Not The Life for Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Pirates went out to seas to find glory, treasure, and get away from the British Kings. Sometimes, they took prisoners, for ransom or other reasons, and sometimes kept them to work on their ship. One such ship had four such slaves, abused and forced to followed all orders. For them, the pirate life is not for them.

Submitted: September 11, 2016

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Submitted: September 11, 2016

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“ All hand hoy!”

It was another day on the open sea. The gulls called as they soared overhead. The air was heavy with the smell of salt. The sounds of waves crashing against the side of the ship filled the air. Muffled by the sounds of the waves, Jace could hear the men shouting up on deck. He crawled out of his little crawl space below deck, the others were still sleeping. Gordon was leaning against the wall, his back made it too painful to lay down. Leroy was sprawled out across the floor, his blanket tossed aside. Sophie was the only one sleeping normally, while she slept peacefully was the only time Jace saw her smile.

“ You guys, it's time to get up. The crew is already on deck.” Jace said, going around lightly shaking each one of them. Gordon opened his eyes, seemed he was awake prior. Leroy yawned and stretched, but just curled up and closed his eyes again. Sophie sat up, yawned, and rubbed her left eye. Gordon was the first to stand.

“ You kids take your time, I’ll take the brunt of the punishment for not being up on time.” Gordon then left their little galley right below the deck and was met with insults and curses. Though concerned, Jace knelt down beside the still sleeping Leroy and lightly shook him.

“ Leroy come on, get up. The crew is already on deck and Gordon is taking the brunt of the blame.” Leroy finally began to stir, sitting up and stretching.

“ But it’s so early! Why are they making us get up so soon now a days? It’s unfair.” Leroy, despite now just waking up, was full of his usual energy.

“ It’s not our place to question them Leroy. Come on, Gordon is taking the blame for us being up late.” Sure enough, as the three teens began to rise and make their way up to the deck, they could hear the crew cursing out and yelling at Gordon for being up after dawn.

“ You useless bilge rat, you want a flogging this early?” As Jace came up onto the deck, he saw Gordon being punched in the gut, a sight he had seen many a time. The tattered buccaneer who did it turned and saw the three young knaves. “ Well shiver me timbers, look at who finally came up on deck.” The dirty man came up and got in Jace’s face.

“ Morning Sire Ruthus.” Jace muttered.

“ Aye, it is morning.” Ruthus delivered a similar blow to Jace that he did to Gordon. “ And yi kanves should have been up at dawn swabbin the decks!” Jace was used to this routine; Ruthus yelling at them just about every morning he was not too hungover and punching one or two of them in the gut. The crew laughed and cheered as Jace fell to his knees.

Ruthus was the member of the crew Jace hated most. He was dirty and mangy, there was always something in his citrus colored beard, be it food or liquor. His tattered clothes befit someone of his statue; a damaged shirt that was ripped down his sternum with a brown collared vest with as many holes as himself and rolled up blue pants. His brown boots has been damaged so now his big toe stuck out the. An eyepatch and matching bandana covered his head and face, hiding the many mistakes he made in battle.

“ Leave them be Ruthus.” And as like every morning, the old seadog known only as Teach to the crew would defend Jace and his friends. He was the oldest of the crew and the captain’s first-mate. Dark skinned, lightish hair, and a uniform that made him look more like a naval admiral than a pirate, Teach commanded more respect than Captain Archer, and more fear than any pirate Jace had heard of.

“ Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh, Teach you always let the rapscallions off easy.” And just like every morning, Rufus would be mad at Teach defending them and the two would soon begin to argue, followed by a shorter duel than the day before where Teach would give Rufus some new scar, or hole, or some form of harm that would last. As Rufus walked off to square off with Teach, Jace and the others went about cleaning up the deck.

With there being either vomit, blood or spilled booze, the four slave hands had to clean it up. Dressed in nothing but tan tunics that barely reach their knees in both scorching heat, blistering cold and ruthless winds, Jace and the others went about the cleaning duty as best they could. Jace had been on the ship for as long as he could remember.

Having few, but cloudy, memories of his early years, Jace knew little about where he came from. He believed he came from one of islands in the west, for Teach told him he and Archer had sailed there years before but had yet to go back. Teach said Archer found “his greatest and most precious treasure” there, though he never told Teach what it was, or where he kept it. It was the one thing Teach did not know of his captain. Couple that with the fact Jace had the “skin and hair of an Indian” as Rufus and other members of the crew would put it. Jace started as the only worker on the ship, but soon Leroy, Gordon and Sophie joined him.

