The story follows Ayden, a hardcore captain of a pirate’s ship, and Chrissie, A woman who has lived a hard, confined life.
Ayden stood on the captain’s deck looking out over the sea. He watched the land come into view, they’d been out on the water for over two months. After the voyage they’d had, Ayden looked forward to a couple of hours with a mug of ale and a wench under him.
The storm they just sailed through was one of the worst he had seen. Water flooded the ship so bad that he and the crew had to shovel it off the deck and out of the cabins. They had to rescue three of the men from the sea and barely saved them before the whirlpool could suck them down. The ship he was proud to call his, stood valiant through the storm, as the waves had reared up from the sea to do battle with anything that stood in the way. The ship stayed fierce through storm just as he and his crew did. The ship stood twelve feet above the water at the top of the shortest mast and the crow’s nest, which was the highest point on the ship, stood tall, between fifteen and twenty feet. He was as proud of his ship as he was of his crew, sometimes even a little more.
Ayden was six foot two, with broad shoulders that tapered down into a lean waist. His hair was dark brown and laid upon his shoulders when he didn’t tie it back. He had a face the lasses loved and the men hated. Ayden was feeling restless. He looked forward to going home. They could have gone straight there but his crew needed to blow off some steam and what better way than in a tavern. That put a smile on his face. After the stop, it would be back to the sea to head for home. A loud voice brought Ayden back from his musings.
Looking down to the deck of his ship, Ayden spotted Riker yelling at the crew.
Riker was Ayden’s first mate on the ship and the closest thing to a father he had. He’d raised Ayden from five years old until he reached manhood. Riker was tough on him when he needed to be and soft when the situation called for it.
As Ayden watched Riker, his thought back to the day when Riker stepped into the father role.
He’d hidden below deck when the fight had started. His father had told him to stay in the cabin, out of the way. He stayed hidden until most of the noise had died down, then he walked to the door of the cabin and opened it to see if anyone was in the walkway. After seeing no one, he headed for the steps that would take him above to the deck. He stopped in the opening and just stood there.
Ayden was standing as still as possible in the entranceway to the deck watching as Riker cleaned the wound on his father’s chest. He stood stiff and no matter how much he willed his body to move; it wouldn’t relent. He wanted to cry out but his body’s system refused to allow it. He knew he had to be strong, just as his father told him time and again. He continued to watch as Riker fought to save his father’s life. He didn’t exactly know what he was feeling, but his mind was racing and his stomach was turning as he looked on to what seemed to be a losing battle for Riker. He watched his father take his last breath, not a single tear fell even though he wanted nothing more than to go back to the cabin to cry in his pillow. He wouldn’t though because pirates were to be tough, strong, and ruthless or the sea would swallow you whole.
Riker stood and spoke to him, but Ayden was barely listening, even as he answered Riker, he wasn’t aware of his reply. All he did was stand there, transfixed with his father’s limp and lifeless body.
From that day forward, Riker took Ayden under his wing and was very good to Ayden in all the aspects of his life. He taught him everything he’d needed to know to be the captain of his father’s ship. Riker never let a day pass without teaching Ayden something new. At the age of thirteen, Ayden could hold a sword like any of the other crewmembers and by sixteen, he was able to win against them. He trained long and hard, barely made time for himself, while he learned everything possible to ready him to take over his father’s ship. Ayden was very grateful for everything Riker did for him. Ayden took over the ship when he was seventeen and they named it ‘Dane’ after Ayden’s father. The crew respected Ayden but they never feared him. They were called foolish by other crewmen from different ships. They were his only family and up until he was in his early twenties, they’d spent their days on the ship and their nights in a tavern.
Then he had a house built on some land his father had purchased. The house was of use for when the chilling winters came around and the sea turned mean. He thought about the night he lost his father often, but the memory of his mother he could never force through, he had been young when she’d passed.
The memories still bothered Ayden even though that particular memory was still fuzzy to him after all this time.
He yelled at the crew as he came out of his thoughts and memories.
“Drop thy anchor ye ol’ sea dogs, do it handsomely ye hear!” he yelled and then walked down from the quarterdeck, enjoying the breeze flowing through his hair.
When the shipped anchored, the crew sent up a cheer, all seemed to look forward to the tavern and the company of whatever women they found to lie in their beds.
Ayden walked into the tavern with the crew following behind him. The crew was loud and obnoxious, shouting crude comments at the women as soon as they got inside. Ayden scouted around for the best-looking wench in the tavern, while he leaned his back up against the wall so he could face the entrance. He liked to be aware of everything around him. He knew he had enemies because he was the most wanted pirate on the sea. The women wanted him and the guards barely knew of him, let alone where to find him. He was safe from the gallows and had all the women any man could ever want. However, there was something missing in his life and he couldn’t pinpoint what.
He spotted a pretty woman with jet-black hair, long legs incased in fishnet stockings, breasts spilling out of their confines, and plump lips made to bring pleasure in many ways. Several of which Ayden had on his mind, but first things first.
As the lass walked toward Ayden, he stopped her. “Wench, get me a mug of ale,” he said, smiling charmingly at her. “Why don’t ye get one for yerself too?” he added, handing her some coin and stared at her as she turned to go fill his request.
