The night was spent on the beach, lulled to sleep by the sound of breaking waves. Sleep didn’t come easily these days. The crimes committed were vast. From pillaging to piracy. It wasn’t difficult to comprehend, they were after all, pirates. The biggest issue, was the inability to spend the booty. You show up to a bank with il gotten gains, they call the tax man. It was possible to bribe him, but then he owns you. No, it was better to be a plundering – stockpiling loot until it was time to hang it up. The problem was that it was time to settle down and raise a family. Tomorrow would be the last job. Aft that, it was time for the first mate to purchase the captaincy. Between that and the stockpiled loot, a life of ease and reflection was guaranteed. The first mate would be advised and proper actions would be taken.
Tomorrow, the job would be simple – a corsair out of Florida would be delivering a shipment of coffee to locations unknown. The coffee would not reach its destination. Even if the first mate demanded a larger cut, this last score would make the crowning achievement to a long and celebrated career. The Scarlet Blade would live on in the history books, but not in the knowledge of a future spouse.
* * *
“One false move, and I’ll cleave you in two.”
When the Scarlet Blade threatens to do you harm, you heed the words. The two foot curved scimitar was forged from the finest steel and coated with iron oxide to ensure its bite was lethal. Swordsmanship was only one way to die, if the iron oxide got into your bloodstream you died a painful death.
“Well, if it isn’t my favorite red head.”
The provisional governor wasn’t supposed to be on this boat. He had been chasing the Scarlet Blade for years. He had come close a few times, but he would lose any future attempts. It was fitting to end a career in defiance of the man who dedicated so much effort at capture.
The provisional governor spoke up after a few moments of silence. “No words of greeting or even defiance?”
“I grow weary of your advances, Señor. Let us be off with your cargo and we will leave you in peace.”
“I don’t think so. Not this time.”
While he said this, he removed his glove and threw it on the deck. There were shouts of surprise from the crew of the marauder.
“while we’ve been exchanging witty repartee, my men snuck under water to capture your ship.” he nodded to the first mate, “It looks as if your retirement wont be as you expected.”
The treachery of the first mate was now evident. He sheathed his sword and made his way toward the marauder. The crew was in on it, they sheathed their weapons and followed him.
“You bastard! What about my crew?”
“Your crew? I believe this crew belongs to the new captain of the marauder.”
“So what now? The stocks and a speedy trial?”
He reached out and brushed away an errant tuft of red hair. The motion was one of longing. He pushed the hair behind the pierced ear and down the expanse of the milky white neck. He gripped that neck and spoke softly, “There is an alternative.”
The most feared pirate of the Caribbean Seas was not unused to the familiarly of men. She was beautiful by any standard, her pale complexion and her fiery red hair made her a sight to behold in her life before piracy. She knew it would serve her after that same life. She sighed and responded, trying to keep the scorn from her voice. “A roll in the hay and you’re ready to give up your the dreaded Scarlet Blade? Have you forgotten the years spent in pursuit of this criminal?”
“Criminal? Bah, I say. The crown is run by criminals. I’ve been pursuing not a criminal, but a potential wife.”
“Think of the possibilities! My connections throughout the empire and your inroads into the criminal underworld. We would be unstoppable.”
She leaned into him and kissed him softly on the lips. “What choice do I have?”
He roared with laughter, linking his arm with hers. They strolled across the deck toward the captain’s quarters. “Let’s consummate this deal in private. Helmsman! Set a course for Miami. Advise my staff arrange a room for my intended.”
He turned to his the crew of the corsair, “Men! Prepare for the biggest event the Caribbean has ever seen! In two days, I wed.”
They stepped through the threshold of the quarters, his back assaulted with the whoops and cheers of his men. The partnership established there would endure for decades to come. It would eclipse even the legend of the Scarlet Blade. The world was there for the taking and they would take it all.