Thursday, August 28, 2008

But the heart always will...

July 22, 1740
After Salvage

Wait in his quarters? The captain's notion of humor or guardianship.. either and both Nance considered disturbing. First the girl had given him her dagger and now he wondered if he shouldn't have encouraged her to use it. At least he'd expected that outcome but now outside his own small quarters he wasn't sure what to expect at all. He pulled the sharp blade into his hand from where he'd tucked it to keep it safe and rapped the door to announce himself. Would she spring at him or would she have found some manner of poison to avoid what she may have felt to be a distasteful voyage with her new captors? The second thought made him push open the door hurriedly. "Miss...?!"

They'd taken her dress to try and find a place to let it dry, she hadn't let them do much to tend her cut and because she'd been so 'fiesty' they let her be. Her corset and all were soaked so she'd taken them off as well and let the girl guarding the door take them from her. She was then left alone, wandering naked around this cabin which belonged to someone. She thought of taking a shirt and decided it might not be wise. She was led to believe they were trying to find her suitable dry clothing, she didn't mind being in bare skin only. This is how Nance would find her when he opened his door, sitting indian style in the middle of his bed, unpinning her hair, wearing only the jeweled necklace and earings they'd not yet taken from her.

Sitting bolt upright was also not what he expected. Nance had lunged into the room with such fright and force, he nearly could have landed on top of her. Quick to turn, the door was shut and his back now facing her as he took a deep breath. "Where is your dress?"

"They took it, it was soaked." She replied simply, watching him as he now stood there with his back to her. Her hands dropped as she freed her long, raven locks which flowed around her shoulders and down her back like silken ribbons.

He spoke over his shoulder and tried not to stare, or even look at all. "I suggest a trade. I'll return you this if you wrap up in... anything. Please." He held the dagger up between his fingers and felt the exchange was more than fair. Better to have her cut him to ribbons than wear less than the breadth of one about her person. His breath was shallow and his face more pink than he'd remembered feeling in some time.

"Am I that hideous to you?" She asked, her voice seeming soft as she shifted on the bed to reach out to take the dagger from his fingers. She set it with her hair pins and helped herself to the shirt she'd eyed earlier. "I'm covered." She told him as she worked the buttons of the shirt that hung to just above her knees, her bare feet feeling the wooden floor beneath them as she stood there.

"No. Nothing like it in the least," he admitted. His mouth felt dry and the words seemed too large to speak. He turned slowly as he heard the knife being set down. "Thank you. I'm.. that wasn't what I was expecting. I'm sorry."

Her when loose hung nearly to her waist and she brushed a bit behind her ear as she gazed at the man. "What were you expecting?" She asked, her fingers touching the gash on her head lightly after fussing with her hair.

"Clothes," he said simply, letting out the breath and letting his shoulders fall gently as he offered a small smile. "Other than that, I'm not sure I really expected you to be so.. lively. Or calm," he noted. He also noted the cut was mostly untended as her fingers drew to it. "Would you let me?"

"It would do me no good to wail or struggle against being in here. I would only bring myself more grief from it." She answered quietly about her calm state, eyeing him up and down as he stood in front of her. "Allow you to.. do what?" She was unsure what his attention was on or what his intent was.

His grin faded into a stern twist for a brief moment. "To tend your cut. It's not dry either." He turned to get his water jug and a cloth. "You're right though. Wailing and crying doesn't help the crew any, I wouldn't expect it would help a guest, either. What's your name?"

"I will allow it.." She said cautiously, hesitant but giving in to let him take care of the wound. She moved to the bed, sitting as she had before, but facing the edge and him now, her pins and knife staying closer to the center of the bed. "I don't know." She answered his other question truthfully.

Uncorking the jug, he sloshed a small bit of water on the shred in his hand and approached her with it. Looking at the lump beneath the cut, he didn't doubt her word, but hoped that perhaps she was simply hiding her name. The jewels that adorned her weren't a simple commoner's but they weren't necessarily her own, either. "Tell me about those then, hm?" He motioned to them then dabbed lightly at her cut.

