A Pirate's Rose

by Ml4eva2009

Chapter 1

The foggy day dragged on gradually. The sea's waves crashed in roaring laughter and clapped endlessly to those who actually listened. While the sea never faltered in entertaining itself, one ship seriously lacked excitement onboard. The dullness dragged on gradually like the foggy day. The lifeless vessel named The Wilkenshire did not obtain any form of amusement and no means to keep its passengers busy.

For a certain Miss Victoria Endrington, The Wilkenshire was the most monotonous place to be on at sea. Rather off on some wild adventure where the pressures from high society were not present, Victoria knew it was only a distant dream she would never encounter. There would be no running around loose and free through open fields, no liberty at all for Victoria. No, she was chained in society's irons on how she should walk, how she should sit, how to behave like a well brought up young lady.

Growing up with the expectations to be married well and raising a family constantly clouded Victoria's mind. It was expected. It was what everybody around her seemed to be thinking of.

Duty to one's family was great and mattered while betrayal was disappointing and shameful. In upper society, an arranged marriage was a quick fix to a family's financial state and security. Marriage nuptials were announced with such enthusiasm and while society would smile in acknowledgement, in the end they turn the other cheek to criticize.

To Victoria, the talk of marriage annoyed her too easily. It was the very reason she was on The Wilkenshire to begin with. Still, in the end, she could not escape the chatter from her companions whenever they began conversing about it. Being married and having a comfortable life was all they cared for which contributed to their overall ignorance for finding true love and snootiness. In avoiding the topic of marriage the best she could, she was also trying to avoid the well known fact of her upcoming nuptials to the Colonel Forrester, a high ranking officer who served in the Royal Navy. Unfortunately, the true wrinkle her nose would make often was due to the simple acknowledgement about the Colonel's age—as old as her father! Perhaps a couple of years younger, but relatively close in age. She dreaded his appearance, the manner he spoke, his poor hygiene, his dirty fingernails. Atrocious! Her companions however, were marveled when they heard of the engagement and thought of it as a smart match. Yes, a smart match of course! Better for them so they could snatch themselves a handsome looking gentleman knowing Victoria was unhappily married to her 'smart match.'

Trying to shift her thoughts away from her not-so-distant future, Victoria instead concentrated on the sea from her planted spot on deck. Leaning against the rail, which was thought by some as unlady like, she stared out as far as she could while the salty breeze relaxed her. She didn't care if she was behaving like a lady or not. She was sick and tired of it!

Gazing out towards the sea, memories as a little girl ran back in her mind and of her days playing by the shores. She remembered the coolness of the white foam as it washed up by her bare feet, the giggles that would escape from her mouth. Such memories made her wish she could reverse the hands of time to those moments where she wasn't under the pressure she was under at the moment. She reminisced the past moments when she and her father splashed about in the salty water, both never hiding their love for the sea.

Enthralled in her thoughts, she did not hear one of her companions approach her side. Victoria could already feel an unpleasant conversation coming with whoever it was.

"Miss Endrington, I suppose we are to be arriving at Port in a couple of days or so, wouldn't you agree?"

Ah, but of course. One of her mother's chosen companions and personal spy, Miss Teresa Summers. Victoria knew she had to respond carefully knowing it would always come back to her mother.

"I suppose we do. The weather has gotten along well with us so there should not be problem." Victoria replied carefully, never tearing her gaze from the sea.

"Soon you'll be marrying Colonel Forrester, are you not?" Teresa asked, slithering through her words to try and retrieve information.

Cleverly, Victoria knew just how to answer. "That is if fate decides for it to be that way. I cannot be in the position to oppose what fate wants."

"Is that what you want? Do you want to be married to the Colonel?" Teresa dared to ask, her patience running low and her true nature revealing itself. She was beginning to show her aggravated side, her eyebrows arched in agitation.

"Miss Summers, everyone seems to agree that it is a smart match, so why would I debate against it?" Victoria responded abruptly and began to walk away from her. "If you will excuse me, I did come up here on deck to get some fresh air." she informed her as she kept walking without turning back.

With her pace at a steady speed, Victoria managed to get a couple of feet away from the spying companion when she sensed a presence of something unusual. The sailors with their white uniforms seemed to be up and about as they should like any other day, but still there was something irregular in the air.

Something was not right.

Her steps carried her over to the stern of the ship as if they had already known the answer. Victoria closely locked her eyes with another ship following The Wilkenshire. Concentrating her gaze more carefully, she noticed now that it wasn't just any vessel also out at sea. Black sails, tremendous speed, it was large ship clearly not just near The Wilkenshire out of coincidence. Soon, it dawned on her what it was— a pirate ship!

Gasping suddenly, the sounds of her feet were quick as she made her way to where the captain of the ship was. She ran by her interrogator, Miss Teresa Summers, who displayed a surprised expression on her face. Victoria could not care less. Her heart raced at great speed while she soon began to feel fear.

Could it be really what it is, she thought.

