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.
Chapter 2 - De Monara In Scar And Name
Oria scuttled up the rigging as quick as a monkey after bananas and paused half-way up with a grin; Anna-Li was glaring up from beneath her.
"Oria get down here now." Oria laughed and scrambled up a few more rungs.
"Come and get me Anna-Li." The girl crossed her arms furiously and tapped her foot while tossing her blonde ringlets over her shoulder.
"Oria, stop being so childish and get down here now." Oria folded her legs through the ropes and dangled upside down with her arms mimicking Anna-Li's.
"I told you, come and get me or perhaps you're too old?" Anna-Li unfolded her arms and placed her hands on her hips furiously.
"Oria, I am only three years older than your pathetic eight years." Oria rolled her eyes, and swung around to free her legs, "Besides, I don't want you mama does." Slowly the brunette wriggled back down the rungs and headed towards their cabin. Pushing the door open she gazed in to where Marci was nursing her first son, the room had barely changed; there was still the large double bed, the desk and chair, and the bookcase. Oria and Anna-Li's hammocks hung in the corner of the room; the only new addition was the second bed hand carved by Indian crafters for Nix, who was usually attached to his mother in much the same way as he was at the moment.
Marci glanced up as Oria entered and motioned for her to sit on the end of the bed and await the end of the nursing. Nearly ten minutes later the baby boy gave a yawn and Marci put him into the large bed to sleep.
"Sleep well my little Nix." Oria watched as Marci sat down next to her.
"Anna-Li said you wanted to see me mama." Marci nodded and dragged the slight girl into her lap.
"Me and your father have been discussing you Oria. We think you should start wearing dresses and behaving more like a young lady." Oria frowned and played with the rough edges of her trousers.
"Why mama?" Marci sighed lightly.
"Because that is what you are and what you must become." Oria shuffled backwards titled her head back as far as it would go and studied her mothers face intently.
"Why? What if I don't want to be a young lady, what if I want to be a pirate?" Marci chuckled.
"You will always be a pirate, it's in your blood, my mother and father were pirates and your father is the last descendent of the most powerful pirating family that ever existed. You are special Oria, because you are a De Monara." Oria shuffled about in her mothers' embrace.
"Then why can't I stay special?" Marci frowned confused and looked down at her daughter.
"What do you mean?" Oria wriggled around in her lap and turned to face her.
"All women give birth to children, all women stay underneath their husbands, all women get married. I want to be a pirate, have adventures like papa, learn how to fight and become the best swordsman in the world. I want to be a special woman when I grow up." Marci chuckled and ran a finger down her cheek.
"Women aren't meant to be special in that way darling. They're meant to do certain things just like men are and the boundaries should not be crossed." Oria leapt out of her mothers grasp with a frown.
"But why? Who says we must?" Marci opened and closed her mouth like a fish out of water not sure how to answer.
"Because that's just the way things are sweetheart. It's the way the world works." Oria felt tears threaten and quickly ran out of the room hearing her mother calling her name in despair. Marci sighed as Nix began to grizzle at the sudden raised tones.
"Oh Nix, what are we going to do with her hmm?" She cooed at the baby till he drifted back to sleep.
Wiping the tears from her eyes Oria lifted her bleary focus from her knees into the startling green and blue of one of the crew. He gave her a wary smile and held out a rag for her to wipe her eyes on.
"It's clean." She accepted it and rubbed her face into it before passing it back, "Now Miss, what you doing crying down here in the holds. You had us all spooked thinking there was some sort of unavenged soul down here." Oria frowned at him, he wouldn't understand, he was a man but then women wouldn't understand, because they were women. Her eyes cleared into a childish pantomime sad impression.
"Mama was upset with me and I didn't want to disappoint her." The man chuckled and brushed the track of a crocodile tear from her cheek.
"Liar." Oria's eyebrows fled to her hairline as Captains' daughter she was treated with a great deal of respect and this was not something she heard or been accused of everyday. It startled her immensely.
"Why am I a liar?" He shuffled forwards and sank onto his heels. He was a skinny man, one who always looked like his bones were too big for his skin, thick curls of chocolate brown hair tied back roughly in a strip of leather. His eyes intrigued her, one aquamarine blue and the other emerald green.
"Because you fled from your mothers side because you don't want to be a girl. I must admit that it's not a life I would choose. I know you want adventure little one, it's in your blood to want it. I'll give you a deal, you do everything your mother and father say and we'll meet down here for a few hours every day in between my shifts and I'll train you up to be a swords... woman." He emphasised the word swordswoman knowing it would have an impact on the girl. Her eyes widened with awe.
"You would do that for me?" He nodded with a slight grin at her enthusiasm.
"Other women and girls break away, dress up as men and become pirates. You've got a head start thanks to your father. You've got the instinct and the blood." Oria scowled at him.
