This is another story for my dear friend Crescent Moon Dancer. The characters of Captain Kenway and Muse both belong to her, I'm just borrowing them for my own purposes ;)
This story is a sequel to Crescent's story "Song of Death, Breath of Life" (which is much better than this story!) and it takes place two years after that story ends. Their is some violence at the beginning and a hint of romance near the end if you squint ;)
So if you haven't read Crescent's story please go do so, and for those that have I hope you enjoy the story.
The Galleon twisted and turned as it fled the burning island. The ship creaked and bounced on the waves as the sails filled with the winds, the crew working to pile on every scrap of sail on the wind.
Out of the smoke of the island came a frigate, flying the British flag. Its white sails were in battle positions as it gave chase, also hoping to take advantage of the strong tailwind.
The Captain of the pirate Galleon, Captain Brady Kenway, snarled as the British ship gained on his Galleon. He turned the wheel in an attempt to stretch the sails to their limit, begging them to hold together and keep sailing. "Battle positions men! Stand ready!"
His well-trained crew instantly responded to the orders, as cannons were loaded, muskets were passed out, and swords were buckled on. Kenway looked back at the pursuing frigate and watched it come ever closer to his Galleon.
"Alright boys and girls listen up!" He snapped, his voice resounding over the creaking of the ship and the sounds of the wind and the waves. "We are the last ship of the free pirate republic. Nassau has fallen, Blackbeard's forces have been crushed, and most of our brethren have gone to Davy Jones! If we go down, the very ideas that we've fought for will fall. But I'm tired of running!"
"Today I fight! I fight for the Pirate Republic! I fight for our fallen corsairs, I fight for Nassau, and I fight to strike back at the Royal Navy! It may be a fool's errand true, but I still fight."
His voice sobered a bit and he lowered his head "Still, you all know that on my ship, we act as one. If there are any among you who do not wish to join me, then go to the rowboats and sail wherever you wish. It's up to you to choose."
Captain Kenway turned back to the wheel, attempting to keep the sails filled with wind. His first mate, a tall Jamaican man, stood up and drew his mace. "No, no choice… we fight with you."
The men turned back to their battle positions and Captain Kenway's heart filled with pride and admiration for his crew. A smirk plastered itself on his face as he smiled "Alright boys, let's give them blood and vinegar!"
The pirate ship began to turn hard to starboard as Captain Kenway spun the wheel. The British Frigate kept on its course, and the Galleon moved to intercept.
Cannons boomed as the Frigate fired the first round of the battle, and three cannon balls whizzed past the front of the pirate ship.
"Come on Neptune…hold together!" The young captain groaned. His ship, the Neptune's Dream, was the second Galleon he had owned and he wasn't losing it to a British Frigate!
His own cannons boomed in response as the Neptune's Dream fired a broadside, the cannon shot smashing into the left side of the British Frigate.
Both ships drifted away from one another before circling back, both crews frantically reloading their cannons.
It was the rumbling that caught her attention.
The mermaid swam through the crystal clear water, her coral colored tail propelling her as her hair drifted behind her. The water around her ears vibrated as she brought herself to a stop, wondering what could cause that rumbling.
Filled with curiosity, she swam towards the vibrations, letting them roll over her as they got stronger and closer together.
Her head broke the water and her blue eyes fixed on the two ships that were circling each other like sharks. She watched the pirate ship for a moment, her soft gaze seeking out the captain.
The cannons of the frigate fired again, and she clapped her hands to her ears at the loud sound. She ducked under the water, letting the sound fizzle out, before she broke the surface again.
Unaware of the being watching them from afar, the two ships continued their battle. Cannons fired and were reloaded with almost inhuman speed as the trained crews fell into the rhythm of battle. Captain Kenway ducked as a cannon ball smashed into the back of his ship, and he groaned as the wood creaked.
More cannons fired and chain-shot whipped upwards, ripping into the sails and tearing gaping holes in the fabric. The ship slowed noticeably, and the British ship fired again.
Round shot smashed holes into the hull of the Neptune's Dream, and the ship shuddered like a living thing in pain.
"Captain, we're on fire!"
Kenway cursed as the prow of his ship began to burn, and crewmembers rushed to attack the small fire with wet cloths.
The British frigate fired again, and another round smashed into the crippled pirate ship, one lucky cannon shot tearing the rudder off the ship. The ship gave one last shudder and then stopped moving.
The Neptune's Dream was dead in the water.