Her thoughts raced wildly on the matter. Barbarians. Savages. The pirate vessel behind The Wilkenshire most likely carried the worst ill mannered men who preyed upon innocent victims and cared for no one.

Stumbling upon the captain, whose name was Hepburn, and his tea, she was out of breath. The officer simply smiled kindly at her. "Is there something wrong, miss?" he asked her gently.

Victoria caught her breath first before she spoke. "Captain…" she began, her voice a slightly hoarse. "Captain… a ship! Black sails! Fast speed!" she revealed.

As soon as the words left her mouth, Hepburn's eyes widened and his expression changed too quickly. A look of worry immediately settled on his face.

"Are you certain, miss?" he asked, setting down his cup of tea and walking hastily to the stern of the ship with Victoria following close behind him.

Not good at all, she thought as she spotted the bigger the ship that had gained speed since the last time she saw it some mere seconds ago. Its speed was fantastic, but deadly when it came to the cold hearted members she would probably encounter on the vessel if The Wilkenshire was captured.

It did not take long for the captain to turn around and face Victoria. The look in his eyes was beginning to worry her.

"Miss Endrington, inform your companions to stay in their cabins below and lock the doors," he began to instruct carefully, his voice trying to remain calm for her sake. "Remain there until I personally come to assure you all when the danger is over. Be silent, don't open the door to anyone except myself," he spoke in a hushed whisper. "Go!" he told her abruptly.

Turning on her heel and heading towards her cabin, she immediately spotted her mother's spy, Miss Summers, who was fanning herself in the middle of the narrow hallway. Victoria grabbed her arm impulsively and led her towards the cabin. Acting in defense, the spy tried to pry her arm free from Victoria's grasp.

"What do you think—" she began until she was yanked again unto another set of narrow stairs by Victoria.

"Pirates! We have to get to our cabins now!" Victoria cried out as she finished descending the stairs. With the word of 'pirate' lingering in the air, Teresa snapped her mouth shut and followed Victoria quickly through the endless maze of halls. The shouts from the sailors soon got louder. When the two ladies reached Victoria's cabin, the old knob was twisted in an instant, allowing them to rush inside and shut the door suddenly by adding the lock to it.

"What about the rest of the companions?" Teresa asked as she backed up against the farthest wall from the door. Clever of her to ask! Victoria almost forgot about them! Acting quickly, she opened an unlocked door connecting her cabin to the other cabin her companions shared. She fixed her eyes upon Miss Felicity Dasher and Miss Katherine Greenvale and where they were both sitting while playing a game of cards. They looked up immediately at the sudden swoosh of the door opening, revealing a worried Victoria.

The thumping sounds of the sailors' feet could now be heard from above and with that the ladies quickly comprehended that something was not right.

"What in heavens—" one of them began.

The horrid sound of a cannonball erupted, its deafening sound silencing them all and instead forced them to huddle closely next to one another in Victoria's cabin. The cabin grew deadly quiet for the first moments. The sounds of rushing footsteps and yells echoed as swords were drawn to intensify the fighting that was now occurring. Gentle whimpers and soft sobs soon filled the silence that was lurking about.

"What is going to happen to us?" Teresa dared to hoarsely whisper.

Victoria's breath was caught when she, as well as the other ladies, started to hear footsteps near the front of the cabin door.

The fighting could still be heard from above where the cries and screams of pain as men fell grew louder, leaving the ladies to realize they were on their own. There was not going to be some officer standing guard and engage into battle to the death for them. All of the uniformed men were on deck fighting, unsure of how the battle would end.

Footsteps halted at the front of the cabin door. Silence seeped everywhere around the group of ladies as they dreaded what was going to happen next. Out of nowhere, the door was kicked so hard and suddenly. The horror they felt was all too real when the doorframe introduced three male figures.

There were two unattractive men standing there, displaying grotesque smiles with gold teeth and one had a patch over his left eye. Their clothes looked ragged and worn out by the hardships the sea gave them, but it was the third figure in the middle who clearly stood out.

He was tall, evidently well built under the dark clothes he wore, and displayed a black mask that covered half of his face. His strong square chin was visible to Victoria, only adding more mysteriousness to him. Yes, it was the man in the middle that caught Victoria's rapid heartbeat. His eyes were of emerald piercing orbs staring right back at her glossy blue ones. She didn't know herself in that moment in whether she should be feeling excitement or fear of what might happen next.

"Well, well, well, men! Look at what we have here! This must be a pretty sight for you, isn't it?" he asked, his voice deep and dangerously manly.

"Indeed."

"Aye." the two replied.

Teresa whimpered softly.

From somewhere inside herself, Victoria mustered the strength to bring her voice to lash out. "Let us be! We have done nothing wrong to make you want to kill us or worse!" she choked out in fear; her hoarse voice no match for the coolly collected pirate with the mask.

At this, the man in black seemed surprised she had spoken at all. Not too many of his captives even dared to look at him in the first place. "Well, see that is where you are wrong! You see miss, we're humble pirates," he said, his eyes fiercely boring into hers. "Now, along with piracy comes entrapping prisoners if we wish, capturing any ship we want, or doing anything else we please." he explained, a devilish grin now playing from his mouth.