She walked away with a smile on her face. She knew what was to come. Every wench in the tavern knew of Ayden, either by rumor or intimately. He frequented the taverns on a regular basis when he was on land. It was said that he treated the wenches with care, unlike some of his crew. Maggie knew it was finally going to be her turn with him tonight and she was looking forward to the opportunity to experience the expertise of the captain, first hand. Instead of having to hear the other wenches talk about him.
He never felt anything for the women he slept with. Never wanted to, he’d just have his way with them and leave. He didn’t need anything tying him down to land, when everything he wanted was on the water this wench was no different, other than in looks. It was the way he liked it and wanted it to stay that way.
The wench came back with his ale and Ayden tossed it back in a few swallows. Setting the mug down he looked toward Maggie and asked, “Ye know what me looking for, so drink up and let’s move.”
“Yes, Captain, you and all the rest in this place,” Maggie replied as she in turn tossed back her mug of ale.
He glanced back at the crew as he led her up the stairs to the rooms. He could see the disapproval on Riker’s face from the corner of his eye, so he looked back to the wench and continued up the stairs.
The tavern was in decent shape, but always seemed filthy to Riker. It was not the place though, somehow, it was the people who frequented the tavern that made it seem filthy. Considering that most of them were his crew, just made it that much sadder.
The tavern, made out of wood and lanterns, held the only light. It normally wasn’t this busy, but with the entire crew here, it filled quickly.
Riker watched as Ayden charmed the best-looking wench at the tavern, as the crew disrespected the rest of them. They always came to The Jolly Roger Tavern just before they would head home. This tavern was a bit better to the pirates and didn’t call the guards at first sight of them.
Riker was shocked they still allowed them there, since the crew was so rude. They would smack the women on their backsides and grab at them. It was disgusting behavior for grown men and that’s not including all the vulgar things they would say to them. However, he guessed that is what people said of him in his younger days. To Riker it seemed like an eternity from when he was young. Riker shook his head as Ayden led a wench into a room up the stairs. It was disappointing to watch time after time.
Although Ayden was a good man, he was stubborn and wouldn’t allow himself to get too close to anyone. Riker was the only one he would ever talk to about anything. He knew it was because he lost his father at such a young age and hadn’t even really known his mother.
Riker had raised him since he was only a child, until he was old enough to run his father’s ship. He had hoped to teach him to be caring and better than all the other pirates he met, but even though he was kinder to women than his crew was, he never allowed himself to get too close with one woman. He understood to a point because the sea seemed to be a wife to all of them, no room for another, but Riker had seen it work with the right woman. Ayden’s father had truly loved his mother more than the sea because Riker knew he died just as much from a broken heart as he did from his injuries that day.
Riker wondered if any of his behavior with the lasses was due to losing his mother at such an early age. Then he lost his father not long after that too. Riker had no problem remembering the day he lost his best friend.
Riker could hear the sounds of the swords and the groans from the injured men. They lost a lot of the original crew in that fight. He told the Captain to flee, but Riker knew why he didn’t, it was the same ship as the one that killed the love of his life. The one, as of now, was taking his life as well.
He looked up at his Captain, as the man collapsed to the floor of the deck. Riker moved forward to get to him. Upon reaching the Captain’s side, he realized the man had stopped breathing. He bent to mop at the blood, as he started hollering for the crew. He began compressions to his chest, after a few minutes he gave up—heart had stopped. He turned to see Ayden standing in the doorway. The poor boy looked as pale as humanly possible.
Riker knelt down to the boy’s size. “Ayden lad, me sorry,” Riker said. “Looks like me gonna take care of ye now.” He was shocked at how calm the little boy was. “Me hope yer alright with it.”
“It’s what me father would have wanted,” Ayden answered, not even sounding as if he was going to cry, as he should have. “He would want me to be strong like was he.”
Riker watched as the boy just stood answering him, but never taking his eyes off his father’s body.
“That me boy,” Riker said with a comforting grin, as he tousled the boy’s hair.
A woman’s shout brought Riker out of his thoughts. Shaking his head at his crew’s behavior, he rose out of his chair and headed for the door. Riker left the tavern not wanting to watch the crew anymore and headed back to where the rowboats were tied. He took one back to the Dane.
Riker sat on the deck of the ship waiting for Ayden to come aboard, since he knew as soon as he was done with the wench he would come back. He never stayed over—ever.
After sitting on the steps for what seemed like an hour, even on this beautiful night, Ayden climbed up the rope ladder.
“Riker, why ye still up, we be riding back to the house tomorrow, ye know it be a long ride,” Ayden said with a smile.
“Why ye still foolin’ with the wenches, Cap’n?” Riker questioned with a grin. “Yer still young, ye can find someone ye don’t need to coin to lay in ye bed.”
“Aah. That why yer still up,” Ayden said as he leant against the rail. “Ye already know the answer to it, Riker. Me don’t want to get close to a woman. Me rather have me way with ‘hem and be done, ye should know that.”
“Cap’n, when ye gonna realize that loves a strength not a weakness?” Riker argued.
“When ye goin’ to realize that me heart belongs to the sea, just as every other pirate’s heart does?” Ayden said, crossed his arms, and walked off to his cabin to retire for the night.
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