Leroy was the son of a British officer that had wronged Archer at one point, though Teach never told Jace how. He had eyes the were the sky in a pupil, always bright and beaming. His shaggy brown hair had yet to grow past his ears in the almost year and-a-half he had been on board the “ Electric Sea Dragon.” Are the abuse and insults had yet to temper his energetic, optimistic personality and outlook, for Leroy “knew” his father would come for him. Unknown to him however, another pirate going by the name “ Whitebeard” had apparently killed him a half a year before.

Sophie was the next one to be captured, and she was the most beautiful thing Jace had seen, along with one of the few women he had seen. She apparently was from a small port village north of London, and when Archer and his crew landed there, one of the crewmen had kidnapped her, despite both Archer and Teach threatening him. He did not listen, and suffered the price, Archer put a lead stopper on the man’s life when he found out he had kidnapped Sophie. Despite his ideas against taking Sophie, he had choice but to keep her aboard to prevent tarnishing his reputation. She had flowing dark hair that complemented her slightly dark skin, freckled face, and umber eyes in Jace’s opinion. Jace swore he would take her away one day and treat her like a queen, lucky for him only Gordon was awake the night he was murmuring to himself. She had spent just about a year on the ship.

Then there was Gordon, an older guy, being older than Archer but younger than Teach, and was once a formidable pirate himself. He and Archer, and even him and Teach, and crossed paths countless times when Gordon captained the “ Crimson Wench” a name he swore he didn’t choose when he took from his old Captain “ Crimson” Jake. When defeated at last by Archer and Teach, Archer wanted him to suffer a fate worse than death for a man of his nature; to serve under another once again. Gordon watched over Jace and the other two when Teach was busy, and took most of the blame, and blows, for mistakes on their part. “ Another scar won’t kill me. Not yet.” Gordon said when Jace questioned him why he always stood up for them. Gordon was a bald man, gold earrings once lined his ears but now decorated Archer’s. He had countless scars; from sword fights to bullet wounds, and even a shark bite, Gordon had seen and done a lot on the seas. He swore he would help the three escape, let them live regular lives as he returned to the seas once done dealing with Archer. Gordon had only began his servitude about four months prior, near the beginning of summer.

Jace kept the promises he made to himself and of Gordon always in the back of his mind, using them as the small bit of light in his dark life. He spent his day swabbing the deck, with the crewmen mocking him and only making more of a mess to make him work longer. They did the same to the others, mostly to Gordon and the least to Sophie. Jace ignored all the comments as he always had and continued to clean the deck. While swabbing or cleaning or repairing on any part of the ship, Jace like to keep “inventory” on all the members of the crew. It was the only thing he could do to really help himself pass the time.

When on the deck, Jace would see the usual lot of crewmates; Rufus was always causing some kind of issue with some of the other crew men, especially Jax, a new African pirate Archer recruited. Jax was one of the first Africans Jace had seen, and he was intrigued but kept his distance. The rest were “cannon fodder” as he once heard Teach call them, most of the of crew that spent the day on deck had little to no significance. They were all just low lives who disliked how the king handled things, and went Archer’s ship was the one that pulled into port, they jumped at the chance to join a crew and get their share of the treasure. There was the helmsman, Walter, called Walt by most, was another older guy, just shy of Teach in terms of wrinkles. He was quiet, never had spoke to Jace, and never allowed anyone but Teach or the captain up near the wheel. He seemed nice to Jace, yelled the least amongst the crew and drank little, or drank a lot when Jace wasn’t looking and could hold his liquor.  

On the few times Jace spent on the gun deck below, he had interacted with the lot arming the guns. Not as loud as the ones up top, and knew what they were doing. They were more sophisticated than most pirates Jace had seen, and it was a big shock when they didn’t yell at Jace for spilling his bucket. They ignored him in fact, paid him little mind. The only one that ever spoke to him was the head gunner, a man called Ol’ One-eye, though he was hardly older than Archer, who was in his prime. One-eye would only speak to Jace when he told him how and where to fix and holes in the hold they had gotten when they were in a fight. Jace respected him for how he kept order below deck with little to no yelling, swearing, or threatening, something Rufus and most of the other crew could learn.

