The soft orchestra music floated throughout the long elegant hallways of the mansion. The notes seemed to cloak the walls like dust. Each individual note slowly crept to even the farthest corners of the palace.

Nearly every citizen of the coastal city was in attendance to the festive gathering. The humble cobblestone streets of Mariton were as quiet as the churchyard. Even the brass bell that hung in the church was silent in the night.

The waves that crashed so loudly the night before had calmed and shrank to mere ripples upon the sand. All of the ships in the bustling port were tied and anchored for the evening festivities.

But a single lantern was lit in the cabin of the largest ship. The harbormaster could see shadows cast by the captain and a companion.

"You there!" the harbormaster called aloud. "Answer me now, sir."

"What is it you want my good man?" he replied pushing open the cabin window.

"Are you not attending the Governor's Banquet?" he questioned.

"What would be the occasion for celebration on this thirtieth day of May?" the captain inquired.

"The Governor's daughter is eighteen today." he answered

"What is the lady's name?" he asked.

"Illeandra." the man replied.

"My good man, are you by chance on your way to celebrate with them?" the captain's companion questioned.

"Why would you ask such a lowly question, Wil? We have no business in this town." the captain said in response.

"Shae, hem, Captain, I do believe this is a perfect opportunity to give her the signal." he said.

"Excuse us for one moment harbormaster." the captain replied pulling closed the window in the ship's cabin.

Muffled shouts could be heard, echoing softly into the clear night sky. With a crash and the sound of shattering glass, the window opened again. A small silken bag was dropped into the harbormaster's hands.

He raised his lantern to inspect the package that was given to him. He began to untie the white ribbons that held it tightly closed.

"Do not open that bag." the captain warned. "You must deliver it to the lady of the evening as soon as you reach the governor's mansion."

"What is in this bag?" he questioned curiously.

"It is none of your concern." he snapped. "Now go. Hurry my good man; she must receive the bag immediately. Go now!"

The old harbormaster took off running as fast as his tired legs could carry him. His journey would be longer on foot, but he knew he had to deliver the package right away.

Over the hills, through the tall swamp grasses, and up the long winding driveway to the mansion he raced. A large rock caught the lace of his untied boot and sent him stumbling to the ground. He awkwardly hurried back to his feet, and the old harbormaster continued towards the enormous stone mansion.

The sand-covered path seemed longer than he remembered from all his visits. Every tiny grain grabbed at his dull rubber boots in a desperate attempt to slow him down. A harsh wind blew strongly slowing his progress. But no matter of difficulty could stop the harbormaster's journey.

He slowly pushed open the door to the parlor. She was sitting curled up in a large overstuffed chair reading contently from a small black leather bound book. He hastily crossed the room.

"Dreaming of pirates again are you?" he asked as he slowly pushed her book downward. She glanced up at him from the pages. "You cannot waste your life away on simple fantasies."

"They are not simple fantasies." she said raising the book and again reading. He pulled the book from her hands and cast it across the small parlor. "Why have you done that, father?"

"You, beloved daughter, need to set your sights on a man instead of a fictional character." he ordered sternly glaring at her. She stood up and pushed past him. He grabbed her arm tightly and spun her around. "Never disobey me again."

"I shall do as I please." she spat back at him. She pulled away and stalked across the room to pick up her book. "He is not a fictional character. Pirates are true adventurers."

"Pull your head from the clouds, Illeandra. You have a party to attend." he said sternly. "I suggest you go to your room and prepare. Phillip Evansted will be attending this evening."

"Father, was it entirely necessary for you to invite him?" she snapped annoyed by the thought. Her father ushered her towards the door of the small parlor.

"I have a special gift for you this evening." he said avoiding her question. He patted her shoulder and stepped out of the room while she followed and returned to her book.

He wrapped vigorously upon the heavy wooden door. The maid dressed in a plain gray frock slowly opened the door to see who was there. The harbormaster stumbled inside the foyer trying to catch his breath.

The governor walked into the foyer with his daughter close behind. She paused next to one of the wall-lamps to read more from the pages in her book. He approached the man calmly.

"What is your business here?" he asked the man.