"What do you want?" Victoria bravely asked again.

The pirate had to admit, he was becoming more intrigued over the fact one of his soon-to-be captives even had the nerve to fight back. Was it because by some unknown reason he found her appealing? He never allowed this kind of behavior in the past! He hadn't even laid a hand on her and yet he had done much worse to captives before her who even dared to steal a glance at him.

This should be interesting, he thought.

"Well, you see… that's the real question, isn't it?" he replied. He was going to show her who was in control here… He suddenly snapped his fingers and the men beside him silently obeyed as they started to approach the group of ladies.

Screams and cries of mercy were heard loudly, but unexpectedly— the two men did not even lay a finger on Victoria who stood in the middle of the group. Already expecting to get the worst treatment of them all for her behavior towards the man in charge, Victoria was incredibly puzzled over the scene before her. She glanced from the sight of the ladies being dragged away to the man in black who remained where he stood, his eyes never leaving hers.

Her eyes soon began to water. "What are you going to do to them? No!" she cried out, trying to follow them. She immediately felt an arm snake around her waist. Panic raced through her body as she was pulled back away from the ladies, the connecting cabin door closing with the lock in place. She was the only lady who remained in the room..

Her breath instantly quickened.

As she turned around nervously, she found herself face to face with the man in black. His arm then dismissed itself from around her waist as he let her go.

The deafening silence was now present while the two poor looking pirates simply stood behind the man in black.

"What do you want?" she whispered, her eyes concentrating on the floor.

"Look at me," he replied sternly with a tone of threat to add a menacing effect.

Slowly, her eyes met his. His eyes were filled with a stormy cloud of amusement and curiosity, not even sympathizing with her situation. This only angered Victoria as she set her jaw hard.

He finally spoke again. "In my opinion, I think it'd be best if we keep any daggers away from you in the future," he gruffly spoke. How dare he?! "Who knows what you might try to do, seeing as how you clearly have a hint of independence in you," the man explained.

"Especially since her life is worth a fortune," one of the pirates revealed behind him. The other one nodded, but it was the man in black who kept his gaze on her.

As she heard one of the men's words, she knew this was just about to take a turn for the worse.

"Worth?" she asked speechless.

The man in black chuckled. "Why yes, dear lady. Your life in exchange for a large sum of money we all know your father will pay so he could have his daughter back. You see, we know all about you, Miss Endrington." he explained.

Her eyes grew wide at this. "How do you—"

"Know who you are?" he finished for her. His lips began to curl into a dangerous smirk. "Well, we've had our eye on you for a while. We know your father is a wealthy man and that your betrothed is anxiously waiting for you at Port to come back from your recent trip to England. It's also a well known fact that once you reach Port you are to be married. Now, here is the problem…" he said as he took one step towards her, too close for her liking. Victoria held her breath. "There's going to be a change in plans. A little change that will have your fiancé outraged, but you see… he won't be able to do anything about it," he winked at her. He was enjoying every moment this situation brought to him which infuriated Victoria!

Did he just wink at me? Victoria thought. The audacity! she cried out in her mind.

"Who are you?" she cried out.

Showing off his pearly white teeth, he simply grinned. "Ah, the questions! You shall find out soon enough!"

The men behind him laughed.

"But you see, Miss Endrington… you will be coming with us whether you like it or not." he declared as he took a step away from her.

She swallowed hard. How could he?!

The sounds of his firm steps circling around her made her nervous. She dared not to turn around when she couldn't see him through the corners of her eyes. In a sudden moment, he encircled one of his strong arms around her waist yet again, the cool end of a pistol he had now pressing upon her neck. She whimpered once at the shock, her body now stiff and weak.

Her breaths were short as the two pirates before her grinned widely. Her lips parted in worry. She thought she heard the light chuckle of the man in black behind her, but she did not even dare contemplate more on it. She could feel the man in black's touch clearly having an effect on her, something she did not like at all.

"Should we be going about now?" one of the pirates asked, his eyes addressing the leader of the group.

"Why yes!" the man behind her rang out merrily. "Inform the captain of this ship that we are to be taking with us one lovely young lady by the name of Miss Endrington and give him clear instructions to inform her father on the matter," he said, daring to tighten his grip more around her slim waist. A part of him was clearly enjoying the way he was tormenting her, his touch tensing every part of her body. He fought to hide a smile, but managed. Oh, he was definitely going to have some fun with her aboard his ship…

By now, Victoria felt extremely light-headed of the unknown future before her. What was going to happen to her? Would she live through this? Would she be taken advantage of? As all these questions remained unanswered and raced in her mind, her dizziness carried out its role in leaving her to faint. Her limp body was caught by the man in black just in time as they were getting ready to leave.


Author's Note: This is the edited/revised first chapter of A Pirate's Rose. Feedback much appreciated on what you readers think about it, so far! Thank you!

-Ml4eva2009