As time passed Leslie pushed the incident behind her. After a couple of months things calmed down, and it was almost forgotten. Leslie's dreams were the only thing that haunted her; had she done the right thing? At night she replayed the scenes all over again, starting with his arrival. She should have recognized him immediately; his grey eyes were unmistakable.

"Leslie honey, are you listening?" Her mother asked. They were discussing wedding plans; Leslie couldn't concentrate today.

"I'm sorry mother; I just don't know how I feel about this wedding." Leslie replied honestly.

"It is the reasonable thing to do." Her mother replied simply. "Are you still upset about what happened? He is gone; the Captain told you there was no sight of him anywhere. If he comes back, he won't get close to us."

"I know mother." Leslie said quietly. "Shall we continue with plans?"

"Of course," Her mother smiled widely.

The rest of the day carried on this way. Leslie tried not to think about the wedding too much, which was hard. Her mother only wanted to talk about the wedding. Thinking of an excuse, Leslie retired to her room early and sat next to the window. She longed to see Ayden riding on a horse, coming back as if nothing had happened. But it had, and she couldn't go back.


It had taken months for Ayden to be fully recovered, he felt like dying almost every day and was close more than twice. The stable man had a wife in the village, and they had a small shack behind their cottage. He stayed there and the wife would tend to him once or twice a day. News had travelled fast about Ayden. The kingdom wanted him captured, by the order of Captain Jonathan. By the time he had fully recovered however, people had started to forget about him and worry about other bandits in town. Regardless, he kept a low profile and traveled at night for the sake of the stable man's family.

"You look like you need a drink." The tavern owner said to him one night. "Here, on the house."

"Thanks." Ayden said gruffly. He took a swig from the mug and sighed.

"So what brings you here tonight?"

"I needed to get out." Ayden chuckled. The owner leaned over the bar and rubbed his beard. It was fairly late, and many of the usual attendees had gone home for the night, or were staying in a room upstairs. Ayden looked around at all the drunks left.

"It's been pretty busy here these past days, new ship docked this week and all the sailors come in for a drink or two every night. They are most of the men you see right now. Drunkards, they scare most of my good customers away."

"Why are they here?" Ayden asked.

"They are trying to repair the ship. Captain came in one night and wanted me to spread word that they were in need of extra hands. They must have hit a storm pretty bad on the way back from a delivery, they are travelling merchants from an island across the sea."

"You said they are looking for help?" He asked.

"Yeah, you in need of work?"

"It would be nice. I lost my last job, after I was injured." Ayden said slowly. The owner nodded his head and filled his own glass.

"Damn," He replied.

"Is the captain staying in town anywhere?"

"No, he's staying on the ship."

"Thanks," He left the man a tip against his protests and walked out of the bar and back to the shed he resided in.

In the morning Ayden got dressed and risked leaving during the day. He took the alleyways to avoid a lot of contact with others. The islanders wouldn't know about his bounty, so it was a chance he could take to get off. He just needed time to convince the captain to let him on the ship. He would work for it if he had to.

"Ladies, come on. I want this ship done by the end of the month. We've got to make this quota! Put your backs into it!" Men were lugging planks of wood and sawing them to size, while others were hammering them in and making other various repairs.

"Hey you, why are you on my ship?" A man on the upper deck hollered. A couple of the crew man stood straight and stared Ayden down carefully as he made his way to the captain. He was a tall husky and grungy looking, his dark hair was pulled back into a pony tail and his skin was covered in grim. It was clear that the captain pulled his own weight in the repairs of the ship. His eyes were a soft green, but now they looked cold and stern.

"Good mornin' sir, the owner of the local tavern tells me you need workers."

"Are you offerin?"

"Yeah. I need the work and a free trip out of here."

"Hold up Son, I don't take on fugitives. The authorities have told me to report anyone looking to stowaway on my ship. So, either you explain to me what is going on, or I lock you up until the royal guard arrives." The captain crossed his arms. Ayden looked behind him and saw three burly men walk up.

