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.
Oria watched her sister intently, it was two years since she had been marked and the scar was now a proud reminder of that day. It had earned her more respect than being a Captains' daughter ever could have done. Her father watched her with respect and her mother no longer pestered her to wear gowns, her sword play lessons were no longer fought in secret but openly on the deck occasionally with her father instead of Zechariahs who had also benefited from her scar. He had been upgraded to First Mate.
But now everything was going wrong, her sister had just begun her first period meaning she was fertile, two years in heaven and hell was about to take its' revenge. Marci was barely able to contain herself in her excitement.
"Oh Anna-Li, soon you will be able to join Captain Troy and have children of your own. It won't be hard for you to earn your scars, your father is already seeing to it." Anna-Li grinned and glanced at Oria who was avoiding her gaze.
"Aren't you pleased Oria?" Oria met her gaze slowly but chose to leave instead of answering; she slammed the door behind her and sat on a barrel overlooking the ocean. Anger and betrayal echoed through her head, she knew it wasn't her sisters fault, but why did the gods have to send lightning bolts into every aspect of her life, she wished for once they would take aim at someone else. A light hand rubbed her shoulder.
"I heard the news, are you not pleased for your sister?" Oria glanced up into Zechariahs face and sighed.
"I don't know. I know she wants children, but I want her here with me and mama and papa." Zechariahs noticed the absence of Nix.
"What about Nix?" She scowled at the name.
"It's his fault. If he hadn't been born then papa would have no choice but to keep us on his ship and raise us to take over. Now we're all going to be separated, it's going to happen to me as well isn't it. When I get my first bleed I'll have to leave too won't I." He gave her shoulder a light squeeze, he couldn't help himself, he saw this girl as more than a little girl, he was as fond of her as if she was his own. Zechariahs grinned down at her.
"It may not be as bad as you think." She felt tears threaten and blinked them away quickly.
"But it won't be on the Tigress, it won't be mama and papa and Anna-Li." He chuckled and knelt next to her.
"It'll be a few years yet till you have to leave, don't worry about it." Slowly she nodded and grinned.
"Want to fight?" He chuckled and drew his cutlass quickly adopting a ready position.
Easing herself up Oria glanced around rubbing her head gently; her eyes slowly cleared and took in the change of scenery. She was in a brig, a heavily built brig with heavy thick locks and an equally heavy looking guard snoring in the corner. Gingerly testing her feet she rose and leaned against the bars, her eyes blurred and she quickly sank back down onto the floor.
Taking in her situation she tried to remember how she had got here, she remembered the shouts of a Man 'O' War approaching, she remembered the cannons on both ships firing. Then a third set had joined in, firing at the Tigress, a pirate ship, she remembered the flag, it was one she had not seen before. She remembered the screams and cries as men got slaughtered from all corners and then nothing but a dull throbbing pain in the back of her skull.
Gently Oria parted her hair and felt the rough edges of a nasty gash on the back of her skull. The guard turned in his sleep with a pig like grunt and snort, she had to escape and get back to the Tigress, she had to know what happened, she had to know that her family was alright. Stumbling back to her feet she ignored the kaleidoscope of colours and gripped the iron bars tightly.
"Parley!" She shouted the word loudly and the guard stirred but didn't wake, she screamed it and he fell off his chair in shock.
"Alright you little bitch, alright!" He approached her cell with the keys and dragged her out roughly by the arm. She studied the path they took through the ship and up to the deck before a direct path into the Captains' quarters. The man knocked respectfully and was beckoned in with a rough 'enter'. Oria gazed into the dim chamber and spotted a man sat at a large ornately carved desk.
"Ahh, the little De Monara whore." Oria scowled at him and attempted to tug her arm free.
"I won't run away you know, where would I run to? The bottom of the ocean?" The guard released her at the Captains' amused nod and motioned for him to leave.
"But Captain..." He scowled at the man.
"I think I can manage a small girl you scurvy dog now get out of my sight." Oria folded her arms.
"What do you want with me and what happened with my ship?" The Captain chuckled and leaned back in his chair.
"Your ship is it? I thought the Tigress belonged to Captain Hellion De Monara... your father. I don't know what happened to it or your family, we took only what is owed to us. A couple of pounds of female flesh." Oria frowned.
"I don't understand." The Captain chuckled.
"You wouldn't. My name is Captain Horace Kerthion, your mother was supposed to be my bride, but your father believing he is the best in the world at everything stole her from right under my nose. Destroyed her transport and made it appear she was killed in the attack while actually he was humping her like some rabbit. So I've come to collect what is owed to me, which since you were the only female within reach was made you." Oria folded her arms.