The British ship pulled alongside the marooned Galleon and grappling ropes clanged onto the pirate hull, catching and holding fast.
A cutlass and a scimitar were drawn and gleamed in the sunlight as Captain Kenway leapt towards the ropes, shearing two of them in half. "Stand fast, and prepare to repel boarders!"
The crew moved to obey, grabbing rifles and firing at the British soldiers and sailors. Men screamed as they fell dead, some toppling over into the sea.
Rifle fire cracked as the British returned fire, and Pirates groaned as they slumped to the deck. Captain Kenway drew a pistol and fired, hitting a sailor in the head, before leaping back as a wooden plank was pushed onto the ship. British soldiers drew swords and rushed forward, leaping onto the deck of the Neptune's Dream.
The pirates rushed forward, armed with swords of their own as they fought to stem the tide of Redcoats.
Blades clanged and guns cracked as the battle raged, and Captain Kenway rushed into the thick of the fray. His twin blades disarmed the nearest two soldiers, slicing red trails across their chests. He kicked a third solider overboard and parried an axe blow. He grunted as he slipped and fell on the deck, narrowly avoiding another blow that took a chunk from the ground.
The Solider smiled and raised his weapon for the final blow, when he suddenly grunted and fell over.
His first mate stood behind him, holding his bloody mace. Accepting the hand that he was offered Captain Kenway ducked another sword slash, quickly dispatching the owner.
He lunged back into the battle, noticing that despite the account his men were giving, they were losing. The Redcoats were simply too numerous, and now they were swinging on ropes to attack the pirates from above.
Pirates were hitting the deck or falling over into the sea, turning it blood red. Screams of pain were cut short by gunfire or swords, and the pirates were slowly being slaughtered.
The fire from earlier had started up again and the smoke was beginning to fill the eyes of all present, making the fighting even harder. Then the stores of gunpowder under the ship exploded, fueling the fire and rocking the previously still ship.
The Pirates and Redcoats alike screamed as several hit the wooden deck, and several more slid off the deck into the cold water, disappearing, with the splashes the only sign that they had fallen in.
Captain Kenway had seized a rope, and managed to outlast the rocks. When the sea and the ship calmed down sufficiently he readied himself for combat, his first mate next to him. The remaining pirates moved over to their captain and stood by him.
"Let's bring them to Davy Jones with us boys!" Captain Kenway roared, and the pirates charged forward with cries and roars that sent lances of fear plunging through the hearts of the Redcoats.
The mermaid winced as she watched the figures fall overboard, feeling their vibrations as they hit the water. Each one was unique, but none of them were the vibration she sought.
She dove back under the water and swam closer to the pirate ship, swimming around the front and pausing as she noticed the figurehead.
It was a mermaid, encrusted in coral and jewels.
With a flick of her tail she looked into the brown eyes of the figurehead, noticing it bore a resemblance to her. That confirmed it, he was on that ship.
She just needed to pin her hopes on the thin certainty that he would fall into the water, so she could save him a second time.
Her head broke the surface of the water, just as a warcry broke out… followed by the clashing of steel.
The pirates fell upon the soldiers like a storm, slaying and fighting to protect their Captain. The redcoats fell to the deck as the swords of the pirates bit into their flesh, and Captain Kenway hurled himself against the British again and again. They had destroyed his ship, slaughtered his men, and their stupid laws had destroyed the very idea of being a pirate.
He didn't have anything to live for, to fight for, he'd known that this was going to be his last battle… so he fought, knowing he was going to die.
His first mate was the last to fall, as the redcoats at last overwhelmed him. He bashed two men aside with a heavy mace blow, but was stabbed three times in the back, and fell dead.
Captain Kenway stood alone, fighting against a wave of Redcoats, his cutlass was knocked aside and he spun to retrieve it, parrying a blade with his scimitar. He scrambled for his other sword, but a British sword pierced his side.
He grunted in pain as his vision swam, he swung his scimitar with all his remaining strength slaying another solider, before his back hit the railing of his ship.
Captain Kenway hurled his sword at the nearest solider, then fell overboard, into the cold dark embrace of the sea.
The icy waters instantly numbed his limbs and the wound in his side began to trail blood. He kicked his useless legs once, then closed his eyes.
The image of a beautiful mermaid woman filled his mind, as it always seemed too when he submerged himself in water. He saw Muse, the woman who saved his life two years ago.
His numb limbs were useless and immovable, and black spots danced before his eyes as the last bubbles of air escaped his lips. He smiled a bit at the sight of Muse, an illusion she may be, and closed his eyes. He was grateful for the sight of her… because it made going to Davy Jones a lot easier.