Despite his hate for most pirates, especially Archer, he came to respect some of them and even Archer at times. Things were generally fair among them, the split up their loot mostly equal amongst all crewmates, though men look Rufus got the least while Teach and One-eye got the most after Archer himself. Archer also formed a crew that Jace had come to respect as he got older. Teach and One-eye were brave men, who were good at their craft, and Archer picked them up because he knew what they could do, and apparently that is why he picked up Jax recently as well, according to what Teach had told him. Speaking of Archer;

“ Captain on deck!” From the front of the ship even Jace could hear Teach yell out, and the buffoons who spent the day twiddling their thumbs on the deck formed up in lines outside Archer’s captain as the door creaked open. The man of the hour came onto deck; Captain Archer, a pirate with only one name, one title. Jace rolled his eyes slightly before going about his work.

Captain Archer, dressed more like a dandy than a pirate at times. He wore a crimson suit with gold patterns and lining, with real gold buttons, and a matching pair of pants and black shoes he took from a British politician, the only type of person Jace had come to dislike from just hearing about them, but he was on a pirate ship so they obviously were spoken ill of. He had on a hat the size of the Walt’s wheel, with a huge white feather sticking from it. It was one of many similar get ups that Archer owned, all of which had been stolen from merchant ships and politicians’ homes. He strolled across the deck, his hand on the rapier on his side, something Jace hardly saw him carry. He walked right by Jace, giving him only a glare, and went straight to Sophie.

“ Young Sophie,” Archer had treated her with the most respect, forbidding the crew from hitting her. “ I would like you to join be in my cabin.” His regal tone made Jace sick to his stomach, and his request shocked him; only Teach had been in his cabin, along with a few wenches every so often. Sophie, though confused and hesitant, put her he mop in the bucket, and followed Archer back to his captain. When Jace turned to see her go, he saw the terrified look on her face, and the shock that had come across the crew. Apparently, none of them saw this action coming nor understood why it was happening, even Teach had an eyebrow raised. When Sophie entered the cabin, Archer turned to face his men.

“ No one is to disturb me till young Sophie leaves me cabin, clear?”

“ Aye aye Captain!” The crew echoed. Archer nodded, and looked back at Jace as he slowly closed the door.

Nothing happened the remainder of the day, the crew spent most of it either talking about why Archer brought Sophie into his cabin, or what he was doing to her. The things they were saying, the vulgar, indecent things, made Jace both enraged and sickened.

Jace and Teach had a code; when Jace wanted to speak with Teach, he would just push his mop into the boards, lifting it slightly and pushing it back down. When Teach wanted to speak with him, he would whistle a short, three note tune on the starboard side of the ship. There had been times when one wanted to speak to the other, but this time, both did their signals almost simultaneously, something that had not happened before. Seeing the urgency, Teach summoned Jace to his quarters, something he had not done before, they often would go to the back of the ship.

Teach’s private quarters were below deck, a room that was apparently the same size as Archer’s, but was split into four smaller rooms for Teach and some of the other high ranking members of the crew, like One-eye and Walt. It was a decent sized hovel, had a huge bed with dark covers, a desk covered in papers and charts, and different types of loot from over the years. The moment the entered, teach moved a chest in front of his door and sat on the foot of the bed, Jace was angrily pacing back and forth, unsure what to do.

“ Why would he do this Teach, I don’t understand. He has never paid us much mind, only mocking us like the others when he comes out or barking at us to hide during an attack. Now, now he has some interest in Sophie, so much of one he brought her into his private cabin and said not to be disturbed! I-I-I can’t stand this Teach, I’ve never been this mad before at anything, I-I don’t know what to do!”

“ Calm yourself laddy, I’m sure ye are just over exaggerating.” Teach was calm, while still a bit shocked, calm. “ Ye need to cool yourself before ye boil over.” Teach raised both his hands and lowered them slowly, trying to simulate cooling off. Jace slowed his pace and soon just stood in front of Teach with his hand on his chin.

“ You’re right, Teach, I’m getting too angry. But what would Archer want with Sophie? She never messes up, she always behaviors and acts as he’s wanted her to. I just, I just…” Teach sat there, his hands in his lab, and just stared at Jace. When Jace came out of his head due to silence, he looked over at Teach. “ What?”