"Aren't you a bit old?" He chuckled.
"I'm younger than your father." Oria shrugged.
"I'm not impressed." The Captain chuckled again and leaned forwards.
"What are you going to do about it I wonder, tell me what can a little ten year old do?" Oria smirked.
"I'll have destroyed your ship by this time tomorrow, if not sooner." He chuckled and leaned back pretending to be impressed.
"Oh you will have will you?" She nodded seriously.
"Yes, I promise." He chuckled.
"Then I shall just have to keep you besides me at all times." Oria folded her arms and sat on the bed.
"Fine by me." He raised an amused eyebrow.
"Good." She stayed as still as a rock for several hours till night fell and the Captain stood up with a cat like stretch.
"You're on my bed, I want to sleep, move." Oria stood up and sat on the floor as he locked the door and dropped into his bed lazily. It took him five seconds to drift into sleep and barely another five before the key fell from his palm; she grinned and picked it up unlocking the door quickly and slipping out.
She headed back to where the brig was and began to hunt out the powder magazine, it didn't take long to find and with night already well underway not much longer to find a torch. Tracing a short gunpowder line she lit it and ran to the edge of the ship, throwing herself over the side just as the line came to an end and the ship exploded. The heat radiated through the water she had submerged herself in and sent her reeling back several feet from the intensity.
After a few more seconds she rose out of the water and glanced about for anything to hold on to well aware of the possibility of sharks being drawn to the bonfire. A large section of the hull was floating a short way off and she swam quickly towards it and hauled herself up in one smooth movement.
Shivering slightly Oria dragged her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms about them tightly; the currents slowly dragged her away from the remainder of the burning wreck. After nearly a day adrift Oria was beginning to feel the effects of the unforgiving Caribbean sun, no matter how many times she slipped into the water and clambered back out to let the water cool her it always got hotter. Her throat burned, her stomach ached and she longed for the cool under belly of the Tigress, the sharp tang of salted meat and slightly stale water.
Sleep evaded her and nothing but the sun kept her eyes company until the fall of the night and its' replacement by the moon. The strangest sensation came over her as dawn rose on the horizon in a blood red oval like her fathers eyes; she felt her life began to wane, her strength fail. But her mind went into hyper drive and her eyes saw everything anew, the blood red sun looked as a fiery peacock displaying its' plumage at the top of a glistening waterfall of gold. The ocean glittering about her like a sapphire painted silk and the dolphins that leapt playfully looked like silver comets flashing through the sky and plunging into the ocean only to rise again.
Her dry throat convulsed and she rolled onto her side, it would be so easy to drown and stop this but she didn't even have the strength to roll into the deep blue. Dry tears rose in her eyes and Oria blinked as if to clear them feeling her eyelids roll over her eyeballs like sand paper.
Warmth, not the warmth of the sun but warmth of a body wrapped in a thick silken duvet and pressed into a goose feather mattress was the first thing her wearied body noticed. Oria smiled, so she had arrived at heaven and how wonderful it felt, the smooth silks under her fingers, tickling her under the chin and a cool hand across her forehead, an angel's touch. Her eyes blinked open and met crystal blue, a peaceful angelic face framed in soft golden ringlets and a gentle smile.
"Hello little one." Oria blinked, the golden light of the angels halo was glittering off her hair, "You've had quite an adventure haven't you? Can you tell me your name?" Oria blinked and frowned her mind still fuzzy.
"Oria..." Something stopped her from mentioning her surname, "I thought angels knew everything?" The woman laughed and stood up to sit on the bed.
"I'm not an angel Oria, my name is Angelica Bay. You are on the HMS Fearless, Captained by my husband, Admiral Herachio Bay." Angelica appeared to have missed the sudden dilation of her eyes as the truth hit Oria harder than an anvil thrown over the side of the tallest building onto a mouse, "What is your surname? Do you know where you were travelling to or any family?" Oria met the woman's gaze confidently.
"My name is Oria Smith, I and my family were travelling to Port Royal to meet my aunt who lives there." Angelica nodded with a gentle smile.
"We're heading there now, sleep now, we won't arrive for at least another four days." Oria nodded and curled up under the sheets closing her eyes and letting her mind begin to tick away at her latest plan. A soft hand ran over her head and gentle lips pressed against her head before the soft swishing sound of layers of skirts swirled away and the door opened,
"Shh, she's sleeping, her name is Oria Smith, she was heading to Port Royal to meet her aunt." The Admiral glanced across at the slight sleeping form drowned in several piles of silken sheets.