The Mermaid felt it, felt his unique vibration as his body hit the water, and she instantly swam towards it. Her eyes pierced the murky, bloody water, scanning the flotsam like blue spotlights. Then she saw him.
Kenway! She shouted, her voice piercing his mind. A powerful flick of her tail propelled her next to him, and she grabbed him and pressed his lips to hers, breathing into his mouth and filling his lungs with air. The water would be his friend, he'd be able to breathe, and they'd leave each other be. That's how it worked two years ago, that's how it would work now.
After a few seconds she pulled away, fully prepared to see that roguish smirk as he made some joke about her saving him again. However her eyes widened in horror at the many wounds on his body, the worst being a stab wound in his side.
She pressed her hands to the wounds, willing the wound to stop bleeding, ordering the water to bind his skin and keep the blood inside of him. That however was all she could do... she needed more powerful healing magic, magic she didn't have.
Her fingers locked around his arms like steel bands, and she began dragging his body through the water, to the one place she knew could heal him.
Thankfully her home was empty and quiet as she floated through the water, into the coral carved city. It was a place made completely of coral and held together by magic, which also kept it from prying human eyes.
It was a secret place, and she knew that her mother and sisters would chew into her tail if they knew she brought a human to their home, brought a male to their home, or brought a male to their home that had two legs instead of a tail.
So in short she was glad she was alone.
She drifted over to a bed and placed him in it, laying him down as she placed her hands over the wound in his side. She closed her eyes and drew on the magic that surrounded her home, her family, her mermaid heritage.
His skin began to knit back together and he sighed, she wasn't a healer, but she smiled a bit at the positive remark. He'd need to stay still and safe for a bit, but he was alive.
His mental cry startled her and she jumped a bit, before noticing the relief that was in his tone. She grabbed his hand lightly, squeezing his fingers and noting the warmth that was in his grip.
Muse. The mermaid smiled softly as the name he gave her reentered her brain. It felt nice, to have her name called. She once thought that names were burdens, that they brought unnecessary change and kept people from seeing things as they were.
Yet hearing her name called like that, it felt nice.
She waited by his bedside for an hour or so, her eyes watching his face for any signs of pain. Other than a few soft whispers of her name and some light squeezes of her hand he was silent.
Her mind wandered, she had a dozen other little chores to take care of, and better things to do that watch someone sleep. Still she stayed, floating wordlessly by his bedside, wondering if he would need anything when he awoke.
She bit her lip nervously, wanting him to wake up, and wake up soon. His head began to thrash from side to side and his face twisted in fear. He began to shake and whimpers entered her mind, whimpers of her name.
"Muse… Muse… Muse!"
Muse gripped his hand tightly, pressing her other hand to his chest to keep him still, while reentering his mind: "Kenway… Kenway calm down. I'm here"
He paused suddenly, then his black eyes shot open in panic, and he moved to sit up. "Where am I?!" He grunted, half in anger and half in pain.
"Calm down" Muse repeated, letting her eyes flare with the wrath of a hidden storm. Thankfully her charge obeyed and lay back down.
Muse squeezed his hand reassuringly and smiled "You were wounded in the battle and I brought you to my home, you have my gift again, and you are safe."
He squeezed back, letting out a deep sigh. The sigh was the type of sigh that came from a man with a heavy burden. Instantly Muse wanted to do what she could to lift that burden, and she took a deep breath. "What's wrong Kenway? Please." She couldn't see him suffer, she had to find out what was wrong.
"All dead" He gritted out of clenched teeth "All dead. My crew, my friends, Nassau, and the dream of all pirates… to live in a free world. A world where men could do as they pleased without laws or rules binding us. Just loyalty and the open sea." He lay his head back on the pillow and frowned, tears glittering in his eyes.
Muse grabbed his hand with both of her own and caressed it gently, marveling at how different it was from her own. Her palms and fingers were softer than most, but still worn from the challenges of everyday life. His hand in contrast was hard and callused from working on ships, but it gripped her smaller hands lightly, holding them like they were lifelines.
"I'm sorry…" She whispered gently, a tone of remorse in her voice.
He chuckled and his black eyes captured and held her own "Hey… at least I got to see you again Muse, never did thank you for saving my life the first time."
The mermaid shook her head, as her heart beat faster; her blond pearl adorned hair reaching out behind her at the movement, almost as if it had a life of its own. "You should get some rest okay? You'll need to stay still, but you'll live."