“ Ye love Sophie don’t ye?” Jace paused at the question. He felt something for Sophie, he liked her, but love?

“ I-I-I mean I care deeply about her, but, but, love is a strong word. I-I just don’t really know-”

“ Ye care deeply for her, aye?” Jace nodded. “ Ye want to be with her and live normally on land, aye?” Jace found himself nodding again. “ Ye have fallen for her. I have seen the way ye stare at her when ye up on deck, and how she look back.”

“ S-she looks back?” Jace had become red in the face at this.

“ Never when ye were looking.” Jace found himself now having a smile on his face, and he was excited; she felt the same, or something similar, that he felt for her.

“ Y-you’re right Teach, I do love Sophie.” Jace said it aloud, and was almost more shocked at it than when Archer brought her into the cabin. “ But then, what if Archer is doing vulgar stuff like the crew was saying? I can’t let that happen!”

“ Relax Jace, Sophie ain’t Archer’s type. She still too young, barely began to mature. Ye are safe.” Jace let out a sigh of relief. Just then, there was a knock at the door. Both those in the room were shocked, but Teach got up and went up to the door, moving the chest.

“ Aye?” He put his ear to the door.

“ It’s Jax.” It was one of the few times Jace heard Jax talk, he usually just walked away when Rufus started things. Teach opened the door and the newest crewmen entered the room.

He was big, he had to be the tallest man on the crew by at least a foot, and had the most muscle out of anyone on the ship. He was bald like Gordon, and had a scar across his left eye. He had on a loose, ragged white shirt with rolled up black striped pants. His pistol was at his side always, Jace had yet to see him without it.

“ What is it Jax?”

“ You have Jace in there correct?”

“ How’d you-?”

“ There is something you both would like to hear.” Teach frowned and opened the door. Jax walked in and Teach shut the door behind him.

“ What is it?”

“ Some of the others were being nosey, and tried to listen in on Archer and Sophie. Apparently, there can hear some type or moaning or groaning coming from inside, and it seems to be Sophie. Though some thought it may have been-”

“ That worm riddled, skirt wearing, grog-snarking blaggard! I’ll keelhaul him! I’ll hang his head from the bowsprit and feed his corpse to the sharks!” What rage that had left jaec returned with a force, rivaling that of any storm he or the other present had ever experienced. Jax was caught off guard by the fiery explosion that was jace, but Teach remained calm and attempted to calm the boy.

“ Jace me lad, calm ye self. Ye are blowing all this out of proportion, I’m sure those blaggards up top are half death at this point from cannon fire, or losing an ear. Your lady is fine.” Teach spoke as soothing as he could, but he could tell it was not calming young Jace. Teach looked to Jax who was still in shock. He gestured to Jace, Jax snapped out of it and realized what Teach wanted. Jax walked up behind Jace and chopped his throat, causing him to lose his breath and slowly consciousness.

“ What should I do with him?”

“ Just, bring him back to the slave’s quarters. Hopefully he’ll cool off.” Jace felt himself get picked up and slung over Jax’s shoulder as he faded completely.

When Jace woke up next, it was already dawn again. He was on his bed spread in the small little nook of the ship he and the others called home. Remembering the events of the day before, Jace whipped around to see if Sophie was in her bed. She was, much to his relief. However, he saw something that confirmed some of his fears; he could see an open wound on her shoulder.

“ Sophie!” Jace hurried over to her, carefully putting his hand on her shoulder. She didn’t move, she was out cold. Jace could see a wet spot on her bed spread; she had cried herself to sleep. Enraged, Jace wanted to do something, but he didn’t know what he could do. He wanted to check on her, so he slowly lifted up part of her shirt to see her back. The small gash on her shoulder was not the only one, there were countless gashes across her back. The blood had dried, and the wounds were left untreated in anyway. Her shirt had to have been new, there was no dried blood and did not reek of sweat.

“ Jace.” In his furry, Jace almost didn’t hear Gordon speak. He also did not realize he was crying, he didn’t remember the last time he had cried. It felt unnatural.

“ When was she brought back last night?” Jace bit his lip and sniffled as he turned to Gordon, the always vigilant.

“ She walked back around midnight. I tried to ask her what happened, but she ignored me. She just layed down and cried herself to sleep. Took some time, she finally fell asleep after I began to sing her a little shanty.”

