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Chapter 1: Chapter One

Author's Notes: (This is a response to liljemsey's challenge from ages ago, and inspired by the lovely ladies at hotpiratebabes.com)

And lo......

'Twas the year of our Lord 1732 and the seas were still and comforting. All who sailed upon it's glassy surface were blessed to be beneath a quiet sky that stretched out from a once scorched horizon, it was black as pitch with a blanket of stars to guide all who dared venture upon it whether they be blaggard or nobleman.

The silence of the night was torn asunder by the rum sodden carousing of a scurrilous crew.

"'Tween the drop and the snap but one tear did roll

I very much doubt it was shed for this soul

But for the delay of the merchant brigade

If they got me last time many lives would be saved.

I turned my back 'pon the fyfe and the drum

For I was seduced by Antiguan rum

And the harlots in scarlet I could now afford

If I live by the cutlass I’ll die by the sword.

So I'll swing for me crimes, I will swing for me crimes

No body of sorrow at the end of this line

And the heart shall not punish what God ne'er forgave

So I'll swing for me crimes, I will swing for me crimes.

Carried on the wind, a mother's lament

As I face the gallows unrepentant

No last regrets for I'll die as I lived

With the sun on back and a curse on my lips.

No stranger to ruin, an acquaintance of loss

Cheer me or fear me as I stand on the dock

To hell's great dominion, shackled and bound

As I’ll dance in the air for a pitiless crowd.

So I'll swing for me crimes, I will swing for me crimes

No body of sorrow at the end of this line

And the heart shall not punish what God ne'er forgave

So I'll swing for me crimes, I will swing for me crimes".

Making high cockalorum in the Captain's cabin were her most loyal and trusted of companions. On an eve such as this the grog flowed freely and the clay pipes lodged in scurvy plagued teeth let it's coiling fog wrap around them like a hedonistic cocoon. Though at first light they would feel the wake of their damnable consumption for the treachery of sobriety, a most scournful lover, awaited them.

But for now they sang their merry tune like an anthem for the inebriated in order to cock a snook at the impending death that sailed with them wherever they made port.

Branded traitor, villain, miscreant or thief they would all find their true worth under the name that most came to dread.

That of pirate. For who amongst us could ever refuse a life filled with rum, sodomy and the lash?

Captained by one Faith Lehane, a buxom wench of less than twenty summers, yet she was a creature of decadence and powder, whose brave words and bloody deeds had become the basis of legend. All knew tales of this raven haired temptress, and her reputation as a lady of vengeance stretched from the sorrowed gallows of Newgate to the sordid bordellos of Madrid, from the misery soaked cotton fields of Virginia to the drudgery of the sulphur mines of Jakarta.

Sat at the head of a finely carved oak table she was not a lady of refinement or chivalrous conduct. Naught a lady at all if the stories exchanged in the gin soaked taverns were to be believed. They could not see how a woman of such lowly birth and scoundrelled existence could be the terror of the Caribbean.

But she was all woman. Fighter, lover, leader and every man jack of her crew would rather polish the king's iron with their eyebrows than let their loyalty slip.

She swirled her rum around in her silver goblet as her leather boots pushed gold doubloons across the table and sighed the sigh of discontent that she had once sworn she would not become a slave to. She picked at the lint on her embroidered wiskit that had been purloined from Captain Rodriguez when they had plundered the Spanish king's favored vessel. It had caused outrage in the court of King Phillip and he had sworn revenge upon Captain Lehane and her crew but she was as cunning as she was beautiful and could sail the waters that most feared to even mention by name.

But something did stir deep within her. She had her crew, her shipmates, her friends and she knew all of them would lay down their lives for her and she would gladly do the same, without hesitation and without question, but the rabble rousing ditty enthused by her most trusted could not force her dimples to flash.

Though she was surrounded by those dearest to her heart a thirst lingered within her that the finest of wines could not sate, a hunger that no bounty could placate, though she would impale you ‘pon rusted blade for suggesting such a weakened notion. Loneliness was the meandering vagabond that raided her soul each night and gnawed upon her slumber.

Not even the comical antics of her pet monkey Wesley could force a smile to break out on her face. Usually she would be most amused as her one eared capuchin ran across her shoulders for the offered peanuts, but on this eve she felt most ill at ease.

Her scarred fingers held the goblet to her lips as she breathed the scent of the ill-gotten grog, deeply it plunged into her lungs but its heady aroma would not soothe the discomfort that seared her tattered heart.

For she yearned for the resonance of battle, to hear the roar of cannon in her ears, the fervent scent of powder in her nose, the tear of flesh from shot and the blood of valiant foe to gild her Fathers blade. It was all a facade though, to try and quell the aching emptiness that lingered within her.

