The Legacy of the Black Pawkeet: Part Two
It wasn’t long after we had rescued the Acara girl from Bloodhook’s ship that the Black Pawkeet pulled into the village’s tiny port. It was no wonder Bloodhook had attacked from a distance; there was hardly room for even a small ship like ours alongside what must’ve been the village’s trade ship. The girl, Rosa, had calmed down a little by now and managed to tell us a bit about herself and the village.
Apparently, she and everyone else in that village, save for the young’uns, had been aboard a passenger ship that was attacked by Bloodhook twelve years ago. Bloodhook took the passengers prisoner, then marooned them all on this island a few days later. All except Rosa’s mother, apparently, he took her with him. Probably just wanted to watch her cry for her husband and child, the scoundrel.
It would seem that Bloodhook had expected the people he’d marooned to die on that island, but instead they survived and built the village. So he attacked them again.
It was almost the same reason Scarblade had attacked New Maraqua, because they’d had the pluck to survive when he didn’t want them to. There was one major difference this time though: We weren’t there to help those being attacked.
We disembarked from our ship and Rosa led us into her village… or what was left of it anyway.
The entire village was in ruins. Some buildings were completely destroyed and others will still smoldering quietly. What was worse, there were dead bodies lying everywhere. It seemed that what had occurred here was a full-on, one-sided massacre. Men, women, children… Bloodhook and his men hadn’t spared anyone.
Rosa suddenly looked like she would cry and ran over to one of the figures on the ground, a brown Acara man, her father no doubt. She desperately began to shake him as I knelt down to check another villager for any sign of life. “Papa!!” I heard Rosa cry and then she began sobbing uncontrollably. I looked up at Garin from the person I’d been checking and shook my head solemnly. I saw him frown and walk over to the sobbing girl.
“I’m… I’m sorry.” Garin told her. There was nothing more that could be said.
The red Acara girl sniffled, attempting in vain to stop her tears, “Why…? Why did they do this?” It was an excellent question. Though we were pirates ourselves, we would never take innocent lives in cold blood, and it honestly angered us when others did.
Suddenly, laughter filled with malevolence filled there air; laughter that we all recognized as Bloodhook’s. We all instantly drew our weapons and searched for the source of the sound. Within moments, the members of Bloodhook’s crew revealed themselves from all around us.
“We’re surrounded Captain!” I heard Talak the Wocky cry.
“Not to mention outnumbered.” Gordy the JubJub added.
“Oh no ye don’t!” We heard Bloodhook yell suddenly, and spun around to find him grabbing Rosa by the arm as she attempted to get away from him.
“Pick on someone your own size, you cowardly sea squid!” Garin growled, expressing how we all felt at the moment.
Unfortunately, Bloodhook responded by holding his cutlass up to the poor girl’s throat and she let out a scream of terror. “Any one of you moves, and she’s finished!” He warned. We knew he wasn’t bluffing.
Garin froze, gritting his teeth in anger while Rosa let out a whimper of fear as tears flowed down her already tearstained cheeks. My best friend let out a sigh of defeat and lowered his dagger, “All right, you win.” The rest of us followed his lead, lowering our weapons and allowing Bloodhook’s men to take us prisoner.
Bloodhook sneered at us victoriously, “Now that’s more like it!”
We allowed ourselves to be taken back to Bloodhook’s ship. This was a fight that we normally could have won easily. We’d been getting the better of Bloodhook since we’d become pirates. But Bloodhook didn’t usually have a hostage, and we weren’t going to let Rosa meet the same fate as the rest of her village. We would get out of this, somehow. We always had.
“What should we do with them Captain?” I heard one of Bloodhook’s men ask him. The Eyrie hadn’t let go of Rosa this entire time, so there was no way we could fight back.
“Fetch ‘em along. I wanna deal with them personally!” Bloodhook ordered, and there was no doubting he did. As far Bloodhook was concerned, we had stolen the Black Pawkeet from him, and when we were still newbies no less. He likely saw that as a stain on his reputation that could only be removed through disproportional revenge.
As his crew hurried to obey, I saw Rosa struggling to get free of Bloodhook’s grasp, but she stopped and let out a small shriek of pain, signaling he’d tightened his grip on her arm. He then pushed the poor girl over to a pair of deckhands and ordered them to tie her to the mast as we were all forced to our knees in front of him.
“Now…” Bloodhook began as he glared down at us menacingly, “What sort of torture can I put ye lot through before making ye walk the plank?”
“You could give ‘em three days in the brig with only bread and water.” One of his men suggested. Garin and I kept our cool, but I could see the rest of the crew looking at each other nervously as Bloodhook pondered the suggestion, and with good reason.
“Monster…” I heard Rosa mutter from her place at the mast.
Bloodhook apparently heard her too, since the next thing he said was, “Take ‘em below for now. I’ll deal with ‘em later.”
This was actually a good thing for us. The longer Bloodhook delayed dealing us our fate, the better our chances for escaping. Unfortunately, there was no telling what he and his crew would do to Rosa in the meantime.
“Now what?” Sam, our Kacheek cabin boy asked after we’d been forced into a cell in the brig.
Garin sighed, “I’m not sure, but I’ll think of something. Get some rest in the meantime, lads.” We all obeyed, doing our best to get comfortable on the bare boards of the brig so we would have the energy we’d need for whatever plan Garin came up with.
“Oi.” I felt Garin shaking me awake hours later, “On your feet, lads!” He said quietly, “Come on, wake up, wake up!”
“Wha? Hm?” I asked groggily as I shook myself awake. I looked out of our cell and saw Rosa unlocking Sea Cat’s cell, and then she stumbled and fell. She probably wasn’t used to being on a ship like we were. Garin bent down to help her up and I went to the entrance of the brig to check on the situation above.