“ And what about me?”

“ Jax brought you down a little while after Sophie came back. He put you on your bed and the two of us talked on the deck. He told me everything.” The fact that Gordon remained unfazed by everything that had happened shocked Jace a little, but he had seen countless horrors worse than this.

“ So do you have a plan on what we are going to do?”

“ There is nothing we can do.”

“ Why not?” Jace was readying to turn his rage on Gordon due to his answer.

“ There is nothing we can do. Archer did this to Sophie, if we were to oppose him we would have the entire crew coming at as, armed with gun and blades, we have nothing but mops. They would kill us before we even reached Archer’s door.”

“ So we are to sit idly by and let him do this to her?”

“ We have no choice.”

“ We can’t let him do this to her again!” Gordon paused as the seething, teary face of jace turned to him.

“ Did I ever tell you why I became a pirate Jace?” He remained silent. “ Before boarding a ship, I was a family man. Worked as a dock worker, so I knew my way around a ship. My wife, Isabelle, was a merchant in the market. We had two kids, Angus and Elizabeth. My wife was convicted of witchcraft by a rival merchant, saying she cursed her goods. She was arrested, tried, and was to be executed. First, they found out about me and the kids. They came for us, but I had hid the kids on an old friend’s ship. I was then able to get my wife free of the stocks before her execution, getting her onto the ship with the kids. I told my friend to set sail so they can escape, and I told them I would meet them in the Indis.

The British Navy sank the ship shortly after it left port and tried to try me for treason. I escaped on a merchant ship without them knowing. When that ship was attacked by my old ship, I fought back and was brought onto the crew when I told the captain what happened. We had something in common; we were fucked by the navy and lost something dear. So if you think you have it hard, seeing this, I want you to rethink your situation for a moment.”

Gordon had never been cruel or nasty to Jace, always being supportive. Jace had no idea Gordon had gone through that, and realized how bratty he was acting.

“ You’re right, I’m sure things will be better in a few days. We have to make port soon any how, supplies are running low. We can make a break for it then.”

“ We’ll see me friend.”

With a bit more confidence about their situation, and less salt in his veins, Jace got up and went about his usual daily activities. He and Gordon were up early enough that the crew had yet to wake, so they went about cleaning so they weren’t punished again. They were soon joined by Leroy, but not Sophie. Understanding why she had yet to wake, Jace focused on his tasks. Much to his dismay however, Ruthus decided to get in his face.

“ Ahoy Jace!” He seemed rather chipper, though his breath rank of rum so that may be why.

“ Ahoy Sire Rufus.” Jace met the looked him in the face.

“ Nice morning aye?”

“ Aye, mighty fine morning.”

“ You are doing a mighty  job swabbing this morn.”

“ Thank you Sire-” Rufus smashed an empty bottle over Jace’s head, something he had never done before. Jace fell to his knees as the blow made him dizzy.

“ Harharharharhar, ye swine, how pathetic!” Rufus fell to the ground as he laughed at his actions. The rest of the crew were a bit shocked at what he did and did not laugh as another man crossed the deck. “ Oy lads, why aren’t ye joining me in-” Rufus saw a shadow cast over him as he felt a boot on his throat; it was Teach.

“ Why did ye smash that bottle over Jace’s skull?” Teach was furious, Jace had never seen him like this. Gordon and Leroy were holding the dizzy Jace, who soon fell unconscious once again.

Jace awoke in below deck in in Teach’s room. Jace tried to sit up, but couldn’t for his head was pounding.

“ Aye, you wake.” Jace looked and saw Teach sitting in a chair beside him.

“ Wh-what happened?”

“ Rufus smashed a bottle over ye head. He though cause Archer hurt Sophie the way he did that he could do similar harm to you and the others. In his drunken stupor, he forgot Archer doesn’t like needles violence on his ship.”

“ So what happened to Rufus?”

“ The blagged is dead, finally.”  

“ Dead?”

“ I threatened him and told him to back off, or he’d be shark bait. Left you alone, but then exclaimed he was going for the “ Captain’s new favorite.” Hearing this, Archer stormed from his cabin as Rufus made it to the stairs of the slave quarters. As Rufus began to say he was just going to enjoy himself, Archer blasted his skull off and pushed his corpse overboard.”

“ Wow, at least Rufus is dead.”