Her reticence did not go unnoticed by her First Mate Kennedy. A dark haired maiden of a perilous past whom, once aboard Faith's ship, had grown into a fearsome warrior and respected woman. She flashed a smile of glowing ivory courtesy of the fresh fruits and salted meats that were the staples their Captain had insisted they feast upon.

"But I do not see why we don't spend our ill gotten loot? We can surely purchase you a real eye, one made of glass and that will show them..."

"Show who? The stingray whose fierce tail did slash my eye out?", Xander mocked.

"Stingray? I thought t’were a knife fight with a Seminole?", asked the fair haired Englishman as he pulled his Naval coat closer to his taut body.

"No, it was....shut up Spike”

"But I do not understand why we hide our bounty, we could own so much land and then with all the diamonds and rubies we could.."

"Anya", Xander interrupted, "We do as the Captain says. Has she ever let us down yet?"

"Well that was that time in Singapore she.."

Xander's hand slapped over his girlfriend’s mouth as he wanted no-one to know of the incident in the Queen's laundry with the chambermaid and the prized sapphire they had set out to purloin.

Wesley scrambled between the scattered jewels and spilt wine, all snatched from the feeble grasp of Bondsmen and brigand alike, and leapt into Dawn's welcoming lap. As she silently played with him the young girl looked up to her 'family' though most would brand them both with hot iron and with names such as fugitive and ne-erdowells

"We scurrilous few. We band of the abandoned. We who are free to proclaim a pox upon the King and all his maleficent courtiers that sail 'neath his tainted colours. Free of the rigor of rigmarole and the cadence of Papal..."

"Andrew!", Faith yelled as she slammed down her goblet on the table that shook both doubloons and muteness to the lips of her crew, "If you do not hold that tongue of yours I shall nail it to the table!”

Rising to her feet she grabbed her treasured ivory handled pistol and tucked it into her wide leather belt and stormed out of the cabin leaving her compadres most perplexed. She slammed the sturdy wooden door and strode across the creaking weather raped wooden timbers to the majestic prow and stared out to the velvet sheen that she called her kingdom.

Kennedy was the first to dare break the silence decreed by the irked action of their captain as she refilled her tankard.

“Indeed Andrew, watch that mouth of yours for what will Spike do without it?”, she sneered knowingly.

“Hey, I’m no bloomin’ dinnermasher”, protested Spike as he fought to keep his blush under tightened rein,

“Keep telling yourself that mi amigo. But the Cap’n does worry me, she has been out of sorts for weeks now. Be there nothing you can give her, Oz?”

"And what would you suggest? I ran out of laudanum these five months past. I do not have the best equipment here and medicines be not easy to get a hold of in the middle of the ocean, now please be quiet....I am trying to finish my entry", he scoffed as he dipped quill to ink and scratched his cursive across the crinkled page.

"Why do you always write in your journal, our lives do not hold that much interest do they?", asked Anya as she tapped her long stemmed pipe on the table with a sharp rapping.

"My Pater once told me to write a good book with many comely wenches and bloodthirsty pirates and then I could retire to the heart of Kent and tend my beloved roses in peace"

"B’shall! Shame thee would be up before the beak if you ever set foot in Blighty again, debtors gaol and all that. Mayhaps they would put you with yer mother in a gibbet in Aldgate Alley", came the mocking voice of the blonde Englishman.

"Spike...hold your tongue", the Doctor with the blackened name growled back.

"Or what?"

"Oh…..just leave me, killick”, said Oz as he returned to his leather bound tome.

“Ye scholars be all the same, show some guts and it takes all the powder from your musket”

“Oh Spikey”, said Kennedy in a tone comparable to a seraphs midnight lullaby. Her braided strands of hair pushed back whilst her be-ringed fingers wiggled provocatively.

“Right then, yer on luv”, retorted the former Petty Officer as he too readied himself for the noble art of arm wrestling.

"Loser has to man the helm next time we reach port.”

"Sure thing luv, think of me with all the sweetened wenches and wine when you're all alone on the ship"

"Like hell, c'mon then big boy"

Their rope reddened palms gripped and thick beads of sweat breached their skins as the well tattooed arms of Spike and Kennedy moved back and forth. Their eyes narrowed and their chipped teeth gritted harder as neither wanted to lose such a wager as it had been many a month since either had tasted a comely lass with loose morals and looser legs. An arm began to quiver and went down fast. A winner was declared as the bellows of laughter and celebration rang out through the well dressed cabin.