"I must give this to the lady of the evening." the harbormaster said through his gasps. He stretched out his hand with the white silken bag. "This is to be delivered directly to her."

"I shall take that." her father said snatching the bag out of his trembling hand. He started to open the silken strings.

Illeandra looked up from her book and noticed the small silver charm hanging from one of the strings. She knew immediately what the package contained. She slowly placed her book on the table and stepped closer to where her father was standing.

She dashed past her father and ripped the bag from his hands. Without a second look, she dashed quickly up the steps and down the hallway towards her room. Illeandra slipped into her room and slammed the door closed behind. She leaned her full weight against the door gasping for breath.

Slowly, she walked to her vanity and sat down upon the velvet settee before the mirror. Turning the bag upside down, she spilled the contents of the bag onto the cold marble. The silver charm on a chain skittered towards the mirror along with two keys and a wax-sealed letter.

She picked up the chain and fastened it around her neck. She quickly seized the two keys and hurried to her bedroom door. Carefully, she opened the door and peered out into the hallway. When she was confident that there was no one around, she slipped across the hall into her father's study.

Closing the door silently behind her, she quickly went to searching for the locked drawer in his desk. She inserted the key into the lock and opened the small drawer. She removed two small boxes and quickly relocked the drawer. Nearly skipping through the room, she exited and slipped back into her own room. Locking the door behind her she went back to the vanity and sat down again.

She pulled a small burlap bag out from underneath the vanity. She slipped the two small wooden boxes inside along with the letter. Opening another drawer she pulled out a small broach to fasten the bag closed. She also pulled out a blue rose and slipped the stem through the broach.

Illeandra picked up her brush and began to brush the curls out of her long brown hair. She was nervous about being able to carry out her plans. She held a fear of being discovered in the back of her mind.

"Are you not coming to your own party, Illeandra?" he asked as he knocked upon the door. A moment of silence without an answer from her brought another knock. "Are you in there my dear?"

"In a moment father." she snapped placing her brush back on her vanity. "Can I not prepare in peace?"

"I was just in fear you would not come to meet your guests." he replied turning the handle of her door. The handle did not move. "I shall see in a few moments then?" She again did not reply to his inquiries. "Illeandra?"

"Please, father." she begged slamming the vanity drawer closed. "I shall come down when I am ready."

"Very well, it is your decision." he said as he walked down the hallway.

Feeling as though it was death sentence, Illeandra slowly dressed in her extravagant red satin ball gown. She picked up a jeweled comb and secured a layer of her hair on the top of her head. Like a prisoner condemned to death, she took one last look in the mirror and opened her door.

She took a deep breath and gently grasped the staircase banister. Waving her fan nervously, Illeandra slowly stepped down stair after stair. The skirt of her long dress dragged behind her. She looked to the bottom of the staircase where Phillip was waiting for her. He seemed oblivious to the fact that she was walking so slow to waste time.

"You look glorious, my darling." he said in a dazed voice. He never took his eyes off of her as he reached for her hand and kissed it. "I have never been graced with such a presence before."

"I think you need to get out more." she replied softly trying not to smile.

He took her hand and led her towards the ballroom. As they paused to fall into place for the dance, a bridal waltz began to play. Illeandra held her cautious stance as she fell in line with Phillip to dance. She noticed that her father was in a very good mood as he watched over the party with her stepmother. The waltz seemed to drag on for hours as the smile on her stepmother's face grew more wicked with each sounding note.

As the waltz ended, she turned to leave the ballroom. Her father grasped her shoulder and turned her back towards all of the guests. He clapped his hands together twice quickly to obtain everyone's attention.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce the engagement of my daughter, Illeandra Thomas, to Phillip Evansted." he announced raising his glass of champagne. He took a sip and motioned for the orchestra to play another waltz.

Tears began to well up in her eyes as she sprinted from the ballroom. As she dashed through the foyer and up the staircase, Illeandra pulled the jeweled comb from her hair. She ran down the hallway and into her bedroom, slamming the door behind her. Leaning against her door, Illeandra wiped the tears from her eyes.

"I have to get to Shae." she told herself as she rushed to her vanity.