"I tell you and you WILL send me back to the castle. The royal Captain wants me locked away and I will not allow that to happen. I would do anything to get away from here." Ayden said in a low tone. The captain raised an eyebrow and motioned for him to follow. They walked down the steps and into the captain's cabin. His men stayed outside.

"Now, Jonathan's got a bounty for you? Rotten bastard." He said. "If you pull your weight during repairs, I will consider letting you stay. Now what is your name?"

"Ayden Patterson. My father was the first mate of the king before..."

"Before the alleged mutiny; I believe everyone knows that story." The Captain said finishing for him.

"He wants to me to pay for my father's actions. I didn't even know the bastard, for all I know he is dead."

"Yes…" The Captain said standing. "Louis!"

A blonde man stepped into the room and nodded his head to the captain, by the way he was dressed Ayden guessed that he was the first mate.

"Take this man to get his belongings and show him around; then get him started on repairs. The boy has to work is ass off if he plans to stay. I may hate the royal captain as much as the next person, but I do not break the law."

"Carlos, this man is a fugitive?"

"Yes, but that doesn't matter. I want him on my ship, he will be very useful." The captain gave Louis a very knowing look and dismissed them both. Ayden followed the first mate out of the cabin and onto the deck of the ship.

"Where do you live?" He asked not looking at him.

"I don't have anything to bring along, only what I have on my back." Ayden said with a smile. Louis nodded and began to show him around the ship. The men's quarters were cramped; cots were hanging above one another. He reached into a large cabinet and produced another set of clothes.

"You'll need at least another set of clothes so here, these should fit." Louis pointed to a cot that he could throw them on and then he moved on up the stairs.

Once the tour was over, Louis called over a couple of men and introduced them. They were twins that were born into the life of the sea, Sam and Seth.

"Come on lad, we've got a lot of work to do." Seth said with a smile.

Ayden learned that the ship was called the Calypso. Louis was from this kingdom, Galas. It was named after the founder. Carlos was from Galas as well; it was a small world. From what he could gather everyone else was from the Island of Aras. The first month was brutal for Ayden, it strained him to work this hard. Regardless, the captain never let up. At times it seemed like the Captain was specifically targeting Ayden. It must have been part of the process.

"Get up ladies, we haven't got all day! Move! My granny walks faster than that!" Louis would holler.

They worked until the sun went down every day for months before the ship was in good shape once again. The men woke up earlier than usual and put on their boots. Everyone was chattering about taking off for the sea again. The ship was to head back to the island and trade with a country far from here; Ayden was excited. He couldn't wait to get away from this place and leave the royal captain behind. The only thing he regretted was leaving Leslie behind.

"Let's get those sails ready and pull the anchor in! Let's get out of here!" The Captain said walking across the deck. They pull on the sails and watched as they fell into place. Ayden was helping turn the anchor's crank. Once they were off the men began to row below. As soon as they had some speed and were a ways from the dock, the rows were brought back inside and the sails began to catch the wind. They slowly picked up speed and were off.

It was a month long trip from the Kingdom of Galas to Aras. The island was known for its fruits and coal. The people there traded for metals and other goods. This particular shipment was full of explosives for the miners. The crew was not to go into the cargo hold, two men were posted to guard it at all times.

"Island is in view!" The lookout shouted. Ayden and the others ran to the side of the ship and looked out into the distance. There was a dark blur which was supposedly an Island. Within minutes they had a good view of the island.

"Okay, let's get the shipment ready to go, prepare the anchor and fasten the sails." Louis shouted. Ayden hoisted himself on the pole and climbed up onto the supports of the sail and fastened the sail so it was tied tight against the rope. The lost a lot of momentum and came to the dock slowly. People yelled and waved as they came to a stop and set lowered a small bridge to the dock.