Faith ignored the re-emerging chorale of joy that spilt from her cabin and stared up at the northern star which sparkled with a loneliness that bid a kinship to the Captain. Her dark locks whipped around her in the oceanic breeze, though the sea was her callous and foul tempered Mistress, Faith could tame and ride her forever.

Since the accord between herself and Angelus, a vicious captain of ill repute, they controlled the straits from Port Royal to New Chatham and with the uncharted waters claiming many a hull of the Navy most feared to enter these waters and so a real fight was most rare.

Her eyes that bore the shade of bison leather fell from its heavenly gaze as the slow creaking of the wheel shook Faith from her solitary moment. Glancing round she broke a small smile to her trusted Bo’sun Mr Gunn who nodded back as he steered their vessel on it’s darkened voyage that was both silent and devoid of rage.

But all who ventured upon the high seas knew they taunted the grim hand of death at every turn. The Royal Navy of both the British and Spanish sovereigns wanted to wrest control of the great blue yonder so that they could cement their rule of the colonies.

But during these turbulent times the scourge of piracy ran rife and the scurrilous vagabonds of the sea took full opportunity to raid and plunder from both sides and so the monarchs of Europe were united by a common cause. To end the pirates once and for all.

Faith sighed once more and looked up. The sails were full, as were her chests, but her heart was not.

As the salty air swum around her she chuckled lightly as she heard light footsteps creep behind her.

"It be alright, Dawnie”

Though no-one, not even the girl herself, knew Dawn's real age she could not have been more than twelve years old. The reticent charge knew not her surname and so was thrilled when her benefactor allowed her to take the name 'Dawn Lehane'. Faith loved the girl like a sister and wished more than anything that she could provide a real life for her far away from this one, but the brunette knew the ways of the world and as much as it pained her she knew that this was the only life she could provide, though Dawn would never admit she couldn't even imagine life without salt in the air and the echo of chaos.

The youngster looked up at her sister with concern. She too had noticed the change in Faith's demeanour of late for the Captain had wrapped herself in a brooding that no fathoms could measure.

"I just be saying goodnight to Father", Faith said softly as she nodded up at the star to which she prayed each night.

Dawn took her idol's warm hand into her own and smiled as she felt a slight squeeze.

Faith merely felt the tug of a grin at her solemn face as she looked down at the beaming girl, nodding to her signalling that she was fine. Dawn hugged her around her power burnt black longcoat and skipped back into the den of iniquity that was the Captain's cabin.

The Captain, called both illustrious and dreaded, smiled at the innocence and unremitting love from Dawn that could thaw her bitterness even on the most achingly empty of times.

Faith’s eyes returned to the sea, the crest of each wave beckoning her onward to a life and a love she but dreamed of. The gloom and quiet of her territory matched that which dwelled within her soul.

"A ship!", came the call from the lofty crow's nest.

To Faith, sweeter words had ne'er been uttered.

"A ship of war?", the Captain called back across the blood red sails as she rushed to starboard ringing the cast iron bell as one hand reached for her cutlass.

"Nay, 'tis a British sloop"

The brunette grinned widely and silently thanked the star where her father's spirit did reside. She pulled out her spyglass to see her prey listing idly upon the waves as her crew scurried from her cabin to heed her call. Though such a vessel would scarcely put up a fight she was keen to unfurl her contempt of the Navy on any who dared cross her path.

"Mr Harris....run up the colors!"


Aboard the HMS Resolution, a fine ship of much pride and envy, another young lady stared out to sea through the stained glass of her opulent cabin. Her apathy matched the darkened canvas of the sky.

She was a young lady of grace and breeding. Considered to be of the finest colonial stock Elizabeth Summers knew what life lay ahead for her as she held in her petite hands a letter of introduction penned by the quill of her stern godfather.

Her shy hand maiden Willow tried to raise her sunken spirit and held up a long voluminous gown of blue silken finery glimmering in the narrow shafts of moonlight that spilled into the room.

"What about this one Miss Buffy? 'Twas made by Messrs. Briggs and Gamble"

"Whomever", the blond girl shrugged in indifference.

"What's wrong Miss Buffy?"

"Nothing", she sighed back.

Though her bespoke gowns were the finest in Parisian couture and her jewellery was exquisite she felt a sadness grow in her with each passing second. She wanted more out of life than to be naught but a wife and mother, she felt as though she was mere chattel to be traded amongst the elite of The New World but such was the price of a pretty face and a familial whim.

"D-d-did I do something wrong? Did I speak out of turn Miss Buffy", the shy redhead asked nervously as she lay the gown to the goosefeather bed.

