Adventure on Lotus Island
Author: I got a couple new followers and new readers and it seems a few of them enjoys my pirate stuff, such as "Pirate Law" and "The Lord's Consort", so I thought I'd give this one a shot. This has a couple of characters from my other stories "Pirate Law" and "Lucky Low", so if you guys enjoyed those stories, you JUST might enjoy this one! As always, constructive criticism is welcome. I wrote this and a couple of my other stories at different times, so some things might be different, BUT I'm working on it.
Chapter One: A Pirate Poker Prize
It all started with a game of poker.
Four men, sitting around a table in a tavern, coins and cards on the table with their grog within arm's reach. It was a common enough sight anywhere in the world, even for the exotic location called Lotus Island. The one and only town on the island was a resort for sailing men and women, so all kinds of people crossed paths and inhabited the streets and dwellings.
The four men looked at one another, a great pile of silver and gold coins laying in the center of the table between them. There was a number of years difference, the youngest being somewhere in his late teens while the oldest seemed to be in his fifties. The youngest was a handsome, tanned young man with short, dark red hair and a wicked scar over his left eye that ran from his brow to the cheek.
Grinning, he threw his cards down on to the table. "Full House, gentlemen! I do believe that this is a win for me!"
The other three swore and threw their cards down, their hands completely useless. They glared at the boy as he pulled the mountain of coin towards himself. The whipper-snapper, a stranger to the island, had approached the group, feigning ignorance in the game and now had just cheated them all out of their money. Somehow he cheated, they knew that much, but they couldn't quite prove it.
The boy looked at the coins and clicked his tongue, as if he were trying to make a difficult choice. "I'd love to play some more, but I'm afraid ye don't have much else to give me. It's truly a shame, ye all could've won back everything ye had and possibly more!"
He shrugged and started to rise from his chair, about to stuff his purse with the coins when the man across from him shot up from his own seat, arm outstretched. "Wait, boyo! We're not done yet!"
"Is that so?" the red-head asked, smiling. "Do ye have anything else of any value?"
The man nodded. "Aye, I have something worth quite a lot! It's worth more than all of that you see in front of you!"
The other two men, who were comrades of the challenger, gawked at him. They knew what he was speaking of, but they didn't dare think that he would risk such a valuable thing when gambling with a whelp like this!
"Don't do it, Tim!" the one on the boy's right urged. "If you did, and you lose, then-"
"I won't lose!" Tim snapped, glaring at the boy. "Hold your tongue, Howard!"
"But he's right, Tim!" the man on the left insisted. "Think! Don't do anything stupid!"
"You hold your tongue too, Horace! I won't lose this time!"
"So you say," the boy raised an eyebrow, "but what is it that ye have to wager?"
The answer was a beautiful young woman, about sixteen or seventeen, just a couple of years younger than the red-headed gambler. She had very fair skin and a head of long, wavy cyan-colored hair. Iron shackles latched around her wrists and ankles, a cloth was tied around her mouth. Her eyes were like sapphires, but instead of glittering with beauty, they were filled with sadness. She had been brought from the back of the tavern and was forced to stay between Howard and Horace, who sat at another table, leaving Tim and the boy to their rematch.
The youth looked at her and said, "A slave? Ye bet a slave to win back yer money?"
"Do you accept?" Tim demanded.
"I don't know." The boy shook his head. "I'm starting to think ye're trying to hoodwink me or something. I'm aware that people bet slaves when they gamble, but no one bets a slave to win back a pile of money, and even if they did, they wouldn't bet one supposedly more valuable than their money." He leaned forward. "Ye're either very stupid, or ye're trying to rip me off."
Tim licked his lips anxiously. "Do you accept or not?"
The boy looked at the slave girl. "What's her name?"
"I asked what her name was."
"What do you care?"
He shrugged. "I'm just curious, but when I win her, I'd like to at least know her name."
Tim scoffed. "The names of slaves aren't important to their owners."
"Just tell me her name."
"Hell if I know! None of us know. Since we're on the subject, what's your name, boy? You never said."
He looked back at his poker buddy. "My name's Linc. Happy?"