“ Aye, blaggard was a waste of space.”

“ How is Sophie?”

“ She, has been going to Archer’s cabin again for the past few days.”

“ What? Days?”

“ Aye, ye have been out for about a week.”

“ How is Sophie?” Teach shifted in his chair. “ How. Is. Sophie?”

“ Archer has wounded her more, there is almost no part of her body that doesn’t have a gash.” The rage that had passed due to the good feelings of a few days as come back with force. “ Also, I believe he had begun to do vulgar things to her, and in fact invited a few of the other crewmen into his cabin to join him yesterday.” Jace slammed his fist in the barrel that stood beside Teach’s bed, putting a very sizeable dent in it.

“ That bastard; I’ll keelhaul him!” Jace jumped off the bed and began to storm up to the deck.

“ Jace wait!” Teach tried to follow him, but Jace was just too fast and made it up to the deck before him. Jace made it on deck just in time to see Archer waiting for Sophie to enter his cabin. Jace froze in horror when he saw he state after only a few days; Teach was right, there was almost no surface of her body that had not been cut open and left to fester. Her expression was miserable, the hope and delight that was once in her eyes now left no trace. She walked with a limp, and held onto her left arm for it was in far worse shape than her right. Everyone on deck saw Jace’s horrified expression and were not sure what to do; except for Archer.

“ Jace.” Archer called out to him, raising his head. Jace remained frozen with horror. “ Jace!” Archer raised his voice, and all present jumped at the sudden spike. Jace looked over at his captain, and his shock changed to a smoldering anger.

“ Archer…”

“ It is Captain Archer. What has you in such a bad mood?” Archer put his hand on his rapier.

“ You blaggard, you know exactly what you did!”

“ What I did? Ha! I have no idea what you are talking about, nave.”

“ You scarred Sophie! And used her body for your own needs, even going as far as sharing her with some of the crew!” The crew that had been invited suddenly became uncomfortable and awkward.

“ And what if I did? What if the lads and I had some fun, what is it to you?”

“ I love Sophie! I don’t just want to use her!” His words shocked all, except for Archer.

“ Jace…” Sophie weakly said his name.

“ I’ll get you off this ship Sophie, I promise.”

“ Very brave words from such a small welp.”

“ Such arrogant words from a pathetic snob.” Archer was very annoyed by Jace;s comment, and Jace smirked.

“ Very well then, Teach!” Jace turned to see Teach standing behind him.

“ Aye Captain?”

“ Fetch our young hero here a blade.”

“ But Captain-”

“ Don’t test me Teach.”

“ Aye Captain.” Teach went below deck and returned with a fine rapier and handed it to Jace. The crew, from both above and below deck, formed a circle around the two combatants. Jace and Archer stood opposite of each other, blades drawn.

“ This will be a simple duel Jace, your first and last. If I win, you and all your friends will meet their ends this day. Before the days is done, all of you will be shark bait. But, if you somehow win, I will let all four of you go when we reach port of your homeland.”

“ My homeland?” Jace knew they were close to the islands, but was that truly where he was from?

“ Aye, the Indies. The place I snatched you from when you were a mere infant. Let me tell you as we fight.” Archer raised his blade and pointed it at Jace. Jace held his blade with two hands as he raised it. The walked in a circle, watching the other.

“ So I really am from the Indies?”

“ Aye, you mother was a native woman. Nice woman, cared for me when I washed up on shore after a battle.” Archer faked out Jace, taking a step forward but then backing. Jace was uneasy and had yet to lunge.

“ So where was I?”

“ Not yet born, you came later.” Archer then lunged forward, cutting Jace’s shirt. Jace was caught off guard by this and was unable to swing back before Archer stepped back.

“ When did I come into the picture then?”

“ I’ll tell you in time, sonny.” Archer then began a small assault on Jace; he began to poke and slice at him, getting him an many spots. His cheek, his chest, and his arms, Jace could do nothing to stop the series of blows that he was receiving. Archer backed off once more.

“ To think you were once such a small child, your childish attitude has yet to change over all these years.”

“ What happened to my mother?” Archer paused, looking almost a bit sad.

“ I left, so I don’t know. She was fine when I did go.”

“ You left her heartbroken cause you took her child! What of my father?”

“ I don’t know. He was gone when I discovered Albina had a child.”

“ You didn’t kill him?”

