A girl is born into a patriarchal world and seeks nothing more than the love of her father. This one mission in her life leads her into a world she wouldn't have dared have nightmares about.
Anna-Li picked up her younger sister again under the arms and dragged her across the deck; the younger girl gave an annoyed squeal and tried to wriggle free.
"I can walk for myself Anna-Li!" Anna-Li grinned and tightened her grip, the girls feet barely touched the floor as she thrashed about to get free. Marci rubbed her swollen belly absently and watched the two make slow progress towards her. She frowned as the younger attempted to kick her sister.
"Oria, do not kick your sister." Oria glared at her mother.
"Tell her to put me down mama!" Marci smiled gently.
"Anna-Li, leave her be, she's three years old now, she can walk for herself." Anna-Li reluctantly put the girl down onto the planks of the deck and walked over to sit by their mother.
"Will this one be a boy mama?" Oria glared between them and sat down stubbornly on the deck watching the crew men rush around the ship.
"I hope so my darling. Imagine how pleased your papa would be if it was." Anna-Li wriggled in excitement.
"Will I be able to carry it round like I did with Oria?" Marci smiled gently and ran her fingers under her daughters' chin.
"Of course my darling but you will have to be extra special with him if it is a boy. Boys' are special and rare." Anna-Li giggled with glee and pressed her hands against her mothers' belly. Marci watched silently before glancing up to the still stubbornly sitting Oria.
"Do you want to feel the baby too Oria?" The girl shook her head stubbornly several locks of rebellious ebony waves breaking free of the leather thong and curling about her face, "Come on Oria, it feels funny." Marci held her slender hand out towards her youngest daughter; slowly the girl uncrossed her legs and stood up. Her hand grasped her mothers tightly and let her tight grip draw her close; Marci took her right hand and pressed it against where the baby was currently kicking. Oria frowned as her palm registered the slight pressure.
"Doesn't it hurt mama?" Marci shook her head.
"No... it feels good because it means the baby is healthy and strong. You were just like this, always kicking." Oria grinned and wriggled her way up onto her mothers' knee; Anna-Li reached out and brushed several of the stray hairs away from her sisters' face. Oria smiled and snuggled against her mothers' chest warmly, Marci's arms wrapped about her warmly and she laid a tender kiss on the crown of her head. Oria grinned and wrapped her arms about her sister and mother tightly.
"I don't ever want this to change mama, but I am tired of being the baby." Marci chuckled.
"Hopefully you won't be for much longer." The rattling of a hastily drawn spy glass drew the trios' attention up to the crows nest.
"Captain! There's a war ship approaching sir! It's a HMS and armed to the teeth from the looks of it!" Hellion glanced up from the wheel and began to bellow orders to the crew before noticing Marci and the girls.
"Marci get yourself and those children into the cabin and don't come out till I come for you." Marci nodded and grasped the two girls' hands tightly before dragging them into the cabin at a rapid pace across the deck. Once inside the cool of the wooden cabin she pushed them onto the large bed.
"Stay on there while I sort these out." She hurriedly began to bolt and lock the door before running over to the windows and dragging the heavy iron shutters over them. Quickly she padded over to the cabinet and dragged out several thick blankets, tossing them onto the bed she wriggled in between the two girls and piled the covers on top of them when the cannons began to fire.
Anna-Li screamed and wailed with each blast, occasionally the ship rolled in the ocean when a cannon ball hit its' target. Oria tried to wriggle free to see the destruction but her mother dragged her back under the covers and all but lay on top of her to stop her from wriggling free again.
It was nearly an hour before the guns were silenced and the screams and cries began as the red coats poured from their ship onto the pirates'. Pistol fire echoed eerily and the metallic clang of cutlasses rang clear as the guns had about the ship. It was another couple of hours that felt like an eternity under the heat of the blankets before the cheers rang out from the crew. A hand dragged the blankets off them and a blood red gaze met the trios' with a satisfied grin.
"Got a good haul this time, how's the baby." He dragged Marci upright and rested his palm on her belly, she smiled gently.
"Well, we're all well." Oria scrambled from the bed and ran outside to see the damage done. She paused at the doorway; men lay about the deck lifelessly. Blood pooled and swirled around limp frames; men stumbled to their feet and gazed about dazedly several with bleeding heads. A hand landed on her shoulder heavily, Oria jumped and gave a surprised squeak.
"Want to see the treasure we picked up?" She glanced up at her father and nodded, without warning he picked her up and placed her on his shoulders like a parrot. Anna-Li glanced out before retreating with a disgusted cry; Oria grinned and wrapped her fingers tightly into her fathers' snow white hair.
"Papa, why can't I have hair and eyes like yours?" Hellion laughed and headed towards the others ships' hold.
"Because only men are to look imposing and deadly, women are supposed to look demure and... beautiful." Oria frowned.
"Because men are meant to fight and wage war and battles and women are meant to serve men and give them healthy children to carry on after them." Oria scowled.
"Could I not carry on after you?" He chuckled and lifted her from his shoulders once they were in the hold of the HMS ship.
"No, you will grow up to be a woman, besides, you're already betrothed to a pirates' son. You are to go to his ship after you've earned your scars and give him good strong De Monara children. Now no more nonsense about men and women, look at all of these piles of gunpowder, shot, weapons... and look what I found." He lifted up a slender rose wood box decorated with a finely crafted peacock, he slipped it open. Oria stared at the jewels inside, a thick diamond necklace, a diamond bracelet and diamond earrings glittered up at her.
"Papa they're beautiful." He lifted out the diamond bracelet.
"One each for my special women." He wrapped it about her skinny wrist twice to ensure it stayed in place.
"Your mama is to have the necklace and Anna-Li the earrings." Oria grinned.
"Thank you papa." He chuckled and stood up slowly; he placed a hand between her shoulder blades and pushed her towards the stairs.
"Best get back to your mother, or she'll be worrying." Oria nodded her eyes still on the diamond bracelet and her grin matching its' twinkle as she scurried to the cabin to hand out the diamond gifts.