She took off her heavy ball gown and quickly changed into a lighter day-dress. After a quick pause, she brushed her hair as fast as she could. She pulled the strap of the burlap bag over her head, situating the strap across her chest, and turned towards the balcony doors. She could hear footsteps coming down the hallway outside her room. Illeandra rushed to the entry of the room and slid the bar-lock closed. She cautiously backed away from the door as the handle began to rattle.

"Illeandra?" her father called in a voice muffled by the door. "Illeandra, open this door." She backed up still facing the door. Turning quickly, she stumbled into her lamp table sending it crashing to the floor. "Illeandra? Are you alright?"

Illeandra skipped over the shattered lamp and bounder towards the balcony doors. She threw them open and rushed forward against the stone railing. She stepped up on the ledge and swung her leg off the railing to the trellis. Just before she disappeared behind the railing, she pulled the blue rose from her bag and tossed it onto the floor near the broken lamp. She descended the trellis as calmly and quickly as she could.

Her father banged against the door as she jumped down from the trellis. The door came crashing open. She ducked behind the flowers as he surveyed the disaster in her room.

"Where could she have gone?" he father asked quietly.

"Sir, the rose." the butler pointed out.

"The Baron must have taken her." he said stepping towards the balcony. He looked out towards the ocean. "There is his ship. He must be sneaking out of the harbor at this late hour."

Illeandra caught sight of the ship and realized that this would be her only chance to escape towards the cliffs. She took a deep breath and darted across the garden for the back gate. Her father's shouts were lost in the wind as she ran as fast as her legs could carry her. Two of the guardsmen began to chase after her as she hopped over the gate and continued running for the rocks.

The wind began to blow fiercely as rain drops poured down from the darkened clouds. Illeandra neared the cliffs where the ship was waiting, but she never slowed her speed. The men behind her seemed to be gaining distance on her. In one final attempt to flee, she lunged over the side of the cliff. The men slid to a stop as she plummeted screaming towards the rough waves below.

Captain Shae held fast to the wheel of the ship as he carefully angled closer to the cliffs. The wind and waves crashed against the ship as if nature herself was against them rescuing Illeandra. He tightened his grip as a large wave spilled over the deck of the ship.

"Captain!" Wil shouted from the crows nest. "She's at the cliffs!" He pointed towards the rocks towering high above them. Will quickly began to descend down the mast. "Turn now or we shall never reach her in time!" Shae squinted his eyes and noticed as her small form crash into the waves between them and the deadly rocks. Wil rushed towards the helm as the boat veered towards the cliffs.

"Hold on!" he shouted as he spun the wheel at lightning speed. He grabbed at Wil's shirt collar as he passed by. He pulled him back and shoved his against the wheel. "Take this. I am going in after her."

Shae dashed towards the cannon-hold as he tied the rope that held one of the cannons around his waist. He took a few stepped back and ran for the side of the ship. He dove into the water like a torpedo. Waves crashed all around him as he swam towards Illeandra.

"Anna!" he shouted as he noticed her swimming nearby. He reached out his hand for hers as she came closer. "Take my hand!" She reached out and grabbed her hand as a wave rose high above them.

The wall of water crashed down on top of them like the hand of nature herself. The force tore her hand from his and propelled her towards the craggy rocks. He kicked with all of his might to reach her before she hit the rocks.

"Anna!" he shouted again reaching for her arm. He grabbed for her but felt a tug against his waist.

He reached a hand down and touched the rope, realizing that she was too far away for him to reach. He glanced back towards the ship where Wil stood watching them carefully. He was shouting something, but the crashing waves were too loud for Shae to hear what it was.

"Shae!" she shouted as she was thrust nearer to the rocks. He whirled his head back towards her.

Slipping the knife from his belt, he cut the rope and swam towards her as fast as the waves would allow. He strained his muscles against the hard water in an attempt to reach her. She kicked as hard as she could to reach him. As another wave rose high above them, Shae thrust his arm towards her and grabbed a hold of her wrist. He pulled her close against him as the wave came crashing down on top of them.

The water banked off of the craggy rocks and propelled them back towards the ship. Shae reached around with his free arm for the rope. Another wave rose into the dark sky as lightning flashed through the clouds. He made one final grab before the wave crashed down against them. Looping the rope around his arm, he began to pull them closer along the side of the ship.