"Let's get her unloaded lads!" A couple of men shouted. Islanders were waiting on the dock to help. The doors to the cargo hold were opened and the crates were carried slowly by two men each. It took over an hour to get everything unloaded and accounted for.

"Alright lads, it will be a couple of days until we set sail again, enjoy yourselves because this next trip is going to be long one. We are travelling far and meeting with a new merchant." The way the captain said merchant made Ayden wonder. He moved to follow Seth and Sam to the local pub, they promised to show him around.

"Mr. Patterson I need to speak with you." It was the Captain. He was standing near his cabin, the door ajar.

"Yes Captain." He said as he walked forward. The look on his face told him that whatever they needed to speak about was serious.

"Come in and have a seat."

Ayden looked behind him, the others were already gone. He sighed and stepped inside. The Captain shut the door and sat at his desk.

"We need to discuss what happened with the Captain the royal family in Galas. You are Patterson's son, I knew him. He was a good man."

Ayden paid careful attention to the fact that he used past tense rather than present. Part of him was relieved. Carlos' expression was still grim, what was he hiding?

"Thank you sir." Ayden replied.

"What Jonathan says about the mutiny is a lie. I would have told you before but I had to gain your trust. Sam and Seth have told me about you. Your parents must have been proud that you were a scholar."

"My mother passed away the year I left." Ayden said. Carlo's eyes flickered away for a moment. "I wouldn't have been so lucky if it weren't for the Queen." Ayden replied. She had arranged for the schooling.

"She is a lovely woman. Tell me, on the day that Jonathan threatened you were you visiting the Kingdom?"

"I had just finished my studies with an old scholar from Galas; we travelled together for several years and studied cultures across the world. It was fascinating work. I had returned to the castle to request work. I had tutored the princess before I left. Captain Jonathan accused my father of high treason and shot me. Bastard." He finished.

"Jonathan is a rotten liar. Your father was an honorable man. I served with him on the royal ship. He defended the King with everything he had; he and many others, including myself, worked against Jonathan. He overturned the Captain and started a full scale mutiny in the middle of our voyage. Pirates boarded the ship and helped him with the affair. They killed almost every man on the ship. After the King died, your father and several others fled the ship swearing vengeance. Your father was lost on the return. I took on his legacy and vowed to right was had been wronged."

Ayden wasn't sure what to say he was in absolute shock. The story made sense but at the same time it didn't make any sense at all. There had to be pieces missing, he was almost sure of it. Carlos watched him silently for a moment, stroking his mustache.

"I-I don't know what to say."

"Just say you will help us with an uprising." Carlos said shifting in his chair. "We want to take the Maria over and make Jonathan pay."

"That's suicide. The ship is the strongest and fastest on the sea." Ayden said. "Besides the men on the ship will defend Jonathan to their dying breaths, how do you plan to pull off this anyway?"

"Well, it is simple. We do exactly what he did to us." Carlos said standing. "He never gave the pirates their cut of the treasures. They were very angry but they feared to face the royal fleet alone."

"I see."

"The island we are on now hosts many pirates. It is no-man's land. The people don't hang them, they don't loot the people." Carlos said in a low voice. "I've got Louis and several members of the crew scouting them out to learn their travel plans."

"They won't give them up." Ayden said shaking his head. Carlos smiled and brought out a large dark bottle.

"After a bottle of this they will say anything, but in the case of failure, we will follow them. You can't miss a pirate ship."

Ayden supposed he had a point, he was dismissed then. The Captain followed him into town. Eventually he found Sam and Seth and they went to a local pub to drink. Unlike most of the crew, Ayden didn't drink much. He didn't like the effects of spirits so he seldom drank. Ayden mostly watched how the others interacted and drank until they passed out.

They didn't leave until later the next day. According to the captain, no one gave up any location. Ayden had expected such results, so they were going to follow a ship that left the dock. Ayden kept asking himself the same questions over and over: why would pirates help them? How would they know if they knew of Jonathan? There were so many questions that were unanswered.