either. When they made it up top, she shielded her eyes from the bright afternoon sun with her free hand, and saw that she was pretty much surrounded by the dirtiest, ugliest men she'd ever seen. The large man that had a hold on her finally released her arm with a shove, making her fall onto the deck before he ordered another one of the men to get the Captain, who nodded and scurried off.
As she sat there on her knees, she kept her eyes down, afraid to make eye contact with any of the men. They were talking amongst themselves quietly, other than an insult or derogatory statement about her that was occasionally said a bit louder, she really didn't hear what all they were saying. It didn't help that her heart was pounding loudly in her ears either. "Who do we have here?" She heard a female voice say, making Chloe look up for the first time in minutes. Standing before her was a short woman with brown, wavy hair. Her eyes were a blueish gray, framed by dark eyelashes, and her skin was surprisingly fair, a few moles scattered down her neck. Her lips were bright pink, with a thin top lip and a fuller bottom. A couple things stood out to the redhead though.
She could see light scars on her exposed skin, but most prominently was one that went right through the middle of her right eyebrow. In her left earlobe was a thick gold ring. She almost laughed because that was a very cliché thing for a pirate, at least from the drawing she's seen in her books. Last thing she noticed was how she was dressed, surprised that it was almost exact to what she wore while exploring the woods on a regular basis. But even through the worn, dirty clothes and battle scars, Chloe was taken back at how beautiful she was. She would have never expected a girl like her to become a pirate of all things, yet she couldn't help but be impressed. Chloe imagined that it must not be the easiest thing to be a female pirate in such a male dominated world.
"A stowaway, Cap'n." The large man replied, bringing Chloe back to the moment. "Was in the cargo hold. What do ya want to do with her? I say we make her walk the plank. It's bad luck to have a woman aboard, let alone a redhead."
The woman raised an eyebrow at him and glared. "Stop it with your superstitions, Smith. If you haven't noticed, I am your Captain. Having a woman aboard isn't bad luck. And color of hair makes no difference."
"What do we do with her then?" One of the smaller men off to the side asked.
The woman cocked her head to the side and reached to her belt and grabbed the handle of her sword, pulling it out. Chloe's eyes grew wide, seeing how sharp it was, shiny and reflecting the light like a mirror. Closing her eyes as the blade came toward her, she waited for the inevitable chop, but it didn't come. Only feeling the smooth metal grazing her neck, swiping her long hair out of the way and over her shoulder as the woman stepped around her. She felt as if she were a shark, and Chloe was the unfortunate prey. As the seconds ticked by, she couldn't help wonder if they were going to kill her, why was the woman drawing it out? Maybe putting more fear into her victims before she killed them was her thing? If so, she was sure as Hell succeeding. Chloe had never been more terrified in her life.
"What's your name, girl?" The woman spoke.
"C-chloe Beale." She choked out.
"Well, Ms. Beale, what exactly are you doing on my ship?" She asked, standing in front of the redhead once again.
"I...it was an accident, really." She took a shaky breath before explained the best she could under the circumstances. "I was admiring your ship, and when I saw your men coming towards me, I panicked. I didn't want to get into trouble, so I hid. I didn't mean to come with you, I swear."
After a moment of silence, the brunette spoke again. "The usual punishment for a stowaway on my ship is rather severe. I like to cup open an arm or a leg before throwing them overboard, leaving them to the sharks."
Chloe gulped at the thought.
"However, our stowaways are usually men. But since you're a woman, I have another idea. Can you cook?"
Taken back, Chloe hesitated before answering. "Y-yes..."
The woman nodded. "Good, you'll work in the galley. Our cook, if you can even call him that, for lack of a better word, is shit at his job."
A few men around her laughed quietly as one man, who was the furthest away, leaning against the main mast, grumbled to himself. Chloe guessed the he was the cook.
"We'll hit land again in a few weeks. Then you are free to go if you wish. Until then, welcome aboard The Ice Queen." With that, the woman walked away.
Chloe's thoughts were jumbled, split between two things. The first being that they weren't taking her back to Barden. She really shouldn't be so surprised, and to tell the truth, she was sort of relieved to not be going back, what scared her was that she had no idea where they were heading, or that she was stuck on a ship with a bunch of criminals. The second was that name..The Ice Queen. She remembered reading the story about the ship that was named after one of the most feared female pirates of her time. It was hard to believe that the woman she'd just met was know for her brutality and coldness, because she had spared her. It would have been so easy to kill her, but she didn't. Of course she had other motives, but for now, she wanted to believe that the stories of the woman weren't true.
After seeing the woman say something to one of the smaller men around her, he nodded and walked toward Chloe while she walked back to wherever it was she had come from. The man told the rest of the men that the Captain said that she was off limits to everyone, and as they walked away, she heard the complaints of the crew. Next, the man grabbed the sleeve of her dress and tugged to her feet, and back down the flight of the stairs from which she'd been dragged her up. Going down one flight of stairs, he let go of her when they entered the galley. This was the first time she'd gotten a real look at the room. It held a kitchen area with cabinet and a counter, which had a few things strewn around on it. A few barrels in the corner. And in the middle of the room there was a large table where the men would eat.