"He's got 'er!" one of the men shouted as he noticed Shae holding the rope. A few of the men rushed to take the rope. They each grabbed on and pulled with all of their strength. "Keep it go'n' boys!"

Wil grabbed onto the rope again to give his strength. They pulled against the crashing waves and the blowing wind until Shae and Illeandra sloshed over the side of the ship and toppled onto the deck. Both of them upheld the appearance of nearly-drowned rodents.

The other men used the rope to re-anchor the cannon as the storm seemed to dissipate as suddenly as it had started. Wil slowly approached the tow of them with a smile on his face. Shae looked up at his friend as he stumbled to his feet. He helped Illeandra up and glanced at Wil again.

"What is the smile for?" he asked placing a fist on his hip.

"I never would have thought that you could have done that." Wil replied with a laugh. He looked to Illeandra as she brushed the wet hair out of her face. "How are you friend?"

"Slightly wet." she replied with a smile.

"I wonder why?" he said with a laugh. He opened his arms to give her a hug.

"The letter never said to dive over the cliffs, love." he said stepping towards them. She paused and looked at him slightly confused. "You never read the letter did you?" She unfastened the broach on the burlap bag.

"You mean this letter?" she asked pulling put the soggy paper. Black ink had bled through the paper. "I never had a chance to read it."

"All is well, Shae. It matters not that she never read the letter." Wil said releasing her. "She is here with us now."

"Truth is spoken!" he shouted into the wind. He kissed Illeandra's hand and walked off towards the wheel. "You there! Unveil the sails!" He shouted orders so they could continue on. "We sail for London!"

Illeandra slowly walked towards the side of the ship as the sun slowly peaked up over the horizon to bring the new day. Its' golden rays shed light upon the clear water and the stream-clouds in the sky. The white sand from the ocean floor reflected the rays back. Will slowly stepped towards her.

"You know they will come looking for us." Wil said softly as the ship skimmed over they crystal-blue water. She attempted to hide her smile from him. "You have no care for what your father will do, do you?"

"What makes you believe that he will make the slightest effort to find me?" she asked flipping her hair into the wind. He shook his head slowly and laughed. "Exactly. He will ever come looking for me." She leaned her elbows on the wooden railing. "I am just one less burden on him."

"You, a burden?" he said leaning next to her. "You could never be a burden."

"Thank you for coming on such short notice, Lieutenant Fauchs." he said calmly. He cautiously lit the cigar in his right hand. "I looked over everything in the entire house, only to discover that my daughter had been kidnapped." He puffed out some of the cigar smoke as the lieutenant wrote down the situation.

"Anything else, sir?" he asked as he finished.

"The Herlad Diamond is missing as well as my daughter's diamond necklace that was going to be a birthday present." he replied calmly. The lieutenant nearly dropped the pen as he listened. "The Blue Rose Barron took them."

"The Baron, sir? Are you positive?" he asked hesitantly before writing anymore.

"This was left in her bedroom." he answered placing the blue rose onto the library table. "She was taken to a ship near the cliffs behind the manor. My guardsmen told me it was of English make, and most likely heading back there with my jewels." He paused to puff out more smoke. "And also my daughter."

"I shall alert the coastal guard, sir." the lieutenant replied standing from the chair.

"Do more than alert." he ordered calmly. The man began to exit the room. "I want them found, lieutenant. I want him dead."

Shae grabbed the shirt of the nearest sailor and directed him to take the wheel. The sailor nodded and took a stance where the captain had been standing. He slowly walked to the railing above the galley doors to watch his friends a little closer. Wil carefully placed his arm around her shoulders.

"Do not overstep your boundaries, friend." he called down. Wil turned to look at him and then turned back to Illeandra. Shae hurled himself over the railing and landed hard against the deck below drawing his sword. "Heed warnings William."

"You have no propriety towards mannerisms, do you?" he replied turning from the side of the ship. He drew his sword to meet Shae's. "Shall we find out?"

Shae took a turning stab towards Wil and he returned with an upward swipe. Their clanging blades echoed across the deck of the ship. Illeandra stepped out of the shadows to watch the two closer on deck. She looked on in shock as they fought sword to sword across the width of the deck.

