Mariah dropped her head. “It’s too late for that. They’ve got us.”

Tempest Tossed

2

The pirate vessel was surging at full sail, aiming to intercept the Fairweather before it could alter course or flee. Mariah cursed. “They must have sighted us farther out and waited to ambush.”

“Do we flee?”

Mariah dropped her head. “It’s too late for that. They’ve got us. There’s no way we can outrun them at this point. Besides if we tried, they would blast us out of the water with those cannons.”

As the ship came closer, she could make out the figures moving about on deck. It was twice the size of the Fairweather. As she looked on, sounds of loud indignant voices rose from the deck below.

“What is the meaning of this? Pirates! I cannot believe it.”

Mariah gritted her teeth. The source of the commotion, her passenger—a rich merchant named Alric Chamberlin clambered up to the top deck and planted himself a few feet from Mariah. She caught the angry look Venik threw at the pompous merchant but Chamberlin didn’t seem to notice.

“Is it true Captain Hand. There are pirates about?”

Annoyed, Mariah jabbed her finger towards the other ship now coming alongside the Fairweather. “See for yourself Master Chamberlin!”

The fool gasped as his eyes widened. He seemed to notice the hulking pirate vessel for the first time. “Oh my good heavens. What do we do Captain? You do plan to repel, don’t you? My cargo cannot fall into the hands of such devils.”

Mariah started laughing. “Are you mad? Repel them? We barely have the men to fend them off let alone the weapons. No, Master Chamberlin. We surrender and pray that they just take our money and cargo and leave our skins intact.”

The color drained from Alric Chamberlin’s face. His voice was small and pinched. “I… I see.”

As the pirate ship settled next to Fairweather, one of the men aboard came to railing and leaned over. Mariah glared up at him and cursed again. She knew him. Her anger rose and she had to stop from grabbing the dagger she wore at her hip. Despite her rage, the man’s insufferable grin did not waver.

“Ah, I thought it was the Fairweather. How have you been Mariah?”

“Damn you, Roderick! Damn you to the depths. How dare you come at me this way?”

“It’s nice to see you too,” Roderick called back, hands up held up. “It’s not as though I did it on purpose my dear. We do have a business to run after all and, well, we cannot afford to let go of prize like a trade ship such as the Fairweather.”

Mariah snorted. “Business you say? You’re just a bunch of mangy pirates; common thieves and nothing more.”

Roderick pressed his hand against his chest just above his heart. “I’m hurt Mariah.”

“Do you think it wise to antagonize him, Captain?”

Mariah forgot Chamberlin was standing there. She closed her eyes to compose herself. She was letting her emotions get the best of her—her feelings for Roderick exposed like they were brand new.

“Mariah, my Captain bids me to come aboard and settle our business,” Roderick called down.

There were no other options. She slowly nodded. “Yes! Come aboard!”

Produced by Eugenio Zorrilla.

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