“ No.” Jace knew he was hiding something. While he seemed a bit off, Jace lunged forward, slicing Archer’s cheek. Archer came out of his shock and touched his wound, seeing the blood on his hand. Now Jace was the one smirking.

“ I have given you a good flogging you countless times in the past and I will do it again.”

Archer began a relentless attack with no sign of letting up. Jace attempted to block, but he could barely stop the blows from landing. Soon, most of Jace’s body was covered in small cuts, his blood began to cover the deck. Jace fell down to one knee, keeping himself up by using his blade for support. Jace had one eye closed for his blood had dripped down into it, and Jace just scanned the crew. He saw Leroy and Sophie looking scared for him, and Gordon stood there with his arms crossed. Jace then looked over at Teach, who had moved onto the stairs. He was slowly mouthing something, and Jace began to focus on him to figure it out.

After a few minutes, Jace began to put together the words Teach was mouthing in his head. He then figured it out what Teach was saying, and smiled. Archer saw this and turned, seeing Teach standing on the stairs. Archer’s face was full of horror and Teach walked up the stairs. Archer turned back to Jace who was once again standing.

“ So, that’s how it is huh? Betrayed by my first-mate?” Archer’s comment confused the a majority of the crew.

“ Shame on your Archer, treating me in the way you have.” Archer grinded his teeth as Jace glared at him with one eye. “ I always thought you would be better at-” Jace was cut off by a sudden pain; Archer sank his blade into Jace’s chest and left it there. Jace fell to the ground, feeling himself fade.

“ Tie Jace to the mast, I want him to see his friends last moments.” Jace faded as he saw his friends being surrounded by the crew and Jax’s boots come towards him.

A cold splash of water woke Jace. He looked up to see Archer standing there, empty bucket in hand.

“ Welcome back to the land of the living sonny.” Archer knelt down and got close to Jace. “ You are about to learn a very important lesson; the lesson of true loss. Losing something that you hold dear; the thing you hold the most dear.” Archer stood back up and faced away from Jace. Jace looked past him to see Gordon and Leroy tied up in ropes and chains.

“ W-what are you going to-” Jace had too little energy to speak.

“ Leroy will hang and we will hang his head bowsprit as we return to a British port. Gordon will walk the plank while clapped in irons. As for sweet Sophie…” Archer stepped to the side to show Sophie; she had been stripped, all her wounds in clear sight, among other things. She was standing weakly in the middle of the deck, the crew goggling at the sight. Jace tried to muster up anger, but he had lost so much blood, he could barely move.

“ Dear sweet Sophie will meet her end at the end of my blade. But first, Leroy.” Archer turned to the usually energetic, optimistic young boy. He showed no optimism, and what energy was there was a pulsating anger. But he was also sobbing; the first time the boy had ever shown a sign of sadness or fear since boarding the ship.

“ Master Leroy, please go up to the helm.” Archer gestured to the stairs leading up to where Walt and Teach stood behind the wheel. With shackled limbs and rope around his neck, Leroy slowly shuffled to and up the stairs. He sniffled the entire way till he stood in front of the wheel. Walt put a sack over his head and made sure the rope was tied tightly around the wheel. Leroy was stood on the railing.

“ Any last words Leroy?” Teach said, a journal and pen in hand. Leroy swallowed hard.

“ I-I believe that the British rule is just, and that you who have been accused and believe you were wronged deserve what you got! You acted unaccordingly and responded like children just because you were the ones did not follow the rules that have been set out before since you were kids. You are a disgrace to your lineage, to your homes, and I hope that all of your families come to disown you when you are brought to justice and meet the same fate as I!” Leroy finished his brave speech, his voice never waithering despite the fact he had been sobbing long before it. Archer came up behind him and shoved Leroy over the edge of the railing.

Leroy’s body struggled as he slowly lost air, a gurgling sound emitting from his sacked head. Sophie turned away and too began to cry, as all others on deck watched as the life slowly drifted from the young man. Soon, the body was a corpse, and all movement and sound left the body.  

“ Next on the chopping block; Gordon!” Archer pointed to Gordon, his hands and feet chained together. “ Move him onto the plank!” Some of the other crewmen prodded Gordon onto the plank, and soon the former pirate shuffled along the wooden plank.

“ Any last words Scarlett Gordon?” Teach called out to Gordon by his full title.