"Worry n'ne, miss." one of the sailors said as he stumbled against the side of the ship. He took another swig from the rum bottle in his hand. "Cap'a'n and' 'is first ma'e batt'e all th' tim'." The man stumbled as the ship ebbed over a wave.

"Do they now." she said edging towards the man as his head dropped back. She carefully slid the drunken man's sword from his belted sheath. "We shall see."

Will took a stab at Shae, and he returned with a hard thrust. Shae ducked below one o the sails causing Wil's blade to clash against the wooden beam. He jumped up on top of the beam and swiped off Wil's hat. He swung at Shae's feet, and he hopped over the slashing blade.

"Nice move." Shae called to him as he jumped off the beam. He landed facing his friend, sword ready for more action. "Shall we continue?" Wil gave a quick nod and slashed again.

Shae took another thrusting stab at Wil, and as their swords clashed together, he realized that Wil was sitting on the steps to the helm. He whirled around as quickly as he could to face his new opponent, but they were too fast a blade for him. His sword was knocked from his hand and sent skittering across the deck.

"I see we are no longer a match." he said bowing his head to her.

"That is a damper on your skills as you obviously practice far more than I." Illeandra replied lowering her sword. He smiled at her and bent down to pick up his sword.

"Land ho!" a sailor shouted from the crows nest. Shae quickly sheathed his sword and hastened to the wheel. "Chávez be waitin' fo' us Cap'a'n!"

"Hoist the sails men!" he shouted from the helm. He turned the wheel carefully steering the ship into port. "Direct her to the southern dock!" Shae turned to look at the ocean behind them.

"Shae, the governor's guardsmen have been following us." Wil said approaching the helm. The captain nodded his head. "We should hurry into port before they catch up."

"Worry not, Wil, they will not catch up to this ship." Shae replied concentrating on the wheel. The ship slowly glided up to the dock, and the crew went to work tying her up. "Chávez, old friend, have your men finish up my ship. Men go about your business!"

The crew handed over their work to the new crew, and they all slowly vanished into the crowded marketplace. Illeandra wrapped a cloak around her shoulders as Wil and Shae put on English general coats. She walked across the gangplank closely followed by the two of them.

"We will meet you at the inn just after dark. I have treasures to check up on." Shae said as he turned into the tavern.

"I had better go along to watch over him." Wil said and quickly followed him. She watched them vanish through the doorway and slipped into the tailor shop.

A stately gentleman in a wine colored velvet suit strode into the jewelry shop. He bowed his head to everyone he met causing the exceptionally long white feather to waft up and down. The shopkeeper ushered him towards the counter as he stepped through the door.

"Are you searching for anything in particular, sir?" the shopkeeper asked leaving the man in front of the counter and slipping around to the back. "We have an exquisite collection of diamonds and other precious stones from the southern regions of the world."

"I would like to see some of your diamond pendants. I have a birthday for my mother coming soon." the man replied in a hearty voice.

The shopkeeper pulled keys from his pocket and opened the case behind the counter. He lifted down a wooden box and set it on the countertop as he opened the lid. Slipping on a pair of white cotton gloves, the shopkeeper lifted out a few of the smaller pendants. He carefully placed them into the gloved hand of the man.

"Do you have any pendants of larger sizes?" the man asked as he inspected the precious stone. The shopkeeper nodded his head and hastened towards the storeroom in the back. "I would appreciate a blue diamond, if you have any on hand."

The shopkeeper carefully searched the shelves of boxes as quickly as he could. He opened box upon box searching through pendants, bracelets, and rings looking for anything with a blue diamond. Time became a precious issue as he heard the man impatiently tap his fingers.

"I received a small set of blue diamonds just a few days ago." he said in an attempt to keep the man in the shop. He shuffled through a few more boxes and knocked over a few others. "Here it is."

He grabbed the blue sparkling stones from the glittering pile, nearly crashing forward onto the floor, and dashed back out to show the man. The excitement of a sale melted from his face as he noticed the man was gone. His shoulders slumped down, and he approached the counter to replace the pendants back into the box. He glanced back towards the mess he had created in the storeroom as he reached for the box. The shopkeepers hand rested down onto the bare countertop.