Her hand lifted and her fingers brushed over the necklace where it hung down over the top of her chest. "A gift from... from my mother before we left for..." She trailed off not having the answer to the rest of the question. "The doctor told me we'd been in an accident.. I don't remember it.."

And they'd let her keep them when they dumped her in here? What sort of pirates were these he'd signed on with? He snickered under his breath. The humor wasn't at her expense. "Likely wise not to remember much from here on out, either. Does that hurt?" He wondered about the damage of the wound, if she even felt it.

"It feels like I got my head smashed." She replied honestly, shrugging one of her shoulders. "The captain and the others will likely take these from me.. won't they?" She asked softly, running her fingers over the necklace. "I think I was giving them enough of a hard time with the wound and the dress that.." She chuckled. "The captain is a woman.. I saw her before they brought me down here."

"She is. She is fair but also stern and unpredictable," he said, trying to warn her off any ideas of womanly compassion. He'd met the captain's father, afterall. "Giving them a hard time perhaps might have earned you a right to keep them safe so the others fight over them less. They'll also draw danger to you on this ship, so don't consider it a favor."

"She must be a very strong woman to lead a crew of men at sea." She said with a quiet conviction in her voice. She closed her eyes and ran her fingers over the jewels for a moment again. "How does one keep something of value safe aboard such a ship?"

Wasn't that the captain's own question about having the women on board to start? "Fish stories," he muttered, though that was something to explain another day. "A careful eye and a more careful step. Yours or the ones guarding you, I'd say. Apparently, that is why you're in here with me. Second Mate, and guard it seems... Robin."

She nodded at first and even offered the barest of smiles for his kindness and advice. The smile melted into a pout as her head tipped down a moment, when she looked back up to him the expression was hard to read. "Thank you for being my guard Robin. I have no name to offer you in return, I'm sorry."

"Apologies for something that can't be helped? Please, miss. You have greater things to worry on." His smile warmed now that the introductions were more proper and he was confident the cut was cleaned from salt and sickness. He rinsed the cloth and draped it over the rail of his cot to dry. Corking the jug again, he thought and turned to her. "Do you recall where you hail from?"

"No." She answered him softly, quietly as she curled around a bent leg, resting her cheek on her knee. "I remember broken pieces of different things. I don't remember where I was or where I came from.. I know it wasn't 'home'.. I was married.. but I couldn't remember him.. he failed to swim when the ship went down."

Had the loss of her memory also caused her to lose her ability to mourn the loss of a husband? He couldn't tell, but she'd been through much and might not yet have fully realized. "The lord must have thought his duties to be served... I'm sure he served well," Nance offered it if it would soothe, though what soothed her he could only guess and not know for the way she'd spat at him earlier.

"I don't know if I ever loved him.. before I lost my memories.. but I didn't after." She confessed, looking more sad at that than over his dying. "He made me uneasy.. he seemed.. happy that I couldn't remember things. But I don't remember enough to know why or what it was he was happy I didn't remember.. I suppose it doesn't matter, now. How odd is it that I've felt safer since being pulled onto your boat than I have felt since waking up after the accident?"

"No odder than being on the ship here with the rest," he laughed, finding it a stranger mix each day. A girl chopping up mythical squid, a stowaway father, dredged up lovelorn 'seaweed', a navigator half his age and a woman captain... now a widowed girl and her shipmate with no memory of herself... what could he possibly find odd in that? She might not find their company as amusing as he did at the moment and he sighed. "The mind may not find its place, but the heart always will, miss. Perhaps your heart feels more comfortable at sea... mine does. Are you hungry?"

She watched him with a curious expression her eyes following his every move. "Perhaps.. you are a wise man.. Robin." She offered him a slight smile which faded away, her natural expression seemed to be more indifferent, at least for now. "Yes. I am a bit hungry." She nodded a little and fidgited a bit.

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