Buffy felt such ease in the tender fussing of Willow who was her best, if not only, real friend despite the demands of etiquette that were forced on her to think to the contrary. They became an inseparable duo flying in the face of acceptable social grace.

After Willow's mother died whilst in service to the Summers family they had looked kindly upon the redheaded girl and took her in. Even though she was but a servant she looked upon the Summers' as her only family and loved them so.

“No Willow it’s just…”

"Just what Miss Buffy?", her friend asked as she sat by her Mistress and held her hand in comfort.

"It's just....I be sailing halfway around the world to marry a man I have never met.”

"But Miss Buffy, it is said that Lieutenant Finn is a fine man of noble standing and destined for a rapid rise in the ranks. Does not every young lady dream of such a marriage?"

"But what of love, Willow? I do not know anything about him, what if he is a cur or a bluebeard or...ugly?"

"Miss Buffy, those romantics of Kensington have your mind befuddled. A baron or a nobleman isn't going to come on a white horse and take you away to his castle where you'll live happy ever after. It is a fine marriage to be sure and does not every young lady need a man? And was it not your father's last request that you be betrothed to Lieutenant Finn?"

Willow flinched as she realised that her words did not carry the comfort she had intended but instead would be the carrier for yet more painful thoughts.

Since her father Henry Summers, the Governor of Newbury and respected academic, perished by the sabre and shot of bloodthirsty Spanish rogues Buffy had been heartbroken. She loved her father and mother dearly and even though she had been sent to a finishing school in London she still wrote them monthly, but since the tragic news came to light her smile now weighed heavy.

She was a skilled flautist and had had entertained the noblesse and courtesans of London society at many an ambassador's soiree in her godfathers' stately home. The man who stood at her christening was one Quentin Travers, a God fearing man whose arrogance was well known about town. He was an old friend of her fathers and following the tumult when the young blond had accidentally burnt down one of the barns on the plantation she had been sent to his home in Greenwich where she was schooled in all the essential skills that a young lady of breeding would need. Her finishing school dictated her life and her education revolved not around equations nor artistry but in deportment and manners.

All this training of womanly ways had created a shell of a lady as she had to erect barriers around her heart forged from hurt and fear just to survive the slings and arrows of London's debutantes. Being the only colonial in Mr Travers' Finishing School For Young Ladies had made her a target of the haughty and condescending students and had bullied her for many a year. But she knew that they were fuelled by scandal and, so that they would not see yet another victory over her, she ignored each barb that pierced her heart until she got home and cried in the arms of Willow.

Her weakness was often scoffed by Mr Travers as they sat for dinner in their finest; he did label her as a simpering wretch which he referred to as her suffering from ‘the colonial disease’.

“I am sure Mr Finn is a fine man but each morn I wake I feel even further from my destiny than ever.”

"'Tis not Captain Snyder's fault we were blown so far off course, Miss Buffy"

"He is a man of nil virtue Willow, surely you see how he treats me like I was royalty just because I may have graced a ball or two in the Palace of Versailles ", the blond huffed.

"But you are the Governor's daughter. It would do him well to receive a blessing from you about his gentlemanly treatment"

"I know, It's just....I wish so much was not expected of me. To be a wife and mother before I even leave my teens. I wish...I do so wish..."

"Wish for what Miss Buffy?", the sweet Willow did ask.

"I wish something exciting would happen to me. Like being hauled off on an adventure and finding true love in the strong arms of a dashing young pirate, all pistols and pearly whites…”

"Pirate? No, Miss Buffy do not wish for such things. I can't imagine what a scoundrel of the high seas would do to you"

"But Willow, 'Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind'", she explained showing her adoration of the written word.

Before the young women could continue their banter a distressed call from the deck above silenced them.

"A ship!"

"Bear she friendly colours?", called back the Captain with a note of apprehension clamouring for recognition amongst his words.

"Aye, no wait, 'tis a galleon with a flag of...wait....'tis a black flag with a white skull...a pistol on one side"

"With crimson sails? And the flag, does it have a broken stemmed rose 'neath the skull?"

"Aye, what be it Mr Snyder?"

The Captain cursed his luck as he knew full well as to what manner of brigand did helm such a vessel. A vessel he feared say its name out loud.

"'Tis The Slayer!", he boomed.

A gulp of fear echoed throughout the crew who had heard the tales of terror and vengeance served from the merciless whim of her captain

Down below decks Buffy hung her head a little under the stern scowl of her best friend as it seemed that her wish was to be made true.

Both Faith and Buffy looked up under the same moon little realising that this night both their lives would change forever.

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