He whipped his head to see where he had left the box, only to realize that the box was gone. Laying on the countertop where the box was supposed to be was a single thornless blue rose. The shopkeeper's eyes grew in horror as he sorted out what had happened. He dropped the pendant onto the counter and sprinted out the front door of his shop.

"Constable! Constable!" the man shouted dashing down the avenue. "Robbery! The Blue Rose Baron has returned!"

The man pointed in the direction the thief was running. A man just stepping in from the docks drew his sword and motioned for the others to go about their business. The thief ducked into a stable dropping his hat in the doorway. As he stepped through the doorway, he noticed the man's velvet coat in the dirt. A young boy watched him from the shadows. The boy drew his sword at the oncoming soldier. He aimed the point directly at his heart. They spent a few silent moments staring each other up and down before either of them made a single move.

With lightning speed, the soldier slashed at the boy's sword. The boy returned a blow with equal force, knocking the soldier off his balanced guard. The boy posed a second strike before the soldier could sort out a next move. Clashes of steel echoed through the open stable as the soldier pressed the boy towards the open door.

"You are no match for me, boy. I am Sir Phillip Evansted." he said as the boy ducked behind a stone column. He slowly circled around the column to catch the boy on the other side. "I was trained at the Royal Guard in London."

"I know who you are." the boy spat as he stabbed from the left side of the column. The soldier struck back. "You need not tell me about yourself."

The boy turned and stabbed from the right side hoping for a better angle. Phillip took a hack at the boy. The boy ducked down below his swing and turned out into the open space past the columns. The soldier's sword clanged off of the stone as he whirled around to see the boy. The point of his blade was directly aimed at his throat. He braced his blade against that of the boy's.

"Good form, lad." he said calmly. He struck the blade sending it skittering across the sandy floor. The boy turned to retrieve his sword. "But not good enough." He smacked the boy in the center of his back.

The young lad stumbled down onto the sandy floor of the stable. His hat fell off his head revealing long brown hair. As he flipped his hair out of his face, the soldier realized that he was not a boy.

"Illeandra?" he exclaimed once he saw her face.

"Surprise Phillip." she replied scrambling to her feet and drawing a second sword. She held the sword out with the point of the blade against his throat. "You cannot own everything."

"Of course I can." he said softly and swiftly knocked the sword from her hand. Ha grabbed a hold of her wrists and held them tightly behind he back. "I have her!"

"I beg to differ, savy?" he said stepping into the doorway. Shae cocked his pistol and aimed for Phillip. He fired as Illeandra dropped to the ground.

As Phillip lay on the ground screaming for back up, the two of them ran as fast as they could towards the docks. A couple of the other soldiers began to follow them. The echo of their footsteps hung over the port as Shae and Illeandra made an escape towards the ship.

The ship began to pull away from the dock as she stepped onto the gangplank. She jumped with all he strength to reach the ship as the gangplank fell into the water. Wil grabbed her hand and pulled her over the railing. Illeandra turned her head in time to see Shae surrounded by men.

"Shae!" she shouted as Wil pulled her back. She struggled and thrashed trying desperately to escape his grip. "I have to go to him." Illeandra pulled against his grip, tears streaming down her face. "Shae." Her last words were barely audible as she dropped down to her knees on the deck of the ship.

Wil pulled her back into his arms as Shae was taken away by the soldiers. The crew members solemnly worked on the sails to leave the port. One of the sailors approached the side of the ship.

"There go's a good cap'a'n." he said removing his hat from the disheveled mass of his hair. He quickly scratched his greasy head and replaced his upon it. "I guess 'at makes you th' new cap'a'n." The man turned to Wil and offered Shae's sword.

"How can you just leave him to die like this?" she asked quietly.

"The pirate code, lass." he replied as though she should have known. He chugged the remainder of the rum in the bottle he was holding. "Wh' ever falls 'ehind, gets left 'ehind." Illeandra jumped to her feet, snatching the sword form the man's hand and pressed the blade tip to his neck.