I’m not sure what happened while we were sleeping, but Bloodhook’s men were all sprawled on the deck, sleeping soundly. That would explain why Rosa had been able to free us, though I wasn’t sure how she’d freed herself. For the moment, I didn’t really care.
“They’re all knocked clean out.” I whispered down to my crewmates, “We’d better get out of here before they wake up!” The others nodded in agreement and we grabbed our weapons from where they’d been stashed.
Garin helped Rosa to her feet and back to the Black Pawkeet, and then he took out his seaweed necklace.
“What are you doing?” I asked curiously.
“I’m going to disable their rudder so they can’t follow us.” He explained before jumping silently over the side.
As the crew hurried to set sail as quietly as possible, I looked over at Rosa, who was sitting on the stairs to the helm. She must’ve had a pretty rough time of it on Bloodhook’s ship, because she looked like she’d been in a shipwreck. Her dress was ruined and her hair was a total mess. She was also covered in bruises, with a particularly nasty looking one on her right cheek. Bloodhook and his men must’ve treated her pretty roughly.
Once we were on our way, Garin walked over to Rosa with a bit of an awkward look on his face, due to her tattered clothes. “I, uh… We might have a dress below if you want to change.” He offered.
‘Might’ was the key word there. Even though Sea Cat was a girl, she was human, and she never wore dresses while aboard the Pawkeet anyway because it was inconvenient. Occasionally, we would find dresses amidst cargo taken from merchant ships we’d raided, but we usually sold those for more gold. There was no telling if we had one aboard at the moment or not.
Rosa nodded in reply, “Th-thank you.” Her stomach growled and she blushed in embarrassment. She probably hadn’t eaten all day. I know the rest of us hadn’t. That’s why Sea Cat was busy preparing food in the galley at this late hour.
“I’ll have one of the crew get you some food. And until we reach the next port, you’re welcome to sleep in my cabin.” Garin told her, “I’ll, uh, be sleeping below, of course, in the meantime.” That also meant I would be sleeping below, but I didn’t really care. It would mean a break from that fool bird of Garin’s.
“Th-thank you…” Rosa replied, “But reach the next port and then what?” She asked, “My village was a virtual utopia. I don’t know how to survive in the real world…”
“I have a friend who lives in the next port town we’re visiting. I’m sure she’ll help you.” Garin told her. I knew who he was talking about. Hannah the Brave, the Usul treasure hunter we’d met on Krawk Island. We hadn’t seen her in a while, but we knew she worked at the Golden Doubloon. Hopefully she was there. Sometimes she traveled abroad in search of treasure. She wasn’t a pirate, but she loved treasure and adventure as much as we did.
Rosa nodded in agreement and Garin nodded back, “Good. Okay, Jacques, take her below and see if you can’t root out a gown for her.”
I helped Rosa down below and led her to the cargo hold where we kept the goods we’d stolen from merchants. Once there, I pried a crate open with one of my swords and began digging around to see if it contained something that would suit a young lady. It actually took digging through several other crates before I finally found a pink silk gown in one of them. It was perfect; Rosa seemed like the kind of girl that silk suited well. The dress she’d been wearing, before it was ruined, looked like it had been imported from Faerie Land. I was curious as to where a girl living on a remote island would’ve gotten it, but now wasn’t the time to ask.
“Here you go.” I said as I held the gown out to her, “I hope it fits.” She took it from me gently.
“Thank you. I think it will, but if it’s a little loose, my corset is still in good shape, so I’ll be all right.”
I nodded and led her back up to the deck, not bothering to clean up the mess I’d made while searching for the dress. This part of the hold wasn’t particularly neat to start with.
Once on deck, I led Rosa over to Garin’s cabin, which was more of our cabin, since I slept there too. No sooner had she walked in then we heard something along the lines of a growl, and Rosa let out a startled gasp as she spotted Garin’s beloved, but very annoying, black Pawkeet glaring at her from his cage.
“Oi, be nice to our guest Blackie.” Garin scolded, before looking up from the map on his desk and over at Rosa, “Sorry about him Rosa. He doesn’t much like strangers.”
“He doesn’t much like anyone but you Garin.” I pointed out as I grabbed a few things to take below with me.
Rosa looked at the bird in confusion, “What is he?” She asked curiously, and we both looked at her in shock.
“Haven’t you ever seen a Pawkeet?” Garin asked. Rosa shook her head. “Well you won’t see another one like him.” Garin said proudly, “Black Pawkeets are very rare.”
“Did nobody in your village have a PetPet?” I asked, a bit surprised by how unaccustomed she seemed to the concept. Rosa shook her head.
“That’s strange. Your village had a trade ship, didn’t it?” Garin asked.
“It did, but my father and the other merchants only traded goods from the island for things that would make life easier for us.” Rosa explained, “Clothes, candles, farming and hunting tools… Anything that was easier and less time consuming to buy than to make.”
“That explains your imported clothes…” I said quietly, not meaning for her to hear me.
She did, however, and nodded in reply, “Papa liked to spoil me…” She said, looking a bit crestfallen at the thought of her father.
Garin cleared his throat to break the awkward silence that followed as he put the map away, “Sea Cat brought some food for ya. You can eat at my desk. We’ll leave now so you can get some rest. The bed should be nice and clean. I never sleep in it, I prefer my hammock.”
“You better take that fool bird of yours with us.” I told Garin, “You don’t want him biting her in the middle of the night like he does me.” So much for a break.
“Aye, good point.” Garin said, taking Blackie’s cage down from its hook. “Good night, Rosa.” He told her as he walked out.
“Pleasant dreams.” I added as I followed, quietly shutting the door behind me.
But the dreams she had were far from pleasant.
To be continued…