"What's the catch? What will I owe you?" He smiled, just like her father seeking out any potential dangers before shaking on an agreement.
"When you get your own ship and reputation you spread my name around, Zechariahs, make sure everyone knows I helped you get where you are. Get me plenty of respect that." Oria slowly nodded, "Do we have a deal?" He held his hand out and watched as the mechanics in her brain came to a conclusion and she placed her own smaller one in his and gripped firmly. He spotted the similar look that he often caught in Hellions' eyes, hard determination encased in a diamond strengthened will. He knew in that instant she would eclipse her father, she would eclipse her whole family history; she would eclipse the Earth if destiny gave her any leeway.
The lessons progressed swiftly with Oria picking up moves and balance faster than Zechariahs had anticipated of a woman. Nearly six months later and she could meet all of his parries, she couldn't land a blow yet but she was starting to get damn close. They paused in the spar when there was a flurry of activity above.
"Man 'O' War approaching on the starboard bow." Zechariahs glanced down at the girl, she looked unafraid as she sheathed her cutlass and headed up the steps, he quickly followed and grasped her arm.
"It'll be too late for you to reach your cabin stay down here; I'll come for you when it's safe." She nodded and crouched behind a support her small hands holding onto the wood as the ship began to rock with cannon fire. Nearly half an hour later the shouts for boarding and battle echoed out and temptation got the better of her.
Slowly dragging herself up the steps on her belly she peered over the top step and watched as pirates met red coats in a messy battle of bloodshed. Several screams rose wailing into the air with several souls as they were skewered like pigs. A pirate fell backwards past her down the steps and was pursued by a red coat, without thinking Oria drew her cutlass and sank it into the mans' guts.
He choked and gave an angry shout of surprise as she withdrew the cutlass and stared disbelievingly at the blood dripping from her blade and running down his legs, he fell down the stairs after the pirate he had been chasing. Oria stared at her blade in fear and awe, she had killed, she knew even her father hadn't killed as young as her.
She stood just staring at the amount of blood drenching her arm, the creamy shirt stained crimson up to the elbow. One minute the battle was raging in front of her and the next hands grasped her shoulders and shook her harshly back into the present.
"Oria, Oria, are you alright?" Slowly her eyes met her fathers, the man was staring in disbelief at the amount of blood drenching the girls slight frame, "Are you hurt?" Her fingers released their grip on her cutlass and it fell down the steps with a clatter, she had killed, taken a mans' life without even knowing him. He hadn't intended her harm yet she had still killed him.
"No papa. I'm fine." He glanced behind her to where the red coat was led.
"You... you killed him?" Oria glanced back at the dead man and nodded dumbly.
"Yes." Hellion froze; Zechariahs stepped up behind him.
"I support the girls' claim Captain, I saw her. She stopped him from killing me, I fell down the stairs, he followed and she stabbed him." Hellion nodded slowly, Zechariahs held out her cutlass for her to grasp. Slowly she grasped hold of it, the hilt still slightly slick with the liquid.
"Then you must take your scar." Oria met her fathers' gaze and detected the faintest twinkle of pride in those blood red orbs; he grasped her hand and dragged her out. She followed stumbling after her fathers expansive strides. The crew were tossing any dead into the ocean and preparing the ship to move on again, "A De Monara has earned her first scar!"
Movement froze immediately, and all attention focused on the trio, Oria spotted her mother looking terrified and wringing her hands as was her custom. Her eyes met Oria's and concern was written all over them, "Oria has killed a red coat and earned her first scar. Marci bring me the knife." Marci nodded her hand on her heart and her breath hurried with fright. She re-appeared a few minutes later with an ornately carved ebony wood case engraved with a glittering golden tiger.
"Hellion are you sure this is right, she's so young." Hellion shrugged.
"She killed, I have no choice but to mark her or forfeit her claim to my name." He slipped open the case and lifted out a dagger with the same ebony wood handle this time the tiger was glued in and made from tiger bone. The silver glinted in the Caribbean sun as he gently eased up Oria's shirt on the right hand side, his gaze met hers.
"You have killed today, your first kill and as such I mark you as a De Monara." The dagger bit in a deep way to the right of her spine and he dragged it down across her back tilting downwards till it rested a few inches above her right hip. Thick rivulets of blood poured down her side but she stood strong her teeth gritted and her fists clenched, "You are now a De Monara." Oria glanced down at the deep wound and trembled slightly with the pain; Marci grasped her hand and dragged her into the cabin. Once the door was closed behind them she turned Oria to face her.
"What the hell did you think you were doing? What is wrong with you, girls' do not go around killing people." Oria nodded numbly.
"Yes mama." Marci shook her harshly.
"You are such a fool!" Shock was the only thing registering in her mind; Marci swept her up suddenly into a hug. Oria slowly began to struggle free and turned away to find some bandages to seal up the bleeding wound leaking down her side.