"I suggest you rethink that pirate code." she said angered at his reply. She turned to the rest of the crew who stood watching from the deck below. "Turn this ship about!"

"We cann't do tha', miss." one of the crewmen shouted back. "The cap'a'n did n't order it."

She forcefully pushed Wil away from her and she climbed on top of the railing. She flipped the sword up into the air and caught the blade in her hand. She winced in pain as the glittering steel cut her hand.

"Your captain is who we are going to save." she said sternly. Illeandra whipped the sword towards the main mast of the ship. The crew watched in awe as the sword stuck deep into the wood. They all turned back to her as she jumped down from the helm railing. Without another word the crew scattered to fulfill the orders she had given.

She stepped up behind Wil as he watched the spectacle taking place along the docks. She placed her hand gently on his shoulder under the feather of his hat. She peered up at him from under the brim of her hat.

"I need to borrow this." she said slipping the dagger from his belt. She turned back towards the make-shift gallows.

One of the guardsmen stepped up to the corner of the make-shift gallows unrolling a scroll as a noose was fitted around Shae's neck. The hangman tightened the rope as the crier began to read.

"Captain Davison, you have been charged with kidnapping, thievery, and the portrayal of the Blue Rose Baron." the crier called above the noise of the crowd. "Hang him!"

One of the guardsmen pulled the lever along side the make-shift gallows. The boards beneath him creaked downward. Illeandra held the dagger up by the blade and whipped it towards the rope hanging from the wooden beam. The shimmering metal whooshed through the air and stuck deep into the beam, slicing the rope. Shae fell through the open stage to the ground below.

"Draw your sword." she said to Wil as the guardsmen quickly scattered through the crowd. A rope dangled down the side of the wall next to her. "I shall meet up with you on the ship." She wrapped the rope around her arm and started to climb up the wall.

"I hope you know what you are doing." he said sliding his sword out of its sheath.

Wil's sword clashed against one of the guardsmen's as she gained her footing on the top of the wall. She drew her sword with her right hand while securing the rope around her left arm. She took a quick survey of the crowd and jumped from the wall. Swinging towards the make-shift gallows she struck swords with other guardsmen.

Illeandra released the rope and jumped down to the stage landing with a loud thud on the boards. She grabbed Shae's hand and helped him out from under the stage. She slashed the ropes that bound his wrists and he drew his sword.

"Thank you." he said as he clashed swords with an oncoming guardsman. They stood back to back fending off the approaching soldiers. "Nice shot, by the way."

"To tell the truth, love, I was aiming for the guardsman at the lever." she said kicking back a soldier. He threw another over the side of the stone wall and stared at her in horror. "I was joking, love." She spun around and knocked another soldier with the handle of her sword.

The ship slowly glided near the wall where they stood above the crowd. Wil cut and jabbed his way to the wall. He stood beside the two of them and tipped his hat.

"I think we should take out leave." he said to Shae. A rope was tossed from the mast of the ship into Wil's hands. "I shall see you both aboard." Wil jumped from the wall and swung on the rope to the deck of the ship.

"I agree with him." Shae replied as the sailor in the crows nest tossed a rope to him. He kissed Illeandra's cheek and jumped down towards the ship.

She turned back to the crowd and pulled the last blue rose from her coat pocket. She slowly breathed in the scent of the flower before tossing it into the mass of people below. A knife streaked past her face. Illeandra looked into the crowd and saw Phillip fast approaching.

"Blue Rose Baron." he said calmly twirling the rose. He stopped a few feet from where she was. "Forgive me, sir, but we have not been properly introduced." He adjusted his hat in a cocky manner and brushed the dust from his chest. "Baron, I am Sir Phillip Evansted." He extended his hand towards the stranger.

"That is Baroness to you, sir." she replied slashing his hat off his head with her sword. She slipped her sword back into its sheath and took a step backward. "It has been a true pleasure evading you courtship Sir Phillip." With her final words, she jumped from the dockside wall.

Phillip lunged after her but caught himself back before falling over the edge. He watched as she grasped a hold of the rope flapping in the breeze from the mast of the ship. She swung around the sails to the deck of the ship and jumped down. Illeandra waved her hat to him as the ship skimmed away from the docks in the strong southern wind.