“ Taking slaves is against much of what us pirates fight for. We wanted to be free of the rule of someone with more power than us, and yet you went and forced four individuals into your service? Pathetic. You used and abused them, mentally and physically, and stole the lives of three youths. One of whom should have been for more precious to you Archer, since he is-”

The sound of a gunshot echoed across the waves as Gordon looked down to see the whole in his chest. The crew looked to their captain in shock, seeing the smoke still streaming fresh from his gun’s barrel. Gordon coughed up blood and smirked as Archer began to reload his firearm. Gordon leaned back as he fell into the sea, just as Archer finished reloading. A splash filled the silence as bit of blood pooled to the surface of the ocean.

“ Shame, but he dies nonetheless.” Archer holstered his gun and drew his blade. “ It is finally your turn Sophie.” Archer turned and faced two remaining, bloodied teens. Archer stepped behind Sophie as she and Jace shared one more, weak, gaze at one another.

“ Jace…” Her voice was almost a whisper. “ I, love you too.” Sophie smiled in her last moments as tears once again began to form in Jace’s eyes. A blade pass cleanly through her chest, her blood splashing onto Jace’s face. The smile quickly changed to shock, and then nothing as the body went limp on the blade.

“ And so ends your lesson, son.” Archer removed his blade from Sophie’s chest as her naked, tattered body fell in front of Jace. It hurt to cry, but Jace could not stop the tears of sorrow. He had too little energy to stop, or muster up a comment or anger. “ Now you know the pain I felt as a young man.” Archer knelt in close to Jace and whispered in his ear, as he wiped off his blade and sheathed it.  

“ Captain, we have a problem! British navy ships port and starboard side!”

“ Blast, all hands hoy! We got brits to send to Davy Jone’s Locker!”

Archer and his men did not send the British Navy ships to Davy Jones’s Locker, they were overrun and most of the crew died, but some barely escaped, including Archer, on lifeboats. Jace was rescued by the boarding party and brought back to the Britain. His wounds were sought to and he told the Navy everything that he had heard and experienced on the ship. Jace was then raised in Britain, despite being from the Indies. There, he grew into a fine, respectable man and member of Parliament due to having a British father and growing paler with less exposure to intense sunlight. Years later, with nothing but accursed memories and scars from his younger years at sea, Jace, now going by the name James Willham, got an important letter.

“ Captain Arnold ‘Archer’ Jones, notorious Pirate Captain and last of the Golden Age Captains, brought to justice after years on the run. Sentenced to execution by firing squad” A smile grew across James’s face as he put the letter down and made his way over to the London Prison. With permission from the warden, James made his way to the cell of the prison’s newest and most notorious inmate. When he approached it, then once proud captain, his crimson garbs nothing more than wilted rose of its former self.

“ Captain Archer?” The man did not bother looking up. “ My name is James Willham, the leader in your trial, I believe you have heard of me?”

“ This is how far you have come, huh Jace?” Archer looked up, his battle-worn, bearded face full of sorrow, but the look in his eyes; they were full of pride.

“ I no longer go by that name, but aye, I would say I’ve done well for myself.”

“ I’m proud to see that did better in British society than I did.”

“ You never gave it much of a chance, having stormed off from home when you were barely twelve, jumping on the first pirate ship that came into London’s port. Your parents were both very respectable people here, and yet you left behind the potential to have the life I achieved for myself. Sad almost.” Archer laughed weakly.

“ Sad indeed. Just as sad as how all those years ago, right after I intrusted my first-mate with my most guarded secret, he reveals it like it is nothing.”

“ A darn shame, but that secret would have died with the two of you, if Teach did not tell me. Shame he died before I got to speak with him again. There were some members of the crew I wanted to see again.”

“ Death comes for us all in time. Sometimes, he catches us by the coattails sooner than expected. It is impossible to escape his hand.”

“ Very poetic for a dead man walking huh?” Two guards arrived to bring Archer to his execution. “ It would seem his hand has snagged you collar Captain.”

“ Seems so.” The guards picked Archer up onto his feet and made sure his chains were tight on his wrists.

“ This will be our last conversation then?” Archer said as he was stood next to James.

“ Aye, seems so.” James tilted his hat, styled just like Archer’s but a dark blue, in respect.

“ Farewell,” James said as Archer was escorted out.

“Father.”

 

 


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