He nodded and closed his eyes again, dropping off to sleep.
The days flowed by, one meshing into the other, as Muse began to truly understand the man she had saved. He told her about how he had gotten into Piracy, and talked often about his first ship; Neptune's Belle. The ship she had lured to the rocks.
In return she told him about her heritage and about herself, and when he slept or his wounds bothered him, she sang to him. She kept her voice at a low enough pitch so that it didn't hypnotize him completely, but it soothed him.
He'd always flash her a roguish smile and compliment her voice until her cheeks turned as pink as her tail. Aside from singing to her fellow mermaids, or alone when she was out at sea, she'd never sang to anyone one on one before. The feeling of seeing Kenway's eyes light up with life and new hope when she sang set her heart thumping, just as it did when he called her by her name.
Muse was starting to appreciate the value of her name, it felt good to be recognized by someone. The name didn't change her, it only made her more treasured by him. His voice was a welcome touch on her mind as they interacted, hearing him laugh or sigh or joke around, having that light caress in her mind was wonderful. She could feel how much he cared about her, and how grateful he was that she saved him.
Until finally the day came where she had to learn to live without it.
One week after she had saved him from a watery grave, he was fully healed, and could no longer remain in her home.
Muse's heart was surprisingly heavy as she swam with Kenway back to the nearest bit of dry land, where he could get help. The mermaid was much more agile in the water than her companion, so she often swam in circles, tossing her hair, while she waited for him to catch up.
She giggled as she watched his clumsy attempts to swim faster, wondering how humans got along without tails to propel them through the water. She caught his hand again and dragged him along, letting humor fill her voice. You're swimming all wrong Kenway.
He smirked Well I don't have a tail Muse, even with the water as my friend swimming is a bit difficult!
Muse laughed and took his hands in her own, lacing their fingers together and guiding him a bit through the water and the coral that grew near the bottom. He responded well to her movements as she slid around him, dancing a bit in the water. He danced with her, albeit not as gracefully, and she held him steady. They flowed and swayed together for a few more minutes, making their way to land.
She laughed one more time and released his hands, smiling as he stood in the shoulder high water. She floated in front of him, resting on her tail.
Kenway reached up and twirled a lock of her hair around his finger, meeting her blue eyes with his black ones. "Muse, I really don't know why you keep saving my life… but thank you."
Muse blushed and gave him a smile, before leaning forward and wrapping her arms around him in a hug. Salty tears dripped from her eyes as she squeezed him tightly, suddenly sad that he was leaving her so soon. He was her friend… she couldn't just let him go. They lived two different lives, but that didn't mean they had to be apart.
He hugged her back, just as tightly as his hands traced a pattern on her shoulders, she shuddered a bit at the unexpected touch and pulled back. Silence reigned between them as Muse stared into his eyes wondering what, if anything, she could say.
Then his grip tightened a bit, he pulled her close, and then his mouth was on hers….
She jumped a bit at the contact. This was unnecessary, she could breathe just fine and needed no help from him…
This was a kiss.
There was tenderness in his hands as his caressed her arms, and he held her close. Muse felt his heart thumping under her hand as she considered her options.
She could pull away and slap him, or punch him, or maybe just hold his head under the water for a moment. Any of those would do… any one at all.
But she simply floated there, undecided, before Kenway released her and backed away turning to go to dry land.
The mermaid took a few breaths before reaching out with her mind again. Wait. She whispered, realizing that their positions were reversed. Come with me… please.
Muse saw him smirk a bit, as he answered "Why?"
She took a shaky breath and willed herself to be strong. There's nothing for you out there... and I saved your life.
He smiled, repeating the same words she had told him two years ago "That does not mean I wish to go with you."
She nodded sadly, accepting it. Leaving him was easier the first time, but now they knew one another… they were friends. She just didn't expect it to hurt this much.
Stay safe Kenway, and stay out of the oceans… I won't save you a third time.
He smirked, the same roguish smirk she was so used to, as he responded "You're a bad liar Muse, you'll always save me… you know it."
The mermaid smiled back
Then with a flash of coral color, she was gone.
Well I hope you enjoyed that story.
Two weeks for me until Summer! I've got a ton planned in both the writing and music department, including the sequel to the Faceless Affair, more Battles of a Total War, another Chapter of IWIW, and even a superhero story! Please stay tuned!
Also go check out Crescent's stories, and drop some reviews! She deserves them! :D
Please leave a review, feel free to check out my other works, and have a great day!