"I'll be happy when I get back our money!" Tim shuffled the deck of cards furiously. "Now, let's play!
Linc had played plenty of cards before coming to Lotus Island. He had seen losers, he had seen winners, and he had seen cheaters. The man in front of him was but two of these sort of people. He had seen it before and he would see it again before this game was done.
Tim began to deal.
Linc grinned and slowly rubbed something that hung around his neck.
A short time later...
"Royal Flush!" Linc cried out triumphantly, leaning back in the chair. He turned his hand about for show. "I win again!"
Tim, Howard and Horace shared a look of anguish and fear.
Linc threw the cards onto the table. "Guess that's game over for all of us. I walk away with the girl and the money, it seems."
"The hell you will, you bilge rat!" Tim rose from his chair and his hand went for the flintlock that rested in the front of his belly, but Linc was quicker than him and the other two. The three were facing down two silver-toned pistols aimed in their direction, Linc's fingers just barely touching the triggers.
"Ye're bad gamblers, and ye're too slow," Linc said, staring coolly at Tim. "All of ye cheated in yer hands, I saw ye do it. Don't think that I'm some ignorant child who doesn't know a dishonest man when I see one. Yer pirates, am I right? Either that or just slavers?"
"Pirates," Tim replied, lip curling. "We sail under the flag of Captain Ned Low and when he finds out that-"
"That I what, won a bunch of money and a slave girl from three of his underlings?" Linc shook his head. "He'll have a problem with ye first of all before me and I don't fear pirates. Now, I'm going to walk out of here with my winnings. First," he waved the pistol aimed at Howard and Horace, "unbind and remove the girl's gag, would ye?"
"Or what?" Horace demanded. "We fear Captain Low more than just some-"
A spark, a puff of smoke and the smell of gunpowder materialized in the tavern. Horace collapsed on the floor, screaming as he held his leg, which was bleeding just above the kneecap.
Linc looked between Howard and Tim. "I have many more shots and I'm not afraid to use them. I'd prefer not to, but I will if I must. Now, unbind the girl, the gag too."
Howard quickly freed the girl, who spit in the man's face before kneeing him in the groin. The pirate joined his friend on the floor and cried out, "BLOODY WENCH!"
"What's yer name, girl?" Linc asked her.
"Kanani," she replied, sounding bitter. "Don't think that I'll call you master, because-"
"Don't worry, I have no interest in owning slaves," Linc promised her. "I just don't like seeing women in the company of foul, scum-sucking men." He shot a glance at her, smiling. "Nice to meet ye, by the way, lass. Could ye do me a favor, before we leave this place and go our seperate ways? Scoop up my winnings in the purse?"
With Kanani in tow, Linc exited the tavern, very happy with himself. The coin purse at his waist was fat and felt so much heavier than it had when he first arrived on the island a week before. His pistols, a strange sort of flintlock with revolving six-shot chambers on each one, rested peacefully in their proper places at his side. A boucan knife and a cutlass also hung at his hip, moving against his simple sailing trousers everytime his salt-encrusted boots moved.
"With ye being free, why do ye follow me?" he asked, not turning to look at the girl trailing him. "Thought ye would have gone off like a bird, finally free of its cage."
Kanani said nothing. She just kept looking behind her.
Linc looked over his shoulder. "Did ye hear me?"
"I heard you," she said, still looking back. "Compared to the company of others, you seem more favorable to me."
"Thanks, I think. Why did they kidnap ye?"
"Any woman in the world they think is pretty ends up a slave at one point or another."
That was true. Throughout his life, Linc had seen many men, women and children of all ages that had been abducted and sold on the slave market. The people he used to run with never had an interest in slavery, so it didn't seem to overly concern any of them. Still, they didn't like what they had seen.
"What do ye plan on doing now?" Linc asked as they turned a busy corner. "Go home?"
"As soon as I can. Once I know the waters are safe, I'll make my escape from this God forsaken island. I'd have run off as soon as we left the building, but Captain Low's men inhabit much of the beach area."
"Ye ever met him directly? This Low man?"
"Only for a brief moment, you?"
"Pray that you don't, Mister Linc, because he's a bastard whose brutality is known throughout a good portion of the Seven Seas."