"Mop the floor, clean the tables and counters." The man spoke in a harsh tone. "Then when you're done, start supper. Pots and pans are in the cabinets, fire pit is on the main deck." He said before descending the stairs to another level, leaving her alone.
Chloe was still in shock, not having proper time to process everything. But she did as she was told, not wanting to upset anyone. Seeing a mop and bucket of water in the corner of the room, she first cleaned the table and counter with a rag that was lying around before ringing it out and setting it aside. She then grabbed the mop, dipped it into the water bucket and started wiping down the floors. She really didn't see the point, because she imagined that it was just going to get back to being gross in no time with all these dirty men. When she was done, she placed them back in the corner and turned back to the kitchen. She knew that she was supposed to fix a meal, but the man hadn't stayed long enough to show her where everything was or what they wanted.
Since she was too afraid to go and ask someone, she poked around until she found some utensils. There was fresh meat on the counter, so she figured that's what was going to be fixed. Getting a large, deep pan from one of the lower cupboards, she prepared the meat. It had already been cleaned, so she placed it in the pan and found a bag of potatoes and started to shave the skin off of before cutting them up and putting them in a smaller pan. To add some more flavor, she cut up some carrots and celery to add later, put them in with the potatoes, and lugged the food up to the main deck. A fire pit seemed like a very dangerous thing to have on a ship, but she didn't know how else they'd be able to cook things while at sea, so it made sense.
She let the meat cook, and in the meantime she sat down next to the fire pit to keep an eye on it. Every once in a while one of the men would come her way, glare at her, and then continue on their way. She'd hear their loud voices and laughs from down the stairs, but didn't see the woman again. An hour or so later when the meat was almost done cooking, she added in the blocks of potatoes and veggies that she'd cut earlier. When it was all finished, she put out the fire and took the meal down to the galley. Chloe had just gotten plates out when the men started filing in. Without saying a word to her, they took the wooden plates and helped themselves. She made sure to stand back a few feet, not wanting to get in their way and make them more irritated with her than they already were.
Watching as they all cut themselves a hardy portion of meat and piled the potatoes on, she wondered if there would be enough for everyone. She really hoped there was so that she wouldn't be punished for not fixing enough. As the men plopped down at the table, one man was left standing. He had gathered up some wooden mugs and wad filling them up with what Chloe guessed was rum, that was being poured out of a barrel. After he filled each mug, he set it down on the end of the table, and it would be passed down the line, until everyone had a drink. After the man corked the barrel, he came over to where she was standing to fix a plate for himself, then shoving one in her hands, ordering her to fix a helping for the Captain and to take it to her.
Once again, Chloe did as she was told. Fixing a plate with a good portion of food before grabbing a cloth napkin and heading up the stairs. The Captain's quarters were to her left when she emerged on the main deck, and she knocked lightly on the dark doors. It only took a few seconds for the woman to answer, opening the door up wide so that she could enter. It was quite a large room, bigger than she had imagined. Spotting a table off to the right corner, she walked over to it and set the plate down. "Take a seat.", the woman ordered coming up from behind her and taking a seat on the other side of the table. Chloe sat down and looked around the room curiously as the Captain started eating her meal. There wasn't much. A large bed, desk, what looked to be a closet, the table they sat at, and a few things hanging on the walls.
"Tomorrow I'll have a list of things for you to do. Not much, but you still need to earn your keep."
Chloe nodded. "Okay."
"I'll also put out a change of more comfortable clothes for you, so you aren't stuck wearing that dress."
A few more minutes went by before the brunette spoke up again. "Have you eaten?"
The woman wiped her mouth with her hand before sliding her plate toward Chloe, that had half her portion of food left on it.
"Oh, but I couldn't take your helping..." Chloe said, starting to push the plate back, but the woman's hand landed on hers, ceasing its movement.
"I'm not that hungry. Eat."
"Thank you...uh, what should I refer to you as?"
The woman was silent for a few moments before getting up. "Captain is fine. Wine?"
"That would be lovely."
The Captain, her back to Chloe, grabbed a chalice and poured the red liquid into it before returning to the table, but not sitting back down. As Chloe ate, the Captain continued.
"As for sleeping arrangements, you'll stay in here. My bed is more than big enough for two. It's really either here or down below with the crew, and I'm afraid they would try something on you, even if I've ordered them not to. Besides, it smells a whole lot worse down there."
Chloe wasn't about to argue, she knew that it would be stupid to decline the Captain's offer. "I'd much rather stay with you."
"Right, well I have things to get to now." The woman got up and headed for the door.
"Thank you." Chloe called after her. "For being so generous."
"Just don't tell anyone else, eh?"
The rest of the evening, Chloe stayed in the Captain's quarters. She didn't want to go out on the deck and be in the way of anyone, so she was content with just looking out the window. She watched the sun set in the sky and wondered what her Mother was doing right now. It has been a full day since she disappeared. Guilt weighed heavily on her as she thought about how upset she must be. She really didn't mean for any of this to happen, but unfortunately she couldn't go back in time and change it. She would just have to wait until they stopped at land again and manage to find a way back to Barden. Taking off her dress but leaving her dress slip on and climbed onto the far side of the bed, leaving room for the Captain when she would come in later. She didn't know what the next few weeks would bring her, but no doubt it would be an experience like no other.